“Joy is about what you believe, not what you feel”

The world at large has seemingly gone nuts. One prime example is that my fellow Americans have blamed the Confederacy for the Charleston shooting, and called for the banning of the Battle Flag, as well as other heritage and historic symbols. Since when did censorship become cool?!

With plenty of zinc oxide & silliness in tow, Houston & Jax enjoy our six-plus-hour beach day @ the Isle of Palms.

Forget real history, context, consistency, and common sense; the mob has their pitchforks out and are ready to demolish all remnants of Southernness. And if they have to destroy some Southerners along the way, well, that’s just an additional perk for the indoctrinators and re-educators of progressivism, and those that blindly follow the herd.

Next, the U.S. Supreme Court has exhibited in grand scale its fetish with tyranny by overturning state laws for traditional marriage. I personally think that consenting adults should not have to get permission from any government to join in a voluntary contract, and that adults should already be free to engage in the relationships of their choosing.

So, my Christian belief that marriage is something specific — a union between one man and one woman that is a reflection of our relationship with Christ — is really a moot point. As long as I’m not trying to coerce people though the force of government to abide by my worldview, what does it matter?

Donning Mr. Logan’s hat (due to a sunburn from the day before), Gabriel looks right @ home as a Kiawah beach bum.

And to round out this triad of oligarchical oppression, Congress just allowed the U.S. to become a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is, in short, a global governmental organization consisting of more than 600 members. Of those, 12 are countries and the rest are corporations. Nice.

It’s a trade deal and a fast-track treaty that will further subvert the rights of the people, on everything from medicine to the Internet to representation, and increases the power of cronyism worldwide. Yeah, it’s a brave, new world.

From a bunch of mob-mentality authoritarians running around, trying to control my every move and suppress my every thought; to the court and their one-size-fits-all mandates, to Congress’s incessant usurping of divided sovereignty and minority rights (with the ultimate minority being the individual), it’s easy to see why a lover of liberty can be down these days.

I affectionately refer to this as “Kiawah Boogie, Part 1.”

Libertarian author Larken Rose sums up my frustration aptly:

“Ya know, when people have been the targets of violence for so long, only to then turn around and initiate violence against others, it’s a prime example of the fact that most people do NOT actually advocate freedom, other than for themselves. Most people just want the club of ‘government’ on their side. If you’re not in favor of allowing EVERYONE his/her self-ownership, even if they use their freedom in ways you don’t like, then YOU are the driving force behind division and tyranny. For example, the people celebrating that VIOLENCE was used against people for not making a cake are far MORE of a threat to society than any narrow-minded but NON-violent bigot, racist, etc. To pretend you’re tolerant and that you love diversity, while demanding ENFORCED conformity, is pretty damn hypocritical.”

I understand that ours is a fallen world and that the Evil One and his manipulative and lying ways can be persuasive for the flesh of humanity. But I also know that Christ reigns supreme and that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

Part 2: As the sun sets on South Carolina, the Kiawah Boogie continues unabated.

So, I have to let the light of the Holy Spirit shine through me, even in these dark times. Thus, I’m trying my best to love on everyone, even the agents of oppression. Now that doesn’t mean that I won’t share my opinions in a civil way, try to gently persuade people, or even defend myself and my family against force, if the need should arise.

But the world is filled with hard hearts and people who are just hostile to both worldly and eternal freedom, and another heart of stone isn’t go to do anything to advance God’s kingdom here on earth. I won’t let the haters steal my affection for God, distance me from His peace, or put up barriers between me and the things I hold dear.

As one of my pastors said in a recent sermon:

“Joy is about what you believe, not what you feel … (and is) based on an unchanging reality, not our changing circumstances.”

It ain’t always easy being a Christian, but then again, no one ever said it would be. But it through Jesus that all things are possible. And thank you, God, for that.

Part 3: What happens in Charleston, stays in Charleston.

Sure, life has its anxieties and pressures, but there is so much living to do and so many blessings to cherish … like friends. So, the boys and I went to Charleston from June 17-21. We were actually there when that lunatic shot up a historic black church, killing nine innocent people.

An interesting thing was that while the mainstream media pumped their divisive narrative into homes across the nation, Charlestonians actually exhibited a keep-on-keepin’-on attitude. Yes, they grieved, but they also persevered ’cause that’s what Southerners do. In the face adversity, that rebel spirit was evident through their strength and kindness.

We took two trips to the beach during our visit. First was to Isle of Palms and the other was to Kiawah. Both are family-friendly with nice, big, clean expanses on which to spread out, thrilling waves for diving and riding without the undertow, and lots of pond-like areas for sand-castle building.

Zeke & Jax check out the U.S.S. Yorktown from the welcoming shade of our fun & breezy water taxi.

IOP is a more populated destination, whereas Kiawah is located in a nature sanctuary, giving you the feel of being on your own private ocean-front playground. Other than the overbearing seagulls at Kiawah, that was definitely our favorite of the two beaches.

We had a couple truly excellent meals. Christie, the kids, and I ate at Chez Fish on John’s Island. The food was scrumptious, but the service sure wasn’t what you’d expect from Southern hospitality and a restaurant with a nearly five-star Yelp rating. Oh well.

Stephen had arrived on Friday night, so on Saturday, both families trekked from Mount Pleasant to Charleston and back via water-taxi. Once downtown, we feasted on steamed oysters and other delicious sea creatures at Pearlz. Great service, awesome food, and microbrews crafted especially for the establishment. What’s not to like?

Proud to defend the Holy City against Yankee invaders, Gabriel keeps watch from atop a cannon in Battery Park.

In addition to yummy eats and super-fun boat rides, we soaked in the historic and steamy city on foot, walking around downtown, through the Battery, and then to Waterfront Park, where we let the kids cool off in the public fountains on this 100-plus-degree afternoon.

The irony of Fort Sumter being our backdrop for the day was not lost on me. It’s as if the landmark was a harbinger of the coming cultural battles proceeding the shooting, the SCOTUS decision, and the TPP passage.

Just as this fort endured the first shots of the War Between the States, it seems prescient in knowing the struggles for freedom and against central governance both then and now. I suppose, some things never change.

Zeke reads the decaying tombstones behind First Baptist Church, which (as the oldest Baptist church in the South) is considered the “Mother Church of Southern Baptists.”

Since Charleston, we have had some shenanigans around here, most notably celebrating Houston’s 8th birthday! The actual occasion was on June 26. Granny was in town for the weekend, so we went to see the movie “Inside Out,” and then came home and feasted on the birthday boy’s dessert pick: cheesecake!

Houston’s actual party was the following Tuesday night. He got to have two friends (Bret and a pal from Y baseball, Mitchell) over for afternoon play and more cheesecake, laser tag and bowling at Spare Time, and then back to the casa for a sleepover. Boyhood craziness abounded!

Some other stuff:

  • The 3 Amigos went to Mercy Hill Kids Week in late June for five days of learning about Jesus and hanging with friends: two of their favorite things!
  • The boys went to their CC/church buddy Josh’s birthday party. It was Mario Brothers-themed and featured a bounce house and piñata. Good times.
  • Last week, their CC pal, Tyrnan, came over for the afternoon. His grandmother had passed away, so the dudes took his mind off of that with Legos galore and by playing outside during a warm downpour.
  • Yesterday, the kids attended the Chevy Youth Baseball Clinic, where they got to learn some skills from the Greensboro Grasshoppers at the city’s fancy baseball park.

No better way to round out a steamy day of Charleston sightseeing than playing in the pineapple fountain @ Waterfront Park.

And last week, Houston underwent his first state-mandated educational testing. I chose the Woodcock-Johnston Cognitive Assessment, which was administered by a private contractor that a few other CC parents and I hired to test our kiddos in a relaxed atmosphere (my friend Rissa’s house).

Houston scored at the appropriate grade level for “passage comprehension,” which is not a surprise to me, since this language-arts discipline is usually challenging for him. But for the other 10 categories, Houston scored well into third-grade-level knowledge. Not too shabby for a rising third-grader. So proud of you Houston Lee!