Saturday, January 28, 2012


Everybody wants to leave a legacy. Especially public servants.

One-time sheriff of Arapahoe, CO, Patrick J. Sullivan, Jr., is no exception to that desire.

Nationally renowned law-enforcement legend who served as sheriff of aforementioned county from 1984 to 2002. Served six terms. Named “Sheriff of the Year” in 1991 by the National Sheriff Association. In 1995, President Bill Clinton named Sullivan as a member of the National Commission on Crime Prevention and Control. In a 1995 White House press release, the sheriff is said to have been a consultant to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Crime. Served on two advisory councils affiliated with the Department of Justice. The 68-year-old bloke was known as “Hollywood Pat.” Apparently, once, in 1989, the guy sped his jeep into the line of a fire to rescue a wounded deputy, and then roared back through a fence in a bold escape captured live on TV! Even as recently as 2008, he was an active participant in state and local  methamphetamine policy-making task forces that provided recommendations to the Colorado state legislature on how best to deal with the surge in meth-related crime.

What a legacy!

Now retired for nine years, Sullivan was serving as director of safety and security for Cherry Creek School District, in Colorado.

Until a couple of months ago.

In a sting operation the erstwhile lawman was arrested on suspicion of trafficking methamphetamines—yup, the same drug he fought so vigorously against—in exchange for sex. He was arrested by the South Metro Drug Task Force and faces felony charges. He is held on a $500,000 bond.

Former Arapahoe County District Attorney Jim Peters, who worked with Sullivan, told the Denver Post that he allegations against Sullivan were “totally out of character.” “He was completely ethical, upright and honest,” Peters said. “He just oozed honesty and integrity. He was an outstanding sheriff.”

“Was.” Gone is the legacy.

“I was saddened by the allegations and very disappointed,” said Grayson Robinson, the current Arapahoe County sheriff. He confessed this was “the most shocking thing I've ever been involved with.”

Oh, but wait. Pat Sullivan did leave a legacy. For himself.

In an incredible twist of fate, Mr. Sullivan is now cooling his heels at—guess where?—The Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility, once named in his honor!

All that good work, now undone! All that exemplary service, in tatters.

And it’s easy for us to ruin our legacies too.

Therefore, prepare your minds for action,
keep sober in spirit,
fix your hope completely on the grace
to be brought to you
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
As obedient children,
do not be conformed to the former lusts
which were yours in your ignorance,
but like the Holy One who called you,
be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
because it is written,
“You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:13–16

Let’s live soberly and fearfully. For the consequences may be severe.

If you address as Father the One
who impartially judges
according to each one's work,
conduct yourselves in fear
during the time of your stay on earth;
1 Peter 1:17

No, not eternal consequences, for we …

… were not redeemed
with perishable things
like silver or gold …,
but with precious blood,
as of a lamb unblemished and spotless,
the blood of Christ.
1 Peter 1:18–19

But still consequences for ourselves, our families, our churches, our society.

Be sober. And leave a legacy.

(There is no word yet from the City Commissioner whether there are plans to rename the jail.)

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Babies lip-read. That’s what developmental psychologists say in a study to be published next week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Babies lip-read.

Scientists from Florida Atlantic University discovered that at about 6 months, during that magical phase when babbling becomes syllabic and gibberish becomes “mama” and “dada,” babies go from staring intently into speakers’ eyes to studying intently speakers’ mouths.

Babies lip-read. They’re trying to imitate the speaker in an attempt to figure out how to shape their lips to make the same sounds.

Dr. David Lewkowicz and his team studied over 150 babies of English speakers. They showed these babies videos of a woman speaking English or Spanish and monitored the babies’ gazes with a gadget on a headband. When the language was English, 4-month-olds gazed into eyes, 6-month-olds equally into eyes and at mouths, and 8- and 10-month olds mostly at mouths. The 12-month-olds shifted back to staring mostly at eyes … unless they were hearing Spanish.

When they heard the unfamiliar language, these 12-month-olds kept on studying the mouth, like their younger counterparts.  They needed the extra lip information to decipher unfamiliar sounds.

Pretty intriguing, isn’t it, that babies lip-read? They seem to know what they need to learn and how they need to learn; and they focus on what’s important—mouths. Babies lip-read.

I’m convinced what we need to do as children of God, as those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ as our only God and Savior, is to “Read His lips!”

I have not departed
from the command of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth
more than my necessary food.
Job 23:12

Indeed! Jesus affirmed that sentiment.

“Man shall not live on bread alone,
but on every word that proceeds
out of the mouth of God.”
Matthew 4:4

It is only by lip-reading God that we stand firm, steadfast, unshakeable.

As for the deeds of men,
by the word of Your lips
I have kept from the paths of the violent.
My steps have held fast to Your paths.
My feet have not slipped.
Psalm 17:4–5

Babies lip-read. The new research this week offers evidence that face-time with your baby is probably very critical for speech development, more than the latest baby DVD or phonics program. Babies lip-read. That’s how they learn to speak.

For we aren’t born with facile lips that speak well, or hearts that feel well, or minds that think well, or hands and feet that work well.

Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
Isaiah 6:5

Se we need to relearn our speech. By “lip-reading” God.

I shall delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.
Psalm 119:16

And thereby our lips are trained.

“… I will give to the peoples purified lips,
That all of them may call on
the name of the LORD.”
Zephaniah 3:9

And we need to be lip-reading all our lives, not just for the first few months of life. So that we may speak as God would want us to, all our days.

Because Your lovingkindness is
better than life, My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name ….
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
Psalm 63:3–5

Read God’s lips. Hang on to his every word!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


An unusual instrument was added to a rendition of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony the other day. An iPhone. To Mahler’s Ninth. I doubt whether Mr. Mahler would’ve enjoyed it last week being played by a New York Philharmonic + iPhone combo.

But it wasn’t the fault of the NYPO or its conductor that day, Alan Gilbert.

It just so happened that someone’s iPhone went off in the middle of the last movement: Adagio. Sehr langsam und noch zurückhaltend  = very slow and even cautious/reluctant. The offending gadget was neither slow nor reluctant. It went off piercingly and unhesitatingly with its proprietary marimba ringtone.

Usually, everyone just ignores such unconscionable interruptions, for the mortified patron, in normal situations, silences electronic gizmo in a millisecond.

Nope, not this time. The bold marimba kept on marimbating. With aplomb. In the middle of Mahler’s Ninth! No one stopped the ring.

Finally, Mr. Gilbert downed his baton, his fiddlers their bows, the trumpeters their horns, the drummers their sticks, etc. Yup, Mahler’s Ninth came to a dead halt in mid-performance last week. Because of an iPhone. Nope, Mahler would not have been amused with a digital marimba in the middle of his Adagio. Sehr langsam und noch zurückhaltend.

Someone (probably from Wall Street) shouted, “$1,000 fine.” Another yelled, “Kick him out!” This was New York, after all.

Shockingly, the ring just went on. "Nothing happened," Gilbert told reporters. "Nobody was owning up to it. It was surreal.”

Then someone pointed to a couple sitting in the audience who just kept on staring back at Mr. Gilbert who was, understandably, trying to strangle them with his eyes. Finally, the man put his hand to his pocket. The marimba quit.

All it took was an iPhone. And everything fell apart.

Another Fall a long time ago was caused by something seemingly small. A bite. From a piece of fruit.

When the woman saw that
the tree was good for food,
and that it was a delight to the eyes,
and that the tree was desirable
to make one wise,
she took from its fruit and ate;
and she gave also to her husband with her,
and he ate.
Genesis 3:6

Cell phones continue their pestilential ringing in churches, classrooms, movie theaters, concert halls …, despite vigorous warnings announced loudly and displayed prominently.

The LORD God commanded the man, saying,
“ … from the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil you shall not eat.”
Genesis 2:16–17

No matter. Marimbas still keep going off. Fruit still keeps being eaten. And sin continues to reign.

Despite threats.

“… for in the day that you eat from it
you will surely die.”
Genesis 2:16–17

Or, as the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX (a movie-theater) warns: “Follow our rules, or get the h#*% out and don’t come back till you can.” (Not that that stops anyone._

Mahler’s Ninth, “some of the most spiritual and peaceful music ever written,” disturbed.

And God’s “very good” creation disrupted.

For the wages of sin is death.
Romans 6:23

After the noisome scourge was silenced, Mr. Gilbert apologized to the audience to loud cheers and applause, and segued the NYPO back into Adagio. Sehr langsam und noch zurückhaltend. The performance ended without any further interference from iPhones.

God’s got a plan, too, to finish his performance.

… but the free gift of God is
eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

For all who believe in Jesus Christ as only God and Savior, there is redemption from sin and life eternal with God.

The Fall reversed. Performance back on course.

Saturday, January 07, 2012


Harry Potter had it—a cloak of invisibility, one of the fabled Deathly Hallows. This fascinating piece of cloth, which “endures eternally, giving constant and impenetrable concealment, no matter what spells are cast at it,” renders the wearer invisible—i.e., others can’t see the one with the cloak. But creatures such as cats (Mrs. Norris) and snakes (Nagini), relying more on smell, hearing, heat-detection, etc., can sense the presence of cloak-wearers. Or dementors, who, though they have no sight or smell or such, can sense human despair. Invisibility cloaks don’t do nothin’ to hide desperation! Oh, and Alastor Moody’s magic eye: it can see through invisibility cloaks.

In any case, dementors and cats and snakes and Moody notwithstanding, I wouldn’t mind having an invisibility cloak.

Or you could employ a disillusionment charm or a bedazzlement hex to keep others from seeing you.

Far cry, all these, from reality, though.

But scientists are coming up with an even better idea than J. K. Rowling could: hiding an event using time!

Now granted, aforementioned author did conceive of a Time-Turner, an hourglass that could turn back time by any number of hours. But physicists at Cornell are thinking one better.

“Temporal cloaking.” Interrupting light to create a seeming gap in time in which an event can be hidden. This month’s first issue of Nature reported on the team succeeding to create a time gap about 50 trillionths of a second!

One 50 trillionths of a second. OK, far from reality!

All this trouble to “cloak” time and to hide from it. After all the trouble God went to, to “create” time.

Amidst all the controversy and confrontation and conflict regarding Genesis 1, there is something interesting there in that chapter.

All those descriptions of days and evenings and mornings.

And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
Genesis 1:5

And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
Genesis 1:8

There was evening, and there was morning, a third day.
Genesis 1:13

There was evening, and there was morning, a fourth day.
Genesis 1:19

There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
Genesis 1:23

And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Genesis 1:31

By the seventh day God completed His work.
Genesis 2:2

This time-marked account reminds us that God also created time and the fundamental rhythms of life in God’s creation: evening + morning. Not only that, God created in six such “evening + morning = day” sets. In other words, God created in time.

A transcendental God immanently involved in his creation—he entered into his work, speaking, evaluating, deliberating, forming, animating. This is a God who is deeply involved with his creation.

This is no negligent watchmaker who created, and then wound up his creation and forgot all about it. No he continues to care for his creation—always, continuously, and forever.

In Him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:17

Neither is he a blind watchmaker who, at best, randomly created without design, purpose, or plan.

[God] works all things after the counsel of His will.
Ephesians 1:11

I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
Job 42:2

Nope, this is a God who is involved with his creation. This is a God who cares.

The LORD is good to all,
And His mercies are over all His works.
Psalm 145:9

For God so loved the world, He gave …
John 3:16

He loves. He cares. He gives.

Have a terrific 2012, knowing that this God is our God!