Saturday, December 20, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #41: "My Tribe of Christians"

Avalon Chronicles #41: "My Tribe of Christians"

by Allen B. Clark       

     Upon my awakening this morning I began my meditation and prayers with the "really big picture." I pictured God, my Father, as the Creator of all. I pictured the farthest reaches of the universe and all the stars in all the galaxies. I came down and focused on our "ball," planet earth. I began to think of our richness and beauty, all created by God. I thought about the time all the way back to Adam and Eve and the Old Testament lining up the happenings of history with the Hebrews to bring the Savior, God's Son, Jesus, into our world to live here and set an example for life, behavior, love, and forgiveness in the New Testament. He was crucified so we could all have redemption of our sins and be able to follow Jesus and live holy lives.
     I recalled something Linda found in secular history and I relate that from the best-known Jewish historian of Jesus' time:

                                           Josephus Antiquities of the Jews
                                                   by Flavius Josephus
                                                 Chapter III: 3 page 379

             "Now, there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works,  a teacher of such men to receive the truth with pleasure.
He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles.
He was (the) Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us,
had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him,
for he appeared to them alive again the third day,  as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christian, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

     Our tribe of Christians is definitely still not extinct. It has continued to thrive despite persecutions and the works of the Devil to destroy us corporately and personally. But, we have stayed in the fight,our tribe lives on, continues to multiply, and each of us of this tribe knows our ultimate gift is Heaven itself for eternal life.

       Merry Christmas and may you and all yours be blessed this Advent season.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #40: "Battlefield Earth"

Avalon Chronicles #40: "Battlefield Earth"

by Allen B. Clark     

     Immediately after my speech Saturday Dec. 6, 2014 to a political group, Billy, the seventh grader son of the host and hostess, came up to me and hugged me and said, "Thank you for your service and sacrifice for all of us." Of course, I was touched immeasurably and he repeated that sentiment again when he assisted me in taking my books to my car. It was a great lift to my spirit after baring my soul again about my wounding in Vietnam and my healing process. It was an extraordinary evening. I speak at political functions and quote some of the remarks by President Ronald Reagan in his second inaugrural speech Jan. 21, 1985. He said, "History is a ribbon, always unfurling; history is a journey....a settler pushes west and sings a song, and the song echoes out forever and fills the unknowing air. It is the American sound. It is hopeful, big-hearted, idealistic, caring, decent, and fair. That's our heritage; that is our song." Admittedly I was touched emotionally and the entire passage as I spoke brought tears to my own eyes. I finished my quote and closed my remarks. Spontaneously the audience rose up and sang, "God Bless America." This has never happened in the hundreds of presentations I have made over the decades. This old soldier was touched by that outpouring and by what Billy said. Would that all my fellow combatants could be a recipient of these gifts of the heart!
     The struggles of our men and women returning from battlefields in ages past to present are not recognized by many non-combatants. Since the first cave people clubbed each other, humanity has been forced, encouraged, cajoled or paid to wage war on others. Various causes or incitements have been evident or manufactured to incur conflict between tribes, nations, and groups. High-sounding and grandiose schemes, propaganda, and many well-founded grounds and purposes have been utilized to inspire young men and women to take up arms to kill each other. Many were in the name of "religion."
     Old members of societies come up with reasons to fight and it is the young ones full of strength, bravado, and grit who march to the sound of the drums and charge with the bugles blaring amid battle flags unfurled. Some return in flag-draped coffins buried in the hallowed grounds of our national cemeteries and small country places of final rest. Others return with visible wounds caused by projectiles, shrapnel, and miscellaneous bits of metal, causing losses, scars, broken bones, and amputations. Yet others return with unseen wounds carried in their souls and spirits from the traumas of their fields of battle. These experiences on battlefields coupled with the wounds of life before and after military service compound to significantly impact the lives of our warriors.
     Many of our combatants speak only to each other and not to those who were safely tucked in to warm beds at night while they sacrificed, sweated, bled, and suffered the traumas of war on faraway fields, sands, and mountains in places where the people did not always like us. Then they returned to homes where their own did not, nor could not, always understand what they experienced, nor the pain they endured.
     The only hope for ultimate healing of our warriors is to recognize that they were strong enough to qualify for military service, were disciplined enough to serve, and were courageous and balanced enough to be a part of something way larger than those protected here and there could ever fathom. It was not voiced, but, in truth, we represented as American military what Presiden Reagan described as the American heritage. Their identity as a loyal patriot must be coupled with a strong identity of faith in understanding that from beginning of time to end of time there will be a continuous battlefield on earth, a struggle between good and evil. Some of us are called into that fight. Only in a belief in a Creator who loves us all can we even attempt to be resilient enough to achieve healing. Jesus, the Son of our Creator, is the reason for my healing. The least we all can do at this season of celebration is to reach out to the warriors we know and offer them our gratitude and respect and not wait until the next Veterans Day.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #39: "Holiness is Happiness"

Avalon Chronicles #39: "Holiness is Happiness"

by Allen B. Clark

Reference: Hutson, James H.. Religion and the Founding of the American Republic. Library of Congress. 1998. (RFAR).

     About a year ago I became introduced to a series of biographies originally published by Cumberland House in Nashville, Tennessee. The series is titled Leaders in Action. Eleven of them were ordered, read, and have a special position on my book shelves. The stories relate outstanding men of faith in history and I was struck by the lessons of leadership of each, but more importantly of their goodness and virtue, in spiritual terms, their "holiness," the subject of my next few messages.
     In my church worship service this past Sunday my minister refreshed us on the Ten Commandments (which require millions of laws and ordinances in our country to expand on for our behavior). Also, one of the hyms was Savior of the Nations, Come, one of whose verses is, "Wondrous birth! O wondrous child of the Virgin, undefiled!" We have all been defiled by others or by our own actions or inactions, but a belief in Jesus the Christ, whose coming procured mankind redemption of our sins and allows us through confession of our own sins to leave defilements behind spiritually, wherein we can be restored to a state of "holiness." We must hold fast to that state despite all the outside temptations and unhealthy inward behavioral choices which we face.
     The messages will flow from great men of faith in the Middle Ages such as Martin Luther, John Calvin and  John Knox to later men such as George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Patrick Henry, William Wilberforce, C.S. Lewis, and Derek Prince.
     In our America of today political correctness has the upper hand and in our increasingly secular and Godless society the mere mention of anything spiritual, and especially Christian, brings down disapproval  from many circles of society. However, history relates, during the early years of our nation after the American Revolution, that there was decidely a different attitude toward expression of faith in our land. Some may call it related to a civil religion, but I will call it a bugle call to virtue.
     As James Hutson wrote, the sanction of certain religious initiatives by the federal Congress (plus an even wider latitude for state legislatures) meant that both:

      "....politicians and the public had an unarticulated conviction that it was the duty of the national government to support religion, that it had an inherent power to do so, as long as it acted in a nonsectarian way without appropriating public money. What other body, after all, was capable of convincing a dispersed people that a 'spirit of universal reformation among all ranks and degrees of our citizens,' would, as Congrees declared on March 19, 1782, 'make us a holy, that so we may be a happy people?' This conviction----that holiness was a prerequisite for secular happiness, that religion was, in the words of the Northwest ordinance, 'necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind'---was not the least of the Confederation's legacies to the new republican era that began with Washington's inauguration in 1789." (RFAR).

     As I was conceiving and writing this message a short verse only from some song of my childhood kept coming to mind, "If you wanna have a happy life,..." which I complete it with "live a holy life." It is my personal proposition that the best legacy to pass on to our descendants, our nation, and our world is one wherein we reflect holiness and virtue, and perhaps the happiness which emanates will keep us off pills, out of hospitals, and more attuned to all we influence.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #38: Martyrs of the Faith-Part Two"

Avalon Chronicles #38: "Martyrs of the Faith-Part Two (John Wickliff)"

by Allen B. Clark

Sources: Foxe, John. Foxe's Book of Martyrs. Whitaker House, 1981. (FBM).
              Coffin, Charles C. The Story of Liberty (1879). Reprinted 1987 by Maranatha Publications (SOL).

     After my previous message on the martyrs of the faith, one of my dear friends and loyal readers informed me thusly in addition to what I wrote, "There were more Christians executed under Constantine. While Constantine legalized Christianity, the next emperor, Diocletis, oversaw the most vigorous persecution of Christians, as he sought to restore the pagan religion of Rome as preeminent. It wasn't until Theodosius (347-397) that Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire. The state church is described as the 3rd of the 7 churches in Revelation 2 as the Church of Pergamum. The word "Pergamum" literally means married, as in church and state wed!" (End input).
     The "wedding" of church and state was one of the major issues that caused so much downtrodding of the common people in the Dark Ages. It is a major challenge in all societies throughout history and is exemplified today in the combination of religion/political/governmental aspects of Islam in the sharia law propagation and the reinstitution of the caliphate of old. Our Founders were well aware of the pitfalls of a church/state combination and took heed for its separation in our founding documents.
     Meanwhile back to the martyrs. A century after the Magna Carta, the common people of England lived a fairly subjugated and victimized life. Coffin wrote, "They must pay taxes to the King, to the barons, and to the priests...they are ignorant. They have no books...The priests and the parish clerks, the bishops, rich men, and their children are the only ones who have an opportunity of obtaining an education..." (SOL 32). There is a need for liberty, truth, and justice. God raised up people to begin to bring the light of God and the salvation message into the Dark Ages. "...monasteries, abbies, nunneries, convents, and bishoprics hold half the land in England and their revenues are greater than the King's." (SOL 33). The people attributed all misfortune to witches. Many of the priests for the most part even are ignorant. God raised up perhaps the first man to break the mold, to begin to reveal the unholiness of the so-called "holy ones." He was a priest who preached in the churches around Oxford. He believed holiness would be reflected in leading righteous lives. He was John Wickliff.
     John Foxe relates Wickliff's time of about 1371 A.D. as, " what time all the world was in a most desperate and vile estate, and the lamentable ignorance and darkness of God's truth had overshadowed the whole earth, this man stepped forth like a valiant champion,..." (FBM 50). Foxe continues, "In these days the whole state of religion was depraved and corrupted...was altogether led and blinded with outward ceremonies and human traditions.....The simple and unlearned people, being far from all knowledge of the holy Scripture, thought it quite enough to know only those things which were delivered them by their pastors." (FBM 50,51). He became the enemy of the established church. It became another example of the Pharisees against another of God's chosen men. He was accused of heresy due to the doctrine he espoused.
     A Wickipedia entry said he is sometimes called "The Morning Star of the Reformation," as one of the earliest opponents of papal authority influencing secular power. In 1382 he translated the Bible into English, the common language. He was opposed to the worldly possessions of the clergy. He believed firmly in the proclamation of Jesus to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's. He died a natural death in 1384, but later in 1428 his bones were disinterred and burned with his ashes thrown into a river. So this was a posthumous 'burning" example. Wycliffe Bible Translators, one of the world's largest international organizations dedicated to translating the Bible into every living language in the world, takes its name from his sterling example to have the Word of God available to all in their own languager.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #37: "Introduction to the Dark Ages"

by Allen B. Clark

 Reference: The Story of Liberty by Charles Carleton Coffin (originally written in 1879) republished in 1987 by Maranatha Publications, Inc. Specified in footnotes by (SOL).

     In the beginning of a series of my messages about the "Dark Ages," it is critical to specify that as I write and recount the tragedies of those horrendous centuries therein that I render equal credit for denunciation to Protestants as well as Catholics, not their religions, but members of those faiths. Mr. Coffin wrote, "Facts of history only are given. Catholics and Protestants alike have persecuted, robbed, plundered, maltreated, imprisoned men and women for not believing as they believed. Through ignorance, superstition, intolerance, and bigotry; through thinking that they were right, and those that differed with them were wrong; forgetting that might never makes right; honestly thinking that they were doing God service in rooting out heretics, they filled the world with woe." (SOL 8).
     In the interest of full disclosure I worship in the Anglican Communion, the Church of England-founded tradition of faith, that evolved as a separation from the Church of Rome due candidly to the passion of Henry VIII for Anne Boleyn. So there you have it up front about me. As I proceed in future messages to inform, illuminate, and educate (as I have myself been likewise over the past year since my 2013 visit to England), about the evolution and sometimes revolution from the combined church and state institutions of the European kingdoms, be aware of the thread that proceeded to bring liberty to the masses, bought by the blood of martyrs and the testimony of those who served Jesus the Christ.
     History is related as learned by me for the first time. The abuses of members of the Church of Rome and the Church of England truly happened, but from those arose advances in the history of the world in the arenas of "Justice, Truth, Right, and Liberty." (SOL 9). These were events and movements and conditions that emanated to bring freedoms never before known in secular history. The freedoms for humankind were laid out in the New Testament in the teachings of Jesus, but man's pride and selfishness exhibited in acquisition of wealth and power kept a lid on the rights of the individual to appropriate and live those freedoms. After Christ's sacrifice slowly a light began to shine, but the forces of evil soon took over and the Dark Ages came about. Slowly, through the courageous actions of many, light began again and today the "Exceptional" native land of mine, the United States of America, is the result, the ultimate expression of an idea of civil freedom and government by us. (SOL Note).
     When the Bible began to be translated in native languages, read, and studied, make no mistake, that transformed individual lives and, in turn, the world has become transformed. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #36: "A Christian History of Hawaii-Part One"

Avalon Chronicles #36: "A Christian History of Hawaii-Part One"

by Allen B. Clark

     Hawaii. Awesome scenery. Waikiki Beach. Surfboarding. Magical islands. Unparallelled relaxing vacations in the tropics. Hawaii is all that and much more. I had been there seven times before, four times as a West Point cadet when my parents were stationed there, once in 1967 on a medical airlift flight, stopping only with wounded from Vietnam, once as a vacationer in 1979, and once at the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1991, when I made remarks at the Punchbowl, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific for a memorial service.
     Linda and I travel often and we have begun to pray that we would experience "divine encounters" on our trips. This we were not denied in Hawaii. On Kauai we stayed on the western side at Barking Sands Navy Base and I had read about a former Congregational missionary church (now United Church of Christ) nearby at Waimea and named the Waimea Church. As we drove up to tour the church, a Bible study was just finishing and the choir director and a local gentleman just "happened" to walk over to our auto and happily opened the church and gave us a tour. The gentleman was a local island literary figure, "Kit" Cook, who just "happened" to be the author of a soon-to-be published book about a Hawaiian, Henry Obookiah. Obookiah actually originally inspired the introduction of Christianity to the islanders because he had been taken from Hawaii as a youth to Connecticutt, became a Christian, and from there an effort began to send the original missionaries to Hawaii. Meeting Cook started me on my quest to learn about the Hawaiian pioneer missionaries. This Waimea church was originally founded in 1820 (two years after Obookiah died at age 26) by two Congregational missionaries, the Reverend Samuel Ruggles and Samuel Whitney and their wives, who had taveled from New England. MissionariesWilliam and Mary Alexander in 1834 left Waimea Church by double canoe and founded a church at beautiful Hanalei Bay on the north side of Kauai. The Waioli Huuia Church still stands in this picturesque old town. A wedding was just finishing when we arrived to visit this church.
     This trip, my eighth to Hawaii, was to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Linda's and my wedding on Sep. 11, 2004. The night before our anniversary on Sep. 10th we had  attended a Dinner Theatre play of "South Pacific" and on our anniversary we dined at the St. Regis Resort Princeville perched above Hanalei Bay and looking across to the movie scene of the mysterious "Bali Hai." Another "happening" was our waiter was a fellow Vietnam veteran, Tom Hamilton, who was the real-life father of the real-life young woman, Bethany Hamilton, who had been attacked by a shark while surfing. She lost her arm and her story was depicted in the movie "Soul Surfer." Dennis Quaid had played the father in the movie. A writeup for the movie said this, "Rushed to the hospital, she remains calm, and maintains her faith in God." Her father told us she lived only due to her faith in God because she had lost so much blood. These things happen to us! Originally we had been at another table with another waitperson before I had us relocated to have a better view of the bay and the sunset.
     We were privileged while in Honolulu to worship on two Sundays at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Andrew, an imposing and historic cathedral on Queen Emma Square in downtown Honolulu. King Kamehameha IV and his Queen, Emma, were responsible for introducing Anglicanism to Hawii. The King and Queen donated the land for the cathedral site. It was not completed until 1886 after both had died. The Queen had purchased its stone building material from Caen in Normandy. During the greeting period a member of the pastoral staff came down the aisle to greet us and I noticed her ring. It so "happens" she is a fellow graduate of West Point.
     The first Sunday we worshipped at the cathedral there was a communion service in the Hawaiian language and we just "happened" to be there for the annual service to celebrate the birthday of Queen Lili'uokalani, the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii, who was deposed in 1893 in a coup of businessmen. On this special occasion a splendidly colorful group of Hawaiians were in the processional as members of the Royal Society (I believe officially the Royal Order of Kamehameha I). The women were elegantly gowned in black and white and the men wore dark suits with colorful short back capes. This organization today continues to guard, maintain, and preserve the rituals and the memory of the ruling chiefs of Hawaii. It was quite a ceremony harkening back to earlier days of Hawaii before the transformation it is today of a tourist mecca.
     Prayers for "divine encounters" were answered and always are for us.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #35: "They Rode to the Sound of the Guns"

Avalon Chronicles #35: "They Rode to the Sound of the Guns"

by Allen B. Clark

     "Oz," "Tig," and "Tanto," sat before the crowd of upwards of one hundred or more, seated and standing, squeezed into a narrow space at the Plano, Texas Barnes and Noble. As I walked in, I spotted the uniformed security guard. Upon noting my limped gait, an observant and thoughtful employee directed me to be seated in a chair in the front section.
     The three, definitely "warriors" as I had known them to be beforehand, during the presentation, and definitely as depicted in their book they were there to publicize, displayed no bravado or outsized pridefulness. They were jocular with each other, as only men who had served in combat with each other can be. They were humble, open in answering questions with candor, very regular, and definitely likable, not cold, callous killers. As I commented to "Oz" as he signed my book, I said, "It is good to be around real men."
     In the 1969 movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," the two bank robbers were played by Paul Newman and Robert Redford, relentlessly pursued in Bolivia by a posse. I recall one of them saying, "Who are those guys?" I knew before I arrived who were these three "guys." They were in a band of six brothers, "...a band of elite warriors who'd left the United States military and had joined a clandestine organization that protected American covert intelligence operatives abroad." (Zuckoff 4). "Oz" and "Tig" were Marines and "Tanto" was an Army Ranger. On Sep. 11, 2012 when the U.S. State Department Special Mission in Benghazi was attacked, "Tig" and "Tanto" and three other members of the Global Response Staff of the CIA rode to the sound of the guns to extract five Americans who had basically become hostages after the terorist attack on the besieged Mission. They had been based at the CIA Annex complex a little over a mile away.
     By the time they arrived at the Mission Ambassador Stevens' body was not found. State Department communications officer Sean Smith was dead, asphyxiated by the smoke after the compound had been set on fire by the attackers. "Oz" had arrived back at the Annex after having been in Benghazi and began to prepare the defense of the CIA facility, which later that night also came under attack. The book I was there to purchase was 13 HOURS The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff and published by Twelve of the Hatchette Book Group. I had previously read three other books on Benghazi, renditions of what I would personally term, and what may eventually be called by history, "The Battle of Benghazi, " but this is the first one to personalize the combatants, combatants whom I had assumed were permanently "muzzled" by non-disclosures.
     "Oz" was Mark Geist, "Tig" was John Tiegen, and 'Tanto" was Kris Paronto. Two days later my speedreading capability or lack thereof being what it is, I have not yet read their story, but I know it will be educative, engrossing, and inspiring. It will go to the top of the stack of approximately fifty other books awaiting my attention. The question and answer with the three was illuminating and I got three questions in. They were open, affable, and sincere. One of their six, Tyrone Woods was killed later in the Annex battle along with fellow SEAL Glen Doherty, who had come from Tripoli later that night. All of us filed by their table to obtain their signatures. I am sure their publishing company "handlers" would have preferred a more speedy signing process, but these gentlemen would have none of that. They chatted casually with all and paused for photos. They were my kind of Americans, members of that special fraternity of those of us who have served our country in uniform.
     When the three had signed my book, I circled around behind them for the most important signature of all, that of Sean Smith's mother, Pat, seated off to the side. I thanked her for her contribution. She said she gave nothing. I said, "You gave everything, you gave your son."

P.S. They have signed a movie deal I believe they said with Paramount. So stay tuned to see these "guys" on the big screen some day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #34: "Martyrs of the Faith-Part One"

by Allen B. Clark
     It has been ten months since Linda's and my return from our trip to England in Nov. 2013. Before our travels there from where many of our own ancestors originally lived, we viewed the almost forty episodes of The Tudors, a rendering of the history of King Henry VIII, his break with Roman Catholicism, and formation of what evolved to be the Church of England and Anglicanism, which is the tradition in which we both worship today. We learned of the horrid history of "burnings at the stake" perpetrated against religious reformers, Roman Catholics, Protestants, and proponents of Henry VIII's brand of Catholicism. The persecutions became an equal opportunity effort by all branches of so-called "Christianity."
     Our visit stimulated intensely my appetite to learn about the king's schism, the Protestant Reformation, and even earlier the history of the faint evolution of the light of Jesus beginning to shine forth brightly after the Dark Ages. Upon my return I found a long-ago acquired copy of John Foxe's Book of Martyrs and expanded my understanding of the roots of the Protestant Reformation and the challenges of bringing alive to the people the Bible in their own written languages and the person of Jesus Himself as a real Being, and not just some historical figure. John Foxe was an Englishman, who lived from 1516 to 1587, through the reigns of Henry VIII, Catholic Queen Mary, and Protestant Queen Elizabeth. In chapter 16 of the Gospel of St. Matthew Jesus was first acknowledged by Peter to be the Son of God and proposed that His (Jesus') church would not only be established and would come under intense attack, but would prevail.
     Our Christian Church has indeed prevailed, but many of its adherents have suffered with their very lives for their beliefs, which perhaps could be termed in today's phraseology as not being "politically correct" at that time in history or under that religious/political state. Actual persecution of Christians began in the Roman Empire when the Emperor Nero set Rome afire and blamed it on Christians. Martyrdom of Christians began with Christ's crucifixion and continues today with the horrendous atrocities being perpetrated by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The stories of horrific martyrdom of the early Christian missionaries would take up an entire volume all by itself. Foxe wrote that Jerome related the story of Apostle Andrew, Peter's brother. In 80 AD Andrew had preached the Gospel as far away as Ethiopia.
     The story of Andrew, one of the first Christian martyrs, gives me, and should give all Christians, great heart and motivation in defense of our faith and beliefs. We have evolved today threatened in America only by secular society, atheists, "lone wolf" Islamic jihadists, and our own lack of dedication to the principles and precepts of our Christian faith, but so far are not subjected to beheadings and burnings at the stake. What our Christian brothers and sisters suffered up into the 1600s is unimaginable today.
     The story of Andrew ended in Achaia in modern day Greece on the island originally popularized and populated by the Spartans. He was crucified by the region's governor, Aegeas. Andrew boldly spoke of Jesus to this Roman proconsul Aegeas. Andrew spoke of spiritual warfare when he spoke to Aegeas, saying:

 "Andrew did plainly affirm that the princes of Rome did not understand the truth and that the Son of God, coming from Heaven into the world for man's sake, hath taught and declared how those idols, whom they so honored as gods, were not only not gods, but almost cruel devils, enemies to mankind, ...and so by the wicked service of the devil, they do fall headlong into all wickedness, and, after their departing, nothing remaineth unto them, but their evil deeds." (Foxe 8).

     Obviously this was not taken well by the proconsul and it is no different today when we boldly proclaim the tenets of our faith in dedicated fashion. History is just new dates, but old bad people, and those who do not wish to be told of Jesus and what He came in to the world to change. On the way to his own crucifixion Andrew was calm, cool, and collected and is reported to have proclaimed, "O cross, most welcome and long looked for! with a willing mind, joyfully and desirously, I come to thee, being the scholar of Him which did hang on thee: because I have always been thy lover, and have coveted to embrace thee." (Foxe 9). (In a footnote Foxe writes that the accounts of the martrydoms of the apostles are mainly traditional). Andrew was buried at Patrae on the north part of the island. There were ten waves of persecutions of Christians through succeeding Roman Emperors until approximately 300 AD when Constantine came to power.
     We are so comfortable to worship in freedom today in our land, but I became motivated to learn of the pioneers of our faith who gave their very lives to pave the way for us today.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #33: "Bad, Sad, or Mad?"


     For thirty months (January 1979-June 1981) it was my privilege to be a political appointee in the administration of William P. Clements, Jr., the first Texas Republican governor since Reconstruction after the Civil War. When he became a candidate in the spring 1978 primary, I quickly signed up to help him because I had met him by sitting next to him at a head table when he addressed an audience in his position as Deputy Secretary of Defense. His business success and leadership experience at the Pentagon convinced me he would be an outstanding governor of Texas and that he was!
     As it evolved I was his first selection to help staff his office after he won a hard-fought uphill battle against a heavily-favored Democrat. I was hired on the staff of the outgoing Democrat Governor Dolph Briscoe in early December 1978 to assist in laying the groundwork for Clements' assumption of office in January 1979. He appointed me his special assistant for administration and when one entered the governor's office suite, if one turned right instead of left to his office, one entered my office. One of the unexpected responsibilities of my new position was to help screen the intermittent "characters" that were drawn as magnets to the governor's office. They were a diverse crowd of "bag ladies," recently released patients from state mental hospitals, paranoids who were being invaded by messages from outer space, CIA mind control victims, individuals seeking all sorts of redress of grievances at all levels of government, and even a representative of a "cultic" religion who said his leader could be the returned Messiah. It was my desire to derive some sort of perspective on this interruption of all the many other duties consuming my time.
     Eventually I requested a psychiatrist from the state's Mental Health Department to visit with me to impart some wisdom and equity to the approach I should follow to respond to these people from circles I was encountering for the first time in my life. He differentiated "challenged/troublesome" persons in three ways, "bad, sad, or mad." It was a simple manner of triage for those who presented themselves to our receptionist
and the Department of Public Safety security person in the Governor's Reception Room. The definition has always stuck with me and I tend to catalogue some people in one of those categories. Since I have had my own healing from Post Traumatic Stress after losing my legs in Vietnam, I have dedicated myself to helping combat veterans and active military heal also. Many troubled combat vets, who will admit issues from wartime, are in the "sad" mode, grieving from the emotional or spiritual wounds of horrific wartime experiences. Many suffer sadness from moral injury in the war from killing others, especially women and children in the fog of war, or when they did or did not do something which caused injury to others.
      Clint Eastwood starred in a 1966  movie, "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." That title was apropos for my eleven months in Vietnam beginning in 1966. We recognize the "bad," serious criminals amongst us. Among the "bad" are also those "uglies" who hurt others through perpetrating or not performing actions that harm others emotionally, bodily, or financially through wrongful emotional or ethical actions. My manifestly  "good" Lord Jesus healed my "sads", and faith in Him can go a long way to healing everyone's "sads," and maybe also many of the "bads" that relate to wrongful and sinful behavior, and, who knows, maybe even some of the "mads," although those admittedly are best left to medical professionals.
     By faith in Jesus it is my definite belief that all who are "bad, sad, or mad," can perhaps obtain some relief, if not healing, through faith in Jesus with the transformational changes that only come through His teachings in our Bible. I tried it and liked it! It just may work for all of us and many we know.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #32: "The Good Life"


Ecclesiastes 3:13 "And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God." (KJV)

     Last weekend I journeyed to the northeast to visit my younger daughter, her husband, and two grandchildren. Friday we drove to Hershey, PA to enjoy Hershey Park for the day. Enjoy is too mild a word to describe the experience. The exuberance, wonder, and simple joy exhibited by young children is indeed a sight to behold. All over the park were young families, grey-headed grandparents (with me in that group), young couples, teenagers, all partaking in "the good life" for the day. The smells of chocolate permeated from the shops, the tastes of many delicacies were satisfied over and over again, and the sounds of thrills on the roller coasters were always in the background. All walks of life and styles of clothing were evident and cute little children clinging closely to older siblings or parents were constantly in view. For the day it definitely was "the good life" in America, our special and "exceptional" place on this planet in the August sun and I drank it in in big gulps.
     At my daughter's church on Sunday the pastor's topic was "the good life." He made reference to the above quote from Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon. In my King James Life Application Study Bible (Tyndale House Publishers) the book's introduction states, "Grasping the sweet things-possessions, experience, power, and pleasure-they find nothing inside. Life is empty, meaningless...and they despair." Hershey Park that day and definitely for me was a place of pure pleasure, full and meaningful with no despair evident. The attendees with the admission charges, vendors, and numerous places of culinary delights were enjoying the good of someone's labor and it was all "the good life." The end of the day for all could have been nothing but full of peace and contentment. It was a day when I marveled at this example of America's "exceptionalism" in a purely physical environment. The pastor and Solomon, "...affirms(ed) the value of knowledge, relationships, work, and pleasure; but only in their proper place. All of these temporal things in life must be seen in the light of the eternal."
     Eventually at the end of the day for sure and always in life, the tastes are no more, the squeals of delight of the children are quieted, the bright lights are turned off, and the carousel stops its circling. For many life is meaningless. But, for those of us who know that Jesus is the Son of God, who entered our physical world two thousand years ago, we can partake fully in all these fleeting pleasures knowing that eternity awaits us. Perhaps in Heaven God will provide carousels and Hershey Kisses if those are important any longer.
     We finished the day at the water park area where I patiently waited while my daughter and her children lazily floated on inner tubes around a water way. By myself my eyes took in the peace, tranquillity, and enjoyment before my eyes, but my mind wandered to the order by the president the night before to provide humanitarian aid to the thousands of minority Iraqis besieged by the fanatics to reestablish their caliphate by means of barbaric terror. The contrasts with my eyes and the thoughts in my mind were unsettling. Ecclesiastes 3:2 states, "A time to be born, and a time to die,..." Park attendees that day were born to revel in the well-deserved pleasures of that oasis. Also that day for some it was a time to die in all the strife and warfare all over the rest of the world. My prayer is that sometime somewhere all that feel that "the good life" goes on forever will recognize that it is ephemeral and that by ensuring their place in eternity with its lasting "existence"  is the only "forever" there can truly be.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #31: "The Magna Carta"

by Allen Clark

     In November 2013 on Linda's and my trip to southwest England we toured Salisbury Cathedral, defined as "Britain's finest 13th century cathedral." We had two very delightful and instructive guides, one a retired Navy captain aviator and a retired Army major, who had been an advisor to the Abu Dhabi Army. Some of my favorite conversations on our trip were with former military men.
     One very distinct feature of all the cathedrals we visited is that they have memorials dedicated to their military. At Salisbury there were several windows and a plaque dedicated to the Wiltshire Regiment that had been in the British Army invasion of Washington that burned our White House in the War of 1812. The guides did not impart that fact with any degree of relish and I had a lack of enthusiasm upon learning about it, but this was their history and I accepted it. They have a decided degree of pride in their local units that serve in their army. A very poignant plaque, dedicated to the Burma Campaign of 1941-1945 is quoted thusly, "When you go home, tell them of us and say for your tomorrow we gave our today." Very fitting words for America's youth and those protected in America by our own military.
     The most compelling sight to view at Salisbury Cathedral is that is home to the best preserved of four surviving original Magna Carta sealed by King John on June 15, 1215. On one of my previous trips to England I had gone to the site on the Thames River outside Windsor Castle at Runnymede where this monumental document was signed. According to the cathedral's pamphlet, "...the document set down the relationship for the first time between the king and his subjects and their rights." It inspired our own Constitution. The Magna Carta was most significant to the western world because by its signing, a significant end came to the "divine right" by which the English King John and other monarchs before him had ruled. King John had been such an oppressive king that his barons and knights forced him to sign the Magna Carta.
     It has had tremendous influence in the United States. Russell Kirk wrote in The Roots of American Order that the Magna Carta "...became the rock upon which the English constitution was built. It is the principle of the supremacy of is the root of the Declaration of Independence." This document laid the foundation all these many centuries ago for the freedom and liberty enjoyed today by us in America.
     In The Light and the Glory Peter Marshall and David Manuel wrote about the situation in our land that contributed to our own Revolution, "Americans were now being taxed for the mother country's own revenue and at the same time denied the basic right of all Englishmen to representation in the government which was levying the taxes...For the King to ignore this right which was guaranteed by the Magna Carta, meant that he was putting himself above the law and that settled it." Besides this cause of our Revolution it must be recalled that a major impetus to securing our freedom was due to our Christian ministers. "Thanks to the Great Awakening there was now a new generation of committed clergy salted throughout America." (Marshall and Manuel).
     It is easily said that the foundations of  our own Declaration of Independence and Constitution had their roots in that document which by 2015 will have been signed 800 years ago to curb the power of a king who had run roughshod over his subjects.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #30: "Defecting to the Enemy"

Avalon Chronicles #30: "Defecting to the Enemy"

By Allen Clark

     When the Korean War started on June 25, 1950 with the attack on South Korea by the North Korean Communists, I was in Sendai, Japan where my father was an officer in the Army of Occupation. I remember going to the railroad station and seeing off the troops traveling south to go to war. During the war many of our troops were captured by the Communists. My father was in Korea when the war ended in 1953. During the war when I was in Japan, I avidly read the Star and Stripes newspaper and kept up with the war. After the war I was appalled to read an article that about 23 American prisoner of war soldiers had chosen to remain with the enemy when prisoner repatriation occured. They had defected to the enemy. As a West Point cadet, Army officer, and Vietnam War Special Forces officer involved in clandestine operations, keeping my activities and information confidential, and especially away from the enemy, was a part of my life.  Especially in Vietnam, we were always on the alert for any of our agents to have been defectors to the enemy. Military enemies are pretty well-defined. They are in the history books and deeply embedded in the memories of those of us in military and diplomatic circles.
     Less well-recognized are our own personal spiritual enemies. Unequivocably, undeniably, and emphatically I believe in personal spiritual warfare. In my previous Chronicle I addressed "strategic" spiritual warfare. It is now time to address "tactical" spiritual warfare, the incessant and constant struggle we face each and every day to combat our individual enemies in the spiritual realm, wherein we are tempted mightily to defect to the enemy and leave God's protective fortress.
     Back in the 1970s Flip Wilson starred in a television series and when he acted wrongly, he always claimed, "The devil made me do it!" There is great wisdom and truth in that simple comment and claim to deflect accountability for our inappropriate thoughts, words, and deeds, some not just "stupids," but also outright sins.
     There is not time to reflect extensively on my beliefs in spiritual warfare, but allow me to be as succinct as possible. This is what I believe. Take it or leave it! An angelic being at one time high in the Heavenly power structure decided to defect from allegiance to God and became the "enemy." That being was Lucifer, and God evicted him from Heaven with one third of the angels who became the enemy force. In the New Testament in I Peter 5:8 it is written, "Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." The footnote in my KJV LASB elaborates thusly, "Lions attack sick, young, or straggling animals; they choose victims who are alone or not alert. Peter warns us to watch out for Satan when we are suffering or persecuted. Feeling alone, weak, helpless, and cut off from other believers, so focused on our troubles that we forget to watch for danger, we are especially vulnerable to Satan's attacks." In James 4:7 it is written, "...Resist the devil and he will flee from you." The footnote states this, "Satan is here now, however, and he is trying to win us over to his evil cause. With the Holy Spirit's power we can resist Satan and he will flee from us." Otherwise we may be taken in by the devil's wiles and if we succumb, by definition, we have defected to the enemy.
     Back to those angels thrown from Heaven to earth. Their assignment is to oversee the toils, tribulations, and trials perpetrated by the higher earthly powers addressed by C.S. Lewis in the previous Chronicle. Our daily adversaries are demonic spirits. There is much discourse about from whence they emanate. I put all that academic discussion aside and just believe thay are prevalent as the enemy foot soldiers of Satan. Just as I was cognizant of my military enemies, I am cognizant of my spiritual enemies. If I allow them to direct me rather than following God's direction for my behavior, I have, in effect, "Defected to the enemy."
     A friend of mine sent me just today a perfect scripture that relates how we can be armed to fight the schemes of the devil. It is Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." I add also, ACT on these things. Stay tuned as to how we must continue to arm ourselves to counter the personal spiritual enemies we face each day so that our behavior honors the Creator God and does not cause personal discord and unhappiness for us or others.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #29: "Life's Contrasts"

Avalon Chronicles #29: "Life's Contrasts"

by Allen Clark

     I attended my daughter Elizabeth's wedding in early May in Solothurn, Switzerland, a country of unparalled natural beauty. She married Patrick, a gentleman and Swiss citizen. We celebrated the days there on two leisurely boat rides, one on Lake Thun, adjacent to Interlaken, with snow-capped Swiss Alps looking down upon our tranquil waters. There were several social events with wedding guests from England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Lichtenstein, and of course, the U.S.. The family and friends of the groom welcomed the American visitors with warmth, kindness, and great generosity, emotions significantly in contrast to those evidenced in the stories I read upon my return to the real world in the newspapers whose absence from my thoughts was very pleasant during my days abroad. It was most peaceful and elevating to visit that neutral nation, bask in its sunlight, wind through hilly curves to remote mountain hideaways to dine on the staple cheeses, and to stop at riverside spots to experience the charm of its ancient cities and villages untouched in centuries by warfare.
     Now it is off to California for a series of opportunities to be a guest in Manteca and Lodi at ceremonies honoring our war dead. The wedding and these upcoming activities are great contrasts of life; Switzerland's peaceful mountain villages, historic walled towns, clean and clear rivers, gracious people and the somberness of our Memorial Day weekend when we recollect all the sad past times as we honor the great young Americans sacrificed so we and others might have tranquillity and peace in a strife-torn world. I will join the assemblages as we mourn the memory of our young men and women offered on the altars of freedom in faraway foreign lands.
     Upon my return to my homeland my thoughts dwelled upon the same problems and challenges prevalent prior to my pleasant experiences at the wedding; Benghazi and terrorists, deaths in Ukraine, Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haran, Iranian and North Korean sabre-rattling, Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. They are still there and I suppose always will be since they started in the Garden of Eden with disobedience to God and will continue until the final return of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus, the Christ.
     The bottom line in the strategic sense is that there has been from time immemorial a focus by most on the created, ourselves, rather than the Creator, our God. C.S. Lewis in his Mere Christianity captured this eternal struggle we face as humans on this earth, contrasted by the peace and beauty of our earth created by God and the turmoil and tribulation perpetrated and practiced by us humans also created by God. Lewis wrote, "Men and women have always hoped that...(they) could set up on their own as if they have created themselves-be their own masters-invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside of God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history-money, poverty, ambition, wars, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery-the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy."
     True happiness and peace for ourselves cannot be found outside God. For the world it cannot be found outside God. We, God's created, and recipients of my writings, cannot do much about all the interruptions to world peace, but we can seek and find our own personal peace. Stay tuned for my thoughts on how to attempt that for ourselves.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #28: "Balm of Gilead"

Avalon Chronicles #28: "Balm of Gilead"
by Allen Clark

     Resurrection Day 2014 is a very propitious day to consider the topic of healing. Two or so weeks ago I received a message from Donald R. Moeller, an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, who lives in Columbus, Ga. Dr. Moeller is a D.D.S., and  M.D., also with an MA in Biological Sciences. He had deployed as a Medical Corpsman to Vietnam and as a surgeon in his specialty to Desert Storm. He wrote, "I am a Vietnam and Desert Storm veteran who is treating veterans with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury" by means of what in my (Allen's) non-medical description is a mouthpiece worn at night to stop teeth-grinding and therefore helps alleviate headaches, nightmares, and sleep disruptions. Dr. Moeller sent me a paper that was published in the "Journal of Special Operations Medicine" describing his research and success with over 200 patients whom he has treated without charge. He said, "Time to add a spiritual dimension to this treatment. These guys and gals are still depressed even when their nightmares and headaches and sleep disruptions are gone....I am looking for Christian/Biblical methodologies which are proving successful....Got any thoughts on this or suggestions?"
     I was immensely intrigued with what he was accomplishing with my fellow war veterans, curious as to how he found out about me, and most anxious to be in touch with him. I was not sure how to respond, but knew that the best way was to pray and receive guidance from God as how to proceed. Linda began a prayer and as she prayed, the word "balm" came to my mind. We began to discuss the topic and she said we place casts for broken bones, medicine for infection, and there was to be a balm for the spiritual healing of the soul. I looked up balm in my Webster's dictionary and found, "to soothe, to mitigate, to assuage" which led  "to ease or lessen pain or grief or tumult, to soften in harshness or severity." In my personal lay ministry I have spoken to many troops and veterans about not just coping with our combat operating stressors, but as did I in the 1970s, come to a level of my Christian faith that I could heal with the major symptoms of my PTSD.
     Linda's musical background led her to the Black-American spiritual titled "There is a Balm in Gilead." The words of this are, "There is a balm in Gilead, To make the wounded whole; There is a balm in Gilead, To heal the sin-sick soul." I commented that those of us with PTSD are not necessarily sinful, but we definitely are sick in our souls. Further research led us to find out about the geographical Gilead, which is located east of the Jordan River. In the Hebrew Old Testament Gilead was a place of refuge for Jacob (Genesis 31:21-55); the nation of Israel (I Samuel 13:7); and even King David (2Samuel 17:22).
     I was ready to talk to Dr. Moeller. Initially I was most curious as to how Dr. Moeller found me. In a fashion highly complimentary he said he did a search of hundreds of web sites and decided to contact me after coming across mine. Dr. Moeller referred me to a book titled War and the Soul by Edward Tick, Ph.D. I am not all the way through the book, but its basic thesis is that war causes "soul damage." This, of course, is the negative effect to our mind, emotions, and our will due to the traumas of combat. Damage to our soul ultimately is a spiritual issue. In my own healing process, the damage to my soul after my double leg amputation from Vietnam shrapnel wounds, my PTSD (whose term there is an effort to change to PTSI for injury), fourteen weeks in a closed psychiatric ward, and six years of psychiatrists and antidepressants, was solely due to my spiritual healing process by which I got the big picture about Jesus truly being the Son of God, Who died on a cross two thousand years ago, for me to have eternal life. At a church service I teared as I looked at the American flag and realized I needed to move my identity from that of a loyal and patriotic American soldier to add the dimension of an added and much more consequential identity as a Christian. Once I accomplished that spiritual maturation, I began a walk of faith which has served me in excellent stead to be "healed" from all the major issues I suffered in my damaged soul after Vietnam.
     I asked Dr. Moeller about permission to describe what he does without charge to treat our troubled war veterans with his dental procedure and asked permission also to tell about how we came in contact and also mention his contact information. I said several hundred people read my Avalon Chronicles and he may have several new patients. He had told me previously that patients even outside his Fort Benning area come at their own expense in to Columbus and he fits them with his oral device. His reply, "Send all the patients you want. That is why I am on this earth." I have often wondered how my life would have differed had I not returned from Vietnam with my severe wounds. For sure I would not be attempting to help my fellow war veterans heal their soul damage by introducing them to the only long-term balm they can have to heal them which is the ultimate spiritual refuge, the healing power of Jesus. Perhaps, also, that is why I was able to remain on this earth. I published last year a tract which is my  approach to the healing of PTSD(I) by Christian methodology. Anyone desiring a copy may message me at email above. May God bless and keep you.

Dr Moeller may be contacted at

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #27: "Valor in Vietnam"

Avalon Chronicles #27: "Valor in Vietnam"
     by Allen B. Clark

     In 1979 I became the special assistant for administration to newly-elected Texas Governor Bill Clements and moved with my family to Austin from Dallas. During my thirty month time in that very satisfying and uplifting position I met people from all over the state. One of the people I met was Robert Floyd, who represented the legislative interests of an organization. In those early years after the Vietnam War unless we met someone in a veteran setting, we did not necessarily realize we shared a mutual history as fellow Vietnam veterans. I do not recall whether I knew then that Robert had served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division.
     Fast forward to a few years ago on a cruise to Alaska on a Pastor Chuck Swindoll-led trip on which I became acquainted with an Austinite, Michael Wright, with whom I developed an instant affinity, mostly because we shared the Vietnam experience. He spoke about a committee on which he served titled the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument Committee, chaired by the same Robert Floyd, who had been off my radar screen for thirty or so years. Robert and I became reacquainted and I learned of the plans which had been ongoing since 2005 to build and place on the Texas Capitol grounds a monument to all Texans who served in Vietnam with special tribute to the 3,417 fallen Texas heroes who did not return with us. There are many war "memorials" to our Killed In Action (KIAs), but this was conceived as a "monument" to us all.
     Several days before the actual March 29, 2014 unveiling of the monument on the Capitol grounds in Austin, Robert, who had been in attendance in July 2012 in Dallas with his son-in-law Troy Ferguson, a West Pointer class of 1995, at the inaugural book signing of my book Valor in Vietnam Chronicles of Honor, Courage, and Sacrifice sent me a note indicating he was to be including in his dedication remarks the term "Valor in Vietnam" as indicative of  what we Vietnam veterans reflected by our service in the war.
     The morning of March 29, 2014 dawned with a brilliantly clear and cloudless blue sky, a perfect day for the monument ceremony on the northeast grounds of the Capitol. The program described it thusly, "Above a 'sunset red' granite pediment a series of large bas-relief panels capture scenes depicting the men and women of Texas who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in Vietnam. Poised above the panels, five 'Dawn Patrol' figures represent the service and sacrifice of Texas combat infantry troops."
     Seated just down the sidewalk from the center of the ceremony, we were serenaded by the Texas Children's Choir and the 36th Infantry Division Band. 4000 audience members packed seats and stands. Before the ceremony I stood and gazed around the audience and felt a great sense of pride to be amongst the men and women who had gone off to that controversial war with me. I scanned across the faces of the ones who truly reflected "Valor in Vietnam," a phrase in fact later included in Floyd's remarks, those who did    not obtain deferments or skip off to Mexico or Canada or Scandinavia.
     There were many poignant moments, but my tears gushed forth freely twice, once as I pulled Linda close to me when the blue covering fell away to reveal the breathtaking monument in all its glory and again when the choir sang "Mansions of the Lord," the theme song of the movie "We Were Soldiers." Joe Galloway, who was the war correspondent actually in the November 1965  Battle of the Ia Drang Valley, depicted in the movie, delivered most eloquent and heartfelt remarks. I believe it was Robert Floyd who attributed to Galloway that, "Vietnam veterans were not the 'Greatest Generation', but were the greatest of our generation." My belief in that sentiment was certainly enhanced after the day's experiences. Two of my West Point class of 1963 Texans were KIA in our war, Ralph Walker and Burt McCord, both of whose daughters I am acquainted.. Burt was singled out specifically by Floyd because they were both from Brady, Texas. A set of personalized dog tags for each of the Texas KIA is entombed in the monument, having been personally stamped by Marine Don Dorsey, another Vietnam veteran from the long-past Austin days.
     Eddie McCord Cargile, Burt's widow, attended with Gene Cargile, another classmate. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst delivered very moving remarks from his heart and afterwards we passed and he quietly said to me, "Thank you for all you do." Governor Rick Perry paused on his departure and hugged Linda.
     Robert Floyd brought to that 2012 book signing as I mentioned his son-in-law Troy Ferguson. Troy has two sons, Caleb and Daniel. When the ceremony was over, I spoke to Troy, waved down the row to Kimberly, his wife and Robert and Sherry Floyd's daughter, touched the heads of both sons and asked them how they were. Daniel proclaimed only one word, "Awesome!" That one word said it all for me to describe the day. It was AWESOME!
     Our Lord grants us great gifts in life. Many are what I term "closures" with people or happenings, full circle coming around experiences. This day was that with Robert Floyd amongst my fellow participants from that long ago, harsh and cruel war in that far-off land. The memories dim, but the experience was uplifted magnificently that day in the shared surroundings of my fellow "Greatest of Our Generation" Texans.

(A monument mobile tour may be found at

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #26: "Our Inheritance"

Avalon Chronicles #26: "Our Inheritance"
by Allen Clark
Web Site: 
Blog Spot:

Psalm 19 (NIV) 1: The heavens declare the glory of God
                                          the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
                          7: The law of the Lord is perfect
                                          reviving the soul
                          8: The commands of the Lord are radiant
                                          giving light to the eyes
Colossians 1     12: thanks to the Father, who has qualified you
                                           to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

     What is your inheritance? One naturally thinks first about worldly goods. When family members die, wills grant inheritance to the beneficiaries, money, land, homes, possessions. These are material blessings. More important are the supernatural blessings, those of the soul and spirit. What is bequeathed falls into two categories, what in military terms is strategic and tactical.
     Strategic inheritance is from God, the Creator of all. We inherit, enjoy, and occupy a universe, mysterious, far-flung, and mostly unfathomable, understood only through the lenses of powerful telescopes, satellite pictures and moon missions. Closer to home is the inheritance we have for our very daily existence, this planet on which we subsist due to its abundant provision. This entire universe, but, especially our own abode, earth, is a part of the strategic inheritance of our God in Heaven Who created it all in its magnificent glory, provision, and richness.
     In the fields of earthly warfare, the generals, admirals, and politicians dictate and determine the course of the strategy against the enemy. The junior officers and senior non-commissioned officers carry it out area by area, sector by sector, geographic locale by geographic locale, village by village to prevail over the enemy.
     Forces in nature (the material) are positive or negative as are the forces in our own personal lives. In the supernatural strategic realm our Lord battles His ages long adversary, the devil, Satan, thrown from the higher spiritual reaches due to his original wrongdoing of expression of pride by the overthrowing of God's preeminence and installment of himself in God's position. From wherever they emanate, Satan has his army arrayed in an order of battle against us individually in the tactical arena. His troops are his demonic spirits, ready to pounce on us when the drawbridge in the heart of our personal castles is lowered by unforgiven sin, unforgiveness of others who hurt us, harboring of anger and bitterness, and commission of what we would call the sins of words and deeds.
     However, our Lord has bequeathed us an inheritance for our tactical challenges in the personal battlefields of our soul (our mind, emotions, and will). In the New Testament it is all there, all the ways to live in the light, a righteous, holy, and pure life of integrity full of and expressing the fruit of the Holy Spirit, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, kindness, and faith.
     Our supernatural gift is both material in this grand earth on which we live and tactical on which we base our lives. This is our eternal inheritance. We can recognize it, receive it, and live our earthly lives in enjoyment of it so that upon our deaths we can reap the ultimate inheritance of living with God in Heaven, by, on earth, believing that God's Son, Jesus, sent to earth 2000 years ago, was Who He said He was.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #25: "Lest We Forget"

Avalon Chronicles #25 "Lest We Forget"
by Allen Clark
 Website:      Blog site:

     Great Britai never forgets! The original purpose for our unforgettable visit to England in November 2013 was to participate in the Nov. 10, 2013 ceremonies in Norwich, England for Remembrance Day, Britain's national day when war deaths of their military and civilians are memorialized in country-wide events recalling the sacrifice especially of their military on far-flung foreign fields under fire.
     We were invited to be the guests of retired Air Force Colonel Chuck Walker and his wife wife Dede (Casad), our Dallas friends. Col. Walker was born at the end of WWI and he has been blessed with a long life. As mentioned previously he had been the commander of the Association of the 2nd Air Division of the 8th Air Force which flew bombing missions over Nazi Germany during WWII. Norwich is ringed by fourteen airfields from which those missions were flown. Col. Walker personally flew thirty five of those missions in his B-24 "Liberator" bomber. An incredible percentage of those bombers did not return after each sortie over Germany. He had been invited for several years to represent the Americans who served at those bases. With the utmost gratitude for the service and sacrifice of our Americans in protecting the freedom of the English during the war, Norwich under the leadership of a group of dedicated Englishmen has established a Trust that oversees in their city's Millenium Library a Memorial Library in honor of the 2nd Air Division.
     On Nov. 9th Andrew Hawker, the Vice Chairman of the Memorial Trust, toured us to Norwich places of worship. We were shown and held in our respectful arms the poppy wreath that Col. Walker would lay the next day at the city memorial in memory of the 6,881 Americans who flew from the Norwich bases and did not return. In addition 2,000 Americans became German Prisoners of War when their planes were shot down. When they did not return, their belongings in the quarters were immediately removed so as not to affect the morale of their fellow Army Air Corps members. There were 40-50 bombers with a crew of 10 each and 3000-4000 Americans at each base.
     On the evening of Nov. 9th we watched on television a magnificently touching national Remembrance Day ceremony, attended by Queen Elizabeth, in Prince Albert Hall in London. The morning of Nov. 10th dawned cool and crisp covered by a cloudy sky. On the way to the ceremony at the square in front of City Hall I happened by a group of young soldiers forming for the parade. Never one to miss an opportunity to introduce myself to strangers, I approached the leader and proudly introduced myself as an American soldier who was in Vietnam. The leader proceeded to gather his people around me and I vigorously proclaimed, "I am an American soldier and (recalling Britain's contributions as our ally in Iraq and Afghanistan) I thank you for being such loyal allies of the U.S. in the cause of freedom and peace," and then remembering that they had fought us 200 years previously in the War of 1812, I added, "except in the War of 1812." As we walked away, my host Tony Harmer, commented that the young soldiers probably did not even know what was the War of 1812!
     We viewed the parade and wreath-laying by many to include Col. Walker from the balcony of City Hall. The ceremony theme was "We will remember them." This they were doing again one year prior to the centennnial of the commencement in 1914 of the Great War (WWI). The solemn ceremony was most touching, preceded by a procession of military and veterans through a square and street lined with many citizens, young and old. Significantly, in contrast to the typically secularized ceremonies in the United States this ceremony included unabashedly Christian spiritual aspects. At exactly 11 AM after what was called the Last Post, there was a two minute period of total silence presided over by the Union Jack flag atop City Hall. Many poppy wreaths were laid, but we watched with especial interest and pride as Colonel Walker paced forward to lay his.
     The somber silence of the just ended observance in front of the Memorial, inscribed simply "Our Glorious Dead," was suddenly broken by the bark of a dog. Pigeons flew over the square reflecting in their flight the symbolism of energy again to the quietude of the setting. The smell of bread baking wafted throught he air, indicative of the aliveness of the Norwich community only decades before decimated by German bombing raids wreaking their death and destruction upon the Norwich citizenry. Afterwards we attended a very poignant and touching religious service in the Norwich Cathedral.
     A closing to Great Britain's Remembrance Day as well as our own annual Memorial Day is capsulized in  these words:
                                        When you go home
                                        Tell them of us and say
                                        For your tomorrow
                                        We gave our today

                                   WE MUST NEVER FORGET!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #24-"England From the Romans to the Magna Carta"

Avalon Chronicles #24: "England From the Romans to the Magna Carta"
by Allen Clark

     We recognized in England its incredible contribution to the history of Christianity and the roots of spiritual faith in the founding of our own country. The Christian Travelers Guide to Great Britain points out, "To forget our history is the first step to the abandonment of our faith, the triumph of secularism, the ascendancy of New Age spirituality and the rebirth of paganism."
     In 410 AD the Romans departed England for the defense of Rome itself. The Saxon invasions began and the Saxons controlled most of Britain except for a few parts of Wales and Cumbria until the Normans came in 1066 from, where else, Normandy, the site of of the Allied invasion on June 6, 1944 of Fortress Europe held by the Germans. During the sixth century several Saxon kingdoms were prevalent, but Christianity through the upholding and preservation of the Scarlet Thread (knitting together the garment of salvation) maintained its solid influence and most Saxons eventually were converted to Christianity. In 793 the Saxons were invaded by pagan Viking raiders and this began almost 300 years of constant conflict and destructive raids. When the Danish attacked in East Anglia in 865, a Christian king, Alfred the Great, fought them fiercely. In 973 Edgar was crowned the first king of England in a ceremony in Bath.
     In 1066 William, the Duke of Normandy, attacked Saxon England, initiating a deliberate policy of destroying Saxon culture by destroying churches and sacred shrines. Christian clergy were replaced by Normans. Eventually the basic English culture prevailed and the Normans were assimilated. In Scotland in the late 11th century the Scottish church came in to the Roman Catholic fold ending a long-time influence of Celtic Christianity.
      England became a discovery, unknown to me previously, that the history of Great Britain was one of constant conflict between Celts, Druids, Romans, Saxons, Danes, Vikings, Normans, Welsh, French, and Scots. The ground of Great Britain has absorbed lakes of human blood. Much blood flowed due to religious strife and that condition was to be prevalent for several more centuries. It was not just pagans versus Christians, but unfortunately warring Roman Catholics and Protestants.
     This beautiful planet of ours, created by our God, has been continuously scarred by the slashes of swords wielded by humans killing other humans. It began with Cain and Abel and has continued through the millenia even until the present day. The strife of the sword will continue until the Lord's second coming. What we must understand is the true enemy of humankind is not philosophy or religion or economics or national pride or boundaries, but God's adversary, the devil, Satan, thrown from the heavens in ages long past. That enemy directs himself through the captains and the kings of the earth. Only our King will be the final victor of all the ongoing tumults, tribulations, and turbulences. For, as the hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," proclaims, For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe, ...The body they may kill: (but) God's truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever,...a bulwark never failing."

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #23: "A Tribute to a Valiant Warrior and Gracious Gentleman"

Avalon Chronicles #23: "A Tribute to a Valiant Warrior and Gracious Gentleman"

Allen Clark Web Site:
                   Blog Site:

     Regarding the messages emanating from Linda's and my Nov. 2013 visit to England it has been my intention to proceed chronologically and end with the one I will submit today. My pace is unhurried and it may be several months before I write them all. We were on our trip at all due to the invitation of retired Air Force Col. Chuck Walker, our friend in Dallas, married to Dede (formerly Casad). For a number of years Chuck has traveled to Norwich, England to participate in the meetings and commemorations of a trust which has been established in Norwich to honor the Americans of the Second Air Division of the Eighth Air Force who served in WWII at fourteen air bases in the vicinity of Norwich, which is northeast of London near the North Sea. The trust especially commemorates and honors the 6,881 American airmen who were killed flying missions against Germany from these bases. Colonel Walker flew 35 missions in B-24 bombers from these bases.
     On our last day in London, where we had proceeded, after a marvelous trip to Norwich for Great Britain's Nov. 10, 2013 Remembrance Day, we were joined by Chuck and Dede and some English friends at a memorial service in the American Chapel of St. Paul's Cathedral, after which we went to dinner across the street at Strada Italian restaurant. The day we left Norwich I wrote, "From our new friendships and experiences we have derived on this visit to England a new sense of dignity, civility, use of language, sense of history, and continuity with our own United States of these ancient peoples. Especially we have acquired an unparalled appreciation of the commitment, dedication, valor, and sacrifice of our Army Air Force men and women who served from 1942-1945 in those bases around Norwich."
     Upon our departure from the restaurant on that final night of Nov. 14, 2013 I continued in the spirit of the notes from days before by going to the end of the long table where we were seated to say some special personal words to Col. Walker. I had written these words, "This service (of the men of his unit) is exemplified in remarkable fashion in the embodiment of an extraordinary patriot, our host, Colonel Charles Walker. He does not consider himself a hero, but to this younger soldier of a later war, he stands tall in my eyes as a warrior who arose with his crew, heard a briefing, climbed aboard his B-24 Liberator bomber at his airfield at Tibenam, cruised down the runway 35 times to rain destruction on the enemy in Germany. He returned home to marry, raise two children, and  contribute to the building of our great America along with the other members of his 'Greatest Generation.'" I continued, " We sons of today we salute you sons of an earlier day. You lit the paths in whose footsteps we would walk to continue to serve the cause of peace and freedom for those who would follow us."

Monday, January 27, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #22-"The Way We Must Be"

Avalon Chronicles #22-"The Way We Must Be"

Allen's Website:

     When I was in elementary school I devoured a set of books with orange-colored covers about famous Americans. One of my favorites was about Robert E. Lee. He was a graduate of West Point, the eventual school of my undergraduate education, a member of my childhood denomination of Episcopalian, and in my mind a Christian gentleman worthy of emulation. Never have I not held him up as an example. Currently I am in the midst of reading a book titled Call of Duty The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. Lee by J. Steven Wilkins. It is a short and concise expression of a life well-lived by a consummate Christian gentleman and great military leader. Each chapter reflects a way to live one's life and very early this morning I began to read again, but was moved to reflect on a life to be well-lived and so here are my thoughts on such a life.
     Without shame. Without guile. Unafraid in the light of the world. Not needing approval. Heeding counsel. Reading meritable material. Elevating oneself above the common levels of life. Not taking offense. Not needing a defense. Complimenting often. Critiquing candidly. Speaking softly, but heartedly. Thinking with the mind, feeling from the heart, acting with the Spirit. Caring for others before self. Seeking the higher purpose. Everything in moderation. Nothing in excess. Enriching reading. Allocating wisely one's time, it grows shorter each day. Knowing thyself. Striving to know others. Forgiving slights. Forgeting the fights. Believing in the Creator, not the created. Identifying with uplifted ideals. Fixing oneself before others. Preserving property. Protecting propriety. Holding high your head to the heavens. Lifting the lowly.
     Freedom isn't free, you have to pay the price, you have to sacrifice for your liberty.
     Know your Maker, what He wrote, how He lived, why He came, why He died, that He lives, whom He left, and go forth to follow Him. Never depart from  God and He will not depart from you.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #21-"Christianity and the Romans Part 3"

Avalon Chronicles #21-"Christianity and the Romans Part 3"

Allen's web site    blog:

     In November 2013 Linda and I traveled in England to Bath, a city in southwest England. Bath was originally a Celtic settlement, which in 44 A.D. became a Roman outpost. In 60 A.D. the Romans built baths here which became celebrated and are a major tourist attraction today. They were originally established as a temple to the local Celtic god Sul and the Roman god Minerva and were founded as a major center of pagan culture. Of course, Rome at this time was a pagan empire and Christianity had to be practiced very carefully and surreptitiously due to the Romans terming it illegal. However, several sources point out that Joseph of Arimathea was indeed the founder of Christianity in England. Sabellius, AD 250, wrote, "Christianity was privately confessed elsewhere, but the first nation that proclaimed it as their religion and called it Christianity after the name of Christ, was Britain."
     The Romans were violently opposed to the spread of Christianity, but converted Celts and Druids fought the Romans ferociously. Julius Caesar wrote even before Christianity existed, circa 54 BC in Gallic War (ch 1, sec1) of the British warriors, "They make the immortality of the soul the basis of all their teaching, holding it to be the principal incentive and reason for a virtuous life. Believing in the immortality of the soul they were careless of death." Many of us do not recognize the basics of our faith that our soul survives us!
     The first Christian martyr in England was St. Alban, a Roman soldier, who had given shelter to a Christian priest in 251-253 AD and was converted to Christianity due to the priest's character. Becoming a Christian was a capital offense and he was executed.
     The Cambridge Story, one of the wonderful resources we came across relates, "A particularly fascinating piece of evidence from the late 4th (century) for the prevalence of Christianity is a curse directed at a thief inscribed on a piece of lead and thrown in to the sacred spring of Solis Minerva in Bath. The curse states 'whether pagan or Christian,' presupposing a society where both commonly existed." Linda and I viewed some of these examples of pieces of lead with messages on display in the Roman baths.
     One of the little-known facts of history is that the Roman Emperor Constantine, who lived from 272-337 AD was actually crowned as Roman emperor in York, England where he was serving as a Roman soldier and commander. His mother, Helena, was a Christian and this family heritage was a principal exposure for his eventual signing of the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, which allowed the legalization of Christianity throughout the empire. Christians could now worship Christ openly. Once sanctioned in the Roman empire Christianity was able to flourish. In the British Museum we viewed jewelry and tableware from the 4th century inscribed with Christian monograms, the Greek letters alpha and omega and the Chi Ro symbols, which were clear indicators of the Christian belief. English Christians sent St Patrick to Ireland as a missionary in 432 AD.
     In the early 5th century, after Rome had fallen, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, came storming in to England from across the North Sea and attacked England. They were intent on abolishing Christianity, but the roots of the original mision of Joseph of Arimathea survived with the Roman-British Celts in Cornwall and Wales in the West. The Catholic Church in Rome sent St. Augustine to England in 597 AD and he was greeted by Christians from St. Martin's Celtic Church in Canterbury.
     There was obviously a previous strong presence of a basic Christianity practiced in England before St. Augustine and this mission began unobtrusively, but eventually there were clashes of these branches of Christianity that have persisted until modern times. We will attempt to document these clashes, many times very bloody in nature, through British history. We came away after our discovery of England's past times newly aware of the bloodshed and turmoil and suffering caused by the clashes in the name of  "religion." Today we are very cognizant of the murders and persecutions of Christians all over the world by the members of the political branch of Islam, who demand adherence only to the requirements of their beliefs to the exclusion of all others. May we recognize the extraordinary blessing we have in the United States with the basics of our religious freedoms being safe.