A Tribute To Those Killed and Injured By Vietnam 

When you look back at the history
of the war in Vietnam
a couple things seem so ghastly,
like the use of defoliants and napalm.

Agent orange sounds sweet and colorful,
used to change the forest cover from green to brown;
but now it’s killing many Veterans
and damaging the genes that we pass down.

The military strategy hard to fathom,
our troops the bait to draw ‘em out,
then used rockets, planes, and mortars
to increase the body count.

Each president reluctant
to be there, nonetheless
they kept escalating our involvement,
sending more troops, the Nation’s best.

Lying was their native language,
the truth never reached between their ears,
from Kennedy to Ford and both those n’between,
reelection their focus, losing same their biggest fear.

‘Cause of them trust’s not an option,
we stopped believing long ago,
if the top dogs always lying
who do you emulate, extol?

Our nation’s overriding purpose,
communism had to be contained;
but what the Vietnamese really wanted
was their way of life remain.

The insanity quite contagious,
the Vietnamese wanted us t’go away;
their government corrupt and clueless,
the Buddhist majority had no say.

You take a hill on Thursday
give it back the Friday next;
and focusing on body count
even now makes little sense.

But it’s hard to fight an enemy
when the folks back home are fighting you;
and it’s hard to keep your focus
when the Nation’s involvement is askew.

Is a war of attrition even moral?
Was it why we lost in Vietnam?
Is the country’s current crises
‘cause our best were sacrificed, embalmed?

America’s had 2 Civil Wars,
the second over Vietnam.
The newsmen planted seeds of doubt,
the war it can’t be won;

though the overwhelming victories
at Hamburger Hill, the Tet Offensive, and Khe Sanh proved ‘em wrong;
but the war was fought on the nightly news,
in living rooms where such violence did not belong.

And the way the war was ended
was a slap in every Veteran’s face.
We simply claimed we were the victors,
then tried to sneak out of the place.

Our nation abandoned its warriors,
we betrayed our ally too,
we were negotiating with the enemy
which Nixon hid from President Thieu.

Our Gold Star Parents no longer honored,
VA Hospitals a national disgrace;
many Vets addicted, homeless, dying,
waiting for their nation to show some grace.

There were no parades for those returning
not a thank you, glad you’re back,
they’d already got on with living
don’t remind ‘em, the war is past.

In our representative form of government
we can’t just blame those we elect
though they share much culpability
still it’s us they represent.

Our warriors were heroic,
the best and bravest gave their all,
at least equaling the greatest generation
though America let them take the fall.

We should be forever grateful
to the Warriors enshrined upon The Wall
and those awarded for their valor,
every Veteran can stand tall.

Vietnam wasn’t their idea
they only did what they were asked,
you don’t turn against the people
who’re fighting on your behalf.

Is this once great nation gone forever?
Can we get past the narcissistic political stealth?
We were once a nation others followed,
now just tolerated for our wealth.

We lost more than Da Nang and Saigon,
we lost our soul, our national esteem,
‘cause when you desecrate your heroes,
you blaspheme the American Dream.

It’s the worse type of betrayal
to commit your troops to a war
you never really meant to win;

and the worse form of treason
to celebrate with your enemy
while your POW’s are subjected to mayhem.

The coup de grace, the final backhand,
Hanoi Jane’s making movies once again,
but to us she’s still a traitor
who should’ve been tried, convicted, hung.

But for those who managed to survive it,
there are many reasons to fight on.
We can’t let America forget her heroes,
and can help our Nation achieve greatness once again.

Mason Swinney

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Tips, Trophies, and Tantrums 

You walk into a restaurant, stand in line studying the menu posted above the cashiers while you wait patiently to place your order. Then you place your order and the cashier hands you your receipt which you glance down at and notice a gratuity line. You pause for a moment and ask yourself why, for bringing my food out to me?

You order a pizza over the phone and pick it up 15 minutes later and pay for it with your bank card. Again you notice the receipt has a gratuity line. Is it because they feel you need to tip them for the honor of eating their pizza 🍕 or some other not so obvious reason?

My exterminator was out recently spraying for bugs and I noticed he stuck around much longer than normal drinking coffee that I’d brewed for him. While conversing he mentioned that he swept the cobwebs off my soffits. Normally I would not make much of that comment but now I’m wondering if perhaps he was fishing/sweeping for a tip?

Is this tip everyone climate a result of employers not adequately compensating their employees or some other retailer/customer driven phenomenon? Perhaps this tip everyone for, in many cases, merely doing what should be contemplated in their pricing is to be expected and can be explained by our politically correct practice of giving every kid that participates in a sporting event a trophy just for showing up. Winning and losing, pursuit of excellence, teamwork are no longer important, what matters now is just showing up.

Which I guess is also why so many universities were all fired up and offering free counseling in lieu of classes for students traumatized by President Trump being elected president. A recent Facebook post summarized it pretty well comparing World War ll 18 year old soldiers storming the beaches of Normandy with our current millennials getting counseling because Hillary wasn’t elected. It would be humorous if it wasn’t so sad and frightening. We’ve been dumbing down our school curriculums for sometime so I guess it only stands to reason that we should emotionally, relationally, and psychologically dumb down the students as well.

While I’m on my soapbox, let me give a shout out to Senator Flake for his temper tantrum on the senate floor. The Senator managed to tick off his constituents by being a middle of the roader and, therefore, not having a chance at getting reelected and/or even getting his parties nomination for the upcoming senatorial race. He must have forgotten what Jesus said about luke warm water that’s good for nothing but spitting out of your mouth. So to salvage his manhood and assuage his damaged ego he, like a peacock strutting around the barn yard, resorted to lambasting the president blaming him for everything imaginable rather than facing up to the fact that it was his own actions, beliefs which alienated his constituents. In fact all he has done was prove his constituents are right in no longer wanting him to represent them and that he is a coward, not worthy of being re-elected or respected. No one wants to hear grumbling and complaining from a politician leaving office if they are not going to be around to fix the problems. So, good riddance to you and fellow moderate Arizonia Senator John McCain. Enjoy your luke warm hot tubs and join General MacArthur and be good soldiers and just fade away.

Mason Swinney 

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The Fall Season in Eden

There’s a budding artist in each of us
though most don’t think about it much,
but we’re made in God’s likeness
and have some of His artistic touch.

Fall’s the artist time of year,
hummingbirds and butterflies no longer here,
trees standing tall like palace guards,
mowers their final laps around the yard.

Leaves changing colors right before your eyes,
greens, burnt orange, and red, all shades and hues;
a menagerie of beauty like the Savior’s life,
the single leaf alone resembling mans forever strife.

Children back in school, eyes on the clock,
the heat of summer gone but not forgot,
Ghosts and hobgoblins soon will trick or treat,
soon Thanksgiving kicks off the season feasts.

Our taste buds are changing,
more soups and stews;
pumpkins abound, or so it seems,
in cookies, pies and lattes too.

There’s a smell to autumn,
not just burning leaves,
a subtle whiff of excitement
just inhale, you’ll see.

You know change is coming,
the fields and fruit trees bear,
cool nights, long sleeves,
garage sales, all the neighbors there.

God made all the seasons
yet the older we get,
the more Fall is our favorite,
summer’s for kids don’t forget;

God’s grace’s fleshed out,
we humans His canvas of choice;
each a master piece, knit together by Him,
Who let’s us decide, do our own thing.

His love makes the difference
if we’ll slow down, look and see,
be amazed by His presence,
and awesome creativity.

God’s Word’s so amazing,
a relationship primer to use
when we do the world prospers,
when we don’t we so lose.

So this Fall let’s remember
in Eden it was always Fall or Spring,
summer and winter came later,
part of the curse that sin brings;

and,

Falls about change and colors and apples that bob,
Halloween, Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie on the hob,
hay rides, corn mazes, crisp stars in the sky
reminds us God wants us to prosper and thrive.

Mason Swinney

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Unwrapping Lazarus

Agape love’s God’s love for us,
sanctified addiction’s how we respond;
and with His love we more than thrive,
our life and purpose knows no bounds,

God’s holiness the linchpin
but His love draws us in,
there’s not one without th’other
once revealed, change begins;

by walking with Him,
His will embrace,
His love overwhelming,
it’s stupendous grace.

Forgiveness drives the engine
though love provides the fuel,
outward focus the new lifestyle
as self-denial starts to rule.

After a while it’s second nature,
we sense His presence all about,
more and more reacting biblically
to circumstances, no room for doubt.

Looking back it seems a short time
since we started walking with the King,
but when you’re walking with The Savior
He’s all that matters, all we need.

And when you’re focusing on Jesus
self just naturally gets out the way,
and all life’s tyrants less controlling,
a thousand years with Him’s but a day!

We’re all hobbling through history,
our obedience, a bone out a joint
thankfully God uses imperfect vessels
but perhaps that’s just the point.

The God who never changes
is the only God who changes us.
The God who made something out of nothing,
can make something out of us.

It’s the same with each disciple,
He stiches us together in Mother’s womb,
then uses His Word to draw us to Him,
out of our Satan-powered, lifeless tombs.

We each hear, “Lazarus come forth”
out of death and into life;
He removes prides grave clothes, and
wraps His righteousness ‘round our lives.

Let’s forever offer praises
to the God we love and trust,
He’s the God whose always constant
He’s the God who first loved us,

Mason Swinney

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Flowering Mankind

Does the bulb so gently planted
feel alone beneath the earth;
or the flower sweetly peeking
at the sunlight at its birth?

How about the stately oak tree
standing at attention, guarding the front yard,
been on duty seems forever,
its bark bears the battle scars.

Is there a sense of community
hidden within the plant world,
or is it every plant for it self?
Are they content where they are planted
or are they always circumspect?

Why can’t humans emulate the plant world
content to be alone or in a group
satisfied to look up and praise the Father,
on display in a garden or on a stoop.

Is that because there’s no competition,
they don’t have feelings, egos, goals?
Perhaps it’s contentment in their calling,
they don’t wander much you know.

Man’s fall messed up their world also,
all the weeds and bugs and Blight,
yet they never seem t’be bothered,
standing tall, their colors bright.

Perhaps we should be more like ’em,
satisfied to do our part;
and let the Master Gardener plant us,
so we can bloom and praise the Lord!

Mason Swinney

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Laughter Isn’t Always Funny

Getting laughed at don’t get easier
just because you’ve gotten old,
there’s just more things to laugh at
like invisible disabilities and their toll.

Sometimes the laughter’s amusing,
even if at your expense,
though is it really funny or humiliating 
regardless the pretense?

Political correctness says laugh with ’em,
but wouldn’t laughter be a lie,
don’t feelings require our honesty,
should you laugh when you want to cry?

If you wear your feelings like a jacket
little things elevate your ire,
so should you back off just a little
and let your silence speak, inspire?

Am I wrong to take it personal?
Is it not that big a deal?
Should I merely grin and bare it
or respond, voice my appeal?

But grining’s not so easy
when the laughter comes at you,
should you learn to just grow through it
even while you boil and stew?

Or, perhaps the right response
is determined by each deed;
sometimes laughter may be appropriate, others 
silence can expose the perceived misdeed.

So why do we do it?
Do we really mean to harm?
Would we be better off ignoring
and by that silence the storm?

Pilate tried to save King Jesus
by the humiliating “Behold the Man”,
is that the same thought pattern 
used by us who laugh, grandstand?

But the hater’s response was kill Him
for they hated God and Man,
there was no good found within ’em
they were frozen, heartless contraband.

The correct response isn’t based on feelings,
no matter how hard that seems to be,
but if all things work together
we’ll grow through it that we’ll see.

So the answer’s change our focus,
off of us and onto Him,
’cause the whole world laughed at Jesus
but still He loved us to the end.

Jesus forgave our heartless laughter
by absorbing it and more,
and spread His arms, the nails impaled,
so our hope could be restored!

Mason Swinney

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Loneliness Is A State of Mind, Not a Lifestyle 

Is loneliness a universal problem or one closer to home? How big a part does “fear” play in our feelings of loneliness? Is “shame” the primary driving force behind our loneliness or is it self-absorption or one of the many other self hyphenated words? How much of our loneliness is caused by our own laziness, self-induced?

All these causes can be traced back to the Garden of Eden and our first parents. When Adam and Eve sinned and took their respective bites of the apple they immediately noted their now alarming nakedness and set out trying to cover it by making coverings out of fig leaves (what a chafing experience). The “shame” associated with their nudity mirrored the “shame” they felt for disappointing and betraying God by sinning and having their inner thoughts and wishes exposed. Shame has been mankind’s problem ever since and one of the primary drivers in our need for recognition and importance and drives many to abuse drugs, power, food, sex, etc. in an effort to anesthetize the pain resulting from it.

Next, they tried to hide from God, something many of us continue to do because now all of a sudden they were afraid (“fear”) of God. So in a moment in time they go from walking with God to fearing and hiding from Him and, ironies of ironies, all because they wanted to be like Him. Wanting to be the god of our own lives continues to be one of Man’s greatest problem!

And, when confronted by God about their sin, they immediately tried to “blame” someone other than themselves for it and Adam was even so bold as to blame God himself saying in effect the woman “You” gave me made me take the bite.

The serpent was partially correct when he stated that Adam and Eve would be like God knowing good and evil but once they bit the apple they were all alone, outside the will of God, and looking for someone other than themselves to blame for their sin. The blame game and battle of the sexes started that day along with man’s propensity for choosing women over God.

Just about all of our relationship problems have their start with Adam and Eve’s sin. And Adam and Eve’s problems have been passed on to generation after generation of us humans and their sin got almost immediately, exponentially worse with Cain killing his brother Abel only a short time later. Eventually God sent the flood because sin had gotten so far out of hand.

But it’s important to note that it was God who went looking for Adam and Eve and not the other way around much like the Father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son went out to talk with His 2 boys. God has been pursuing us ever since the Garden and it’s to love ❤️ us and not hammer 🔨 us like so many of us unconsciously believe.

But God’s mercy and grace are evident even when God locked Adam and Eve out of the garden since God did not want them to have access to the tree of life while carrying the guilt, shame and remorse of their sin and knowing they would not be mentally, psychologically, relationally, or spiritually able to live forever with that level of pain. In addition, God provided them with much more suitable and comfortable clothing.

Adam and Eve go from walking with God to being separated from Him. Imagine the overwhelming sense of grief, loneliness, self-hatred and anger they must have experienced. The feelings experienced by those in hell as described by Jonathan Edwards in his sermon “Sinners In The Hands of An Angry God” * would have no doubt been felt and experienced by Adam and Eve as well.

Being “alone” is innately one of our biggest fears and Satan’s good at using our own self-imposed aloneness against us. If you watch a lion or tiger hunt on Animal Kingdom you will note how they separate the weakest or most vulnerable animal from the herd/pack and then attack and destroy it. That’s exactly how Satan hunts us. He separates us from the pack often by using our own pity parties, low self-esteem, pride, anger, etc. and, once separated, he devours us. We’re kind of like the moth and the flame and seem almost irresistibly attracted to Satan’s flame. Satan dangles our shame in front of us since he is the “accuser of the brethren” and uses our own fears to separate us from the very people who could help, protect, and relate to us.

But we are not without hope. None of this took God by surprise. Just as Adam and Eve were on top of the world when they were walking with God so can we by walking with God also. James 4:8 says “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you”. Great advice and the secret to defeating fear, shame, blame, loneliness, and all the self hypenated words that Satan tries to use against us. Drawing near to God is as simple as admitting you are broken and knowing only God can fix you. Just as a doctor can’t help you until you go to his/her office for treatment, so God can’t help you until you admit you are sick and broken. The only difference, God still makes house calls.

Mason Swinney

*”4. Tis everlasting Wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this Fierceness and Wrath of Almighty God one Moment; but you must suffer it to all Eternity: there will be no End to this exquisite horrible Misery: When you look forward, you shall see a long Forever, a boundless Duration before you, which will swallow up your Thoughts, and amaze your Soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any Deliverance, any End, any Mitigation, any Rest at all; you will know certainly that you must wear out long Ages, Millions of Millions of Ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless Vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many Ages have actually been spent by you in this Manner, you will know that all is but a Point to what remains. So that our Punishment will indeed be in nite. Oh who can express what the State of a Soul in such Circumstances is! All that we can possibly say about it, gives but a very feeble faint Representation of it; ’tis inexpressible and inconceivable: for who knows the Power of God’s Anger?”

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