Bob here again and time for something completely different (April 24, 2017):  While visiting my friend in Asheville NC, having a sip on his deck at his apartment complex, we enjoyed the pond and founatin two stories below.  It was a fancy apartment complex renting, as my friend described:  new young professionals preparing to settle into the town, retirees, and those like him -- folks in transition.  Below in the pond was a solitary Canada Goose, which is odd because they are very sociable fowl.  They even mate for life.  I noticed the Goose hobbling.  With the help of a telephoto lens we determined what my friend had never noticed:  the left webbed foot of the Goose must have been bitten off (dog? turtle?), leaving only a stump.  A few mallads would paddle near it but they kept in their small group and left our Goose alone.  The Goose would periodically honk, perhaps hoping for an answer from one of its kind.  There were periodic honks from a pond off in the distance.  But our Goose was left alone.  Goose remained alone.  Would it have been accepted by another flock or rejected and picked on as damaged?  Was our Goose waiting for someone to return?  To notice?  I wondered how many of the residents in the apartment resembled this Goose?  I suggested without sardonic humor but in sad reflection that the complex be renamed the Lonesome Goose Apartments.   We, like our Goose, need someone.  I am grateful for the chances I have had to love and be loved.  Otherwise ponds can be lonely places.  

Bob retching or laughing himself into a fit, April 19, 2017:  The Patriots at the White House and we are subjected to this mutual admiration society -- why don't they get a room together? -- comparing Trump's electoral victory (minus the popular vote) to the comeback at the Superbowl.  You do know its only a silly game.  Its only football, boring at that.  My God...  Trump is life and death and so far he's shown himself to be a loser and fool.

Danville News Column
Robert John Andrews
“John Wayne Isn’t Real”
Friday, April 21, 2017
Word Count: 750

I’m torn.  Part of me is relieved that our President has authorized our military chiefs to act according to their best judgment, the White House giving them a ‘freer hand’ when it comes to military operations.  This could be far better than the awesome might of the United States military in the hands of a petulant adolescent who believes John Wayne is real.  I do trust those Generals more over deciding  about who to bomb than that decision in the hands of a man who has  a demonstrated lack of wisdom, statesmanship, patience, and who, in full bravado of Alpha-male pride, fails to appreciate the failure of delivering ultimatums.  

You ever give a child or parent or boss an ultimatum?  What a failure because either you must back down or you must carry through on your ultimatum.  It’s already a no-win situation!  You either force them to retaliate or you have to follow through on your threat.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.   What is that old adage?  If all you have is a hammer everything  looks like a nail.  Who’s the tool now? 

Our nation is benefited by leaders who are equipped with a full and complete tool box:  hammer, saw, drill, ratchet set, wrench, pliers, plunger, clamp, screw driver.  Of course, it is easy to suppose that by giving the Pentagon license to act our President has someone to blame when something goes wrong whilst, and at the same time, be in a position to claim adulation and praise (which he desperately craves) when something is a win.   

Real soldiers know that John Wayne isn’t real, that the purpose of the military isn’t war but peace.  Real soldiers know too well the cost, expense, and waste of violence.   Real soldiers appreciate the weakness of war.  

But I’m torn.  The other part of me worries and frets about an independent military caste severed from civilian control.  I’ve never been comfortable with a volunteer army.  It smacks too much of a fourth branch of government.  I prefer a draft where we all serve, insofar as one of the inherent dangers in a military caste is the military expecting special privileges because of their service.  Why should they?  Our society really isn’t like the movie “Starship Troopers” where citizenship is gained only by those who serve in the military. I proudly remember my own father explaining why he avoided parading around in his World War II uniform on Memorial Day.  Dad said:  “We did a dirty job.  We didn’t like what we had to do and we’d rather put it behind us.”  

In fact, I still don’t understand how the veterans were able to host their own Presidential debate to air in full prime-time television their own special interest concerns and grievances.   Why them and not, let’s say, Planned Parenthood or the Audubon Society?

My daughter is about to have her honors English class begin reading the greatest American novel:  “To Kill a Mockingbird.” She’s invited me to be a guest speaker because I’ve visited Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee grew up and used as the basis for her novel.   In the chapter about Mrs. Dubose we hear Atticus teach his son Jem about what is real courage:  “I wanted you to see something about her – I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.”

We suffer screwy notions of strength.  A real man isn’t weak enough to respond to an insult with insult.   Would you view Jesus as unmanly?

As Atticus says to Scout a few pages earlier:  “Baby, it’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name.  It just show how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.”  Atticus’ words presage his actions when instead of slugging Bob Ewell for spitting on him, Atticus pulls out his handkerchief and wipes his face.  Atticus, a man who knows love, is brave enough, gutsy enough, to love even Bob Ewell.  

And yes, I know full well that Atticus Finch is no more real than are the characters played by John Wayne.   But of the two, I’ll take Finch.

Which is why it begins to dawn on me what I believe to be our President’s saddest problem and deficiency as a leader and a man.  The man doesn't know love.  My pastoral instincts nudge me to wonder if he ever has experienced being truly loved or being truly loving.  It explains a lot. 


Bob sighing at Trump's tweet about Obama and speech about concrete (April 5, 2017):  Let us continue in prayer that Trump gets religion and begins to understand faith in Christ.  He is a such a pathetic, sad creature in need of approval, applause, adulation.  When will he learn it is not about him?  Pray please, all of us. 

Bob insight for the day, April 4, 2017:  I just read an article on “Turning Negative Thinkers Into Positive Ones by James Brody, New York Times Tuesday, April 4, 2017 – how meditations focused on compassion and kindness resulted in an increase of positive emotions, affecting positively our  ‘plastic brains.’  Makes us healthier too.  From Dr. Barbara Frederickson’s book Love 2.0:

Activities that foster positive emotions:

Do good things for other people
Appreciate the world around us
Develop and bolster relationships
Establish goals that can be accomplished
Learn something new
Choose to accept yourself, flaws and all
Practice resilience
Practice mindfulness

I share this here in my website because it neatly fits, indeed, echoes, the conclusions I am beginning to reach about the characteristics of an effective and worthwhile church worship experience offers the engaged worshipper.   It is a theme I am nursing for an article of my own called the Humanity of Church, identifying the personality of the worship experience.  Many articles and books have lifted up metrics from evaluating the physical nature of the church worship experience:  user-friendly bulletins, parking, the welcoming, the signage, how to access the sanctuary.  I am trying, by my First Impressions of church worship, the personality and subjective feel of participating.  


Dorothy to the Scarecrow [Royal Book of Oz]:  "It's not what you were but what you are -- it's being yourself that counts."
Bob hopeful from ashes:  Imagine with me now governmental pragmatic magnanimity.  Should the Republican efforts to repeal and replace go down in flames or get delay, imagine the statesmanship of the Democrats in Congress to extend an olive branch and invite a special task force to work on improving and mending the flaws within the ACA.  Imagine a special panel with select experts.  Imagine inviting Kasich to chair such a blue ribbon panel.  Please Democrats, take the leadership.  Too many lives depend on solutions.  

Polychrome (Oz):  "my sisters are so sweet and lovely and proper they never dance off our Rainbow"


Rambling Thoughts:

TV news:  please just rely upon experts to comment about politics rather than dizzying surrgates!

From Rinkitink in Oz: 

A sunny day succeeds the night;
It's summer -- then it snows!
Right oft goes wrong and wrong comes right,
As ev'ry wise man knows.

And the White Pearl whispers:  "Never question the truth of what you fail to understand, for the world is filled with wonders."

Bob sad and remorseful on the Ides of March:  There is a story I once read of a man who met a fool one day.  The man was on a quest to fill an aching and lonely soul.  He was on quest for that fountain from which he could drink and if not recover the passion and thrill of his youth could at least induce stupor of forgetfulness, not unlike the lotus.  But as he searched he stumbled more and more, for with each step searching for this love to fill him he became clumsier and clumsier.  His clumsiness caused him to trip and stub his toe, to bloody his shins and conscience, but worse, to damage nad hurt others he turned to to fill himself, thinking them the answer.  Only then when anger and hurt became abrupt did he gradually realize it wasn't his place to use others in the guise of being kind or playful.   That is when the fool in looking glass turned up his mouth in a sad smile of recognition as a tear fell.  

Enjoyed Garrison Keillor Monday night at the Kirby center.  Here's two of his old chestnuts of jokes (the first joke applies to me big time especially lately):

And God created woman. And she was good. And she had two arms, two legs, and three breasts. God asked woman what she would like to have changed about herself. And she asked for her middle breast to be removed. God removed her middle breast. And it was good. She stood there with her third breast in her hand and asked God what should be done with this useless boob?..... And God created Man. 

The woman has been buying condoms by boxes. Finally the salespersons asks her why so many.  She replies, "I taught my dog to swallow them, and now he poops in little plastic baggies!"

Bob feeling pastoral 7 March 2017:  I picture Donald Trump wandering around the halls of the White House or Mar a Lago alone, restless, unable to sleep.  I deem him a very lonely man.  I think he needs a pastor, someone to unburden himself to, someone to be a spiritual comfort and guide.  I see him a damaged and sad man.  I'm in the redemption and care business.  I'm in the business that believes in the gospel as our conduit to new, satisfied, whole life.  I offer myself, especially now that I am retired to be his pastor.  I think I will write him tomorrow.  

Bob with a heavy heart 28 Februrary:  If you have any doubts about the amorality of our president, his total lack of leadership, and his fundamental lack of integrity, all you have to do is listen to his comments regarding the death of the Seal and the innocent children in that botched raid in Yeman -- how it was Obama's plan, how the generals planned it, how, and I quote, "And they lost Ryan."  Any more doubts?  No responsibility,  avoiding blame.   That is no commander-in-chief.  

Bob sighing incredulously this 28 February:  Momma always said that you are known by the company you keep.  So what does that say about our president and his fawning fondness for Steve Bannon (America's own Rasputin) and Stephen Miller who reminds me ever so much of Neidermeyer from Animal House?


Trump Rants:

Bob promising a last one on Lincoln's Birthday:   Winning doesn't make you right.  Enough said.  

Bob listening to the so called press conference, 16 February, 2017:  not a press conference but a campaign speech pitting his public against his opponents and trying to detail how great he is and how terrible is anybody else opposed to him -- is it possible for him to say anything that isn't an insult?  

Bob catching up from being away at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, 16 February, 2017:  On Lincoln's birthday I watch Trump at a meeting with stalwart Republican supports boasting of himself.  I hear of his plans for a rally in Florida.  A man who needs so much adulation is a sad and sorry and pathetic man.  I do pray for him to find some sort of higher faith and goodness to discover some sort of nobility and dignity.  
Bob insistent, 16 February 2017:  is anyone now surprised why he refuses disclosing his Tax forms?

Bob feeling sardonic and sad this Lincoln's Birthday, February 16:  first, attacking the leakers?  really?  first ask  is what they are leaking vital, damaging, urgent? then we can debate the morality  of leaking;  second, he is very good at playing the victim card and iooking the martyr and rallying his uncritical fans into a frenzy here Trump is not to blame for Trump; third, beware the vacuum when the Trump sinkhole sinks;  fourth, his fans and surrogates in the news blame the Democrats for slowing the candidacy process when we should be asking why did he nominated such flawed and unqualified candidates?  Let's all read today the second Inaugural Address by Lincoln.  

Bob puzzled, 11 February, 2017:  who gave Trump the Mussolini playbook? Putin?
Bob as frustrated as David Gergen, 9 February, 2017:  Aesop must have written the fable of the frog jealous of the oxen for our pathetically desperate President.  He just can't help himself when someone criticizes him.  He just can't help himself from insisting on being the center of attention and the big boy in the room (calling in the airline execs so he can show off).  And the frog kept inflating himself until he burst.  
Bob reflective here, 8 February 2017:  As I just wrote a dear friend, please don't mistake my opposition to and outrage toward the words and policies of Donald Trump as hatred for the man.  Sorry my friend, John. I don't rant.  I rarely fit the party line.  Quite the contrary, I fervently believe Trump needs the love of Jesus.  I view him a pathetic, tragic, sad, desperate, lonely man.  He's never known love.  Real love.  Thus he doesn't know how to love.  Plays will be written about him in the future about this, if we have any play-writes as good as Sophocles.   

Thursday, Feb 2, 2017:  Everyday I wake up to have it confirmed that Trump is an incompetent doofus, unless of course it just loves the attention  even when stupid, cruel, harmful -- yes, all the more confirming him as a narcissistic sociopath.   Congratulations, US, we got what we deserved, though I still feel that this can be a great awakening for true America -- only when you diagnose the infarction can you begin healing -- that's what Trump is:  an infarction!

Bob again hoping against hope he isn't prophetic here and hoping against hope he is entirely unhinged and hoping his fears will be discredited - 30 January, 2017:  please discredit my fears that Trump is intentionally provoking and counting on a terroristic retaliation in order to galvanize his base, incite the mob-lust, and institute forms of tyranny upon and repression of US liberties, seeking to exercise demagogic control over government. 

Bob here twisting noses - 29 January, 2017:  who has harmed, damaged, and destroyed more people in the United States:  ISIS or casino owners? 

Andrews  28 January, 2017 (ashamed) -- shame, shame, shame on the United States.  Our President has learned well from Mussolini on how to destroy a nation's values, how to engender the world's disgust, how to incite and unite the terrorists.   I applaud Chris Murphy challenge that do not talk about American morality if we are silent before the ant-American activities of Trump.  

Bob Andrews 25 January 2017 (feeling weird):  it truly its is strange.  Not sure what to do but soon will.  Why did we make our President someone who is so damn anti-American?  We elected Mussolini, well, some of you did.  Please, Congress and Courts, tell me we don't have a dictator today...

Bob chagined but hopeful, 15 January, 2017 (continuing the material beneath the column reprint):   By the way, we fully recommend watching the movies Hidden Figures; except for the composite characters, historically spot on.  Every boy and girl should watch this.  Heck, Trump should watch it.   Next:  John Lewis.  I think anger and frustration has gotten the best of you right now.  Trust me, I understand.  Still, In the spirit of MLK you need to be even more audacious:  1) INVITE TRUMP TO MEET WITH YOU IN YOUR OFFICE FOR A PRAYER MEETING AND SHARING OF HEARTS AND MINDS -- WILL HE?   2)  LEGITIMATE OR NOT, HE IS THE PRESIDENT, AND THE OFFICE DESERVEES YOUR PARTICIPATION AS A LEADER OF OUR NATION -- THOUGH, WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND IS THAT YOU KNEEL IN PRAYER DURING THE OATH AND SPEECH FOR HIM AND FOR OUR NATION TO FULFILL IT'S HIGH CALLING.  I WILL.  

Bob incredulous on 6 January, 2017:  Ah yes, just finished my Ray Bradbury -- a good tonic in a Trump world -- I love a good mystery can't stand plain foolishness -- those Russian mobsters are enjoying a new year indeed.  They got their own sputnik with orange hair. 

Bob full of Merry Christmas, 25 Christmas, 2016:  God, I love how the Republican party is extolling Trump this Christmas Day as their4 new savior, and how they are falling on their knees but only to kiss his ass.  

Bob wry perspective, 21 December, 2016:  I'm no snowflake.  Nor a sore loser.  Hew won the electoral college, not the majority of Americans regardless how he tries to twist it oherwise.  it is simply that Trump is an idiot.  He may be clever, but he's terribly stupid.   Berlin for example.  It ain't about him.  He's such a pathetic dolt, he must push himself into center stage, as if it is all about him.  Yes, that makes him an ass.    Leaders are servants who make sense.  Puffed up peacocks strut like Mussolini and can't wait to suck the world dry to feed them.  He's already doing it to those who attend those rallies.  He's used them.  What will happen when they see they've been duped?

Bob surreal, 10 December, 2016:  Do you remember that Cold War thing?  Well, as it turns out, Russia just won.  

Bob contemplative, 8 December 2016:  I think I intuited why Hilllary lost.  The voters never felt she loved them.  
Bob lament, 8 December, 2016:  Trump on his way to Ohio State Univerity.  I wish I could believe, I really do, I wish I could believe it is because he loves, because he cares and not because he wants credit, wants adoration, wants to be seen.  
Perspective, 2 December, 2016:  I can understand and appreciate opposing someone on the basis of their views or plans, their ideas and intent.  A few of the Republicans objected to President Obama's policies but were willing to work and listen.  Sadly, very few.  Rather tough at the beginning of a term to hear that the other party's main goal is to ruin, hinder, impede, destroy everything you propose.  There's an example of putting nation ahead of party, right.  Don't equate then with now.  I dont mind disagreeing over policies.  In fact, I welcome it.  What is going on today isnt this.  Nor is it sore losers.  It is being concerned with a president-elect's utter lack of moral character, a weak and scared man bereft of any sense of honor or integrity. 
Rant, 1 December, 2016:  watching the victory thank you lap speech in Ohio -- my God, thank you Trump voters for electing suich an smug ass  as President.  Such statesmanship, such decorum, such grace, such intelligence.  What a fricking asshole.  And I really am trying to pray for him to be the kind of leader we need.  Prayers for him to stop lying, stop insulting, stop demanding adulation.  I am so ashamed.  

Whimsy, 29 November:  I swear if Trump keeps this up, I'm going to end up burning a US flag and becoming Muslim...just to see what happens...
My 28 November, 2016 whimsy:  Ah, what a joy to listen to our president-elect, the hypocrite-in-chief.  I really can't call him an outright liar (liar-in -chief) because he's so delusional he actually believes what he says.  Would someone please help him pull on his big boy pants.  I swear, were I a clinician, it'd be tempted to diagnose the man we elected as a narcissistic sociopath.  That's comforting, right?   No doubt the Russian mob is snickering too...


For those interested int the article and Noah Zakarian's photographs from our trip to Armenia for Young Life, please take a look:

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Blurb (Trump Era Day One):  Well, the Russian mob is smiling.  Any body interested in taking bets on how long it lasts?  And who will turn on him first when he fails to bail out their lives?  

Yes, I am ashamed of my country right now.   Oh, I've had many reasons in the past to be ashamed of my nation, but nothing like today.  We are such a laughingstock in the world of nations.   But I must not give into the very kind of blame and mockery of those who voted for Trump that he would and has toward others.   We must love.  Trump is our creation and a judgment on our society.   

Well, I had to accept the abomination of the presidencies of Reagan and Bush, I guess I will have to stomach this one.  Okay, this can be fun.  I began my adult life taking on fools in Government (Nixon), I can finish my career doing the same.  Good thing I'm leaving the pulpit.  This is a wake-up call for us to refuse to be complacent and we have been.  No more racism, sexism, jingoism.  Time for us to hit the streets.  Too many of us counted on a weak leader to carry our water.   Time for us to grab all the buckets we can carry.  We must hold Trump and his voters accountable!  Besides, as my wife says, intoning her English side, we get what we deserve.  

And no doubt, the Democrats in Congress will treat Trump with as much collaboration, collegiality, respect, and decorum as the Republicans treated President Obama.  We are reeling from the fruits of Newt Gingrich and his destruction of government by the refusal to treat the other party as equally interested in fostering the best for our nation.    

Remember: it is one thing to drain swamps, it is another thing to build something there -- what, more casinos?  I always have viewed casino owners no different than heroin dealers.
Remember:  Trump's election will be very telling.  It is about time we got honest about who America really is so we can recover who Americans are meant to be.  

Blurb/Rant (November 1):  My father would have still voted for Nixon, stalwart Republican that Dad was.  But I am sure he and even Reagan would vomit in disgust with what the team of Trump/Bannon is doing to their party and this country.   You got to believe the Russian mob is smiling.  

Blurb (October 26):  It sometimes takes a bump on the head for me to figure things out.  One of the real benefits of Trump smarmy attitude toward women and his sleazy behavior toward women is the potential awakening of young girls to demand more respect.  I know I haven't been the most respectful myself toward women.   But I'm trying.  It isn't the Kardashians young girls should admire, but the Hillary's, the Elizabeth Warrens, even Kellyanne Conway.  Boys:  take note -- you must respect girls.  Girls:  you just might wish to carry a razor blade wherever you go.
Blurb (October 17):  Hillary:  a low grade fever.  Trump:  an infarction.  Hillary:  New York Times, Washington Post, Dallas Morning Expressing.  Trump:  supermarket tabloids.  I'd be ashamed to vote for him.  Would love to be challenged outside the voting poll.  My Jersey will come out.  All the vitriol (including mine) is proving the need for the Thanksgiving Service we''ve planned as an affirmation of our unity as citizens and our process of the constitutional exchnage of power.   

Blurb (October 13):  Very curious number one:  this Republican anger at government for failing them, failing to solve their problems -- I always thought the Republicans tenet was wanting government to butt out so that we are to solve our own problems.  

Very curious number two:  Donald accusing Bill for being unfit for doing what Donald has done...

Bob's Blurb (October 11):  So sad and so pathetic is Trump.  He's also a walking disaster, but fortunately I have such confidence and pride in the United States that we will be able to learn from his candidacy and be the better for the sickness he exposes.  That folks actually would vote for him strains credulity, given how un-American and un-gentlemanly he is.  Without honor.  He attacks Bill Clinton as being unqualified by alleging the same behavior that he actually exhibits.  I don't get it.    Being a pragmatic voter myself, I find those who wish to clothe themselves in garments of virtue in voting for third party candidates to be a tad prissy and holier than thou...  And let's do our best to avoid being fascinated by the spiritual gymnastics of the conservative/neolithic evangelical branch in supporting him, he who contradicts everything they hold dear and sacred.  

Bob Blurb:  it is one thing to use the legal system to default and never pay taxes, it is another thing to still maintain a life of opulence, induilgence, and excess.  My parents couldn't and didn't when their business struggled and failed.  They had to sell the homestead and close the business and move in with my sister and her family.  They suffered.  It is one thing to point out Trump's bankruptcies and tax forms, it is another to ask why did he lack the moral character, let alone decency, to live within his means?   We work, we pay, we do what we have to... he didn't and he doesn't.  My father, a life-long Republican, would be ashamed about about the sycophants in the Republican party today...

Cool.  My talk on 'The Other Side of the Coin -- the Life of the Danville Mill Worker' is now on Youtube, courtesy of Van Wagner.






Nathaniel's Call available for purchase! 

The paperback edition (355 pages) can be purchased from the following vendors:

Amazon at 
for 18.95

Barnes and Noble at for 16.52 (plus shipping)

Booklocker at 
for 18.95

Also available at the Iron Heritage store, 316 Mill Street, Danville

Nathaniel's Call Cover

Nathaniel's Call by Robert John Andrews 


The Presbyterian Writers Guild has selected the Rev. Robert John Andrews, a pastor in Danville, Pa., to receive its prestigious Presbyterian Publishing Corporation First Book Award for 2014 for his novel set in the Civil War, Nathaniel’s Call.

Andrews’ book ― self-published in 2012 ― was selected from among 17 entries in a variety of genres to receive the biennial award, given in Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly years to the best first book by a Presbyterian writer during the past two years. The PPC First Book Award winner is recognized at the Presbyterian Writers Guild’s General Assembly luncheon, which this year will be Thursday, June 19 in Detroit.

Jane Hines of Nashville ― retired director of communications for the Synod of Living Waters and chair of the PPC First Book Award Committee ― said, “Several genres are represented in the 17 books we received (teen science fiction, memoirs, poetry, young adult fiction, novels, journals, dissertation re-writes).  We were just looking for the best writing in any category and found it in Nathaniel’s Call.

As a Nashville-based committee comprised of Southerners, Hines added, “we don't think it will be a best-seller in Vicksburg and Richmond, but we see Nathaniel's Call as a splendid example of the art of writing.”