Conyers, Franken, Franks all resign. Who will replace them?

In the last two weeks John Conyers, Michigan House Representative, Al Franken, Minnesota Senator, and Trent Franks my representative in Arizona have all resigned their positions citing moral failure as the cause.

Just one day after Representative Franks announced his departure the radio and newspaper experts here in Phoenix starting throwing out names of possible replacements.  Every single name mentioned far is that of a lifelong politician.  Apparently the election of Donald Trump went right over the heads of the local pundits. The people out here in the fields really would like to see the status quo replaced and people heading to Washington with different skill sets. Instead, the names put forth are nothing more than the same old schmoozers ready and willing to keep the status quo.

I would love to run for Trent Franks position.  I have no money, no name recognition.  I have no political affiliations and not a single minute of political experience.  I have no desire to move and live inWashington for life and I am not a lawyer.

I do have 62 years of life experience in the greatest country on earth and I live life based on one and only one principle.  I fear God more than I fear man.  If all 535 members of Congress had the same guiding value there would be no need for ethics committees or oversight panels.  Trust would rule the day between representative and constituent. How refreshing would that be?

A man named Daniel made it pretty clear once long ago that he feared God more than he feared men.  It worked out quite well.  Oh that there were many more Daniels out there.

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Sexual Harassment Training for Congressmen…Really?

It is awfully hard to deny there is a sexual abuse crisis in this country given what is unfolding in both Washington DC and the media. The truth that this is an epidemic being ignored and kept silent is being exposed.
The immediate response to exposure is shame.  Remember the garden when God came looking for the couple that had just disobeyed.  The first response was to hide themselves because they had been exposed.  Shame breeds silence and cover up.  Whether it is a child that has been molested by a more powerful adult, or a powerful Congressman that has covered the behavior for years.  It is shame that destroys.
In these present cases the responses are quite telling.  The first response is to deny; “I don’t recall that at all…the accuser is lying…the facts are being misrepresented.” In the garden the man pointed to the idea that his wife made him do it.  We have all been there when the moment of exposure turns our stomach in knots and hiding feels like the best response.  
After exposure the Pharisees rush to judgment extolling the necessity to “fix” the problem.  Quite the hypocrisy.  The loud cries come from those that either haven’t been caught or have some delusion they are without sin.  
The leaders in Congress are calling for mandatory Sexual Harassment training for all congressmen and senators.  Really?  Men thirty-five to eighty years old don’t know what it means to take advantage of others yet?  They do not know what is right, honorable, respectful behavior so much so that they need training?  Did they have parents?  Did they go to school?  Have they never heard the ten commandments or the golden rule?  And what exactly will the training do?  Will it address the matter of the evil, wicked, heart that lies silent in every human being?
As the leader of a ministry that attempts to shed light on the truth of this plague, I have to admit that I am encouraged with this moment of awareness on the public stage. However, this ongoing epidemic begins in childhood and is so pervasive across this country that this recent round of examples only scratches the surface.  I hope the exposure continues and real attention is paid to the truth of what is out there. Sexual sin has been with us forever and the shame it generates destroys people and cultures in silence and fear of exposure.
It is one thing to sound the alarm, parade around the perpetrators, and call for training. It is quite another to walk into the issue with hope. Healing is not achieved in training programs.  Healing isn’t accomplished in seminars and self help books.  Healing can never be achieved in silence and solitude.  Exposure causes shame.  Deep, deep, deep hurt in the soul.  Shining a bright light on it without also offering hope is a futile exercise. Sometimes even hope doesn’t break through.
God has walked with me for fifty years with the shame and hurt of childhood sexual abuse.  God has been faithful all those years through my wife, children, and those that sincerely desire to walk with me to keep the light of hope glowing.  God’s still small voice speaks to my heart every day about the many that are walking the same roadway and I try every day to shed light on the issue, to be available to listen, and to share the pain with others.
Healing happens when one walks with another.  I believe it is the best approach.  It takes a lot of time, an army of willing walkers, and it is not accomplished in the media or on a stage. It takes place in coffee shops, on long walks, and in quiet gardens where the Savior of our souls  whispers into our hearts, that we are His beloved.  I pray for those that are still in silence, and I pray for those that will seek to begin the journey with another broken heart.
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Is Harvey Sorry?

WeinsteinHarvey Weinstein is not the first example of mass hypocrisy by the secular progressives.  He is just so over the top that even now the movement cannot come to his defense, although, watch them try. The examples are numerous already, but how about this one for laughs and giggles.

The defenders are applauding all the brave women that are coming forward to pile on the heap of contempt for Weinstein’s behavior and character.  Never mind that only one came forward in the last thirty years to expose what any of the victims or witnesses could have done at the time.  All the shock and surprise that no one saw this coming as Jane Fonda so bravely shared on behalf of all the other shocked and uniformed observers.  The grandstanding, fake outrage and denial is contemptible.

I do not expect to see any of the brave women that are coming forward now to be treated with similar conviction as was demonstrated toward Joe Paterno. It is alleged that Paterno knew about Jerry Sandusky’s behavior prior to the story coming to the surface.  For that, Paterno was vilified and ostracized to the point where a statue commemorating all his years of service as a coach and teacher were eliminated from existence. His life and career left shrouded in shame because he failed to speak out.  One cannot defend Paterno’s choice to remain quiet and the consequences of his silence were justified.  That said, I fear in Weinstein’s case there will be nothing more than more hypocrisy.  Will any of the men and women who have known about Weinstein’s behavior from the beginning be treated with the same contempt as was Paterno?  It remains to be seen.

This is a case of a whole lot of people rebelling against the truth that there are consequences for unwise behaviors and choices. Weinstein for his choices of selfish, arrogant, and evil behaviors knowing full well the choices were wrong. The Brave victims who kept silent for fear that selfish motives of fame, and fortune would end. The hundreds of “uniformed” who allowed Weinstein’s  behaviors to continue in order to maintain the facade. It just got so outrageous the only choice was to shine the light and take the hit.

Is there a desire to see this kind of behavior end?  Will there be a concerted effort on the part of Hollywood to put in place safeguards and enforcement practices that will prevent this in the future?  It will die down quickly and there will not be an attitude of surrender or repentance, but rather just disappointment that so many were exposed.

Weinstein is headed to Arizona where he will camp out at a $2000 a night rehab center.  Harvey has a sexual addiction. A little therapy will help him change his future behavior.  Never mind he has left a tsunami of brokenness in his wake that will most likely not be addressed. Never mind that in a few weeks it will all be forgotten, the brave whistle blowers will return to Hollywood, and hypocrisy will reign once more. As for Harvey, I imagine there is not a lot of remorse going on at the resort.

 

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Heading toward the Abyss

Progressivism and the consequences of moral relativism played themselves out in the public square last weekend.  The incident in Charlottesville and the response by critics of all that happened is at a fever pitch.

The rhetoric and hatred did not begin last Friday.  The country has been moving this direction for over a century.  How does a society survive if it eliminates the idea of an absolute authority?  History has proven the last one hundred and fifty years that outside of a common absolute authority  some groups can only maintain power at the end of a gun.  Communism is Marxism with a gun for the simple reason that Marxism/Socialism will never succeed in practice without forcefully suppressing any and all opposition.

In America the proponents of the failed ideas of socialism continue to indoctrinate the youth in schools and universities across the country.  Nearly 80 years of such teaching has produced a substantial number of loyal comrades believing that man has the wisdom to establish a system in which all men and women will live together equally from top to bottom.  Good will and the evolutionary goodness of man will rule the day. No higher power needed because man is ever moving toward true enlightenment.

The Progressives, allied with the Democratic party have secured significant sources of power and influence over the last thirty years. They are effective in managing public discourse and intimidating opposition rulers by shaming them into acquiescing to their positions.  The educational institutions have indoctrinated the masses, and the media is the delivery system used to spread the gospel of the movement. What is now unraveling before our eyes in real time, are the consequences of this repeatedly failed system of thinking.  It is progressing to one side working diligently to hold the moral high ground in the public discourse.  In order to maintain and control that ground, any and all detractors must be silenced, as they have not progressed to the enlightened stage of those moving forward.  Donald Trump is lifted as the leader of this movement and the move has been on since day one to discredit him and his followers as legitimate voices. There is no more time or need for debate. All detractors must be left behind while those who truly understand move forward. 

This country will deteriorate to the place where violence will rule the day with civil unrest. Any opposition to all enlightened ideas will need to be silenced in order for the progressive agenda to succeed. Every time socialism has been tried, it has failed. Millions have died, been imprisoned, or been subject to abuse and control.  The thread running through all these failures…mans desire to live without God.

America is headed directly into the abyss and insanity of moral relativism.  It is no longer a notion of the dangers of what the future may hold, it is here now.  The faithful may still be in the majority but given the intensity and hatred for them and what were once considered universal traditional values the erosion will escalate and the divide increase.  

I believe that in the majority of communities and towns across this country there continues to be people who treasure their families, who cooperate with and tolerate their neighbors, who faithfully support the authorities that lead their communities; in short, love this country that provides freedom for all to live as they choose in accordance with the laws of a power higher than man. These beliefs provide stability, security, and freedom.  These treasured values and traditions have demonstrated to the world that this country is the most compassionate and caring group of people ever assembled as a nation.

The true message of love, tolerance, and compassion still rests with those that recognize there is an absolute ruler.  We are nearing the place where only a concerted effort to recognize that true authority and return to it will avert the loss of the freedom we cherish so dearly.

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Hate Trump…Hate You…

What is it about Donald Trump that elicits such vitriol by his detractors?  Is it his moral failures in his treatment of women in his younger days?  Is it his position on keeping people out of harm’s way?  Is it jealously of his financial success or his fame and notoriety?  Is it that he is not “one of the guys “of the political world? Is it his ideology?  Is it his appearance and or demeanor?  The list is lengthy, but does it rise to the level of hatred that is being directed toward him and his family?

I believe it is a little deeper that these surface issues but very simple to understand.  “If you find the godless world is hating you remember it got its start hating me.”  It is not Donald Trump.  It is what Donald Trump represents.  Donald Trump points to Jesus.  Ben Carson points to Jesus.  Mike Pence points to Jesus.  Ted Cruz points to Jesus.  Maybe not in the opinion or expectations of many Christ followers but in the eyes of their detractors this is about Jesus.  The detractors may not even understand.

Jesus put it this way, “If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one if its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.”  I understand.  Donald Trump may not be the best representative of a follower of Jesus.  That doesn’t matter.  He represents a connection to the truth that Jesus lived and there is a higher power.  That there are absolute truths that restrict choice and behavior.

Jesus goes on, “Remember this: Servants don’t get better treatment than their masters.  If they beat on me, they will certainly beat on you.  If they did what I told them, they will do what you tell them. They are going to do all these things to you because of the way they treated me, because they don’t know the One who sent me.”

It isn’t Donald Trump.  It doesn’t matter who is in the seat of power.  Whoever believes, espouses, represents, or is perceived to be connected to Jesus will attract hatred with fervor and intensity.  “If I hadn’t come and told them all this in plain language” Jesus explains,” it wouldn’t be so bad.  As it is they have no excuse. Hate me; hate my Father—it’s all the same. If I hadn’t done what I have done among them, works no one has ever done, they wouldn’t be to blame. But they saw the God-signs and hated anyway, both me and my Father.”

It is that simple.  Hatred of Jesus and his followers has been around now for two thousand and seventeen years and it intensifies every day.  Jesus is an alien in this world.  By association all those that choose to follow Him are also aliens.  By nature, aliens are disliked. They do not fit the mold.  They speak another language.  They don’t look the same.  They must be silenced or removed.  They pose a threat to freedom for those that disagree with their lifestyle.

Interesting—they have verified the truth of their own Scriptures where it is written, ‘They hated me for no good reason.’”

The hatred of Donald Trump and anyone that follows or represents the truth of Jesus will continue and intensify.  How does one live in a world of such dislike?  By holding onto the hand of the one that is hated most. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”

Follow the truth…Love in return to anger…Focus on the one who is hated more than anyone that has ever lived…Rest in the hope of His return.

 

 

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The Lepers among us.

Yesterday it came to my attention that a young man was released from prison early.  What delightful news for a mother and family that after ten long years her son was coming home.  With open arms and a loving heart you can picture the reunion with joy and tears.  If only.  If only it had happened that way.

That was not the picture.  The young man was dropped off at an extended care residence demanding $260 per week for a place forty miles from his mother’s home.   He had less than one hundred fifty dollars and was informed he has ten days to register as a sex offender.  Failure to register is a Class Four Felony.  Registration cost is $250. He has 72 hours to find a satisfactory place of residence or face violation. His only relative, his mother cannot house him because she resides in Section 8 housing. eHe was told he needed to begin immediately searching for employment. Then the adult authority in his life left him with the words, “good luck son.”

There he stood, a bracelet shackled to his ankle to track his every move. His enslavement continuing despite the system granting him “freedom” to move about in the “outside” world; his crime?  At the age of thirteen he was indicted and sentenced to ten years for child molestation.  Ten years.  The first five spent in juvenile detention.  At age 18 transferred to the state prison facility to spend five years with other individuals labeled the worst of the worst.  Then unexpectedly without notice, he is released with expectations of adapting to the “real” world in ten days or face return to prison.  What do you believe will be his chances of “success?”

This scenario plays itself out countless times across the country day after day.  The people seen as the refuse of society are cast to the side or locked away to protect the rest of us from those deemed unclean.  Regulations and expectations are placed on them that less than 2 in ten can ever keep.  The “system” does nothing to provide a pathway to change or healing.  The culture dictates where they can live, work, and travel and then offers nothing to assist.  The clarion call goes out, “it’s about the protection of our children and society that sex offenders be kept isolated and identified to the world so all others can be safe.”

How will we account for our actions one day when the Savior of the world looks at us and asks, “What did you do for the least of these brothers of mine?”  You don’t understand Bill; we could not dare allow one of these into our community.  Our community is a place where there must be safety for all from these predators.  How dare anyone suggest we lack compassion, or grace.  There is a much greater concern for the whole. Even the authorities suggest that these individuals cannot be rehabilitated, how would anyone expect us to extend a helping hand for fear they offend again?

My wife and I have committed ourselves to caring for those broken by sexual abuse.  Eight years ago I approached the Arizona Department of Corrections with an offer to begin a program of outreach and healing to the sex offender community either inside or outside of prison.  I was told that rehabilitation for sex offenders is not a plausible goal and that incarceration is best practice in order to protect the society.  Any desire for programs is not productive and the costs too prohibitive for desired outcomes. “You can try Mr. Harbeck, but don’t expect support or any financial resources from the state or for that matter any organization.”

I explored starting a program outside the walls and learned that regulations established by the purveyors of sound judgment make it extremely difficult to establish a class, let alone an entire program for recovery.  I learned that without money, all the good intentions in the world will remain just that, good intentions.  I felt the frustration that is only a fraction of what sex offenders experience every moment.

I returned to the teaching profession last fall.  For nearly ten years we have attempted to spread the word that there is an epidemic of sexual abuse in this country.  We have walked with dozens of survivors that need connection on a daily basis.  We have opened our home, offered assistance to countless communities, given and attempted to raise funds to just put a dent in the enormous need.  I returned to the classroom because I need to provide for the basic essentials of life for Jillian and I.  It is still my desire to be available to walk daily with survivors of sexual abuse.  I still hear the calling to find a way to save one or two offenders who are always survivors themselves.

I know there is a reason my Lord has not opened the door in a larger way.  That assurance is difficult to walk through after all the years of struggle. We will continue to be a tiny sliver of light, and a small ray of hope for the one or two that our Lord brings our way.  Pray with us won’t you?  Sexual abuse survival and sex offender recovery are the darkest issues of any we face in battle with the enemy. We cannot surrender our fellow souls to evil’s grasp.

“As for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered, and he shall cover his mustache and cry, Unclean! Unclean!  Leviticus 13:45

“And it came about while He was on the way to Jerusalem, that He was passing between Samaria and Galilee.  And as he entered a certain village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they were saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 

And when He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And it came about that as they were going, they were cleansed.  Now one of them when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him.  And he was a Samaritan. Luke 17:11-16

From the article: Here’s What Life Is Like After You Get Out Of Prison For A Sex Offense  Business Insider October 13, 2013

Most U.S. states require released sex offenders to register in online databases and adhere to guidelines about where and how they can live their lives.  Here are just s few things sex offenders have to do post-release:

  1. Abstain from drinking – In Wisconsin and other states, sex offenders on parole cannot have any alcohol. Thye may have to take urine or breathalyzer tests to show they haven’t been drinking.
  2. Give up their computer – Many sex offenders can’t have their own computers. A lack of computer access could make it tough for sex offenders to job hunt, secure housing, or keep up with the news of the world, but it will ensure they can’t prey on new victims online.
  3. Wear GPS monitors…for life – Some sex offenders are forced to wear GPS tracking devices for their entire lives. These devices can be faulty and land offenders back in jail when they haven’t done anything wrong. “There are times when I’m afraid to leave whatever room I’m in, even to go to the bathroom,” convicted sex offender James Morgan told the Center.  “I’m afraid an alert will go off and the police will show up at my door.”
  4. Take lie detector tests – Parole officers often require sex offenders to undergo polygraph tests.
  5. 5. Get really creative about finding a place to live – Sex offenders have a notoriously difficult time finding housing that complies with states’ residency requirements. California sex offenders can’t live within 2000 feet of parks and schools. Georgia has even stricter limitations. Sex offenders can’t live within 1000 feet of “anywhere minors congregate.” A man in Georgia scoured reals estate ads for two years before he finally found a tiny house in rural Georgia that complied with the sex offender residency requirement.  His crime was having sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend when he was 17.
  6. Tell their sex partners about their history as a sex offender – in Washington state, sex offenders are legally required to reveal their criminal histories to their new boyfriends or girlfriends before they have sex for the first time. They also have to tell their parole offices about their new romantic relationships.
  7. Get chemically castrated – This is definitely a more radical requirement for sex offenders, but so-called chemical castration is not unheard of in America. At least nine states have laws that allow chemical castration.

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Our Angel

IJoree-Dad never imagined when this picture was taken, the journey we would take over the next 25 years.  Little did we know at the time how this joyful little girl would impact our lives forever.

Joree joined us as a foster child in 1991 six months after her birth.  The Department of Children and Family Services in Chicago needed a home and we volunteered for a weekend until a placement could be arranged.  The temporary placement lasted five years until on AprJoree 2-01il 22, 1996 when Joree became a permanent member of the Harbeck family.07
Joree will turn 26 this January and on December 4th she will be transitioning into a medical group home.  Jillian and I have been working on this for eighteen months.  It has been a long and photo frustrating experience.  Our age and Jillian’s health issues have necessitated that we make this move.  It has not been without a lot of prayer and consideration of all the variables involved.  We are content in the truth that this is the right time. Every Wednesday will be dinner with Joree night.
I would love to share the long list of experiences we have shared all these years with Joree.  We did the best we could when we penned a book about her life with us.  In her charming and joyful way she has taught us about dependence, about joy, and about brokenness. We all have a very personal and special bond that transcends language, which connects deep in our souls, and will forever have a deep deep place in our hearts.
Thank you for all your prayers for Joree over the years.  If she comes to your mind one day, please offer a prayer for her continued health and care.  I believe our Lord has a special place for her one day where we will run, and sing, and laugh together forever.
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