From patriots to preachers, my mind races in different directions every time I hear the song…
One of my favorite singers is George Jones. He’s a country singer and I know his brand of country isn’t so popular today. But I like his voice and a lot of his songs. We had one of his songs in my wedding! My daddy listened to him, and I guess that’s where my liking him started.
He sang a song titled “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” that I love. The song speaks of old country music performers that are dead and gone. Many of them exited this world too soon.
The lyrics speak of the greats… The Red-Headed Stranger, The Man in Black, The Okie from Muskogee, Hello Darling and even Elvis… It doesn’t matter if you don’t know who they are, it just means you don’t know great music!
The song goes on to say “imagine life without them… all your radio heroes…” It’s hard to imagine life without them, for me, because I grew up on them. And then the lyric that really grabbed me the first time I heard the song… “Who’s gonna give their heart and soul to get to me and you? Lord, I wonder, who’s gonna fill their shoes?” Did you catch that? Who’s gonna give their heart and soul… to get to me and you?
From patriots to preachers, my mind races in different directions every time I hear the song…
Whenever I first heard the song, my mind raced far beyond just country music. I thought of great patriots… and many war heroes that I had heard and read about. Men who paid the ultimate price to get us to where we are today. The Roosevelt's, George Patton, Winston Churchill, Alvin York, Dan Daly, our Founding Fathers… the list is far too long to catalog here, but I will tell you about one more… Just to illustrate the type of men I refer to.
Henry Johnson was a member of the little recognized and long forgotten “Harlem Hellfighters” (love that name!). They were an all-black National Guard unit among the first American forces to arrive in Europe during World War I. Johnson and his fellow African American soldiers spent their early days in the war performing unskilled manual labor before being sent to reinforce the depleted ranks of the French army. And it was then that Henry Johnson really shined. According to historians on history.com:
“On May 14, 1918, Johnson and another 'Hellfighter’ named Needham Roberts were serving sentry duty in the Argonne Forest. Just after 2 a.m. the duo was attacked by a detachment of some 20 German troops. Both men had soon been wounded—Roberts so severely that he was unable to stand or shoot—but Johnson held fast and fought back with hand grenades and his rifle. Despite being shot several times, he returned fire until his weapon jammed, and then used it as a club and fought hand to hand until it broke into pieces. When Johnson saw that the Germans were trying to take Roberts prisoner, he drew his one remaining weapon—a bolo knife—and slashed and stabbed several men until the raiding party finally fell back. When the dust cleared, Johnson had inflicted at least a dozen casualties on the Germans and suffered 21 wounds from gunfire and bayonets. Both he and Roberts were later given the Croix de Guerre—one of France’s highest military honors—but Johnson’s heroic stand went unrewarded in the United States until 1996, when he was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. He later received the Distinguished Service Cross in 2003.” Are there any Henry Johnson’s left???
I wonder… who’s gonna fill their shoes… in this effeminate, emasculating society we live in today? Men who defied tyranny. Men who, as my dad used to say, “had backbones like saw logs!” He just meant they were rigid in what they stood for. And they stood for what they believed. For life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They defended the constitution with their blood. They didn’t fear social shaming, or being ostracized by public opinion. They were men. They defeated the Crown of England, Nazi Germany, and the Ottoman Empire… just to name a few. They told it like it was. They didn’t capitulate to socialism, communism or the media. They stood. I wonder… who’s gonna fill their shoes- in this sissified version of America I’m living in today…? This “give everyone a trophy for participating” and “never hit back” society we find ourselves in?
My son and I were talking a few days ago and he made the statement that he had heard or read about a “war cry” triggering something internal in a man. I told him that when I was in the Marines, we would routinely practice our war cries, that battle cries served a physiological and psychological purpose… I often find myself wondering- in this emasculating age we are living in- if the battle cry is a thing of the past. Especially when it appears that society’s objective is to completely silence the real male voice. And by “real male” I mean the alpha, red-blooded, naturally aggressive, testosterone filled, man’s man.
Let me segue for a moment… I’m fearful we have taken the “peace loving” and “no hate speech” rhetoric to such an extreme- we are raising a generation of men that are now afraid to even “speak out” or act in any way that would be construed as “aggressive” and, god forbid, cause them to receive the hated “label” on their social media platform of choice.
Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not trying to be an advocate of violence… But I don’t always count it out either. (I personally still believe the best way to handle a bully is with a strong right-cross to the bridge of the nose). However, I fear we have so pacified Christian men that they’ve lost all sense of “stand up for what you believe” and “stand against what you don’t believe” is right. Our fear of “offending” or being “politically incorrect” is greater than our fear of an intrusion on our rights or beliefs.
I’ve heard it argued “violence never solves anything”. That’s a very ridiculous and unthought out statement. And before you allow your mind to go too far to just one end of the spectrum, my Chambers Dictionary gives one definition of violent as “outrage” which is then defined as “great anger or indignation”. I worry that we no longer feel any great anger or outrage at the intrusion of our morals, rights or beliefs. Get a violent grip on your constitutional rights. Defend your home, violently, if necessary. Protect your children at any cost. Oppose an overthrow of our American Constitution. Defend God’s Word with vigor. Here’s a little more on the subject of violence…
“Anyone who clings to the historically untrue -- and thoroughly immoral -- doctrine that ‘violence never solves anything’ I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The Ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more disputes in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.” Robert A. Heinlein
Ian Welsh writes, “Fascist Germany was a problem to most non-German countries, Jews, Gypsies, Socialists, Gays, and many others and violence solved that problem. Carthage was a problem to Republican Rome, and violence solved that problem.”
Here is what history actually teaches us about violence: People who are better at violence than those they are fighting, get the spoils and often keep them for a long time. Violence only doesn’t solve anything in the sense that nothing solves anything…
I don’t know if violence is ever justified. But I do know that violence often does “solve” problems and I do know that people who insist on being entirely non-violent, eventually discover that everything they have- they hold at the sufferance of those who are good at violence.
Patton, Churchill, Alvin York and even George Washington’s tactics and personality were ridiculed, by men of their day. They were at times misunderstood and questioned. Yet they won the American Revolution and the World Wars that followed… They were violent men!
Before you condemn all forms of violence remember that Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force”. I wonder where this verse fits into the politically correct rhetoric getting screamed aloud at us today? The “don’t offend at any cost” mandate thrust upon us and expected of us by all of society? By the way, what did Paul really mean when he said, “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin”? I’m not here to tell you the meaning, just asking a hopefully thought-provoking question. Bloodshed sounds violent. Even if the passage is taken to mean that they (his readers) would have their blood shed, and they were to be passive about it… It takes real men to willingly lay down their lives for the cause… I’m just not so certain that the Christian man is always supposed to be a limp-wristed, pacifist with soft hands and a cowardly social code.
If you want to spiritualize everything here, that’s perfectly fine. Fight the good fight of faith, violently. Pray violently. Paul says we are in a war against spiritual wickedness in high places, fight valiantly and violently!
Did you know Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:9 about those who will not inherit the kingdom of God and he lists things- like thieves, drunkards, adulterers, and the effeminate. Now several translations have taken the old KJV word “effeminate” and replaced it with “homosexual”. However, the actual Greek word there is “malakos” (μαλακός), and according to Vines Greek Dictionary means literally “soft, soft to the touch.” I wonder when was the last time you heard a boy told to “toughen up”? Or heard a preacher preach against men being “soft, soft to the touch”? Or even simply telling the men to man up and act like men? The society we live in clearly wants a blending of the genders… and I’m afraid many of our pulpits have grown soft on the subject of the “effeminate” or what we once just called “sissified” men. To be fair, Vine’s goes on to define the word as also referring to catamites, which were homosexuals. But the definition carries a much deeper meaning. It’s my belief that God does not only loathe homosexuality, He doesn’t even like effeminate men!After all, He’s not the author of confusion. He wants men and women to be distinctly and clearly different. He wants real men to fill real men’s shoes…
I’ve written about the patriots and many of the readers may not know the preachers, but I grew up listening to men like Timothy Creel, T.C. Bonnette, T.F. Tenney, G.A. Mangun, T.W. Barnes, O.R. Fauss, Glenn Chance and others that “gave their heart and souls, to get to me and you…” and now I too wonder, Lord, who’s gonna fill their shoes?
They were men who weren’t afraid to stand for what they believed. They often swam against the current of public opinion. They believed in protecting their families and flocks and preaching the truth, no matter how unpopular or politically incorrect it might seem. They preached Jesus Name baptism when it was severely ridiculed and criticized. I heard a preacher say once on the radio, when I was a boy, “I’d rather be baptized in the name of a bull frog than in the name of Jesus.” It scared me so bad I thought surely God would strike him dead. I didn’t even know that everyone didn’t believe it like my pastor preached it. Until then. Criticize him or not, my pastor kept preaching what he believed about Jesus Name baptism.
Those old apostolic ministers faced social shaming before there was a Facebook. I once visited a church as a child and the preacher looked right at me and said, “Those Pentecostals down the street jump around like a bunch of crazy monkeys…” and then he imitated speaking in tongues by making monkey sounds, and said, “there’s nothing to that emotional nonsense. They’re all crazy!” He knew who I was. I was only about 8 years old, but I never forgot it. It was a time when speaking in tongues and gifts of the spirit weren’t popular and were heavily criticized. Yet, real men, stood. Lord, I wonder, who’s gonna fill their shoes?
I’ve illustrated just a little of my heritage. As a preacher and a patriot. Now, this is our day. It’s our time. Time for real men to step up and regardless of popular or public opinion do what we believe is right… Teach our sons how to be real men. Help other Christian brothers understand that being Christian doesn’t take the man out of you, but rather- it teaches you how to be a real man… Let’s fill the shoes of patriots and prayer warriors, of soldiers and saints that have fought and died to get us to where we are today. Let’s go down in history as men who lived out Paul’s edict “having done all… to stand.” Never quit. Never give up. Keep the faith! Stand strong!
Marine. Husband. Christian. Father. Pastor. A Real Man helping masculine men find their place in God’s Kingdom, without sacrificing masculinity to do it.