Baxter’s Psychological Testing For TRGM

Each of the candidates in training, including Baxter, were given an appointment, with the Transylvania Reformed Global Missions Psychologist, during their orientation week, in order to review the battery of personality tests that they had take before being accepted to TRGM.

When Baxter had received the test 6 months prior he decided to be a little proactive in his test taking. He knew a little bit about these tests having volunteered to be a ‘guinea pig’ for a older friend of his who was doing some Ph.D. work that required her to give some of these same kinds of tests to a control group. She had asked Baxter to be a part of her control group and he, wanting to help her, agreed with the stipulation that she explain to him a little bit how the tests ‘worked.’

“They are really not that difficult Baxter,” she offered when her agreed upon explanation finally came.

“The way these tests work is that they create a standard by compiling and collating responses that are received from those who take the tests. Once the results are compiled and collated those results are reified into numbers and percentages which are made the standard for future tests and test-takers.”

Baxter thought on that for a bit. Finally he responded,

“Doris, do I understand you to mean that it is the responses of people who take the test that end up becoming how average and normal are defined for future people who take the test?”

Doris replied affirmatively and went on to explain,

“Every time the tests are taken by somebody their results become part of the standard for what is being measured. So, for example, should we desire to be looking for obsessive compulsive behavior in people, we would find that in someone by looking at their answers that were in excess to whatever the compiled and collated answers from these tests would tell us.”

Baxter asked, “Doris, what if the tests were taken by a culture that was largely obsessive compulsive?”

“Well, I guess that nobody would be discovered to be obsessive compulsive then,” she replied.

“What if the tests were taken by a culture that was largely dysfunctional,” Baxter pressed.

“Baxter, I know what you’re getting at,” Doris replied. “This test does not provide answers that are anchored in absolutes. The norm in these tests is sliding according to those who take the test.”

Baxter repeated himself, “Doris, what if the tests were taken by a culture that was largely dysfunctional?”

“Well, I would think that normal people would be found to be abnormal since the norm would be established by the abnormal,” Doris finally answered.

“Thanks Doris,” Baxter said. “One more question Doris. As someone who is interested in this psychology stuff can you explain to me how this methodology doesn’t replace God’s Word as the standard with Man’s tests responses as the standard via his collective responses? In these tests we have gone from God’s Word the standard to man the standard. I mean God didn’t take the test and yet this methodology acts as if he did.”

“Baxter, that’s not a question,” said Doris, “that is a accusation.”

“And a damn good one” Baxter thought.

“It sure doesn’t seem like this psychology stuff has come a long way since it began by feeling the bumps on people’s heads,” Baxter said as he took his leave of Doris.

When Baxter had received the tests from TRGM he decided that he might be better safe than sorry about the results, since he had heard more then one horror story about people being rejected for the mission field due to their psychological tests results, so he visited a pagan friend of his across the street who worked as a Pharmaceutical Engineer at Pfizer and asked his buddy if he would take the psychological tests for Baxter under Baxter’s name.

Baxter’s neighbor loved to operate on a quid pro quo basis and so he asked Baxter,

“What will you give me?”

“Will a couple of six-packs be enough incentive,” Baxter asked.

“Sure,” Marc replied. “Should I take those tests before or after I polish off the six-packs” he asked capriciously.

“Better take them afterwards” Baxter said. “It’ll make for better test scores.”

The next day Baxter dropped off the tests with his name and information on it already filled out along with a couple six-packs of Budweiser.

Baxter knew that Marc was an unbeliever. He had spoke many times to Marc about Marc’s harem of revolving girlfriends and had warned him that all those uppers that Marc took to keep going were eventually going to catch up with him. Marc hadn’t yet hit the wall of his sin but Baxter knew the time was coming when Marc would be willing to listen to him with more interest. Until that time Baxter kept up a sincere friendship.

Baxter figured, given Doris’ explanation about the tests, that a comparatively well adjusted pagan like Marc would score better on these exams then somebody like himself who was really quite counter-cultural.

And so on the day after Baxter had given him the tests Marc showed up with both the completed tests and the Bud empties to return. As he handed the tests and the empties to Baxter, Marc offered;

“That was a strange test.”

Baxter smiled, took the completed tests and the empties from Marc, and good naturedly said, “Yeah, I know, that’s why I asked you to take it.”

They both had a good laugh and Marc soon left. Baxter grabbed the TRGM envelope stuffed the completed tests in and after applying the proper postage dropped it in the mailbox.

Now, 6 months later, the time of truth had arrived. Baxter showed up at the TRGM Shrink’s door at the appointed hour. He was tempted to stretch out on the couch but he figured the Shrink had probably had that gag pulled on him a thousand times.

Dr. Darryl Meanswell opened their time together with a word of prayer. Upon saying ‘Amen’ he opened up their conversation with small talk asking how Baxter was doing at orientation. Baxter hit all the proper reply buttons and things were going smoothly.

Dr. Meanswell, said, “Baxter, I wish we had more time to go over these tests more thoroughly but since we are on a schedule I think we need to get down to business.”

Meanswell continued, “There is nothing in your tests that serves as a red flag to us that would prohibit you from serving on the Mission field with TRGM. The tests seem to indicate that you function well.” You seem to have a real affection for people…”

Here Baxter smiled and envisioned all the affection that Marc had for all those revolving women.

“And the tests seems to indicate you have boundless energy…”

Baxter could barely contain himself as he recalled Mr. Upper’s (Marc’s) 24-7 schedule.

Meanswell paused, and asked Baxter, “Does that sound like you Son?”

Baxter barely had enough energy to reply, “Yes sir it does.”

Finally, Dr. Meanswell, pointed out the bar on the test that indicated Baxter’s high intelligence, and said, “Baxter, the Mission field needs smart people. You’ll be a real asset.”

Baxter always knew that Marc didn’t get to be a Pharmaceutical engineer by watching the three stooges, but he also figured his plan to have Marc take the psychological tests was its own unique stroke of genius.

“These tests never miss,” replied Dr. Meanswell. “I don’t know how the church operated without them all these years.”

“Hard to believe, isn’t it Doc,” said Baxter.

Meanswell spent the rest of the time talking about some predilections that tests had pointed out that Baxter should beware of about himself. Baxter, compliantly agreed with each one.

Soon the shrink time was over and Dr. Meanswell dismissed Baxter.

Baxter, left, looking forward to telling his non-Christian friend Marc how ready for the Mission field he was.

Linguistic Playtime

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean . . neither more nor less.”

Today the news reported that California has actually begun to dispense ‘marriage’ licenses for homosexuals. In the news report it was noted that State officials, being the clever bunch that they are, had changed the licenses which previously had spaces for the names of the ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ to provide spaces for the names of ‘partner A’ and ‘partner B.’

I thought that odd.

I means, hells bells, if your going to go ahead and redefine the meaning of the word ‘marriage’ so that it no longer means the joining of a man and woman in a covenantal bond why not go ahead and change the meaning of the words ‘bride’ and ‘groom.’ If the word ‘marriage’ can now mean the ‘uniting’ (even that word needs to be redefined) of two people of the same sex (and what does the word ’sex’ mean anyway?), why does the word ‘bride’ have to carry the connotation of a female party? And why does the word ‘groom’ have to carry the connotation of a male party? And for that matter what do ‘male’ and ‘female’ really mean?

And why stop there? If we are about redefining words to fit our pleasures then why should we constrain and limit the word ‘marriage’ to two parties? If we are about redefining words to fit our pleasures then why should we constrain and limit the word ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ to refer to human species? Is it only social convention that prevents us from defining marriage as a joining of three or more species?

There was a time when the Lewis Carroll quote we started with was clearly understood as satire.

Obama’s ‘Christian’ Faith And Commentary

Back when Barack Hussein Obama was a lowly Illinois State Senator he did an interview with the Chicago Sun Times that was resurrected recently at a Dispensational News Service. In that interview Obama spoke freely of His ‘Christian’ faith.

“So, I have a deep faith. I’m rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.”

Barack Hussein Obama’s deep faith rests in the idea that there are many paths to the same place. How is that faith rooted in the ‘Christian tradition?’

That there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there’s an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived.”

This would suggest that Obama is not Post-modern. Keep in mind that some of those values that transcend race or culture that all of us as individual and as a community have a obligation to take responsibility for in order to make those transcendent values live is the murder of the unborn, theft in the way of confiscatory taxation, advocacy for the Nanny Government, and socialized health care.

When queried about the exclusive claims of Christianity when compared to his many paths understanding Barack offered,

That depends, Obama says, on how a particular verse from the Gospel of John, where Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me,” is heard.

Now this would suggest that Obama is post-modern. The text has no meaning except for how the reader or listener reads or hears the text.

Still, Obama is unapologetic in saying he has a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” As a sign of that relationship, he says, he walked down the aisle of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ in response to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s altar call one Sunday morning about 16 years ago.

BHO relates that his sacramental aisle walk (thank you Billy Graham) was not the result of an epiphany but rather the confirmation of a long simmering faith.

Can’t you just here the Sermon from Racist Wright before the altar call?

“All you that want Jesus to save you from white oppression, all you who want to be saved by Jesus from the government’s plot to infect you with AIDS, all you who want to be part of the remnant that is saved from God damning America, He be, and we be waiting here at the altar for you.”

“Part of the reason I think it’s always difficult for public figures to talk about this (his Christian Faith) is that the nature of politics is that you want to have everybody like you and project the best possible traits onto you,” he says. “Oftentimes, that’s by being as vague as possible, or appealing to the lowest common denominators. The more specific and detailed you are on issues as personal and fundamental as your faith, the more potentially dangerous it is.

Every time BHO talks about ‘hope,’ and ‘change’ that emboldened quote ought to be a hammer that hits people between the eyes.

“The difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and proselytize. There’s the belief, certainly in some quarters, that if people haven’t embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior, they’re going to hell.”

Does this therefore mean that BHO believes that evangelizing and proselytizing is bad?

“I don’t presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die,” he says. “When I tuck in my daughters at night, and I feel like I’ve been a good father to them, and I see in them that I am transferring values that I got from my mother and that they’re kind people and that they’re honest people, and they’re curious people, that’s a little piece of heaven.”

I think Obama is the disciple of that great Christian Saint John Lennon,

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

I wonder if Obama has a Motown version of this song he does?


So you got yourself born again?


Yeah, although I don’t, I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma. And I’m not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I’ve got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.

I’m a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at it’s best comes with a big dose of doubt. I’m suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding.

His views on tolerance could allow him to sing along with St. John Lennon’s Second verse,

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

Do you suppose his Harvard graduate is also disturbed by people who are absolutely certain that there is no certainty and who have no tolerance for those who who don’t agree with them about tolerance?

I think that, particularly as somebody who’s now in the public realm and is a student of what brings people together and what drives them apart, there’s an enormous amount of damage done around the world in the name of religion and certainty.

Is he certain about that? Can certainty about uncertainty bring us all together?


What I believe (about heaven) is that if I live my life as well as I can, that I will be rewarded. I don’t presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. But I feel very strongly that whether the reward is in the here and now or in the hereafter, the aligning myself to my faith and my values is a good thing.

How is it possible for one not to be aligned to their faith and values? If one is not aligned to their faith and values doesn’t that mean that their faith and values is something besides what they say they are thus showing they are indeed aligned with their faith and values? I am so confused.

When I tuck in my daughters at night and I feel like I’ve been a good father to them, and I see in them that I am transferring values that I got from my mother and that they’re kind people and that they’re honest people, and they’re curious people, that’s a little piece of heaven.

I actually agree with this. The problem though is the question of what standard Obama is using to measure honesty, kindness and curiosity. One has serious doubts that he is using a Christian standard to measure those transferred values. For example, how kind is it to be one of the biggest supporters of killing unborn babies?

Do you believe in sin?


What is sin?

Being out of alignment with my values.


What are your values?


Abortion, Confiscatory Taxation, Wealth Redistribution, Black Nationalism, Global Government, Global Warming, Reparations, Friendship with Bombers, Racists, and Assorted fruitcakes… to name only a few.

Black Conservatives For Obama

Yesterday in my Lansing State Journal there was a long piece on how Black Conservatives may end up voting for Barack Hussein Obama this year because of the historic opportunity to have a Black man as President. They interviewed several well known and not so well known Black Conservatives to put meat on the bones of the story.

So, I have a few questions…

Can you really be a conservative and vote for a guy you know is virulently against your alleged convictions? (Yes, Yes, I know… Evangelicals do this all the time.)

How is it that voting for somebody because of their race helps to get us beyond race? Isn’t that kind of counter-intuitive?

What is it in the injured psyche of some people (White and Black) that can only be healed with the election of Barack Hussein Obama?

If Black Conservatives will vote for Barack Hussein Obama only because he is Black isn’t that a form of identity politics that Conservatives otherwise rail against?

Some commentary I read suggested that this article was a spin piece put out by the Obama campaign and pointed out the article also named some Black conservatives who, while saying they were proud of Obama as a Black Man reaching these heights, they were going to do everything they could to defeat him.

Here is the question that begs to be asked. What would Black conservatives think of White conservatives if the Presidential race was one where the Republican, Thomas Sowell was running against the Democrat, Ted Kennedy, and White Conservatives were being interviewed saying they were going to vote for Ted Kennedy because he is one of us?

Father’s Day Memoriam — David Lee McAtee

My Father, David Lee McAtee, was born in 1936 in the midst of the poverty of the great depression. He was born into a farm home where his Mom, who was single and pregnant, was forced to marry a man who had several children already and had recently lost his wife in childbirth. Dad was never sure if the man his Mom married was really his Dad.

I never knew my Dad’s Dad as he died before I was born. What little I pieced together over the years suggested that my Dad’s Dad was ‘bad to drink,’ and that he took his liquor out on his son, my Dad. As is the case with many women who are pregnant out of wedlock, my Dad’s mom was overprotective of my Dad to a fault. All this is to say that my Dad’s upbringing was difficult.

He fled home immediately after high school enlisting in the US Army Paratroopers. Dad didn’t speak much of the war years in Korea but what little he did speak suggested that he was uncomfortable with his role in Korea. He once made an offhand comment about shooting people the way he shot rabbits when we went hunting. I don’t ever remember my Father shooting a gun and missing what he was aiming at. Dad was eventually given a medical discharge for a injury received while jumping with his unit. Somewhere around here there is a picture of him in some military magazine in a hospital shaking hands with some visiting British dignitary.

Between his messed up upbringing and his messed up time in the military my Father was a hard man who had a difficult time functioning in social settings. His cruelty, learned from his own Father, carried over into his own family especially to his eldest son. In retrospect, and as odd as it might sound, I think Dad was mean to his eldest because he had the greatest fondness for him. His inability to function in social surroundings took him through a series of revolving jobs. I remember him as a union president at a local factory. I remember him as a salesman, though for the life of me I couldn’t tell you what he sold. I remember him, because I was one of his assistants, along with my siblings, delivering newspapers at 2:00 am on Sunday Mornings. I remember him as an accountant. His revolving jobs meant that Mom did most of the bread-winning in the family. This was a reality that itself caused a great deal of anxiety for him, I think.

Dad had a hard time earning money but he didn’t have a hard time spending it. He loved guns and fishing gear. He also loved books. He didn’t let the fact that he couldn’t afford these things get in the way of actually purchasing them on credit. In later years this came back to bite him as he had to sell many of his collectible firearms in order to square up with the IRS — the one creditor who insists on being paid.

As a boy I remember playing with those weapons while Dad was at work. I never fired them because I knew he would find that out but I would handle each weapon being awed by the craftsmanship.

Whereas men could get away with cruelty in their marriages in earlier generations and get away with it more easily, the times were changing. This meant that the cruelty that Dad carried into his marriage eventuated in his divorce. Women, in the 70’s, while still not having good options in a bad marriage still had more options then their mothers had.

Perhaps, surprising to us all, Dad was able to make a reasonable go at a second marriage, but eventually his spending habits and his inability to hold a job brought tensions into that marriage. His second wife, who was in many ways a kind woman, died not long after their 10th anniversary.

I’ve always thought that Dad’s life may have been a little more adjusted if he had worked with the Department of Natural Resources or something where he could be outdoors. The great outdoors seemed to be the one place where he was able to escape his demons. He was a outstanding fisherman, huntsman and woodsman. He also knew a great deal about hunting dogs. Growing up we always seemed to have a least one beagle and two bird dogs. As I mentioned earlier he also was quite the marksman. I have many fond memories of fishing and hunting with him. I remember hunting rabbits with him accompanied by the neighbors. Both of the hunting parties had Beagles but one of the dogs was particularly high pitched while the other had a bass voice. When the two of them got on a rabbit trail together it was a kind of beautiful sound I’ve never heard since.

Often it was Dad’s habit to say to me after returning from a hunting trip in the evening, “The man in the moon thinks your a goon.” Kind of a funny thing to remember, but it seemed to be a little game he liked to play. Once home we would make sure the dogs were well taken care of and we would proceed to clean the wild game that we shot. I’m not sure now, 35 years later, if I could remember how to skin an animal but when I was 13 I could do it with my eyes closed.

It has been 7 years now since Dad died. I can’t say I have anymore regrets now that he is gone then I did while he was living. My regrets are found in his difficulty to form attachments with those he loved. My regrets are found in in my inability to find a way through his difficulties.

In many ways I am a great deal like my Father. I’ve often thought of myself as a Christian version of my Dad minus the baggage plus God’s incredible saving grace.

On this Fathers Day I thank God for my Dad, being certain that God used him in my life to bend me in the direction that he wanted me bent and I pray that I might be the Father to my son that my Dad struggled being to his children.