Keeping Your Mental Health in a Violent Society by C. John “Jack” Miller

Keeping Your Mental Health in a Violent Society by C. John “Jack” Miller

“The Jack Miller Project,” created in 2015, is committed to sharing research on “The Life, Teaching, and Ministry of C. John ‘Jack’ Miller” with the church and the next generation of church leaders.

My doctoral dissertation at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (completed in May 2019) and the biography Cheer Up! (published in December 2020) are the first-fruits of this ongoing work.

Over the next year, I plan to publish an “Interactive Timeline of The Life, Teaching, and Ministry of Jack Miller.” This project has been in process since 2016, a comprehensive timeline that will allow others to append their own stories about and interactions with Jack Miller and his impact on them personally.

In time I also hope to oversee the building of an interactive iOS and Android App based upon “A New Life” booklet, an application through which Jack Miller’s important teaching and ministry on the subjects of praying together and evangelism—the gospel for Christians and non-Christians—and elenctics (leading in repentance) can be shared as well.

Clair Davis, Professor of Church History at Westminster Seminary, referred to Jack Miller as a “Missionary Statesman.” Uniquely, Jack Miller was a theologian, scholar, pastor, missionary, and literary-cultural-critic.

Though Jack’s talk on the important subjects of mental health and violence is thirty-six years old, you will find that much of what Dr. Miller had to say transcends his own time, and remains insightful and practical today. 
And if you should take the time to listen to the end, you will hear Jack Miller briefly discuss his views on civil disobedience as well as gun rights and control.

Hope you enjoy!

Blessings, Dr. Michael A. (Mike) Graham,

Director of The Jack Miller Project and Teaching Elder at New Life Vicenza 



[00:00:04] When I speak on a topic like “How to keep your mental health in a Violent World,” I guess at the outset I’d like to say that, really I want to be a little more positive than that. Not how just to keep your sanity, but maybe make a positive contribution to solving the problem.

[00:00:28] I think Americans don’t realize the extent to which our society is viewed as violent. I suspect our president doesn’t realize how some of his comments come across in third world countries.

[00:00:44] If you know how many people look at us, I think I can give you an illustration of that. In 1982, we were living in Rubaga, in Kampala, Uganda. And that was a time that there was the first movement of the guerrillas to overthrow the Obote government.

[00:01:06] And it was really a wild time. And you could hear screams at night. Small arms fire, sometimes automatic weapons. And it was enough to make you keep your head down at night, to say the least. And so during this time, I was talking to some of the village chiefs and elders, and I was talking about the criminal elements in our area. And I said, “I really would like to meet some of these people.” And the chief kind of looked at me and said, “Well, he’d be willing to talk to them.”

[00:01:41] So he came back and the answer was pretty negative. So in trying to bring out of him, why were these criminals afraid to meet with me—I feel rather innocuous myself and I don’t think I looked very threatening. But it turned out as best we can discern was that we were Americans and they really were afraid to come into our house.

[00:02:05] And in talking to another Ugandan who knew the neighborhood well, I said “Another thing has interested me. Of all the violence here in the neighborhood, why is no one ever come in and tried to rob us?” And he says, “Oh, you’re Americans.” And I said, “Well, explain that to me.” And he said, “Well, we all know what you’re like. And no, no sane person would come in here after dark.” And I said, “Well, what do you think we might do?” “Well, everybody out there believes you carry guns, and that to come in here would be very dangerous. And even if you didn’t have guns, all it would take is one of you with a panga, and it would be very bad for anybody who came in.”

[00:02:45] So I kind of felt funny for my country. And it dawned on me that their impression of America was through movies. And they had seen all of these shoot-em-up cowboy movies. And they’d seen the detective stuff. And they felt that every American was just, no matter how innocuous he might look, that he carries a revolver somewhere about his person and is prepared to use it on the spot if you cross him.

[00:03:14] So I think sometimes our president speaks into these third world countries. He’s hardly aware. He gets up there and he praises … who’s this Rambo? And people get all kinds of visions about what President Reagan is like and we’re like, and it’s magnified in many, many ways that we’d hardly realize.

[00:03:34] Now, as we come to our topic tonight, I think we don’t want to have misperceptions. I don’t believe that America is as violent as some people think it is, but I do think it is pretty violent.

[00:03:45] So now let’s come to the three things I want to talk about.

[00:03:50] The first is just getting a perception of the facts of the case. You might say, putting it this way, I want to ask first, what’s new in 20th century violence, not only in America, but also throughout the world? Because I really haven’t seen anything in Ugandan violence that I haven’t seen in American violence.

[00:04:13] Now, here, isn’t it odd that we look at the newspapers and we say, Uganda is such a violent country, and you go to Uganda and they say America is such a violent country.

[00:04:24] So what what’s new in the whole world of violence? That’s the first thing I want to talk about.

[00:04:29] And then to go directly to the issues of mental health, personal sanity in a world where violence, we may conclude, is growing.

[00:04:38] And then the third thing, which I hope we get to: Solutions.

[00:04:44] It’s much easier to talk about the problems, its effects, and solutions may be more difficult. But I do believe they’re there, and perhaps not as esoteric and hard to nail down as you may think.

[00:04:59] All I can ask of you on your part, that you try to bring, as much as possible, an open mind to what I say. Naturally, I’m right on everything I say, but you may not perceive that right away. And so if it takes a while to see that, you know, do yourself a favor by listening carefully. And if you think I’m crazy. Well, just bear with me. All right? So you’ll have your chance to have a good shot at me. And my skin is thick. If you think I’m all wrong, you feel free to tell me and we can have good dialog about it.

[00:05:33] So first, what’s new in 20th century violence? What is it that may threaten the mental health and stability of us as individuals and even our families?

[00:05:46] Well, I think one of the things that I, as a person who is older than most of you, would notice is the increasing publicity given to violence in our time. Now, I didn’t grow up with the advantages of TV. We barely had a radio where I grew up. And it was in a place called Oregon. It’s north of California for those of you who don’t know about it.

[00:06:11] And anyway, in that world, we had a certain amount of violence, some real, real violence. But it was not something that was visualized for you all the time. It didn’t come at you from every angle. And so I think what you have then is a widespread reporting.

[00:06:29] Now, newspapers have always given stories of violence, American newspapers especially. But it’s cold print. And when you turn your TV set on and you watch the news at 5:00 o’clock or 6, what you see is it visualized. You see the bodies being carried out on the stretchers after the fire, after the murder and the mayhem, whatever it may be. And you’re kind of right there. And whether you know it or not, emotionally, you’re involved. Isn’t that true?

[00:07:04] Now, it isn’t so that newspaper reporting never involved us emotionally, but there’s something more vivid. And it’s also it’s more widespread in that the reporting of news on the television, there’s just a coverage there that is very, very wide. You have the terrorists on TV. You have the wars and the conflicts around the world being reported on TV. You don’t really watch TV at all if you don’t know a good deal about Beirut. And you don’t watch it very much if you don’t know something about violence in South Africa and so on. And you also know about what happened with the hijacking of the Achille Lauro. We saw saw that close up. We saw a hijacking before. And the terrorists were right there on television, not exactly looking at you eyeball to eyeball because they had hoods on or something, but nonetheless, their presence was felt. And so it’s both intense and widespread, the news reporting.

[00:08:10] Also there is a great deal of discussion of the violence. It’s analyzed for you on television. This is, of course, done in periodicals. It’s done for you in books, and it’s done for you in magazines. But here it has a certain vividness, a certain, almost ubiquitous nature. It’s there, everywhere, through the eye and the ear as you watch television.

[00:08:35] And of course, you can’t minimize the police shows and the detective shows. Now, I’m a great lover of Agatha Christie and all of those people, but somehow it never seemed violent to me. But when you see it on television, Miami Vice is not exactly a quiet world. I mean, in Agatha Christie, the body was always lying there, rather neatly arranged or something. Or if there was a knife, it was something got cleaned up pretty quickly. But Miami Vice or some Hill Street Blues, you see bodies blown all over the place. And the movies the same. You see a great amount of violence in films. Well, it hits you and it hits you.

[00:09:20] And then it’s also true, we get the, what I would call, the constructive films attempting to analyze violence of the 20th century. You have films on the Holocaust, the Nazi Holocaust. You have films on the Holocaust in Uganda. You have films on the Holocaust in Cambodia. And these are brought to us with great vividness. We’re very much aware of how terrible it was in Cambodia, as you see a film like The Killing Fields. And then also there are probably abuses of violence in our time that were there for a good while that have only now become exposed.

[00:10:07] I’m thinking of the family conflicts, the wife beating. And I think that has been growing. And I think child abuse is growing. I think incest has been growing. But I was aware of it at least myself back in 1970. But it’s only come to the fore in a really public way through better reporting of it, better knowledge of it. In the last, what, five or six years? And during that time, there become a heightened interest in it and a better knowledge of it. And it’s another way that the emotions are impressed by a world which looks very, very ugly indeed.

[00:10:51] And then we also have some new trends in the forms that violence is taking, both in the way it’s presented to us, dramatized to us, but also in just the sheer quantity of it.

[00:11:06] For example, it’s come so gradually, but we have a number of cities in America that are really kind of the world murder capitals. It used to be Atlanta. Someone told me it had switched to Detroit, and before that I think it was Newark. And I think New York City has very, very high homicide rates. And I believe Los Angeles does, too. And if you compare this to some countries in Western Europe, say there would be more people killed in a city like Detroit than there would be in a year’s time in Detroit, than there would be in this whole European country for a year’s time … many more. And so what has happened is our cities have become really violent places, and the handguns are not only a little bit available, they’re everywhere in the inner cities. And when people, they buy them to protect themselves against violence from outside, and often what happens, a family quarrel breaks out and somebody runs and gets the handgun from underneath the pillow and settles the argument with one or two shots. And this is certainly an American violence story.

[00:12:29] Now, we also have organized crime becoming more organized. Even a few years ago, a friend of mine who owned a department store in California, he had moved from Manhattan Beach, where he had one department store up to Modesto, California, where he had another. In the meantime, he was a man of some wealth, and he left his home there and he wanted to go back and get some of his furniture. And he sent an aunt in to look over his furniture and see how it was going back in Manhattan Beach. And she came and unlocked the door and went in one evening and she discovered all the furniture and all the household goods were very well organized and classified … by a local gang. They had all this kind of furniture here, silverware here, drapes here, and so on. It was all well worked out. And she called the police and said, “There’s an organized robbery going on at this home.” Now, you’d think they’d have some clout, his being a prominent member of the community? The reply of the police was, “We have so many emergencies going on, don’t fool around with us. We don’t have time for this sort of thing.” And so she quietly locked the door and went out and let the gang come back. And that same evening they removed it all.

[00:13:51] And that’s a bit frightening. It’s maybe not as bad as Clockwork Orange, but it’s certainly heading there where the police themselves have given up in parts of society.

[00:14:02] Now, if you want to say that, “I’m certainly glad that’s in California.” I don’t know whether you saw the CBS special on Ninth and Butler. It’s Ninth and Butler, isn’t it? Ninth and 10th in there, where they reported that on one corner alone in Philadelphia, $11 million worth of cocaine are sold on that corner alone per year.

[00:14:27] I call up a friend who lives in the neighborhood down there, and I said, “Was CBS exaggerating?” And my friend said, “No, I’m sure they underestimated it considerably.”. And the report was that the police arrest people and within 20 minutes some of them were back on the same corner.

[00:14:47] Now, that’s awesome. And that’s Philadelphia. I mean, it’s obviously, it’s organized, it’s pervasive and it’s strong. That’s a new feature in American life. Now, I don’t mean there’s never been gangs. You had the mafias of the twenties and even during the First World War. There was an Irish mafia. There was a Jewish mafia, Italian mafias and so on. And they were pretty bad. But I think we find that they are pervasive today and they are much more able to penetrate legitimate society.

[00:15:17] But then we have another thing in our time and something that’s grown up so gradually, and its taken over almost imperceptibly until it’s become a monster, and we haven’t really recognized its existence. It’s what you might call ideological violence.

[00:15:36] Do you know what I mean by that? Well, you have it … There was a book written called The Mind of the Assassin. I forget the name of the author, but it’s about the assassin who killed Trotsky in Mexico City, what was it 36 or 37.

[00:15:53] Anyway, he killed him for philosophical reasons, because he was a different kind of Marxist. And we have a great deal of that in our century. It’s multiplied and multiplied. Both Nietzsche and Dostoevsky, speaking from the platform of the 19th century, as they looked into our century, they said, “Even though now is a time of really remarkable world peace, we predict that the 20th century is going to be filled with wars.”.

[00:16:20] And they were right. And no one believed them. They all thought they were madmen, but they weren’t. Ideological violence.

[00:16:29] And if you have seen the problems with MOVE? It may not be a very clear ideology, but I certainly have a great deal of sympathy for the mayor of Philadelphia, not because I think they handled things well, I don’t think they handled things particularly well at all. But I don’t think the typical American city administration is really prepared for people who, for ideological reasons, are really ready to sacrifice their own lives. I think it’s hard for us to believe even that people like that exist, and perhaps we don’t even take them very seriously. We just say, “Well, you know, there’s some kooks around” and get on with our business. But we have terrorist groups of all kinds in this world. We have right wingers, we have left wing ones. And we recently saw what happened in Rome and Venice and then, of course, on the Achille Lauro. And it’s really tragic.

[00:17:23] And this ideological violence is so much around us. I just came back from Ireland. Well, when I. I just came from Kenya and I landed in the Amsterdam airport, and a friend at the embassy wanted to show me the embassy. And when I got to the embassy, I lost all taste for looking at the embassy. Here it was, all these barricades out there, and then there was a Dutch police van there to prevent somebody driving a big truck with explosives into it. And I suddenly felt looking, I think, I don’t want to look like an American. And I very carefully straightened my English looking hat and said to my friend, “As soon as we can leave here, the better. I’m not the kind of hero that wants to get shot down just because he’s an American.”. There was, of course, a rumor that the embassy was going to be attacked, and that dawned on me that “Here we are right here.” And I just didn’t feel that it was any great patriotic act for me to stay there.

[00:18:24] And then when I went to Dublin and came back a week later, I walked into the airport in Amsterdam, and when I walked in, the whole place was covered with smoke. And, you know, you try to act cool and all that. And when you walk up to the people in charge, you don’t want to act like your a little American scared to death. But I said, “Where did all the smoke cover from?” And they said, “Oh, just some action group letting off a stink bomb.” And so I thought, “Oh, the modern world.”

[00:18:56] And so they are ideological reasons, people with a cause, and they bring violence almost, you might call it, righteous violence of a very murderous sort.

[00:19:08] And you have it also with attacks on abortion clinics. The feeling is that abortion clinics are wrong and therefore they should be destroyed. Or I would even carry it a step further and say, perhaps we ought to consider whether abortion itself isn’t a form of violence which is unique to our century.

[00:19:29] But however you think of that, the issue is really that it’s increasing and there’s more and more of it, the taking of life.

[00:19:37] Then there’s another kind of violence which has always been around but has greatly multiplied in our time. And it’s what I would call thrill violence.

[00:19:48] I’m a reader of detective stories, and I read the first detective story ever outside maybe of Graham Greene recently, in which the author actually depicted murder as done as a thrill. And I think that’s very modern. Very modern. And when you look at rock video—now, I don’t, but I’ve just seen quick flashes of it on TV for teenagers—and you’ll find there’s is kind of mocked and joked about but it’s very violent.

[00:20:19] And then with it you have teenage suicide. That there has been a kind of a wave of popularity of teenage suicide and where you have actually teenagers saying it’s neat. Now that’s something new. And when you have waves of them doing it, it’s just something that has become epidemic. It’s a new world.

[00:20:43] Then you also have people who like Charles Manson, who obviously murder for a kind of a kick out of it. You have the serial killers of women and children that have appeared in our time. It’s enough to get you to be scared to death by all of  these changes. And you have also in our own congregation, one of our young men, his father, Paul Kent, was killed a few years ago by a man who I think did it just for a thrill. He had taken his credit cards. He had his car. He had very little money on him. And he simply shot him. And why did he do it? Well, you might have various justifications that he maybe wanted to eliminate the witness and all the rest. But the truth of the matter is, I think the man did it out of that very terrible motive of just living for the kicks of it.

[00:21:39] And then also there is in our time a what you might call revenge violence, uh, violent heroes who are kind of comic book figures, not in the sense they’re funny, but that they, they have comic book backgrounds. And I’m thinking of Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood. Death Wish, Charles Bronson. Clint Eastwood, of course, Dirty Harry and all the rest. Now, I’ve not seen all of these things, by the way. I’m a great reader of books. Well, I’ve seen enough of them. And the the picture you get is simply a very violent people getting even. And of course, you have Rambo and Commando and now Miami Vice. And if you go around the high school today, what do you suppose you see? Now, I have not seen Rambo yet. I couldn’t quite get myself to do that. But what do you see? I saw some of the advertising. How’s he dressed? He’s got this cut off shirt or jacket and his massive arms are hanging out. Right? And he’s all ready for action. You’re in a high school today, you’ll see guys walking around dressed like that. Your going to see more of them, I think. And it’s getting younger and it’s getting younger. It’s a bit scary.

[00:22:55] And now, I think there’s another thing that’s unique in our time, and this kind of brings us to the heart of this, this analysis.

[00:23:05] And it’s the sense of powerlessness that people have when it comes to facing up to violence—that most people, at first, they get indignant, they say, “Somebody ought to do something about that. How much can we take?” And then they sink back and are left with this feeling of impotence.

[00:23:25] Now, I want to show you that this is part of the violence picture, because I do believe that violence can only thrive where it’s tolerated.

[00:23:38] That’s one of the main points I want to make tonight. Violence can only thrive where it’s tolerated, where it’s gradually accepted, if not as normal, at least as average and typical.

[00:23:51] That once you accept that Ninth and Buttler can have, Ninth and Butler can have $11 million worth of coke sold there for a year, then you’ve done yourself in. I really believe that. And I think there’s the crux of the problem.

[00:24:12] If you look at what happened with the MOVE problem, what was wrong with the administration’s handling of it? Well, it didn’t take a commission to point out the obvious thing, that if you let a group like that fortify themselves in a house and turn it into a heavily armored bunker, you’re in for problems. They were simply,  the city government was simply intimidated by those people. Isn’t that true? They felt powerless in the face of the ideological motivation of these really pretty threatening people.

[00:24:44] And it seems to me that when we begin to face this … We have the death of a local doctor when I was in Kenya, I received these newspaper reports or mailed to me and a hideous crime. And people are momentarily indignant and they say this shouldn’t be and then nothing is done. It just is allowed to lie (back) people feel there’s not much you can do about it and they just lie back. And then the next one occurs. There’s a momentary indignation, somebody ought to do something about it. Nothing is done, and then it’s repeated.

[00:25:21] Now what it means is simply this. Let me give you an illustration which will show you how we have changed in America and how we’re continuing to change, moving into A Clockwork Orange World and out of the world of our past, our heritage.

[00:25:35] For instance, when Alexis de Tocqueville was here in our country in 1829, he did all his research for his two volume work, Democracy in America. And he has a comment in there that is quite illuminating. He says, “Crime cannot flourish in America because every American is a self-appointed officer of the law. And if somebody commits a crime, the whole community takes out after him and very shortly he’s apprehended.”.

[00:26:09] Would Alexis de Tocqueville write that today? No. But what we do today when a crime is committed, is buy another lock for the door. And we withdraw. And the reason this is now bound to get worse, and what complicates it, is the continuing spread of the use of drugs.

[00:26:37] I believe, if my memory doesn’t fail me, that the drug business in the United States, I mean, the illegal drug business now moves $200 billion a year. Is that right? Is that figure right? I think it’s very close. And there now are 5 million heavy cocaine users in the United States. 1 million of them are in the New York area.

[00:27:02] Now, if that continues, violence must mount, heroin users, etc.. Wherever there’s hard drug usage, there’s bound to be the increase of violence. And what’s happening? These drugs are going down to younger and younger ages. And the longer people use these drugs, the more likely they are to become strongly hooked and become violent. And so I hate to tell you, unless we do something, we’re headed to a state in which violence is going to be found on every hand, and people will be buying double locks on their doors and putting up these metal bars to support the door, even in cities like Jenkintown and Glenside, if it just keeps on going. And my hope is that that will not happen. But I’m afraid if we go on to the present rate, that that could happen.

[00:27:53] Now, the issues of mental health.

[00:27:56] Well, the first one I want to talk about under the issues of mental health is in spite of how bad things are, that what’s happening is the creation in our time of a climate of fear. And that’s the worst way to handle violence.

[00:28:13] Whenever I’ve been with my wife in an area, in a ghetto, or in Uganda, or some other place, one of the things I’ve always tried to teach her is never show fear. I said, “No matter how chicken you are on the inside,” and I said, “Believe me, inside my knees may be just beating together” … “Never show it. Always act like you own the world.”.

[00:28:34] And I’ve had people come towards me. I knew they were intending to rob me and I went over and gave them a good, strong exhortation.

[00:28:45] And so, always act like you own the world and maybe you will end up owning it. But if we let them intimidate us, and what’s happening, you see television and newspapers and all the rest are reporting so much of it. As bad as it is, and I’m not trying to underestimate it. I think it’s very dangerous. It’s very bad. But as bad as it is, it’s not as pervasive as they make it look.

[00:29:13] And the danger to your mental health and mine is that we’ll be so preoccupied with things that are threatening, we will not see the opportunity to do something about it.

[00:29:25] Are you with me on that? Do you see what I’m saying? The line of reasoning. You don’t have to agree with it. Just, you know, that it registered.

[00:29:33] Alright, now that’s the first point on the issue of mental health—that we have to be careful that we don’t develop media-paranoia in which we think violence is so strong and so all powerful, there’s nothing you can do to resist it, or there’s nobody else that wants to resist it. Isn’t that quite important that you’re not falling into that?

[00:29:55] Now, I know of an example of a woman who seems to me revealed this media paranoia. She’d seen all these things on television, movies and so on, and somebody robbed her house. It wasn’t a very bad robbery, but it was a robbery. When it’s your house, it’s a bad robbery, I guess. And what did she do? Well, she bought a lot of extra locks and put in a burglar alarm system, and then she decided, well, that wasn’t enough. So she had a high chain fence built around her house, and then she bought a big dog, and then she put a lock on the chain fence and wondered why her friends never visited anymore.

[00:30:31] And that illustrates the kind of thing I’m talking about. There are problems out there. There are dangers out there, and they’re quite threatening in some ways, but they’re not threatening in that particular way … To get locked in and making our own life a kind of a mental prison. It is simply no constructive way to handle it.

[00:30:52] And then also, I think the one of the problems, especially for children, I think the sheer amount of violence they’re seeing on television, reading about in comic books and in other ways, is giving them a false picture of the world. That these things are leading them to think of the world as more violent than it really is. Or you might even say their perceptions are being distorted severely enough by what they’re seeing, by what they’re hearing, that they begin to view the world in a kinky way as though the world is violent and it can only have violent solutions to its problems.

[00:31:32] And I think that is very serious for the mental welfare of children in our country. And they tend to oversimplify the conflict between good and evil. If you’ve got if you’ve got some evil person out there, then what you need is great strength, or you get a gun, and you simply shoot down all the violent people and you solve the violent people by killing them all off, or the problem of violent people. You you deal with it the way the Queen of Hearts did in Alice in Wonderland. Isn’t it, “Off of their heads?” Well, that is a kind of approach as communicated to our children.

[00:32:10] Then with it is that, I don’t believe you’re a mentally healthy person unless you have some moral absolutes.

[00:32:22] Now, you may really want to challenge that one, but I think you’ve got them, whether you admit it or not. And I think they can be a very powerful thing in society if you’re willing to say that, “I have thought through the issues and I believe some things are right and some things are wrong, and I’m going to stand up for what I believe is right. And I’m going to stand, I believe some things are evil.”.

[00:32:46] And if you hold that, then I think you’re moving in the direction of mental health. But I think what is happening in our culture, the Ten Commandments have been taken out of the public school system, and sometimes I suspect they’ve even been taken out of our churches. And so there’s no sense of here’s the line and cross it and you’re a transgressor. And so what we get is a kind of a fog.

[00:33:13] And if you talk with people about mental, with mental problems, who feel loss of identity or perhaps loss of perception of reality, one of the things that’s lacking is there’s nothing they really can nail down. Everything is vague and confused. It’s as though they were kind of like a ship in a fog that had no compass and no way of guiding itself.

[00:33:37] And if you don’t have any moral absolutes, like thou shalt not kill or thou shall not commit adultery, and if you don’t stand for them, then you just sort of go back and forth. And what it does is it overloads your conscience. I believe man was made in God’s image and as an image of God, He has a consciousness of right and wrong, and it is constantly blunted by things you you refuse to evaluate or to take stands on. Then you’re going to become less of a mature person.

[00:34:10] And now the other thing, which really flows out of that, is that there’s also a loss of indignation.

[00:34:18] Now, I’ve practically said that in talking about the way violence was taking over. But people really don’t know how to get indignant anymore. And I remember when pornography first began to come into the drugstores, and I went into the first drug store where I saw it all up there on display. And I went over to the druggist and said, “Whoa, over here. What’s this?” You know. But today. Would I do that? I’d spend all my time going into the 7-Eleven. Or Pointing people out. Now, maybe I should. But you lose, you see, your sense of things, certain things are wrong, certain things are right. The edges are worn down.

[00:35:05] Now, I remember we started a church over in Logan, and it’s sort of in the Fern Rock, near the Logan area. And while we were there, there were a great number of murders that occurred. They were happening weekly. And so we did some things. We just fronted it in the community. We went around and we made up some pamphlets. And basically, “God denounces murder.” Very plain. We saw that every body and every home in the whole area got one. We talked to people. We did many things with them. Would you believe it stopped, because we were indignant? Nobody tried it before. But it worked.

[00:35:51] And you see, you only have mental health as you see yourself really hating violence. Now, that doesn’t mean that you hate people. There’s a difference, you know?

[00:36:03] Now, the other thing, of course, that comes out of this, seems to me, the way that a person loses touch with reality as he kind of lets the world drift by; he doesn’t take stands; he doesn’t believe anything can be done, or only it’s not safe, I’m threatened by it. If he doesn’t take a stand, he becomes hopeless. And as he looks at the violent person, if he would even try to deal with that violent person, he would be speaking from his fear to that other person’s fear.

[00:36:36] Because I have worked with a lot of violent people. Some of them are murderers. And the thing that struck me is not only are these people loaded down with guilt, but they’re also very fearful. Many times, murderers are not only self-righteous and loaded down with guilt, but they’re fearful people. And you can’t speak from your fear and your hopelessness into that person’s hopelessness. And what I see under the surface of so much American optimism is a sense of despair. There’s really nothing can be done. Even if I lift up a little banner here, it really wouldn’t matter that much. And I think that kind of deep frustration is something that should be wrestled with, faced up to and asked, is this really the way to go?

[00:37:21] Well, now we come to solutions.

[00:37:25] And I’d like to give you some thoughts about children and violence. First of all, there have been some psychological studies done about children and violence. And those studies reveal clearly that if children watch a lot of violence on TV, it will affect them. It’ll affect them in any number of ways, which I don’t have time to go into, but it certainly will affect them.

[00:37:47] But it’s also been found there. There’s some very simple ways to help children that have a fairly good family relationship with their parents out of that problem. And one thing psychologists have done is a very simple thing. They have the child has been watching a lot of TV and the child has become disoriented or violent. They simply have the child sit down and write an essay, maybe about a page on the TV programs they have seen. And then they are asked to say whether they think these programs deal with reality. They just force that question on the child. Are you seeing a real world in all this violence you’re viewing on television?

[00:38:34] And they have found that through those discussions and the child is working on it, thinking it through, that it’s surprising that in about an hour or two a child can be pulled out of most of it. That’s very encouraging to me. But it’s been done again and again. It isn’t just a casual experiment. It was done systematically.

[00:38:53] Well, now, if that’s so, then I think we ought to agree that it would also be wise for more and more parents to help children discuss the programs they see with a view to getting them to say, Is this real? Is this the way the life is or is this the way it should be? Is there something wrong here? And then, of course, it wouldn’t hurt in many cases for you and the child to agree to turn it off. Right. And an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That you ought to find some positive programs for children.

[00:39:29] And I think people could work in their neighborhoods, talk it over with neighbors. What are your children watching on TV? What do you think about the violence in the world today? And you could become a little crusader for getting people to think through issues of maybe controlling the television set so it does not condition our children in the direction of violence.

[00:39:51] Okay. Now, I’d also say this. If you’re a normal person living in this world of violence, you’re going to have some fears. If you are not afraid of anything, you really ought to be institutionalized. You’re certainly not safe. And if you’re not afraid of some of the violent people in our time, you’re really nuts. Because there are some people out there that really warrant your fear. And so fear in itself is not unhealthy if it’s facing reality.

[00:40:25] Now, the thing to do, if you’re afraid of people and some of the violent ones out there, don’t suppress those fears. That is not dealing with what the Bible calls walking in the light. If you’re afraid you’ve got a lot of fears, bring them out and talk them over with a good friend and see which ones are real and which ones are unreal. To what extent are you developing a kind of a paranoia about violence and life?

[00:40:52] Now, this is going to sound very un-American, but bear with it and its probably wrong anyway. But did you notice that life is 100% mortal anyway? Did you ever notice that, that life is 100% mortal? Quoting a friend of mine, you know it’s 100% fatal. We all die sometime. Did you ever think about the possibility that you are going to die?

[00:41:25] Now, for me, I didn’t think this up myself, my daughter did. She’s married to a Baptist pastor in North Philadelphia, not far from Ninth and Butler. And she has her three children there, has foster children, too. And we’ve talked about it. And she said to me, well, you ought to consider the fact, or we have, that when we go into this area, some of us might die or some of us might be hurt or injured in some terrible way. But we accept it. We say it could happen and we look at it and we face it and we forget about it.

[00:42:02] And it’s the same thing with you and your death. Someday you’re going to die. And therefore, if you never look at it, if you never face up to it, then it can become a kind of a paralyzing thing. But if you say, “Yes, I’m going to die sometime,” but like Shakespeare, “I’m not going to be a coward. Cowards die. What? Thousand times? How many? What is it? Right. “The valiant never taste of death but once.” Right. Thank you, Irma. That was a good correction. I almost butchered Shakespeare here. Somebody would have taken back my Ph.D. if I had finished that quote the way I was going through it. Well, so much for imperfection.

[00:42:44] But the thing I want you to see is, if you’re going to die anyway, you might as well live with some courage in the meantime. Right. Does that make any sense to anybody? I know it’s not American. We’re opposed to death. And I think we outlawed it in the Constitution somewhere. Isn’t that right? It is forbidden for Americans to die. We never die. Europeans tell me you don’t die. You just disappear here.

[00:43:14] Well, anyway, whether that is, I’m teasing a bit here. But look, if you only have one life to lead, why don’t you make it count? And why don’t you say, “Yes, I’m going to die anyway, so I’m not going to be afraid of people who are violent or evil. I’m going to stand up to them.” Now. It means you take reasonable precautions. But once you’ve accepted the possibility of your own death, then you really are, kind of like, you have a kind of an immortality. Its going to happen to you anyway.

[00:43:45] I remember one time my wife … it was really funny. We were in Kampala and a guerrilla sympathizer had fled into our yard. My son in law, Bob Heppi, was supposed to put up the gate, but you know how it is. He’s more scholarly than he is carpentry oriented. And he hadn’t put it up. This guy goes into the yard and the soldiers come in pursuing him. They’ve got these heavy weapons. Right in front of our door. They’re booming right there, you know. And we all huddle inside of the house and a little hallway. And while we’re doing that, it even scared Bob, who used to be a violent fellow in his own way. I’ve never seen him scared. He was afraid for Gillian, their daughter, and he and Karen, and we were covering their bodies.

[00:44:32] And so somebody had to go to the door and explain to these soldiers that we were peaceful people. And so when I got to the door, I had all these visions of they’re shooting through that glass door. I tried to think of alternative ways of doing this, but there didn’t seem to be any. And I realized at that moment I’m a coward. I’m brave, except in the face of danger.

[00:44:56] And so I got to the door, and pulled the curtain back, and there was great big a [Ugandan] soldier looking at me eyeball to eyeball. And I laughed and he laughed too. And he says, “Oh, Father, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were in there. We’re looking for bandits.”.

[00:45:12] And so I closed the door and I turned around and here, Karen and Rose Marie Karen’s my daughter. Rose Marie is my wife. They had been crying a minute before, and I guess I thought I was going to get some kind of congratulation. And I had saved us and that sort of stuff. And, Rose Marie looked at me in the eye, those blue eyes, German blue eyes blazing, and there was no tears left. And she said, “Jack, you said in your sermon yesterday in the church we were to invite the soldiers into tea and tell them about Christ, and you didn’t do it.” And Karen looks at me, tears are still pretty well in her eyes, and she says, “Yes, Dad, you didn’t do it.” Our hero melted. And I said, “Well, you didn’t hear the whole sermon. Didn’t you hear that proviso. Providing it is appropriate.” And I didn’t think it was appropriate. And they just stood there and shook their heads. And so I crawled back into the hallway and I said, “Alright, the next group that comes through.”.

[00:46:23] The next group that came through, we plunged out the door and met them. And if you ever come to New Life, you know, I’m a long preacher. You know, I like to preach a good sermon. I believe that sermonettes make Christiantettes. And so I like to see real Christians made. But even be that as it may, I preached the shortest sermon on record. There was gunfire all around the place, and I explained to them the purpose of Christ coming into the world. Call them to repentance. And they were so startled, all these soldiers and police, they thought this guy dropped out of out of this spaceship somewhere. Anyway, without their getting time to think. I gathered them into a circle and we all held hands. Rose Marie and Karen and Bob and I and the soldiers and police. And we had a prayer meeting. And we just got so fed up with the violence that we all, we just plunged out there, and we gave them some good, strong exhortation: “Don’t shoot any innocent people” and all the rest. And they were so shocked that they promised from the bottom of their hearts that we won’t shoot any more innocent people. And they went away so dumbfounded that we came out there. And of course, I gave Rose Marie and Karen the credit for driving me out there.

[00:47:58] But that’s the way we ought to be, really, isn’t it? Like those two lionesses, my wife and my daughter. And I really think women in America could make a great difference in this whole matter. I really think they’re part of the solution. If women would stand up and make us men have a little more backbone … Hah?

[00:48:18] But is there anything else that we can do by way of solution? And I do believe this has happened again and again in America. If you study the history of our country, you’ll find that we’ve had periods of violence. Here in Philadelphia in the 1790s, there was a great deterioration of our country, and there was not only the breaking out of disease, malaria, yellow fever, but there was a great deal of violence, drunkenness. Actually, churches were attacked by mobs. Pulpit bibles were ripped out. It was really bad.

[00:48:49] And, you know, people started doing? They started to pray. Small groups began to form, to pray for our country. And as they prayed for our country, the country began to change.

[00:49:04] But something mysterious happened. And it leads us to a deeper question: Is there something, an evil that’s more than just human? Is it possible that there are kingdoms that are invisible, clashing in all the things that are happening, that organized crime has behind it a higher organization of satanic powers? That our own fears may have behind them, darker inspirations?

[00:49:40] And so when we pray and we pray, we are calling upon the One who has made the universe to change not only the others, but also to change us. Because one of the things we have to face is that not only is there evil out there, but maybe some of it is in me. Did you ever think of that?

[00:50:06] And the reason I’m so afraid of it and the reason I’m intimidated by it, maybe something in me vibrates in it too much. I may not have killed anyone, but I’m reminded the story of the man who had been married 60 years. And a reporter asked him, “Did you ever want to divorce your wife?” And he says, “No, I never thought of divorce, but I certainly thought of murder several times.”.

[00:50:30] Well, you know, every one of us commits his little murders. Isn’t that true? And there’s some deeper things that need to be dealt with. And they can only be dealt with by facing our God.

[00:50:42] And then it seems to me that there needs to be something more done. And I think that’s a very practical thing. And it’s overcoming evil with good.

[00:50:56] How can you do that? Well, in 1971, I go around making flaming speeches like this, and then I go home and I say to myself, “Do I really believe that?” And so in 1971, I was speaking down at a Presbyterian church nearby here. And I got home. I said, “Am I a hypocrite or not? If I really believe what I said?

[00:51:16] I had said that, “Tthe message of Christ can change anyone, no matter how bad.” And the pastor was sitting right there and it really woke him up. And he stood up and he says, “Jack, you can’t mean that?”.

[00:51:30] Really got everybody’s attention. What a discussion we had. People divided up back and forth. I said, “Yes, I believe Christ can change anyone.”.

[00:51:37] And then I went home and I said to myself, “Do you really believe that?” And my wife and I decided that night to commit ourselves to it. And we opened our home then to all kinds of people, including violent ones. And we started taking them into our lives. And we took violent people from state mental institutions. We took, we worked with people who had committed crimes of various kinds. Wasn’t long before we had a murderer visiting with us and so on?

[00:52:09] And it became a very exciting life. And I won’t tell you all about it, but it’s amazing the changes that came into many of these lives. And even those that were not changed in a spiritual way, they were changed in many of their attitudes towards society. But what they found for the first time was that somebody loved them.

[00:52:32] One girl we took in: she had been a chick with the warlock motorcycle gang. By the way, it was a little sticky. We put her on the third floor and we had another girl up there who had been a chick for the pagan motorcycle gang. And all these sparks were coming down. We didn’t know what was going on. We found out soon.

[00:52:54] But anyway, after that girl was there for a while, to show you the demonic side of some of these things, she heard me making a talk like this one night and she came up afterwards and said, “I need to say something to you.” I said, “I’m listening.” She said, “I have been planning to murder you and Mrs. Miller.”.

[00:53:14] Really gets your attention. She had all my attention. A little palpitation, too. And I looked her in the eyes, I prayed, and I said, and “I want you to know this: no matter what happens, I forgive you.”.

[00:53:33] And she was stunned. If I’d taken a two-by-four and hit her across the head, it wouldn’t have hurt her more. And so I said, “Let’s go over here to this bench and sit down.” And she was staggering. And I said, “I want to tell you about a Christ who died for people like you and me. There’s murder in my heart, too. But if you trust your life to Him, and you turn away from this sin, he’ll change you. He’ll make you into a new person.”And having said that to her, we prayed together and Christ changed her. Amazing.

[00:54:11] And so it isn’t just a human battle. It’s really that we ought to take our courage in our hands and recognize there’s a message about this Jesus who died on the cross for good people like us. Maybe I’m not so good, but good people like you, and bad people, in middle people, and he takes away their sins. And through faith in him, they have a new life. And in this way, you don’t need to be afraid of anyone. Because even if they killed you, they just give you a quick door in the heaven.

[00:54:45] And so I want to say, “Join the battle. It’s a lot of fun.” Why sit there like a sitting duck and get shot by the world. Let’s go get em. I believe in fighting. Good old American way.

[00:55:03] But you’ve got to have the tools to fight and you have to have a spiritual foundation. And I have just explained that to you. Thanks much. You’re good listeners.

Audience Question [00:55:28] Women are also affected by what’s to me, they’re constantly being called now more than ever before, “Watch out for strangers. Remember your phone number. Don’t talk to anyone.” They eat their cereal and on the back of the box of the milk carton is the faces of two or three kids who are now missing. What is this doing?

Jack Miller [00:55:56] The question is, what about all the warnings being given to children to watch out for strangers? And you have the warnings in the back of the cereal box and you get these pictures of runaways on television. Descriptions of them. And you’re convinced that these people have all been done in. And as a matter of fact, most of those runaways and televisions or people who disappeared, the children, have been have been kidnaped by a parent. And it’s quite misleading.

[00:56:24] Well, I think children need to be given some proper warnings. I think there’s a place for that. But I think that if you make too much of it, you begin to freeze them up and build a world of fear. And I would have them err a little bit on the side of daring rather than on the side of fear.

[00:56:44] And so, now this may not sound very Christian, and don’t quote me. He’s got it on tape. I would teach children at an early age a little self defense.

[00:57:01] When Karen went to Jenkintown High, a Jenkintown School, this boy followed her home and we received this very obnoxious note from him and we couldn’t figure out why he had sent it. And it turned out she had beaten him up. So militant Christianity. I don’t think we ought to train people into passivity. I don’t want them beating up people. We had to explain to her that we only, we pick people up, at least after we beat them up. So I’m teasing, but you get the picture. We need courage.

[00:57:35] Anyone else? Bill, you’ve got another question.

Audience Question [00:57:43] Dr. Miller, you read Francis Schaffer’s “A Christian manifesto.”

Jack Miller [00:57:47] Sped read it, so I couldn’t really say I read it. Go ahead.

Audience Question  [00:57:51] He seems to align himself with a position that is common with Reformers like Zwingli, where, if the government is no longer a godly government, lets say it encourages things like abortion, or at least, the way we have now, is it protects those people who want to kill their babies. Where does a Christian go? Can a Christian take up arms in a situation like that? Or is he always to turn the other cheek?

Jack Miller [00:58:22] What do you do when the state turns outlaw? It’s really what you’re saying.

[00:58:27] Well, the first thing you want to be sure, the state is really turned outlaw and you’re not just turning outlaw.

[00:58:31] And there’s where are you going to draw the line. And I think because of our tendency to be hasty, you know, we get the Charles Bronson, and the Goetz response, Bernard Goetz, and he takes his revolver along and he’s really making himself into the state.

[00:58:48] But I do believe there are situations where the state does turn outlaw, as in Nazi Germany. And I think their position, as a Christian, has a duty to have some kind of resistance to that. And I think he has to take his conscience before God to see what kind. I don’t see the American government yet to that place. There are other avenues.

[00:59:08] John?

Audience Question [00:59:10] Dr. Miller, often when I’ve heard you speak, you comment on how Americans are so afraid of pain that we’ve become so pained with such an aversion to pain. Would you see that as another side to the crippling fear of violence that we have? And would you comment on that?

Jack Miller [00:59:28] Well, I interviewed a psychiatrist one time. I spent a couple of days with him, and afterwards I decided he was quite sane. It was a job I had. And he was a psychiatrist who had interviewed a great share of the Korean prisoners of war, of American Korean prisoners of war that had been held either by the North Koreans or the Chinese communist. And his view was that many of these men, those who didn’t come back, many of them died out of fear. He said it was not unusual to have a young American man who, when he hit the the prison camp, go into a catatonic state and within 24 hours be dead. And he says it was simply out of fear of pain.

[01:00:16] And he said many of them thought they were being tortured by them. You know, they sent back all these horror stories about their being tortured. He said, “Well, yes and no. By American standards, they were being tortured. But some of that, he said, was simply they were poorly disciplined soldiers. And Oriental military discipline is so tough that they were just getting standard discipline in Oriental army.” Some of them wouldn’t build latrines and so on, and the Communists were hard on them. Now, he was not a pro-Communist himself. And but he said he thought what had happened, that American young men had been so trained—If you get a headache, you take an aspirin, if you’re going to get a tooth drill, you get novocaine. And that we had so trained ourselves that we take so many prescriptions to avoid pain that when we ran into it of a severe sort, we didn’t know what to do with that.

[01:01:08] And his his point was, which I thought he was such a sane person. I don’t know why I keep saying that about a psychiatrist, but it may reflect some of my views and some of them I’ve met. But anyway, he said, there’s no greater pain than trying to avoid pain. And I think this is one of the things that Americans are so afraid of. We’re afraid of violence because these people are not afraid of pain. And I think we can’t cure the problem if we’re all going to run away. And so you do get hurt. All right. Other people have been hurt. Suppose you get killed. Well, if you do it in the name of God in Christ. So what? You did your part? Does that sound harsh? Doesn’t sound American. But I think it’s right.

[01:01:59] All right. Another question. Yes.

Audience Question [01:02:02] I was thinking about when you spoke about there is sort of the legal violence that’s becoming very acceptable as far as liability and litigation and what people are responsible for, just the tendency of people that are using any kind of professional help or any help or just walking or anything in their life and have done harm, damage. And then they want to get back at that person to get everything they have and to ruin them professionally.

Jack Miller [01:02:32] You really put your finger on something. The question the question is what about the legal obligations? If you reach out to help somebody, for instance, someone has said if the Good Samaritan were alive today, he would be prosecuted for a practicing license without a medicine, medicine without a license.

[01:02:52] And and if you did what even we did fifteen, ten years ago, and taking people into your home, wouldn’t you be in danger today of getting a lawsuit? Well, I feel this way. If you get a great big lawsuit thrown at you, you only have so much money anyway. And if they take that away, in the meantime, you can wrestle with the problem and raise a big protest, what an opportunity. You might even get a little newspaper publicity for standing up for the right. And so I say today, let the Good Samaritan not only take the risk of the robbers and help the wounded man by the side of the road, but also rejoice in the lawsuits, because that might even get you on the Phil Donahue Show. And he really needs help. So. Okay.

[01:03:45] Yes.

Audience Question [01:03:45] Going back to whether or not Christian people should take up arms against the state, the state is going outlaw, the Christian church was formed from the Roman Empire. It wasn’t too much preaching back then and about taking up arms against the Roman Empire. They just. Church groups and forums were in the midst of all the violence, despite, without taking part in it.

Jack Miller [01:04:14] Right. And towards the end, they actually walked right into the arena, the Coliseum, where they were killing the gladiators back and forth, and protested in such a vigorous way that eventually they just killed it. And it was it was really passive.

[01:04:31] And I think the strongest kind of opposition we can give is our moral courage.

[01:04:39] Anyone else. Yes.

Audience Question [01:04:45] We have some friends who are very involved in the National Rifle Association, things like that, the gun lobby. And then there is the constitutional right to bear arms. And yet, the problem with Christians if you analyze our culture, you tend to think that maybe we’ve lost our “Christian basis,” which was the basis for some of those rights. How do you interact as a leader, a public figure to those who say “I have a right to protect my family?” And yet realizing that, you know, we do have the violence and the murders. What’s your response to that?

Jack Miller [01:05:25] I came from a family in Oregon of hunters and trappers. We had a little cattle ranch and we had an arms all over the place. We looked like a military camp, but we were very nonviolent people. The thought of shooting somebody would … But I think that’s an older world, and I think people today there needs to be some pretty strong control, especially of handguns. I think they ought to be licensed. And I think you shouldn’t get a license unless you have been trained in how to use it. And I think very few people ought to get them. And I am strongly opposed to the view that there ought to be indiscriminate availability, especially of handguns. I’m not saying anything about hunters and things like that. But I see no justification whatsoever for saying the constitutional right to bear arms guarantees anybody the right to have a house full of pistols. I just feel very strongly against that, and would be happy to debate anybody who holds that view. I think that it’s terrible the way so many people in our country have pistols. I guess I have some sympathies for the Ugandans who feared that we were very violent.

[01:06:52] Yes.

Audience Question [01:06:53] Dr. Miller, James Dobson, the educator, said about children in particular, has talked a lot about the need for self-worth as being a determining factor in a lot of the violence and also other problems, psychological problems that children have. I know as, in a high school, for example, when I was teaching, kids are very, almost trained to be self-centered in that regard, you are here to get as much as you can. This is your time to just get, get, get. And there’s not much of an emphasis on how to give. I, as a teacher, a kid would throw something on the floor, and sometimes I’d say “Pick it up.” And they’d saw “Well, that’s the janitors job.” You know, things like that. And I wonder how, as parents, how can we give our children a real self-worth and help them avoid some of these problems that often lead to this.

Jack Miller [01:07:51] An excellent question. Could you all hear it? Basically, it was it was a question that goes to the heart of the matter of in a practical way. How do you give children today self-worth?

[01:08:02] And what many people have been telling them, and this is very popular psychology today, that you get self-worth by asserting yourself. Isn’t that true? That you claim what is yours, you get your rights? And I believe this is a lot of the lies behind the ideological violence, and it also lies behind a lot of the thrill violence. That you’re trained to fulfill yourself.

[01:08:31] And what you get when you go down that road is you build a kind of a, you get a kind of a raging kingdom of self, a raging kingdom of self in which people are all out to grab.

[01:08:47] Now, I wouldn’t deny that there’s a place for defending your own dignity, and there are times for insisting on your own rights. But you see, historically that has not been in our tradition. Its been there, but it’s been modified by the believing that God has a more absolute right, that God’s right is greater than man’s right. And so underneath God’s right, we find our rights. But if you make yourself into a kind of a little God, you end up becoming a Rambo, or something else in which you are a destroyer.

[01:09:26] And I think this has a lot to do with the violence and has a lot to do with the drug culture. It means a world of people without brakes. It’s like getting a very high powered car and then removing the brake system. And I think that’s what we have for many people. And it’s one reason I’m deeply disturbed that our schools do not have enough emphasis on the Ten Commandments today. I really believe we need to have the Ten Commandments in every public high school and every private school.

Moderator [01:10:02] We have time for maybe for just one or two. If they are not real lengthy ones. Do we have any takers from people who haven’t had a chance.

Audience Question [01:10:09] I was wondering about Christians bearing arms. Is it wrong like just to call the name Jesus?  You know what I mean, instead of having a gun or something, is that being stupid, like not thinking logically. Do you know what I mean?

Jack Miller [01:10:26] Well, the question is, is there an answer to the Christians bearing arms? Suppose you live in a dangerous neighborhood. I think you can do some very practical things if you live in a dangerous neighborhood or one you think is dangerous. Most neighborhoods have patterns to them. If you know what the rules are, you just don’t go out there in North Philadelphia when you see a strange body of teenagers on a corner. You make your route around some other way. But then if you sometimes come to the place where you are confronted by someone who intend you to do harm. Now I know I am a man and it might make a difference, but the thing that I have done is just start talking to them about Jesus. And I think I scared more people than have scared me.

[01:11:20] I used to pick up a lot of hitchhikers. I’ve lost my nerve as I get older, but I used to pick up a lot of hitchhikers and some of them looked very rough. And I always carried a big Bible in my car and I’d always put it over in the seat right where the hitchhiker was going to sit down. So when he got in, he had to pick up the pick up the Bible and move it. And I remember one fellow I picked up that way, and he looked kind of funny. And I said, Well, I introduced myself, he introduced himself, and we started talking. And it was clear that he was so badly frightened that I had really overdone it. And I finally I said to him, “Why wouldn’t you like to come to a Bible study tonight? I’m really quite a nice guy. I don’t bite anyone.” And he says, “Where is it?” And he says, “What is your name again?” He says, “Oh, I’m coming to your Bible study. Somebody’s bringing me.”.

[01:12:13] But anyway, anyway, yeah, I think that sometimes if I think it’s a dangerous situation, I just start praying out loud. Kefa Sempangi, who was an active elder in our congregation across the street. He was an African a Ugandan. He said when Amin’s soldiers came to kill him, they were going to take him away and shoot him. And so he said, “Well, I’m ready to go.” But then he said, “I wonder if you men are ready.” And he says, “I really think I should pray for you before we go.” And he said, “Did I pray!” He says, “I poured my heart out to God for these poor guys.” And he said, “They were so convicted that they both became Christians on the spot and from then on protected him.” And it was through their their work that he got out of the country safely.

[01:13:09] We really need to believe in the power of God to break in. And I do believe that. I’ve even myself gone up to people. This is a little bit off the subject of violence so they can be violent. I knew a military attache a bit in Uganda, a Soviet one. You know, they run arms into Africa a lot like they’re going out of style. And so I met him and I said to him, “How’s your work? Is it exciting?” And he says, “No very routine.” He didn’t like the question too well. And so I said, “Well, my work is really exciting. Come over. We’re getting all these murderers, all these thieves, they’re all turning to God and they’re being changed and they’re finding jobs. And we have real community. Wouldn’t you like to get aboard this?” And he had kind of funny look? And he says, “I’m a communist. I can’t do that.” And so I said, “Oh, well, Jesus saves all kinds of sinners, and he would save you to.” He about died on the spot. Made great conversation, and I’m sure left him with something to think about for the rest of his life. And just to see my love for him, even though I view these people, KGB people, they make my flesh crawl. You know, these are violent people, terrible people. And and yet we got to love them, too, don’t we?

Audience Question [01:14:30] I think that’s a great note to end on.

Jack Miller [01:14:35] So let’s pray for our country, shall we? God our maker. We thank you, though, we’re here tonight from different backgrounds, probably different religions, that we can come before the God who’s made us all. And we can ask him to bless this nation. We can ask him to overcome the evil in it and to change people. We also ask you that you would change us, that you would take fears out of our heart, that we might not be afraid of evil, that indeed, Lord, that you would take evil out of us, that we may ourselves be people of peace and quietness, and that we may win others to the Lord of Peace. We would ask you tonight for our whole nation, that you would revive us, that you turn many who are violent and evil to yourself. We pray, especially, that you would bless families. We think of the coming generations of teenagers and small children. We ask you to be with them, and we pray this in the name of our Redeemer. Amen.


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