Dr. Dan Hayden

Echoing across the wooded valley, the excited howls of coon dogs announced the presence of a raccoon hiding in a tree. Flashlights pierced the darkness as our hunting party made its way to the scene. A city boy knows nothing about coon hunting, so my country friends decided to take advantage of my naivety.

“The new guy has to climb the tree and throw down the coon,” they said. “It’s just part of hunting tradition.”

So, up the tree I went, clutching a flashlight as I looked for the beady eyes of a frightened raccoon. But I found no raccoon in the towering tree.

“Sometimes a coon will jump trees, using overlapping branches,” someone shouted. Wanting to please, I scrambled down and scaled the neighboring tree. Still no raccoon.

“Coons will top a tree—go higher!” they yelled. I parted branches and tentatively made my way higher. Grasping the sturdiest branch with one hand, I pointed the flashlight to the very top of the tree . . . and there he was, less than two feet above me, baring his teeth in self-defense.

My merciful spirit and love for animals kicked in (to say nothing of the adrenalin surging through my veins). I backed off and hollered down, “No coon here!” Both he and I survived the night, and I confessed my “white lie” to the Lord.

I did learn a lesson about raccoons that night—their agility in the trees was impressive. And they had managed to get the dogs to bark up the wrong tree.

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Dr. Dan Hayden

“I don’t care—whatever! Do what you want.” As a term of disdain, whatever is a popular response. We tend to use it when frustrated in the tension of an argument—“Whatever!” It basically says “I’m done. The argument is over.”

The current climate of political turmoil in the 2016 Presidential Election has tended to elicit that kind of response in me. Of course I care about the consequences of electing the wrong person. I’m a conservative nationalist, not a liberal globalist. I care about financial responsibility, not excessive spending, and I put less government over more government. This election year, character and integrity are out the window and favorability ratings for both candidates are scraping the bottom; therefore, I’m not voting for the person—I’m voting for what I believe is best for America.

“Whatever” is still my response, however—not as a citizen of the United States of America, but as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. I care very much about the outcome of the election, but it will make no difference in who I am and what I do. My allegiance to Jesus Christ and His purposes in the world towers above any political concern. He is the One who sets up rulers and removes rulers. We are about to see what He will do with America.

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