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I begin this week’s Doyle’s Half Dozen with a couple of probing topics. Let me preface myself before I begin my subjects of curiosity. If you have not read me before, or not familiar with my views on cultural issues, I do hold a more conservative perspective, and of course, based on the philosophy and intention of WordSlingers website, I do intend to share a Christian worldview.

In these first two topics, I am presenting more objectivity and, due to some realizations that I have had just in the last few days, aspects that I believe are happening among the common public. So here we go!

  1. Trump’s stump doesn’t bump

The Teflon trait of Donald Trump remains resilient. This man has been heavily ridiculed over and over and OVER again. He can criticize people in a disrespectful manner and stay a favorite. He can look foolish, and the needle doesn’t slide.

Even now, the poll favorite among GOP presidential candidates is getting stronger and gaining more support, even though he was widely taken to the verbal woodshed by many commentators and respected analysts after his comments on not allowing any Muslims into the country. His comments were earlier this week; the criticism came a day later, yet Trump is still a Republican frontrunner.

How is this happening? Though I don’t support the reasons, they cannot be denied. Trump connects with the fears and concerns of the common public, and the common public doesn’t believe any other candidate, GOP or Democrat. What happened in San Bernardino, Calif. last week triggered a response of fear and concern nationwide. No other GOP candidate is speaking on the tragedy or on terrorism as boldly as Trump is; no Democrat presidential candidate appears willing to even say the word “terrorism,” nor will they offer a reasonable solution.

Let me be clear, as I said in the opening, this is a probing perspective. I do not support Trump. I can list many concerns I have about his campaign. But it currently appears that he is the only candidate who is resonating among many Americans and is more sensible than the candidates and government leaders who claim this current issue of terrorism can be resolved through controlling guns or the climate.

  1. Christians, communicate cautiously

My second probe involves my many friends who emphatically favor Syrian refugees coming to the United States. I committed a whole DHD on this topic a couple of weeks ago.

I won’t reiterate all that I said in that blog, but I have noticed just in the last few days that fear has heightened, and these fears and concerns are not irrational. It seems like there is an hourly update about the couple who shot and killed the Christmas party participants in San Bernardino, and fear across the country gets greater with every report.

As I said in that previous DHD, I am willing to sacrifice myself but not willing to sacrifice others. I believe it is best to be sensible, to be both compassionate and cautious. Right now, though, I favor an approach of caution more while letting the emphasis of compassion be demonstrated through actions instead of words.

  1. Falwell finds firearms favorable

Last week, Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, spoke during convocation, and his speech went viral, as he strongly encouraged LU students to pursue a conceal and carry license while he himself was carrying a gun in his back pocket. He also was under great scrutiny for saying if more good people had concealed carry licenses “we could end those Muslims.”

First of all, those who are responding with an emphasis of Islamophobia, Jerry, Jr. did not emphasize all Muslim people. Listening or reading to the whole text of his speech, it is clear he was referring to those who were specifically involved in the Paris and California attacks.

Secondly, this is a reflection of what is happening nationwide. Gun sales are up in the last week, especially in San Bernardino, so those who promote a view of gun control are not being heard and won’t be taken seriously until something happens among our nation’s leadership that can provide a greater sense of protection and safety.

This is neither a message of promoting nor preventing guns; this is an observation of the fear people are experiencing. If you are one who favors gun control, you better think long and hard on how you can be convincing during this time in our country. And if you are one is who promoting the 2nd amendment and encouraging gun possession, be sure you do so properly with conceal and carry licensing and gun training.

It also was reported that Falwell is going to remove the gun-free zone policy in the LU dorms. As a Liberty alum, this is a far cry from the days when they didn’t allow students to have TVs in the dorms.

  1. Fred Phelps’ family member flees flock

Check out Trevin Wax’s column from this week on Megan Phelps-Roper disassociating herself from the controversial Westboro Church in Kansas. Wax shares how the granddaughter of the church’s founder, Fred Phelps, was convinced to leave the church after reading tweets from people whom this church condemned and publicly, hatefully rebuked.

Social media does have a negative influence, but I was encouraged to see that the most popular source of communication had a positive influence.

And I love this quote from Wax: “We are never merely dealing with ideas in the abstract; we debate people who put forth these ideas. Our reasoning and debating should always be rigorous, but our posture toward those who disagree with us should be one of persuasion – where we are arguing towards the truth, following arguments and not succumbing to quarrels.”

  1. The faithful few at OKC, Trinity

I wrote the cover story for the Dec. 17 Baptist Messenger on Trinity Baptist Church in Oklahoma City having a “Grand Re-opening” of its worship center. The special service happened Dec. 6, and I was impressed with this historic sanctuary’s makeover after it was damaged by an ice storm in 2009, causing it to be unusable for almost six years.

One thing that stood out to me from the service was the group of 30 church members who were identified as “the remnant.” Three years ago, this was all that existed of Trinity’s congregation, as the church was founded in 1911 and saw its membership reach 2,000 or so in the 1970s and 80s.

This small but faithful crew voted in 2012 to keep the church going instead of disbanding. Three years later, they are nearing 150 in regular attendance, and God has blessed them with the restoration of their beautiful sanctuary.

There is a special place in my heart for church members who remain faithful to a church during struggling years. To the members of the Trinity “remnant,” consider this my offering of a verbal hug.

  1. Thunder are thundering

A quick comment about the Oklahoma City Thunder, the squad has been playing extremely well in their last two outings. I am not at the point yet to say they have “turned the corner,” but they have displayed great team play and have looked much MUCH better than previous weeks.

Health, staying the course of a team-oriented attack and a little improvement on perimeter defense are the keys to being successful down the stretch. Keep on, keeping on, Thunder!