Why Allan Douglas was Murdered

death,murder, allan douglasOn the morning of Sunday, January 19th, 2014 Allan Douglas passed over the bridge to pound the great typewriter in the sky.  He died by my hand.  Although I prefer the term “assisted suicide” to “murder” because Allan Douglas and I had in fact discussed this situation and the way things might play out.  But should anyone elect to prefer charges…

Before the NSA data-mining center flags this post and sends the FBI over to break down my door, I should explain that Allan Douglas was my pen name.   A pseudonym I began using way back in the late 1970’s when I first began writing for periodicals.

I chose to use that name because it was easier to remember – and to spell – than Douglas Bittinger.  I also felt it sounded more artistic: more…writerly.  And since it was indeed my own first and middle names, just deranged, it was still “me” any way you sliced it.

Why Kill Allan Douglas?

So what would motivate me to cast aside a moniker that I had served me well for so long and I had spent so much time building up?  I can explain that in one word: Phoneyism.

Continue reading “Why Allan Douglas was Murdered”


AP.jpgHow well do you handle reconciliation?  Do you dread the process of making up?  Do you enjoy clinging to the pain of past hurts?  Does pride prohibit your assuming any responsibility for the conflict?  Perhaps it is the discomfort of having to initiate the opening of old wounds and the cleansing of festered relationships that frightens you away from the peace table.  Your hesitancy to apologize or suggest improved relationships may stem from your fear of being rejected.  There are numerous reasons why reconciliation is avoided.  Yet, it is one of life’s most rewarding experiences.  There is no joy like the joy of being friends again.  There is no love like the love from someone who has been estranged.  There is no peace like the peace of being accepted and restored.

How strange that something as beneficial to our emotional and physical health as reconciliation is postponed or ignored altogether.  Sometimes we are our own worst enemies because we never allow our enemies to become our friends again.  It is not so much that we keep returning evil for evil.  It is the fact that we do nothing to aid the peace process.  We suffer in silence and build up tons of unnecessary anger.  When a relationship is strained we read into every conversation and action the worst possible interpretation.  We sin against our own spiritual health by keeping a conflict alive in our imaginations when, in reality, a conflict no longer exists.

Jesus understood the dynamics of reconciliation and good relationships.  In essence He said if someone hits us on one cheek do not hit back but turn the other cheek.  In other words, someone has to take the last blow.  Someone has to say, “Enough is enough.  Let us stop hurting one another and begin to build a better relationship.” The truth of the matter is that life is not always fair.  Everything does not come out even.  Sometimes we have to give more than it seems we get.  However, when friendships are restored we all get more than we deserve.  It is a grace rebate and a bonus for having the courage to go the second mile.


Calvin S. Metcalf
Its a prayer of unity
that I lift to You this day, O Lord.
I pray for unity in our world
where conflicting nations have chosen war
as a means of settling their differences.
Give those who participate in such strife
a reasonable spirit
so that hostile guns may once again be silent.
I pray for unity in our country
as opposing politicians seek to blame one another
for our economic and social ailments.
Give those in authority a responsible disposition
toward the issues of our time.
May they turn their mental energies
toward solutions instead of accusations.
I pray for unity within our church,
as the lust for power is no respecter of institutions.
Give those who have a following
a sense of stewardship about their popularity.
May they humbly and responsibly
represent the cause of Christ.
Help us all to be cooperating Christians
in a body of believers who understand
that love will keep us strong.
I pray for a kind of unity where good people
have a right to disagree agreeably.
Help us to monitor our own feelings
in keeping with the spirit of Jesus.
Show us again and again
that publicans, fishermen, zealots,
and a variety of folk
can still function as disciples
of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Calvin S. Metcalf     Have you ever considered what kind of world this would be if God were a “getter” instead of a “giver?”  What if God had made getting the chief goal of His creation so that everyone created in His image would have His encouragement toward a selfish life?  There would be no such thing as sacrifice because the idea of a Savior-God would not exist. 
     Forgiveness would be a relative matter depending on its ability to manipulate others.  Love would only exist in the form of affection toward oneself.  Faith would only express the confidence in one’s ability to succeed through accumulation.  There would be no such thing as sharing with the less fortunate and the thought of dying for another would be repulsive to say the least.  The concepts of church and ministry and caring for the hurts of humanity would be ideas foreign to the thoughts of a self-centered god. 
     How horrible we say, if God had been oriented around getting instead of giving.  How thankful we are that His word is a loving testimony of His sacrificial commitment to all humankind.  With gratitude and praise we celebrate His divine compassion.  We experience hope and peace as we trust His eternal kindness.
     We are so impressed by His unselfish love that it becomes the theme for our songs and the inspiration for our sermons.  We join Paul in giving thanks for His unspeakable Gift and all the gifts that are products of His selfless nature.  Although we are grateful for a “giver” God we must take care not to let getting become the goal of our lives.  Let us be done with our “getter” gods lest we lose the precious commodity of grace.


Calvin S. Metcalf      Jealousy is a terrible curse on the human personality.  It has a devastating effect upon our self opinions.  Jealousy arises out of a deep dissatisfaction with who we are and what we have.  It keeps us searching endlessly for that which we think can make us complete.  When we see what we think we want and someone else has it, we resent the fact that somehow life has denied us and favored another.  It is a terrible way to live because we never know the joy of contentment.
     A good relationship with others is often hindered because we are continually in competition with anyone who has what we think we want.  Friendships are fractured at the slightest hint we are losing ground in the race to be most successful.  Fellowship with the Father is affected by our need to test His willingness to get us what we think we want.  We often blame God for our lagging status, since our egos are ill-equipped to accept any personal fault for out lot in life.
     Jealousy is a subtle sin which, even if detected, we find difficult to confess.  None of us wants to admit we are jealous, yet it is one of our most obvious weaknesses.  Because who we are, what we do, and what we have consumes so much of us, our jealousies cannot be completely hidden.  They become a part of our personality as they determine the tone of our behavior.  We may think that jealousy is a minor flaw in our humanity, but in reality it furnishes much of the fuel for every sin in our lives.  To honestly analyze our most devious iniquities is to discover the far-reaching effects of our jealous nature. 
     Our only hope out of this jail of jealousy in which we find ourselves incarcerated is to seek the mind of Christ.  Our Lord taught us by word and deed that self-worth is determined more by what we give up than what we get.  Once we move from self to sacrifice, jealousy loses much of its power over us.  When our competitive spirits give way to a genuine hunger and thirst for righteousness, we lose our need to feel superior toward anyone.  The cross of Jesus becomes not only a symbol of our faith, but a lesson on how to find our lives by losing them.
     Jealousy does not have to dominate our dispositions if the servant-hood of Jesus is our model.  In the development of our own servant-hood, we may learn to like ourselves enough to like those of whom we have been jealous.  A Godly self-worth is the key to unlock the jail of a jealous mentality.

Is Honesty Obsolete?

Recently I went to Tractor Supply and bought a roll of 24” high chicken wire – excuse me; Poultry Mesh, for some fence boxes I’m making for my garden. They carry the mesh in 50 foot rolls for $18 and 150 foot rolls for $45. I decided the 50 foot roll would do 3 boxes and might be all I’ll need for a while. The 150 is a better value, but I’m not sure I’ll need 9 more fence boxes.

The gal at the register rang me up, and said, “He’s unloading a truck out back right now, the gate is open, just grab what you need.” So I walked across the parking lot to the fenced-in area where they store lots of stuff, found the rack of chicken wire, saw the blue & while sign attached to the top of a cell reading “24” x 50’ Poultry mesh, just $17.99”, grabbed a roll, took it back to the truck and went on my way.

Mid afternoon I got to where I was ready to build another box and began to open up the roll of mesh. The label on the roll caught my eye: 24” x 150’. RATS! Continue reading “Is Honesty Obsolete?”

To Have and To Hold, In Sickness and In Health

Marriage, commitment, caring for one anotherMy wife, Marie, and I have had many wonderful times together.  We’ve taken trips and gone to concerts and watched movies and just sat on the sofa holding hands.  We work in the yard and on the house together.  We truly enjoy one another’s company, so we don’t necessarily have to have “entertainment” to be happy together.  This is what we’ve always considered “to have and to hold” to mean.  And we’ve enjoyed many happy, healthy years.

Marie recently went through a life-threatening trauma.  She’d been sick all day, in the evening she asked me to take her to the hospital Emergency Room.  Upon arrival they took some basic information – mostly about how they were going to get paid – and sent her to the triage room.  Above the nurse’s desk here is a big sign reading, “Patients are NOT seen in the order of arrival.  Patients are seen in the order of severity of their injury or illness.”  The triage nurse took Marie’s vitals and gave her a very brief once-over then said, “OK, let’s go.” and rushed her right into a bed in the ER. Continue reading “To Have and To Hold, In Sickness and In Health”

Dealing with a Speed-Bump in Life

speed bump, problems, life, difficulties,It has happened to all of us; we’re cruising along the boulevard of life, one elbow out the window, our favorite happy tunes playing on the radio, hand tapping the wheel in time with the tempo.  Everything is grand, and we’re having a great time.  So great we miss the warning sign; “Bump Ahead’.  Then BAM-BAM, we’re suddenly careening along, barely hanging on as we try to slow down and get off to the shoulder so we can assess the damage.

It’s never fun to feel like the wheels have been ripped out from under you, but when it sneaks up on you suddenly, out of the blue is especially devastating.  What can you do?  How do you proceed from here?  Continue reading “Dealing with a Speed-Bump in Life”


Another Perspective
by Dr. Calvin Metcalf

inner childUnderneath our tough and successful adult exterior there continues to beat the heart of a child. This child which we once were has blended into the pattern of our maturity and still reaches out for love, acceptance, and attention. Even though we may have put away some childish things, the inner child of our past is a present reality. Those inferiorities and fears of childhood days continue to influence our adult behavior. Those lessons learned and truths accepted as a child form the basis of our moral and ethical judgments today. The commitments made and the faith expressed as a child give stability and strength to our adult character. Likewise the hurts and problems of childhood and adolescence have a lingering effect upon our personalities. We are the product of all that has transpired since the beginning days of our lives.   Continue reading “DEALING WITH THE INNER CHILD OF OUR PAST”

The Meaning of Christmas

Christmas, meaning, love, hope.These days it’s easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas, for the things we see and hear so often are not what it’s really about. It’s about the birth of a very special child; the Christ child. But his birth alone is not what made Him special, it’s what He did with His life and death that makes Him our savior and Lord.

Before I begin to explain this let me say that if you are a non-Christian and you’ve ever felt put down or condemned by Christians; this was not the message of Christ, and it certainly is not the message of Christmas. It was the message of the messenger, not the One who sent him.  That will not be the message here.  Continue reading “The Meaning of Christmas”