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Honor, Courage, and Commitment (and btw racism sucks)

The last few days have been trying for us all, and it’s been difficult for those of us who will never know what it’s like to be black in the United States. We can learn, listen, communicate but still never know what it’s like.

I’m not a social media influencer, no checkmarks next to my name on Twitter or Instagram. I don’t have thousands of followers, just the means to engage.

I struggled with sharing a popular post on social media which (at least the gist of it) described being a Sailor, Marine, Airman, or Soldier as being above the racial fray. We’re all Navy Blue (Shipmates, I’m not arguing this as I get the point), Olive Drab (aren’t all the uniform colors the same now? It’s been awhile). My point was that if the only thing that kept me from seeing my Shipmates’ race was the fact we are all Sailors then we probably missed a few other things. It could, however, reinforce the idea that being racist is something learned and not something we’re born with. I do like that idea!

So, I won’t copy/paste that post.

Instead I’d rather just say that racism is evil. It’s wrong. We can all gaslight racism with comments such as:

  • “But what about…”
  • “If they would only follow the rules…”
  • “They’ve always been fighting each other…”
  • “It’s just who I am” (this one makes me cringe and want to throat-punch some people).
  • “Don’t ALL lives matter”? (I have to admit, yes they do. But it makes a better bumper sticker than action statement for many who say it with empty words).

#BlackLivesMatter because they are included in #AllLivesMatter, we need to focus on why we tend to think they are separate. Right now, they ARE and have to be. You can’t say all lives matter and ignore the suffering, the pain, and the fear of racial profiling, police brutality and judicial injustice just for the color of skin. It’s real and truth. It’s obvious.

I’m sure there are PLENTY of others out there. I’m not going to add to the list. If the first inclination is to start off an answer with one of the above, you’re not looking for dialog, you’re just looking to be “right” (at least in your mind).

I battle PTSD, it wasn’t a lifelong battle before, but thanks to some friends, also Shipmates, who reached back out after my diagnosis a few years ago I learned something:

  • People can suffer from a lifetime of PTSD as a result of being gaslighted through a lifetime of racist behavior towards them (thanks to my wife for helping me see this point).
  • I may not understand what it’s like to be black in this country, but I do know what it’s like to have PTSD. One of the coping mechanisms we learned in therapy was communication. Something that hasn’t happened very effectively when it comes to racial divide in the United States.

Our motto in the Navy is Honor, Courage and Commitment. Racism doesn’t fit anywhere in these truths.

Prayerfully hoping that as the nation heals, we talk TO each other, WITH each other and not AT each other. Something’s got to give, America isn’t a failed experiment (not by a long shot) but is definitely dealing with a leadership deficit.

Oh, and Shipmates. I really do love you all, even some of the ones we really didn’t like. I’ll still cover your six when standing armed roving watches, drag your asses out of burning or flooding spaces, or push you out of the way of something you didn’t see when you were clearly lollygagging. I didn’t care who you were, what race or sex you were (though as a heavier than most Sailor I can empathize with stretcher barriers when there’s a large person on the litter).

To my other Veteran brothers and sisters. Ditto, though we didn’t all share the same experiences, I get the gist of the social media post making the rounds. I’m still not going to share it because it’s not exactly how I feel. Respectfully, your mileage may vary.

To the 97% of the rest of you who didn’t understand the social media post in question, it’s ok. It might have been written to either make ourselves (Veterans) feel better about ourselves which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, or to make us somehow feel smug and superior (hoping that’s not the case). In either case, I’d just rather say this Sailor still has your back, will work hard and play hard with you, and stand with you at the end of the day shoulder to shoulder and just be. Some of you helped me polish my elementary Spanish to almost conversational. Some of you introduced me to things I never would have thought about before. At the end of the day, it all boiled back to honor, courage, and commitment. At the beginning of each day, we recited it together for a reason. To reinforce a learned behavior, to trust each other, and to forge lifelong friendships along the way.

#BlackLivesMatter #WeThePeople #SemperFortis

Pandemic thoughts in the midst of a different disaster recovery

Those of you who know me pretty well know that I’m not much of a planner (I was told on more than one occasion in the Navy that one of my stronger traits was thriving under pressure and could be pretty unshakable in chaos). That said, I do make lists. This one is pretty important and important enough to share:


1. Remember we’re all in this together. Remember that life has a 100% mortality rate eventually. (Yeah I use dark humor as a coping mechanism, it doesn’t mean I find the pandemic frivolous).


2. I really do love my friends and family, I may not say it often enough, but I do.


3. Now to the more practical, next week will probably be worse than this week. Prepare for that eventuality. #SocialDistancing


4. If you own a home, contact your mortgage company and see if they have an option to suspend your payment for a few months and tack it on the end of the loan. If you don’t ask, the answer is always NO.


5. If you have other loans, including student loans, call and ask for options on suspending those as well. (See #4 above).


6. If you have life insurance, make sure it’s up to date with the beneficiaries you wish, which may not necessarily be the same people you started the policy with! (My brother once listed his dog when he was in Desert Storm).


7. Pray, do what you do to relax, meditate, love your neighbors, and remember #1 above.

If you’re so inclined, there’s an effort to use your spare computing cycles to help speed up the search for a means to combat #COVID19. Check out https://foldingathome.org/covid19/ for FAQs and how to use your PCs/laptops to use spare cycles in the background. To put it in round numeric terms, if there’s a 1% mortality rate in 30,000,000 that’s still 300,000. If you make it 1% of 300,000,000 that’s 3,000,000. That’s a pretty large mortality rate for a pandemic isn’t it?

(fist bump from my six foot social distancing space).

-CMW

How’s Your BCP?

How’s your business continuity plan doing this week? Creating havoc on employees and customers? Penalizing both? Watch for the post-virus exodus across several industries.

Dragging blogs out…

Writer’s block or life events? Which is it? Did I forget the password or lack of interesting content lately. Polarizing politics, teaching college students, keeping up with professional CEUs and working full time evaluating and implementing security products while trying to keep the disruptions minimal keep causing the burnout. What keeps people interested in continuing InfoSec careers? Pay? Training? Work/Life balance? Low unemployment in the field?

Breaking walls, busting shackles, and running out of graves

"Hurt people hurt people" @MarkCrossman #TheCrossMountDora

After sixteen years of undiagnosed PTSD, I was devastating my closest relationships, betraying and hurting those closest to me.

I would “self medicate” on binges. Selfish desires, telling myself I could quit anytime, only to get confronted by them. The devil had me convinced of the lie that I could be in charge.

News flash: I’m a horrible god.

After a horrible series of poor decision making, not considering consequences, I almost lost everything and everyone who have loved me and cared about me.

My M.O. would be to subconsciously drive people away, so they wouldn’t know my hurt, my feeling of not knowing who I could turn to. I was reliving a near fatal accident (drowning) that one of my kids had experienced and I had no control on the events of the day nor the outcome. Over the course of sixteen years, I would receive two similar phone calls about the same child (much later in life when he was in the service). Each time, I’d run right back into a freshly self-dug pit, driving people away and building a wall to keep them out.

Sixteen years, and I had heard (and believed) everything, like God was punishing me (I’ve since began to understand that lie is more damaging than I could have possibly imagined) coming from family members who were there, and from “Christian” friends who were nothing but law and no grace (I was raised Southern Baptist, looking back I’m not surprised, I also heard this from family members in a few other less graceful denominations). It was devastating. No wonder people leave the church. I know I did.

From June 29, 2002 to July 28, 2018 I believed the lie. I believed that I could wear a mask, hide my true fears and feeling of hopelessness.

I could say all the right things, act like I truly cared but would go frantically digging my own pit, a grave, each time I felt someone getting too close.

I believed “I love you” was a physical act. Not a sacrificial one, though I could say differently out of selfishness.

My mask was a scowl. Rarely, my wife and kids would see who God made me to be. Not who I had become.

July 28, 2018 my life was broken.

God fixes broken. He heals. My life is not the same.

I started prayer walking July 30, 2018. I started with a mile. On July 31, 2018 I felt the comfort of a ghost. The Holy Ghost. I was reminded that I was saved for His purpose because He loves me.

I was told to quit digging my graves and jumping in them. I didn’t need that grave.

When Jesus Christ was crucified and buried He did something more life changing than any of my hurt, anger, and fear.

He went to Hell, and told Satan it was over. I imagine when Jesus walked out of that grave He looked Satan in the eye while pointing at me and simply said “Steve’s mine”.

Sure, the battle is always ongoing but on July 30, 2018 I had the willingness to listen, be comforted and allow 16 years of believing lies, and holding in anger for so long I was emboldened to say “Fuck you Satan, you lost. Go back to hell.”

Freedom.

The Gospel set me free. Good news sets us free.

And cursing out Satan? Well that felt liberating!

And yes, I’m finally getting professional help too, it’s been a life-saver.

This song in just a few short weeks, more than any other in YEARS, has reminded me that God is faithful even when I couldn't be. Feelings of hopelessness, anger, despair when I would keep digging my own pit to hide in. 

Hello Beautiful by Mercy Me
Hello Beautiful by MercyMe

No more
I quit
I’ve had enough
I wasn’t made for this
To all the lies that have tried
To cripple me with doubt
I think it’s time to say goodbye
I know who I am now
Part of me says I’d be smart to walk away
But before I leave, I think I need to call you out by name

Goodbye regret
Goodbye alone
Goodbye to emptiness
Say hello to beautiful
Goodbye afraid
Goodbye ashamed
Goodbye to hopelessness
Say hello to beautiful

Can you hear it?
That’s the sound of me walking out
Of this prison cell
That I’ve come to know so well
I used to play the victim
Singing take these chains from me
They’ve long been broken I was free and would not leave
Somehow I got too comfortable locked up here in this prison
That I missed the doors wide open more like ripped off of its hinges

Goodbye regret
Goodbye alone (Goodbye)
Goodbye to emptiness
Say hello to beautiful (Beautiful)
Goodbye afraid
Goodbye ashamed
Goodbye to hopelessness
Say hello to beautiful

Hello, hello, hello beautiful
Hello, hello, hello beautiful
Hello, hello, hello beautiful

Before I go, just so you know
There will come days again
Wrestling not to believe
The things you say I am
When I’ve forgotten what’s inside and who I’m meant to be
I’m reminded what’s inside has not forgotten me

Goodbye regret
Goodbye alone
Goodbye to emptiness
Say hello to beautiful
Goodbye afraid
Goodbye ashamed
Goodbye to hopelessness
Say hello to beautiful (To beautiful)

Hello, hello, hello beautiful
Hello, hello, hello beautiful (Beautiful)
Hello, hello, hello beautiful
Hello, hello, hello beautiful

Great piece on cyber security professional burnout

via Dualistic Model of Passion: Hindering Cyber Burnout (Self-assessment included)

Back again…

More later, (I remembered my login info finally) but the Here We Still Stand conference in San Diego was AWESOME!

Data Protection Tips for Notaries & Signing Agents

Data Protection Tips for Notaries & Signing Agents

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/data-protection-tips-notaries-signing-agents-moulden-msit-cissp

Just me and another millstone

We’ve been teaching through the Gospel of Matthew for about six months now to a class of young men (high school) who are eager to learn more as they develop discernment and begin to understand context. Both are absolutely necessary as we are called to make disciples, and they are as well.

Several weeks ago we were in Matthew 18, and had a great discussion on verses 1 through 6. Jesus’s disciples are having a pride-filled argument over greatness (having missed almost every clue about humility and meekness) and now come to Him seeking the answer to the question they all were asking. “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Jesus, lovingly gives them an unexpected (to them, and even to some of us today) answer. Bringing a child into their midst he tells them they must turn and become like children. Humble themselves like the child. Whoever humbles themselves like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child, receives me.” (v.5)

Verse 6, in context, isn’t just about evilally tempting children. It’s directed (foreshadowing) to ALL His followers (the Church). Think of a child in this case as a new Christian. Someone who still believes they need a checklist of “good” things to do in order to be saved. Someone who would twist scripture around, or add man-made rules, or even take verses out of context is every bit as guilty in leading “little ones to sin” by adding to their checklist. (Don’t drink the wrong drink, don’t eat the wrong food, don’t wear clothing of mixed textiles, don’t eat shellfish, don’t neglect refugees, widows or orphans…vote the same way I do…it’s an exhaustive, back-breaking list). We all have had a millstone around our necks at some time or another, and it’s probably a safe bet to say we make habits of adding more millstones daily. To say otherwise would make us liars. Thank God for the Gospel. The Law sets the bar, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is our good news that not just attains it, but absolutely PROCLAIMS IT!. We’re made righteous through it, not from a single thing we did. Our checklists may as well be bloody rags.

Christ said in Matthew 15:10, “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” (ESV)

Go ahead, eat the shellfish, grab some bacon, have a glass of wine or pour a beer (the last two, if you’re over 21) .

As Christians, we’re still “Simul justus est peccator”. Simultaneously righteous and sinner. We can all put on some really awesome appearances, but if it’s just a show, then the world will (does) see right through them. The Christian life is one of repentance. Daily.

So, when I’m not feeling particularly “Christian” I remember that the One who both created me and loved me calls me His own, and that I’m only righteous because of Him, not because of me.

That’s a big burden off my back too, thank God.

Amen

We all worship something; some worship laws, some worship politics and parties, some accept grace-given forgiveness and want to love others as we were loved

It’s as every bit relevant as it was then.

From Acts 17 (ESV)

Paul Addresses the Areopagus

22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27533AJ" data-link="(AJ)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>‘To the unknown god.’ <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27533AK" data-link="(AK)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>What therefore you worship <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27533AL" data-link="(AL)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27534AM" data-link="(AM)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>The God who made the world and everything in it, being <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27534AN" data-link="(AN)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>Lord of heaven and earth, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27534AO" data-link="(AO)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>does not live in temples made by man,<span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-ESV-27534c" data-link="[c]” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>[c25 nor is he served by human hands, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27535AP" data-link="(AP)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>as though he needed anything, since he himself <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27535AQ" data-link="(AQ)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>gives to all mankind <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27535AR" data-link="(AR)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>life and breath and everything. 26 And <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27536AS" data-link="(AS)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>he made from one man every nation of mankind to live <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27536AT" data-link="(AT)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>on all the face of the earth, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27536AU" data-link="(AU)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>having determined allotted periods and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27536AV" data-link="(AV)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27537AW" data-link="(AW)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>that they should seek God, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27537AX" data-link="(AX)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27537AY" data-link="(AY)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for

<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27538AZ" data-link="(AZ)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;<span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-ESV-27538d" data-link="[d]” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>[d]

as even some of <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27538BA" data-link="(BA)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>your own poets have said,

“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’<span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-ESV-27538e" data-link="[e]” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>[e]

29 <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27539BB" data-link="(BB)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>Being then God’s offspring, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27539BC" data-link="(BC)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27540BD" data-link="(BD)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>The times of ignorance <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27540BE" data-link="(BE)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>God overlooked, but <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27540BF" data-link="(BF)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>now he <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27540BG" data-link="(BG)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>commands all people everywhere to repent,31 because he has fixed <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27541BH" data-link="(BH)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>a day on which <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27541BI" data-link="(BI)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>he will judge the world <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27541BJ" data-link="(BJ)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27541BK" data-link="(BK)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>of this he has given assurance to all <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27541BL" data-link="(BL)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>by raising him from the dead.”

32 Now when they heard of <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27542BM" data-link="(BM)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>the resurrection of the dead, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27542BN" data-link="(BN)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>some mocked. But others said, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27542BO" data-link="(BO)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>“We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27544BP" data-link="(BP)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”>the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.