Category: “All Have Sinned”

“Do Unto Others…”

The scale of this photo, and FDNY Asisstant Chief Gerard Barbara standing looking upward, speaks to the human moment of 9/11–unbelievable tragedy, overwhelming responsibility, impossible odds. But it shows something else. At Barbara’s funeral, his son Paul said this about the last time his father was seen alive, heading toward the Towers: “He didn’t run, he didn’t panic – he was just walking, thinking of how to fix the greatest calamity in human history.” 

That speaks for the need of every crisis we face as human beings, every single day—that we not run, not panic, but rather keep moving as we attempt to work out a way to overcome. 

I remember the feeling of unity we had as a country following 9/11, the sense of standing together, of unity of purpose. It didn’t last as long then as I would have liked, but it was helpful in a time when we as a nation needed healing. 

We need healing again. 

We have been attacked again, only this time is different. It is different because our attackers aren’t human, but are microscopic viruses. It is different because we are as divided as any time in my life I can remember. And instead of loving one another and encouraging one another to keep going, we are fighting and tearing each other apart at a startling rate. Instead of rallying around those who have lost loved ones, we hurl stones at one another for the sake of proving our point of view. 

“Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” That command from Jesus mattered on 9/11 when Assistant Chief Barbara and hundreds of others willingly gave their lives trying to save others.

And it still matters today.

“It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”

So here I am, staring down the barrel of another birthday. This time I am about to enter the last year of my fortieth decade, which doesn’t seem possible to me. I remember when my Dad was 49, and that seems like yesterday.

A couple of weeks ago we had the Turkey Rod Run in Daytona, an annual gathering of hot rods and classic cars from all over the country. The infield at Daytona International Speedway fills with vehicles of all ages, and almost all conditions. I was able to go to one of the days of the event and spend a few hours walking around, checking out the rides that made the journey to this year’s showcase. One thing jumped out at me as it does everytime I go to one of these shows: people are willing to ask–and pay–some crazy money for old vehicles.

Why is this? Why will people fork over huge sums for vehicles that, many times, just aren’t worth it? Much of it is nostalgia, the desire to recapture something from one’s past that is associated with a particular vehicle. People aren’t just this way about cars and trucks from their youth, however. If it’s not vehicles, it’s going to be something else. Many times we long for what has come before, idealize it, then pay whatever price is necessary to reconnect with those bygone days through the particular object that hearkens back to it. There’s just one problem: we can’t go back. And do we really want to? As Billy Joel sings in his song “Keeping the Faith,” “You know, the good old days weren’t always good, and tomorrow’s not as bad as it seems.”

There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia, to be certain, but we have to appreciate the journey from where we’ve been to where we are now. All the days behind us, good and bad, have brought us to this day. As we get older it’s easy to long for the times when it seemed things were simpler, easier. The days when we didn’t have as many aches and pains, doctor appointments, and physical maintenance issues. We bring some of that on ourselves, to be certain, but some of it is just the result of the passage of time.

At the Turkey Rod Run there were certainly some gorgeous vehicles, but most of those had been completely redone from the ground up. Original cars from decades ago are getting harder to find because most were used as intended: driven, enjoyed, and often abused. Indiana Jones put it this way: “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” We get a lot of miles put on us, but that’s our intended use. Life is meant to be lived, and it’s lived forward–not in reverse.

Do I wish I was in my twenties again? I was certainly better off physically–younger, thinner, no gray hair. But I wouldn’t trade 49 year-old me for 29-year-old me for all the money in the world. I’m getting more miles on this frame every year, but that’s what I’m meant for. That’s what we’re all meant for. So enjoy the “good old days,” just don’t get lost back there. The best is yet to come.

(BTW, the picture I used for this article is for a decal that’s available on Amazon. I’ve got to have one. I don’t personally know the seller, but here’s the link in case you want one too:

I have an Author Page on Amazon!

Now that my novel “All Have Sinned” is available for pre-order on Amazon (release date Jan. 11, 2020), I have an actual author’s page! I feel so official. Go over and check it out at And if you haven’t pre-ordered your Kindle copy, then what are you waiting for? The paper version will be available soon, and I have a special announcement coming about an event where you can bring your book and get it signed. Keep your eyes peeled here, and the book website at, and follow me on Facebook (@marcusbuckleybooks) and Instagram (@doc_marc).

There’s a New Website in Town!

I’m still going to be posting stuff right here, but I’ve added something new. The website for my new novel “All Have Sinned” is up, and I’d love for you to check it out. You can find out more about the book and the characters, you can sign up for email updates, and you can find links to pre-order the electronic version on Amazon (the paper version will be available for pre-order soon). It’s also available for pre-order now on Apple Books.

Just go to and check it out. I also have a new page on Facebook dedicated to the novels, @marcusbuckleybooks, and I’d appreciate it if you would both like the page and share it. Thanks for your support!

It’s Okay To Catch Your Breath–In Fact, You Need To

“So, how’s it going?”

“Covered up, man. I don’t feel like I can find enough hours in the day.”

“I know what you mean.”

Have conversations like this? I do. All the time. In spite of technology’s promise to make life simpler, it seems we’re more “covered up” than ever. Instead of  leaving work or school behind at the end of the day, it now follows us more easily than ever. There is a lot to be said for being able to work from a mobile platform , but it also means that those responsibilities are never more than a click or swipe away.

I understand I am as guilty of this as anyone. But I also realize just how important it is to maintain margins in our lives.

I can’t tell you how many times I have felt guilty taking any vacation days over the years. As a pastor there is always someone who needs you, a problem that needs to be solved, a question that needs answered. Regardless of your vocation (or place in school), your situation is likely the same. For someone who feels like they have to help everyone, fix every problem, and do it all well, it can be exhausting. Make no mistake–God always empowers us to do what He calls us to, without a doubt. But He also is clear that there is a need for rest. A need for margins.

The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron demonstrates skill on such a high level it seems almost supernatural. To say that such aerobatics requires precision and attention to detail is an understatement of laughable proportions. When you are flying jets in formation inches apart from one another at several hundred miles an hour the margins are extremely tight, and it is important to know your position at all times. In order to operate at that level, the pilots must always be at their very best.

What happens when there are no margins? There is no room for error. Like flying with the Blue Angels, only never coming in for a landing. Without a break, your skill level eventually becomes irrelevant. Inevitably, you run into something, more often than not damaging someone else in the process.

I don’t have the all the answers, but I have one for you today: make sure you have some margin in your life. Go for a walk. Go get a cup of coffee. Take some time and read something you want to read instead of something you have to. You will gain a lot by giving yourself some short-term margin. It may just help you get a perspective on how to gain some long-term margin as well.