Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in Review, 2013.

Books Read (in order read)
1. Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens (2011)
2. Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony by Jeff Ashton with Lisa Pulitzer (2011)
3. Free Will by Sam Harris (2012)
4. Full Service by Scotty Bowers with Lionel Friedberg (2012) [cd,unabridged]
5. Presumed Guilty by Jose Baez and Peter Golenbock (2012)
6. G-d, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales by Penn Jillette (2011)
7. Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, And An Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan (2011)
8. Life After Death by Damien Echols (2012)
9. Predator Nation by Charles H. Ferguson (2012)
10. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright (2013) [cd, unabridged]
11. Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway by Frank Schaeffer (2011)
12. What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell (2013)
13. Bet The House: How I Gambled Over a Grand a Day for 30 days on Sports, Poker and Games of Chance by Richard Roeper (2010)
14. Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It's Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won't Admit It by Richard H. Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr. (2012)
15. The High Adventure of Eric Ryback: Canada to Mexico on Foot by Eric Ryback (1971)
16. Red by Sammy Hagar with Joel Selvin (2011)
17. Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek with Steve Friedman (2012)
18. Dogs, Camping, and Other Candid Tales -- Life Lessons From the Out-of-Doors by G. Roger Schoenhals (2012)
19. How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels by N.T. Wright (2012)
20. The Price of Politics by Bob Woodward (2012) [cd,unabridged]
21. The Ultimate Journey: Canada to Mexico Down the Continental Divide by Eric and Tim Ryback (1973)
22. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (2003)[cd,unabridged]
23. By Men or By Earth by Tyler Coulson (2013, 2d ed.)
24. I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail by Gail D. Storey (2013)
25. The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan by Michael Hastings (2012)
26. Between the Bylines: The, Love and Loss of Los Angeles's Most Colorful Sports Journalist by Doug Krikorian (2013)
27. Is College Worth It?: A Former United States Secretary of Education and a Liberal Arts Graduate Expose the Broken Promise of Higher Education by William J. Bennett and David Wilezol (2013)
28. Inferno: A Novel by Dan Brown (2013) [cd, unabridged]
29. Skywalker: Highs & Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail by Bill Walker (2010)
30. Journal of the Dead: A Story of Friendship and Murder in the New Mexico Desert by Jason Kersten (2003)
31. Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson (1991) [cd, unabridged]
32. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan (2013)
33. The Man Who Walked Through Time by Colin Fletcher (1967)
34. This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral--Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!--in America's Gilded Capital by Mark Leibovich (2013 [cd, unabridged]
35. Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design by Stephen C. Meyer (2013)
36. Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and Its Politics by Michael Barone (2013)
37. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell (2013)[cd, unabridged]
38. Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty 2013) [cd, unabridged]
39. Kings of Tort by Alan Lange and Tom Dawson (2010)
40. League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions, and the Battle for Truth by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru (2013)

Film of the Year
The Place Beyond the Pines
Honorable Mention: American Hustle

Book of the Year

By Men or By Earth by Tyler Coulson (2013, 2d ed.)
Honorable Mentions: Zealot: Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan (2013) and Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, And An Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan (2011)

Athletic Achievement of the Year
Summitted Mt. Baldy (aka Mt. San Antonio, 10,064 feet)

Trial of Year
My client, a beneficiary, sought an order compelling a distribution of a real property pursuant to a trust provision. The trustees opposed the distribution and sought an order keeping the property in the trust. Both the trust's drafting attorney and the trustee (who was given a life estate over the property in question) testified that it was the trustor's intent (stated to them) that the property be held in trust until the end of the life estate. We countered that the trust's text provided that the property was to be distributed upon the trustor's death, subject to the life estate. The trial court granted our petition and denied the trustee's petition and ordered an immediate distribution in favor of my client. In so doing, the court found that I had impeached the drafting attorney's testimony. The judge stated that in light of the drafting attorney's testimony two options remained: (1)the attorney received instructions from the trustor that the property remain in trust but she did not include language in the trust to effectuate this intent which was tantamount to "malpractice"; or (2)the attorney was lying to the court. The trial judge said he did not need to resolve the question of which option adhered to rule in my client's favor, but he went on to state that he thought it was option number two given the impeaching testimony I had highlighted at trial from the drafting attorney's deposition I took months earlier and the attorney's apparent motivation to avoid malpractice. I didn't want to embarrass a fellow member of the bar, but it was beyond dispute that the attorney would not answer my questions and would not refrain from shading her testimony for her perceived benefit. In the end, she embarrassed herself and my client prevailed.

Appeal of the Year
My opponents appealed a judgment refusing to grant them title to property to a shopping center in Southern California. They also appealed an order denying them attorneys' fees. Applying the heightened "abuse of discretion" standard I argued applied, the appellate court rejected their appeal and affirmed. In so doing, one of the lines from the opinion rejecting my opponents' contention was a sharp, "That is not true."

Concert of The Year
Depeche Mode

Losses Sustained
Dr. Jerry Buss
Dr. Robert J. Radcliffe (my dad)

“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” (Matthew 25:23 NKJV.)
The words “good and faithful servant” have never applied to a human more than Robert James Radcliffe.
He never wavered to the very end. He was always faithful. His faithfulness was perhaps best exhibited in the three most important areas of his life: his mission, his ministry and his marriage.

By mission, I mean his focus to achieve personal goals. In other words, his personal mission statement. At least five (5) come readily to mind: education, technology, music, books, and nature.

A. Education.
First, he believed in education. He persevered until he obtained his Ph.D in Education. I had the pleasure to accompany dad to classes at Claremont Graduate School. They would sit around a conference room table discussing big ideas. I remember how much dad like to talk about philosophy while he was studying in this program. It seemed like he is familiar with all the “isms” there were in the world. It is not coincidence that his dissertation for this Ph.D. was called The Compromise of Mission of Church-Related Colleges. His book studies how schools that were originally Christian had lost their way, i.e. did not remain faithful to their mission. At the end of his program, one of his advisors who has not a Christian, asked him did we change your mind? He said no, this education made me more convinced of my beliefs.

B. Technology.
He was an early adopter of technology. He was ahead of the curve, especially with respect to computers. We had computer in the house by 1981. He counseled us to take typing, but he foresaw that computers would revolutionize life.

C. Music.
Dad was accomplished in music. He was a gifted singer who sang powerful solos, duets and even in choirs. He learned to play the guitar, and had success playing brass instruments in marching bands, which he continued later in life at nursing homes.

D. Books.
I was always impressed with how many books Dad had at his office. An entire wall was filled with books. Plus he knew how to read them. Once I thought I figured out a way to shortcut reading them. I said one could skip over the preface or the introduction and get right to the “meat” . Dad corrected me. He rightly said that sometimes the most important material is found in the preface or introduction. How true this turned out to be. Also, he didn’t just show his enjoyment by reading books, he wrote them too. His book about being a pastor is still used in seminary courses to this day.

E. Nature.
Dad loved nature. He took us on trips to Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion, Bryce Canyon and other national parks. I remember camping with him, just the two of us, not far from here in Lake Arrowhead area. He took us as a family right here—to Big Bear Lake every summer while growing up. Dad was comfortable in the outdoors. He knew how to fish, make fires, cook in the outdoors, and make a camp. Camping in Yosemite Valley one summer I got afraid that bears were waiting to devour me and retreated to sleep in the car. Fearless, dad remained in the tent snugly in his sleeping bag. He reported it was one of his most comfortable slumbers ever. He was a pretty good around horses too, a story I will get to.

He started his ministry in the church. In fact, he got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees with the sole focus to get into ministry. He turned down an opportunity to study at the University of Illinois so that he could go to the premier Christian college in the country, Wheaton. Good call, because that’s where he met mom, and most of us would not be here without that choice. As a pastor, he was one who poured him life into other people. He and mom said that the most important and long-lasting investment one can make is in other people. He lived that maxim. One story illustrating that principle occurred right here in Big Bear. Every summer he would take a group from the church to horseback ride. One summer we were on such a horseback ride when a woman’s horse was spooked reared up, bucked the woman off, and then drove his hoof into the woman’s arm. This caused her arm to open and bleed profusely. Dad didn’t run away, defer to someone else, or stand paralyzed with fear. He took his shirt off and sued it to apply a compress to the wound. It stopped the bleeding enough for the woman, who ironically was named Mrs. Payne, for the woman’s arm to be saved (after going the hospital).
He transitioned his ministry into education. He explained me why he did this. Multiplication principle. Book called The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman. Jesus and disciples. Jesus poured his life into his disciples, who in turn could spread is message after he left the earth bodily. By the same token, Dad enjoyed mentoring and ministering to people in his church, but he realized that if he could train other pastors, not only would he minister to them, but they in turn would multiply dad when they pastored their own churches. Having the opportunity to go to the same university while he taught there I got to see firsthand what effect he had on his students. They called him Daddy Rad. It was ok to share him with others who called him dad too. He was very respected and made my very proud.

Dad exemplified faithfulness in his marriage. Married in 1964 he remained faithful to mom until his death. He and mom were married 49 years. As an extension of his marriage, he was a good father. In addition to imparting these life lessons—some of which he covered already--through words and his deeds, he spent quality time with us. I remember times throwing the baseball around (I found out form his brother, John, that he was an excellent pitcher growing up), shooting baskets out front of the house (a backboard and hoop he and I installed together), and having him root for me during my games.

Reflecting back on all of this and other wonderful things about dad, I’m confident he has received the greeting in heaven, “well done good and faithful servant.” I can only echo that by saying “Well done.” And thank you; we love you; we shall never forget you.