Thursday, April 30, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
This is a screen shot of my final comments to the fine folks at Pew.
Friday, April 17, 2009
First Paul Potts. Now, Susan Boyle. The electricity that shot through the Britain’s Got Talent audience in the hall for both performances is undeniable. But why?
Why do tears come to my eyes when I watch these? You can actually see people crying (including the judges) during Paul Potts performance. Why?
I have a theory.
We see the outward, we see the broken and sometimes unattractive appearance of a person, and we expect little. When people see an attractive person, it is proven that all sorts of unearned positive attributes of the person is assumed. They’re attractive, smart, have it all together, probably have money and possessions, hang with the right crowd, and are someone anyone should get to know and hang with.
On the other hand, when people see Paul Potts or Susan Boyle, maybe there are some other attributes, not so positive, assumed about them. This is human nature. This is how people see the sum total value of another person all too often.
What happened when Paul and Susan opened their mouths and the songs filled the room? They also filled hearts. They filled spirits. The empty space in so many had a bit of life poured in.
Are Paul and Susan the best vocalists anyone’s ever heard? Of course not. Is it unusual to hear a great singer on Britain’s Got Talent or American Idol? Absolutely not. Then why the worldwide phenomenon for both these video clips? Why the tears, the inspired hearts, the dropped jaws?
Because- for a moment- we saw Paul and Susan as God sees us all. Beautiful and yet broken. Stunning and yet flawed. Lovable but still prone to despise others. He sees in us immeasurable value and potential, and for a glimmering moment, too quickly forgotten in our every days lives as we pass by everyday people, we saw Paul and Susan… and ourselves… through the eyes of God.
Read other posts about: spirituality
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Last night I helped my daughter A with her homework. She had a worksheet with several math problems (the word problem kind- the one’s we all love so much).
We got to the last problem and we hit a bump. The set-up was that some girl (I think her name was Sally), surveyed her class to find out what kinds of appliances each student had at home, and how many of each appliances there were amongst all the students.
The results were in a pictograph, with each appliance listed, and a light bulb icon indicating 4 such appliances at a students home. 3 light bulbs next to washing machine meant 12 washing machines at the homes of the students.
There were two appliances little 10 year old A was confused by. Food Processor and Walkman. Both elicited a “what’s that?” question.
Well, sweetie, a food processor is like a, umm, well it’s a sort of machine that chops up food like carrots or tomatoes for salads or cooking.
And the Walkman? I tried to explain it was like a radio you walked around with and also played cassette tapes. Which of course led to “what’s a cassette tape?”
Final response I gave to her? A Walkman is sort of an old-fashioned iPod from when daddy was a kid.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Funny title. Amazing movie.
Please take a moment and check out this important film- the story of Angus Buchan. An ordinary man, a broken and desparate farmer, and a an encounter with God that is changing lives in Africa.
Click here for the Faith Like Potatoes Movie Site
Click here for the Faith Like Potatoes Tangle.com Page
Click here to bring this movie to your church/organization
Friday, April 03, 2009
I ran across an article in New York Daily News that really unsettled me. I think our society has sunk to such a low point that it can not see clearly through the mud and muck that it finds itself swimming in.
Just recently a horrible crime occurred. A well known and respected man was living a double life. During the day he was a radio newsman in New York- one of the top radio markets in the world. Off hours it seems he might have been a bit off course in his life.
Seems this gent had a thing for young boys. He apparently trolled for illicit relations on Craigslist and made plans to connect with and pay $60 to a 16 year old kid for a night of drug induced rough encounters.
The next morning the reporter was found dead in his bed, bound and sporting 50 knife stab wounds to the neck. Tragic, and very sad. So very sad that this man lost his life.
However, what really unsettled me were the words that poured out about the reporter- words that if thought about, reveal either careless emotional outpouring that glorifies someone in their death, or a detachment from of what is good, right and noble in how people live their lives.
A close friend of the slain man said “I really wish people knew George the way we knew George.”
My immediate response was- I really wish YOU knew George the way we all found out George really was so that maybe you could help him. Or get him to someone that could help. I mean, here’s a 47 year old man chasing down young boys for sex. Ugh.
Or this statement: "We are devastated by the loss of George. He was truly a caring person who loved and was loved by all he met. He loved New York and its people, particularly his Carroll Gardens neighborhood. The outpouring of support by his friends and neighbors is a blessing to us and a testimony to his character."
OK- was totally tracking with this throughout the entire first sentence. Yes, loss of life is always devastating. But then it goes sideways with the very next words- “he was truly a caring person.” Really? I mean, REALLY? Caring in how he was like a wolf consuming young boys?
And then- “the outpouring of support…is a blessing to us and a testimony to his character.”
Come on now- could not a few better words be found? Testimony to his character? His character turned out to be on display in his bed the day he was found dead. Internet listings for sex with kids, bound and stabbed in bed, drugs in the house.
Click here to read the articles:
March 25th story
March 26th story
Read other posts about: crime
Thursday, April 02, 2009
I know in this political climate, those are fighting words to many people. But here’s the rub: man-made global warming is NOT a fact. Period.
And if there is natural global warming (which I am 100% certain has happened in the past, and will happen again if its not happening now), or cooling, what can we puny humans do about it? Zilch. Nothing. Nada.
The earth HAS been cooler. There is no doubt. And the earth has been warmer as well. Heard the stories of people worrying about glaciers and ice caps on mountains melting that have been there for “millions of years” only to find caves showing ancient drawings and signs of human habitation?
For those most worried and active in the fight to stop manmade global warming, we find something important under the surface. A need to matter. A need for purpose. A desire to “do something.” Those things are noble and good when applied to the REAL WORLD. Really now, who is AGAINST clean water, or clean air, or fair housing, or … name your cause.
I'm for all those things- and I dare you to find anyone around you that doesn't care about the earth, or want clean air and water.
But for many people, they live for this. It's a constant journey to somehow and in some way prove to those around them that they matter. For the rest of us- and this is what really drives some people nuts- we DO have purpose.
We love others- our families and neighbors. Don’t you think the thousands of people that took off to Indonesia after the tsunami had purpose? I’m not talking about the government people or celebrities that had meetings or “raised awareness.” I’m talking about the people that went to lift debris off of bodies, and distributed food and clothing. Or those that responded to Katrina. Our church alone sent dozens of people dozens of times to the region to give direct aid. Paid for out of OUR WALLETS- not government tax coffers.
We have purpose in our spouses or children. Trying to grow a family of honor and dignity, of caring and loving. Purpose in our work to better the lives of our family and communities. Purpose in worshiping a loving God (which is of course the chief purpose of mankind).
When we stack up the real needs around us- immediate needs- what does it REALLY mean to turn our lights off for an hour on Saturday night to save the world, then fire up the ole 72” flat screen and watch 24 or American Idol on the Tivo? Give me a break. Al Gore here in Nashville didn’t even turn his lights off for a measly hour.
I turned all our lights ON. And guess what? The world was still around at 9:30PM last Saturday.
Want to change the world? Want purpose and a cause that has eternal impact? Praise your daughter or son. Hug your wife. Give food to a beggar. Volunteer. Go on, or support, a mission’s trip. Support a child through World Vision or Compassion. Give more than the 1% of earning the Obama’s donate.
Is it any wonder that so many people apathetically view the fear mongers that nightly parade on the news, or daily haunt the halls of congress with their constant search for purpose, virtually holding signs that say “The End is Near! We need Carbon Credits and Limits on Green House Gases! And more taxes!”
And they’re the ones that call Christians nuts.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
About toll roads? Aren’t they, in some way, proof that government is inherently greedy? I mean, we only really need the government to take care of a few basic things such as:
1. Establish Justice (courts and laws).
2. Insure domestic tranquility (police and laws that protect and serve the citizenry).
3. Provide for the common defense (armed forces to protect the BORDERS).
4. Promote the general welfare (provide common use infrastructure such as roads and parks).
5. Secure the blessings of liberty (by not being tyrannical like King George in England, and get the heck out of the lives and ways of the citizens so that they may prosper).
So back to topic- toll roads. When you think about it, government only really has to do a couple things- and providing common use roads is one of them. Yet toll roads exist. And they happen to exist in just about the exact places the population happens to need incremental roads to handle heavy traffic.
Then of course there are the toll roads that lead to toll bridges and toll tunnels and various other toll booths. Roads, bridges, tunnels- these are about the ONLY things government does right (besides armed forces and police), and then it charges EXTRA beyond our unbearable taxes?
To be in alignment with the onerous income tax code, what the toll extracting evil government should do is double all tolls immediately, and only collect it from every other driver so that half the drivers are supporting the other half.