Posts

Friday; February 16

I enjoy reading American history because it reminds me of how far we have come.  No, we have not achieved an utopian status, but a look back in time can help us recall our progress.  Even before becoming a nation our forefathers dealt with issues such as the Salem Witch trials of the 17th Century.  Then came the 18th Century and – even though we won our independence from the British – not all of our nation’s residents were considered citizens.  The 19th Century featured slavery,  an uncivil war, and the first in a series of presidential assassinations.  It wasn’t until the 20th Century that women were given the constitutional right to vote ... and even those years brought social and political unrest.  As we enter the 21st Century we haven’t resolved all of the problems facing humanity, but we are further along than where we have been. Interestingly, a similar rationale is why I enjoy reading the Bible.  I think there is a lot to learn about the relationship we can have with God by read…

Thursday; February 15

What does it mean to have a successful meeting?  The answer to this rather straightforward question might be a bit less crystal clear.  Often, when we declare that a meeting accomplished its purpose, what we really mean is that we came to a conclusion.  Whether it was in unanimous agreement, by majority vote or merely the boss saying this is the way it is going to be – the success of a meeting is often determined by identifying an issue, coming to a decision, then moving on.  Yet, is that really what meetings are all about – decisions? There are times when the value of the discussion is exactly that – the discussion.  Just because we don’t come up with a decision doesn’t mean that we have failed and, conversely, the fact that we put a topic to rest doesn’t mean that we accomplished something productive.  (Just ask a group that is continually railroaded into a decision by an overbearing participant or a spouse who merely gives in to protect the unity or safety of the family.)  Often, th…

Wednesday; February 14

One of my favorite passages is found at the very beginning of the Bible, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’”. (Genesis 2:18)  My personal affinity for this verse has less to do with the creation aspect of the passage – the thing that makes it so special to me is how this idea of God has blessed my life for the past four decades.  When God made this declaration He set in motion events that would bring Jeane into my life.  I am thankful for and blessed by God’s understanding that mankind would benefit from the presence of intimate relationships.           Valentine’s Day is one of those days that is often measured in dollars and sense (yes – sense).  Too often, at the end of the day, it’s success is determined by how much money we spend on our loved ones and if we had the good sense to make thoughtful purchases.  While Valentine’s Day can be a fun time to exchange presents, the love that is shown the oth…

Tuesday; February 13

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the things that divide us – as a nation, in our communities and in our own individual relationships.  I have to warn you that my thoughts will probably be in contrast with some prevailing thought.  According to many who claim to know, what is wrong with our society can be reduced to terms of superficial qualities such as social privilege, race, gender or economics.  While it would be illogical to dismiss the differences in the environments in which we were raised or currently live, the thing that ultimately guides our actions is individual choice based upon the principles of our hearts and minds.  If I am a racist or a sexist, it shouldn’t be attributed to being a white, middle-class man; it is because I refuse to believe that, despite Jesus’ saving grace for all of us, we are all created equal in the eyes of God.  If I am addicted to drugs or alcohol, the excuse of grewing up in the economically-deprived inner city or Native American reserva…

Monday; February 12

I have been around for a while now and I don’t recall any time when so many social issues have so quickly and steadily come to the forefront of the public consciousness.  Over the last few months we have had to confront bigotry, violence, sexual assault (or inappropriateness) and dishonesty.  The most recent headline topic is an old one that is making a return visit – domestic violence.  Over the last few decades the context for the discussion of family violence has changed, but as we continue to see, violence within the home is not going away any time soon.  In the last few days we have seen where allegations and incidents of domestic violence have cost people their jobs … and some have cost people their lives.  Like many other issues we have made so difficult, the simple answer is something we teach our kindergarteners – don’t touch someone else in a mean way, don’t say things that are designed to make people feel bad and always tell the truth.  How many incidents of domes…

Friday; February 9

I have gotten into the habit of listening to a Bluegrass satellite radio station on Sunday mornings on my way to church because it plays “religious” music.  While I am not a fan of all the music they play, I like most of the songs and they seem to get me in right frame of mind for the day ahead.  The other morning I was riding a long and heard a phase that really caught my attention.  I don’t know the singer or the title of the song, but the chorus went something like this, “I have been calling on Jesus for a long time, now He is calling me.”.  As I thought about this I was inspired by the thought that discipleship is a two-way street.  Sure, it is great to have the ability to call upon Jesus and rely on His help, but there is another part to this as well.  When He calls upon us to do His bidding, are we willing to answer?  No, the Lord’s success and failure is not dependent upon us working for Him, but we have a responsibly to Him.  It is great to receive His blessings; are we willin…

Thursday; February 8

The other day I was walking into my office and I happened to look down into the flower bed and saw a flower staring back at me.  I am sure I had walked by it every day for the last several months, but for some reason, on that day, I noticed it.  It was tucked away in the corner of the plot, but there it was looking incredibly beautiful on a cool, dreary day.  As I thought about this flower a couple of things came to mind: My first thought was the commitment it took for that flower to still be so beautiful.  We have had snow, wind, ice and single digit temperatures, but it never lost its bloom.  It had endured the all the difficulties of the season to bring a bit of joy to all who saw it.  When we face the struggles of life do we do so in such a way that people are inspired by our beauty and strength?  Are we strong enough to outlast the “momentary afflictions” so that our beauty can be seen after the storms have come and gone?  The second observation was the disappointment in myself th…