Posts

Thursday; January 18

Wouldn’t it be great to go back in time?  After all, things are in such a disarray in today’s society that it is awful appealing to long for the good old days.  How far back would be good … twenty years – maybe fifty years?  Sure, it be great to go back fifty years because everything would be better back then, right?  Yes, let’s go back to 1968:
The year the USS Pueblo was captured by the North KoreansThe year, that in the middle of the Viet Nam War, the My Lai Massacre occurredThe year that a plane crashed in Texas killing all 85 people on boardThe year that a soccer stampede in Argentina killed 74 peopleThe year that the Democratic Convention was interrupted by civil discordThe year that a mining disaster killed 78 people in West VirginiaThe year that at least one U. S. plane was hijacked and forced to fly to CubaAnd the year that Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated
While it is tempting to want to go back, we can’t … and even if we could, I am afraid that our nosta…

Wednesday; January 17

Last week I was involved in a couple of situations where I felt the need – as a leader – to step up and take some action.  Over the last few days I have reflected on my actions and I am still don’t know if I responded appropriately.  Now, during my own efforts of wrestling with my own personal response, I was reminded of a lesson of leadership.  While leaders will be called upon to make decisions in the heat of the moment, what makes them effective is not in reacting to an incident, rather in responding to the people involved in the incident.  Once the emotional matter is put to rest are we willing to regroup and move forward?  When control has been regained are we committed to practicing forgiveness, building (or repairing) bridges, providing training and providing encouragement?  Often, the toughest job is not dealing with the conflict, it is pulling the pieces together in an effort to move onward and upward. When the Apostle Paul gave some inspired parental advice he wrote, “Fathers…

Tuesday; January 16

Last week I saw words written and heard words spoken in public that are an embarrassment to our society.  Now before you think of me as partisan, please hear me out because I am about to paint with a broad bush.  First of all, there was an accusation that a “naughty” word was used in a meeting involving some of our elite politicians.  If it is true and that word was used, shame on them.  Folks, I have heard a lot of bad language in my jobs so it wasn’t my innocent ears that were violated – rather, it was that my consciousness for brotherhood and propriety was shocked.  Sure, I have heard similar language, but it was in bars at 2:00 a.m., not coming from a meeting attended by people who are supposed to be figuring out how to elevate the quality of life for “all men who are created equal”.  Yes, I have heard that phrase used before, but it has no place in a public meeting discussing the living conditions of fellow human beings.  Now, having said that, it would have been bad enough had t…

Monday; January 15

Martin Luther King was a very charismatic and quotable speaker.  Some of the most memorable quotes from the second half of the 20th Century came from the man who lead his followers to “dream dreams” and “scale mountain tops”.  We don’t have the time or space to record all of Dr. King’s memorable quips, but, the other day I came across two that struck a chord with me.  On one occasion King challenged, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”.  As I thought about this in light of modern times I was reminded that our effort to bring value to all lives will have peaks and valleys.  Both personally and socially, there will be eras marked by great strides and then there will be periods of struggle.  Yet, no matter where we find ourselves we must strive to do and be better.  No, we aren’t where we could be (and we may not be where we should be), but we cannot allow anyone to reverse our directi…

Friday; January 12

Where do we place our trust?  Since we live in a free and open society we get the chance to back whoever we believe will give us the best deal.  We can go to work for someone who claims to be able to make us wealthy.  We can vote for the candidate who promises to defend what we believe to be important.  Some of us might even be so distrustful as to think that “I” am the only one I can trust because I know me best or because everyone else has let me down.  No matter who we choose, we cast our lot with someone we think can make our lives better.  The problem with all of these choices is that, at one point or another, everyone (including ourselves) will stumble.  No human is perfect, no man is infallible, all will fail.  While that is the bad news, there is good news.  You see, we do have access to Someone who is all-knowing and all-powerful.  When the Psalmist reflected on God he wrote, “Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord, O my soul!  I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing prai…

Thursday; January 11

Are we Christians?  On one hand that may seem like a pretty simple question that can be readily answered with a “yes” or “no”, but since I ask the question, I get to define it a bit further.  To me, this query is based on one important piece of information – what does “Christian” mean?  Does it merely mean that I believe in the existence of  someone named Jesus who was called the Christ?  Is it a demographic designation that separates us out in categories like “atheist”, “Buddhist”, “Jewish”, “Muslim”, etc.?  Is it based upon where we worship on a particular day of the week?  Is it determined by the principles we choose to adopt?  Now all of a sudden the question becomes a bit more complex, doesn’t it? Let me throw one more layer into this discussion – does the question have as much to do with how we act as it does with what we believe?  Sure, we can believe in the principles of Christianity, but is our faith enough to qualify us as a Christian?  When the New Testament writer James del…

Wednesday; January 10

As a man was riding along an inner city street in his carriage he looked down to see the poverty that surrounded him.  From his perch he witnessed, first hand, the hardships of the afflicted.  Touched by the plight of so many, the prosperous man summoned his compassion and said with a sigh and a prayer, “There, but by the grace of God, go I.”.  Rather than condemning those who didn’t have, he praised the God who had blessed him with what he had. How close have we come to losing everything?  Whether it was our physical health because of disease or injury … our financial independence because of poor management or a depressed economy … or even our solid emotional state of mind because of stress or crisis many of us may have been closer to losing it all than we would have ever imagined.  Since it never happened we may not be able to look back and identify the specific date and time, but who knows how close we have been to a life-altering hardship.  It was by the grace of God’s will and pro…