Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Oct 21 2015

The Overflow

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Have you ever seen oil or water come shooting out of the ground when a drilling rig reaches a pocket of liquid below the earth’s surface? The liquid is under such great pressure from the weight of the earth above that it comes rocketing out of the new pathway created for it.

The same is true of the human heart. As the pressure of life squeezes us, our mouth acts as a pathway to discover what’s inside. What comes rocketing out of us is directly related to what is in our heart. “The things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart,” said Jesus. (Matthew 15:18)

And, Christians, beware of your Christian leaders who rarely mention Jesus or God’s kingdom. Driven inside by accolades, admiration, accomplishment, praise, ego, and insecurity, their language indicates where their heart’s allegiance lay. Don’t be swept away in the non-sense. “Hold firmly to the word of life” (Philippians 2:16).

Let us remember that productivity does not guarantee faithfulness. Sometimes productivity is just people getting a bunch of things done. May we spend our precious and difficult hours on this earth under the purifying pressure of God’s good hand and not the pressure of endless deadlines that loom over us like an oppressor. Oh, Lord, help us live!

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Oct 16 2015

Football and People

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A few years ago, my buddies and I went to a concert. After being inside the gate for about 15 minutes, a bouncer came over and told my buddy he had to take off his red hat because people might think he was in a gang. My buddy refused and turned to talk away. The bouncer then took his massive MagLite flashlight and cracked my friend in the side of the head, knocking him out. My friend never saw it coming.

In layman’s terms, we call this a sucker punch and it infuriates us. In legal terms, it’s called assault. I imagine you have some anger inside yourself about this story.

Now consider this. College and professional football is becoming almost unwatchable at times. The strength and power of the players means that at least once per game, we’re seeing someone go out with a concussion or other major injury. Too many of these hits are occurring on plays where the injured player is defenseless (i.e. not able to protect themselves from a hit). It’s no different than a sucker punch. And yet, I can hear the refrain from people who disagree, “This is a violent game and you’re signing up for hard hits when you play.”

Then what need is there for any rules involving physical contact? Chop blocks? That should be part of the game. Hits in the back? That should be part of the game. Horsecollar tackles? That should be part of the game.
Except they aren’t. Why? Because players get severely injured in those instances.

These defenseless plays are no different. Guys are going down with concussions and season-ending injuries. And it’s affecting them for the rest of their lives!

People say, “Well, back in the day when I played…” Back in the day when we played, we weighed 170 and ran the 40 in 5.5 seconds. These guys are beasts! It’s simple physics of force and deceleration that the way they hit each other now inflicts far more damage than it used to.

My concern about this isn’t logic in the consistency of rules or even protection of players (although that’s part of it). This is a matter of our humanity, brothers and sisters! These men are playing a game. It’s a game. And we care more about our team and the penalty they take (or the “purity” of the game) than we do about the life of the other person. Dude goes down with a concussion and people are in the stands yelling, “THIS IS BULL CRAP!” They’re booing the call when the player who got blown up is lying unconscious on the ground.

We need to be careful in this country. There is no created thing on earth with more honor and glory than another human being. As our games change, our care for people needs to keep pace.

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Oct 13 2015

Kidnapper’s Day

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Kidnapper’s Day. That what we should call it. On his second voyage, Christopher Columbus was ordered by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand to be friendly and even loving to the native peoples of the Caribbean. What did Columbus do? He sent the King and Queen a letter a few months later, asking to take some natives to Spain as slaves. They rejected his request. But this scoundrel did it anyway.
Columbus kidnapped 1,600 people from the Arawak tribe and took them to the Carib tribe. His boats would only hold 1,200 so 400 were released.
Columbus also kidnapped 560 Arawak people and brought them back to Spain. Two hundred died during the voyage. And half of the remainder were ill when they arrived.
We view Columbus as brave. That’s like labeling Ted Bundy as creative for how he killed people.
Columbus was a greed monster, obsessed with his own glory. His “bravery” was only the self-seeking kind. Not finding much readily-available gold on Hispaniola, Columbus ordered that every native Indian bring a quota of gold to him every three months. In exchange, they were given a copper coin they had to wear to prove their obedience to the law. If they were found not to have the coin, their hands would be cut off and they would bleed to death. Virtually no natives obeyed and the law was hardly ever enforced, but it gives one insight into the type of man he was.
He was a liar and a tyrant (people called him the “tyrant of the Caribbean”). He was a kidnapper and a murderer. These are not hyperbolic words I’m using. They’re real adjectives that accurately describe him. He was a scoundrel. He is the man that setup the Caribbean to be a brutal place of slavery in the 16th-, 17th-, and 18th centuries. He paved the way for a place described by historian Ron Chernow…
“The Caribbean sugar economy was a system of inimitable savagery, making the tobacco and cotton plantations of the American south seem almost genteel by comparison. The mortality rate of slaves hacking away at sugarcane under a pitiless tropical sun was simply staggering: three out of five died within five years of arrival, and slave owners needed to replenish their fields constantly with fresh victims.”
In 1937, it was the Knights of Columbus that convinced Franklin Roosevelt to make Columbus Day a national holiday. As they’ve done in Seattle and other cities around our land, I hope within our generation, we’re able to convince one of our future Presidents to abolish Columbus Day.

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Oct 05 2015

It Is You I Have Loved

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Will we look back and see that maximizing productivity is one of the biggest lies in human history?

In crop management, we spray all these chemicals (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides) on plants in order to make them yield more of whatever they grow. We aim to make them more productive. And what has happened? The plants are yielding more but what else? Wide-ranging side effects including the decimation of bee populations (which are needed, among other reasons, to pollinate all the plants from which we get our food). The pursuit of something nice is causing something awful.

In our lives, we seek tips and tricks on becoming more productive – how to finish more tasks, plow through more email, manage more projects. We marvel at the people in our organizations who get so much done. But what is it costing us?

There is a spirit of compulsion in our generation. We border on the worship of work – devoting more time and more energy to its pursuit than almost anything else. We neglect health in almost every other area of our life while we feed this beast called Work. We’re so busy that we can’t hear the whispering voice of our God who sings, “It isn’t your work… ‘It is YOU I have loved all these years.'” (Water Liars – Let It Breathe)

We must grow crops and we must work. And we should do so intelligently. Productivity isn’t evil. But it’s maximization – squeezing everything we can out of our lives for more accomplishment – will destroy us like it destroys our environment.

Things must change, brothers and sisters. Jesus once said, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark‬ ‭8:36‬)

We’re eroding the health of our souls for a mere pittance – not even the whole world – but peer admiration, a few extra bucks, and a marginally bigger office. And through it all, our soul is dulled as we obtain even duller rewards.

The bees are showing us what happens when productivity is chased after unthinkingly. Certainly we see enough damage in our own lives to slow down. But if we will refuse, we should pay special attention to the continued erosion of ourselves, our lives, and our country. Speed kills.

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