Sunday, August 31, 2008

I want to be writing for Saturday Night Live!!!

Big week in politics.

Traveling pantsuits become a footnote in history. (Great line from Hilary, however)
A new VP candidate names Patagonia and North Face as her favorite designers.
An African-American man named as a nominee.
The 'old guy' pulls one out of the hat and states emphatically ...'game's on'.
The 'dental veneer society' names Joe Biden 2008 Poster Boy. (Sorry, but his teeth are really, really white)

It makes me want to be a writer for SNL. Really does. The possibilities for great satire are mind boggling. And who wouldn't want to be a politcal caroonist for the next few months? Oh, for the ability to draw.

Big week in politics turns into a big decision for America. It's a history making election, no matter who wins. Obama can do some permanent damage to the glass ceiling of race and the Governor of Alaska can continue to open doors for women. Both of these things are good for America.

But I'm worried.

I know people who won't vote for Obama solely because of his race. You know these people too. They scare me.

I know people who will hesitate mightily with marking their ballot for McCain/Palin, becasue she is a woman. They scare me too.

I think change is hard for people. When it involves race and gender it gets even harder for a lot of folks. For many, this is going to be a very difficult election. That's good. A lot of people I know have to come face to face with the 21st century. I hope they do.

But I'm worried.

This election will be history making but what happens after the election might make or break us.

I can think of a whole lot of decisions that are going to shape our future. Health care, our role in the world economy, the Middle East, the racial divide in America, immigration, right to life issues, poverty, and global warming come to mind immediately.

As a Christian, I have to admit, I have a lot of thinking and praying to do. No one candidate (or set) is going to satisfy me, giving me what I think I think I'll need to make a decision. I might have to settle for good, not the best.

My role, I think, is to use my influence to ask the questions thinking, prayerful people need to be asking. It's not enough, I don't think, to vote your historic party line or to focus in on one and only one issue to make a decision.

I want us all to think, to pray, to search Scripture read extensively (both sides) ...because these issues are not easy to solve. They will require a long obedience in the same direction. There's no quick fix.

So, who will take us in a direction that will enable us to create the paradigms necessary to create the change that will lead to solutions? What do you think?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Now what 2?

Thought this was interesting has to do with my post yesterday. Interesting perspective from a former gold medal winner.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Now what?

I read that a former Olympic gold medal winner stood on the awards platform thinking, "Now what do I do? What's next?"

Good questions. Now what? What's next?

Ever been there. You coach a team. Win the championship. Now what? You start with a company. Get whatever today's equivalent of a corner office is ...and then wonder ...what's next? You get through school, holding in your hand the diploma that represents blood, sweat, and tears and moments later say this all there is?

So, I'm thinking. What's my next? What's driving me? Where am I supposed to go? What am I meant to be? What's going to make tomorrow worth getting up for?

I've won championships. I've sat in a corner office. Had responsibility. Achieved goals. All that is worth celebrating. Good stuff. But I'm still alive. What about tomorrow or the rest of today?

Ever sense that there's a God sized vision deep inside of you? I do. I'm old enough now that I want to give birth to that vision. There's something stirring deep inside me ...that's my next, that's my 'now what'.

The problem is I don't know what that 'vision' represents quite yet. I just know it's quite delicious.

So, what's next for you?

I'd love to hear about the stirring in your life.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Do you want to get well?

I'm being blasted. Hit in the face. Sirens are going off. Everytime I turn around I'm either reading, listening, or having a dialogue around one question ..."Do you want to get well?"

That's what Jesus asked the excuse laden man at the pools in Jerusalem. Do you want to get well?

That's the question God is asking me. Chances are he's asking you the same thing. And even though we say 'yes' because that's what all good little Christian boys and girls do ...we have all kinds of reasons why now is not the time!

And so we stay sick and stay stuck!!! We stay in our rut that now feels like home sweet home, only occassionally peering over the sides to see something new and fresh. Our rut becomes our tomb. And then we have the audacity to proclaim,"I'm really living."

I want to get well. Really do. Whatever's holding me back I want Jesus to heal. I want to live. Really live. Really feel alive.

How about you?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

More Olympics

I was watching Olympic swimming other night. I looked at Michael Phelps. I'm sure most of you who know me and could see him were thinking the same thing...'yep, wow ...Mike's body and Michael Phelp's body ...they're like mirror images.'

If you're at all body conscious the Olympic telecast is not an upper. Not even close. If I ate 10,000 calories a day like Michael Phelps does and continue to exercise like I do ...let's just say it would get ugly fast.

It's hard not to look and maybe even covet what we see on the TV screen. I mean, who doesn't want to be in great shape? Who doesn't want to move like lightning? Who doesn't want to look sleek?

But I'm not. I'm not in great shape. I never moved like lightning. Ever. Looking at me and thinking sleek would be a monumental paradigm shift.

Of course, the good news is that my job description in life has nothing to do with moving like lightning or looking like an Olmpic swimmer. I'm called to take care of my body. It's a temple, you know. I need to attend better to that. Score one for self-awareness. In the life movement department I need to realize that God has gifted me differently than the Olympians. That's a good thing.

I get into trouble when I play the comparison game instead of the thankfulness card. Life seems to be designed for comparison. That's not God's way. It's the culture's way. But we're not called to play the culture's game. We're on a different playing surface.

The truth is God loves me the way I am. He just wants me to be the best me I know how to be. From God's perspective I'm as sleek and fast as anyone are you.

Winning and Losing

So, we're all watching the Olympics, right?

Have you noticed this rush of nationalism running through your body. All of a sudden you actually care that someone from the USA wins the men's synchronized diving competition or that we don't get edged out on a medal in bmx unicycling or that our underwater bocci ball squad prevails despite the big waves. Interesting.

We start to care about things we really don't usually have much interest in. We begin to think that somehow or another this next medal means something really important.

What if we lost every medal, failed to compete well in any competiton ...and people laughed at us. What would that mean? Would we cease to exist as a nation? Would our national psyche be damaged beyond repair? Would sales of red, white, and blue anything plummet?

I'm as competitive as the next person. Love to win. Love to compete. Don't like to lose. Is this what it's all about ...a national collective experience of winning and losing? Does it really say anything about who we are as a country?

Don't get me wrong. I hope our teams do really well. There is something really fun in kicking back and rooting for the home team. I think the highs and lows of sport make life more interesting.

But there's other things, other races, other competitions that mean far more ...

Too many kids get a crummy education. I bet we can win that fight.
People die all over the world from starvation. Wouldn't it be fun to compete over who can best solve that problem?
For lack of a $10 mosquito net kids get malaria. On your mark, get set, go ...get your check book out.
Human trafficking is too real. Only losers in this one.
What about sub-standard housing? Who's going to win the race to solve this problem?

Nothing wrong with the Olympics. It's a nice breath of fresh air.

As Christians we're taught to keep our eyes on the prize, to run the good race. What if we asked God for the grace necessary to become champions for the underresourced, the hurting? What if we asked God for the courage to get off the couch and compete for those who can't run and speak for themselves? What if we won gold medals, encouraging and challenging each other to use our giftedness to solve some big problems?

The world might change. For sure, we would.

Talented people spend too much time trying to do it all and get it all. What if we spent our time differently? What if we choose to lose the American Dream and instead choose to gain God's perspective? That would be worth watching.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I had a heart attack

I had a heart attack. Mild. No damage.

It was a wake-up call. It happened in early June. The big take-away is learning to destress my life.

Stress kills. I learned that. So what stresses me? That's what I've got to find out. I can point fingers. Toxic people stress me. Loss of control is a stressor. Too much work, not enough time frazzles me. Never getting to the end of a to-do list isn't fun.

But you can't walk away from life. I'm in the ministry. I will meet and have to deal with toxic people. If I'm in control then God isn't. Time management is always going to be an issue. There's never enough time for everything.

Five things I'm thinking about though.

1. Take time for what's important.
2. Be present to the presence of the Lord.
3. Trust God to do His thing.
4. Good enough is good enough.
5. Live today. It might be your last. Let tomorrow take care of itself.

I can't do everything or be everything.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I cried on Saturday

My son got married on Saturday. I performed the wedding. I was fine through the service. It was at the reception that the tears came.

There was a slide show of Stephen and Jenny. Seeing the pictures of Stephen growing up brought back an avalanche of memories. How does time move so quickly? How does the little boy become the married man?

It's sobering to see your life reflected through the joy of another. Did I do enough? Did I do the right things? Was I too hard? Too soft? Just right? Will he be wise enough to ignore the shadow side of his father and live into those things that are good and right?

That's where I have to trust God. He loves Stephen even more than I do. He gave him a gift in Jenny, his new wife.

But I cried ...tears of joy, of wonder, of amazement, of introspection, of hope ...tears that lead to a prayer of thanks for so many blessings, tears that led to repentance for any hurt my brokenness has caused ...but mainly tears for the memories.