Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Better Cause

Some are so thrilled with the recent same-sex marriage decision coming down from the Supreme Court, while others think the court’s ruling is so bad, such a violation of God’s law.  I can’t get worked up about this.  I have never believed that morality should be legislated.  Some religious groups I am aware of have long tried to bring about legislation that supports their religious beliefs regarding right or wrong.

Many are protesting, loudly and publicly, on religious grounds.  But God has spoken on other issues and I can’t help but notice when those other issues don’t seem to be that important to the protesters.  Do they care about God’s word as it concerns cheating on your spouse, or honesty, or lying, or stealing?

There are so many things that define the type of people God wants us to be, but none better that that described in Matthew 25. While I don’t believe Matthew 25 is exhaustive in its presentation of what matters to God, here we do get a glimpse of the kinds of people who are living a life pleasing to our Lord. Here we find a picture of followers of Jesus who care and do what they can for the poor. In this passage I see Jesus pointing us toward the issues that pertain to the most basic aspects of human dignity: food, shelter, clothing, justice, and sickness:
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in, 
I needed clothes and you clothed me, 
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

We can disagree all day about same sex marriage. Heck, the majority will most likely continue to disagree about this issue for another 20 years. We can disagree over a million issues.  However, we will not disagree, there’s no denying that millions of people are suffering significantly, and Jesus wants us to focus our energies on serving them. If there was ever a group of people who should give a damn about people who have nothing, about good people suffering in prison, and about people fleeing unprecedented violence, it should be us. This is not politics.  It is not about Democrat vs. Republican.  This is personal.

If you want to have righteous indignation about anything, take a stand on this.  If you need a good reason, this poverty and homelessness is the leading cause of crime, human trafficking, rape, prostitution and child abuse. Partnering with groups that empower communities to meet these basic needs will go a long way in keeping potential victims safe, healthy, and in control of their own lives.  We have always had people with means, competent charities, and passionate workers who are more than willing to travel to the ends of the earth to fulfill the very words of Jesus. If we collectively gave these most basic causes just a fraction of the time and energy that we had devoted to fighting for or against same sex marriage, or some other cause, who knows how many lives could have been rescued.

We need not bemoan the “terrible” world that our grandchildren will inherit. For millions of people in our own neighborhoods, the worst has already happened and will continue to happen. Know this: God’s judgment has been upon us long before a single state allowed same sex marriage.  God’s judgment came upon us when we left people hungry, thirsty, sick, unclothed, and alone. God’s judgment came upon us when we saw the destitute and did nothing. If God is going to condemn us over anything in America, it’s going to be our indifference and inaction when it comes to feeding people, giving out clean water, offering shelter, visiting the sick, and helping the prisoners.  Love one another. That is the message.

I don’t care what the courts decide. On any issue.  All I have to do is examine my own life and try to live it in such a way that I believe God finds pleasing.  Not what you believe and not what the court rules. If we disagree on same sex marriage, ok.  All I have to do is decide for myself and live accordingly.  If I study God’s word and determine God doesn’t like same-sex marriage, then I should not bring that into my life.  If I study God’s word and find that love and loyalty is all that matters regardless of sex, then I can proceed with my life accordingly. It is an individual and personal decision.  It does not matter what the law of the country is. God requires obedience to Him.  God’s law is what matters.  The law in our country doesn’t change the call of Jesus for his followers, especially us, here and now. We aren’t called to fight against someone. We aren’t called to litigation.  We ARE called to care for those suffering in the most basic ways.  Let’s take our energy and resources and throw them into serving the people who are suffering the most.

We may even hear the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant,” one day. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015


"The dog ate my homework.”  It starts there.  And for some it never ends, story after story, year after year, making up stories and creating amazing improbabilities, in a desperate attempt not to be caught or to not have to reveal the truth.  And sometimes it works.  I may have my doubts but I hate to just come right out and call you a liar.

Some people just want to be seen as better than they see themselves. The secret truth is everyone has moments of weakness, times when fear and/or greed melt our brains and we’re tempted to say the lies we wish were true. And for that reason the deepest honesty is found in people willing to admit to their lies, or their barely resisted temptations, and own the consequences.

You know them and I do too, those whose jargon hide huge quantities of BS. Their story becomes so unreasonably inflated. Inflated language is a technique of intimidation and bullying. The bet is that if the story is big enough, you will not have enough to call them on it.  This is, of course, entirely BS. To withstand BS you have to have an inner core of self-reliance, holding on to your doubts longer than the BS’er holds onto their charade.

A good tool of BS detection is careful assignment of your trust. Never agree to more than your trust allows. Who cares how confident they are: the question is how confident are you in them? It’s rare that there isn’t time for trust to be earned. It’s not offensive to refuse to take someone’s word if they have no history of living up to it before.

And trust can be delegated. I don’t need to trust you, if you’ve earned the trust of people I trust. Nothing defuses BS faster than a collective of people that help each other detect BS. Great teams help each other call someone on their BS.  I have a big big weakness in this area as I expect people to always be truthful. I will give people the benefit of the doubt.  But eventually the truth comes out.  I feel so let down, disappointed, betrayed and double-crossed when I find out everything they were telling me was just BS.  It is people like this that make me appreciate the genuine people even more. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Best Wife Ever

I wanted to write down some things here that I wanted to say to you, my darling wife. I just want you to know how much you mean to me.  In case I don't say it enough or show it enough, you should know the feelings in my heart for you.

First, I would do anything to be your everything. I love coming home to you.  I love knowing you are there waiting for me to get home.  I love that kiss when I see you and I love that kiss when I have to go to work in the morning.  Just this morning as I was leaving for work I woke you only to kiss you and say goodbye and you whispered back, I love you too.  That is everything I need to go out and face the day, the boss and the job.  I love how you appreciate that too and tell me so.  I know you give your very best for us, and I am proud to do the same.

I love your smile.  I love to see you happy.  I love it when we both find the same things funny.  We laugh and laugh.  It is one of the best parts of my day to see you smile.  Your smile is one of the things I love the most about you.  I love your eyes.  I can read them so well.  I don't even have to ask, I can see in your eyes when you are in pain and when you are feeling good.  I can see in your eyes when you are excited and when you are sad. Your eyes are the prettiest I have ever seen.

I fell in love with your courage so long ago.  You fight through more pain and struggles each day.  I see you fight through it, I see you try to hide it, and  I see you try to put your best foot forward each day and the courage it takes each day to do all of that is simply a lot.  You are awesome and I know it.  I know how brave you are.  Everyone else doesn't see it first hand but I do.  The battle is hard and I am amazed at your strength, bravery and courage to stand up to the fight day in and day out.

I appreciate your honesty and sincerity.  I love knowing how you are who you say you are.  People everywhere love you so much and I think that is probably the virtue people admire the most about you. I do love how everyone can see that about you. My heart rests comfortably each day knowing it trust safely in you.

I believe is us.  Things go bad sometime.  We have struggles like everyone else.  But there is no one else I would rather have by my side to fight against the world.  If it is us against the world, I am good with that.  I love the battles won together and the miracles we have been privileged with.

I love how you take up for the ones you love.  I see how you are always quick to step up and defend me or any of the kids.  Even if any of us do something stupid, you will find a way to defend us with an unrivaled passion to the world. Your love for us is our strength.

I love your patience and understanding.  You have grown in patience so much since we met.  I love how you talk to me and work with me even when you may be internally so frustrated.  You have grown so much in this area and if this was all I was considering, this alone might make you one of the most amazing people in the world.

I love your touch.  When you hold my hand, touch my face or hug me it renews my strength, it revives my spirit and lifts me up higher than the mountains. There is magic in your touch.  I love it so much.

I love how you love our home and all that you do to make it a wonderful home. And that is a lot.

You are my world.  I do it all for us. And I wanted you to know that.

I don't seek happiness.  I seek meaning.  Taking care of you and us is what gives my life meaning. I know life throws many things at us, collectively and individually, but I will be there you and for us, all the way, as long as you will have me.  I love you.  I love you Michelle for all that you are and all that you want to be. I look forward to growing old with you.