Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Less Talk

Radio, that is.  I have given up talk radio for lent.  I LOVE talk radio.  If I could do anything in the world, it would be a talk radio host.  Not Rush or Glen Beck, but like the guys on the Ticket in Dallas or Ron and Fez.
This is a big give up for me.  It is what I listen to at the gym, in the shower, at work and in the car.  I even listen sometimes just sitting on the couch.  But not for the next 40 days.  I hope to fill all that time with meditation, teaching podcasts (yes, totally different than talk radio), and some soul-edifying music.  And I hope that at the end of that, I will have a better understanding of who I am in Christ and what he has done to allow me to do what I do.

Are my blogs too short?  They could almost be tweets.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The State of Me

The union?  Don't really feel like a political discussion today.

The state of me is strong.  At least strong-ish.

There was a lot of rhetoric during the election about whether we were better off than we were four years ago.   On the eve of lent, an intense time of personal reflection, I think taking some time to answer that question on an extremely local level is appropriate.

So, am I better off than I was 4 years ago?  Emotionally?  Spiritually?  Am I healthier or wealthier? No. No. Yes. Yes.

So today I will celebrate the yes's and attempt to explore how to improve the no's.  Lessez bon temps rouler!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

People with Opposing Views

"We learned about each other as people with opposing views, not as opposing people."

I don't plan on posting other people's writing on here much, but this article by the Executive Director of Campus Pride and his relationship with the CEO of Chick Fil A just perfectly reflects my heart towards conflict.  It applies to every divisive issue facing our communities, our churches and our nation.  It is referred to in the article as "the blessing of growth."  And it is something I have been convicted about for the last 18 years or so since someone asked me who I thought Jesus was calling dogs and pigs in Matthew 7:6.  Until that time I had been taught, without exception, that this verse was about discernment.  But the more I spent time thinking about, studying and seeking, the less I agreed with that interpretation.  I suppose it is finally time I blogged about that.  I will.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Michael Bolton

I love CBS Sunday Morning.  Watching it has become a ritual.  Since I refuse to set my alarm on Sundays, I don't usually watch "all" of it, but I do watch until it ends.  The Bob Schieffer cross-talk is nothing but a tease in Beaumont, TX because the moment of nature here is followed by a SETX not-quite-megachurch pastor.  But I digress.

Can it be it digression if you haven't started talking about what you were going to talk about?  I guess it is the title of the post.  So yeah, I have digressed.  Double-digression?  This could go on for a while.


He was featured on CBS Sunday Morning today (so it wasn't really a digression).  I had a couple of his albums in my early to mid teens.  I know it was around that time because I know I listened to them as I drove around in my 1981 Camero Berlinetta   And you know what, I liked them.  I liked his music.  I liked it in the truest sense.  Hearing him sing engaged me in his words and created a common emotive.  It was a soundtrack perfectly suited for my pursuit of happiness.

Somewhere along the line I realized he wasn't cool. I guess this is probably because he wasn't.  At all. And for that reason alone, I stopped listening to his music.  I stopped enjoying singing along at the top of my pubescent lungs to his super sappy love songs.  I let others influence what made me happy.

It isn't always a bad thing to let the opinion of others shape us.  If it weren't for the influence of my wife and in-laws, I wouldn't know how amazing a good spicy tuna handroll can be.  And trust, it is crazy good.  But allowing others to arbitrarily police your likes and dislikes based on their opinions usually results in less happiness, not more.

As I see my daughter struggling through the crockpot that is middle school, I hope she will always enjoy what she enjoys because it makes her happy.  Wear that My Little Pony hoodie.  Wear it proud, while I jam to the long-haired prince of late-century love songs.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Words of the Fathers

A lot of times in reflection, I come to a "new" realization.  Only later to discover that many before have come to the same conclusion.

Many are talking about the intent of the words of the founding fathers lately.  This week I have been pondering the intent of our nation's founders when they chose the phrase "pursuit of happiness" as opposed to just "happiness" (sorry not a 2nd amendment post).  They simply stated "life" and "liberty."  Why add pursuit? Why not just happiness.

This is what I have come up with in my own little head. Maybe it will serve as a primer for you to explore yourself.

We are, under the laws of this land, to have the unfettered right to life.  The meaning of that sentence is not the subject of this post.  But the simple truth is that the right is present and permanent.  The same is true of liberty.  These rights are assumed present at all times.

But happiness is not assumed.  There is a lot of wisdom to that. Happiness comes and goes.  I cannot assume happiness.  I am not entitled to it ( I have been thinking a lot about that word "entitled" lately).  In fact, if I am not careful, I can float through life so long without it that I stop missing it.  Happiness takes effort.  It takes pursuit.

The problem is that even if pursued, there is no guarantee.  I may still be unhappy.  For reasons beyond control, I may be faced with sadness or disappointment.  That doesn't mean I shouldn't strive.  That I shouldn't try. Pursue.

I believe that wise men, which I believe the founding fathers to be, understand the intrinsic value of pursuit.  They understand that regardless of the outcome, pursuit makes us better. It brings growth.  And growth is our purpose.

So today I will pursue happiness because I can.  And because I should.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

For Me

I don't blog enough.  Enough for who?  Or is it whom?  Dunno.  Really should care as important as language is to my profession.  But I don't.  Apparently I do.  Because I just looked it up.  Whom.  Objective pronoun...just sounds pretentious.

Enough for me.  Throughout my life I have relished platforms.  But over the last 15 years, I have, by choice, let those platforms slip away.  For a long time I think I felt I had nothing more to say.  But in reality, I just ran out of places to speak.  And yet for the past 5 years or so, this blog has been sitting here collecting dust.

Time to knock the cobwebs off of my mass communication abilities.  Not because people are dying to hear what I have to say, but because I am dying from my own silence.  Abilities unused become curses - the bird in a cage and all that.

That may make me arrogant in your eyes, that I only want to speak if others are (at least possibly) listening.  But speaking to others is my ability, not journaling in a closet.  So a new entry will follow this one.  And hopefully, another after it. And so on.  And if you notice that not to be the case.  Contact me and ask if I have found another platform to exercise my voice or if I have just decided to let it atrophy.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Competing Ideologies

I read this article today.  A lot I agree with, some I don't.  But I came away thinking...

I don't know what causes perspective.  

If anyone has earned their place at the top of the earnings percentile, it is my father and father-in-law.  They both came from absolutely nothing and moved their famillies into the upper (or at least upper-middle) class.  And they are both die hard republicans.  They hate unions and disproportionate taxing.  They are in their 60s and feel that the opportunities are there and people are just lazy.  They have more of a right to say it than I or most do.

But not all that have that right take it.  My grandfather equally earned his way.  He rose from being the child of immigrants to be a successful FBI-agent, lawyer and eventually judge.  However, he believed in protecting the vulnerable in society and was a strong agent for change during the civil rights era.  When his county was moving republican, he refused to switch parties and became the last democrat elected as judge in Denton County.  

The thing about ideology is, as the article suggests, it is almost impossible to make it impersonal.  I think realizing it is personal is the beginning of respect for those with opposing ideologies.  And that mutual respect is  a requisite for finding common ground for real change.