Wednesday, April 25, 2007


On Monday they mentioned on the news that Minnesota had the lowest gas prices in the country. On Tuesday prices went up 17 cents. Coincidence? Maybe... But I do find it interesting.

Maybe that's why I find gas prices to be a lot like my weight. They both jump up quite easily, but both are also slow to come back down.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cover Up

A read a helpful devotion today from "The Upper Room" about sin and cover up. The author makes the comparison to buying a new place and wanting to paint over the dirt and problems, however past experience has taught that it needs to be cleaned first. How often do we do that in our spiritual life? How often do we try and just cover up our sin, our problems, with a smile or new clothes or something to make it appear like everything is just fine? Easy targets with this kind of thing are the lottery winners or sports stars who have gone broke. They tried to cover up the dirt of their life with money, but eventually those problems reared their ugly heads again. Until we clean things up there is no amount of paint that can make the dirt go away. Maybe it's time to for us to return to the confessional.

Monday, April 23, 2007

What Are We Going to Do?

Last night we watched "An Inconvenient Truth" and it got me to thinking...
...What are we going to do to make changes at home?
...What can we do as a congregation?
...Is it really that bad?
...Can we change these trends?
...Why haven't we started doing some things sooner?

It was good. It got me to thinking. Oh, sure, there were some arguments that I questioned. I thought some of it was just scare tactics and a bit over the top. However, I got me to thinking and I believe that's a good thing. I think I need to do more. I think we all need to do more. I think we all need to think more.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Spiritual Growth

One of our 9th graders was writing about Mike Yaconelli's book, "Messy Spirituality" when she gave a beautiful definition of spiritual growth that I would like to share with you.

"Spiritual growth is an untamed search for God in the scrambled jungle of our souls."

Thank You!

Another Perspective

I realize this is perhaps a bit dated, but it came through my e-mail today and I appreciated some of the views shared. What do you think?


Time for Jackson, Sharpton to Step Down

Pair See Potential for Profit, Attention in Imus Incident


AOL Sports Commentary

I’m calling for Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, the president and vice president of Black America, to step down.

Their leadership is stale. Their ideas are outdated. And they don’t give a damn about us.

We need to take a cue from White America and re-elect our leadership every four years. White folks realize that power corrupts. That’s why they placed term limits on the presidency. They know if you leave a man in power too long he quits looking out for the interest of his constituency and starts looking out for his own best interest.

We’ve turned Jesse and Al into Supreme Court justices. They get to speak for us for a lifetime.


If judged by the results they’ve produced the last 20 years, you’d have to regard their administration as a total failure. Seriously, compared to Martin and Malcolm and the freedoms and progress their leadership produced, Jesse and Al are an embarrassment.

Their job the last two decades was to show black people how to take advantage of the opportunities Martin and Malcolm won.

Have we at the level we should have? No.

Rather than inspire us to seize hard-earned opportunities, Jesse and Al have specialized in blackmailing white folks for profit and attention. They were at it again last week, helping to turn radio shock jock Don Imus’ stupidity into a world-wide crisis that reached its crescendo Tuesday afternoon when Rutgers women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer led a massive pity party/recruiting rally.

Hey, what Imus said, calling the Rutgers
players "nappy-headed hos," was ignorant, insensitive and offensive. But so are many of the words that come out of the mouths of radio shock jocks/comedians.

Imus’ words did no real damage. Let me tell you what damaged us this week: the sports cover of Tuesday’s USA Today. This country’s newspaper of record published a story about the NFL and crime and ran a picture of 41 NFL players who were arrested in 2006. By my count, 39 of those players were black.

You want to talk about a damaging, powerful image, an image that went out across the globe?

We’re holding news conferences about Imus when the behavior of NFL players is painting us as lawless and immoral. Come on. We can do better than that. Jesse and Al are smarter than that.

The Rutgers players are nothing more than pawns in a game being played by Jackson, Sharpton and Stringer.

Jesse and Al are flexing their muscle and setting up their next sting. Bringing down Imus, despite his sincere attempts at apologizing, would serve notice to their next potential victim that it is far better to pay up than stand up to Jesse and Al James.

Stringer just wanted her 15 minutes to make the case that she’s every bit as important as Pat Summitt and Geno Auriemma. By the time Stringer’s rambling, rapping and rhyming 30-minute speech was over, you’d forgotten that Tennessee won the national championship and just assumed a racist plot had been hatched to deny the Scarlet Knights credit for winning it all.

Maybe that’s the real crime. Imus’ ignorance has taken attention away from Candace Parker’s and Summitt’s incredible accomplishment. Or maybe it was Sharpton’s, Stringer’s and Jackson’s grandstanding that moved the spotlight from Tennessee to New Jersey?

None of this over-the-top grandstanding does Black America any good.

We can’t win the war over verbal disrespect and racism when we have so obviously and blatantly surrendered the moral high ground on the issue. Jesse and Al might win the battle with Imus and get him fired or severely neutered. But the war? We don’t stand a chance in the war. Not when everybody knows “nappy-headed ho’s” is a compliment compared to what we allow black rap artists to say about black women on a daily basis.

We look foolish and cruel for kicking a man who went on Sharpton’s radio show and apologized. Imus didn’t pull a Michael Richards and schedule an interview on Letterman. Imus went to the Black vice president’s house, acknowledged his mistake and asked for forgiveness.

Had Imus’ predictably poor attempt at humor not been turned into an international incident by the deluge of media coverage, 97 percent of America would’ve never known what Imus said. His platform isn’t that large and it has zero penetration into the sports world.

Imus certainly doesn’t resonate in the world frequented by college women. The insistence by these young women that they have been emotionally scarred by an old white man with no currency in their world is laughably dishonest.

Let it go and let God.

We have more important issues to deal with than Imus. If we are unwilling to clean up the filth and disrespect we heap on each other, nothing will change with our condition. You can fire every Don Imus in the country, and our incarceration rate, fatherless-child rate, illiteracy rate and murder rate will still continue to skyrocket.

A man who doesn’t respect himself wastes his breath demanding that others respect him.

We don’t respect ourselves right now. If we did, we wouldn’t call each other the N-word. If we did, we wouldn’t let people with prison values define who we are in music and videos. If we did, we wouldn’t call black women bitches and hos and abandon them when they have our babies.

If we had the proper level of self-respect, we wouldn’t act like it’s only a crime when a white man disrespects us. We hold Imus to a higher standard than we hold ourselves. That’s a (freaking) shame.

We need leadership that is interested in fixing the culture we’ve adopted. We need leadership that makes all of us take tremendous pride in educating ourselves. We need leadership that can reach professional athletes and entertainers and get them to understand that they’re ambassadors and play an important role in defining who we are and what values our culture will embrace.

It’s time for Jesse and Al to step down. They’ve had 25 years to lead us. Other than their accountants, I’d be hard pressed to find someone who has benefited from their administration.


We worry a lot in life, don't we? We worry about whether things will look good enough, taste good enough, be good enough. Watching them continue to report on Virginia Tech I heard a lot of worry behind the reports. I know I'm guilty. I worry about doing enough. I worry about my sermons being good enough or about misspeaking while leading worship. I worry that I may have done something wrong while coaching track. I worry that people won't like me. I worry all the time. Now, I'll admit, I've gotten pretty good at covering it and giving the impression that I have few worries in this world. The truth of the matter is I worry all the time, like most people I think.

The devotion today in Our Daily Bread was about worry. The author spoke of a person who initiated a game with some teenagers where whenever they worried they would use the 23rd Psalm and say, "The Lord is my Shepherd and I'm worried to death." The point being that when you have perspective you see how silly your worries are, they seem almost silly. If the Lord is my Shepherd, why do I have to worry? Jesus talked about it a different way in Matthew when he talked about if the lilies of the field and the sparrows are taken care of by God, how much more will God look after you? Maybe all of us could use a brief timeout to get a little perspective on the big picture.

God is in control. What a relief it is.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


This morning as I was getting ready for the day I was watching the Today Show, as I normally do, and it was nonstop coverage of the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech yesterday. It is absolutely terrible what happened yesterday with the shooting. My heart grieves with the families and friends who lost a loved one yesterday.

With that being said, I also found myself so very frustrated with the coverage of the event. Is there no other news happening in the world? What percentage of the coverage was sheer speculation? I can't begin to tell you how often I heard phrases like, "We think" or "We believe"... in my mind that is not news, that is guess work. I was frustrated with the questioning of the school administration and their handling of the incident. They make it sound as if the administration was working in conjunction with the shooter. What if they sent out an e-mail to the student body at 7:30 a.m. and all of the students were milling around outside and the shooter decided to open and fire on the campus square where it would have been more difficult to confine? Would they have praised the administration for the timeliness of their e-mail or would they have questioned their recklessness in sending it too quickly? I don't get it. What ever happened to assuming the best? What if we took the slant that the administration was doing the best they could with the information that they had and they were trying fallible, human best to do what they believed was in the best interest of the entire community?

Can you tell I'm worked up yet? Anyway, what finally got me was realizing that the hyped way in which the media (I use that generally because I tried flipping through channels and they were all covering the story in similar fashion) was covering this story was simply instilling fear. Underlying, perhaps unspoken, was this notion that you better be on the watch because the next gunman is probably going to open fire right next you at any moment now. Fear is no way to live our lives. We talked about it on Sunday when I preached on the story of Thomas in the gospel of John. Once again we have a very real example of the world telling us to live in fear, but Christ comes and tells us to live in peace giving us gifts of repentance and forgiveness. We sure could use that right about now, don't you think?

Monday, April 16, 2007


I was reading the devotion from Our Daily Bread (ODB) today and it was based on Proverbs 16:16, that reminds us that wisdom is better than gold. The author talked about how when we go shopping we are always looking to get the best: the best car, the best house, the best blouse, etc. So according to Proverbs here if given the choice between wisdom or gold (money) then go with wisdom.

I don't know, it was a good reminder I suppose, and I liked how the author went about getting to his point. However, I just don't know how fond I am of Proverbs. Yes, I think there is some good stuff in there. I'm just afraid that in our soundbite world that we want to reduce our faith down to a set of proverbs, a series of pithy little phrases of wisdom. Is that really all the more we need? Is it really that easy?

Go ahead, seek wisdom I'm all for it... but also seek Jesus and all of the wonderful complications that are a part of living a life of faith.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


I don't want to compare myself to Jesus really, but I've been thinking it's about time to resurrect this BLOG. I hadn't been seeing any comments so I felt like nobody was reading, so was it worth the effort? Then life caught up to me and that just sort of answered that question.

Well, some time has passed (much more than 3 days), and I'm starting to feel like there's a different answer. I am re-energized. I have heard of people that actually read from time to time. Most importantly I get the sense that it's good for me, healthy for me, to be writing on a regular basis. So look for more to come on a more regular basis once again.