Thursday, September 29, 2011

Trouble Commenting?

I don't guess you'll be able to answer this question if you can't comment, but let's see if we can get something figured out here.  Tanya, my wife, wrote a couple of paragraphs the other night as comments to one of my blog posts.  She said that when she hit the 'post comment' button - the whole comment disappeared, never to be found again.  I recalled Derek saying that he had tried to comment on a post in the past and lost the comment also.  So I went to the blog, didn't sign in, and tried to comment anonymously.  It disappeared.  That would be extremely frustrating to me if I was a visitor trying to comment, and I probably wouldn't try again.  It actually is frustrating to me to think that readers are unable to post without having a Google account.  I would rather move the site than force readers to join something in order to comment.  My intent is to have a discussion involving many people about these issues and this isn't helping.  I also don't even like having to read and type some kind of wavy letters in order to comment.  I know that's supposed to cut down on spam, but I don't really think that's a problem.  I see other much more popular websites where you can comment without doing those things.  
Has anybody else experienced these issues?  
Do you have any suggestions?
Can you answer me?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Pain Benefit

Have you ever considered the benefits of pain?  We can all readily see the downside.  It hurts.  In an earlier post about Discipline, I quoted a favorite saying of body builders - Pain is just weakness leaving the body.  That's a clever way of saying - You're getting stronger by putting yourself through this misery.  And believe me, every time I step on a treadmill, it's misery for me.  I don't 'run for fun', as you may hear some people say.  However, when I get finished - especially if I lasted the whole 2 miles - I am glad.  Not just glad that it's over, but glad for my accomplishment.  
I stuck it out.  I endured.  
I got a little stronger.  
I got a benefit from pain.  

Without pain, you wouldn't even survive life.  One of the reasons dentists tell you not to eat anything after having dental work that required anesthesia is because you might chew your tongue off without realizing it.  That picture is an actual x-ray of my hand taken just yesterday.  If you click on it, you may be able to make out one of the two breaks at the base of the index finger.  If I didn't experience pain, I would have kept playing (as I tried to do) and possibly lost total use of that finger.  Pain protects you.  

The challenge for us is to take those things we view as painful and use them for good.  From a physical perspective, I won't play tennis on a court that has leaves on it again.  That's a self-inflicted pain that I want to avoid.  But more importantly, there are spiritual. intellectual and emotional Opportunities we encounter every day that extend to us the invitation to grow.  

Will we rail against God or Fate for our sorry lot in life?
Or will we take full advantage of the Pain Benefit?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Politically Correct?

What does it mean to be 'politically correct'?

Is it being careful to not be offensive to anyone?  That seems like a good thing.  But then why is being 'politically correct' generally used in a negative sense?  You've probably heard someone say, 'We have to be politically correct you know' in an exasperated tone.  Is it because we don't like having to consider how others will receive our comments, especially when they don't agree with our own point of view?

Of course, being 'PC' can get out of hand, or ridiculous - exhibit 1 is the accompanying t-shirt picture.  One quote says, 'Being politically correct means always having to say you're sorry'.  I'm sure you've seen or heard many other examples of PC gone wild.  Did you hear the story, earlier this year, of the teacher who wouldn't let a student's picture of an American flag be displayed because it may offend a Jehovah's Witness?  I don't even get that.  One of my biggest pet peeves is the old Push (some #) for English.  Let's please assume I speak English since this is America, and have the person who doesn't speak English push something for their language.

Is that politically incorrect?  Is that rude?  Or does it just make sense?
Can political correctness be good?  Related:  What are your pet peeves?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Examine Yourself

Socrates is credited with originally saying, 'The unexamined life is not worth living'.  In my previous post Imago Dei, I described a time in my life when I began to examine who I was and what I believed.  This is a valuable and necessary practice - and should be an ongoing one.  The following is an paraphrased excerpt from a sermon by Spurgeon.

"Examine yourselves." 
This is a 'legal idea'.  You have seen the witness in the box, when the lawyer has been examining him, or cross-examining him.  Now, mark my words: never was there a rogue less trustworthy or more deceitful than your own heart, and - as when you are cross-examining a dishonest person - you set traps for him to try and find him out in a lie, so do with your own heart.  Question it backward and forward, this way and that way; for if there exists a loophole for escape, if there be any pretense or self-deception, rest assured your treacherous heart will be ready enough to avail itself of it.

This is also a 'traveler's idea'. I find in the original (2 Cor. 13:5), it has this meaning: "Go right through yourselves."  As a traveler, if he has to write a book about a country, is not content to merely go around its borders, but goes right through the country.  He climbs the hill top, where he bathes in the sunshine: he goes down into the deep valleys, where he can only see the blue sky like a strip between the lofty summits of the mountains.  He is not content to gaze upon the broad river unless he traces it to the spring from where it rises.  He will not be satisfied with viewing the products of the surface of the earth, but he must discover the minerals that lie within its bowels.  Now, do the same with your heart.  "Examine yourselves."  Go right through yourselves from the beginning to the end.  Stand not only on the mountains of your public character, but go into the deep valleys of your private life.  Don't be content to sail on the broad river of your outward actions, but go follow back the narrow creek till you discover your secret motive.  Look not only at your performance, which is but the product of the soil, but dig into your heart and examine the vital principle.  "Examine yourselves."  This is a very big word—a word that needs thinking over; and I am afraid there be very few, if any of us, who ever come up to the full weight of this solemn exhortation—"Examine yourselves." 

What think ye brethern?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Imago Dei


How did we get here?

How you answer that question has a profound impact on the way you live your life.

I was raised in a Christian household and attended a Baptist church as a youth.  I blindly accepted what was told to me as fact.  I pulled away from that setting through the teenage years and upon entering college I began to ask myself some hard questions.  Why do I believe the things that I believe?  Do I have any proof to support the accuracy of my belief system.  Do I only believe certain things because I was told as a child that they were true?  Maybe I was just programmed.  Brainwashed.  I needed to own who I was.  
To do that, I had to know exactly what I believed and why.

I began to research the validity of the claims Christianity made.
At the foundation of this is the question of origins.

Right at the very beginning of the bible, Genesis 1, the claim is made that the heavens, the earth, and everything in it, to include humans, were all created by God.  Without turning this post into a creation/evolution debate, allow me to simply say:  as a health science major, and a lover of science, the facts (as far as we can know them since no one was actually around at that time, plus the events are not reproducible) are overwhelmingly in support of creationism.  However, it's not provable either way.  So there is the element of faith involved either way - whichever side you choose to accept.  But accept wisely, there are some very long-term effects.  

OK, accepting the reality of creationism, what does it mean to be made in Imago Dei?  That term is Latin for 'the image of God'.  There are various views on this.

I would say that the popular understanding of being made in the image of God means we have a spirit that is eternal, and that we have cognitive, or reasoning, ability.  These 2 things set us apart from the animals.  In an earlier post, I talked about being a Creator.  Is that what being God-like is all about?  Does the ability to have meaningful relationships factor in?  Compassion?  Love?

What does it mean to you?

(See Wikipedia Image of God, Three Ways of Undestanding Imago Dei for more info).  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hey buddy can ya spare a dime?

I'm feeling convicted as I type this.

For several years now, I've routinely not carried cash on my person. I carry my debit card and that's it. I prefer not to hassle with cash, to be honest.

However, there's one big problem that I'm running into by doing this, and it's bothering me. I'm largely unable to help people.

Today as I was walking back to the office from lunch, a homeless guy asked me for some help. I gave him my standard reply: "I'm sorry man, but I don't carry cash. I've only got plastic on me." I said the same thing yesterday when a different man asked me for a quarter as I walked to lunch at 4th Street Live. Last week there was a women's and children's charity collecting donation at the intersection nearest my office. I gave them the same response.

This is troubling me.

In making my own life easier, simpler, I'm making other people's lives harder. It's not that I don't want to help these people. I just can't, while carrying only plastic.

I think that what I'm going to start doing is carrying a $5 bill in my pocket every day, along with my debit card. I'll still buy my lunch and everything else with plastic, like always. But the next time a person in need asks me for a hand, I'll give em that 5-spot that I've earmarked for just that purpose. The next day, I'll have to remember to replace that Abe Lincoln in my pocket with another so that I can help the next person who asks.

What do you guys think? How often do you give money to folks who ask you for a little help?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just a job?

Rich Christiansen, now an entrepreneur and author of “The Zig Zag Principle,” remembers being a “peon” at a start-up company where “everyone was busting their gut to make this little leading-edge technology business work.” As he was leaving one night, he noticed that the office’s floor needed mopping and the place as a whole was pretty filthy. With an important potential investor set to visit the next day, Christiansen decided to come back that night and clean up.
The next day, there was a buzz among the workers as to who had secretly played janitor, and someone eventually figured it out. A vice president offered him a promotion and became a lifelong friend and mentor. Christiansen notes that “by being competent and looking for ways to give and do a little extra, I was able to form a relationship that has been mutually beneficial over the years.”

Do you 'just get by' in a job you consider thankless?
Or do you go out of your way to please your employer and customer?
I used to call that kind of behavior, especially as it applies to the boss, 'brown nosing'.
Then I realized I was just a jerk with a chip on my shoulder.
Now I do nice things for my boss, peers and customers because I like to.  Many times it's a simple act of kindness that I would/should extend to anyone.  I also try to make authentic connections with our customers (patients in my case).  
I find this not only makes their experience better, but mine too.
There are higher reasons also.  Colosians 3:23

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Blog about Blogging

Though I have been enjoying posting thoughts on this site, I have noticed that there are few (and diminishing) responses.  The odd thing is - there are several page hits a day, but no comments.  Why? (my favorite question)  Maybe what I'm posting is not interesting (obviously that's highly unlikely).  Maybe readers think they will be revealed for what they truly are, nominal sycophants (also highly unlikely).  So what's up?  Is the posting of your thoughts on the internet intimidating to you?  Am I not reaching the very heart and soul of your deepest concerns?  Are you watching football?  Speak! (or type)

Monday, September 12, 2011


This post is edited from The Simple Dollar, a worthy blog about money and frugality.

Money is something we choose to trade our life energy for.  

Point 1:  If you earn $15 an hour at work, you’re not actually trading an hour of your life for that $15.  In truth, you’re not earning that $15.  Some of it is going away to taxes.  Some of it is going toward buying your work clothes.  You’re also working some hours for free, including the commute time and so on.  If you start calculating the numbers there, you quickly get down to a rate of $8 or $9 per hour (perhaps a little better, perhaps a little worse) that you actually earn from your job that you get to keep.  

Point 2:  When you spend money, you’re actually spending time at work.  If you actually earn $8 per hour invested in your job and you buy a $2,000 television, you’re swapping 250 hours of your life working for that television.  Why not buy a $1,000 television and reclaim 125 hours of your life?  If you earn that $8 an hour and buy a $200,000 house on a 30 year mortgage, meaning you actually dump in $400,000 after the interest, you’re swapping 50,000 hours of your life for that house.  Why not live in a $100,000 house and reclaim 25,000 hours of your life?  That’s twelve years of working 52 weeks a year, five days a week, eight hours a day.

Some food for thought.  See full article Money

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

God Is Not Mad At You

Maybe this will pull some of you out of the woodwork. 

God is not mad at you.  

Let me qualify that remark with -  if you are a Christian. 

People take exception with me when I say that, but I defy you to show me where God is mad at the Christian. 

Is He disappointed at times?  Let me answer this way:  Do you believe God is omniscient to the point that He knows all future events?  If so, then how could He even be disappointed about what He already knows you're going to do?  In fact, if He knows how many times it's going to take you to get it right, then that's just one more step in the right direction.  "51 down, 49 more to go for Rob.  He's finally over the halfway point.  Not that I AM surprised." 

Does He discipline?  Of course, see Hebrews 12, but not out of anger.  Was He mad at the Jewish people?  Yes, and in fact He killed many of them.  But they didn't have the indwelling Holy Spirit and atonement of Christ.  Also, His wrath will pour out on the unsaved on judgment day.  But again, if you are 'saved', what you are saved from is His wrath.  Now and then.

The saddest part about all of this is that many of us go through life believing God, like in this picture, is mad at us and is just waiting to hammer us for doing wrong.  The beauty of the gospel is that ALL of our sins are paid for.  That means the ones in the past AND the ones we haven't even committed yet.  

Start living with that joy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Are You A Creator?

I was viewing an interesting video over the weekend made by a pastor who owns a brewery.  The brewery is called 2 Beers.  He said after 2 beers the walls come down and people are a little more open and honest about life.  Here's the link On Human Being, Doing, and Brewing.  Anyway, this guy talked about how being made in God's image, in part, means we are able to 'create'.  Which reminded me of a very good article from the Art of Manliness (see link under my blog list on right) called Modern Maturity - Create More, Consume Less.  The thrust of that article is that men create, boys consume.
So, my question today is:  Are you a creator?
In my own life, I enjoy playing music.  I sometimes think up (or do I hear?) musical passages.  I have recorded some of them in the past and it's fun to go through this process.  I could say I'm creating anytime I write anything of substance, like these blogs, to anybody.  And I enjoy that too.  I sometimes have serious talks with my kids and I think I am helping create their perception of reality.  My wife likes to make cards (extensive amount of tools/supplies for this), decorate and cook new things.
What do you create?
Or are you more consumer-minded?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Here's an interesting question...

A friend informs you that you have upset them for some reason, but in your view that person has no legitimate reason to be upset - How should you handle it?  Blow them off, let time do it's work?  Try to reason with them about the issue?  Accept that their response is legitimate for them?  I don't think you should tell them that they shouldn't  be upset.  That's not likely to fix the problem.  In fact, it can be demeaning to them.  You could certainly explain that it wasn't your intention to upset them, and try to make amends.  There's even the possibility that you were in the wrong without realizing it.  Call it a 'blindspot'.  
What's the over-arching factor that would go in to your response?