Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fire!

"One day, after we have have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we will harness for God the energies of love and then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered FIRE!" Teilhard de Chardin.

This is another of the statements I had on a small card on the wall of my first apartment when I went off to college at the ripe old age of barely 18. Hmmmmm . . . that would have been quite a few years ago but I still remember the quote very clearly and wonder what it will be like when man discovers fire, again. It's hard to imagine the impact of the discovery of fire on our world/culture. We put a lot of effort into mastering the tangible sources of power like winds, waves, tides and gravity but it's hard to wrap our minds around this power called love.

How will the world be different when we step-up to de Chardin's challenge and "harness for God the energies of love"?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

". . . and all you can do is enough."

I've had the privilege of working with someone I've come to consider one of the best Human Resources professionals of all time. Tim May will always be known to me for this statement: "All you can do is all you can do, and all you can do is enough."

Adopting that philosophy has made my life immeasurably easier. I'm reasonably self-aware; I have a pretty good idea of what I do well (that's easy since there are not too many things that I do well) and a pretty good idea of what I don't do well (well, maybe not all of them but at least the top 1 million of them.) I make a consistent effort to do my best but when I've done all that I can, I accept that it's OK even if someone else is disappointed. Sometimes my response to the disappointment of others is just to say, "Ya know, we live in a fallen world." Granted, that might be a cop-out but it's usually pretty effective in breaking the tension of the conversation.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My apologies to anyone who's ever eaten one of my biscuits

If you've ever eaten a biscuit that I made, I owe you an apology. I didn't realize that until I ate biscuits at Dick Russell's Bar B Q in Tillman's Corner a few weeks ago. As a native Alabamian and life-long resident of the South, I've eaten a lot of biscuits in my day but none compare to the ones at Dick Russell's. If I was not already married, I probably would have sent a marriage proposal back to the kitchen that morning and just taken my chances on who was doing the baking. Of course, that would have spooked my wife so I restrained myself. I'm also a pretty good cook (although I've never been particularly proud of my biscuits) but after eating biscuits at Dick Russell's, I was downright ashamed of every one that I'd ever made. Their biscuits have a crispy little outside layer that conceals a light and fluffy interior. My biscuits, on the other hand, are neither light nor crispy . . . they look OK but don't taste anywhere as good as theirs. Their biscuits are now the standard by which I will judge all others.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Made in who's image?

My last post topic (Unmasked) generated some interesting and lively comments and I have to confess that it reminded me of the sage advice, "Be careful what you wish for!" I genuinely want to hear the comments of those that may choose to read this blog. I invite differing opinions even if we don't always agree but I hope that contributors will be respectful of others in their comments. I already had this post scheduled as a follow-up and will move ahead with it, as planned but not without at least a little trepidation!

"God doesn't will that I should fashion another in an image that seems pleasing to me, but in His very freedom from me, He created that person is His image." I wish I could remember who said this because it's one of those statements that I had on a card on the wall of my first apartment as a college freshman. It was a good word then (back in the Ice Age) and it's a good word now.

A couple of times in recent Sunday morning messages, Jim Kinder, Executive Pastor at Christ United Methodist Church, commented on this topic. He challenged us by saying something to the effect that Christians invite others to church and then expect them to dress like them, think like them and vote like them. I think that's a pretty good example of how we want to "fashion another in an image that seems pleasing to me." Does this mean that we don't trust God with diversity among followers of Christ? Compromising core values is a slippery slope; I get that. Do we, however, confuse respect with compromise and do we confuse tolerance with agreement? Here's another truth that I've found helpful: Let the depth of my convictions be matched only by the depth of my respect for your convictions. I am not the Holy Spirit. Although I believe that God has and will continue use me to speak truth into the life of another, I understand that I'm not the ultimate authority in the life of anyone else.

What about you? How do you determine where to draw the line between tolerance and compromise?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Unmasked

Some of my friends would describe me as a liberal. Of course, most of my friends are what I might describe as conservative. It's all relative, I guess. To make it more confusing, some people I might call liberal would consider me to be a conservative. Remember, it's all relative. Now that I've made this as clear as mud, let me pose this question: Why is that we like to label one another and how do we make that judgement? Maybe I describe my friends as conservative because they rally around the Holy Trinity of Conservatives (Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity). Maybe they describe me as liberal because I don't.