Leadership Quote Challenge

"Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself believe."

Which one of these national leaders is credited for the above quote?
  1. Indira Gandhi
  2. Winston Churchill
  3. John F Kennedy
  4. Golda Meir
If you don't know for sure take a guess but no fair googling the answer.
I'll announce the correct answer in the comments in a day or so.

Medicare, Healthcare, Lobbyists and Casinos

Ann and I sat around our breakfast table this morning talking about a conversation that she recently had with a friend about Medicare. Of course Ann is a bit of an quazi-expert on the topic since our health insurance company dumped her when she became disabled - that is what insurance companies do when a person goes on a procedure like hemodialysis or is disabled by illness or accident. Their lobbyists made it happen years ago.

Our conversation reminded me of this comment that I left on a friends blog when his insurance company reneged on a $7,000 payment they had made for a medical procedure:
  • Insurance companies have the same business model as our local casinos. Rarely does anyone ever beat the house because the proverbial deck is stacked against clients of these companies.
  • I do not know why so many Americans advocate for companies that do not have products or services and act so badly when someone makes a claim.
The insurance industry has a very strong lobby in Washington, DC. They have been lobbying for the government to relieve them of the difficult cases for many years. They have already gotten legislation passed to exempt them from covering senior citizens, the disabled and many costly procedures (like hemodialysis ) and they do not want to cover people with preexisting conditions. They are a bit like the people who run the casinos in Vegas..

So when I read about lawmakers wanting to privatize Medicare I wonder what the insurance lobby thinks about that since seniors are not really a demographic that these companies are aggressively pursuing. Will lawmakers also opt to dump the disabled from Medicare roles? I am wondering what insurance companies will even insure such people. Color me confused.

Hotels love the Planet

Have you ever stayed at a hotel and found a "save our planet" placard on your bed? Often these guilt signs play on our do-gooder desires and try to guilt us into reusing towels and sheets.

I guess that is why I love the message on this placard. I mean really - everybody knows that hotels are only concerned about the bottom line and not the planet. And it is much better for them if we reuse dirty towels and save them a load in the clothes washer and dryer.

Have you ever been guilted into reusing dirty towels by environmental bed signs?

Saying Goodbye

I cried last month after visiting a friend as he lay in a hospital bed surviving with dialysis and respirator technologies. I somehow knew that I was saying a last goodbye to a friend. My friend has chosen to remove the respirator this morning and will pass onto the next life in the company of his family. I dedicate these quotes to this wonderful and godly man:
We only part to meet again. -John Gay

Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love. -George Eliot

The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected. -Nicholas Sparks

Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart. -Washington Irving

Never part without loving words to think of during your absence. It may be that you will not meet again in this life. -Jean Paul Richter

Farewell! a word that must be, and hath been. A sound which makes us linger;
Yet - farewell! -Lord Byron
Yet, to my friend I do not say farewell or goodbye but simply until we meet again.

Restrictions :: Violent Video Games vs Violent Movies

ZDNet recently reported on how the US Supreme Court ruled on a California law enacted in 2005 (but never enforced) that banned selling violent video games to children. The court ruled in favor of video gaming concerns by a 7-2 margin. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia called California’s law “seriously overinclusive because it abridges the First Amendment rights of young people whose parents…think violent video games are a harmless pastime.”

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote, “The First Amendment does not disable government from helping parents make such a choice here — a choice not to have their children buy extremely violent, interactive games.”

But more importantly, the court ruled in a precedent-setting decision that video games are entitled to the same protection as other forms of speech, such as books, plays and movies.

The Court also took a swipe at the argument that violent video games are harmful to children - a central argument of Senator Yee, the child psychologist turned politician who sponsored the law. In their ruling, the Supreme Court said studies showing studies linking violent video games and violent behavior in children “do not prove that such exposure causes minors to act aggressively.”
The ruling surfaces the issues of whether legislatures should involve themselves in such matters. Yet I wonder where the high court would come down on allowing children to frequent R-rated movies at theaters without their parents. I guess I could be misunderstanding the issues at hand but the two scenrios seem quite similar to me.
Of course, some theaters probably do allow older children in to "R-rated" movies in the same way that some stores allow kids to buy "M-rated" games.

What do you think? Should the same rules apply for video games and movies?

Advice from Ike

This morning I came across President Eisenhower's farewell address given some 50 years ago. I thought that I would share a few excerpts from this wise man:
Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the nation.
Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties.
We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States cooperations -- corporations. ... In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present -- and is gravely to be regarded.
As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.
Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. ... I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.
You and I, my fellow citizens, need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice.
I think that President Eisenhower expressed the thoughts of a man who experienced the worst and best of humanity. He was experienced in war and in peace. When he speaks of congress and the federal government he does so with an understanding that these agencies are not the answers to the ills of our nation. In referencing the military-industrial complex he seems to understand the desires of those who thrive off of war.

I want our governmental leaders today to heed President Eisenhower's warning about mortgaging the material assets of our grandchildren. I want them, and world leaders everywhere, to hear his words of disarmament and peace. And I echo his thought about not having a lasting peace in sight - though I fervently pray for it.

Tomorrow Begins Today!

I liked this poem. It speaks to me about how what we do today impacts the future. Love the idea of reaping what we sow - reminds me to sow compassion today. Also love the idea that tough people never quit. So, as the sayings goes, don't stop dreaming about tomorrow.

Sweet 16 and Counting

This picture was taken a few years ago when Ann and I celebrated our anniversary in Vail, Colorado. Today we celebrate number 16 and our love and commitment to each other could not be stronger.
As Ann's hair falls out this week from her chemo treatment I am reminded of the inner beauty that I was drawn to so many years ago. Call me blessed, or the luckiest man alive, but I cannot believe the many ways that God has enriched my life with Ann.

80 is the new 65? A New Retirement Paradigm

80 is the new 65? That is what this Christian Monitor post seems to say. The article makes a few points concerning retirement, Social Security and extended life spans.

Consider these points that they make about Social Security:
  • In 1935, when the Social Security Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Roosevelt, the new law established a national retirement age of 65.
  • In 1935, the average American lifespan was 61.7.
  • The “retirement age” set by Social Security is still 65. However, today the average American lifespan is 78 years and continuing to rise.
  • The national “retirement age” of 65 has remained unchanged for 75 years, but the lifespan of the average American has gone up by 16 years.
  • This is an easy explanation for why Social Security is seeing financial problems.
They also make these points about what retirement looks like today:
  • If you’re under 50 or so, you’re probably not going to be able to retire when you’re 65.
  • Most people between the ages of 65 and, say, 80 are quite valuable and have a ton to offer in the workplace and in the marketplace.
  • Don’t view retirement planning as saving for true retirement. Look at retirement planning as building a backbone for a second career.
  • Retirement savings aren’t just for retirement; instead, they create possibilities for a second career or other opportunities later on during my healthy adult life.
Now that is certainly a different perspective on retirement than the one that my parents had - and it is different than mine as well. It reminds me of a friend who says that he will work until he dies. Also reminds me of the many times that I have seen a senior citizen busing tables at a fast food joint. So I do wonder what these new second careers will look like.

So I have to ask you: What does retirement mean to you? Does having a second career when you hit 65 sound like a good idea? When you are 65 do you think that you will feel like you are 45 like the article says? I'd give you my answers but don't want to depress you.

Adult Toys that bring out the Crazy in Us

Can you even imagine a computer that costs $150,000? Such is the case of this iPad that can be customized with shades of gold and assorted gems. It reminds me of how we can be so fixated on having the latest and the greatest cell phone, laptop, gigantic flat screen television or video gaming system. I wonder what it is about these adult toys that bring out the crazy in us?

Lessons my Son has taught Me

On Father's Day my thoughts go to that day when I became a father in July 1980. I cannot really describe what that day was like and did not have a clue about how this baby boy would impact and change my whole life. So today I thought that I would share a few thoughts about my son Matt and the lessons that he has taught me:
  • Courage: It was so hard to see Matt go back to Iraq for a second year long tour when he could have stayed stateside. He could have taken the easy way out but did not.
  • Commitment: He is such a loyal friend - he always has been. His decision to return to Iraq had everything to do with his commitment to his military comrades and to our country.
  • Optimism: Matt is an amazing optimist. He does not stay down very long. He has taught me to believe the best about a bad situation and see God in pain and suffering.
  • Vision: Matt started an oil company while serving his first tour in Iraq. I could hardly believe that he was doing that. It seemed so wild. He hit oil on two wells this year already.
  • Compassion: My son has such a heart for the Lord. When he talks about being successful he always speaks of ways of giving back to our country and the Lord..
  • Persistence: I attended Matt's graduation from a Christian university last month and felt so proud. He used the GI Bill to complete his studies. He could have given up but pressed on through difficult times and got his degree.
  • Love: The bible says that great love is measured by the way that we lay down our lives for others. I see this kind of love in my son and I am thankful.
So on this day in which we celebrate fathers I want to offer my thanks to the Father for my son Matt and my daughter Susie. Words seem inadequate to express my love for them.

The Criticism Filter

Therese Borchard writes a mental health blog for BeliefNet titled Beyond Blue. Recently she posted about not taking criticism personally where she quotes don Miguel Ruiz saying:
“Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements in their own minds.”
This quote is packed with wisdom and is so healthy - not that it is easy to do. Yet I find that it is so important in life to really filter what people say to me. Often I can be so sensitive and take things the wrong way. And when my filter is out of order I can blow comments way out of proportion because I have believed and owned what they have said.

And about that criticism filter - one of the holes in it is insecurity and another is fear. I am not as insecure or fearful as I once was but I still struggle on occasion. And when I struggle I react to criticisms differently than when my filter is fully functional. So for me, a bad reaction to criticism helps me to examine my filter and find out why it is not working.

What kind of holes do you have in your criticism filter?

Political Food and Friendships

Opened my email junk folder where I found a few notes from politicians and their cohorts wanting to be my friend. I just love how these messages involve all sorts of personal lingo. Consider these excerpts from a self professed Tea Party leader in South Carolina:
After watching tonight’s New Hampshire debate, I couldn’t help but think: Newt is the candidate we need fighting for us.

Newt is the only candidate offering solutions as big as our challenges. And just as important, he has a long record of making them a reality.
So tonight, I donated $25 to help make sure we can get him there.
I laughed inside when I saw that one of the Tea Party leaders was backing Newt with a whopping $25. How sad that such a "leader" had so little financial commitment to her candidate. Of course she was wanting me, a non-leader, to match her sacrificial gift.

Of course this sort of stuff in not limited to Tea Party Republicans. And lest Democrats smirk, I give you these excerpts from an email I received from the top guy himself:
I've set aside time for four supporters like you to join me for dinner
So if you make a donation today, you'll be automatically entered for a chance to be one of the four supporters to sit down with me for dinner.
We'll pay for your flight and the dinner -- all you need to bring is your story and your ideas about how we can continue to make this a better country for all Americans.
This won't be a formal affair. It's the kind of casual meal among friends that I don't get to have as often as I'd like anymore, so I hope you'll consider joining me.
Now I think that sounded a bit like an invitation to play the lottery with the top prize being burgers and fries with the prez. Still, it is pretty early in the campaign season. Maybe better offers of political food and friendship will show up in my junk folder in the days ahead?

Password Hygiene

Have you ever had your email account hacked or been spammed by someone who has?
If so you might be interested in a post published by The How-To-Geek. The post, titled
How To Recover After Your Email Password Is Compromised, is a good read for anyone who has had their email account hacked. Here are a few tips from the geek:
  • Change your password to something completely different than your previous password. Make it a combination of alphanumeric characters and if need be temporarily write it down. The important thing is that you secure your email immediately with a strong password.
  • Go through the settings on your email account to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary.
  • Get a password manager. Not using a password manager is like refusing to use a calculator and solving all math problems long hand.
  • Search your email for registration reminders. There are likely dozens of outlaying services that you may not even remember that you use your email to log into.
  • Use strong passwords. Do not use dictionary words as part of your password. Use passphrases instead of passwords. Always use a unique password for each service.
I recommend that you read the Geek's post entirely. And if you are on Facebook you can follow his writings by simply liking his page. I know that I regularly get spammed messages from friends who are very surprised when I send a reply back to them saying that their account was hacked. Do you have any stories about being hacked?

An Empty Head is not really Empty

An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -Eric Hoffer

Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
-Malcolm Forbes

I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. -Arthur Conan Doyle

Blogging as a Community

Early on I began to experience blogging as a community. I had been blogging for about three weeks when, on January 19, 2005, I got my first comment on my blog from Kevin. I was so excited to have made contact with someone in the Blogosphere.
Here is what he said:
Great analogy! I am struggling here too. It is a scary thing to have to make a decision when a habit would make life so much easier, and a rule just makes it a breeze!
I loved the way that he resonated with and validated something that I wrote. His comment, and others like his, greatly encouraged me to share my struggles, pain and feelings on my blog.  I still keep up with Kevin today - not so much on his blog but more on Facebook. I consider him a friend even though we have never met in person.

A few weeks ago Ann and I had the honor of sharing a meal with Therese here in Chicago. I first saw her name on a blog that we were both commenting at. Here is how she responded to a post I wrote about taking refuge in God back in January 2006:
I can remember a time in my life when I had no worship, no faith to fall back on, and the desperate sadness you describe had Nobody to cling to. It's bad enough with a Savior. Without - I wouldn't go back to that for anything.
Again a person resonated with something i had written. A relationship of sorts began back then and our afternoon together simply made that relationship even more meaningful. Over a meal we had a chance to share our life experiences and enjoy each others company.

This afternoon I met and shared a great time of lunch and fellowship with Keith (picture taken today), an old Chicago area friend from the Blogosphere. Interestingly enough we also met as we shared comments on that same blog Therese and I commented at many years ago. Soon after that I began visiting his Broken Pilgrim blog and he mine. Our time this afternoon passed by so quickly and we talked about all different aspects of our lives. We also shared about our common bond of faith and love of God. It was like we had known each other for a long time - which I guess we have.. in a virtual blogging community sense.

I could go on and on about all the great people (like Karen, Missy, Millie, Wanda, Sue, Ron, Gregg, Eddie, Ed and many others (I apologize if I omitted your name) that I have met in this forum - some I have never even seem a photo of. Yet I feel that I know them to a degree because I have shared a conversation or two with them in the comments section and sometimes in an email thread. And those have been so enlightening to me.

I close by inviting any of you within proximity of Chicago this summer to send me an email if you would like to meet up for coffee or lunch. And I extend the same invitation to anyone close to Kansas City. It would be great sharing some non-virtual time with you.

Concerning Covenants

On occasion I have had conversations with folks about Replacement Theology - a belief that the New Covenant replaced the Old Covenant. In those times I have often referred friends to my friend, and one time pastor/mentor, Michael Sullivant. I refer you to his blog where he comments on a passage in the eleventh chapter of the book of Romans:
In God's economy of his historical callings and dealings with humanity...there is essentially one dominant and everlasting covenant (the rich, ancient and well-planted "olive tree") that he has made with us...though there are nuances and admittedly surprising and progressive features to its outworking over the centuries. This belief is grounded in the way that Jesus and his apostles authoritatively rehearsed, interpreted and utilized Old Testament scripture. The covenant that God cut with Abraham...a non-Jew and the father of true faith...is central to this paradigm. Certainly the Law that God gave through Moses can be viewed as another "covenant", but our understanding of its purposes must be nested into the larger "Abrahamic" meta-narrative of redemption. (Galatians 3 and 4 deal with this head on...as does Romans 4.) This also holds true for our understanding of "covenants" that God made with Adam (in the original creation mandate), Noah (in the aftermath of the flood and reaffirmation of the creation mandate) and David (in God's promise to have one of his "sons" sit on his throne forever).
Michael's teaching in this area has really helped me understand the big picture and big story of how God has covenanted with humanity. What do you think of this idea?

Losing Sleep over Sleep

If you resonate with this cartoon you might want to check out the bloggings of Doc Mench on sleep disorders. Here are a few thoughts from her on the topic:
  • Many people nowadays are afflicted with sleep disorder. ... Some famous people who are known to have suffered from sleep disorder are Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher, Charles Dickens, Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe and many more.
  • It is critically important to realize that sleep deprivation is often due to unrecognized sleep disorders. ... There are more than 100 different sleep disorders.
  • Sleep disorder increases the risk of serious and chronic health conditions, including depression, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity.
Doc Mench also lists types of sleep disorders, treatments for them and foods that contribute to them. I commend you to her blog for more info about this and other topics.

Does calling the Help Desk really help?

Do you ever get the feeling that the personal at the other end of the call to the help desk is spinning this sort of wheel? Rarely have I found a lot of help from these folks. Yet on the other side of the phone you have people that are saying some of the strangest things like: "You mean I have to have the modem plugged into the wall?"
Do you have any stories to share about calls to technical support lines?

It’s excellence, not happiness, that we admire most.

Columnist David Brooks recently penned a great piece about how young graduates, generally speaking, embrace meaningful work rather than careers that make them happy. Here are a few clips from his article titled It’s Not About You:
Most successful young people don’t look inside and then plan a life. They look outside and find a problem, which summons their life. A relative suffers from Alzheimer’s and a young woman feels called to help cure that disease. A young man works under a miserable boss and must develop management skills so his department can function. Another young woman finds herself confronted by an opportunity she never thought of in a job category she never imagined. This wasn't in her plans, but this is where she can make her contribution.

Most people don’t form a self and then lead a life. They are called by a problem, and the self is constructed gradually by their calling.

The graduates are also told to pursue happiness and joy. But, of course, when you read a biography of someone you admire, it’s rarely the things that made them happy that compel your admiration. It’s the things they did to court unhappiness — the things they did that were arduous and miserable, which sometimes cost them friends and aroused hatred. It’s excellence, not happiness, that we admire most.
That last phrase is one that struck me deeply. So often we all (read that "I") chase after that elusive butterfly of happiness when it is excellence that we should be after. And the irony of it is that in the end we are happy knowing that we have done our very best.

The Evangelical Tent

Every now and then I get a question about what it means to be an Evangelical. Always makes me think of a post that I read about five years ago titled Why I am (still) an Evangelical. Here are a few excerpts from that post at Addison Road:
I am (still) an Evangelical, even though I have to parry and dodge assumptions whenever I use that term. I am (still) an Evangelical, because of the great hope to which the movement aspired at it’s founding. I am (still) an Evangelical, because, at it’s root, Evangelicalism is an ecumenical movement: an attempt to erect a large tent in the ground between the cultural withdrawal of fundamentalism, and the withering incredulity of theological liberalism.
Evangelicalism is a way of reading and understanding the bible, and I (still) believe that it is as close as we can come to a neutral hermeneutic, one that allows the text to breathe out its stories without being unduly constrained by our expectations of it. The evangelical hermeneutic rests on this assumption – that if God is omnipotent, present, and interested in revealing things about himself, we can expect His revelation to have certain basic characteristics. Things like:
  1. Inspiration – God was involved in the production of the texts.
  2. Infallibility – the texts do not err in their purposes.
  3. Historicity – the texts were written at a place and time in history, by people situated in history, and as such, they are products of their historical/cultural perspective.
  4. Textuality – text as text: the normal tools for interpreting meaning in any text are the appropriate tools for interpreting meaning in biblical texts. ...
The second and third stakes in the Evangelical tent are, to me, the most interesting. It is the 2nd stake, infallibility, that marks out the left most boundary of the evangelical hermeneutic – it is the essential difference between Marcus Borg (the Jesus Seminar) and Ben Witherington or Scot McKnight.

Likewise, the third stake marks out the right boundary. It’s the third stake in the Evangelical tent that we have a tendency to to forget, to our detriment, because it is the third stake that separates Evangelicalism from Fundamentalism.
I commend the whole post to you as it further speaks to what it means to be included in the multicolored Evangelical Tent.. not that the tent is all that small. ツ

The King's Speech | ★★★★★★★★★★

Ann and I watched this beautiful movie yesterday and I must say that I was blown away. After hearing all of the hype and outrageous reviews I was prepared to be less than impressed. Wow, was I ever wrong. This movie goes down as one of the best that I have ever seen. Here are a few things that I loved about it:
  • I did not expect to see such a personal and realistic presentation. Not sure that I would have deemed it to be much more than an over dramatization if not for the fact that it was based on historical events.
  • I loved the way that King George IV was portrayed as a real human man with fears and frailties. He comes across as such a humble and noble person wanting to do the right thing. His speech teacher says that he was the most persevering man he had ever met.
  • Much has been made of the relationship of the king and his speech teacher - yet I was not prepared to witness such a reality of friendship that involved such gritty courage, tenderness, forgiveness and encouragement.
  • The casting of Colin Firth as the king and Geoffrey Rush as his teacher was simply magnificent. I got lost in the story as they became their characters. In my opinion they both deserved Oscars as their roles were so central to the greatness of the  movie.
  • Lastly I have to say that, as one who stuttered into his early twenties, the way that they treating the king's stammering was so tasteful. They showed how he struggled but did not belabor it as they pictured his speaking in such a tender way.
I could go on regaling this wonderful movie, how heartwarming the story was and how great the acting was. Suffice to say that, on a scale of ten, I give this movie ★★★★★★★★★★.

My Dress is not a Yes!

I saw an interesting interview today on Morning Joe with Jessica Valenti, the author of a Washington Post piece titled SlutWalks and the future of feminism. Here are a few clips:
It’s a controversial name, which is in part why the organizers picked it. It’s also why many of the SlutWalk protesters are wearing so little (though some are sweatpants-clad, too). Thousands of women — and men — are demonstrating to fight the idea that what women wear, what they drink or how they behave can make them a target for rape. SlutWalks started with a local march organized by five women in Toronto and have gone viral, with events planned in more than 75 cities in countries from the United States and Canada to Sweden and South Africa. In just a few months, SlutWalks have become the most successful feminist action of the past 20 years.
The protests began after a police officer told students at Toronto’s York University in January that if women want to avoid rape, they shouldn’t dress like “sluts.” (If you thought the days of “she was asking for it” were long gone, guess again.)

Heather Jarvis, a student in Toronto and a co-founder of SlutWalk, explained that the officer’s comments struck her and her co-organizers as so preposterous and damaging that they demanded action. “We were fed up and pissed off, and we wanted to do something other than just be angry,” she said. Bucking the oft-repeated notion that young women are apathetic to feminism, they organized. What Jarvis hoped would be a march of at least 100 turned out to be a rally of more than 3,000 — some marchers with “slut” scrawled across their bodies, others with signs reading “My dress is not a yes” or “Slut pride.”
To follow up you might want to catch the six minute Morning Joe interview here. In the interview Jessica talks about the "but" aspect of this subject. She speaks about how people often speak of a rape victim saying how awful that was and sometimes add a "but" as in "I wish that she did not dress that way" or "she was asking for it by dressing like that". She also points out that the victims of rape are, generally speaking, not those who dress slutty.

I applaud the organizers of these walks and appreciate the attention that they bring to this important issue of sexual violence. In response to my post some may want to bring up the issue of women's clothing. If you do then I think that you have missed the point entirely.

The Most Embarrassing Parent Ever?

Many of us can relate stories of how our parents embarrassed us when we were young. Even so I think that they would not compare to the way that 16-year-old Rain Price felt nearly every morning this past school year as he watched his father (pictured left) wave to his school bus in all sorts of strange costumes. You can catch a few of his costumes here - I am especially fond of the mermaid and toilet ones.

I am wondering if you have anything to match this story? Perhaps you have read something or have your own story. As for me - I cannot match it.. but don't ask my kids.

Dr Jack Kevorkian, 1928-2011

Doctor Jack Kevorkian died today in a Detroit hospital at 83 of kidney related problems. He was best known for his controversial advocacy for the rights of suffering patients to die. Here are a few things that he said on the that topic.

I don't persuade to suicide.

I intended to do my duty. Not murder.

None of them want to delay. Understand that. None of them.

My intent was to carry out my duty as a doctor, to end their suffering. Unfortunately, that entailed, in their cases, ending of the life.

Not one has shown an iota of fear of death. They want to end this agony.

The patient's autonomy always, always should be respected, even if it is absolutely contrary - the decision is contrary to best medical advice and what the physician wants.

Blessed Luck

I think that "There, but for the grace of God, go I" is one of the most overused idioms in the English language. Here is the way that this site explains it's usage:
something that you say which means something bad that has happened to someone else could have happened to you
I don't like the condescending way that many people use this phrase but do resonate with the sentiment. The idea of "luck" is a difficult concept for many religious folks. In my fundy days I used to say that I did not believe in luck. A group that I belonged to would not use "pot luck" to describe our gatherings and used "pot of blessing" instead. When I think about the difference between "luck" and "blessing" I do not always see much of a difference.

For example, saying that I am blessed to have been born in America insinuates that people that are not born here are not blessed. Something similar can be said substituting the word "lucky" for "blessed". The difference, in my opinion, is the way that God is brought into the mix. To call being born in America a blessing is to say that people born there are more favored by God than those born in other places. It distorts the word "blessing".

That said, I do think that there are major differences between luck and blessing. I think that luck, good or bad, is an appropriate way to describe some of the random things that happen to us. Yet even in the midst of good or bad luck blessings can be found if we understand the idea of being blessed. Consider what Jesus Christ says about being blessed:
  • "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
  • "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy."
  • "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."
  • "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
I could quote more of these but think that the message is clear. Being blessed has little to do with what happens to us but how we respond to good or bad luck.

It takes too much Cabbage to regulate Cabbage

I found this fascinating word count list (below) in my email inbox this morning. It pretty much explains why our government is so big and our legal system so complex.
  • Lord's prayer: ........................66 words.
  • Archimedes' Principle: ................67 words.
  • 10 Commandments: .....................179 words.
  • Gettysburg address: ..................286 words.
  • Declaration of Independence: .......1,300 words.
  • US Constitution with 27 Amendments: 7,818 words.
  • US Government regulations on the
    sale of cabbage: ..................26,911 words
I sometimes long for simpler days when fewer lawyers and lobbyists ran the country.