Labor Day Reminder

Sometimes I forget that many folks are still looking for work. Others have had to take jobs that pay less than they need. Many are working in jobs that are unappreciated and unfulfilling. So on this Labor Day, I suggest we think about folks like these. And maybe say a prayer for them?

Organized Lightning

“Lightning and thunder require time, the light of the stars requires time, deeds require time even after they are done, before they can be seen and heard.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

“Electricity is really just organized lighting” -George Carlin

“The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Mirth is like a flash of lightning that breaks through a gloom of clouds and glitters for a moment.” -Joseph Addison

... photo & artwork by Darren Pearson

Opening our hearts to the little children

Reflecting on the humanitarian crisis of vulnerable children along the U. S. border, Rich Stearns – president of World Vision U.S. – writes that, following Jesus, "the best solutions come from a compassionate heart."

“Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” -Matthew 19:13-14 NIV

When I read the Gospels, I’m often quick to wonder how the disciples so often got things wrong. Like the time that little children were brought to Jesus for him to lay his hands on them. The disciples heartlessly drove the children away.

Jesus thought otherwise. He famously said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,” he said, “for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt 19:14)

Usually when I’m ready to accuse the disciples for their foolishness, I have to admit that if I were in their shoes, I would have been far more foolish. I’m afraid this is yet another case where you and I might be more like the disciples than we are like Jesus.

Today, little children are coming across the southern border of the United States. They aren’t seeking a spiritual blessing, but a material one. They aren’t brought by loving parents and guardians, but instead they are sent or driven away from home in the hopes of a better life, one free from abuse and violence and with the possibility of a hopeful future. In many of these cases, they are being turned away. As Christians watching this terrible migration of children, Jesus’ words must whisper in each of our hearts. Let the little children come.

All children need to be welcomed as Jesus welcomed them. They need mothers and fathers who love and care for them, families who embrace them, and communities who will nurture them. When children face such terrible circumstances that they are willing to risk their lives and leave their families and communities, our hearts must break …

Guest blog by Rich Stearns, President, World Vision U.S. Read more and find out what you can do here.

Film and TV Trivia

Who Is The Most Widely Portrayed Literary Figure In Film and Television?
  • Hamlet
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Dracula
  • Moses
Think you know the answer? Click here to see if you guessed correctly.

The most terrifying thing ...

I came across this image this week attached to a park bench.
It reminded me of how love is a two way street. Many of us focus most on loving other people but have a difficult time receiving love from others. I sometimes wonder if it is because we find it hard to love and accept ourselves. Carl Jung put it this way:
“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
Interesting that Jung does not tell us to accept what we do but who we are. I think that it is difficult to do this because people identify more with what they do than who they are. When we meet a person they ask us what we do. And if we have been raised in abusive families we sometimes take on the identity of the abusers. So it is really hard to see ourselves as people created in the image of God. I think that is why the scriptures tell us to love as we love ourselves.

Seek to Understand our Hearts

Pastor Bryan Loritts
We will never experience true Christian unity when one ethnicity demands of another that we keep silent about our pain and travails. The way forward is not an appeal to the facts as a first resort, but the attempt to get inside each others skin as best as we can to feel what they feel, and understand it. Tragedies like Ferguson are like MRIs that reveal the hurt that still lingers. The chasm that exists between ethnicities can only be traversed if we move past facts and get into feelings.

Basically there are five levels of communication: 1. Cliché; 2. Facts; 3. Opinion; 4. Feelings; 5. Transparency, with “cliché” representing the most shallow form of communication, and “transparency” the deepest. I will never know what it’s like to be a woman, but I do know that when my wife comes at me with level four (feelings), and I stay in lawyer-land at level two, this never is a recipe for intimacy. I am not denying facts, but I’ve had to learn the hard way that if I am to experience oneness with my bride, I must drop down to level four in an attempt to understand, before I resurface to level two. Facts are a first and last resort in a court of law, but when it comes to human relationships, let us first stop and feel, before we go to facts.The communication pyramid offers a revolutionary paradigm in our journey to understanding.

If you sense exasperation from we African-American’s over yet another news story of a black man slain at the hands of a white man, this is a wonderful opportunity to grab some coffee and seek to understand our hearts. I need my white brothers to know how I felt as I sat in the preaching classes in Bible college and seminary not once hearing examples of great African-American preachers. I need you to know how I felt when I was forced face down on the hard asphalt of Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles, 1993 all because I was nineteen and driving my pastor’s Lexus, a year after the Rodney King riots. I need you to ask how I felt when I walked into a Target recently behind a white woman who took one look at me and pulled her purse tightly.

However, as much as I am an African-American, I am even more so a follower of Jesus Christ. The death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior demands that I subjugate my cultural hermeneutic to my gospel hermeneutic. In other words, my Jesus-ness, must trump my blackness. As Dr. Tony Evans says, “Black is only beautiful when it is biblical”.

Excerpted from a great article by Pastor Bryan Loritts at Christianity Today. Read it here.

Favorite Sports Underdog Movies

Ann and I recently watched "We are Marshall", a movie based on a true story about the horrific loss and subsequent rebuilding of a college football team. I much enjoyed the story and the acting. The movie speaks deeply about the differing ways that people grieve. On a scale of ten I give eight stars. Here are a few of my favorite sports underdog movies:
  • Rocky :: Hands down the best boxing movie and perhaps the best underdog flick.
  • Hoosiers :: Another great underdog story about a small town basketball team.
  • The Natural :: Robert Redford hits it out of the park as an aging baseball player making a comeback.
  • Chariots of Fire :: Loved this story of Olympic runners and the inspiration of faith.
  • Rudy :: A football movie about heart, overcoming and the underdog.
  • Tin Cup :: Kevin Costner is great as a washed up golfer with a few great putts left in him.
  • The Karate Kid :: Loved how an older man influenced the life of a bullied boy.
So many more I can think of like 42, Miracle and others. What are you favorite sports underdog movies?

Silent Sufferers

This image appears in today's edition of the Kansas City Star in an article about folks in KC that are experiencing unspeakable debilitating chronic pain and suffering in silence ... my wife is among those who suffer in silence ... I write as an advocate for her. Interesting, how I just shared about the topic yesterday. I suggest that you read the Star article here. A few responses to yesterday's linked article.

"I refuse to allow the rows of medications on the window sill to obscure my view of the sunrise." "Living with these diseases and disorders is a full time job."

"It is meant to be comforting to those who can relate and eye-opening for those who cannot." "Being chronically ill is, for the most part, definitely not a "blessing."

"I find it ironic that people are attacking you for the exact reason you wrote the sympathy or understanding." "People have a hard time showing compassion for something they can not see."

What It’s Really Like To Be Chronically Ill

The worst part about being chronically sick isn’t the physical pain, it’s the emotional pain that goes along with it. You reach a point where you can’t hold back the tears any longer and suddenly you’re breaking down in the middle of a doctor’s office. You think you can escape the emotional torture; your disease is purely physical, right?

The worst part is that there is no escape. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. There is no happy ending. There is no way to make the incurable go away. We learn to tolerate the physical pain. You have to. But it’s the overwhelming emotional burden that makes you feel like someone is holding your head down in the water. You can fight it, but you can never overcome that crushing feeling. How are you supposed to get rid of an emotional suffocation when the source of it is never going to go away?

Being sick is being stuck in the eternal clutch of the unknown. Any day anything could go wrong, or at least more wrong than it already has. It’s so hard not to feel anxious or depressed or completely lost when all that lies ahead is a giant question mark. You rarely seem to get answers when you are sick. And when you do, they’re often the answers you wish you hadn’t heard any way.

There’s one thing every single sick person wishes for, but rarely gets. Hope. Hope that one day things will get better. Hope that there will finally be a day when your pain is a zero on that silly little scale. Hope that one day you’ll get a glimpse of normal."

Excerpted from an article by Lauren Anne.

The Dehydrated Brain

The title sounds like a SciFi horror movie doesn't it? In truth, the idea is a bit scary. Here is the introduction to an article titled, Your Brain On: Dehydration:
Call it “dry brain.” The moment your noodle feels even mildly parched, a bunch of its most important functions tend to go haywire. From the way you feel to the power your mind has to process info and memories, dehydration does immediate damage to your mental abilities. It even shrinks your brain, research shows. [read more here]
I have a tendency to forget to drink water. The author says that if you feel thirsty, you’ve already waited too long to drink some water. Ouch. He gives us a few hints about how to know if we are getting dehydrated. Read the article and please, do not stay thirsty my friend.

We really do like to hear ourselves speak. ツ

Today marks my 6th Twitterversary. I have to admit, I do not tweet much. I seem to post more here and on Facebook.

Interesting how this cartoon seems applicable to all forms of social media. Guess we all like to hear ourselves speak. ツ

I try not to blog about nothing but I think that I sometimes do.
Perhaps this post is an example of posting about nothing?

Can you relate? Do you write to hear yourself speak? ツ