The Responsibility of Influence

InfluenceThe young adult was walking through a local store wearing a t-shirt with a simple message – “Not a Role Model.” No other images, just the words standing out in bold type on his chest.

It wasn’t too long ago that NBA great, Charles Barkley made that phrase popular.  Barkley was known for his inappropriate behavior including on and off-court fights, breaking a man’s nose during a fight after a game with the Milwaukee Bucks, throwing a man through a plate-glass window after being struck with a glass of ice, and mistakenly spitting on a young girl in March 1991. Continue reading →

No Pockets in a Shroud

Shroud 02Job was a wealthy man, but in a course of quick and awful events he lost it all.  Everything — children, livestock, servants, and property.

Job’s response to the loss was to say, “I was born naked, and I will leave this world naked,” Job 1:21.  More modern versions of this saying are, “There are no pockets in a shroud,” or “There’s no U-Haul trailer behind a hearse.” Continue reading →

Who is like our Lord?

Hannah 01Penninah was the wife of Elkanah, and she bore him several children, both sons and daughters.  People in town twittered about what a good wife she was and how happy Elkanah was with all his children.  Her children’s Parent Teacher Organization named her mother of the year.  Penninah seemed to be a walking billboard for the prosperity gospel.

Hannah was the second wife of Elkanah.  She had no children.  Her shoulders sagged, and wrinkles creased her brow.  Mealtimes around the Elkanah house were silent reminders to Hannah of the fact that she had no children to feed – thus her smaller portion of food.  She would often just weep and leave the food on her plate. Continue reading →

A Videoed Apology

Matthew CordleYou probably saw it – Matthew Cordle staring into a camera admitting to a drunk driving accident that resulted in the death of a 61 year old man.

It’s extraordinary, if only because of it’s honesty.  Most people would enter a not-guilty plea.  Court would convene and lots of money would be spent trying to get a guilty person pronounced innocent of the crime.

The daughter of the slain man was credited with saying that she didn’t buy it.  That he was just trying to get his sentence reduced.  The only problem with her judgment is that the motives of a person are never within human view.  You can guess what they are, but it’s only a guess.  Only God has the seat in the stands where one can see a person’s motives. Continue reading →

Letting People Down

down or depressedThe president began the meeting with, “We can’t do any business because we don’t have a quorum.”

It has happened before.  A carefully constructed agenda and set of to-do’s was turned into just an interesting conversation.  The meeting ended with nothing getting done in spite of the fact that the organizational clock was ticking.

Those who didn’t attend had lots of reasons.  Worked spilled over into the meeting time.  School called to ask a parent to attend to a sick child.  Second thoughts about belonging to our group.  Too many commitments and not enough time.  All legitimate reasons.  But all shutting down the actions of the group. Continue reading →

How To Avoid Goofy Interpretations

Bible & Eye glassesThe Bible is an ancient anthology comprised of 66 books, written by approximately 40 writers over a period of around 1600 years.

Challenges are inevitable when attempting to read a collection of writings spanning such a large period of time and cultural contexts. In many respects, reading the Bible is like listening to half of a phone conversation or reading a 100-year-old letter buried in a box of family souvenirs.

There have been good and bad attempts at understanding the Bible’s place in our lives. The awful Jonestown cult is a good example of interpretation gone wrong. Ditto the Branch Davidians of Waco, Texas. There’s no end to the craziness. Continue reading →

It’s no problem!

youre_welcome“No problem” seems to have replaced “you’re welcome” as a response to the common expression of gratitude, “Thank you.”  Since communication is a two-way proposition, “no problem” has implications for the hearer.

“It didn’t cost me anything.”  “No big deal.” “If it had been too difficult or costly, I may not have done it.”

“It was easy to do.”  “I would have done it for anyone.”  “I didn’t think about it too much.”

“No sweat.”  “Anyone could have done it.”  “Nothing particularly important happened; no biggee.”
Continue reading →