Monthly Archives: August 2012

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Legitimate Firestorm

This one is probably going to cost me some Twitter followers, blog readers, Facebook friends.

There’s been a firestorm this week over U.S. Rep. (and sentate hopeful) Todd Akin’s comments concerning abortion.

Are you familiar with this sign? If you live in a part of the country with these kinds of roads, you know this sign is telling you “Danger ahead! Be alert.” That same mental signal should go off in every blogger, politician and public figure’s head when they approach the subjects of abortion and rape. These are hot button issues. The sign should be twice as big with DANGER written in large red letters if the writer/speaker is a male.

(Full disclosure, I am a male.)

We have to be very careful when discussing these subjects. Rep Akin’s either didn’t see the danger sign or ignored it.

I need to heed my own advice here and choose my words carefully.

Unfortunately, the Christian community has done such a bad job communicating its message that the only message most people have heard with any clarity is on homosexuality and abortion.

I find that incredibly sad.

In both cases, it seems like Christians have tried to get laws passed that enforce the Judeo-Christian moral system.

Christianity has a moral system. It says somethings are morally right and some things are morally wrong. But there are plenty of people who disagree with those morals. We have to understand that God has given them that choice. Forcing them to try to live up to your morals with laws, and statutes isn’t going to change anyone’s heart. It’s not going to invite them into a relationship with God.

That’s why I’ve never understood the large billboards that quote Deuteronomy or Leviticus. They educate on the commandment, but don’t point to a relationship with the God that gave it.

The New Testament Jews did the same thing, so we shouldn’t be surprised we’ve messed up in a similar way. They were all about the laws, precepts, and commandments. Yet, Jesus called them hypocrites, and a bunch of snakes. We’re just as guilty when we try to force people to live according to commandments before they come to know Jesus in a personal way.

I’m just curious why Christians insist on forcing people without the Holy Spirit to try to live a life that only the Holy Spirit can enable. Yes, there are morals in the Christian faith, but without the Holy Spirit, none of us can possibly live up to them.

It seems to me the God of Christianity values choice. He gives the freedom to choose Him or not. Did He not have His prophet say “If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” He didn’t say make Baal worship illegal. He said ‘choose you this day whom ye will serve’.

We can influence our friends where we have the relationship to do so. If a friend sought my advice on abortion, I would encourage her to evaluate adoption, or other alternatives. But I would make sure I left the discussion with her knowing that I cared for her as a friend regardless of the decision she made.

Does that make sense?

photo: http://blog.willis.com/2012/06/the-three-biggest-eu-challenges-for-general-counsel/

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Olympic Takeaways

The olympics are now over, and I wanted to share some things that stood out to me as a watched them besides the fact that I really have no clue how long a meter is.

We are more alike than different

During the opening ceremonies and on throughout the games, I was struck over and over again by how similar we are to each other. I would see an athlete and assume they were an American, only to find out they were from Azerbaijan or something. I can sort of understand this with the Europeans. Most Americans come from European stock. But it happened across the board. Nearly every athelete I saw could have walked down the streets in Ohio and blended in. I guess part of it is that America is a melting pot of ethnicity.

But even beyond that, it underscores that we have far more in common with people from around the globe than differences. I think that’s part of what makes the Olympics work as a way to foster peace. When I see how similar I am to people from other counties, it’s harder to dehumanize them and get behind violence and war against them.

The decline of America is overstated

There’s been a ton of chatter about the decline of America and politicians seem to like the rallying cry of making America great again. You would think that if America was truly in decline that would start showing up, especially as we compete with the best of word in the Olympics. If we are as bad off as it seems sometimes, clearly we wouldn’t be winning as many gold medals. China, Japan, or whatever country is overtaking in power and prestige would be dominating the medal count.

Check out this graphic from nbcolympics.com

Good ole US of A had nearly 20% more medals than any other country, and had the most gold medals.

I believe the discussions of America’s decline may be a tad premature.

The struggles of women

This year we saw women athletes from several Middle Eastern countries for the first time. When I saw them, and also the women from China, I was amazed. The women from these countries had to overcome more than most just to be at the games. I’m excited they are getting the opportunity to compete and I hope their success will inspire more women from their countries to strive for big goals, whether those are in the athletic arena, political arena, or business arena.

I hope parents in China see these amazing women and decide to keep their babies, and not hold out for their one child to be a male.

Every walk of life, including Olympic athelete, benefits from the power of women when they are included.

Now it’s two years until the Winter Games. I’m already excited.

 

photo: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/olympics-fourth-place-medal/moon-between-olympic-rings-makes-most-breathtaking-london-160808051–oly.html

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Saturday Six #436

This week’s Saturday Six from Patrick’s Place is about the Zodiac.

1. What is your traditional zodiac sign?

I am a Scorpio under the traditional Zodiac.

2. How often, if ever, do you read your horoscope?

Virtually never. I’ve always thought college was great preparation for writing horoscopes. You learn to write vaguely enough that it could be interpreted as almost anything. I’ve never put my weight into horoscopes. As one Christian artist put it, “Why look to the stars for your answers, when you can look to the very one who made those stars.”

3. Check out the Geek Zodiak: What is your birth year the year of?

I was born in 1972, so I’m the year of the Robot.

4. Which of the merits listed do you think is most accurate to your personality?

The merits listed for the year of the Robot are : Law-abiding, Dedicated, Logical. Strangely enough, each of those is fairly accurate. I tend to be a rule follower, and I’m very logical most of the time. I can be dedicated, but not always to the right things.

5. Which of the demerits listed do you think is most accurate to your personality?

The demerits listed are: Stubborn, Intractable, Cold. This may come as a surprise but I think it would be cold. I’m not really intractable, nor really stubborn. Most people wouldn’t identify me as cold, but I certainly have that within me. It’s only my faith and living that faith out that keep me from showing people how cold I could be.

6. Which single merit or demerit listed for your sign do you think is most inaccurate to your personality?

I would say intractable. I feel much more comfortable in an XO type of role than a CO. I prefer to be lead rather than lead.

I also checked my wife, and none of her merits or demerits are anywhere close to her personality. She’s also not much of a geek.

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31 Posts in 31 Days

I ‘lost’ the July Blog Challenge. I didn’t get out 31 posts in 31 days. I fell about 10 short.

About midway through, it took on almost a NaNoWriMo sort of feel to it. The big difference, of course, is that with NaNoWriMo, I have the chance to edit and refine those words before I present them to the reading public. With a blog post, I don’t have that chance. What’s out there is out there. Sure, I can go back later and edit it, but it will already have been read.

I have enough respect for the people who read my blog not put up a post for the simple reason of checking off a box on my To Do list. When I post something, it needs to be because that’s what’s on my mind that day.

The challenge did get me some additional exposure, but as the month went on, I got less and less hits. Clearly, my blog wasn’t resonating with the people who were finding it. I guess in some ways, no, in a lot of ways, I’m still trying to figure out this whole blogging thing.

I think the person running the Challenge mainly did it to increase the number of people subscribed to their mailing list. They are another one of these ‘Let me show you how to make a fortune with a blog’ types. All you have to do is attend their $100 seminar, or buy their $19.95 eBook/course. I, quite literary, don’t ‘buy it’.

I’m here to converse and exchange thoughts and ideas. Not to pile up numbers. Problem is without those numbers, there really isn’t anyone to exchange and converse with.

Amazing 12 year old Takes the Wheel

This morning I was driving into work when I heard the remarkable storyof 12 year old Miranda Bowman. She was in the car with her grandfather when he died of a sudden heart attack. His foot was still on the gas and the car got up to over 80mph. She figured out what had happened, unbuckled her seat belt and tried to stop the car by pressing on the break.

That slowed the car down, but didn’t stop it. She saw a red light coming up and steered the car off the road, driving over bushes and small trees until it came to a stop.

The story gripped me like it did everyone who read it, but my mind immediately went to my own daughter. She’s the same age as Miranda. What would my daughter have done in that situation?

I can’t image the position her mother is in. Grief stricken over the loss of her father, but joyous over the safety of her daughter. It’s amazing that this little girl survived the incident unharmed. Her mother credits an angel.

“I’m very amazed by her, very impressed by her,” [her mother] said. “Where she got it from God only knows. He was her angel that day.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/12-year-old-girl-grabs-wheel-steers-safety-grandfather-dies-driving-article-1.1125518#ixzz22M2Alkqr

How many cars did she pass on the highway? Do you wonder what the drivers of those other cars must have been thinking as this car flies by doing 80mph. They were probably better people than me. I would have been there hoping a cop would show up to catch this idiot speeding. Those drivers had no idea just how much danger they were in. The car must have had amazing alignment to keep going straight. All that needed to happen was for the wheel to turn ever so slightly and instead of sneering at the car zooming past them, it would have crashed into them, probably ending their lives.

Then there are the people sitting innocently at the red light just ahead of the speeding car. When I see a tragedy like Aurora or PSU, I sometimes wonder where God was, and why he didn’t choose to intervene to prevent it. The people who were sitting at the red light had no idea their lives were saved. When they think about Aurora or PSU, they won’t weigh the experience of having their lives spared against it.

We notice when tragedy happens. We don’t notice when it’s avoided. How many theatre shootings have been avoided by a wise word to a hurting or confused person. How many potential pedophiles are kept in check by their dedication to God as they understand Him?

I believe God is constantly at work and constantly moving. Most of the time, it doesn’t make the evening news. Like the people sitting at the red light, I am blissfully unaware of all the times God has saved me from disaster. It’s only in rare circumstances like this little 12 year old girl that we get to take notice.

 

photo: http://now.msn.com/12-year-old-girl-takes-control-of-car-when-her-grandfather-died-behind-the-wheel