Fingernails and Jesus

fingernailThis morning as the boys and I were reading through John (our latest morning read) I was struck by a simple line that John (who is known as “The Baptist”) spoke. Regarding Jesus baptizing more people than he was at that moment, he replied, “No one can do anything unless God in heaven allows it.” Anything? Like, murdering, genocide, hatred, war, etc… those came quickly to mind as being part of “anything”. Now, I know that’s not what John was talking about, but it was a strange thing to read, to be sure. He was focusing more on the positive, that Jesus was doing a good thing (that was having some success, I suppose) was an indication that God was OK with it, since, no one can do anything unless God allows it.

I just found that an interesting thought to ponder this morning… as I do stuff, that falls under the “anything” label.

In other news… as I was chopping vegetables for our meal for this afternoon (which would also fall under that ubiquitous “anything” label), the knife slipped off of the veggies and landed firmly on my finger. Thankfully… God invented fingernails. (That’s not my finger in the photo, by the way…)

All is well, and I find myself marveling at God’s forethought once again. I even have a little knick where my finger would have been sliced open, if not off!

Good thing it wasn’t part of the “anything” God allowed me to do!

An Idea For Professional Sports

I was really bothered by baseball getting WAY too much attention from the TV sports segments well into the football season this year, and was talking with Jen recently about how all the sports should get out of each other’s way. We know it won’t happen (thanks to the commercialization of all the pro sports) but wouldn’t it be grand if hockey didn’t go till JUNE, and baseball was actually played in THE SUMMER?


Well, here’s what I think we should see from the pro sports…

Being a summer sport, shouldn’t it be played in the summer time???? Right now, baseball is actually played during ALL FOUR SEASONS of the year. That’s just wrong. The schedule should be more like May-August… with playoffs ending in September. Maybe you even start the divisional rounds in August, and have the World Series around Labor Day weekend. More people could watch/attend, because they’re off work! And then, it’s actually a SUMMER sport!!!

The Super Bowl should not be played in February. Shorten the pre-season. Football should begin no sooner than August, and the regular season should be September through December. Playoffs are in January, with the Super Bowl being the last weekend of January.

Hockey is a winter sport. (Notice the surface is ICE.) So let’s actually start it in THE WINTER. The season could start in mid to late November… and playoffs could be in March, because it’s still cold in most hockey towns in March. Hockey has no business continuing into April, May and especially JUNE.

Basketball: (and everything else)
This one is weird because it is all played indoors. Could be played any time of the year… and… is. Let’s just shorten the season like everything else. I don’t even know when the official season is, but it’s at least Oct to June. WAY TO LONG.

So… the calendar would look like:

Month Football Hockey Basketball Baseball
January: Football playoffs Hockey Basketball
February: Hockey Basketball
March: NHL Playoffs Basketball
March Madness
April: Basketball Baseball SPRING training
May: NBA playoffs Baseball
June: Baseball
July: Baseball
August: Football pre-season Baseball playoffs
September: Football World Series
October: Football
November: Football Hockey
December: Football Hockey Basketball

Well, that’s how my ideal sports calendar would look at least. 🙂 Throw in the Olympics every couple of years and you’re set. Nothing clashes… nothing drags on. It’s perfect.

Now… who do I talk to to get this plan underway?

I Want To Be God

After some harsh words spoken in anger to my son last night, and the regret I was feeling afterwards, and the thoughts that whirled through my head on how to fix it, I realized what my ultimate goal in life is.

I want to be God.

I want to always respond in kindness and with gracious words of wisdom for my children.

I want to always be available for my wife, listening to her as if she were the most important person in the world to me (because she is) and never responding to her in selfish impatience or anger.

I want to respond to everyone in my life, friends, family, even strangers as though they were the crown-jewel of creation. A person made in God’s image, no matter what my eyes might see. I even wish I could see them completely as who they are, by-passing entirely the outward appearance and seeing the depths of the unique being they were created to be. I want to listen and respond and always show love and grace even by just listening, but also in my response and or by my own initiation.

I want to never sleep or grow weary, it would be very handy.

I want to have all the answers, so that I can help people along the journey with the perfect answer for every situation.

I want to be perfect in every choice I make, word I say, thought I have, action I take, interaction with people – I hate making mistakes… I just want to always do the right thing.

There’s probably more, but… I think I have made my point. The point was made to me last night. I am still under the illusion that I could somehow attain most all of those things. I am trying to be God.

But there’s only one of Him, and I’m not Him. He is. And for that I am thankful. I guess I need to learn to be OK with who I am (that sounds like modern psycho-babble, so I am sorta laughing as I say this, but bear with me…) and find the joy of being who the Perfect One created me to be.

I am fallible. I make many mistakes. I am not always gracious, loving, compassionate, forgiving, patient, kind or gentle even to the people I love the most. I am most definitely not God.

I will still, I think, strive for such things. I so want to be like my Father. He is all of that to me. I think what he continues to show me is it’s not something I can do, he must work those things in me. I can point myself in his direction, and focus on his kingdom and his righteousness, and he does the rest. And I think he is showing me that I can’t achieve perfection in all of those areas. If I did, I suppose I would be God.

And I most definitely am NOT.

E Pluribus Unum

We have noticed something on this trip. Something that perhaps we have heard of, or even known intellectually before, but the experience this particular tour of our country has been more vivid. Something that today, frankly, bothered or perhaps even worried me.

You have heard it said (if you are a follower of politics or current events) that we are “Two Americas”. John Kerry’s folks would have you believe that the two Americas are the Democrats and Republicans. Those for the people and those for Big Business. Those for the middle class and those for the super-rich. Those for health care and jobs and education and a smarter war on terror, and those against all of those things. Broken down even more, it is the “tolerant” vs. the “religious right” who only want to bind people with their stuffy morality.

There is definitely a divide in America today stemming from personal spiritual convictions and particularly how those play out in public – mainly legislative – life. Those worlds will never intersect. The closest we came was when our country was founded by folks trying to escape the tyranny of religious oppression and live here together governed by a common morality and a person’s conscience, rather than a large government making people behave correctly. Life was just about as it should be then, when God was a welcome member of our society… He was indeed the foundation.

But today, and on this tour we have noticed a different set of americas. Indeed, there are not only two, but MANY.

One of the greatest things about our country is that we are quite multicultural. People from ALL backgrounds can come here and make a life for themselves in the most richly abundantly blessed country that has ever existed. They can come and join in this great nation that is the USA.

In fact, our coins talk about this. The latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum” is inscribed on our money, reminding us all that we are many from one. Literally, I believe it’s “From Many One”. How great is that?!? I love that you can look at any ethnic group of people in the world and they could be Americans. We are so diverse in not only appearance, but in culture. We have so many different heritages. Festivals, sections of towns, and many other things celebrate our uniqueness.

But perhaps we have gone too far?

My next words may sound a bit bigoted or intolerant. Just wanted to warn you. I do not hate anyone. Quite the opposite. But I think we are losing our greatest strength.

We are so quick to celebrate our diversity, that we do not really encourage unity. We have African-Americans, Native-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and on and on and on. We are all tied by the second part of that hyphenated phrase… but, we are still hyphenated.

And in a thrift store in Incline Village, NV today, we were out numbered by the people who DO NOT speak English. And that really bothered me.

Now, I speak Spanish. So, I could communicate with them. No problem. And if they were just visiting, obviously no problem. I have said for years, because of my experience of growing up overseas, that Americans are stupid, self-centered people who only care about themselves and not other nations cultures and languages. To an extent that is still true.

But these Spanish-only speakers are EVERYWHERE. Really. If it was just by the borders of our Spanish-speaking country to the south, then it would be more understandable. Two countries will obviously spill on to each other and require a certain degree of bilinguality. But we are allowing a HUGE number of people ALL over our country to not just maintain their heritage or identity… but to NOT merge into ONE culture.

I do not want everyone to be the same. Diversity is something God gave us that I believe, since we are made in his image, reflects his supreme diversity. He is unfathomable in his diversity.

But… it says “From Many…. ONE”

We don’t have any of that going on.

We hire spanish speaking workers (as at a McDonald’s we were at). We have Spanish signs in public buildings. We have spanish TV… etc, etc, etc.

My point is not that Spanish is bad. My point is, shouldn’t we all have SOMETHING in common besides paying taxes (which many spanish speakers may not be doing… but that’s another topic…) A language is a uniting thing that does not squash heritage. It does not castrate your ethnic identity. IT MAKES US ONE.

So, from Incline Village, NV to Bentonville, AR, to Boulder, CO, to yes… Los Angeles, CA…. Spanish is not only spoken, but often is the only language spoken.

It seems to me that it may be in our best interest to stop thinking we are being tolerant and move back toward unity of our country – our Two Americas – by being ONE NATION again. Celebrate diversity, yes, but let’s have everyone learn to speak our COMMON language. Let’s make one from many. Not just a bunch of manys living on one continent.

Just my opinion from our travels these last months. Take it for what it is. I am not a bigot. I am actually quite fluent in spanish…

But, let’s do some E Pluribus Unum-ing!!!