Friday, October 14, 2011

A brief exercise in parallel logic

I stopped eating, because I got some bad meat one time.  Plus, I've heard it's happened a lot of other people.

I quit driving because I got hit by another car.  Twice, even!  I know lots of people that's happened to.

I stopped having friends, because sometimes people claiming to be friends aren't really.

I stopped listening to music, because I've heard a number of songs & artists that are bad on a epic level.

I stopped going to the beach, because it's rained on me there a couple of times.  Plus, there was seaweed on the beach that one time.

I quit going to the oncologist @ M.D. Anderson, because I know a guy who went there & then died.

I disavowed any affiliation with any of my preferred football teams, because I know some others who support them who are jerks.

I stopped learning anything, because I know some well-educated people who are still fools.

(All of the previous nonsensical statements are equally logical as the following one)

I quit going to church because of the actions of some other fellow churchgoers.

(Read that one again.  Now one more time slowly.  Now go back up to the top & read the previous lines again.)

If you're going to church to find perfect people who always behave well, then (a) you're always going to be mighty disappointed, and (b) you've really missed the basic point, or what my former pastor calls "the big E on the eye chart."  A church is a bunch of flawed, imperfect people who are being made over into the image of Jesus Christ.  Granted, the makeover process moves along at varying speeds...maddeningly varying for some of us!  But it's happening, even when not visibly so.  Like when Christians act like jerks in restaurants after Sunday morning church, for example.  If you think you've found the perfect church populated by perfect people who always behave well, be careful; they may not be telling you the truth about other things too.

One of my own long-distance mentors that I've never actually met describes himself thus:  Who I am:. . . a guy who was made, messed up, and mercifully made over by His grace. . . struggling to live life to His glory in the now but not yet Kingdom of God. . . longing to enter into that glorious time when what originally was will be fully restored.  (Click to see Walt Mueller's blog)

That, ladies & gents, is a proper understanding of who we are and what we're about as Christians.

A buddy said this: "If we found a perfect church & joined it, that would make it not perfect any more."  A theologian I sometimes agree with & am always challenged by said it this way: "Of course the church is imperfect!  That's why they'll let you & me in!"  Nailed it.  I have nothing further, your honor. 


(p.s. to churchgoers: While I firmly believe all of this, PLEASE read the previous entry about "church goer jerks" in tandem with this one!)

(p.p.s. to churchgoers: Again, while I firmly believe all of this, PLEASE don't consider sanctification-in-progress as a license to behave like a jerk.  Verily, the world around us is watching.)

(p.s. to non-churchgoers: If you want to know where the "flawed & imperfect folks" section of Temple Baptist is, come sit with me! I'm the heart of it.)

Monday, October 10, 2011


Aldous Huxley said of time "Well, there seems to be plenty of it."  Aldous Huxley also took hallucinogenic drugs regularly.  Which probably explains how he was so very wrong on the issue of time's passage.

You see, a couple of weeks ago, I watched her draw her first breath about 2 feet away from where I was standing.  At that point, she took my breath away.  Not sure I've gotten it back yet.  A couple of days later, she was "Daddy's gull"...a little girl with blond hair who like reading and singing and watching Disney movies.
As of today, she's a 21-year-old lady.  (OK, she still likes to read & sing, and perhaps to watch a Disney flick now & then....)

She lives with 2 other ladies in a house across town.  She's in training to pursue a lifelong idea: cosmetology.  She's thoughtful and well-read.  Smarter than many...including me.  She loves people.  (Well, like her Dad, she loves some more than others...*smile*)  She loves the beach.  She loves to camp.  She loves a crowd.  She loves live music (including some of the same music I liked when I was her age! E.g., she recently saw Steely Dan in concert & loved it).  She's still absolutely gorgeous.  Smiles easily.  Laughs often.

She's my favorite 20-something lady on the entire globe.  My daughter Anne.

And Aldous Huxley was totally wrong.  There's not at all plenty of time.  It has flown by.

Happy Birthday, Anne!  I'm very proud of you, & love you very much!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Lessons Learned From Water

As all 3 of my regular readers know, I grew up on/near the beaches, bayous, & bays of NW FL.  My thoughts are never far from that part of the world, as much of who I am was shaped down there.  Thus, this post that popped into my mind. 

Valuable lessons about life & people that I learned in, on, under, & near the water.

--Looks can be deceiving - dangerously strong currents may not be visible on the surface; especially at first glance.
--What's underneath the surface is often very beautiful.
--And sometimes very dangerous.  Deadly even.
--Sometimes one should fight the current.
--Other times one should go with the current while using it to one's advantage.
--At all times one should not panic when finding oneself in a current in order to figure out which of the previous ones is the better option.
--Sometimes the best plan is to simply hold one's breath & hang on until the wave passes by.
--Speaking of waves, the same waves that are beautiful from a distance can be quite challenging--even dangerous--up close.
--Those waves, properly engaged, can be a LOT of fun!
--After the thrill/danger of the ride, the waves usually bring you to shore.
--Underneath turbulent waves, you'll find a calm, relaxing place if you dive deep enough.
--Often, people who look capable aren't; nice-looking jocks still drown.
--Often, people who don't look capable are; nerdly-looking wimps survive waves, rip currents, & undertows.  (like me, for example)
--For goodness'sake, get the right equipment!
--And the right knowledge.
--Neither of which will be apparent at first glance.

Seems one can learn a lot by being in, on, under, or near the water.