What I Learned Soaking Up Politics

Tags

Several years ago I was a politics fanatic.  I knew all the players the state and national level and got to spend time eating with and talking to some of them.  At one point, I even looked at a political run that was (fortunately) preempted by a friend who decided to run for the spot.

Here’s some things I learned:

Most of the people in politics care.  Most of them do, both Democrat and Republican.  Talking to them one-on-one, you gain an appreciation for what motivated them to start off in politics.

None of them are as bad or as good as people say.  I remember when Jimmy Carter was running for office and hearing a man say, “I’ll move to Mexico if he’s elected.”  Well, he’s still living in Texas and the world didn’t implode.  It’s the same with Bill and George and Barak and Hillary and Donald and Ted.  They are all swayed by big money.  They all forget the one-on-one conversations when the campaign is over.  They all do what the votes tell them to do.  None of them go in as statesman but politicians.

Democrats can spend money and don’t let a budget stop them.  Well, a bunch of Democrats do anyway.  When I lived in Fort Worth I met Charlie Geren, a Democrat representing that area.  He was a good guy and I thought had a pretty good fiscal policy.  I’d vote for him again.

Republicans spend too much time fretting over money.  This world has problems and this country has a s$#tload of money to help with those problems.  It should be the church doling it out but too many churches can barely make it as it is with people giving so little.  It’s a little bizarre when the Democrats look more Christian than the evangelical right.

Whoever wins won’t have a big impact on my life.  The super rich find lots of loopholes to avoid paying taxes.  The middle class will pay what they have to pay and just try to keep the kids in college and the house together.  The rest are too poor to do much about anything and keep getting poorer.  With a recent unemployment spell and 4 kids in college I don’t have any money so they can’t take much more from me.

All of them scare me!  There’s not a person in the race I would vote for right off the bat.  Bernie may be a little crazy.  I think Hillary is a bad person and has done some very bad things.  Trump is an egotistical lunatic.  I wouldn’t trust Ted Cruz as far as I could throw him.  He’s as big a whiner as Donald and I get the feeling he would sell his soul for the vote.  Rubio, Kasich and Carson all have me wondering but they still scare me.  I appreciate Kasich’s aim to run a clean campaign but he doesn’t say enough at times.  Carson is too quiet.  Rubio, well, he’s on the edge of brawling and I wonder what power will do to him.

It’s a crazy world out there and no one in politics to be in politics is going to change it.  One day a change will come.  One day.

Grace and peace.

Where Are We Going?

When one group rises up, other groups go on the defensive.  I think it has probably always been that way.

Black Lives Matter.  No doubt, it’s a good cause but it is a group that defines itself and by the first word of it’s name/motto.  All lives matter.  Black, white, brown and all the other colors matter.  A white guy just got shot in Saginaw, Texas because he was acting stupid around armed policemen.  His life mattered too.  All lives matter.  So, when Beyonce uses the Super Bowl to promote Black Lives Matter when she could be inclusive to all lives…well, it’s just sad to me.

Believe In Love.  The Super Bowl was held outside of San Francisco so what a great time to promote the gay-rights agenda.  However, one one group rises us, others will get defensive and it will happen here too.  Next year the Super Bowl is in Houston.  How will America feel if the organizers use that time to support gun ownership rights?  Will there be a bunch of folks on the field promoting open carry?

You get the idea.  Whenever we organize into a “group” we become inclusive to some degree if not completely.  I wonder if the day will ever come when we unite under the group called “One” and we all matter.  We will never all agree but can we unite under one banner?

I want to express my message just as much as the next group.  I want to share the good news that Christ died for all of our sins, that there is hope and grace and mercy for all.  I want to share how simple life can be when we live the way God intended and anything outside of that makes life harder, more complicated, burdened.  Of course I won’t get a Super Bowl spot to do that because most people want to live a different way.  It’s not about choice because I make the choice to try and live the way God has called me to live.  Yet, for some, they become defensive about my beliefs and get defensive.  The call me a homophobe.  They call be a racist.  They call me all sorts of things just because they don’t agree with my message.

I get it.  When the Christian message was first being shared, the leader was killed.  Today the killing is often done to character but it doesn’t change that much.  One person makes a statement for their group and the divisiveness begins.

All lives matter.  Love whens in the end.  Peace is possible.  All those things are very real and very possible but not all of them can come to be within the framework of my own agenda.  So, where are we going?  A growing world.  Growing problems.  Growing agendas.  Do we ever lay down our own banner and start walking together as one?

Grace and peace.

I’m Boycotting Too

I’m boycotting the Oscars.  #whogivesaflip

Yep, that’s my hashtag.  Who cares?  If a movie is good, it makes lots of money.  If a movie is good, the people who like it will watch it.  Other #whogivesaflip #Oscars2016

All this stuff about too white and not enough diversity.  Good grief.  How many awards programs are there for segments of the community?  BET.  LBQTRZ (I don’t know all those letters).  It seems like every color and every special interest has their own award show so who cares who gets nominated at the Oscars.  If it’s the best, quit going to the awards that aren’t the best.  I played basketball and I was never excited about playing in the consolation game.  I loved to play so I played my hardest in every game but playing for 3rd place was just a game.  Nothing special.  If they wouldn’t have had the 3rd place game I would not have cared.  I wanted the championship…the best.

While I am a proponent of #whogivesaflip #Oscars2016 there is one lady who might make it interesting.  I don’t think she’s a fan of political correctness either.

Say What You Mean

So, while chances are 99.999% I won’t watch a second of the Oscars (or any other award show), she might make it interesting enough to keep an ear on the fallout.

Otherwise, #whogivesaflip #Oscars2016.

Back to our regular programming at ESPN.

What A Leader Isn’t

A leader isn’t driven by his will to win.

The credible leader is driven by his desire to lift others up.

A leader isn’t the first person who steps up.

The credible leaders is given the authority to lead from those around him.

A leader isn’t loud and doesn’t need a microphone.

The credible leader has the ear of the people and they are eager to listen.

A leader isn’t running others down.

The credible leader is focused on the moment and making it count for something.

A leader isn’t the one who addresses conflict with a clenched fist and a loud voice.

The credible leader deals with conflict with his ears first and his thoughts second.

In this season of politics, we see people who want to be leaders by being the loudest, the brashest, the boldest.  We seem them touting their own victories and throwing their own victory parties.

Wouldn’t it be great to see a leader rise from the ranks because he or she had lifted up the people around them?  Wouldn’t it be great to see a leader emerge who had helped people be successful and fulfilled?

A leader isn’t always the loudest guy around.  Often, the leader is the quiet one, the encourager, the teacher, the servant.

In A Land of Freedom

Tags

, ,

America, land of the free, home of the brave.

Unless you own guns.  Or want to assert Christian values in who you hire, rent property to or speak out publicly in many places.

Our President went on TV last night to explain how his new gun related ruling would make us safer.  He’s trying to put a band-aid on a festering wound.  He isn’t treating the problem, just the symptom.

I can agree that background checks are a good thing, I just don’t think many criminals visit Cabela’s to get their guns.  Maybe a pawn shop but more likely on the streets.  I doubt anyone dealing guns or dope or prostitutes spend a lot of time on government websites.

The problem with a lunatic who walks into a school, theater, hospital or church and starts shooting people isn’t the gun.  No, it is the crazed thinking that started the episode.  Until we make it OK to treat mental health instead of making it a stigma, the real problem will continue to fester.  We can put band-aids on it all we want but all those band-aids just start to put burdens on law abiding citizens at some point.

Mr. President, I want you to do everything in your power to keep us safe.  I would simply prefer you do it by addressing the real problem, not the political one.

Grace and peace.

Another Day Older

Tags

, , , , ,

Another day older.  Another year gone.  Another Christmas past us.  Lots of things happened in the past year, good things and bad things.

It seems so often when I have looked back I have settled on seeing the things that didn’t happen or the things that happened that set me back or mistakes I had made.  I wanted to blog more in 2015.  I wanted to launch a new web site focused on leadership.  I wanted to teach more about conflict resolution.  Shoot, I wanted to become a millionaire/billionaire and do great, charitable things with the money.  I wanted to exercise better and lose weight.  I wanted to make changes that didn’t get changed.  It’s easy to see all of that for so many people…I guess.

Fortunately there is the other side of the coin.  There are all those things I still want to accomplish in 2016, my new year to improve and still, there are some wonderful things that have happened this past year.  First and foremost, I got to spend a year with a woman I love and who adds so much richness and happiness to my life.  She helps me experience joy unlike anything I’ve known most of my life.  I got to travel with her.  Atlanta (don’t eat the tuna salad in Atlanta), Baltimore, San Francisco, Denver and Durango and other places.  I got a job that has my creative juices flowing (creative for someone with an accounting degree, anyway) and I look forward to coming to work every day.  I’ve got friends that I stay in contact with that remind me I have purpose.  I have continued to dream dreams.  Dreams of writing.  Dreams of doing things that will give me a sense of accomplishment.  Dreams of building a better family.  Dreams of experiencing more joy.  Dreams of being the man God wants me to be.

That’s what I really want for 2016…to be the man God wants me to be.  I realize that is a dangerous statement because my vision of that could be very different from His.  I always see myself on the mountain top and He may see me in the valley.  Heaven knows I’ve spent some time there already.  Regardless, in the end, I have learned the greatest peace I know is when I let go of my desires and seek His.  Doing that little thing…that is harder than expected…has brought great things to my life, my state of mind, my peace and my joy.

If someone else happens to read this, I hope 2016 will be your best year yet.  I encourage you to seek God, seek His will and live in His peace.

Grace and peace.

#PrayforParis

Tags

, ,

I’m at a crossroads.  My heart of faith tells me I need to be open to all people regardless of their religion, culture or where they come from.  My heart as an American, husband and father tells me to protect those I love, to seal borders and to carry a gun.  Wow!  Talk about some inner turmoil in my head…you may not want to be me right now.

I know this.  No one I know or have heard speak/tweet/sing has all the answers.  I have immense trust in God and believes He works in all situations for the good of those who love Him.  I have also learned He takes His time in revealing His ways.

While I wrestle with what to think about the Syrians and ISIS, I also wrestle with something a little less glamorized currently in our media, homes and churches.  While we pray for those in Paris and commit to stand in solidarity with them, why don’t we also hashtag #prayforSyria, #prayforTerrorists, #prayforMuslims, #prayforTheHomeless, #prayforTheUnemployed, #prayforSinners, #prayforPutin, #prayforObama/Clinton/Sanders/Trump/Carson/Rubio/Bush/et.al.

My point is this.  There are a number of things we need to address in this world of ours and in this country.  There are so many people who are hurting emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually that are overlooked daily while we rally around heartache and heartbreak in Paris, France.  I would take nothing away from the outpouring of compassion we have given the people affected by the senseless tragedy, only hope we become more aware of the senseless tragedies around us daily that need our prayers, our support, our finances and our hearts.

I’ll add one more hashtag I’m very affected by…#prayformetoo.

Grace and peace.

Things That Drive Me Bonkers

Tags

, , ,

Skechers Donates $3 Million to Save Dogs’ and Cats’ Lives

That’s the headline in a footwear newsletter I get each week.  $3 million to save dog’s and cats’ lives.  Are you serious?  How many dogs and cats wear Skechers anyway?

People are living on the streets of every major and many smaller cities in America.  They have physical, mental and emotional health problems.  They have worn out, dirty, torn clothes and shoes with holes in them.  I wonder what they get from the shoe company?  I’m hoping quite a bit if dogs and cats get $3 million.

I love dogs and cats.  I’ve got 2 dogs, a cat and a goat and I like all of them.  I feed them and let them inside sometimes too.  My wife feeds them REALLY good and lets them in the house as much as she can so I’ve got that going for me too.  That said, if I ever get really rich I’m giving a lot of my money to PEOPLE who need it.  If I own a company that makes products for PEOPLE, I’m giving some of that money away to PEOPLE too.

I wonder how many people in our country that are clamoring for gun control give away money to be used for dogs and cats instead of for mental health issues.  How many people who suffer from terrible things that affect their emotional and physical health could use that $3 million?  How many people wouldn’t be able to obtain guns and use them for all the wrong reasons if we invested more money in ascertaining, treating and curing the problems that cause people to do the bad things they do?

I’m proud to work for a company in the footwear business who donates money to breast cancer awareness and to the VFW who supports the people who have defended our country and freedoms.  They are two organizations that were supported long before I got here and we continue to funnel money towards.  We sell people products and give back to people causes.  Not dogs and cats.

It just drives me bonkers to read that kind of stuff.  A friend of mine told me about a company in California that agreed to match employee donations to help folks in California earlier in the year who were affected by the big storms they had out there.  He said 2/3 of the donations went to animal organizations.  Now, call me crazy, but doesn’t it seem reasonable to take care of the people who need it the most so they can take care of their animals?  I don’t think the animals could take care of the people but I’ve never lived on the left coast so maybe I’m wrong.

$3 million to dogs and cats.  Heck, they could have at least given it to cows and other animals that provide the leather they use, right?

Yes, I know, morbid.  Dark humor is my thing sometimes.  Especially when something drives me bonkers.

Grace and peace.

Just An Hour Is All It Takes

Tags

,

I was driving by a church recently and their marquee continues to bother me.  “Christ gave his life for you.  Can’t you give him an hour on Sunday?”

Really?  Just an hour?  That’s all I have to do?  Show up at church for an hour and I’ve repaid what Christ did for me?

I grew up on the Gospel of “3 Times A Week” and the idea that showing up for church is the best right-thing I could do.  As long as I was at church I was doing OK.  Drinking too much?  Showing up at church dressed right and listening to the preacher was the best cure for that.  Using drugs?  Showing up at church dressed right and listening to the preacher was the best cure for that.  Having sex?  Lying?  Stealing?  Eating too much?  Prejudiced?  Showing up at church dressed right and listening to the preacher was the best cure for that.

The problem I continue to wrestle with from my training is the idea of “at church” instead of “be church”.  I have heard too much about the need to be at church as the cure for all the worlds problems when Christ called us over and over to be the church to the world.

If I am being the church, how much time do I have for drinking and drugs and illicit sex and hating another person because of skin color or where they live?  Being the church is a consuming task and one that requires me to think about others instead of myself all the time.

Congregating is good.  It is needed.  It is a positive energy producer when we surround ourselves with other people who want to be the church.  People love being with people who build them up, feed them spiritually and emotionally and go into the next day and week with the energy that we are serving others, we are building others up, we are feeding others.  That’s exciting.  That’s energy building stuff that motivates us and moves us.

An hour on Sunday?  C.mon Pastor.  Jesus asks for our LIFE, not an hour.  He calls us to LIVE like him, not sit on your pew and make you feel good that we showed up to hear you.

I’m not giving up an hour of my life to be AT your church.  When you are ready to engage me AS the church, let’s talk and see if we can’t find a way to change ourselves and the world to be what Christ has really called us for.

Grace and peace.

Mormons, Gay Marriage and the Law

Tags

, ,

A New York Times article on today (10/23/15) by Jack Healy reports on the Mormons take on gay marriage and the law.  Dallin Oaks, described as a high-ranking apostle in the church, said, “Office holders remain free to draw upon their personal beliefs and motivations and advocate their positions in the public square.  But when acting as public officials, they are not free to apply personal convictions, religious or other, in place of the defined responsibilities of their public offices.”

The article is written regarding Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who has refused to provide marriage licenses for same-sex couples.  The article goes on to quote Jonathon Rauch with the Brookings Institute as saying it’s a pretty big deal the Mormons have embraced compromise over conflict.

Here’s my point.  The Mormons DID NOT compromise.  They followed what the Bible teaches, that we render unto the government what belongs to the government and that we live out our life of faith.  Jesus never called us to fight against government.  That is exactly what the Jews were wanting in a Messiah and Jesus wasn’t that guy.  He told us to love and care for the poor, the hurting, the ones thrown away by society, widows and orphans, the sick.  Never did he tell us to condone sin or make religion a political soapbox but to love and to care for those who need love and caring.

The Mormons are not compromising on same-sex marriage.  They still oppose it and call it sin.  Neither are they compromising on what an elected official of the government should do when required to follow the law.  Sure, fight against the law.  Certainly, speak out against anything that is not of God’s design.  But, when you lose, follow the law.

Kim Davis did what she did from personal conviction and I have no beef with that.  I don’t agree with her decision but it was/is HER decision.  I do not agree with all of Mormon teaching either.  However, I agree with them here;  same-sex marriage is wrong in the eyes of God and should be wrong in the law of the land.  It isn’t so we have to live with it but that doesn’t mean we cannot continue to stand firm and speak our convictions, vote our beliefs and trust God to take care of the outcomes.

Grace and peace.