I Like Dreadlocks

I’m sure I would look hideous with dreadlocks but I have thought I would have liked having them if I had the hair for it.  Then this article…http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/31/living/white-dreadlocks-cultural-appropriation-feat/index.html.

So, now there are folks who think their hair is a spiritual and historical part of their history who don’t want white people wearing dreadlocks.  Really?  Why is it people of non-white skin colors can claim racism at the drop of a hat and then say they are the only one who can say certain words, wear their hair certain ways, speak certain ways, enjoy certain benefits and community?

I don’t want to be a racist.  I really don’t.  But, there are times when I am excluded from certain things just because I happened to be born white that make me wonder why I tolerate things I do.

If you want inclusion, then be inclusive.

If you want tolerance for your ideas, be tolerant of other ideas.

This world is making me tired.

Grace and peace.

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Conservative Christianity

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I’ve been thinking about conservative Christianity lately.  I’ve been thinking that I don’t find it in the Bible so I wonder why it is such a big deal with politics and those professing to align with the “Christian-right” or “right wing evangelicals”.

Jesus was radical but not political.  That was much of the confusion of his day, that he was here to do business at the local/national level when he was here to do business at the spiritual/supernatural level.

He was off being tempted by Satan.

He was healing and forgiving people.

He was telling people who wanted to follow him to GIVE ALL they had.

It just seems a bit strange to me that a political movement today that evokes self-responsibility and “good stewardship” is aligned with Jesus who told stories about the Prodigal Son (forgive without limits), the Rich Young Ruler (give and give some more), the Lost Sheep (the one who needs the most help is important), the story of the workers (the guy who showed up last got paid the same amount as the guy who had been there all day).

In Acts 2 we find the church coming together daily and selling all their possessions and giving to everyone as they had need.  That doesn’t sound anything like the Republican Party’s evangelical platform to me.  It doesn’t sound like socialism either.  It sounds like a group of people who were compelled to act individually because of Christ’s love, mercy and grace.  They didn’t wait on the government to act on their behalf and they didn’t tell those who were in need to get a job…they just helped.  Again, we see a theme of Christ-followers giving and giving generously.

I can’t align politics, Christianity and conservatism.  At the same time I don’t align with the liberal politicians either.  While I don’t think they should take my money and force giving, I also don’t think politicians need to legislate Christian teaching.  Take Roe v. Wade.  You see, I’m naive enough to believe that if the church really loved on single women who were pregnant, we would see abortions go down.  If we saw the church start adopting these babies and loving on them I believe we would see abortions go down.  I guess I see love as the way to combat abortion instead of the Supreme Court.  The people who do this now are people who are compelled to act because of who Jesus is, not who has political power.

We could also talk about the poor and immigrants.  I have had the conversation already with others and there are many different views.  I always leave it with them as “what do you think Jesus would have to say about immigrants if you were having the conversation with him?”

I can’t align Christ-likeness and this thing called conservative Christianity in political circles.  I’ve tried but as I really study Jesus I cannot imagine him giving a hoot about our political scene and I’m even further from seeing him line up with Ted Cruz or anyone else using the banner of Christ for a political office.

Call me crazy.  Call me soft.  Call me whatever…just please do not call me a conservative Christian.

Grace and peace.

Old Adages

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I’ve often heard (and probably guilty of saying) “they got what they deserved” when something bad happens to someone not well liked or looked down upon.  Whatever bad thing happened to them…well, they deserved it.

I wonder if people ever say that about me.

I wonder if people say it about the United States.

I watch Donald and Ted and Marco digress into name calling while our country suffers and can’t help but wonder if we aren’t getting what we deserve.  When shows like “The Real Housewives of Wherever” and a slew of other trashy, conflict-driven offerings continue to collect viewers is it any wonder we get the Theater of the Absurd from the people running to be the “leader” of our country?

I wish we had great debates about the needs of this country.  Instead Donald calls Ted and Marco names and they fire right back…because too many people enjoy it.  We wonder why we battle over #BlackLivesMatter and #CopsLivesMatter.  We wonder why there are so many people living on the streets and so many others living in poverty who need health care.  We wonder why there are so many problems with our country and then we see so many encouraging the junk we see on TV from people who want to “make America great again.”  Really?

Sadly, it seems love and concern for our fellow man is quickly evaporating while I want a nicer car, bigger house and more of everything grows.

In a conversation about political correctness yesterday, one wise gentleman made the comment that our failure to know each other, to enter into meaningful relationships with people we don’t know or don’t agree with is the cause for political correctness and spending time with each other is what will eliminate it.

We have a country that is deeply divided in so many area and this is what we get for folks who want to be President.  We may just be getting what we deserve.

Grace and peace.

What I Learned Soaking Up Politics

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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

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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

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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

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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.