Good

I have given up complaining about cashiers asking me for a “good” phone number or e-mail address.  First of all, I’m flattered, but I’m happily married.  Second, even if I concede that you actually need my data, why specify that it must be “good”?  Are they the type of people who ask for information in other contexts (the club, the gym, wherever else undesirable people are making overtures)?  Anyway, the editor in my cringes when I hear that.  Unnecessary words make me sad.

That said, I encountered a barista recently who was asking for “a good name” to call out when the patron’s coffee was ready.  “A good name.”  OK, that’s a bridge too far.  I must comment on that.

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Where is your commitment?

In The Corporate Coach by James B. Miller, a book on my shelf that is left over from a long-abandoned career in sales management, James Miller discusses the role of “the twitch in your elbow” while interviewing job applicants.  Gut instinct, we might say.  And a big part of that, he says, is the commitment the applicant shows toward other activities.  If he’s a scratch golfer, he didn’t get there just with 18 holes on Saturday.  Maybe he’ll cut out of work early some days.  If he’s out on his boat every weekend, who’s to say he won’t miss a few Monday mornings?

Commitment is a character trait not everyone has.  It is to be admired. 

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Rabbits, eggs, and the Lord's day

Rabbits and eggs are in great abundance this time of year.  And anyone who knows anything about the history of Easter knows why.  They are symbols of fertility.  The spring equinox has always been celebrated as the time that the earth is in full recovery from winter.  The earth has come back from the dead, as it were.  The pagans, who saw the earth as an entity to be worshiped, turned the equinox into an opportunity for revelry — and, typically, debauchery.  (Children, if you don’t know what “fertility” and “debauchery” mean, ask your parents.)  The Catholic church incorporated local pagan worship traditions as it spread throughout Europe many centuries ago.  Thus, the celebration of the rebirth of the earth became the celebration of the risen Lord.  (The Greek word in Acts 12:4 rendered “Easter” by the King James Version translators is the same word rendered “Passover” every other time it occurs.)

Personally, I like rabbits.  And I absolutely love eggs. 

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Drift

I cut my front lawn in long strips, one to the immediate left of the other.  If you cut yours left to right, I have no issue with that.  Agree to disagree. 

Anyway, I say that because I have noticed a distinct tendency for my rows to drift to the left just as I am preparing to make the turn and head back in the opposite direction.  The amateur psychologist in me thinks it is a tendency to rush through things, that I am eager to start the next stage  — and therefore move closer to the finish line — before I have actually finished the current project.

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1 + 1 = 2, therefore you are an idiot

Facts are stubborn things, said John Adams.  But being stubborn does not always win you an argument.  We have all been in “discussions” in which we were correct and the simpleton on the other side of the table was not.  We laid out the facts as plainly as anyone could.  And they remained unconvinced.

Maybe they found comfort in character assassination, or muddied the waters with irrelevant information.  Maybe they just threw up their hands and left the room.  Maybe they even took a swing at you.  What they didn’t do, though, is change their mind.  Facts had nothing to do with their position, either before or after the discussion.

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Hipsters

All hipsters look alike.  This was the assertion recently written in one of those magazines that publishes those sort of articles.  Hipsters, as it turns out, don’t like to be pigeonholed like that any more than lawyers, ethnic minorities, or SEC football fans.  One actually wrote a threatening letter, accusing the magazine of using a photograph of him without his permission and disparaging him personally.

Turns out, it wasn’t him in the picture after all.  He just looked like the hipster in question.  Ah, irony.

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Real dangers vs. imaginary ones

Hospitals across the country are retheming after a recent study unearthed a startling fact.  Of 250 children surveyed, exactly 250 of them expressed an aversion or out-and-out fear of clowns.  I suppose a generation of administrators raised on Bozo and Ronald McDonald were slow to realize that garishly painted faces were just about the last thing children wanted to see when they were already scared out of their minds.

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Popcorn

I was recently injured while making popcorn.  True story.  A stray kernel decided to pop within the fluffy confines of the bowl instead of in the popper — hardly unusual.  But this one sent a piece of hot bran straight into my right eyelid.  If I had that eye wide open at the time, it could have done serious damage.  As it was, I only had nagging pain for a couple of days — a small price to pay for a good story, I say.

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A few examples of "The Small Things"

Last week in this space I encouraged the “one-talent” Christians out there to not lose heart, but rather to rejoice in the “small things” they may be able to do in service to God and to the church.  I thought I would follow up today with some specifics.

Again, these are things that virtually any Christian can do. 

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The Small Things

Some people have five talents.  They have all the skill, all the charisma, all the opportunities.  It seems as though service in Jesus’ kingdom comes naturally to them.  We are not surprised to hear when they have done great things in His name.  We expect it out of five-talent people

Some people have two talents.  They are not as privileged as the five-talent people, obviously.  But we still admire them.  They get the most out of what they have.  They do not envy the five-talent people for their success and the glory that comes with success.  They just do their job and do it well.  Sometimes they even wake up to find they have become five-talent people themselves.  And good for them.  Good for us. And then there are those with only one talent. 

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Scores

You may have seen the reports about actresses Lori Laughlin (“Full House”) and Felicity Huffman (“Desperate Housewives”) being caught up in a standardized test scandal.  At the time of this writing, Huffman had actually been arrested.  It seems (and as much as I criticize those who leap to conclusions in this space, I hasten to add — innocent until proven guilty) some people were paying for special consideration so their children could get good grades on their ACT or SAT.

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Appropriating Jesus

It seems to me that “cultural appropriation” only becomes problematical if the “culture” being appropriated is associated generally with people of color.  (White, by the way, is a color.  The Crayola people say so, anyway.  And the pale orange-peach tone that accurately defines the skin of this “white person” is a color, too.  But I digress.)

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Llamas

If you happen to find yourself in Sun City, Arizona, watch out for llamas.  At last report two of them were running wild, creating a great deal of havoc with local traffic and amusing any number of YouTube viewers.

Presumably, the llamas have a home somewhere, and they left it.  In retrospect, they probably regret that decision.  But in any event, we have to deal with reality, not the world of our own imagination. 

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The Gospel of Beer

Thank you for being here today.  You had options.  There are churches all over, offering all sorts of incentives and enticements.  For instance, the Castle Church Brewing Community in Orlando bills itself as “Orlando’s newest destination brewery.”  If you are asking yourself, “Is that what it sounds like?”, the answer is yes.  They actually brew, sell and drink beer.  Not in the actual assembly, mind you — at least, not as far as I can tell.  But immediately afterward, and pretty much any other opportunity that affords itself.

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Nerf

A 9-year-old boy in Wales has lost an eye to a Nerf gun.  This is not the beginning of a joke.  This is the conclusion to a two-act tragedy.  It seems he lost sight in the eye because of an incident with a toy arrow when he was only 3; the second incident caused irreversible damage to the eye, forcing him to have it removed entirely or else risk losing sight in the second eye as well.

The mother, who is raising money through crowdfunding to get her son a more realistic prosthetic eye, says she doesn’t want people to think she is a bad mother.  I wonder why she would feel compelled to say that?

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Keys to great leadership -- in the home, in the church, and in life

I have a new favorite eatery in my lunchtime perimeter.  I have been three times now, and every time the same manager was on duty.  And she is amazing.  Let’s be honest, I’m there for the food.  If the food were terrible, I wouldn’t care if Bruce Springsteen, LeBron James and Scarlett Johansson were dishing it up.  As it happens, the food is great.  And I’m prepared to believe this woman gets a lot of the credit.

I figured out why she impresses me so much. 

She is always there. 

She is always knowledgeable. 

She is always busy. 

And she is always smiling.

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Apology

I have been cranky lately.  The circumstances of my life, although delightful in most ways, are not ideal.  And I have let that affect my attitude — precisely what I criticize others for doing.  I am not sure exactly how bad it has been, but I have enough humility, introspectiveness, and respect for others’ judgment to believe it has been considerably less than what it should be.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, obviously I would encourage you to ignore this paragraph.  If you do know, please accept my apology.

 

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