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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Equal

Eugene V. Debs, the legendary Socialist leader, once mocked in an editorial the notion that a common railroad worker such as Debs once was could be “equal” to the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who got his start with $2 million in the bank. “If a locomotive fireman could work 4,444 years, 300 days each year, at $1.50 per day, he would be in position to bet Mr. Vanderbilt $2.50 that all men are born equal.”

Firstly, it’s no wonder Debs was so effective in his day with wordplay such as that.  Secondly, it’s “created equal,” not “born equal.” 

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In his own eyes

The time of the judges is neatly summarized in Judges 17:6 — “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.”  Similar thoughts are repeated several times in the last few chapters of the book.  But just in the first part of the first story we see several issues that a godly king such as David, Jehoshaphat or Josiah might have been able and willing to stave off.

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Blood

My father is losing blood at the time of this writing.  No one knows why.  No one seems terribly worked up about it, though; doctors are on the case, he is well supervised, the issue (accidental pun alert) is being addressed and will soon be resolved.

I’m not worried.  Really.  Not worried.  The face I am wearing now is the face of me not being worried.

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Brisket

My beloved Texas A&M University puts on an annual two-day barbecue seminar.  “Camp Brisket” shows a fortunate few dozen participants the finer points of trimming, preparing and serving the best barbecue in the world.  And here I am in Pensacola, Florida, drooling, surrounded by well-intentioned but sadly ignorant folks who think “good barbecue” used to oink.

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Why we left Egypt

Throughout the Old Testament, “Egypt” is used as a metaphor for slavery.  The Israelites spent 430 years in Egypt, much or most of which was spent under the Egyptians’ thumb.  The kind behavior shown to Joseph and his family was not continued by the Pharaoh “who did not know Joseph” (Exodus 1:8).  Life soon became intolerable for the nation, even to the point of being forced to kill their own male children.  But God was watching over His people the entire time, even and especially during the worst days.  And when the time was right, God intervened.  Pharaoh was humiliated, Egypt was crushed and looted, and Israel emerged on the other side of the Red Sea as a nation to be seriously regarded and respected.

But the story was not yet over. 

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Gymnastics

If you want to see the glorious difference between men and women (and have everyone keep their clothes on, mostly), you need look no further than a gymnastics competition.  Myself, I am not particularly a fan; I haven’t even watched Olympic competition for almost a decade.  But I know, for instance, that women do not perform on the pommel horse, parallel bars or rings.  And after watching Olympian Shawn Johnson attempt it, I know why.  The same reason I don’t.  It’s impossible.  The upper body strength is just not there.

The men don’t perform on the uneven bars or balance beam.  And I know why.  The same reason I can’t watch them try.  Physiology.  Let’s just call it physiology.

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Reasons to Complain

Having lived in the middle of SEC country for nearly seven years now, I thought I had seen the worst examples of “Can’t take L for an answer.”  But two New Orleans fans have taken it to a whole other level.  They are actually suing the NFL over the result of the NFC championship game, in which their beloved Saints lost to the Rams — in no small part because of an admittedly horrible non-call near the end of the game.

They want the commissioner of the NFL to do something about it.  Ideally, replay the entire game (or at least the last few minutes of regulation), or just flat-out reverse the game results.  Nothing unreasonable.

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Lobsters

Lobsters are not immortal.  You may have heard otherwise, but it isn’t true.  They do have a remarkable way of reproducing cells that retards cell death indefinitely.  But turns out, getting old brings on a host of health difficulties, each of which may eventually become fatal.  They ward off the natural processes better than most species, granted, but death will inevitably get them in the end, as it will all of us.

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Carrot cake and the body of Christ

I took Tracie to my favorite restaurant on our second date, way back in the day.  It was my favorite restaurant for a number of reasons, but high on the list was their carrot cake.  I have never been one to order dessert with dinner (I’ve been reluctant ever since I realized they would charge me for it), but for some reason I had had the carrot cake at this particular establishment.  And it was wonderful.  Moist cake, and plenty of it.  Plump, juicy raisins throughout.  A delicious cream-cheese icing, but not too much.  Perhaps the best dessert I had ever eaten that had not come out of the kitchen of my mother or grandmother.

Dinner went fine.  I was funny.  I was engaging.  The food was delicious.  Things were going so well.  And then I suggested dessert.  “You have to try the carrot cake,” I said.

That’s when she told me she didn’t like carrot cake. 

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Blindfolded

I have not seen Bird Box, the Sandra Bullock film on Netflix everyone seems to be talking about.  And maybe it’s just as well.  Because there seems to be a trend of people trying to drive blindfolded.  After all, Sandra Bullock did it.  And she’s a movie star.  Surely that makes it a sensible thing to do.

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Peach cobbler and the body of Christ

Every Southern household has its own recipe for peach cobbler.  They differ widely.  Personally, I like a lot of peaches, a nice goopy consistency with the filling, and a crispy, sugary crust.  Others may prefer a more biscuit-like pastry, or a deeper pastry level than I like.  That’s fine.  Some prefer to make theirs in a casserole dish in the oven, some like the Crock Pot, some go old school and use a cast-iron Dutch oven over an open fire.  Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.  But we all absolutely must agree on two bits of business: it must feature peaches, and it must be a cobbler.  It’s right there in the name, after all.  Peach.  Cobbler.

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Reason

Because I love torturing myself, I occasionally use social media to check on some of the Christians I have known in the past who have shown signs of faith slippage.  Invariably I find what I expect.  It’s a sickness.  I need to stop.

Anyway, one lovely young girl from our past got a tattoo on her foot awhile back.  It reads, “Everything happens for a reason.”  She has a beautiful baby girl now.  Never been married.  I doubt she sees the irony.

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S'mores and the body of Christ

The whole point of s’mores is fireplace, firepit or campfire entertainment with the family.  You roast the marshmallow on an actual flame, then use the residual heat to melt a chocolate bar, grip the gooey goodness between two graham crackers, and go to town on it.  Making them is far more enjoyable than eating them.  Watching your children make them is even better.

You can do it in the microwave instead, if you like.  But the crackers lose their crispiness, the marshmallow slides everywhere, it’s just a mess.  There is, however, a device that will make the best microwave s’mores ever. 

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