One of the first things you notice at Walt Disney World is the preponderance of “Mickey-shaped” items. From pencil tops to fireworks, everything seems to consist of two small circles sitting atop a larger circle. Sometimes, as with shrubbery, the shape is forced upon the item; those in charge simply alter it until it achieves the proper proportions. Sometimes, as with ice cream, the item is formed inside a mold. The latter of these can get downright creepy at times. Forcing a pumpkin to grow in a “Mickey” shape by placing it in a mold in its infancy is … weird. The desired effect is achieved, yes. But at some point a living organism has to be allowed to grow in its own direction. I don’t know. Maybe I’ve just seen one too many Mickeys over the last seven years.
Anyway, striking a balance between fostering growth and channeling that growth has been a bit of an obsession with me over the last 23 years.
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. Read More
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. Read More
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.” Read More
When a bunch of preachers gather in a single area, they tend strongly to discuss the things of the Spirit. Perhaps that is simply to “fit in.” Perhaps it is to demonstrate our credibility in spiritual matters. Perhaps it is simply because it is what everyone else is doing. In any case, we look more like preachers when preachers are the only ones in the room.
That can be a result of hypocrisy, and in some instances it probably is. Maybe some are just going through the motions to blend in with people they admire. Maybe that’s what I do. But I like to believe, … Read More
It is said that the word “nerd” originated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where the cool kids who somehow managed to find their way to and into MIT characterized the uncool kids as knurds. Knurd, you will note, is drunk spelled backward. Therefore it was trendy to be drunk, whereas it was the sign of ultimate and irreversible squaredom to study, achieve, graduate with honors, and get a job. Read More
A few more words about my experience with the (alleged) flock of eagles. Birds of prey do not typically flock. There is little reason. They do not need to fend off predators. They compete with one another over food sources. And while some bald eagles migrate short distances, those in Florida do not; that eliminates the need for the aerodynamic advantage enjoyed by ducks and geese.
And yet bald eagles are frequently seen in large numbers. Read More