I am determined to remain apolitical in this space. But the world is determined to break down my resolve these days. In particular I refer to a group of “peaceful protesters” who I saw this week yelling and throwing various items at a police riot squad. After wrestling with my ethics for a moment or…
The word “hood” has come to be identified largely as shorthand for “neighborhood.” It’s yet another example of African-American culture taking over the American lexicon. Fair is fair. If their ancestors had to endure 250 years of oppression on this continent, I can stand being ridiculed for saying “bro” when the everyone else has advanced…
People don’t believe me when I talk about how introverted I am. Truth be told, I would just as soon hole up alone with a good book or game on most evenings. I genuinely enjoy seven-hour car rides by myself.
That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy socializing. I absolutely do. But when I am with someone, I feel responsible for their entertainment as well as my own.
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.
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.
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.”
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, …
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.
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.