Archive for February, 2008

Words Create Worlds

Posted: February 19, 2008 in blogs, family, fatherhood, home, Malia, Obama, speaking, words

This morning I had a wonderful idea for a blog. It was about the power or words. I was going to talk about Hillary Clinton’s criticism of Barack Obama, saying he offers speeches while she offers “solutions”. The blog wasn’t going to be political, or try to influence anyone’s vote or reveal my politics — I try not to do that. However, I was going to highlight how words change our lives. As one theologian has put it, “Words create worlds.”

I was going to talk about how people who think words are meaningless, can’t possible mean it and haven’t thought about it very deeply. How they must have never been changed by a song lyric, or moved to action by a speech. It was about how such people must hate Valentine’s Cards and likely rushed without feeling through their wedding vows.

It was about how books and sermons and blogs and poetry must serve no purpose for such people. After all, they’re just words. Most of all I was going to write about how when God created the world he “spoke” it into existence and how “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.”

But, alas, for some reason I couldn’t log in to WordPress this morning, so I didn’t get a chance to write that blog. So this is what I’ll write about instead…

As I was sitting in my weekly staff meeting this afternoon, my four-year old daughter, Malia, walked by outside the door with her teacher, Julie. Julie stopped at the glass door and held up a sheet of paper with the “bat, hat, cat, sat,” and some other things written on it. In the margin Julie had written, “Wow, guess who read today? Malia can read!”

In the midst of the meeting, I saw my daughter’s eyes beaming. Eyes that can now read all on her own. Eyes that had finished her very first reading assignment. And my eyes filled with tears. My heart filled with pride.

Malia can read words.

Don’t tell me words don’t matter!

Really?

Posted: February 13, 2008 in perspective, sports

Was anyone as astonished as I was to see Roger Clemens throw his wife under the bus yesterday? Roger said that his wife, Debbie, not him, took HGH. So the HGH user in the house was Debbie, not Roger.

Not only that, but his best friend, Andy Petitte took HGH, but not Roger. Another teammate, Chuck Knoblauch took HGH, but not Roger. And Roger’s trainer peddled HGH, but never to his best customer…Roger.

Everyone close to Roger — including his wife — was dirty, but not Roger. Really?

Okay. That’s believable!

However, whether you believe Roger or not, you have to feel for what his family is going through, particularly his sons. If he really is innocent, this is almost the worse thing that can happen to a professional athlete.

The entire steroid era of baseball should force all of us to ask questions about what is truly important in life. How important is personal success? What are we willing to sacrifice to climb to the top of the mountain.? It should also highlight how fleeting applause and acclaim are. Like Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the people who cheer you one day will be calling for your head (figuratively) as soon as the winds change.

Success clearly isn’t worth doing anything for.

Writing to Change the World

Posted: February 12, 2008 in books, missional

From Mary Pipher’s Writing to Change the World:

“Jesus exemplifies our confused attitudes about radicals. To the entrenched, greedy powers of His time, He was a real troublemaker. He was a pacifist who disdained the wealthy and religious hypocrites, and He befriended prostitutes and beggars. Yet for two thousand years, He has been revered. Still, if He were writing and preaching today, most likely he would be regarded as a subversive and a kook.

“In the upside-down world of America today, our culture’s dysfunctional message is that healthy people accept the world as it is. We are powerless. Also, we hear that only radical nuts or quixotic fuzzy-brains work for social and political change. Yet powerlessness produces despair, in people and stagnation in cultures. Throughout history, it has been the strong people who have endeavored to make their communities better. Healthy people act.”

Happy Birthday, Boo!

Posted: February 12, 2008 in family, fatherhood, giving, home, Katharine, kids, life, Malia

p2121121.jpgMy youngest daughter, Katharine (who at home is just called “Boo”), turns one-year old today. Malia’s first year seemed to take forever, Katharine’s moved lightening fast!

It’s amazing how different our girls are. Malia is an investigator. She’ll get interested in something and want to know everything about it. Katharine is an explorer. She likes to see, touch and taste as much as she can. For her it’s about quantity and experience. At any rate, Rochelle and I are extremely blessed to have two wonderful, beautiful girls. Happy Birthday, Boo.

(The pic above is of Katharine about 90 seconds after she escaped the womb, her eyes weren’t even open yet. She looks better now.)

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This morning, Malia and I took advantage of the free short-stack of of pancakes at IHOP. They are asking folks to give the money they would spend on pancakes to Shriner’s Hospital. It was fun to sit and eat and talk over my favorite food, just the two of us.

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The best part of working where your daughter goes to school? Malia and her classmates just came in to sing me a Valentine’s song! It was perfect!!

Graciousness

Posted: February 4, 2008 in grace, humility, quotes, speech acts, words

One of the things I try hard to do, and often fail at, is  to be gracious. I think it’s important to steadily treat people with the grace that God gives me.

If you’re wondering why it’s important to be gracious, just check out Tiki Barber’s interview with Super Bowl MVP, Eli Manning at MSNBC.com. Barber left the Giants in the off-season because he didn’t believe in coach, Tom Coughlin, and was very critical of Eli Manning, saying he didn’t have what it took . In part he said of Eli…

“He hasn’t shown [ability to lead],” Barber said on the broadcast. “His personality hasn’t been so that he can step up, make a strong statement and have people believe that it’s coming from his heart.

“Last year about Week 12, I turned over the offensive motivational speech to Eli and he was gung-ho to do it, but he was uncomfortable doing it. I think a lot of it had to do with vets being around – myself, Jeremy Shockey, Plaxico Burress. He didn’t feel like his voice was going to be strong enough and it showed. Sometimes it was almost comical the way that he would say things.”

Tiki has spent the year working for Football Night in America and The Today Show. Last night, not only did Tiki have to watch the team he left upset the New England Patriots, but he had to interview them after the game.

This is a reminder to me to always speak graciously of others…

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written about overtly spiritual matters, but I shall return to those themes soon. (Although, if I were market-driven, I wouldn’t blog about spiritual themes since my readership is way, way up in the last month.)

Anyway, one of my favorite TV shows of strike shortened season, has been Dirty, Sexy, Money. Don’t let the name fool you, the show has a tremendous amount of tender and touching moments. And the philosophical/religious themes are often profound, though subtle.

Here’s a scene where Brian, the wayward priest, is saying goodbye to his son, Brian Jr. He only got to know Brian Jr. after the boy’s mother forced Brian to take him so that the boy could have the benefits of being an heir to one of New York’s wealthiest families. Over time, Brian — though he has children with his wife — learns what it means to love and be loved.

In the end, Brian Jr.’s mother comes back to whisk the boy away to South America.

Isn’t it amazing how God uses children to teach us how to love?