Friday, June 30, 2006

Enabling (Leadership) Part II

I was having a discussion with an un-churched employee/friend at work and the OPS MGR brings in a work comp form for me to fill out on a lady who quit a few weeks ago. My friend says..."I don't get it...she quit, and she can apply for unemployent. Will she get it? How does it work? Etc."

So I spend 15 minutes explaining work comp and it rolls into the entitlement discussion (previous blog entry)...and how I give her a free pass...first generation American, single mom, lots of the blog, you'll understand.

So my friend tells me a story about a recent experience. He and his family deliver meals to shut-ins on Thursdays (remember...they are all un-churched...note to Christians out there...salt and light). Most of the people (if not all besides my friend) are volunteering from or through a local church. The couple they are working with, splitting up the route, are older than us. The man is getting the addresses and meals, the wife waiting in the car. The man comes back with the goods and the wife lays into him about the area where they are delivering (a rural area called Mulberry...just happens to be where our office is). She's adamant she's NOT GOING TO MULBERRY!!!! My buddy, the un-churched guy, and his family are taking all of this in. I'm sure he gets all sorts of impressions of Christians, and is forming and modifying his impressions daily. I'm not so sure this one helped improve his opinion of us.

I'm glad God is big enough to call my buddy to Christ, even when we do our best to screw it up. I just wish we Christians would do a better job of submitting to God's authority, and LEAD here on earth.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


It doesn't take very long for the topic of enabling to come up that the word entitlement shows up. When we got back from Mexico, I was having a discussion about the building of homes and the question came up, "why can't we do that here?" - The consensus was, our poor wouldn't have a house like the one we built (nor would our codes allow it to be built...but government regulation is a different topic). I heard a lady on NPR a few days later...she was relocated to Texas during the wake of Katrina...and she was fired up about living in Texas...paraphrasing her words (with a somewhat undereducated venacular)..."I'm not from Texas, I don't like Texas, I'm from New Orleans, and I want to go back, but I'm stuck here in Texas." The examples are easy to find among our poor and downtroden, but frankly they get a free pass in my book. In many cases they are poor for a reason...they didn't choose the parents or DNA that runs through them, they didn't choose their elementary school, their many cases the poor are poor because they're not very bright, and the lack of brightness would feed the lack of appreciation/entitlement mentality. But, I don't think there are very many in that segment of society...

The enabling/entitlement that REALLY bothers me is the kind that exists among upper middle class and rich people. It's so much more damaging to society. We have some who could be productive contributors, that don't need to because of some trust fund. We have charities and shelters drastically underfunded because the second and third generation need to live a lifestyle grotesquely better than the generation that earned the right to do so. We've got automatic "slots" being filled at our best universities and graduate schools by young people who will never reach their potential because they've been slotted for stardom since they were in pre-school. You've got wives and/or husbands in church counseling chambers who are smart enough, possess enough Biblical knowledge and understanding, and come from tremendous Godly heritages...but are so freaking selfish that they can't get past "what about me!"

You see, before we look at the less fortunate segment of society and lambast them for their poor choices, we need to look within and around our circle of friends and show some freaking leadership to those that look up to us. Let's fix America from the top's how every organization flourishes.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The War in Iraq

I make it point of keeping up with friends who get back from Iraq. I distrust the media AND politicians, and think the best way to know what's going on is to ask the guys on the ground. It doesn't appear to be very good right now. My friends Batallion had 8 US soldiers killed in the 22 months he was there and didn't kill one bad's been a long time since I was in the military, but that's not how the dominant team is supposed to perform. With this recent "civilian incident" the US troops are now restricted in firing "warning shots".

According to my buddy, the best thing that could happen now would be to turn over the reigns to Iraqi forces and get out of the way while they bring down the hammer on the insurgents. You see, our "rules" for war have gotten so soft, that the other team takes advantage of us. Without a ruthless show of force, we're considered weak, which feeds the monster that is al-queda and the thousand other splinter groups that see us as infidels. There are millions over there that HATE us, have always hated us, and will always hate us. These "haters" work in the same stores, worship in the same mosques, shop and eat together with the moderates (who number 10x the haters). But according to my buddy, over the last two years, the "haters" have brought many moderates over to their camp.

When did we become so squeamish as a nation? When did soldiers sign up to get job skills not to fight (and why do we insist on putting the mothers of these small minorities on TV to rustle up negative support)? When did 2000 dead in 4 years become bigger news than 40,000 dead in Normandy? It's time to bring down the hammer...eliminate the pride of "I could beat you with one hand tied behind my back". Load up all the reporters on a plane, send them home. Send us weekly videos of what's going on. Take the gloves off, and kill every terrorist and those who help terrorists you can find. I don't care what they look like, what gender they are, how old or young they are. It's really not that difficult.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Why such sensitivity? kid gets a call to go see "Failure to Launch" with a friend and her mother (both Christians, friends from Church). We explain to her that the movie originally appealed to us (parents) too from the previews...I like Terry Bradshaw...Mom really thinks Matthew the Texan is cute...whatever...and when MY Mom (whose lost) called to see if we wanted to go see it with her, we passed because the reviews we read revealed more raunchiness than humor. So in the end..."No you can't go with your friend."

Here's the (hypothetical) rub...the friend's mom tells our daughter..."you're parents scare me (with how strict they are)." You see, what I think may have transpired is that in us taking a stand that is right for us, we've through process of association, judged someone else - in there eyes. In all honesty, I don't care what movie someone goes to see, who isn't me or my kid. I, with very clear conscience will discuss my decisions with my kid, and why I made them, and hope that they practice similar judgement in making their own decisions, when they are adults.

This idea that we can't make a decision that's good for us, because in doing so, it places artificially created judgement on others, seems out of whack to me.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

But it's not a sin!

Why are we Christians so enamored with how close we can get to sin, without actually sinning? Let me paint a picture. Our behavior, the choices we make day to day, is placed on a line with holiness being at the far right and sin being at the far left. Pure holiness, like Jesus, is unattainable, but seeking God's favor in day in and day out choices is attainable. The prevalent Christian thought of the day is to see how far down the line we can get toward sin, without actually sinning, and still get away with it.

Examples can be found in the music we listen to (not actually sin, just a choice), what we eat and drink (not sin, just choices), movies we see (not sin, just choices), language we use (not the grand-daddies - as George Carlin would say - but sucks and crap and piss me get the point). In all these cases, many Christians, waving their "It's all about Grace" flag, will push the envelope of behavior, to skirt the edge of "poor choice", never once asking themselves..."is this activity welcoming favor from my Holy Father in Heaven, or is He shaking his head in dissappointment?"

I would argue that many Christians are well intentioned with this mind set. They are hoping to "reach" a lost world by engrossing themselves in the culture. But this doesn't seem to have Biblical merrit. In fact, Paul and Timothy and Peter and Stephen and Barnabas all were change agents, persecuted for their radical deviation from the prevaling culture.

It's hard, in today's culture, for me to distinguish a "good" Chrisitian (one who is living a Spirit filled life) from a "good" pagan at my workplace, school, university, or grocery store. This can't be a good thing.

So, what do you think?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Should Christians Drink Alcohol

My college roommate Brent, is a youth pastor of many years and has been teaching me about Grace and Legalism. I've come a long way. I admit now that there was a time in my walk where I was VERY legalistic...I probably still am to a degree. Brent has purposed to banish legalism from his ministry and his surroundings...I'd like to get there.Some areas, grey areas we'll call them, are ripe for this discussion. Smoking Ciggarettes and drinking Alcohol are the grandmother and grandfather of grey area's music (hip hop, rock & roll, country must be the kids).My pastor does a great job of discussing the issue here I also must praise him for 1. Never calling drinking sin. 2. Never telling you what you should do. and, 3. Using scripture as the guide, not how he feels or thinks.

Thanks Bill.

Bring it readers...let's here what both of you have to say. :)