Sunday, August 27, 2006

Competition, Age, and The Kingdom

The following link describes an extreme example.

I've had this discussion with several people in several walks of life and have gotten a wide selection of answers...from...

"They're 9 & do not utilize strategy!"

"They have a scoreboard right?"

From my perspective...very few people today are dealing with disappointment as children, so many people are ilequipped to deal with failure as adults. Unpleasant results are part of's my issue(s)...

1. At what age should kids be permitted failure? (I think the answer is you should be dealing with failure from the beginning. My 3 year old doesn't get presents on the 5 year olds' birthday...she has to learn to deal with it, right?)
2. At what age should we introduce the kind of competition (involving strategy) to kids? (I tend to lean toward my friend that says..."if there's a scoreboard..."but then that might be my ego wanting to be smarter than the other coach...hmm.)
3. Is there a place for competition in God's economy? This is the most difficult question for me. Really what would Jesus or Paul or Barnabus or Timothy say about not only this example of competition, but sales quotas, and professional sports, and 401Ks, and starter homes, and retirement homes, and the stock market? Would Peter's answer be different? Each example I mentioned has some competitiveness built into it...right...if we're honest about it.

I'd like your thoughts...please.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

So Many Books, So Little Time

The blogging community will do this from time to time: They'll play a game of "tag" by answering some questions from a blog prompt and then "tagging" others they'd like to see answer the same question. Happened to me, and this is one of the good ones...largely because I love to read. And, for the sake of interest, I'll avoid using "the Bible" as any of my answers even though it'd be true.

1. One book that changed your life: The Millionaire Next Door. I'm a natural spender (you know you're either a saver or a spender), and I was a spender until reading this got me thinking about the future and responsibilities and debt and saving.

2. One book that you've read more than once: The Screwtape Letters. I read it about every five's interesting how much my spriritual walk changes every 5 years and how differently the book convicts/speaks to me each time I read it.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: Some sort of "how to survival guide"...watching these guys get dropped into the rockies with nothing but a video camera on Discovery Channel, it's amazing how much I don't know about boiling water and staying warm and hunting without guns and...

4. One book that made you laugh: Had to really think about this one...but we got this children's book from the elementary school library in Woodbine, GA when Chelsea was in 1st was written in the 50's and it was about a typical home...the only thing was the child interacted with "cook" on one page, and "maid" on the other page, and "milk man" on another page, and "paper boy" on the other page, and "gardner" on the other page...and Dad went off to work, and Mom stayed home...but we really laughed about what in the world does mom do when she has "cook" and "maid" and "grocery delivery guy", etc.? We laughed hard at that one.

5. One book that made you cry [or feel really sad]: I don't usually stick with it if I get there have been sad parts to cool books like "Band of Brothers" and other historical biographies, but they don't make me cry.

6. One book that you wish had been written: A children's book about a Brent McKinney.

7. One book that you wish had never been written: Wow that's tough...I'm not sure I can think of one...the bad ones all point to a need for a Savior.

8. One book you're currently reading: The Screwtape Letters

9. One book you've been meaning to read: Something by Francis Shaefer...I have a couple on the shelf and am trying to get the focus up to reading them...

10. Now tag five people: The first five people to read this blog who haven't already been tagged...log into the comments section and say I'm it...Somehow I doubt I have that many readers.

Monday, August 14, 2006


I'm reading "The Screwtape Letters" by CS Lewis. It was written in 1942 and is amazingly convicting. One of the chapters addresses gluttony. He makes an interesting point that gluttony has been cleared from the Christian conscience the past 100 years. I'm no math major, but that means that we haven't addressed or talked about gluttony with any seriousness since the mid-1800's as a western society. Interesting. defines it as follows: n 1: habitual eating to excess 2: eating to excess (personified as one of the deadly sins) [syn: overeating, gula].

Fairly straightforward.

I'm not sure that gluttony applies only to food. Can we be gluttonous with our money, our possessions, toys, cars, holidays? As the richest nation in the history of mankind, why don't we talk about this more on an individual level? Politically, I'm not sure the government has a place in my wallet any more than they have a place at my dinner table...but let's dream a little...

We've got Dobson filling the role as the beacon of light for Biblical families.

We've got the AFA standing up proud and strong against all forms of mainstreaming homosexuality.

We've got the ACLU getting after the dangers of prayer, nativity scenes and cell phone monitoring that leads to foiled terrorist plots.

Why does no one organize against gluttony? Why is no one encouraging Americans to draw a line accross their net worth chart and make a commitment to help others with the excesses above that line.

And back to the original definition of gluttony...why are we getting fatter and fatter as a society. When we threw out the Bible as the moral compass for society in 1962 I could understand gluttony going away...but according to CS Lewis, we threw out gluttony as a sin 120 years before that...why?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Discipleship in a Post Modern Culture - Part I

A little over a week ago (actually long before that), I purposed to get to the bottom of this and lay this to rest. You see, the whole "post modern culture" thing, and "engaging culture" seems to have muddied the discipleship water a bit from my perspective, so I started reading.

Here's what I've read so far: excerpts from "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller, "The Screwtape Letters" by CS Lewis (re-read), the Gospel of Mark, "The Reason Why", and several weblogs that would help flush this stuff out.

Here are some entry level thoughts on this so far:
- The culture isn't very different now than it ever has been.
- 1 Cor. 1:18 - 25 says that the Gospel will appear foolish to lost people. Blue Like Jazz says the same thing in 2005, CS Lewis said the same thing in 1942, Paul wrote it under the inspiration of God around AD 50 or so.
- CS Lewis was very pointed in his view of how damaging it can be to discipleship if we constantly dwell on the shortcomings of those next to us in the pew. If a Christian doesn't view others with the same Grace God views us, discipleship hits a wall. Donald Lewis is saying the same thing 60 years later except he's being "real" about not wanting to be perceived like those folks in the pew next to him.
- Lost in much of the more recent writings I've read is "repentance" and a call to virtue. In an effort to make salvation easy and accessible, we seem to be cherry picking the blessings and putting the responsibility in a bottom drawer somewhere (Miller talks about this some, so we're not too far off).

My summary: As a group, 21st century Christians aren't getting it done. An elite group of progressives/academics are narcisitically writing about what makes us different as a culture. A large segment of spoiled, rich American Christians are unwilling to move out of their comfort zone. Another group thinks that if I make friends with enough non-Christians, and insert myself in a pagan culture, maybe one of those pagans will ask me about my faith - and that seems like wrong logic too. And a different group thinks that if I hand a gospel tract to a cashier or toll booth attendant they will graciously read it and wonder what they've always been missing. The Gospel is very clear that we are to love people, both lost and saved, and through loving them earn the right to share a Gospel with them that is real in our lives and affects noticeable change.

All this was proven out recently in my life. I have a co-worker who fits the "post-modern" label. He's unchurched, never been churched, neither parent was religious at all or of any faith. He's a great guy, a better father, and a fantastic husband. Three years ago, when we hired him and he moved to the south, he found it bizarre that everyone he met here that was nice...went to church. I invited them (he and his family) to church, Bible study, various evangelistic events, VBS...they came, cordial to our invitation...all with no fruit. So about a year ago, I backed off and started to pray. My pastor mentioned a short book (long pamphlet) called "The Reason Why" being a good resource for "thinkers" or high "C's" if you prescribe to DISC profiling. So I bought it, read it, and took it to work hoping to get enough courage to share it with my friend. Yesterday, I gave it to him, telling him I think it is the perfect summary of the Christian faith in 30 pages, with enough detail to satify him without having to read all 66 books of the Bible. He thanked me, shared with me that he was talking with two other men yesterday who are just like him (seeking) and he wrote a goal to "research God"...WOW!

I don't think things have changed all that much in 2000 years. We're to love people...all people. We're to get to know them, their needs and challenges. We're to share our needs and challenges and build a trust and raport with them. And we're to share our faith with them. We're also to repent, to be transformed by faith, a new creation, with a new outlook on life, and a new vigor and passion for holiness...all for the purpose of reaching the lost, not to see how far up the wrung of piousness we can get.

Like any problem, when you start to resolve it, you work your way back to root cause and effect. If the problem with our culture is lack of discipleship and evangelism...less people getting saved per capita than at any time in our history...then the root problem may be that we have less true disciples (saved Christians) than ever working on it. But I don't give up hope...Jesus changed the world with 12. If the readers of this blog will get serious about others, and truly love them, and pray for them, and share the Gospel with them...I'm confident God will take care of the rest.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Engaging the Culture (particularly the post modern culture)?


I'm hearing this a lot. Not sure why it bothers me so. Going to take a few weeks off from the blog to research what "engaging the culture" means, and why we need volumes of books and discussion about it.

See you in a few weeks.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


We don't go to the movies alot...maybe 6-10 times a year, and most of those are animated. My wife and I may take in 2 movies a year for us.

The teenagers are asking about Ricky Bobby, and we really like Will Farrell (especially in Kicking and Screaming & Elf). was sold out when we arrived and we didn't want to wait for the late show...SO

We rented Anchorman (who came highly recommended from a good friend in Texas), went to my mom's house and made some popcorn.

Side note: Surprising your widowed mother on your date night and showing up with a movie, popcorn, and candy is highly recommended. She was thrilled. We have never done it, but may do it more often. She offered to go in the other room so we could make out...everyone laughed.

Back to the subject: Anchorman was horrible. We stopped watching early on, took it back to the video store so as not to have it around the house. This was one of the raunchiest movies I had ever seen and I was embarrassed to be sitting with my mother and wife. I'm no prude, but I wouldn't have enjoyed that with the guys at work.

So here's my takeaway...If a movie is PG-13 and doesn't have violence (ala Bourne or Bond or Star Wars), then it is loaded with Sex and is WAY over the line.

And based upon Anchorman, I can assure you I won't see Ricky Bobby.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Grow Up!

Grow Up!

We get told this alot throughout our lives...potty training by mommy, by our peers as teens, our teachers along the way, in college or your first job get the point.

I'm not sure that growing up is so wise though, not completely. I've been at home sick for the last day and a half and my youngest children (3 & 5) came up to me throughout the day and gave me hugs, and encouragement, and told me they prayed for me to get better. It was unconditional, outwardly focused love, in a very non-grown-up way. Maybe if we were more like them, we would be more usable by Christ, or we'd have more opportunities to be used.

So that's what I'm thinking today...don't grow up so fast.