Sunday, October 21, 2007

Thoughts from Argentina

I spent most of last week in Mendoza, Argentina at a South American Sales Meeting. I felt obliged to attend, as part of my responsibility includes the development of Venezuela. Here are some thoughts from the trip...
- The Andes mountain range is spectacular. I don't usuall rank such things, but I'm having a hard time coming up with something more impressive...tall (snow capped), long (as far as I could see from the plane in either direction), very jagged...just awe inspiring.
- Having been to Venezuela (Maracaibo and Caracas), Guatemala, and Argentina all in the last 6 weeks...most of Latin America is very's a little on the dirty side...everything looks old and out dated...stray dogs everywhere...lots of poverty. I'm guessing that they say the same thing about the states (Outback Steakhouse and Carabas everywhere, etc.).
- I'm not a wine guy (I rarely drink...just recently removed from never drink...but am rethinking abstenance from things in light of Paul and becoming all things...), but when you are in wine country (which Mendoza is) with wine people (some of those I traveled with), they make a big deal out of such things...I couldn't tell good wine from Boons Farm...but the glass of red with my steak went nicely.
- Flying through the night...departed Santiago, Chile at 9:30 pm and arrived in Miami at 5:20 am...well, it's a double edged sword. The sleeping thing makes the flight go by quicker and they feed you like they are going to slaughter you at the end...but, it wipes you out when you get home.
- First Class always seems sold out...and costs $4000 extra...I'm not sure when I'll get to the point where I part with four grand that easily...I was able to sleep in coach, and I'm sure I would have been more comfortable...but it's still a chair right?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Establishing Family Standards

Establishing standards for our family, and keeping them consistently is getting more and more difficult.

Listen - now more than ever, I get the grace message. If I've said it once in the last 12 months, I've said it 20 times..."Where the Bible speaks boldly and with authority, speak boldly and with authority...otherwise, shut up". (I give Brent credit for bringing this to my attention, but it is a GREAT principle).

I also understand the NEED to engage our culture...where the culture is.

I also have a principle I've used since my Navy days..."Rules are for fools." In other words...THINK!

Now about my children...and said standards...

We're entering uncharted waters (for us)...and all of our peers (even those we really respect) are all over the board when it comes to standards for their family...

So, my wife and I pray about it, talk about it, discuss the desired results, talk to our kids...and move forward...

Then comes certain events...

Homecoming. Made a little easier for us because the Homecoming "Dance" at our Christian School, is really a dinner - no DJ, no dance floor, no means to set up an environment that would attract dancing. But the "after parties" these are a totally different this case hosted by the rowdier in the grade,

so we say..."No Go!" After some push back from them, they oblige, and when you fast forward a week, they are glad that we didn't let them go, because several attendees are grounded for their transgressions.

Dating. No need to expound here...just suffices to say that we are further to the right than most.

And, "Where are you going and who with?" We're not very aligned with culture here either. They can come up with 3 or 4 good kids from our youth group whose parents aren't near as, well, restrictive.

Some of my friends warn me about...

"they'll go crazy in college...I've seen it man."


"we went to parties, we turned out fine...aren't we hypocrites if we don't let them go"

Again, I'm on a different axis....

And now with a major push in the Church to Engage the can only imagine the smart argument from a teen who is actually listening in church. "Dad, shouldn't we be engaging our culture too?"

So here we are.

Holding strong to my standards...imagining Paul with Timothy (at 14 or 15) and knowing deep down inside that Paul wasn't setting Timothy up for failure,

so Timothy could learn, or
Paul wouldn't feel like a hypocrite, or
Timothy wouldn't rebel when he turned 19.

I just wish there were more New Testament examples of teenagers in the Bible.

So we stay the course while plowing through these years...trying to develop children who have a heart for Jesus.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Had a chance to spend the week in Gettysburg at a Leadership Conference. Here are some thoughts:
- Between the ages of 30 - 40, when you can really understand the magnitude of what took place, but you're still young enough for it to have an impact, every American ought to take a tour of that may be the best kept secret in's only an hour and a half from DC...make sure you pay a tour guide though, or you'll miss too much.
- My faith in Jesus is stronger having seen it all..there are too many coincidences, mistakes, miscues, miracles that all worked together for the Union Army for God not to have had a hand in it...Chamberlain getting the 20th Maine to join forces, then holding off little round top...the Alabama snipper that had Chamberlain in his sights...twice...but didn't shoot (for some reason)...Heath not taking the high ground on day one...Picket's charge...
- The folks a the Steven Wiley group did a fantastic job teaching wonderful principles through a history lesson.