Monday, January 30, 2006

G.K. Chesterton Mondays

"The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man". - 1906

"It has been often said, very truly, that religion is the thing that makes the ordinary man feel extraordinary; it is an equally important truth that religion is the thing that makes the extraordinary man feel ordinary."

"There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions." - 1906

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Everything That's on My Mind

Well, maybe not everything, but some things....

1. Congratulations Seahawks for making it to the Superbowl. If I didn't live up there at some point in my life I wouldn't care, but I did, so I will cheer for them.
2. My doctor friend told me that drinking 24 oz of coffee a day helps prevent Parkinson Disease and Alzheimer's. Since then I have been drinking more coffee and my mind feels sharp. My heart is exploding from all the stress but at least my mind is sharp.
3. I am currently reading the following books; Goblet of Fire, Demons (by Dostoevsky), Between Noon and Three (it sucks), Heretics, & Searching for God Knows What. I always have several going at once, this drives some people crazy but it works for me.
4. I think people give up on things too quickly... their churches, their jobs, relationships, goals, and dreams. People who stick through good times and bad are rare. It is better to be rare.
5. I like Springtime, which for us begins in about two weeks.
6. I'm going to Uganda in May which will be my third visit to Africa. I would have never imagined that I would have such great opportunities in one lifetime.
7. Quiero hablar espanol mas.
8. People take life too seriously. Most of the things we stress about really don't matter much in the end.
9. My friend is moving to Houston because houses are cheaper there. The only other good thing I know about Houston is that my cousin and his wife live there. He better get a nice house.
10. Zelim govoriti srbski-hrvatska.
11. I am excited for the Boston Red Sox this year, but as usual I don't like that the Yankees look real good.
12. I would like to ski more, play more basketball, surf more (if the water was warmer), and spend less time working.
13. To make #12 happen, I would like to win the lottery. (I have actually never bought a ticket, which I am told is really hurting my odds of winning.)

I know there was more I wanted to say but I got distracted.

Monday, January 23, 2006

G.K. Chesterton Mondays

Religious Theme Today

"The Christian Ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." - What's Wrong With the World

"The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the 10 Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden." - London News 1920

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Too Happy?

Each morning I drop my son off at school and head off to work. When I leave the school I pass a crossing guard who is probably somewhere around 75 years old. But this elderly woman is not a typical crossing guard. As each car drives by, she waves and smiles. If the person in the car acknowledges her, they not only get a smile and a wave, but they get a "I'm pointing at you because we just connected". (In other words, she points at you as if to say, "thanks for returning the kind gesture back to me"). When I drive by, I make a point to give her the "wave, smile, AND the point" before she does. Now, when she sees my car in the distance I can see her preparing for a bigger "wave, smile, and point" than I can give. This morning while driving by I actually got a two-handed point and wave. I know what you are thinking, "this is exactly how all scandalous relationships with 75 year old women begin". But the truth is, I think it is nice to see someone who seems happy with life.
Happy-Crossing-Guard-Lady reminds me of another person I used to see early on in my marriage when I had to drive my wife to work. Each morning I would drive by this particular home for the elderly and an older woman would be sitting in her wheelchair waving at every car that passed by. Just like Happy-Crossing-Guard-Lady, this woman's whole body would tremble with joy if she received a smile and wave. I used to think that it was so nice to have someone trying to remind people to take some time to be nice just for a minute. I also used to wonder why so many people would drive right by without waving. For a while I actually believed that I was the only one who did wave and I realized that if I didn't drive by her each day and wave, she might not have another person respond with kindness. To be honest, this pressure of making this lady's day was a lot for me to bare.
Then one day I drove by and she was not there. The next day I drove by and she wasn't there but her wheelchair was. And near her wheel chair lay a bouquet of flowers. By the end of the week, this wheel chair was buried in flowers, balloons, and candles lit in this woman's honor. I took a day or two to get over the shock of losing this joyful friend, then I got over the shock of finding out I was not the only one who brought joy to her life, and then I had to face the reality that in this world, people like Happy-Crossing-guard-Lady and my friend in the wheelchair are rare.
Allow me to propose to you that we need more overly happy people like these. We need people like the owner of my local coffee shop who is so joyful that I am sure she drinks too much of her own product. We need people who are not fake, but who really want to be a little nicer to those around them. So next time you see someone wave at you, randomly say "hi" to you, or just give a smile and some eye contact, give it back. Catch yourself each time you get annoyed because someone seems "too happy" and just accept the fact that some people have their priorities in order. Oh yeah, and if you see Happy-Crossing-Guard-Lady, say "hi" but keep your distance, she is mine.

Monday, January 09, 2006

G.K. Chesterton Mondays

In an effort to simplify a little. I have decided to dedicate my Monday posts to some of my favorite quotes from G.K. Chesterton. My wife thinks I have an unhealthy love for his writings and I admit that I am guilty. So I will share some quotes and hope to win you over.

"An incovenience is an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an incovenience rightly considered."
- On Running after Ones Hat

Bonus Quote
"Misers get up early in the morning; and burglars, I am informed, get up the night before." -Tremendous Trifles

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Is Jesus Illegal?

I often say that I wish Christianity was illegal in America because then His followers would have to become true followers. If claiming to be a follower risked imprisonment or even death, then maybe we all would get more serious about our faith or lack of faith. Just look at places like China where the number of people who are becoming Christians is greater than anywhere on earth. All of this in a place where it is illegal to speak the name of Christ.

Now, in Italy a court is accepting a case that will decide if it is illegal for churches to proclaim that Jesus existed. Although it will probably be a non-issue and there is no way that Italy would hold up a decision against Christ, it is interesting that someone is actually suing a priest for teaching about Jesus. He claims that this teaching is illegal because it is purposefully misleading others. Maybe this guy thought the "Da Vinci Code" was a non-fiction book but it is interesting that his case has made it as far as it has.
Is this just an isolated incident or could this be a step in the process of creating a culture where people are more opposed to the teachings of Jesus? If Christ's followers truly followed His example of love and service, would anyone want to oppose the teachings?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

8 A.M. Budweiser

Today I want to share something that gives me great joy.
This great joy occurs because as living beings we tend to drift towards the routine. Even if we try to keep our lives spontaneous and fresh, we all fall into certain routines. I drive my son to school everyday before 8 A.M. On our drive, we listen to ESPN talk radio, we pass a donut store that always has the same dog tied up to the tree outside. We hit at least 10 red lights, we see the same "crossing guard" show up late to her position, and we park in front of the same house. This time with my son really does bring me joy, but at least once per week something happens that really gets my day started right.
Right across the street where I park, I often see an old man standing on his driveway drinking a Budweiser. I don't know why, but this always makes me laugh. Maybe because it is 8 A.M. and he is already drinking (or still drinking), maybe it is because he is a really old man, or maybe it makes me laugh because it is never a regular 12 oz. can but it is one of those 16 ouncers.
I know it is not funny that some people struggle with alcohol, and the effects of excessive drinking are not ones that are cause for humor. Please don't misunderstand that I even think this behavior is worthy of praise....
But, at least once a week I see "Old Man Budweiser" on his driveway and it makes me smile. I guess this is why I am what is wrong with the world.