Archive | February, 2013

Where do we Fix our Eyes

28 Feb

As I watch Sports Center and hear about the NFL combine, it is being stated that people, particularly younger people are less inclined to go by the “eye-test” and more inclined to look at the numbers. This is probably even more pronounced in baseball where they even have their own name (Sabermetrician). At first I found it odd that so many people are so fascinated with looking at numbers, but I think I understand it.

First, I am a statistician at heart, and I believe beyond any convincing otherwise that stats will tell the truer story than the eye test. I do think that which has been proven and played out over time is much more likely to indicate what will happen in the future than what I see and think that means.

On the other hand, I can’t fathom anyone becoming a fan of any sport simply by reading about it and gathering stats. What makes us fall in love with sports is the thrill of watching the spectacular. The amazing things that happen in a game. The spectacular, unable to duplicate things that stats could never predict are the reason we watch. We watch because we might see something amazing. I think that’s what it’s all about.

So, if this phenomena of watching the games is the thing that brings us into the game, how can we be so seduced into watching the numbers without really giving the eye test any real credence? I have started to really question this. If the very reason we watch is precisely contrary to what we end up doing to evaluate the game, why even bother with the game to begin with?

In fact, I was so fascinated wit it that I decided to study some stats while “watching” a movie with my wife. I realized that in public places, like the airport, people rarely talk to those around them, in favor of their smart phone. I realized it wasn’t a sports thing. It is that we culturally do not pay attention or give eye contact to those around us. We are never content to merely do one thing, but constant distraction has become the thing we crave.

I thought about making a point about this being the core of why radio shows are becoming a big part of television programming. It suits our sensibilities to not have to watch and yet, still get the gist of what’s happening. At some point, I fear we should fix our eyes on what we’re actually doing and return to a world where eye contact and enjoying what you watch are actually important. And I’d do it with this Sports Center, if I could just finish this blog.


The God of the Disaster

23 Feb

Let us review the life of Joseph.  My father had some alliterative device to remember the stages of Joseph’s life, but unfortunately, I don’t remember all the words.  I do remember the basics of the story.  Here is a guy whose own brothers put him into a pit to pretend he was dead.  He was later thrown into prison, despite being blameless.  Yet that was the precise plan God used to grown him and promote him to the point where he made a difference as an authority.

Personally, it is a favorite story of mine, as I am able to see the work of God through the running commentary of scripture to accomplish something that is just humanly impossible.  We hear a story like that and we don’t believe someone can make it through all he went through to accomplish all he accomplished.  I guess we like to put finite limitations on things.  Occasionally, however, we get to see the tremendous happen in our lives.

In my own life, there are 2-3 things that I felt were disastrous at the time that I have since been able to apply Genesis 50:20 to.  Needless to say, I would not be where I am, as a church-goer, as a Christian, as a husband, as a father, as a ministry-leader, or one of many other categories, had I not experienced things that, at the time, seemed disastrous.  This is why I am glad that I worship the God of the disaster.

We do not serve a reactionary God who is constantly changing tact to overcome the schemes of His enemies.  We serve a God who uses the painful, the unforeseen, and the disastrous to bring about His plans.  While I do not always know how it will end, I do know the God who controls what happens at the end, and I can place my faith there.  I know some people are experiencing difficult things—people who are struggling to see how God can work in their specific situation.

This week, I had the opportunity to visit the site of such an event that happened last year.  I still am not sure how it will all work together, and sometimes I fret.  What I do know, however, is that I worship the God of the disaster.  I worship the One who controls the disasters.  The one who can take the actions of others that are intended to be exactly contrary to His purposes and use them for their ultimate benefit.  This is why I am excited to worship the God of the disaster!

The Answer

14 Feb

This is not a blog about Allen Iverson.

We live in a society where people are crying out for an answer. If you try to deny it, just look to politics. Those who vote for Obama often refer to him as a savior, Those who are against him often use armagedden-like language to describe our current situation. In fact, some even argue that the slate of candidates aren’t good enough to overcome the travesty in which we are stuck.

If you don’t believe me, look at our scientists. There is not a contentment to study only those things which are observable, but rather they attempt to determine the genesis of the existence of man, despite it not coming from the scientific method. Those who want to diminish the existence of a god, tout a big bang as occurring, for which they have no real proof. Those who are seeking to prove God, point out the order that exists demands one who created that order.

If you doubt this truth, look at our correctional systems. From early parenting to high security prisons, everyone is looking to determine the best way to arrive at acceptable behavior. Those who promote a love-centric dynamic will downplay punitive discipline, while there are many who abandon love for hard core punishment. We’ve seen success in almost every landing point in-between.

If you question my assertion, look at our law-makers. Everyone wants to reduce crime, but there are very different ways to look at it. You have some people who argue for the decriminalization of things. You have some who argue that self-policing is the best way to assure proper behavior, while others believe a more authoritative set of rules is best.

I am sure that everyone could come up with their own list of things whereby we have people searching for an answer. You may not even have to come with preconceived sets of people. The fact is that every day people have a variety of things they don’t know.

I think the real question is why we care? Why do we search for answers? Could it be as Proverbs 25 states, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter”? I think that definitely plays a role in it, but more than anything, I think it is symbolic of our finity. We are unable to understand.

As I Corinthians 13 says, We know in part only. We see through a glass, darkly. It is only when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. I am forced to come to a conclusion close to that of C.S. Lewis, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

I think it is incumbent upon us to help those searching for an answer to find the only answer that will make sense for them. Therefore, it is my goal to know all I can about that answer.

A Moment and a Choice

7 Feb

I believe not all days are memorable in the same way. I also know that it is not always the days you think will be life-altering beforehand. Certainly there are days where beforehand we know it will be big. Taking mental snapshots on days like that can be difficult, especially taking the correct ones, but it can be done. The difficulties come when the day hinges on something where it becomes indelibly printed on our brain when we never saw it coming.

I’ve heard it said that we should live every day as if it were our last, because one day we’ll actually be right. I cannot debate the truth of the second half of that statement, but I do think if we fail to live each day as if it is our last, we’ll be fine most of our lives. And the one day we are wrong, we don’t really have much time to regret it. In fact, I believe we should spend more time living as if we have many days before us, rather than none.

If we live as if we have our whole lives ahead of us and will have to live with the repercussions of those decisions for the remainder of our lives, we will lead good lives. We will make decisions that we believe will look better when revealed in the light of the next day. I think we should live our lives deliberately to the point where we make wise decisions.

I do think in our normal course of living, we should live our lives as if it might be a memorable day. We have days that pop out of nowhere all the time. We always come across moments where things happen that will be big events in our lives. Making memories of those days and moments is possible and necessary. Nevertheless, sometimes we look back and realize there are specific moments which we don’t have enough of a memory.

This is where I think intentionality may need to go to the next level. Bob Stoops put together a picture of his team a couple years back after a disappointing loss. When asked about why he would gather a big group like that after such a difficult time. He credited Steve Spurrier for teaching him the importance of capturing memories. My sister has been wonderful at taking snapsots of the mundane.

As wonderful or as disappointing as individual moments may be, putting together a memory enhancer of groups and events, even after potentially negative feelings can serve to expediate the healing also. We can make a choice to make each moment memorable. I’ve started to become more itentional about cataloging my moments. It is an amazing practice that I recommend duplicating!