Manic Monday: Appreciate the little things…

Monday is a huge day in my household. It’s garbage truck day… Seriously.

I smile at people’s reaction to what has become bigger than football at our house. (Of note pretty much anything that makes your kids smile makes you smile- other than fine china being dropped and shattering in slow motion.) The oft-repeated phrase “you need a life.” is stated. Ok, here’s the lesson…

Kids appreciate the little things in life. What we take for granted, they see as wonders of science. The garbage truck has what every boy loves: horsepower, noise, banging sounds and it’s big. (The garbage truck is also a significant support actor in the movie Toy Story 3,)

Imagine a world without garbage trucks, plumbing, electricity or Toy Story 3, and you’ll gain an appreciation for what we consider a little thing in life.

(especially on Monday)

Manic Monday: Love, exciting and true…

Translation 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous, not bragging, not being conceited, not behaving improperly, not seeking its own, not being provoked, not calculating evil, not rejoicing in unrighteousness, but rejoicing the truth: [love] puts up with all, believes all, hopes all, bears all.

Thoughts on the passage
Paul describes the actions that love involves. Interestingly, these actions are of an emotional and attitude verbiage. Of the fifteen verbal descriptions of love, seven are stated positively, eight are described in a negative format: this is what love does, this is what love does not. More than giving a definition, Paul gives a picture of what the “fruit” of love looks like.

Each of the verbs Paul uses to describe love carries the idea of something that is ongoing, and not complete. Viewing love as a process denotes work and consistent focus. The words are fairly self-explanatory. The interesting thing is they are profoundly lacking in the Corinthian church. If “the list” is absent from one’s church or life, then love is also lacking. The verbal actions of love boil down the very definition of love: to prize, to hold as precious. If love were truly ingrained in the church, then 1 Corinthians would have been a very different book. If I prize people, if I hold God’s people as precious, it will actively demonstrated in how I interact with them. Paul defines love via its actions.

The bottom line:
Show some love

(especially on Monday)

Manic Monday: A return to story

Story is everything. It captures. It captivates. Throughout history, story carries knowledge and teaching above any other medium. Story and narrative carries what a bullet point, an outline or a technical guide cannot.

In a view documentaries about Pixar one key point stands out: Story is everything. Pixar’s successes clearly shows this.

For Christians we struggle with the concept of story. This is interesting since the primary genre in the Bible is narrative. Even the New Testament letters are a pieces of a greater story. I think the issue is being overtly Christian.

There seems to be an unwritten law that to be a Christian story-teller one needs to have a conversion or a distinct struggle and return to God. This comes from two things: 1) We have a distinct message we must carry out. 2) We are very passionate about that message from our own encounter with it.

Mission, or the carrying of our most important message, has both an overt and a covert aspect. Overtly it is the clear presentation and proclamation of what we believe. Covertly it is being in the world and not of it. We fear that being “covert” violates proclaiming our most essential message or being off mission. It is not. The idea seems more spy like- its most frequent usage- instead of the other aspect of covert- not openly displaying something.

We need more covert stories. Story for story’s sake, or art for the sake of art. Here is the concept of being in the world but not of it:

The best person to reach teenagers is a teenager.
The best person to reach a musician is a musician.
The best person to reach lawyers is a lawyer.
The best person to reach a writer?

Being covert- doing life with people- allows builds credibility to share what is most important. It’s allowing people to see our story, our faults and successes, and in God’s timing the core of our story.

The best part of story is if forces us to look at, examine and engage life. More than the highs and lows of life, story deals with dreams, the little things and all that makes life a gift from God. For inspiration for story beyond overt struggle with or conversion  to God one only needs to look at Proverbs. Proverbs deals with the “other” issues of life.

There is a place for overt communication of the Gospel. Even with that urgency there is a place to write about the other aspects of this gift of life God gave us.

What’s your story? We need more story tellers.

(especially on Monday)

Manic Monday: Death by adjectival hyperbole

Whispers are heard loudest in a world of shouting. In reflecting on how we speak, I noticed, for whatever reason, our over use of adjectives and hyperbole. In a world of increasing virtual experience, reality needs to get back in vogue. A good number of us, me included are guilty of death by adjectival hyperbole.

Let it be what it is
The best descriptions are honest and clear ones. Describe something for what it is. Conferences often use death by adjectival hyperbole. The nature of selling things is to describe it well. In such, we do things by ascribing radiant, epic, great and awesome adjectives on what may be just normal. There are times when grand adjectives are proper, and hyperbole prudent. All the time or nearly every time is not such a time. Describe things as they are.

Let history be the judge
Death by adjectival hyperbole is a vain attempt to preëmpt history. At a men’s conference I attended the MC stated: “We’re about to continue with some great and wonderful music…” It wasn’t. A few years later I attended a back woods church hymn sing. The musical quality of the group was lacking. However, it was the most profound worship experience I had. People who had little to nothing, no musical talent gathered to worship their most precious relationship, God. History judges by the substance of things.

Lets be who we are
Let your greatest adjective be you. In history, seldom is greatness manufactured or sought. Gettysburg was epic and a mistake. The Boeing 747 was a result of past failure and basically a hail Mary for the company. The Battle of Bastogne was epic, where men did their job despite being overwhelmed and under supplied. Flight 93 was epic. Grandiose adjectives are best used for grandiose events. The substance and character of a person is found, forged and displayed in adversity. An unknown person or event often influences people to do what is epic. Focus on developing who you are and being a blessing to those around you. This is how great epics form.

Musical interlude, an analogy
We live in a world of ‘shouting.’ Alan Bloom in “Closing of the American Mind,” discusses his issues with rock music. Historically, great victories and religious celebrations were the place for the style and energy of rock music. In essence he thought younger generations were celebrating when there is no victory or substance to celebrate. He was not arguing against rock music, rather demonstrating what he viewed as its proper place. Like Ecclesiastes states, there is a time and place for everything.

The bottom line:
Whispers are heard loudest in a world of shouting. When everyone shouts the virtue of shouting is ignored. Our culture is increasingly asking and trying to discern what is real. The buzz words of genuine or authenticity show this point as well. Shouting is a metaphor for death by adjectival hyperbole. We can be colorful and enticing while still being accurate.

Perhaps now more than any other there is a need for more precise speech. Given our capacity for creativity, we can be precise without being droll, boring or bland. In working on developing who we are perhaps God, in his timing, will allow us to form something Epic.

(especially on Monday)

Manic Monday: Getting out of bed…

And here I lay needing to get out bed,
It’s Monday morning which I dread,
So, I thought of a poem instead.

I say my prayers and my Bible read,
Focusing on Him who is not dead,
Pondering the words He said,

Doing such my soul is fed,
Being saved by what was shed,
So I’m glad able to get out bed.

(especial on Monday)

Manic Monday: 2010 Look back

Manic Monday is just about life, its quirks and its simple joys.

Most viewed:
Hilarious! What it means was just humor based from a couple of friends.

Most involved topic:
Coffee is one of my greatest joys. Justsayin’.

My favorite Manic Monday:
Anytime my kids inspire me I feel thrilled. That is the joy of kids. They keep you engaged in life like no one else can.

Manic Monday: Just Laugh

We’ve all had “the moment.” Some call it a blond moment, others incorrectly attribute it to being Polish. Some say its a result of supperting publik edukshun, and some, like me, attribute it to a lack of coffee. When these kinds of moments happen, and they seem more frequent during the holidays, here is my advice:

LAUGH: It could be you making the mistake.
LAUGH: You’ve done something like this before!
LAUGH: Because it’s the best medicine for both them and you!
LAUGH: As God may be telling you to lighten up, or that you just need a laugh.
LAUGH: Because you can’t make stuff like such events up.

Recently I had an interesting call from a pizza place. In sharing the hilarious event with friends, the reactions were varied. In pondering “the moment,” it stuck out to me that such events are a little joy in life that keeps us from taking things too seriously. In other words, the best is to enjoy it for what it is, as we’ve all been there

The Pizza Call…
Pizza: hey, we called about your cheese pizza. You wanted that with just sauce no cheese, right?
Me: Uh, no. I ordered 1 pepperoni and 1 cheese pizza.
P: So, you want the cheese?
M: A cheese pizza would seem to need that, yes. I’d like sauce and crust with that too.
P: Ok, 1 cheese pizza with cheese, sauce, and crust. We’re putting that in the oven and you’ll get it soon.
M: Thank you.


(especially on Monday)

Manic Monday: Change Education

I greatly appreciate the thoughts on education by Sir Ken Robinson. Many of the ideas he shares I’ve been screaming all throughout school, and really started by a 9th grade teacher named Lenard Sharp. Mr. Sharp who taught Earth Science. Mr. Sharp also motivated me to excel and think in new ways. I always appreciated being ‘outside the box’ at times, but Mr. Sharp let me go ahead to do it.

For me, thinking outside the box wasn’t about being different. Being outside the box is about problem solving: taking ideas we know to be true or think may be true and applying them in new ways to new situations. This kind of thinking isn’t widely promoted. In fact, it often shows up as practical jokes, spitefulness or other forms of deviance in kids. The ones we label as trouble makers may be the ones who need what Sir Ken Robinson is talking about. I can’t help but also notice that a majority of these problem makers and boys.

If you’re interested in discipling younger generations, take seriously these thoughts seriously.

(especially on Monday)

Manic Monday: Vrooom

Oil change day. I get to zoom in my Jetta, cleaned and ready for thousands of more miles.

I often wonder why do we love our machines or tools so much? It revolves around the image of God. God created, and machines or tools extend our ability to create.

Horsepower, power tools or gigahertz computing power it reflects our desire to create and our desire to subdue the Earth. They’re fun and a way to enjoy the gift of life. They allows to make things new.

Nothing like listening to the vroom of the engine while shifting gears. Here’s to the things that allow us to work and engage life.

(especially on Monday)


Manic Monday: Snow.

You love it.
You hate it.
You cherish it.
You despise it.

Snow is a polarizing issue, just like North vs South. Whatever your pole preference, you either like or loath the stuff. I often wonder what about snow makes people go, well, batty. The ability to drive disappears. Kids become more hyper than eating 3.45 tons of sugar and red food dye. It makes Tinker Bell’s fairy dust look pre-school… Even more so when a day of from school is involved.

What is your snow attitude?

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas?” Classic holiday song.

“The one thing I now realize is that Christmas is an excuse to tolerate snow…snow… I don’t even like the sound of it…” Trans-Siberian Orchestra “What is Christmas?”

I can’t help but notice that snow was absent at the garden of Eden… Interesting how the Bible uses snow as a metaphor for covering sin and purity.

Snow…I’ll pass.

(especially on Monday)