Monday, September 23, 2013

Not My Hill To Die On!

I can't get this topic out of my mind. The problem is that I can absolutely give NO specific examples  to clarify what I'm talking about. Within the past few weeks, I've encountered some examples of people who are hell-bent on Majoring on the Minors and it's making me insane!

There is a reason I cannot cite the examples. Most of my readers would think they were COMPLETELY fictitious. There are a few of you who would believe them.  You are members of the same faith tradition as me. The rest of you would conclude that I've jumped into the realm of fiction just to have something to harp on.

I SO wish this was the case! There are no words. Stupid, asinine, ridiculous....No! These words do not even begin to describe some people that have STRONG convictions about the most INSIGNIFICANT issues that one could ever imagine!

We often call it "majoring on the minors." And, oh the stories I could tell! I shan't tell them because they completely brain damage me. And I would rather stop that with me instead of dumping that onto you.

I stole a phrase from a preacher a few years ago. I am shocked at my honest admission of that. Even a casual reader of Cheaper Than Therapy can see what low regard I hold for these guys. Anyway, in explaining a fairly narrow-minded OPINION, this older gentleman acknowledged, "That's the way I would prefer it to be. But that's not my hill to die on."

I found this remark to show both self-awareness and wisdom. And I now take a certain amount of pride when my daughter, Jentry, says "Dad, you always say that!"

As I get older, I strive more and more to major on the majors. It actually gets easier with time. It really does. It gets easier just from observing what's going on around me. The battles some of you choose. The "lines in the sand" some you draw. I just wish you could get a view from the outside and see how MORONIC you really look.

The Carpenter made very clear the NUMBER 1 and NUMBER 2 Commands. Love God. Love your neighbor.

So, I will let you decide what number 3 is. No matter what you come up its highest can only be number 3.

And for those of you who choose to major on the minors and "die on that hill," trust me, it's not that your minor is 1,894th on the list. It's NOT on the list at all.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The World Could Use A Few More Glossophobics!

Google has been running an Ad recently about a little kid that utilizes his Google 7" Tablet to research and overcome his glossophobia. I don't think any real dictionary defines the word "glossophobia." I had certainly never heard of it. And I fancy myself a true sesquipedalian! But apparently "glossophobia" is simply the fear of public speaking.

Some studies suggest that as much as 75% of the inhabitants of the Planet struggle with glossophobia.  I am  extremely saddened by the fact that this estimate is not closer to 95%!

In my observation, about 5% of the population does not struggle with glossophobia and they shouldn't. They actually have some talent. Then, there's another 20%,  who do not have the fear of public speaking. But they absolutely have NO talent that would justify their desire to up in front of people.

I suppose this apparent lack of glossophobia further advances Al the Barber's and Shoe's notion that the biggest problem facing mankind is a total lack of self-awareness. (Editorial Note: Shoe has started his own blog that is devoted entirely to self-awareness. I'm just not ready to endorse it yet, for fear of being struck by lightning---it's decidedly not a G-Rated Blog).

This lack of glossophobia is no where more apparent than on the religious radio broadcasts and behind some of the pulpits of big time churches here in the Metroplex. I shan't name their names. But I am embarrassed for them! These men must stand before ignorant sheeple every Sunday and for whatever reason actually believe these folks when they say "Good Job" as they rush out the door and head to the cafeteria. As a matter of fact, the delusion goes much broader as they actually raise big time money to broadcast their Speech 101 failures on the radio! What a tremendous example of poor stewardship of God's money!

There is no way to estimate how many sermons I've heard in my life. I do know this as a certainty. I can remember absolutely NONE of them!

But, I will never forget JR, a sweet little old lady who never left her house without a freshly baked pie to deliver to a shut-in. I have vivid memories of coming home late (our house sat adjacent to the church building) and DS being up under the church bus doing repairs at 1:00 in the morning. I cannot number how many hand-written notes of encouragement I received from AD during my high school days.

I know without a shadow of doubt that these three people were intensely glossophobic! But man oh man, could they ever preach!

Monday, September 9, 2013

1 out of 168!

A couple of months ago, Oil Can and I met a guy at the Catfish House in an attempt to give the dude a little encouragement and a little hope. His story is not unique and the details are not noteworthy. Truth be told, both Oil Can and I have had times in our lives when we were on the receiving end of the same kind of meeting. The time was well-spent and I think we accomplished some good things.

As the guy drove off, Oil Can and I were left in the parking lot chatting, and I'm not sure I was prepared for the direction the conversation drifted. I expressed some guilt and remorse to Oil Can because I had not been "going" to church on a regular basis. Then, in kind of a condescending and arrogant tone, Oil Can challenged me. He said, "In case you didn't know it, Dumba**, we just "did" church over a piece of fish. Whenever we stop "going" to church and start "doing" church, we'll all be a lot better off."

Fast forward to nearly a month ago when we moved Jentry into the dorm at Lipscomb University. I must confess to being a little confused by the dorms being open for new students at 9:00 AM on a SUNDAY morning! Didn't the folks at this Christian University know that Sunday morning is THE time when we are supposed to GO to church? My confusion turned into complete awe when we pulled into that parking lot and opened the hatch on the back of the car. About EIGHT people from a local congregation descended on us and simply said, "What room number?" I stood there, empty-handed, chin on my chest, while everything we packed was taken from our car and delivered, in one trip, into that dorm and up three flights of stairs!

We didn't even have a room key! There were forms to be filled out and deposits to be paid! Fifteen minutes later, we walked, empty-handed, up three flights of stairs and saw all of Jentry's belongings sitting outside her door. They had placed a flyer on top of her stuff that said, "Free Barbecue--Y'all Come!"

Those folks were from one congregation of several that had descended on that little campus that morning to try and be of service. They had gotten out of their beds on that Sunday morning with the intention of DOING church and not GOING to church. They were smiling, sweating, and laughing. They understood the stress of what was going on with freshman college kids and their anxiety-filled parents. Something in their demeanor just shouted that everything was going to be okay.

Now fast forward to just a couple of weeks ago. I was chatting with a preacher for whom I was doing some work in his house. He casually mentioned that one of the leaders in his church had requested that he do a series on worship.

I'm not sure if he wanted my opinion or not. Ninety-nine percent sure he did NOT. Ha! He got it anyway. I simply said, "I'm out! There are 168 hours in a week. I really need to concentrate on and hear about living life during those other 167 hours! To gather for that ONE hour and listen to a sermon about that ONE hour is nothing short of ridiculous!"

But, 98% of church folks feel the need to "GO" to church. Evidently, they are much more mature than I am and have life, on this planet, figured out. They dress in their "Sunday best", GO to church, then drive like lunatics to the cafeteria. They are more than satisfied to go 1 out of 168!

Then, there are a few, who will spend an entire day DOING church. One of the men who unloaded our car at 9:30 AM was still dragging stuff up those stairs at 6:00 PM. He was drenched in sweat! He looked exhausted! He was still smiling! His whole demeanor shouted to every anxious Dad in that dorm that "Dad, she's gonna be okay!"

I have no idea what he did the rest of the week. But from what I saw, he was at least NINE times better off than most. He was at least, 9 out of 168!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Not Even Willing To Be Willing

It was certain to happen at some point. Most money had me abandoning way before thirty-one posts.  My wager was around the area of fifteen. Ha! Ha! Kevin started a blog! Let's see how long this thing lasts? Wager anyone?

Initially, I got a little ego boost out of this little experiment. Then, I thought the whole world was reading! That misconception was short-lived. I got humbled by the realization that all those international "page-views" were just "Bots" that creep around the information highway pinging any and everything out there. That little dose of reality kind of set me back, but it does does give me pause for a GIGGLE when I read other Blogs and these nit-wits are giving shout-outs to their "peeps in Malaysia!" Finally, the thing kind of became a deadline! I'm not a journalist, for crying out loud! Are some of you really texting me on Sunday night wanting to know if Monday's post is going to happen?

Then, it happened. I hit the proverbial "WALL." It wasn't for a lack of topics. There is still so much I need to TEACH you people. And trust me, there is so little time! But somewhere in the midst of this insanity, the willingness just disappeared.  How many reasons (excuses) can I suggest?

1)  It's really HOT outside! As I get older, this Texas heats beats me down!

2)  Once it became a deadline, the FUN kind of went away!

3)  Do you realize how many really, really BAD Blogs are out there? In reading some of these absolute "meadow muffins", doubt starts to creep in. Am I in denial? Is my stuff just as bad?

4)  The PB&J submission had been in the works for weeks. I truly feel this was my "high-water" mark and I will never be able to match that.

5) One of my readers (and a person of "note" in my posts) started his own blog. It is rude, crude, irreverent, and SHAMELESS.....I am so jealous! It's all the things I wanted my blog to be and I've lost my way trying to "people-please!"

The bottom line is this-----the willingness has left the building!

Willingness is an interesting proposition. "Willing to pay the price." "Willing to pay your dues." "Willing to go to any length." "Where there's a way, there's a will." VOMIT!

On most days, the very best I can do is to be willing to do the "next right thing in front of me." On some days, that simple task seems insurmountable. It's days like those that my prayer life consists of authentic requests to "be made willing to be willing."

John "The Penguin" Bingham is one of the most recognizable authors among runners. I am reminded of the Penguin credo:

"For all of us, the miracle isn't that we finish, the miracle is that we have the courage to start."