Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Monday, August 3, 2015

On Cecil the Lion and the Resulting Outrage

Recently, my social media feeds have exploded with people expressing outrage and deep sadness over the killing of Cecil the lion. You might be led to think that they were best friends with this beast, although none of these people have ever met or scene Cecil in person, as he lived on the other side of the planet.  But they have seen pictures and videos of him and I can tell you that they appear to have been very deeply impacted by the story of his demise. Petitions! Blog posts! Status Updates! Exclamation Points!!!!

Meanwhile, in our own little corner of the planet, we are completely passive about the premeditated slaughter of millions of innocent humans. We have pictures and videos of these little babies in the womb, yet do not raise our voices to protect them. To speak critically of the immoral practice of abortion is not the current trending topic on the web, and has not been for quite some time. I wonder where the outrage is over the 1 human life that is purposefully ended in utero every 30 seconds in America. Every day that passes on the calendar is another 2,899 people that will never breathe their first breath in the Land of the Free. Over 1 million babies a year are killed and yet it is an acceptable practice. (abortion clock)

If we lined up 120 lions and killed them all in 1 bloody hour, you can be sure that the entire world would demand justice. And yet, we do something far worse every hour here in the United States. 21 percent of ALL pregnancies in our country are terminated by an abortion. 1 in 5. Over 58 million Americans have been murdered in this fashion since 1973. That’s an immediate population loss of over 18%, which does not include possible future generations.  Dwell on that. These aren’t just numbers  - they are little lives that are being purposefully extinguished.

As a father of three children, I truly cannot understand how anyone who has ever stared at a live monitor feed of an ultrasound can defend this practice. How do you deny that the heartbeat that can be measured and seen at 8 weeks post conception is human? I cannot.

I have seen people express anger and outrage over the fact that this animal was hunted just for sport. I understand the emotion and do not disagree with the anger over luring a protected animal to its death. I’m all for obeying the laws that exist and protecting the creatures that have been designated as requiring that protection.

To all the people outraged in general over the hunting/raising of any animal, specifically for food: If you commit wholeheartedly to this thought and stop eating all poultry, pork, red meat, fish and their eggs then I will acknowledge that the outrage you have expressed has prompted life-altering action. To do any less would be picking and choosing what animals are more valuable than others and that doesn’t seem like a valid option to me.

To all the Christians who are outraged by the death of a lion you’ve never met, in a place you’ve never been: Please take that passion and purpose and pour it into defending the lives of the babies who are dying as a result of “choice”. Be willing to take a bold stand in the social arenas for those who do not have the ability to scream for themselves.

To all the Christians who support abortion: Please study the Bible and attempt to reconcile your stance on abortion with what God says about a person’s worth, their creation, Him physically knitting them together and, knowing them in the womb, etc. I don’t understand how the two can be reconciled. I welcome your emails and private messages to begin a 1 on 1 dialogue.

Dead lions don’t have souls and Christ didn’t come to die for them.

Let’s be more outraged about the death of millions of people in our country than that of a lion in a far off land.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Catching a Dream

Several years ago, I was invited by a friend of mine to a major league baseball game to celebrate his 40th birthday. I offered to drive us and when I arrived at his house a curious event occurred. As he was getting into the vehicle, he declared “I’ll be right back”, hopped out of the car and ran back into his house. I sat there puzzled, thinking that perhaps he had left the tickets inside. A moment later, my friend came bounding back with an old, worn baseball glove in his hands. He hopped in and exclaimed “I can’t believe I almost forgot this.”

On our way to the ballpark, my friend told me how he had always wanted to catch a ball at a game and so he always took his glove with him. He was so giddy about the prospect that I did not express to him my massive doubts that it would ever happen – the odds were heavily against it.

We settled into our seats between third base and home plate and watched as the game progressed. It occurred to me that I had not seen anyone as old as my friend with a glove at the game - ever. It also was amazing to realize that he never took the glove off his hand. He was wearing it as if he might have been in the middle of playing catch with someone and just sat down for a brief break. As the innings began to tick by, I felt a little sorry for him – this dream of catching a ball was so entrenched in him that he couldn’t remove his glove for a moment.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, a batter popped a pitch foul in our direction. Naturally, everyone in the section stood up. My friend thrust his gloved hand into the air and stood still as a statue. As I watched the arc of the ball, I realized that it was going to come fairly close to us. My friend remained cemented in his pose, as everyone around him started jumping and flailing their arms about. My friend never moved an inch beyond standing up and reaching to the sky. I will never forget standing next to my frozen friend as that baseball fell out of the sky and landed directly into his glove. It never entered my mind to try and catch it, as it was hit directly to him, a la Smalls in The Sandlot. Everyone around us cheered him and gave him high fives for catching the ball cleanly.

As we sat down in complete jubilation and bewilderment, the reality began to set in: his dream had come true and it had happened on his birthday. Suddenly, a man with a camera and an employee were at our side. They took his picture, which was then displayed on the stadium screen with the caption “Catch of the Game”. My friend was over the moon. He sat there and said “The only thing that could make this better is if someone would hit a home run”. Moments later, that happened as well. It was an unforgettable day.

Thinking back on the events of that day, I find myself naturally connecting the idea of dreams to goals. This leads me to the following questions:

How often do we dismiss people with dreams/goals that we may think are unreasonable, unreachable or impossible?

  • My friend had a dream that many people have at some point in their life but few ever come close to obtaining. There are people in your life right now that are pursuing something that most people think is unreachable. You can be a resource to them – helping another person reach their goal is never a wasted endeavor.

How often do we criticize them, mock them or even hinder them as they continue to prepare for the hoped conclusion?

  • My friend went back to get his glove and all I could think of were the odds being so heavily against him ever catching a ball. People want to believe in something more and are often willing to sacrifice time, energy, money or social status to try and make it a reality. You can be a source of encouragement to them - everyone needs a kind word or gesture to help motivate them.

How often do we secretly wish that they would give up on that dream/goal  because it may make us uncomfortable?

  • My friend looked odd as a 40 year old man wearing a worn ball glove to the ballpark and would have fit in better without the leather on his hand. Just because their dream does not match ours does not make it any less important. You can be supportive of them in their pursuit – most likely they will support you in return. 

I am happy that my friend didn’t give up on his dream. I am glad that he continued to prepare for the moment when he could capitalize on that dream and make it a reality. I am thrilled by the fact that his dream became so much more than he had ever hoped or imagined. I am amazed by the fact that all these years later I still have such emotion tied up in having been there to see him capture the dream he had spent his lifetime chasing.

Dreams and goals are worth having and worth chasing.

What’s the dream that you are chasing right now? Grab your glove and go catch it!

--- This was originally published on LinkedIn

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lessons From Pre-School Photos

The following photos of Lainey at pre-school today reminded me of things that make life great:

A fun, comfy spot to rest

A good book to read

A friend to sit next to and read with

A friend to learn with and play with

Friends to sing and dance with

Don't be fooled.
These are very important for all of us to remember, especially for myself.