Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Backstory - The Fairness of Grape Jelly

This is backstory on me, on some of the reasons why I think the way I think and some of the people and events that have helped to shape that. In other words these are the who's and what's you are to blame for me being me!

As a child there are few things I remember clearly.  I didn't have much focus or need to think intently on the moments so as to hold them deeply in the scrapbook of my mind.  No, my minds scrap is well unorganized.  I do remember one specific lunch though, very clearly.

This day my brother and I watched as my Dad made us some Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches!.

I feel as though I must have been standing on a chair as I can vividly see the peanut butter being spread on the bread smoothly, with the skilled hands of my craftsman father.  Then the jelly jar appeared.  There was a hue around it, a glow that screamed out, "I declare this sandwich, dessert!"  Probably just the reflection of stickiness around it but I envision heavenly grape jam.

The jar tilts, the knife is inserted, and a blob falls - like jello, formless but with shape, it splatters on the two pieces of bread awaiting its arrival with joy.  My keen eye spots a difference in the mass and my heart begins to race, what if I get the less jelly!  I become truly fearful that my lunch will not be as dessertish as my younger siblings!  So I speak, in my wisdom:

"Father, it appears that more of the delicious jelly has fallen on the one sandwich, I will gladly partake in said sandwich if it pleases you."  My dad responds, "So you want that one?"  "Yes Father, I will devour the greater sandwich."

My dad grins and hands me the sandwich.  My glowing eyes watch it approach my salivating mouth.  As my teeth dive in to the gloriousness, I witness something that changes my enjoyment.  Mounds of jelly are scooped out on the other sandwich, far more than my measly "more" that once was.  I am horrified to the sound of my younger siblings yips and yeas as he receives his deliciousness.

My father in his infinite wisdom looks at me after a chuckle, smiles and says, "Son, life isn't fair" then gives me a hug and cleans up after the lesson he just made out of jelly.

I hold on to that to this day.  I comfort in it, I joy in it, and I stand content in it.  What I realize is I only want life to be fair when it is beneficial.  I can be happy when others receive because life isn't fair.  I can enjoy benefits of certain things because life isnt' fair.  I can LOVE to LIVE where and who I am because life isn't fair.

Ultimately life isn't fair, but it's not about me anyway so who cares if it's fair or not, who cares if I GET what I DESERVE or not.  I only want what I deserve when it is beneficial.  Love God, love people, forget myself.  I want Linc & Mason to know life isn't fair and that is good, and I want to explain it like my Dad did, in a fun way they can understand.

The truth is, I could not be more thankful for the fairness of Grape Jelly.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Touchdown Tuesday - Is There Light at the End?

There is a song by a musical giant that utters the phrase, "Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel was just a freight train comin' your way." (No Leaf Clover Metallica)  That pretty much sums up my feelings about the current sports situation.  Admittedly the NBA finals are bringing in some interest and playoff hockey is always exciting but the sport for this man is football and it is year round, usually.

Lockout - Just as a note, this entire lockout section has been re-written this morning, it is still so fluid.  Does it matter, no, there's still no football!  I NEED PLAYERS!!! Teams need guys!  Now, just to understand me correctly here, I don't care how much money the players make, the coaches make, the owners make or the secretaries make.  I suspect when it comes down to it most would agree with me here, we just want to watch football.  The core of the issue seems to be that the owners want to put 10% more of the earned monies back into the organization, NOT necessarily their pockets.  Ok, fine.  I'm no financial genius, but both sides are going to have to give up their pride to end this on any happy terms . . . BOTH sides!  The players took a serious hit yesterday though, and there goes 3 more weeks of free agency down the toilet, what about hold outs from rookies, or players?  At this point the season is affected, and I don't like it.  

Everyone involved needs to man the freak up and realize they can do what they want to do because of us, without the fans there is no football and we are starting to get a bit upset.

18 Games - I've needed to speak to this for a while now but haven't had the chance, so here goes.  Give me 18 games.  This argument from the players whining about "we'll get hurt if we play more games" or "Our careers will be shortened" (hopefully you inserted your very best whiny voiced for those) is garbage!  Are you telling me that there is a player in this league who doesn't prepare and hope to play 18 games?  They better be hoping to play 19 games (20 if wild card)!  So there are 4 teams a season playing 2 extra games - hog wash, get over yourselves there!

Ocho - I love that he is trying stuff, because he can!  I wish he would have made the soccer team, I really with he would have ridden for 8 seconds!  He has no team, whether he plays for the Bengals or not, he has no QB if he stays, he has no rep lately (again probably the teams fault, but still) what does he have to lose?  Here at Touchdown Tuesday we are with you Chad, perhaps try Rally-cross next, or the paper rock scissor association, or even better, put together an NFL dodgeball team! Get 'em 86!

Ding-dong, the draft is dead - It's over and now I've got nothing football related to talk about.  I despise Andrew Luck for staying in college but happy with Cam.  It can't be worse that 2 and 14, except that 1 year we were 1 and 15!  I am very curious to see how the QB situations turn out though, Arizona and Cincinatti especially!

Game-Time - Who would have thought the massive guns of Peyton Hillis would beat out Vick for Madden?  I guess people love their dogs (insert animal loving or hating statement here).  What's the odds on him getting hurt, Madden curse anyone?

Finally Fantasy - Well, my only real statement here is that I would sure like to play this year, don't let me down Roger.

So that's it, that's where we are in the realm of the NFL.  We get excited about court rulings because it is news, we dream about trades that won't happen, and we hope for a season.  I never thought this would actually hurt football, I figure people will come back.  But with nothing grabbing me in the offseason, when that Thursday night comes along and I can play outside instead of watch, my interest is not as peaked as it should be.  When that Sunday comes and it's eat out or take home, a nice seat at a restaurant seems a nice alternative to a league that doesn't care about me, it's only source of revenue.

So this is Touchdown Tuesday signing off, and hoping for something fun to talk about soon . . . You stay classy, Planet Earth.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bear Hands and Hero's

I was reading a story to my son recently, a story filled with anger, lust, selfishness and deception, a story that he loves!  I came to the part where Samson kills a lion with his hands, his bare hands in the road.

Linc looks at me and says, "You be va lion and I'll be Samson and defeat you with my huge bear hands!"  He raises his arms at me showing the claws and the pads his imagination has now cloaked his tiny hands with and yells with a William Wallace style groan, "Veese are my bear hands and I will defeat you lion!"  

After a moment of composing from my laughter my explanation began, "Samson didn't have hands like a bear buddy, it's just an expression (oops, big words just come out sometimes)."

With a voice that trailed up from the start he asked a question, "So the lion had bear hands?"  I'm not going to lie, the image popped in my head of a lion walking around on its back legs with the paws of a bear, that's a serious animal!  I love the logic of my son - Somebody in this story has hands like a bear because that would be freakin awesome!

After a disappointing conversation and a weak explanation of bare vs bear we continued the story, and yes we played Samson and the lion.  Of course I held what a miserable failure Samson was, the same way I hold on Noah's drunkenness, David's adultery, and the rest.  

Ahh the tempered story of death and disaster that we tell our children to teach them the Bible.  I'm not against it, I am the chief of it!  My son's favorite game, other than 'battle' is David and Goliath.  I bet a day hasn't gone by in the last year that I haven't fallen at the hand of his sling.

But everytime as I crash to the ground I wonder when I will shatter his hero, that David does not represent him slaying the giants that will arise in his life.  That Samson is not a story to teach me I can be strong in the Lord, but a picture that even with the gifts I've been given I am a failure and need a Saviour in Christ.

So tonight, as usual, I will take a stone between the eyes, ask him by whose strength he was able to defeat me, and then land on top of him with squeals of laughter and tickling fingers as he tries to shrimp out - hoping with everything I am that he will be a man after God's own heart and not just a hero in his own mind like his father.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Blood, Sweat, and Tears - 55

Air cannot hold it back, driving with frustrating force

. . . BAM . . . one

Right on the head, struck with a marksman's accuracy

. . . BAM . . . two

Closer now, this steel will hold this wood in place

. . . BAM . . . three

The hammer lands on a different nail, one attached to a finger!

Here is the blood and tears accompanying the sweat.

Written for G-man at Flash Fiction 55 - Great writing in 55 words, come and see here!

This is a little calmer for me but for some reason it is what I was thinking, perhaps the anticipation of some construction coming up - it never fails to find my nails!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Double Standard - Bin Ladin's Death

Jon Acuff recently had a post on his blog, "Stuff Christians Like," about a Jesus Juke.  When I read it I laughed and thought of times I had done this, trying to be the more spiritual person, pretty much like most of the stuff he writes.  This post really came back to me yesterday though.

You would have to be in a hole or a cave to not know that Osama Bin Ladin was killed by American forces by now.  This crack-head went down by a double tap to the left side of his brain by a Seal with a sick rifle!

The news broke on Twitter and spread like kudzu through the south when it hit.  At a Mets game I heard you could literally see the news "telephone" through the crowd which then erupted into chants of USA, USA!  People singing at ground zero & the White House, the speed of the news was incredible; the actual news itself - depends on which side of the isle you sit on.

If I'm completely honest, my initial reaction was only slightly more than complacent.  "Great, who's next," was more my thoughts than the war is over.  I am glad he is dead.  And there seems to be the problem, not with me (we could delve into my shortcomings and double standards at another time) but for those who decided to launch another attack.

Go ahead, stick out your toes - I might step on them.

It is not sinful for me to rejoice that a wicked man can do no more harm in this world.  Proverbs 11:10  I am rejoicing here!  Expressing my confusion and desires to the Father isn't about having the perfect thought through prayer, have you read the Psalms?  Was David sinful to talk about his enemies brains being bashed in for justice?

But we are in a new age, a new era, a new testament!  Christ said to love your enemies, pray for them (not for them to die probably though!)  Ok, this is true so lets think through it.  I am sad for Bin Ladin for where he is, but I rejoice for us that he is not here.  My prayer would be that Christ would save or bring justice, and there is love in both.

Come on now, since when did being a Christian turn me into a sniveling, whiny, weak, no-justice, fake, holding back, consequenceless weasel?  (maybe I went a bit far . . . with the fake.)

Actions equal consequences and LOVE DEMANDS JUSTICE.  Now my Savior has taken the eternal consequences away from me, He has taken the justice on Himself and asked me to follow Him & could do the same for you, because we deserve to be where Bin Ladin probably is.  But I won't taste that fire and it is not because of my actions but Christ.

Would I have rather he come to a true faith and belief in Christ, of course.

My friend Kyle Brennon expressed his thoughts (that I agree with) without being attacking very well on his Facebook page and there are other men I respect and love that have done the same.  There are ways to express whatever it is without attacking.

Look, opinions will differ, and that is fine, it is good but we have got to stop bickering amongst ourselves making us look like fools to the world so that our pride can be a little inflated or we can feel better when we don't talk to our neighbor about Christ.  Please.  I speak from a prideful heart that wants to debate to show spirituality.

We used to have these discussion and debates behind church doors or home walls but know we do it on blogs and social media.  Opinions are great, but attacks only need to happen when there are wolves around, and a sheep doesn't attack a wolf, the shepherd does.

So ultimately, I am glad Bin Ladin is dead, but sad for where he is, because he will feel the justice that has been paid for me by simply believing and confessing.