Andrew Struttaford wrote an interesting article comparing Obama and Clement Attlee in the January edition of National Review. It’s a sobering warning as to how Attlee succeeded in remodeling the British state through an aggressive and ideological commitment to the modern welfare state, of which the NHS was the crown jewel. Attlee treated such transformation as a moral imperative irrespective of economic and political costs, which sounds all too familiar. Attlee and Labour proximately caused the condition Britain is in today. Troubling to think that Britain today forebodes the US in fifty years.
Television. It’s a vacuous, idiotic black hole that sucks time and energy away from people; but more importantly, it distracts people. It distracts from what is good. It perverts beauty. It desensitizes the mind against virtue. I have spent too much time looking at it. I wonder how I would see the world had I never looked at television. Would I be more innocent? Would I look at people differently? Would I care more? The more sobering question: what would my relationship with God look like had I never looked at it? I know, we are all sinners and no one is innocent. Yes, I also acknowledge that there can be displays of beauty on that idiotic black box. But lets be honest, how much more have we witnessed graphic sex, murder and every uninhibited vice known to our fallen race? Can our spirit become so dull as to no longer experience the grieving of the Holy Spirit? God tells us that we are not to participate with the workers of iniquity (Eph 5:7). He tells us not to be deceived because “bad company ruins good morals” (1 Cor 15:33). He also warns us when He says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Gal 6:7). In television I have participated with iniquity, corrupted virtue and sown seeds of unrighteousness. May God be ever so merciful that through His grace those seeds never grow. In his grace he has given me a solution: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil 4:8). I think I am going to abstain from that black box for a while. I see a good book on the shelf. Come to think of it, it’s the Good Book. I think I’ll start there.
My brother alerted me to an article published by WaPo in 2007 that captures how our focus on the current rush causes us to completely miss spectacular beauty around us. WaPo convinced the world class violinist Joshua Bell to play some of the most beautiful and intricate classical music using one of the finest available violins … at a subway station during rush hour. With one exception, only the children paid attention and wanted to watch, which the parental guardians dutifully prevented.
I need to pray more for God to give me the eyes of a child to better see and enjoy the beauty and blessings God places all around us.
Apparently, we’ll soon have the capability for 24-7 legal research at no charge to the client. So now the client can contact you anywhere, anytime and you can research the answer, on the spot. Splendid! Technology makes life so much easier at times …
From the WSJ: An Economic Time Bomb
Joel Belz has a good reminder in the most recent edition of World magazine to not accept the presupposition that religious views should not be publicly aired or discussed in polite company. Belz uses the recent spat over Brit Hume and the “politeness police” to question this conventional wisdom that we can debate practically anything in polite society, except religion. Because a topic might touch upon deeply felt beliefs mitigates toward sensitivity and tact, however, deeply felt emotions are not a basis for excluding something from discourse. To the contrary, nothing should be more important and relevant for a free and civilized people to openly debate than questions of ultimate meaning and purpose. Belz is correct, we should challenge the assumption. I’m afraid that too often those that waive the banner of sensitiviy for purposes of limiting religious dialogue are more interested in suppressing religious dialogue and public analysis.
“Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting than any romance, however passionate.” – W.H. Auden
“The first purpose in marriage — beyond happiness, sexual expression, the bearing of children, companionship, mutual care and provision, or anything else — is to please God. The challenge, of course, is that it is utterly selfless living; rather than asking, ‘What will make me happy?’ we are told that we must ask, ‘What will make God happy'” – Gary Thomas
“[Marriage] is the merciless revealer, the great white searchlight turned on the darkest places of human nature.” – Katherine Anne Porter
“Allow your marriage relationship to stretch your love and to enlarge your capacity for love – to teach you to be a Christian.” – Gary Thomas
Nothing in creation has deepened my walk with Christ more or made me more complete as a man than my marriage and being a father. Thank you God for my wife and our children. I am most blessed.
I had the opportunity this morning to listen to Don Yaeger talk about the attributes of “Greatness.” It was an exceptional presentation. If you ever have the opportunity, I recommend listening to him. He explained, primarily through stories, how greatness is a process, not a birthright. According to Yaeger, greatness is available to all through mental, emotional, and spiritual discipline and “nourishment.” Yaeger uses sports for his teaching points and as a former writer for Sports Illustrated, he’s made good use of his access to the greatest sports figures of our time to compile his materials.
He presented what he found to be “Sixteen Consistent Characteristics of Greatness” that he’s seen in great sports figures. During his presentation, he expounded upon four of the sixteen points. His first point is that “Great” people take failure or even coming in second quite personally. In explaining, “It’s personal”, he told of how he “scored” against Michael Jordan in a one-on-one fund raiser in Vegas. Yaeger is one of only a handful of men who have scored against Jordan in this venue, though hundreds have tried. Yaeger is no natural athlete. For Jordan, defeat is unacceptable and Jordan truly hated the fact Yaeger scored. The story is hilarious and the accompanying photo shows Jordan thoroughly disgusted at himself while Yaeger looks like a little kid on Christmas morning (see photo 18). Yaeger also repeated Coach Krzyzewski’s explanation as to how this characteristic and Duke’s 40 point tournament loss to Virginia early in Coach K’s career was the beginning of greatness for him.
To illustrate “Inner Fire,” Yaeger told the story of 5’7” Warrick Dunn. He was raised by a single mother, who was shot and killed in the line of duty during Dunn’s senior year of high school, days after Dunn accepted a scholarship to play for Florida State. Dunn became responsible for raising his younger siblings. Yaeger tells the story of how Dunn went on to become one of most successful running backs in NFL history, despite his limited stature and despite being shattered by his mother’s murder. Yaeger accompanied Dunn to the death row facility where Dunn confronted his mother’s killer on death row, and forgave him. There was hardly a dry eye in the place after the story of how Dunn dealt with adversity.
Yaeger also talked about the final months of Walter Payton’s life as Yaeger hastily assisted with the writing of Payton’s autobiography when Payton was diagnosed with having at best a few months left to live. Payton devoted the end of his life to promoting organ transplants. Yaeger explained how in matters big and small Payton (and Dunn) lived the “Do Unto Others” characteristic, which truly made him Great.
Coach Wooden mentors Yaeger, and from that relationship and teachings, from a Coach who won 10 NCAA Div I basketball titles in 12 years, Yaeger explained the importance of the value of associating with others and deciding with whom you will “Rub Elbows.” This was probably the most challenging component of the talk.
Regarding “nourishment,” Yaeger explained the importance of starting each day with a routine that focuses upon the positive, as opposed to starting the day ingesting a steady stream of negative newscasts. Another encouraging point for starting the day in prayer and supplication before Christ and meditating on scripture. Faith is one of the consistent characteristics of “great” men and woman. “Belief” in a higher power ranks 3rd on the list.
Yaeger is on the speaking circuit and has a number of published books, to include a 2009 publication with Coach Wooden. He’s worth checking out if you have the chance. http://www.donyaeger.com/
There Is A Higher Throne
There is a higher throne
Than all this world has known,
Where faithful ones from ev’ry tongue
Will one day come.
Before the Son we’ll stand,
Made faultless through the Lamb;
Believing hearts find promised grace—
Hear heaven’s voices sing;
Their thund’rous anthem rings
Through em’rald courts and sapphire skies.
Their praises rise.
All glory, wisdom, pow’r,
Strength, thanks, and honor are
To God our King, who reigns on high
And there we’ll find our home,
Our life before the throne;
We’ll honor Him in perfect song
Where we belong.
He’ll wipe each tear-stained eye
As thirst and hunger die.
The Lamb becomes our Shepherd King;
We’ll reign with Him.