Archive for January, 2014

He’s Back!

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Ten years ago, shortly after we had moved into our church offices at 1311 16th Avenue, South, someone gave me a bobble head Jesus. Despite the fact that He was a bit tacky, I fell in love with Him because, for me, He symbolized the truth that Jesus is not the unapproachable and distant Savior of my youth, but the accessible Lord of us all. Wherever we happen to be, He is more than willing to come to us on our turf.   I immediately displayed Him in a prominent location in our office reception area.  Soon folks who visited began to comment. On several occasions the comments led us into deeper discussions of the things of God.

A few years later Jesus was kidnapped. I have a prime suspect and made an inquiry through a third party, but Jesus did not come home. The more I thought about the kind of person it would take to steal Jesus, the more upset I became. I came to the conclusion that is was done for spite and frankly I had some thoughts that certainly were not in line with Jesus’ teachings about love and forgiveness. The years passed and the bobble head Jesus, for the most part, faded from my consciousness. That changed Christmas when I opened my favorite Christmas present. Jesus has come home! Oh, not the same bobble head, but a new and improved one. Actually, He is looking over my shoulder as I type and His message to me is the same as it has been for thousands of years, Don’t seek vengeance. Don’t bear a grudge; but love your neighbor as yourself, for I am Jehovah (Leviticus 19:18).

The homecoming of Jesus reminded me of the payoff for making a conscious decision several years ago, as best as I could, to live my life that way.  So I did not fall back to my self-defeating loathing of the kidnapper. On the contrary, the abduction and return of Jesus proved to me that the commandment is not only doable but the very foundation of a Christ-centered life. Love always trumps hate! It is not nearly as difficult as you may think. Don’t do it for them; do it for you and Jesus.

Something to think about



Friday, January 24th, 2014

Unless you have been in a coma for the last few days, then you know who Richard Sherman is and what he had to say about Michael Crabtree, during an ESPN interview following Sunday’s Niners and Seahawks Division Championship Game.  Within seconds after the interview, he became the number one trending on Twitter.  Immediately, he was referred to as a “thug” by millions on social media. I was one of them. My bad; I made an error in judgment based on a 27 second interview conducted in the midst of the media hype following the most important game he has ever played. Sherman is not a thug in any way, shape or form. I looked up the meaning of the term and it means a “violent criminal”. I also researched Richard Sherman. He is a Stanford graduate, an incredible football player, an articulate and generous figure in his community, and certainly not a thug.

There is another thing he is not. He is not cool. He did offer a qualified mea culpa for his postgame rant the following day; however, he later lashed out at his detractors by calling them racists. He said that calling a black man a “thug” is a socially acceptable way to convey the intent of the “N word” without actually using it.  My first recollection of the term “thug” was from gangster movies I saw at the Paramount Theater on Church Street back in the fifties. As I recall they were all white.  It has nothing to do with skin color or dreadlocks. I consider George Zimmerman a thug.  I remember calling Arron Hernandez a thug when he was charged with killing his friend.  I referred to all the accused rapists in the Vanderbilt rape case as thugs. There was a white kid, named David, in my high school who stole my favorite cowboy hat.  I called him a thug fifty years ago.  Sherman was wrong to call me a racist. I was wrong to call him a thug. Actually I think he is closer to being a spoiled brat.

Something to Think About

By the Rules

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

This morning at the Bellevue “Y”, I overheard a couple of guys dissing two names in the news.  One was Alex Rodriguez, three-time American League MVP and baseball’s highest paid player and possibly the biggest liar to ever swing a bat. The other was former Vanderbilt football coach and “Salesman of the Century”, James “Anchor Down” Franklin.

Long story short, they seemed to be saying that both former superheroes are really egomaniacs, who ignore the rules of the game and lie to further their careers. I assume that I do not need to detail why they would say such a thing about Rodriguez. As for Franklin, they put him in the same boat alongside A Rod. Because when he was hired at Vanderbilt, he claimed he was there for the long haul and “planned to put down roots at Vanderbilt”. They think Franklin is “even a bigger low life” than Rodriguez because he took some of the Vanderbilt commitments, (kids that have verbally accepted scholarships at Vanderbilt but have not signed on the dotted line yet), with him to Penn State. Some of the nouns they used to refer to Franklin would have gotten their mouths washed out had their mommas been around.

A few years ago when Lane Kiffin bolted for USC, leaving Tennessee high and dry and then poached the best recruits, I thought the same things about him. Fortunately, I came to my senses pretty quickly. My conclusion is that both Kiffin and Franklin played within the rules as set forth by the NCAA. Perhaps I did not like what they did, but they did not do anything that is not routine and accepted in their profession. There is a huge difference between taking banned drugs and lying about it and a coach leaving a team for a better job. Say whatever you wish about Rodriguez, but do not try to make Franklin out to be an evil man. He is not. One clearly played by the rules, the other mocked them.

Something to Think About