Last night the big NBA story came out, well more like NBA basketball player Jason Collins came out. In a story for Sports Illustrated, the Wizard player announced to the world that he is gay.
Now I know that lots of you will expect me to speak out against homosexuality, because after all, I am a Christian. I am not outraged at homosexuality, it's everywhere, it's even in the Bible. But for the record I am against homosexuality because I believe it is a lifestyle choice. More so, I don't think that anything that places a person's identity in sexuality can align with God's character or plan for the people he loves.
I don't really want to argue the sexuality-nature-nurture-God's-Justice-vs-Gods-Grace-homosexuality-Christians-are-so-judgemental-you-have-to-accept-me issue. I'm really more pissed that President Obama called Jason Collins and congratulated him on being gay.
I mean it's not bad enough that our Vice President spent $1 million dollars of tax payers money on a two day trip to Paris. Or that the Obama family so kindly didn't spend their own money giving each other gifts last Christmas, they just spent $20 million of our dollars to jet off to Hawaii to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus together in the surf.
Now on the President's agenda, along with Late Night Show interviews and other celebrity appearances, the President feels compelled to call an NBA player, that most likely he doesn't even really know, and say “Yay, You're Gay!”
I know some of you are thinking that the President lives in a free country and can call who he wants. But I'm just saying–Not on my dime. I'm not okay with that. I would much rather Mr. President call maybe the wife of the soldier who lost both his legs fighting in the war, and now their marriage is on brink of failure but they are pushing through to try and make it work. And maybe he could say to them, “Yay! You're doing it!”
Perhaps he could pick up the cell phone that we pay the bill on and call the veteran of two wars, who just can't get a job with the government because there is a job hiring freeze because due to an excess of money spent on Paris and Hawaii. Daily this soldier battles PTSD and severe pain, but hasn't been able to get a disability claim approved or paid in the last two years because no one will return his calls and the government doesn't have the staff or the money to actually support the soldiers that fight to make sure that NBA players can make millions and our President can freely support same sex relationships. Yah, he could call that guy and say thanks for serving our country. Or even better–President Obama could call someone at the VA and ask them to pay out the soldiers claim.
And maybe when First Lady Michelle Obama says that a NBA player coming out of the closet is a huge step forward for our country, maybe she could mean that when families are actually able to pay their rent, and people are actually able to get jobs, and students can actually finish school without being hundreds of thousands in debt.
I guess I'm just fed up. I'm tired of the President wanting to be more friend of the celebrity than the leader of our nation. It's getting really old, it's making me nauseous. I find myself losing hope for our future, wondering why God would allow such authority over our country–why we tolerate such authority.
Luckily my hope is in Jesus–Jesus is the Hope for Real Change.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
As most of you know, I have dedicated my life to showing the love of Jesus to kids of all ages. I love Jesus and, wow, do I love kids. Every child in my life or who crosses my path gets my benefit of the doubt. I have this crazy ability to see the hurt and suffering and vulnerability of every child. And with that grows my love for them.
But my love, and my willingness to show Jesus’ love to these kids is just not enough. And here is why.
We are raising a generation who idolize people with mediocre talent or who have gotten famous for doing absolutely nothing. This laziness to stardom is morphing into the New American Dream. The Real, honest and true American dream is slowly flushing down the toilet. The one that prides itself on hard work and reaching goals.
Unfortunately, my small blog post won’t do anything to change how apathetic our kids are. In fact, I could sky write it and have it published in every respectable newspaper in America, and everyone will simply shake their heads in agreement and go about their business.
I know I’m right, and it saddens me. Because I know that a change of heart in today’s kids, and to challenge them to reach their full potential, will require something from you, and honestly, you aren’t willing to give it.
Changing and shaping our future would require you to lay your judgement down of that foul mouthed teenager and actually talk to him with the same respect you demand. It would beg you to maybe give a kid a hug. And the thing is, it would require you to do all of these things more than once, in fact more than twice. It would require an invested commitment on your part to pour into the next generation instead of expecting them to fend for themselves.
All of these years you have thought that putting your blinders on and forcing the outside world to disappear is what is best for YOUR family. But you see, the entire world affects your child, so why wouldn’t you want to take some ownership for your neighbor’s child, your friend’s child, or even the unknown child? All of those kids will have tremendous influence on your own kid, the future of our world and all upcoming generations.
But instead we judge the child, criticize the parent, homeschool our own kids so they don’t have to interact with society and then ask, “what is this world coming to?”.
And the answer is You . You are what this world is coming to. Stop living so selfishly. It’s not about you. It never was, and it never will be. This life is about giving generously of your life because Jesus gave generously to you of His.
I have this love-hate relationship with Twitter. I really, really want to love it but I just mostly hate it. I try, I really do. I opened an account to be trendy, and cool and hip. But I am learning, maybe I'm just not any of those things. My initial motivation was that Twitter was a great way to network. I mostly follow other pastors, children's ministry and student ministry leaders, authors, and gurus on Christian leadership. But I see these tweets and find myself just resenting all of them.
Everyone has such inspiring things to say in 140 characters or less. Like here are a few:
“Where God guides, HE provides”
“Leadership development isn't a program, it's a lifestyle. Learning to serve others doesn't happen in the classroom, but in ministry.”
“Busyness is not from the devil, it IS the devil.”
“I realized today that I am emotionally exhausted today over something I can not change. It's time to change me.”
“Make sure your worst enemy doesn't live between your own two ears.”
It's like walking into a store with nothing but motivational posters around you. Everywhere. Or maybe even rummaging through a very special line of Hallmark cards. And in between these little nuggets of wisdom is advertising and shameless, self-promotion (cough cough) “read here: how to be a better pastor” and “read this blog: How I lead on Saturday's between 8am and 12:35pm”
Tweets are much more profound than status updates, but I find that most people just link their Twitter and Facebook accounts. How lazy! Who wants to read what you think or who you are shopping with twice?! And I don't know how I can possibly keep up with all of the tweets of my following. There are so many, it's so rapidly changing. I don't do well with change. And I'm not sure I have that kind of time.
So I've decided that Twitter is just too much pressure. On Facebook I can be myself, and people respond, and sometimes they even care. On Twitter I feel like I'm at a job interview, carefully chosing my word usage and placement so that someone out there, who will probably never ever read my 140 characters anyway, might be momentarily inspired.
I have a decent following, not phenomenal but some people say they care what I Tweet, so I won't get rid of my account. Most likely I will follow even more wise, insightful 30 year old hipster pastors. But I'm not sayin' I'm gonna like it.
What are your thoughts on Twitter? I would love to know!
This week is an adventure. One of my very besties is off with her husband at youth camp, so I am here with her sweet little bit, Dylen, who is a two year old with just as much energy as an entire bus full of teenagers. I know this, because at 6:30 a.m. I am starting my day with a tiny voice, with big plans, shouting from her pack n play, “I awake now Ms. Tiff!”
And awake she is. Her energy and simplicity are things to envy. She is curious and busy. Concentrated and spontaneous. She loves to sing and dance, and Disney princesses. With her bow on her head she bobs around, embraces the constant undivided attention she gets in this house…and every other.
I have forgotten what it is like to be around a little one. My “baby” is seven and is the size of an eleven year old–and still acts 2, his brother and sisters would say. We probably would’ve had one more, but a year ago I had to have a hysterectomy, so that made our choice for us.
I am reminded of the constant changing seasons in life. The moment we grow comfortable in the warmth, the winds gently blow in, giving us a warning of the cold season to come. At times, we are hit with a mountainous blizzard, that piles on top of our lives, putting pressure on our hearts, making it hard to breathe.
We move in and out of our seasons, much like the waves on the beach. No real rhythm, no particular way to live expectantly of the next crash. We simply must sit on the shoreline, with our mouths closed, bracing ourselves and waiting.
The old me would try and stay in one season as long as possible and fight the changes of weather.and when the rain fell or the sun came out, I would lament over the season lost, the opportunities missed, the regrets. I hated to let go, and was fearful to move on.
Now, I simply feel the crash of waves hit me, and enjoy the rush of the water leaving me. I know ther ewill be another that soon follows, and will refresh me, or be sand filled and irritating. Either way, there is always the hope. The hope of a new wave, a new season, a new sprout of life pushing through the hard-iced land.
I am embracing my season. I have visions of seasons to come, and am excited about all God will do. But for now, I am learning to be content in the moment. Knowing God will sustain me in the winter and give me new life when my heart is ready.
I’m sitting at the pool listening to two young women lament over their relationships. Some would call it eavesdropping, I call it research. One beatiful young girl with blonde hair and a black swimsuit waved her hands in angry circles while chatting with her dark headed friend.
“He makes more money then me but I pay all the bills.” I looked for a ring to see if this was a marital problem but couldn’t figure it out right away. Then she talked about having to pay for the wedding and all of her savings were depleted.
He pays his truck payment-$520 a month, half the rent, and for his 4-wheeler-$250 a month. She pays the rest. She pays all the house bills, her education bills, their entertainment expenses. Only one of his paychecks are accounted for. She has no idea where the rest of his money goes. She is looking for a job that pays more. She’s frustrated. But they made the agreement that his money was his and her money was hers.
Everything in me wanted to march right over there with my heart full of wisdom and smack them both upside their perfectly pony-tailed heads. Here is what I would say:
Ladies, do yourselves a favor and heed my wisdom. You can’t be married and live separately in any shape or form. When God unites you, he unites all of you…your minds, your emotions, your spirits and even everything in the physical. The reason you are so frustrated is because you are going against your new nature. It will continue to be frustrating until you learn to live and think differently. As a married couple, you should be able to ask your husband about his paychecks and account for every dime both of you earn and spend. You will constantly live divided if you continue to live this way. And this division will only be the beginning. LIving separately will slowly and methodically infilterate every other part of your relationship. It will become unbearable. Ladies, did you know that money issues are one of the main causes of divorce in America?
Ladies, do yourselves a favor and be the one to take the responsible, mature path in all of this. Figure out how to manage all of your income, if necessary. Seek outside help, stop allowing excuses. Oh wait, your not married yet? Then ladies, really do yourselves a favor and resolve all of these issues BEFORE you get married. This is not something that will go away. If you don’t see eye to eye on money, you will certainly find there are other highly important issues you don’t agree on–like children, your future, your relationship outside of your marriage, your faith.
Ladies, everywhere, do yourselves a favor, and be willing to do the hard work and ask the hard questions with your significant other, husband or spouse to be. Marriage is not a joke, nor is it temporary. It is a living, breathing organism that requires your life being breathed into actively, everyday. If you aren’t ready for that kind of commitment, don’t live make believe and pretend that you are. If you’re not ready to really be married, then don’t get married.
All in a fun day at the pool.