Archive for the ‘Left field’ Category

Okay so I am watching television the other day and of course the inevitable commercials come on in between the shows.  I started to change the channels when a commercial caught my eyes, or better yet my ears were pricked.  I don’t even remember what the commercial was for, all I remember was how long the legal disclaimers were in the commercial.

I turned the channel and this time instead of trying to find another show to watch I was looking for commercials.  And it didn’t take to long to find commercials that also had the legal disclaimer on them.  And as I watched more and more commercials over a fifteen minute span of time I noticed one thing.  That the legal disclaimers in the commercial were longer than the advertisement for the actual product!

I don’t know which is worse in this world that we live in.  One, that we are a country were sueing someone is a sport and a way of life.  Or two, that we have determined that a product that has more risks than benefits is a worthy product to sell.

There was a time, and admitedly I don’t have personal rememberance of it, that a man stood behind his work.  You didn’t need the disclaimers because if your product wasn’t worth the work or was faulty then you made it right.  Where did that legacy go?  Now it is all about the almight dollar and how much can I make, and how well do I have to protect myself with legal disclaimers so that I can keep all of the money I make.  Forgot about just making a product that is needed. Forgot about making a quality product.  How quick can I get it out the door to someone is selling.

And don’t think I am laying all the blame on those that make the products.  I take part of the blame as well, and so do you.  That’s right we take part of the blame.  We are buying the junk.  We are forcing the twenty five second legal disclaimers on the thirty second commercials because we believe that because we bought a faulty product we deserve millions.  When we could have done the research a head of time to see what the companies reputation was.  How they were filed with the better buisiness bureau. Before we read the consumer magazines that described the tests done on the product. 

We are also to blame for allowing ourselves to become a society of at this moment and now.  I want so therefore you must give it to me and I will pay what you want.  While that is the definition of captilism, and I believe in captailism, I also believe in getting what I paid for.  So we are a society that has created such a demand that has lowered the quality of products in order to meet that demand.

Slow down, take a breath and demand quality products. Don’t except anything less. If we demand the quality be there and stop accepting the lower quality products.  Then the industry, the producers, the creators of so many things will raise their level of quality if they want to remain in business. We have the power.

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Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, etc. etc, etc.  There are hundreds of super heroes.  Each one of them is unique in what they can do and why and how they help the world around them.  Why do we love super heroes because we all want to be the one that swoops in with that special ability, the cool one liner and saves the day.  But have you ever noticed how superheroes always have a price to pay for that?  They have to loose the girl, keep the secret identity, live a solitutude life. 

We all want the flash of being the hero. The one wearing the mask and the cape.  The one that has the awesome power or ability, the one that has all the cool tools and toys.  But you know what is really being a hero?  Making a decision to do what is right, being there for your family, being the one that lifts someone else up to the forefront when they do something great.  That takes more courage and strength than even superman had. 

Don’t desire to be batman, be a man of character. A man of value.  A man of purpose. A man of honor.  In today’s world. And stay true to those words when the world comes to do battle with you. These are the heroes.  Why not desire to be a hero?

To my friends whose last  name is Jones, don’t worry, read on, this post is not about you.  No, this post is about that old saying ‘Keeping up with the Jones’.  That old say that rings true every day when we look around us.  It hit me this morning and I had to stop and catch myself.  

I was taking my Siberian Husky outside before I left for work and I was walking around our yard. Just letting my mind wander for a little while during the time that Sapphire needed to take care of business.  After a 12 hour work day, and staying up till one thirty to finish the work that I didn’t get done at the office after everyone else went to bed, the fresh air, the sunlight and the gentle Tennessee morning breeze was very peaceful.  I let my eyes wander to the bird flying over the tree tops, the squirrel running up the tree, the sound of the creek running over the rock, for a moment I was back in my mountains of West Virginia. Next thing I know Sapphire runs up to me ready to go back into the house, back to reality.  And don’t get me wrong reality is a wonderful place for me!

As I turned to walk back in the house I noticed that my neighbor has cut her grass last night while I was at work.  Her grass is nice and low and trimmed, and while mine it isn’t tall it is taller than hers.  The first thing that jumps into my mind is that I need to cut my grass.  Grass hat I just cut two days ago, and is not in the need of being cut.  Well not at least until I saw my neighobrs yard.  Then occurs to me that her grass is bermuda , and mine is fescue.  And for those of you that don’t have your own lawns to cut; bermuda grass needs to be cut very low and fescue grows best when it is kept taller. 

Why do we do that?  Yesterday morning I was just admiring how green, well cut, and trimmed that my lawn was looking.  But then my neighbors yard on the other side of me was the same cut, but not my other neighbor.  The moment she cuts her lawn I have to immediately cut mine.  We have to keep up with the Jones, don’t we?  Don’t believe watch your neighborhood this weekend.  One lawnmower will start, very quickly there will be another and another.  You think it is because it is Saturday or something, no no.  It is keeping up with the Jones time.  And I can prove it.  Find the yard that the neighbors on either sid e have cut their grass, see how long it takes for him to get that grass cut?

Funny how we always worrying about how someone else’s yard looks as it compares to ours.  Yet our yard isn’t the same grass, with utterly different growth needs, and plans for care.  If we do that with our yards how much more so do we do that with our lives?

Don’t think so? How long does it take for a new fashion to consume you?  Or, for me, how long does it take for the newest technology toy grab your attention? For me usually it is about two minutes after seeing someone else have it in their hands. 

God never told me to worry about what my neighbor has.  Matter of fact remember that old line, don’t covet your neighbor’s house, wife, or anything? Coming back to you, huh?  What is important is my relationship with him and how my life measures up to his standards.  How my lifestyle reflects him.  So when the Jones try to keep up with me, they are actually trying to keep up with Jesus Christ the Messiah.

Who are you keeping up with?

Types of People

Posted: June 6, 2009 in Culture, Hmmmmm, Left field
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I enjoy watching people.  There is something very intriguing about observing those people as they interact with one another.  How they look and speak to one another says volumes to those who are watching. This afternoon and evening I was working an  information table at a local grocery store to circulate information about the need of children who need foster parents, and how adults who would be interested can become foster parents.  There are volumes of books that can be written by the observations that I can make on how people speak to people that are standing at a table, or how much they don’t even look at it. But I am not going to write about that this evening.  There were two other people that gave me a prime example of the spectrum of humanity that is in this town of Columbia where I live.

As I stood at my table this afternoon two people came by me.  One was an older lady that pulled up in a nice looking fairly new, white cadillac.  I noticed her at first because she drove around at least six times before she found the right parking spot.  But in her case it paid off for her. She got a front row parking spot, that was maybe fifteen feet from the door of the grocery store and mee.  As she approached it was dicfficult to assess that her dress was very important to her.  Which in itself is not wrong. What was funny was the fact that she was walking with intent as she headed for the door. Head up looking around the parking lot as she observed the rest of area and then she saw me.  And she would not make eye contact with me as she approached the door.  She was either looking at the ground but then when she got in speaking range she was fiddling with something inside her purse.  As she walked by I said good afternoon and nothing else, no sales pitch, and no request to take a flyer o pen or anything that I would normally do when someone walked past a table that I am working.  And as she was an older woman I politely took hold of the tip of my hat and titled by head as I said good afternoon.  But not even a grunt was uttered in return.  Instead she walked right past and when she got inside the door she must have found what she was looking for in her purse because she quick looking and that head came up. And her stride returned to its dedicated pace.

I will come back to her, but let me introduce the second person that I wanted to share with you.

The second person was a man, and now he must have come in the other door, or already have been in the store when i set up my table.  But judging by the items in the one bag I wouldn’t think that he had been in the store very long.  As he came out the door it was very easy to judge that he was a man that worked for each dollar he had earend by the sweat off his brow.  His clothes were covered in dirt, and oil.  His hands that were wrapped around his bags were pretty much brown and black with dirt.  The hat and t-shirt that he wore had numerous sweat stains all over them.  As he passed by I spoke by saying good afternoon. He looked at me and smiled and returned the greeting. He asked what I was doing there and I shared it with him as I handed him a brochure about our foster care program.  He politely took and reviewed it before slipping it into his bag with his groceries.  He shared with me that he and his wife had children that were grown now and he wished that they could take in some more children but they had purchased a msaller house now that the children had families of their own and he didn’t have an extra bedroom.  He said good bye and reached up and tipped his ballcap to me and as I returned the getsure I noticed his free hand moving to his back pocket.  He takes his wallet out before I can say anthing to him.  As I thank him, but politely share that I can not accept the donation he smiles and wishes me a good day and I do the same to him and he walks out into the parking lot.

Rember the other lady?  Figured you would.  A few minutes later she comes back out of the store her shopping cart filled with two of the small plastic bags that maybe had ten items in them together. Nothing large or overly heavy, but she was older and I can not fault her for using the cart.  She walks past me her eyes intently focused on the parking lot like she is searching for her car that is fifteen feet directly in front of her.  I wish her a good evening but she still doesn’t acknowledge my greeting. She moves past placing the two bags in the back seat of her cadillac.  Then turns to come back to the store with her empty cart.

Now let me stop and set the stage here of where my table is at.  All around the entrance to this particular grocery store are flowers that the store is attempting to sale.  Behind me is a small alcove area of the front of the store where they have set up a patio furniture display. 

Now the lady pushes her shopping cart the fifteen feet across the road. Instead of taking the cart inside the door that is in front of me and returning itt to the rows of carts that are maybe a few feet inside the door she turns slightly and goes behind me.  She pushes the cart up next to one of the patio tables and leaves it there.  She is maybe another five steps from the front door and the other carts.  Now she finally makes eye contact with me, and then quickly looks away as I smile and turn away myself.  I watch her as she returns to her car with that stride of confidence and then drives away.

I wish that I could say that I was making this up.  But why would you need to make up stuff like this when truth is som much more ffun.  Every bit of thsi story is actually true, you just have to decide which type of person you want to be.

The other day I was involved with my small group and we were in the middle of a discussion.  We were discussing some of the pressures that Christians face around the world and also here in the United States. Now while there is no comparision between the two types of persecution, and I hestitanly use the word persecution when referring to Christians here in America.

The discussion covered varying topics, and quickly revovled around the struggles here in the United States as that was the experience of almost everyone in the room.  Many of us never facing persecution as others do in other countries around the world for our faith.  We talked about how it was the standard today that all faiths were protected today in the United States but Christianity.  How it was okay that Christians could be made fun of and that was acceptable. 

As the discussion began to evolve it quickly turned to things like we have the right to freedom, we have the right to this.  And in America we do have all of these religious freedoms, and thank God for those blessings! But that got me to thinking about the difference between priveleges and rights.

Now I firmly believe that one day in America Christians will be openly persecuted like they are in a majority of countries around the world.  But when that time comes and America turns away from the one true God and accepts the God of political correctness, Christians might have a wake up call. 

In America we have freedoms, we have rights, and we have priveleges.  But we have to remember where those freedoms, rights and privleges are coming from.  Those things all come from the Contsitution, the Bill of Rights and the laws of this great country.  And while this country is a blessing from God, and was created by those seeking freedoms to worship God by their choices, it is not a country that is guarnteed by God.

America is by far the best country in the entire world, and I love her.  But I have to remind myself that the things that I have here, while given  by God, are not guarnteed by God.  Which means that at anytime they can be removed.  I am not talking about God’s hand of protection here over the country. I am talking about his hand of protection over his disciplies, his children here in America.  No where in the word of God does it state that we will have the right to free speech, the right of religous freedom, the right to gather and assemble, the right to worship God without the fear of punishment or persecution.

Here is a little seceret the Bible actually says the opposite. It tells us that the world will hate us, because it hated him first.  If you think of America as a shield of protection against persecution, that shield is only as thick as a piece of paper.  The paper that the laws are written on which give us that protection.  It does not take much to destroy or change paper.  And one day when that shield is gone, Christians need to watch that they don’t turn to God and say but yo gave us this freedom.

And he did give it to us, but he doesn’t guarntee it!  It is a privelege and not a right!  The only right that we have is to follow Him. And His life and death was not the American Dream! But all praises be to the Lamb that His life, and His Death were enough for my salvation!

Thank God now for the blessings that we have in America.  But remember that they are only blessings, and such blessings are not guarntees for the disciplies of Christ.

Epilogue

Posted: July 8, 2008 in Faith, Left field
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Some what of an ominuous title huh? Well I am not writing an epilogue on my life, Lord willing that won’t be needed for many more years from now.  The epilogue that I speak of was actually written by a well known man before his own death.

In May of 1785 Benjamin Franklin was concluding his affairs in France and preparing to depart back to America.  He had spent several years in France doing just a litte thing like securing the alliance of France to support the American Revolution, maintaining their continued support as an American Ambassador, and then negotiating the peace treaty between America and Great Britian, which was the firt time that we were acknowledged as a indepedent nation.  Benjamin Franklin had been living in France since 1777 serving his country as an appointed representative. During his time he formed many friendships there that when it came time to return home he had significant relationships to part with.  One of those was David Hartley who had helped him in many of the negotiations between France, Great Britian and outher countries in Europe.  In a letter written to David Hartley Benjamin Franklin wrote ” We were long fellow laborers in the best of all works, the work of peace, I leave you still in the field, but having finished my day’s work, I am going hom to go to bed! Wish me a good night’s rest, as I do you a pleasant evening. Adieu!” Benjamin Frnaklin’s health was failing and he knew that he was in the twilight of his life.  Even though ti would be another five years before his death, and much work yet to be done in forming the government of America he knew that he would not return to France.

Now Benjamin Franklin was not characerizied by history as a devout Christian.  There are many indications that he merley believed that there was a God up there. And it didn’t seem to go much beyond that. Now this great man, might not have been a practicing, believing Christian, but I am a Christian. Now I am no where even a fraction of the great mant hat Benjamin Franklin was, but when I hear his words I can not help but apply his parting words to my life.

I am leaving the field and leaving you behind so that I can go to my final rest.  How awesome that would be to have that said of our lives.  Taht we spent our lives working in the fields of the greatest peace ever, the salvation of Jesus Christ.  Sewing, reaping and harvesting souls to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is an awesome thing to think that I could at the end of my life look back and count myself a faithful worker in the field along side others. When that day comes may that be said of me!

Source: Benjamin Franklin: An American Tail by Walter Issacson

YouTube – star wars snowboard parody. As silly as it might be this is is guite hilarious!