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Archive for March, 2010

FOOLISHNESS AND WISDOM

CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper and comedian Cheech Marin of Cheech and Chong faced off on Celebrity Jeopardy last week.

Now Anderson Cooper is one of those people who seem very  . . . well . . . wise and knowledgeable.  I mean he tells us what’s happening in the world, right?  And I have no doubt he is an intelligent man.  On the other hand, Cheech Marin, or at least the character he plays, is best known for being a slacker.  He plays the fool, not exactly an academic type. 

I don’t know that this is exactly a paradox, but it is certainly ironic, that last week on national TV, the slacker beat the newsguy quite handily.  And Anderson Cooper felt pretty foolish. (more…)

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Goals     Objectives

A Mission Statement   A Vision

Business plans   Action plans

You’re nothing in this world today if you don’t have one of these.  Some would say you’re not being productive or effective if you’re operating without one! 

Well, it’s a good idea to have some kind of a vision or mission statement to focus your efforts especially when working with a group of people who may have a lot of personal agendas going different directions.  But there is a danger in getting too obsessed with future plans of action; they can be an excuse for not doing what needs to be done today.  And besides that, some goals and missions, in fact probably the best and most meaningful ones, are instinctive and internalized and don’t even need to be verbalized or written down. (more…)

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SLAVE AND FREE

There is probably no condition that divides humanity more sharply that the line between those who are enslaved and those who are free.  You can detect this distinction on the faces of those who are transitioning from one to the other.  You can see the relief on the faces of those who are declared innocent at the end of a trial where they faced possible imprisonment.  You can see the joy on the faces of those who are liberated from the terror of being held against their will perhaps in a foreign country as they are reunited with family members they didn’t know if they would see ever again.  When I was a seminary student I volunteered at the county jail every Wednesday night with a lady from our church and I saw first hand the look on the faces of those who were being released from custody.

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Today in our Gospel we have the most loved of all of the stories Jesus told:  “The Parable of the Older Brother.”  I suppose you know it as “The Parable of the Prodigal Son.”   I suspect this is because it is many of us can identify with the prodigal son – the one who ran away.   We see ourselves as people who have come to our senses, as people, who, while we may have wandered away from home every now and then we have, in the last analysis, finally got it all together.   We see ourselves as people who are at last on the right track by God’s grace. (more…)

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How long would you hang on to an appliance in your house that didn’t work?

How long would you stick to a diet if you weren’t losing any weight?

If you owned a business, how long would you employ someone who wasn’t doing the job?

I’m sure our answers would vary a little bit depending on how patient we are.  But we would all agree that there would come a time when we would have to throw a useless machine out, try a new approach to weight loss, or fire a lazy employee. (more…)

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SURRENDER AND VICTORY

I enjoyed watching the Olympics.  It’s entertaining and inspiring to see athletes confront many challenges and obstacles and complete at such a high level.  With a record 37 medals, many of our US athletes obviously overcame these obstacles and beat out their similarly trained and motivated opponents.   And they did not do this by giving up! (more…)

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There is an old children’s rhyme that goes:

The Hen roosted high on her perch;
Hungry Fox down below, on the search,
Coaxed her hard to descend
She replied, “Most dear friend!
I feel more secure on my perch.”

And the moral is Beware of interested friendships. 

The fox and the hen are famous enemies.  We all know that when a situation is described as the fox guarding the chicken coop, it’s not good.  (more…)

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