#108. L’eggo My Ego

MuyImportante

 Long time no see. You may notice a slightly different feel to the blog. I was recently forced to move all of my content here to WordPress.com when Posterous.com closed down on April 30th. The web address hasn’t been updated yet, but I may work on it this weekend.

Anyway, I came across a tweet today that linked to a fascinating article including satellite time-lapse videos over the past 30 years. Here is the link followed by my somewhat aggressive thoughts. What are yours?

Human Impact Article

I love the ego of human beings to think we have such a massive impact. If you’re not a bible thumper and believe in evolution, then by extension you believe that the earth has transitioned through ice ages and warm ages quite successfully time and time again for millions of years. You should logically and rightly conclude that humans are a small and insignificant part of that.

I contend “Environmentalists” who have worked themselves into frenzy over the microscopic sampling over the past 50 years are not at all concerned about the planet’s well being. The planet has shown more than capable of taking care of itself. “Environmentalists” are more correctly concerned with self-preservation & maintaining, or more accurately manipulating, the status quo, which we are slowly beginning to realize we have no real power to do. We cannot reverse or even slow the effects of “global warming”, because we likely had little if any role in this particular occurrence of it.

If you are a Bible thumper, which I wish I was worthy of being called and actually aspire to, I might suggest we do a better job of stewarding what God has entrusted to us. Trashing the planet regardless of its ability to sustain and repair itself is a poor biblical view of what God has given. Oddly enough it seems like both sides might be on the wrong side of the argument.

Perhaps this could be a great lesson in humility for everyone. For everyone: our fleeting insignificance in respect to time and the universe. For the believer: our simultaneous infinite worth, because of God’s great love and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Your thoughts?

#107. Turn, Turn, Turn

U_turn

Things have been crazy the past few weeks at my work and the past couple months for my wife at her work. (She’s a teacher, so the beginning of the school year is always hectic.) And we bought a house this summer, and before that we were looking for a house, and before that I was blogging consistently. But that was all the way back in February and March. After churning out over 100 posts in a year, I’ve been trying to re-motivate myself to jump back into the blogosphere with more regularity. Maybe this Theological Thursday will help “kick things off”, but probs not, but maybs yes. Anyway…

We’ve been having a tremendous season of transparency and growth recently in our church small group. I’m confident the later is a direct result of the former, and while I don’t always model this perfectly as the group leader, I appreciate the other men who have stepped up to the challenge.

Many of our guys are taking advantage of our break-out sessions, when the men and women split up at the end of our meetings, as a time for confession, prayer, and forgiveness. We had some great dialogue this past weekend about repentance… what it means and what it looks like. We often hear that repentance is changing our actions after admitting we are going the wrong way. We are called to confess and repent, to turn away and even run from the sin or temptations leading to sin. But where are we turning to? Where are we running to? Are we running to distractions? Are we running to other temptations? Or are we running to Christ?

We concluded Sunday night that it is much less important what you are running from than what you are running to. In a concerted effort to strive for purity and holiness, many of us in the group are working to memorize scripture (one or two bible verses each week). This is not an attempt to somehow earn our salvation or right-standing with God but a grace-driven effort and understanding that keeping God’s Word in our heart and mind through the week, is a proactive way to combat the sin and selfishness that we often fall in to. There is no magic bullet to quit pride, selfishness, fear, or anxiousness cold turkey, but we’ve been give tools for the long process of sanctification and a promise that He will be faithful to complete what He began.

So if we are not running directly to God, we are running to something else. What are you running to?

P.S. We are using the Navigators’ Topical Memory System. Check it out here.

#106. Two of My Closest Friends are Doctors

Dr_martens

Joe Pa has been the headline here at Song of Sloman for far too long. It’s time for some fresh blood and time for a product plug.

Let me introduce you to some dear friends…

We’ve known each other for, what, 13 years now? Wow! It really does seem like just yesterday. I remember it pretty clearly. It was just a few days before Picture Day my junior year of high school. The first time I saw you guys was at the mall. I was unsure and timid, visiting several times, just sort of casually walking by. Thinking back on it, I guess you could say I was sort of stalker-ish, but we didn’t have Facebook back then, so what was I suppose to do?

I finally got up the courage to walk into the store and say “hello.” It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. You were both very kind and immediately made me feel comfortable. I guess I really never told you how much I obsessed over you before we finally met. Glad we are way past that now.

Anyway, I guess you could say we’ve always sort of had an “on-again, off-again” type relationship. You can be tough and smothering at times, and occasionally I just need space and time to breathe. But you’ve always been there for me when I needed you most… on a cold winter day or when work gets hard and I need extra protection. You never question my motives. You’ve never once put unrealistic expectations upon me or made ridiculous demands. You are flexible, yet still strong and supportive. That’s what I love about you guys most.

Thanks for always being there Dr Martens boots. I hope I’ve been as good a friend to you as you’ve been to me.

#105. Moral Failure

Joepa

I think it might finally be time. It’s been almost five months since the story broke, and I’ve often considered what I might say when I finally began writing. I wanted to allow time for the facts to come to light… to give every benefit of the doubt.

It’s been two months since Joe Paterno died. The legendary Hall of Fame Penn State football coach of nearly 46 years with 409 wins and 5 undefeated teams died of lung cancer amidst scandal and controversy. The questions I’ve pondered over and flip-flopped on these past months have been: “What is Joe Paterno’s legacy?” and “Does the good out weigh the bad?”

I saw a recent quote that read: “Integrity is not a 90 percent thing, not a 95 percent thing; either you have it or you don’t.”

That seems pretty harsh when applied to Joe Pa’s situation, but the fact that Joe spent decades coaching and teaching young people about doing things the “right way” to mess up in one very big way only further proves this statement true.

Joe Pa and Penn State apologists can argue ‘til they are blue in the face that Joe fulfilled every “legal” requirement in reporting what he knew to the “proper” authorities. They can argue that Joe was shielded from the full extent of what Mike McQueary had seen and heard happening with Sandusky and a 10 year-old boy in the locker-room showers, that out of respect for the elderly Paterno, he wasn’t told about the graphic nature of the sexual abuse. But let’s be real. If you are more concerned about old Joe’s reputation and feelings than the irreparable damage done and lives forever changed by being assaulted by Gary Sandusky, you better check yourself. This was an act, or rather inaction, of complete moral failure on the part of Joe Paterno for which his legacy will rightly be forever tarnished.

The apologists who argue Joe was too fragile to properly and competently handle this situation are the same who will also argue he was completely competent and capable of continuing to steer the course of the multi-million dollar franchise that is Penn State Football. You can’t have it both ways. Either he had no business coaching and should have had the humility and dignity to step down when asked years earlier, or he was culpable and bore a degree of responsibility for failing to protect children from a known pedophile.

So at the end of his career (and coincidentally his life) was Joe Paterno just an incompetent and ignorant old man, or was he still a strong leader with conviction who chose to look the other way and shirk responsibility in what happened to be a defining moment of weakness and disgrace? It’s one or the other. Taken to the extreme, was Paterno an inept relic past his prime or a skilled motivator enabling a rapist? What say you?

Wisdom would have us learn a valuable lesson about integrity and character from a great man who had more influence than you or I will ever have and made a mistake bigger than we will likely ever make.

Update: I don’t want to take anything away from the massive good that Joe Paterno did for countless people. He deserved credit for all the good, but he was also responsible for the bad.

#104. A Perfect Day

Logo_wordperfect-edit

Yesterday was a perfect day. March always brings with it madness and spring break. But since my wife is a teacher, I took the day off to spend with her and help kick-start the later. We slept in, and after finding gnats and maggots in the airtight flour containers, ran to the store to buy supplies to make brunch at home. It was delicious. The weather was absolutely fabulous here in north Texas, 80 degrees and sunny, so we decided outdoor activities were a must. We took a bike ride that lasted a couple hours. Then we took our loyal canine companion, Murphy, for a walk. We stopped by Sonic and spent time at the park sitting in the grass and reading. We then played some tennis, came home, took a nap and rounded out the evening by making homemade meat loaf, mashed potatoes and “from-scratch” rolls. Everything was delectable. We even invited a good friend over to help with the consumption and conversation. All in all it was a perfect day! But that got me thinking… what other days have I thought, “This is perfect.”?

In no particular order except the first… My wedding day, any given day on our honey moon at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, any given day on this past summer’s all-you-can-eat Alaskan cruise, and this one weekend I was home from college and had Feed Store (my favorite soup & sandwich shop), Baskin Robbins (my grandparents owned one when I was a little kid), and Taco Bell (Chalupas & Grilled-Stuffed Burritos – Are you kidding me!) all in one day (It was epic).

I’ve realized there is a strong correlation between how I feel about the successfulness of a day and the food partaken of during it. Good to know. This information should be of use to increase the frequency of “Perfect Days”.

Have you ever had a “Perfect Day”? What made it “perfect”?

 

#103. What’s So Funny?

Groin_shot_11

I was contemplating what makes something funny. I think it can be boiled down to just five categories. I spent minutes and minutes racking my brain, but I’m fairly certain this list is exhaustive.

#1. Something unfortunate happening to someone who is not you.

            Examples: Irony, stupidity, falling down, being insulted, loosing money, and getting hit in the groin.

#2. Cursing (probably becasue one of the aforementioned things happened). Cursing made the list, because some people find it humorous. I don’t, because my mom reads this blog. Cursing is bad.

#3. Puns and sarcasm, which may correlate to irony or insults.

#4. Talking in weird voices.

#5. Varying degrees of flatulence and other inappropriately timed bodily functions.

I can’t seem to think of a single funny thing that doesn’t fit into one of these groups. Am I missing something? Please share with the rest of the class.

WARNING: If something doesn’t fit into one of these categories, it probably isn’t funny.

 

#102. Lent and Other Fluff

Lint

Everyone knows about Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday is that special time each year that gluttony, drunkenness, and every other vile form of debauchery is accepted and even encouraged, and if you’re “lucky” enough to celebrate in New Orleans, even minimum amounts of indecent exposure really isn’t that indecent. But what is Mardi Gras? The reality is that it’s the immediate precursor to Lent. So what is Lent? Lent is described as the 40 day period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. I know what you’re thinking. I thought the same thing. That’s time period is more than 40 days. It’s actually 46 days, but Sundays don’t count. BOOM!

Our church is placing some emphasis on Lent this year… not as some sort of works based salvation, but as a designated time to empty ourselves of lesser things so that we might be filled with greater things of the Gospel. I’ve never previously observed Lent, but I’ve decided between today and Friday, April 6th I will abstain from soda. Aside from the health benefits, it’s my hope that a conscious temporary change in behavior might serve as a physical reminder for the desired posture of my heart.

Since we are on the topic of goal setting, I thought I might throw out a few other ideas I’ve been kicking around recently. I’m still trying to think through how realistic some of these objectives are, but here is what I’m thinking: In the past seven months I’ve lost 25 pounds, and I completed my fourth half marathon in December! So how can I leverage some of that momentum toward achieving some new milestones?

In just 18 months I will turn 30 years old. By that time August 24, 2013, I would like to:

  1. Have completed my 5th half marathon (13.1 miles).
  2. Have completed my 1st sprint triathlon (500 meter swim, 12 mile bike, 5 K run).
  3. Have completed my 1st MS150 (150 mile, 2 day bike ride).
  4. Bench press 230 lbs. (lifted 215 in college 8 years ago)
  5. Dunk a basketball for the 1st time!

Are you observing Lent this year? Have you in the past? Do you have any long-term physical goals?