#96. Mondays with Murphy


I often enjoy speaking for my dog. Not on behalf of him, but as if I truly know what is in his mind at a given moment. I usually think it’s hilarious. My wife: not so much. I took this picture today right after saying his name and wondered, “What is he thinking?” Here’s some not so funny things he might have been thinking.

1. My name is Murphy.
2. Can I help you with something?
3. I was in the middle of a great nap, dreaming about a tasty rawhide pig ear.
4. What’s that thing your sticking in my face?
5. Are you leaving?
6. Is it time to get in my kennel?
7. I love sitting on the couch.
8. Please don’t leave!
9. Thanks for lunch & the walk outside.
10. Hurry home!


#95. Ranting Against Raving


Apple Uses Chinese Child Labor to Build iPhone

A friend recently tweeted the link to the following article. I’m not sure whether it was merely an observation on his part or if he falls on either side of the issue, but the subsequent thoughts were my initial reaction. This is an issue I can definitely see both sides of, so opposing views are certainly welcome.

Story about Child Labor in China

This is the global economy at work. Living standards won’t increase everywhere overnight, but our grandparents & great-grandparents often began working long hours in their early teens, and $75/week would have been good money. It’s laughable and naive to think you can apply the same fair labor practices of one of the wealthiest nations on earth to developing countries. If everyone in the world is going to be treated exactly the same, we will all end up a lot closer to 70 cents/day than the luxurious “poverty” level in the U.S. that still affords smart phones, big screen TV’s w/ cable & the convenience of fast food. You can survive on beans & rice. You won’t die without running water. And believe it or not the human race survived for thousands of years without air conditioning. Having the discipline to choose needs over wants is what makes a competent adult instead of a petulant child. It’s not cruel to go without some of these things. Wisdom is living within your means and thanking God for the things you do have.

As an entirely much too lengthy side note, the author of this article thinks it’s “disconcerting” that the workers making iPhones and iPads aren’t capable of owning them. Hello!!! These are luxury items even in the United States! There are probably also many workers who help manufacture yachts and Gulfstream jets that don’t own the product they produce. Go figure. So let’s say you buy an iPhone outright with no incentivized carrier plan for $600. (This is pricey, but it’s about the cheapest you can get even with the current available Chinese labor rates.) But if you want all of those laborers, currently making one dollar per day to be able to afford one, the price must inherently go up. So proportionally let’s assume a person should be making well above $30,000 per year to comfortably afford said iPhone. That translates to $15 per hour (vacation and eight hour work day included). Proportionally this would mean paying $9,000 for an iPhone here in the U.S. Obviously no one would own an iPhone then.

To sum up… China is still a developing country. They are going through the same industrialization pains we went through 100 years ago. Time will progress; conditions will improve. Just like us, the workers will begin to demand government imposed regulations, and eventually if China is lucky, they will become just like the United States where sloth, greed and entitlement reign supreme.

What say you? How much are you offended by the work conditions your Apple products are creating? Enough to boycott the gadgets you love, or just enough to spew some self-righteous indignation?


#94. When God Talks Back


FaithVillage recently asked the question, “What experience recently moved your faith? How did it change you?

FAITH is defined as having confidence or trust in something or someone. As Christians we put our hope and trust in Jesus Christ, believing he is who he said he is, the Son of God and savior from our sins and consequential eternal judgment.

The amount of FAITH I have is in constant flux, and if I’m honest with myself, diminishing more often than I care to admit. We are promised we can do great things, if our FAITH is only the size of a mustard seed. At times even a mustard seed can seem unattainable.

But we are called to press on. So I try to surround myself with kindling for the fire. I obey out of a grateful heart, not to merely check a box but because He first loved me. I place myself under Gospel-centered teaching and leadership. I set up camp within Gospel-centered community. I strive for diligence in consuming His Word and persistence in prayer.

So how has my FAITH recently moved?

Our church began this year with a sharp focus on prayer: ardent, bold, expectant prayer. Prayer corporately for racial reconciliation, the nations and sanctity of life. And prayer personally for our families, communities and individually as we desire to remove the prejudices we have toward anyone that is “different” from us.

Over these past several weeks, I have realized my prayers are often lazy, weak and lacking conviction, if not entirely nonexistent. In light of these realizations, I have begun praying as if God truly has the sovereignty I frequently give lip service to. Just as importantly I am remembering what I have prayed for. My prayer life has often been nebulous and easily forgotten, but praying for very specific circumstances results in God receiving credit for resolved situations rather than just happenstance.

In the past two weeks I have been able to acknowledge God’s direct answers to prayer that may seem small to other people but were huge to me. My FAITH was given a boost simply because I had eyes to see. The opportunity to see an unequivocal correlation between petitioning God, and in these instances, an almost immediate response, has snowballed into an even greater confidence. My wife and I are spending time each night in repeated prayer for a friend’s healing. This friend is facing uncertainty, and we are praying for comfort. We are praying these things with complete assurance that God will ultimately be glorified.

God is not glorified in our begrudging submission. He is glorified in our joy and worship of Him, and how can we not find joy in actively communicating with the God of the universe? How can we not find greater FAITH in an omnipotent being that hears and responds to someone like me?

My FAITH is still in flux, but the net gain is most assuredly positive. He is faithful to complete what he has started. And that is a promise that is sure to move you.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

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#93. Undercover Boss


Theological Thursday is back!

Philippians 2:3-8

3Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than your selves. 4Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

I was reading this passage in Philippians this week, when I realized for the first time: Jesus was the original Undercover Boss. No one has ever given up so much for so little. The God of the entire universe gave up his place in heaven to save sinners: humans, when at our very best are like filthy rags. Incredible!

God’s perfect plan to bring himself infinite glory hinges on becoming a servant and savior to people who have no understanding of our complete and utter worthlessness and instead elevate ourselves to a position of preeminence. How amazing is God’s grace that he would love those who blaspheme, belittle and spit in his face?

I love reading my Bible and seeing things I’ve heard and read dozens of times before in fresh new ways!

Have you ever thought of Jesus as the ultimate undercover boss?


#92. Welcome Back! Welcome Back! Welcome Back!


That’s right, Song of Sloman is back! It’s been almost four months since SOS went off the air. There were a few times that my fingers could simply not be silenced resulting in two or three posts that hopefully found their way to you. But this is a new beginning. At least for a season (and there is really no telling how long the season may be) we are going to focus a little less on quantity and a little more on quality. Obviously I can only guarantee that the quantity will be less; you can be the judge of the quality. The goal will be two or three posts each week. There are sure to still be some Theological Thursdays as well as Philosophical Fridays. we’ll even try to capture some of the extremely elusive Whatchamacallit Weekends.

So let’s get to it. I was gonna jump right back in with a massive tirade about an article I saw concerning Chinese labor practices used in production of Apple’s iPhone and iPad, but I’ll save that for a Friday. Instead, I’d like to kick things off with both feet and talk about argyle or more pretentiously argyll. Specifically argyll socks.

Argyll socks are the pinnacle of undergarment fashion footwear. No other stocking can achieve the complex tapestry of overlapping motifs quite like the signature pattern of the argyll slipper. Argyll allows wearer to seamlessly pull together an expansive pallet of colors into a singular uniform. Varying shades of a single color or diametrically contrasted pigments can all coexist in the argyll sock. The perfect buffer between trouser and shoe: the plain colored sock is forced to simply match the pant, but the argyll can play off the shirt, tie or both.

So I know what you’re asking. “Where can I get some argyle socks? I’m sold, and I need them desperately.” Of course this response is completely valid and natural. I would point you toward my go-to supplier for all my argyle foot-covering needs. Banana Republic. All of these styles come in multiple colors, and you are unlikely to go wrong with any of them. If you are a little tentative, you don’t have to dive right in, just dip your toes. Ask for a pair for Christmas or give a pair as a gift, and watch your friends and family rave about their own experiences. Living vicariously through someone else’s argyle isn’t ideal, but it’s better than living without argyle at all.

Do you wear boring socks, or are you a pioneer on the Argyll Band Wagon?