Saturday, July 16, 2005

Life Principles I Believe #1

I went to work for an organization where the boss was one of the most critical men I ever knew. No one did anything right. Everyone was an idiot. The worst was, I knew full well that if he talked about others in that way to me, he talked about me that way to others. I never trusted him.

I’m not afraid of criticism. I take it well and hope to learn from it. It’s when someone blows off and berates another person, even to his face that makes the critic small in my and everyone’s else’s eyes.

I have always hated the phrase that started, “I have a little constructive criticism for you”. It’s never constructive and I wish they would hold their tongue. I’m not perfect, I can think of several good sound relationships I have damaged by my sharp tongue. I’m now certain there is no such thing as constructive criticism.

To be condemning of another person for their actions is about the same. I learned long ago not to judge. When I see someone do something I don’t understand, I always think of something my old friend Loehle Gast used to say, “treat everyone as if their heart were breaking because in some way or another it probably is”. That’s why the word IDIOT attached to someone for their actions is hard for me. We don’t know or understand their motivations. If someone is late for work, questions not condemnations will accomplish more. If someone steps out of line in a meeting or social situation, be triply forgiving.

The last is a person who complains constantly about things. We are responsible in part for the answer to every prayer we pray. We are responsible in part for a solution as far as we can for every complaint we lodge. I’m not talking about being a doormat. I’m talking about asking, poking, pulling, questioning. When it becomes complaining, it’s too much.

Any fool can criticize, condemn or complain and most fools do. Don’t be a fool. Be supportive, helpful, encouraging and prod for excellence.

In Short:
Don’t be critical to another person
Never condemn another person for what they say or do
Complaining will get you nowhere

Don’t criticize condemn or complain

Why I am not a Moderate

I have been cussed out, harassed and abused about being extremist. I don't think I am but who knows. I don't believe the voice of moderation ever solved anything. This cartoon by a comic strip named CANDORVILLE (which is not written by any means by a conservative) says it all.

I'm tired of people who have no position, don't know what they believe and are unwilling to make unwavering declarations of principle. President Bush, whatever you think of him is considered stubborn. I consider him principled.

I only hope that in the upcoming Supreme Court battle he has the courage to be steady and nominate someone who will separate the men from the boys, even if it's a girl.

Go for it GWB!

Friday, July 15, 2005

A Day that Reigns

It was 3PM Saturday July 16, 1966. I stood in my one decent suit at the front of the chapel. I was 21 years old. I looked back and there was this beautiful woman (girl) of 18. She came up front. My brother John and Sister Carol stood by our sides. Only Pastor Quello seemed to be in charge. The 30 or so guests, family and friends sat quietly. Pastor Quello’s Wife played “Song of Ruth” on the organ. Pastor spoke about staircases in the Winchester house in California that go nowhere. I didn’t recall the point but it was interesting.

Then he asked us if we did. I said yes, she said yes, we did, have done and still do.

Some tears, some laughter, no one knowing exactly what we were about to get ourselves into. We didn’t. It’s lucky love is blind, stupid, trusting and doesn’t know the future. But OH what we would have missed if our better judgment had taken over. Sometimes faith and a plunge is all that separates us from the destiny that beckons us on.

We all went to the Town House motel dining room in Fargo and had dinner. Ben (my new Father in Law who wasn’t sure about this whole thing) bought.

It’s been a journey of 39 years. I’m glad we took it. There were opportunities for detours and station stops where one of us could have got off the train. But being hard headed Germans neither of us know how to say the words, “I give up”.

She has become my best friend, the only one who I can talk to in such intimate terms, a confessor, and a wonderful companion. She is the love of my life, still turns my crank, beautiful in more ways than you could understand, and as I mentioned to Eric in his blog about his 32’nd wedding anniversary yesterday, Proverbs 31 would sell her short.

So, Peggy, Thank YOU. Thanks to Mom and Dad Scheffert for allowing me to steal away their little girl. Thanks to Jesus who really deserves the credit for being the glue that holds us together in hard times, even when we lean into the punch.

Here’s to YOU, No YOU, No YOU.. This is the one argument we have constantly.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Please, I'm a big boy now,, stop protecting me

Right now some lawyer somewhere is making a huge amount of money protecting me. I didn't ask him to. He just did.

STOP, For goodness sake STOP already.

I just spent the better part of an hour trying and failing to do something that should take 4 minutes tops. Replacing a heavy duty 3 prong 15 amp connector on a piece of equipment. Old days, remove top, 3 screws, one's green. Put green wire on green screw, other two on others. Reassemble, plug and go.

Now, for $6.80 at Ace is the Place, a convoluted apparatus designed to make sure no wires ever touch, no water ever gets in, no human can actually assemble this.

I wrecked it. I'm angry and frustrated.

I'll do it again. But, this time, I will pick out the device. Or I'll throw out the machine.

Julie talked about the rush toward infinite safety.

I have only one word for you safety nut lawyers, prison is the safest place to be, why don't you go there? Here, just follow Bernie Ebbers (who is innocent) more on that later.

Now I feel better but I still don't have a machine that works.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Dinner with the Perfect Stranger

I'm looking forward to this.!

I heard an interview with this the author and his description was fascinating. This is going to be big. As big as Jabez. Just watch.

I wish I had written it. I have always believed that our concept of Jesus was far too stiff. There have been attempts to confer human tendencies to him. But, think of the fact that on this earth he was the subject of much conversation, attracted kids, men, enemies.

He was something. He still is.

I know enough to know religious people will hate this portrayal. Too bad. Jesus is fully man and fully God. That's what we confess. Either it's true or we have to cut it out.

So, buy a copy. I will. This should be fun.

Just put your concepts of what Jesus is like in your back pocket. No long hair, flowing robe, slow deliberate speech. Real, insightful, kind, challenging, forgiving, persistent in love,. That's the Jesus I know.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Journalism 101

In today’s Chicago Tribune is a column by Charles Madigan who complains that people (right wing people) hate journalists. That’ bad ol bloggers like me (and maybe you) live parasitically off the reportage of “Journalists”. I beg to differ Mr. Madigan. You don’t make up events. You report them. You live parasitically off events. Where you get into trouble is when you report these events with your own spin.

Let me help you understand this concept.

A dog chased a rabbit across my yard yesterday afternoon. It did not catch it.
ThatÂ’s reporting. The event drives the report. How well you describe the event is journalism.

I saw a flash. A little flash and then a bigger one. The yelp caught me off guard. Rusty, the neighborÂ’s German Shepherd, was in hot pursuit of prey. A bunny rabbit. The little frightened rabbit wove left and then right and with a hop hip-hop disappeared into the weed patch. Rusty sniffed around and soon gave up.
ThatÂ’s better journalism. Word Pictures. Imagery. Descriptive language.

But, thatÂ’s not the journalism that Madigan is defending.

His kind of journalism would say:

Darwin is alive and well. Survival of the fittest prevailed once again. WhereÂ’s your intelligent design in this story? Our neighbor lets his dog run wild. I shouldnÂ’t be surprised. HeÂ’s a republican. Yesterday he trespassed on my yard again for the fifth time. This mongrel was in full pursuit of an innocent wild rabbit. The barking interrupted my reading. I have always felt the underdog had a chance. Soon the aggressive barking dog was bested by superior craft as the rabbit hid in a native planting area we keep as our effort to be environmentally correct. The stupid dog gave up soon. I called the cops and hope they do something about owners who let their dogs run wild. We need better laws. Call your alderman.

ThatÂ’s opinion Journalism. Nothing wrong with the story, except it now has a viewpoint and means itÂ’s fair game to those who take a pot shot at it. And I will. Your opinion and perspective on the event is yours and YOU are subject to being questioned and criticized when you engage in that kind of journalism.

Yellow Journalism (which deserves no quarter) would be:

George Bush has a dog. IÂ’ll bet itÂ’s like the badly behaved dog of the right wing nutcases next door. That stinking mongrel probably is the one who dumps on my lawn all the time. In any case for the 5th time I caught him chasing across my lawn. He was doing what all unfettered wild animals do, chasing a poor defenseless rabbit. We have laws and while the right wing is quick to point out those laws to us when it fits their needs, when their dogs or secretary of defense chase rabbits in Iraq we are supposed to ignore them. What did that rabbit ever do to my neighbors, what did Iraq ever do to us? Yet the dog gave up trying to find the rabbit like we gave up trying to find WMDÂ’s. HeÂ’ll be back. He occupies my lawn like Bush occupies Iraq. HeÂ’s just like that Dog, in fact he is a dog.

So, Mr Madigan. What journalism are you defending? You donÂ’t cause the events you report on. How you report on them is the question.

I have one more piece of news. We like opinion. We like colorful reporting. Just donÂ’t get high and mighty about it. I used to own a news organization (Radio). When I told our news director that his reporting of the news existed to sell advertising he had a fit. But it does. If no one reads you, no ads. So report away, just donÂ’t get all haughty about who or what you are. YouÂ’re a beat reporter with an opinion. That's all.

I posted this column here too for those who don't yet have a free subscription to the Chicago Tribune. You should, it's painless.

I recieved a nice email from Mr Madigan to whom I had forwarded this link. He is the editor in chief of the Chicago Tribune ( I think). The nicest thing he said was that you and I as bloggers are into something very interesting indeed. I agree. But for those who read this who write for news organizations, don't give up. I confessed to Mr. Madigan (who calls himself Charlie) that I knew nothing about journalism except as a consumer. I guess consumin makes us all experts, right???

Monday, July 11, 2005

People Screwing up America

Bernard Goldberg has written a book, The 100 People Who are Screwing up America. Below is his list. I confess, there are several I don’t know and there are a few I disagree with. But, I agree in spades with several. I think the fact that some people are seen by others as damaging to our culture should give us pause. I know my liberal friends will have a different list. That’s what makes a horserace. I offer my agreement or comment to the side. If you want, copy this and make your own. I must be ignorant of the left wing nuts. I only know 4 of the top ten.

1. · Michael Moore .............In spades, Entertainers shouldn’t pontificate
2. · Arthur Sulzberger
3. · Ted Kennedy ....................Go away, please, please please
4. · Jesse Jackson ..................Harmless little guy
5. · Anthony Romero
6. · Jimmy Carter ..................HUH? Jimmy's ok
7. · Margaret Marshall
8. · Paul Krugman
9. · Jonathan Kozol
10. · Ralph Neas
11. · Noam Chomsky
12. · Dan Rather .......................Arrest Him, oh they did? ok
13. · Andrew Heyward
14. · Mary Mapes
15. · Ted Rall
16. · John Edwards ......................No Crime to be a Phony, is there?
17. · Al Sharpton ..................I like Al, we need him in Conservativille for comic relief
18. · Al Gore .............................Who Cares
19. · George Soros ............ a bad guy, I agree in spades, deport him and his cash
20. · Howard Dean ..........................I think Dean is essential
21. · Judge Roy Moore ...............................WHAT?
22. · Michael Newdow
23. · The Unknown American Terrorist
24. · Lee Bollinger
25. · James Kopp
26. · Dr. Martin Haskell
27. · Paul Begala
28. · Julian Bond................... Didn’t used to be, is now really over the top
29. · John Green
30. · Latrell Sprewell
31. · Maury Povich......................... But his wife is nice
32. · Jerry Springer .........................Yes, enough already
33. · Bob Shrum
34. · Bill Moyers...................................Yep, left wing self rightoutsness
35. · Jeff Danziger
36. · Nancy Hopkins
37. · Al Franken ...............................Out of his element, always dangerous
38. · Jim McDermott
39. · Peter Singer
40. · Scott Harshbarger
41. · Susan Beresford
42. · Gloria can you be mean to a playboy bunny?
43. · Paul Eibeler
44. · Dennis Kozlowski
45. · Ken Lay..............................Proof that Positive thinkins isn't always postive
46. · Barbara Walters.........................Saturday Nite Live had her right
47. · Maxine Waters............a case of people get the representation they deserve
48. · Robert Byrd.............................Shakes Rattle and Rolls
49. · Ingrid Newkirk
50. · John Vasconellos
51. · Ann Pelo
52. · Markos Moulitsas
53. · Anna Nicole Smith ..............................Is it wrong to be stupid and fat?
54. · Neal Shapiro
55. · David Westin
56. · Diane Sawyer.....................................AWWWW come on, Diane?
57. · Ted Field
58. · Eminem............................................I like his music, does that make me bad?
59. · Shirley Franklin
60. · Ludacris
61. · Michael Savage................................Wheat or Chaff, you decide
62. · Howard Stern .................................This one I really agree with.
63. · Amy Richards
64. · James Wolcott
65. · Oliver Stone..............So Ollie, who really killed Princess Di, J Harvey Oswald?
66. · David Duke.................................What about his basketball team
67. · Randall Robinson
68. · Katherine Hanson
69. · Matt Kunitz
70. · Jimmy Swaggart ....................Why??
71. · Phil Donahue.............don't speak ill if the dead, he's not dead yet, not dead yet?
72. · Ward Churchill ..................................This guy is dangerous
73. · Barbara Kingsolver
74. · Katha Politt
75. · Eric Foner
76. · Barbara Foley
77. · Linda Hirshman
78. · Norman Mailer...........................Tilt, long ago, bye bye, love ya
79. · Harry Belafonte ..........................He sang about bananas, now he is
80. · Kitty Kelley..........................Her new book, I lie all the time!
81. · Tim Robbins.......... people that take him seriously are too dumb to matter
82. · Laurie David
83. · The Dumb and Vicious Celebrity
84. · The Vicious Celebrity
85. · The Dumb Celebrity
86. · Chris Ofili
87. · Sheldon Hackney
88. · Aaron McGruder
89. · Jane Smiley
90. · Michael Jackson......................We get a freak show and didn't even pay a dime
91. · Barbara Streisand..................Her initials say it all
92. · Kerri Dunn
93. · Richard Timmons
94. · Guy Velella
95. · Courtney Love..............................Earth callling space, come in space
96. · Eve Ensler
97. · Todd Goldman
98. · Sheila Jackson Lee.........................see number 47
99. · Matthew Lesko ..............................I agree, something for nothing is dumb
100 · Rick and Kathy boyfriend Rick sings Springtime in Paris

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Report I Promised

This has to do with things I promised I would report on after my drive to Columbus Ohio and the Pastor’s conference.

Gasoline prices.
I paid $2.13 & $2.26. OK, I failed to find $1.99 anywhere. Bad weekend. But believe me, the price of Gas is plus or minus 20% of $2 for the next few years. That’s called a trading range. We’re in it for a long time. No breakout in sight.

The Pastor’s conference.
This was the 4th time I have attended this conference with these people. Attendance was lighter than I expected. There has been some attrition. I don’t know if that means much. It’s not unusual to have some retrenching after a strong growth curve. There are some Pastors I have come to know thru all this that I really appreciate. There are a few others who I steer clear of.

The fact is, I have seen the soft underbelly of the Church for 30 years. I have been fortunate/unfortunate to have very personal relationships with several Pastors. I am always astounded by God’s sense of humor in the kind of people he chooses to do his work. I’m more astounded that it gets done.

Some of the best Pastors and leaders I know have been thru hell in their personal lives. Terminal diseases, Terminal marriages, rebellious kids, Church failures, personal failures. I came to know Jim Bakker personally. He is a sterling representation of the kind of failure and renewal God can use.

This doesn’t make any of them less of a man of God. It does make them real. It does soften them for the pain of others.

God has a wonderful way of taking our agenda’s and crushing us. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan or have dreams. We should. We just need to be aware as it says in the book of James: don’t say tomorrow we will go to this city and do that business, rather say, if it be God’s will we will do this or that. (Gene Redlin Paraphrase).

So, even with all the failure, stupidity, egos, pretense, phony baloney, God is still God. And, he wants us to be real with one another.

I love the Church, I love the Body of Christ, I’m frustrated by both, often. But, if Jesus died for her, I have no vote. That’s good enough for me. I’ll do my best to be part of her, to encourage her, to build her, to support her, to lead her.

Anything less is less than God’s best. I’m proud to be among them, failures and all.

Call me Gypsy

This has been making the rounds:

Bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...
(I haven't yet figured out how to underline, so Blue = Lived in)

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C. /

This little gig above has made the rounds of Blogs I read. I have been hesitant to make this report. For one reason or another I travel a great deal. When I was 35 this list was much much shorter. Very few of my travels have been vacation. Most of it has been visiting friends, relatives, business and hunting.

So, I have been to all 48 and Hawaii. I’m much older than most of the bloggers I read. That’s why
I’ve been everywhere, man
(country song).

If I have learned ONE thing by all this travel it's that everything is a trade off. There is no good or bad place, just different. And, people are pretty much decent everywhere I’ve ever lived (even internationally). And if you dropped most resourceful people I know in by helicopter anyplace they could speak the language, they would survive and prosper. That's confidence that comes from experience. Step out and explore. But remember who you are and where you came from.