Thursday, August 16, 2012

Can We Compromise on Compromise?

This is a little more political than I tend to get, but this is something I need to say. First, I open with a comic from one of my favorites, Dan Piraro at Dan and I do not always completely agree on everything, but I know if I sat down with him we could have a polite and respectful conversation in spite of our differences. He really nailed it with this comic:

Image copyright Dan Piraro at
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides us this:
com·pro·mise noun ˈkäm-prə-mīz
1a: settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions
1b: something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things
2: a concession to something derogatory or prejudicial

Lately, in the political arena compromise has become a dirty word. It means caving in. Giving up your principles. Letting the bad guys have their way. Proving you have become a spineless flip-flopper. Yes, this is one definition of compromise. #2 on Merriam-Webster's list. But there is another...

What we need is more of definition #1. The settlement of differences. In a divided organization, the solution lies somewhere in between the two extremes. Without sitting down and talking, without everybody giving up something for the greater good, nothing will change. This is fine when it is in your best interest politically to maintain the status quo, but virtually no one with any intelligence would look at our country today and say we are on a perfect course and no corrections are necessary.

There are some hard issues, and I understand they will be extremely difficult to work through to everyone's satisfaction. But, because someone is on the opposite side of you for a  hard issue does not mean that talking to them on other issues is a compromise (#2). In fact, politicians owe it to their constituents and to the nation to move the country forward. Unless we all agree 100%, this will require some of compromise #1.

Do people really want this kind of complete lack of communication between the parties? Does anyone really believe that is the best way to get us out of the mess we are in?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Catching Up

Well, a lot has happened since my last post. I've become a little more separated from the mainstream church, although I cannot seem to get away from semi-regular attendance and even participation in the Sunday worship. But it is OK. I still believe in the mission of the church, but I have a hard time focusing on that mission for myself, and achieving by participation via the medium of the church. Some of this can be explained in a comment I posted over on this morning, and it included this paraphrase form the Lord Of the Rings, along with the intro:

This discussion brought to mind a short excerpt from near the end of the Lord of the Rings. Forgive me if you are unfamiliar with this book. What you need to know is that these two have literally been through hell on earth together, but one received a grievous wound, and must leave to a place of healing where the other cannot follow. Also I changed the name of their homeland (the Shire) to “the church”
Sam: ‘I thought you were going to enjoy the church, too. for years and years, after all you have done.’
Frodo: ‘So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the church, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.
I really like this a lot, but it does sound like I feel I am more persecuted than I am. I tend to think that many Christian sub-groups in this country, especially politically conservative evangelicals, go a little overboard with the whole persecution complex. Still, I do feel that I have done my best to support the greater organization all the while knowing that it was not going to really help me where I needed to be helped. But it does seem to be what God is calling me to to right now, so who am I to argue?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reflecting His Light

I was watching a TED video‡ last night, and a guy (John Lloyd) was talking about invisibility. Not like Harry Potter's magic cloak, just real things that we cannot see. For example, he said "we can see matter, but we can't see what's the matter." Mostly this was a funny 10 minutes of quips and word plays that just make you think and smile. Another interesting one was that we can't see what we don't know. Hmmm. This was culminated with him rhetorically asking the crowd: "What's the point?" ("of this lecture" was implied, but not spoken).

OK, speaking of the point, what's my point? One of Lloyd's interesting notes was about light. Light is invisible until it hits something. In complete darkness, you can shine a flashlight across a room, and you will not see the beam except where it impacts the far wall. (If you can see the beam midair, it is dust, so clean your house and then try it again ;-)

Jesus offered some important ideas about Himself, ourselves, and light. In John 8:12 Jesus said “I am the light of the world.” Bringing this into our flashlight discussion, it is interesting that this light will not be seen unless it reflects off something. What will it reflect off, you ask? People, of course. Followers of Jesus. We are the ones who illuminate the way for others. We don't do it alone, of course, since we are not the Source of the light. Yet as God has constructed this world, we are a necessary part of the cycle. Jesus→Light→Believers→The World, then from the world there are more believers.

Jesus had more instructions using light as a metaphor. In Matthew 5:14 he went so far as to say
"You are the light of the world ... let your light shine before others." Wow, so now believers are even the source of the light themselves. I'm not willing to say we are the ultimate source, but let's say a local source for our area of influence in the world. More than just the source though, we are the actual light that illuminates the way for others. Without us, the world will remain in darkness. Maybe you have a really bright family room or kitchen table, but it cannot stop there. There are so many dark places in the world, some of them right under our noses. Not everyone is cut out for third world mission trips:

  • Your workplace might need your light
  • Your local supermarket might need your light
  • Your church might need your light
  • Your kids' sports team, scout troop, or other secular organization might need your light
All of these start with "Your" because these are place you already go on a regular basis. Make sure that you bring your light, and shine you light every time you are there.


‡ TED shows very cool short videos by amazing people on all kinds of topics. You won't be disappointed:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Help out Ross

So, my Texas friend Ross King has a Christmas album out. Just in time for the holidays. You can have a listen and even buy it during the pre-release sale now. What a bargain!

Visit his website for all the details.