Life Posts

An Ovation for Revenge

Demptser hits ARod

Revenge is alive and well. Especially in baseball. Consider the following tweet from one of the Yankee beat writers:


In case you aren’t a baseball fan, those pitching stats are awful. So why would Ryan Dempster, a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, get a standing ovation? Because he hit Alex Rodriguez with a pitch. As if the Red Sox didn’t already have enough reason to hate Rodriguez, the recent suspension and appeal have added a freight truck of fuel to the fire. He’s received roaring boos from every crowd the Yankees have travelled to play. Last night he also received a very intentional baseball coming to him at 92 miles an hour. (more…)

Can My Daughter Be A Princess of the King?

Disney Princess

One of the weirdest moments in church ministry for me happened in my first year. I was on the student team staff and was the driver for one of our events. That meant that I drove a fifteen passenger church van with another adult co-leader riding shotgun with me. On this particular event, something strange happened: I had a van full of only females. That had never happened before, and as you might imagine, it caused our conversation on that trip to be different than most.

I don’t remember how we got into the discussion but the focus turned to these teenage girls explaining how they were each a “princess of the King.” As I listened to how they were applying this metaphor I realized it can be used in two ways:

  1. to find self esteem and value in the love of Christ
  2. to find a sense of entitlement as someone more special than others

As I listened to the girls talk it sounded to be mainly the second one. So I attempted to thoughtfully challenge them to think through how they were using the metaphor. After all, there is no society where all the women are a princess of the same king. The metaphor by nature implies exclusivity. While some of the ladies were a bit heated in the discussion, I felt good about the dialogue overall.

Until the phone calls started.


The Opportunity of Surprise

golf ball 1 - James Friedmangolf ball 2 - James Friedman

It becomes increasingly easy to manage your reputation and project a false self in our growing world of social media. The me you see is the me I want you to see. Sure, the duality sometimes catches up with people like we’ve seen recently with the unfortunately named former Congressman, Anthony Weiner. But far more often we project what we’d like and nobody is the wiser for it. While the consequences rarely catch up to each person individually, we pay the fee collectively. We see this in a number of areas.

Our lack of trust,

our skepticism,

our avoidance of vulnerability,

our nagging insecurities,

our need to impress others.

You might argue that these are all normal human behaviors. While that is true, our world of technology has sped up our use of them. That’s why we now have a new opportunity unlike ever before: surprise people with what’s on the inside.


The Bark of the Poodle Pt.2


Don’t you love the feeling you get when you are looking for something for a really long time, so long that you’ve given up actively looking for it, and then suddenly you find it? Me too.

Almost a year and a half ago I wrote a post about a quote that I’ve heard my dad say from time to time. It’s been one of those statements that I’ve continued to see the validity of as the years go by.

It is never the doberman who says to the poodle, “I too am a dog.”

The quote captures how insecure people try and convince those around them of what they have while people who are truly secure don’t need to convince you of anything.

My dad had credited C.S. Lewis with the quote but I’d never been able to find it. Until recently that is. As I was reading through A Year With C.S. Lewis this month I came across a passage from his book called The Screwtape Letters. While it doesn’t have this wording exactly, the premise is certainly there. Here is how Lewis explains the idea:


The Legos are Angry

Legoman TattooI recently heard that evidently, our beloved Lego men are angry. Consider the findings from this article:

In a study of 3,655 figures produced between 1975 and 2010, Dr Christoph Bartneck, a robot expert at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, said the manufacturer appeared to be moving towards more conflict-based themes in its toys.

At first, this seems laughable. Our smiling Lego men have turned to angry Lego men? Probably doesn’t mean much. But consider some of the commentary that Bartneck provided as he reflected on the study:

It is our impression that the themes have been increasingly based on conflicts. Often a good force is struggling with a bad one.

The facial expressions are not directly matched to good and evil. Even the good characters suffer in their struggle and the villains can have a smug expression. In any case, the variety of faces has increased considerably.

It boils down to one word: conflict. (more…)

The Smell You Can’t Smell

Watermark Church - Dallas, Texas

Watermark Church (click to zoom)

A handful of us from Central visited six churches in Dallas last week. We were researching building ideas for the next worship center at our Gilbert campus. Two of these churches stood out to me.

One of them, who will remain nameless, left us with a very bad impression. As we walked into their worship center, the aroma of mustiness washed over us. The damp air weighted upon us with a heavy thickness. My mind flashed back to my junior high locker room. Our guide, an executive member of their church staff, proudly showed us around. While we each stole glances of shock from one another, it was apparent our guide didn’t smell anything.

That’s because he was used to it. It was normal. To an outside guest however, nothing was normal about that smell.

Earlier that day we toured another church building. The church was Watermark and featured a cutting-edge design with wood panels all around the walls. This produced a rich smell that brought a feeling of a cabin in the woods or that moment you open a fine humidor of cigars. While we each glanced at the members of our group a pleasant look of surprise stole over our faces. And again, it was apparent our guide didn’t smell anything.