A Man Named Ralph

sausage mcmuffin with egg - mcdonald's

Part of this post is difficult for me to even write out. For those of you who know me well, I’ve never been a fan of McDonald’s. It isn’t because I’m super health conscious (I eat out at plenty of other fast food places), it’s just that I’ve never liked the taste of their food. Or the way you feel afterward.

But that’s all changed.

I’ve found that I’m slightly in love with their Sausage McMuffin with Egg.

I still don’t like eating their other food. But these sandwiches are an amazing way to start your day. As a result, my wife and I have made a few trips to McDonald’s during mornings the last few weeks. Even though McDonald’s has their food service down to a science, they haven’t impressed me with their customer service.

With the exception of one guy named Ralph.

I’d guess Ralph is in his early 70′s. He works the first window where you pay. And this guy is friendly. I mean the sort of friendly where you think he’s totally turning it on only to realize that it’s genuine. Then you are blown away by it. Then you realize you want to have a conversation with him. Then you realize you are at the first window of a McDonald’s. This guy is so remarkably unusual that even my four year old Gavin, sitting in one of the very back seats of our minivan, notices when he’s not there.

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The Bark of the Poodle Pt.2

dogs

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:

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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…)

June With C.S. Lewis

Year with C.S. LewisThis post is part of my series through A Year with C.S. Lewis.

Here are my favorite quotes from the assorted C.S. Lewis books that are covered in the month of June in the book. This month’s reading seemed to focus on Lewis’ ideas about the power of God in transforming us into who He made us to be. Very cool to think about and is definitely something we need to be reminded of more often.

The first fact in the history of Christendom is a number of people who say they have seen the Resurrection. If they had died without making anyone else believe this ‘gospel’ no gospels would ever have been written.

And that is precisely what Christianity is about. This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there is a rumour going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.

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What Christians Can Learn from Vultures

I don’t think it’s any secret that Christians these days have a PR problem. That’s why one of my questions I ask each person in my Off the Record interviews is about whether we should find a new word to describe ourselves. The word Christian is tainted for many people.

Now consider another tainted word: vulture. Odds are high you imagine a repulsive, scary creature you’d prefer to avoid. But consider the following story in this video.

Pretty amazing how easy this video, and the article that explains it, challenges a strongly established preconception. I believe the transition happens when we change our view from an offensive creature to a creature with needs like everyone else (and vulnerable like everyone else). When we are able to see what they contribute instead of what they threaten. Here are a couple of the quotes that stood out to me: (more…)

A Tough Question

I’m doing a bit of book research here. There’s a question I ask in the book I’m working on that I originally assumed most people agreed about. After showing initial versions to some people and through a few conversations I’ve realized there are a variety of perspectives on it. This question applies to anyone reading this who considers themselves a Christian.

If I could prove to you (and you believed me with certainty) that God didn’t exist, would it change the way you live? If so, how?

I’d love to hear why you would say yes or no in the comment section below. If you answer yes, please explain which areas in particular you would change.