May With C.S. Lewis

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

This month is a bit late… but better late than never! Here are my favorite quotes from the assorted C.S. Lewis books that are covered in the month of May in the book. I’ll begin with a section that I use when I do a funeral for someone.

On the one hand Death is the triumph of Satan, the punishment of the Fall, and the last enemy. Christ shed tears at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane: the Life of Lives that was in Him detested this penal obscenity not less than we do, but more. On the other hand, only he who loses his life will save it. We are baptised into the death of Christ, and it is the remedy for the Fall. Death is, in fact, what some modern people call ‘ambivalent’. It is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which He conquered.

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A Tale of Two Waiters

waiterI had dinner out with friends two nights in a row this past week. Both were nice restaurants where you’d expect great customer service. But only one delivered. Here’s how it played out.

The first night, our waiter had two noticeable habits. The first, which was unique to him above any server I’ve ever had, is that instead of grabbing a plate to clear the table he would hold out his hand in front of it. He did this to each of us and it took us each a moment to figure out what he was doing. We eventually realized he was waiting for us to hand our plates to him. While this is hard to describe with words on a blog post, I can do a killer impression of him in person.

The second thing this waiter did is to ask us every time our glass was empty if we wanted a refill. And every single time he got the exact same answer. What is he afraid of? That I’d suddenly realize I had a plethora of Dr. Pepper in my glass and look for someone to take it out on? If my glass is empty, fill it. You can make that call on your own. (more…)

Do You Have Truth Blinders?

John F Kennedy“He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.” John F. Kennedy

Consider the above quote from John F. Kennedy about the significance of young people. There is something intrinsically true we know about it even if we don’t personally know a lot of young people. It’s the kind of statement that you hear and then it resonates with your own life experiences and observations. Young people are the future.

Now consider that John F. Kennedy never said that.

But you know the person who did.

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What We Talk About When We Talk About God

Rob Bell

While Rob Bell’s latest book doesn’t have the shortest title, it quickly became one of my favorites of what he’s written. Unlike his last book (Love Wins) which I think was written more for the hype, this book challenges the reader to think through the ways in which we think of God. For most people, this is a discipline they’ve never really spent the time on. But as Bell develops, this is a great challenge for us not only in our own journey with God but also in the way we share Him with others.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

What We Talk about When We Talk about God - Rob BellLike a mirror, God appears to be more and more a reflection of whoever it is that happens to be talking about God at the moment.

Explain how that particular song moves you. Articulate why you fell in love with that person. Provide data for the manner in which that meal with those friends made your soul soar. Most of the things in life we’re most sure of, many of those events and experiences that are more real to us than anything else, lots of sensations we have no doubt actually happened—these are things we cannot prove with any degree of scientific validity. (more…)

How Walmart Can Make You Better

Walmart

According to these statistics, Walmart has more than $400 billion dollars in sales each year. They employ more than 2 million people. They make more than $34,000 every MINUTE.

Yet that isn’t what impresses me most.

I recently read that 90% of Americans live within 15 minutes of a Walmart!

Regardless of your view of Walmart as a company, they are shockingly efficient at spreading their brand. Imagine if you set out today to get a new store within just 50% of people in America. How daunting of a challenge! Yet Walmart has done this for almost everyone in America. Imagine what it takes to pull this off. How much success, how much strategic planning, and how many years of execution. It’s a daunting accomplishment.

I wonder how we’d live and work more deliberately if we set out to accomplish something this audacious. Maybe you aren’t launching new storefronts. But I bet there is some crazy dream inside you that you feel embarrassed even to say out loud.

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Do You Have an Aversion to Vulnerability?

Vulnerability - AZ 127

A preface: this post is more personal than normal. As W.B. Yeats once famously wrote,

“But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

My wife Michelle and I have been on an interesting journey this year beginning the process of foster care. We had filmed a video about a month ago telling our story and this weekend we attended our first training. We are now praying about the ages/situations of children we will make ourselves open to receive from the state. When we tell people about what we are doing we get some pretty crazy looks. If it helps, know that we give ourselves crazy looks during these conversations. The specfics of this weekend’s discussion over dinner had an extra dose of craziness.

Michelle made an interesting observation I had never considered. We first pursued fostering two months after we moved to a rental house (which we were less than excited to move into). That’s a different story, but we never set out to rent. We had lived in two different houses we owned before that. But Michelle commented that living in a house which is obviously not ours made it easier to embrace children that might not be ours either. Even as she said it I thought about how vulnerable that sounded.

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