Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quote of the Day

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
-Abraham Lincoln

Friday, March 20, 2009

pearls before swine

Oblivion must be an incredibly
comfortable place to be.

I say "no comment".
And my heart pounds.

What about the obvious?
Are you so blinded?

You're the one who said 100%.
Not me.

You're all a bunch of whores.
Guys and girls alike.
Young and old.

Ive never heard the voices reach such a volume level.
Everyone thinks they know.

But they don't care.
About responsibility.
Much less morality.

And when I speak up,
you ridicule.

You fling back
with nothing but your commie preconceptions.

You react
with pagan mumbo jumbo.

You simply regurgitate
that humanistic bullshit.

Becuase you, my friends,
are closed minded.
And hopeless.

You have my pity.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Red Envelope Fools?

::OPEN LETTER::Re: Red Envelope Day

I'm really not sure what to make of the Red Envelope Day phenomenon.

I agree with it in principle. It sounds like a great way to emphasize a great cause.

But I have one question, why on March 31st? The way I see things playing out is for everyone to mail their thousands of red envelopes on Tuesday, March the 31st. They then hit the USPS system that night, concentrating towards Washington DC the next morning, and hitting the White House that same day, April 1st, a.k.a. April Fools Day.

Granted, I will admit that not all of them will get there in one day. The material point, however, is that the massive influx will begin that next day.

I'm really curious, does anyone know the significance of why the founder of the Red Envelope Day movement picked March 31st? Did he ever state his reasoning for that day?

Also, why are any discussion boards or forums disabled on the facebook group/page/event? (which is the place I would have rathered to publish this open letter)

It seems to me that this is one massive April Fools prank on President Obama, the Capitol, the USPS, the gullible American populace, and, ultimately, on the very group seeking to make their point. Won't the pro-lifers be the fool when the news broadcast throughout the country on the evening news on April 1st, 2009 is all about a massive prank pulled over on the ignorant conservatives of the United States; and if anything is said about the supposed intended purpose, I see it as a footnote to the stupidity of those who participated.

Please anyone, chime in! I'm curious to see this thought has occurred to anyone else? I'm also curious to see if I can actually get in touch with the administrators of the movement.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bond, James Bond

Spiritual Warfare

Monday, September 01, 2008

In Lieu of Shades...

Dear Coffee Clubbers:

I know assuming is not something of which to make a regular practice, but I'm going to do it and assume that the fact that it is Labor Day weekend is the reason no one showed up for small group this morning! Well, no one except for myself and one other person, at which point we both pulled out our textbooks and proceeded to do homework. Boring student-types.

But regardless, I didn't want to neglect the opportunity to share what was on my mind about this weeks discussion.

I have to admit that last week, as I sat listening to Brad's message, I couldn't help but think to myself, "I really don't want to hear this. I know I should hear it. And I know that I should want to hear it. And absorb it. And really take it all to heart. But I don't wanna."

The whole point of the message being 'FAITH IS BELIEVING GOD DESPITE THE OBSTACLES'.

During this stage of my life, every fiber of my being just seems to revolt against every word of that statement, even though I know it is true. You know the feeling, I'm sure.

I know that FAITH is right up there with hope and love as one of the main christian virtues. I know that believing God is the only sane thing to do. But the obstacles are so great, it seems. At least to me, right now. And I often feel that my faith has been DESPITE for so long. I know that deep down inside I want to press on. I want to believe in the music (pardon the shameless reference to the August Rush, get with the program, ok?). I want to keep pressing forward. But every time I take one step forward, it seem I am hurled three steps backward.

Please understand, I'm not trying to dwell on my troubles here, I'm just sharing where I am in an effort to illustrate the point.

To quote Brad last Sunday evening,
"Isn't it true? ...that life has a way of knocking our dreams and our aspirations out of us?
Right now, You're trying to move forward but life has just knocked it out of you..."

I couldn't have put it better.

But he went on to describe the challenge of faith:

Faith is Believing When No One Else Does. August held on to his belief staunchly that he would be able to follow the music to follow his parents, even when the bullies tried to 'knock some sense into him,' or 'knock the dreams and aspirations out of him,' whichever way you want to put it.

Faith is Believing God for the Future. Abram and Sarai clung to God's promise that they would indeed have a son, even though it was humanly impossible. But sometimes, it appears, clinging to that belief does in fact sometimes involve ignoring a bit of that common sense. You know? Even when it seems straight up impossible, faith is knowing deep down inside that fulfillment will come.

Faith is Believing God Despite the Obstacles. This is the biggie for me. The obstacles to faith include doubt, enemies/doubters, discouragement, weariness, circumstances, toxic environments, sin, failure, etc. The man or woman of faith learns to walk by faith in the midst of obstacles. They trust God so deeply that they cannot give up.

Think about all this for a minute. What is one vision or dream of yours, a passion, if you will, that has been delayed? What hope do you have that seems just out of reach?

I'm not talking about fame and fortune. I'm not trying to walk you through the steps of achieving you life's fullest potential as you see it. More than anything, I'm trying to walk myself through the discouragement that seems to haunt me at every turn.

And after I left church last week, I knew God was not going to let me off the hook. He wasn't going to let me just drive away and leave the whole subject behind. And He didn't.

As the week played out, I can't say anything changed. The circumstances of everyday life were just as difficult and trying as ever. The "toxic environments" Brad mentioned seemed to keep on poisoning me. If anything, the disappointments just kept building up.

But the one thing that God kept impressing on me was this: to look for things about which to be grateful; to not focus on the downs, but on the ups; to truly give thanks in everything.

I wish I could say that that was the silver bullet of building faith. It's not. But it did change my perspective over the last week. I found myself on the phone talking to a friend, recounting the events of my day in the most whiney, complainy tone ever. But then I was reminded to be grateful, and I turned it all around, saying, "...but you know, there were two good things that happened today! In fact, I DIDN'T get in that wreck, no matter how narrowly I avoided it, my car is still fine, and so is theirs! And the other thing...I can't remember what the other thing is, but something else happened that was good!" (by the way, I still hate having to take 81st in rush is the devil's own road.)

So keep thinking about that dream of yours, that aspiration or hope. What is it that is knocking it out of you, so to speak? What makes it seem so impossible?

When you stop to think about it, and just take the moment to remind yourself of the entire universe that God created, and the ongoing care He exercises to keep the earth spinning on it's axis, and the intimate concern He takes with each one of our lives, no matter how cannot but admit that if He is so great to be capable of all that, what is so great about your personal obstacle that He cannot change? Who are we, after all, to assume that we know everything about the circumstances we encounter? When in fact He knows everything, is in control of it all, and has already promised to work it all together for good...

And another great quote from Brad, this is one that really got me: "Faith is seeing what God sees for us."

Faith is what says, "I know there are missiles coming my way, and these God given dreams in my heart, they're going to be obliterated, unless, of course, you put up the shield of faith, and remind yourself, 'Who is God, and can He be trusted?'"

Think for a moment about the words of St. Augustine: "Faith is to believe what you do not see, but the reward of this faith is to see what you believe."

Look at the parallelism there! Isn't it beautiful? and incredibly profound.

I can't exactly say my week totally balanced out. There were still a good many missiles fired my way. But I kept reminding myself to be grateful for the little things. I kept reminding myself to refuse to let go of those goals I'd set in the faith that God was working on my behalf. Saturday morning, I sold the car I'd been trying to sell for weeks. That was one goal I'd placed out there. I knew I had to get rid of it in order to take action on other things. And after several false promises by would-be buyers, a family came along who really needed it, and I was happy to sell it to them. And they even gave me the full asking price for it! Can you tell I'm excited?!?

Sometimes, that vision is just so far off, but don't forget that "the vision is yet for an appointed time...though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." (Habakkuk 2:3)

Wait for it. Wait for it. Aren't those simply the three hardest words to take to heart? Those three words are the essence of faith. The greatest challenge that we will likely experience.

So, what is that God-given dream that you have all but given up on? Do you really Trust Him? Are you willing to wait?

Or, on a more basic level, are you wanting to be willing to wait for it?

Please consider these things deeply. And since we didn't get the chance to sit down face to face this week, feel free to share your experiences and thoughts in a reply. I would love to hear the encouragement of how He is building that faith and trust in your life. I think we all would, right?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Act Two: This Workforce Stuff Really Blows

My American Life: a tragedy in three acts

After so much derision, after so much two-faced double speak, after so much belittling and false accusation, the only logical or sane response is to just not care anymore. As much as I want to, I cannot care anymore. If I did, I'd go crazy. The bar is set too high, the demands too unreasonable, the resources too insufficient.

In an ideal world I'd be managing a delicate balance of training, employee relations, quality control, safety compliance, annual certification reviews, production reporting, as well as all the other little things that are necessary to make an operation run smoothly.

But it's not an ideal world. Nor am I a perfect person. Which simply means that all of the above still applies. Except for the balance part. Or maybe just the delicate, because it is all still due every day. But there's not a whole lot of delicate. More like frantic or crazed.

When I first made the promotion I had two goals only. My first commitment was to myself and not a requirement. Even though I wasn't sure of the circumstances the future would hold, I was determined to hold the position for one whole year before moving on; partly for my resume, and partly for personal satisfaction, and partly for the learning experience.

It has now been 15 and a half months.

My second goal was clearly stated, and quite brief, but nowhere near as simple to implement. The workgroup I inherited from my predecessor had a reputation. And not a good one. It was hands down the worst group in the building, even the district. It was at the very bottom. And I said then, "If I can so much as get this group off the very bottom rung of the ladder, I don't even care if we make it to any sort of a remarkable ranking, but just off of the very bottom of the pile, if I can do that one thing, then I will have succeeded."

I worked my butt off. And in the first three months, we shed the reputation.

Granted, it's been off and on since then. The group has seen a fair amount of turnover like the rest of the operation and with new people, we've bounced around, competing with others to not be in that dead last position. But as any of the previous managers of this particular workgroup will tell you, "there's something different about Metro 4. It's not like the others, it's got different challenges, and different problems, and it's not in the same league."

So, why, if I achieved those goals am I so pissed off with the whole production?

Apparently I've accomplished another feat as well. This one was certainly not a goal, but it has been completed nonetheless.

I have tried. I have succeeded at times; and I have failed at others. But never have I wallowed in defeat. I figure, if I leave in the middle of failure, I leave behind a final defeat. But if I wait till I'm a success and I've beaten those challenges and gotten ahead, why leave then, if things are all so peachy?

I say all this, though, to say: I'm no quitter. I will press on. And I'm not one to run from a challenge.

But motivating these folks to work hard is like motivating a sloth to run; or better, motivating a slug to jump. The faster and better they work, the easier it will be on them. At least that's what I've convinced myself of and what I've been convinced to tell them. It's partially true, I think. But I'm not even sure of my own level of indoctrination anymore. I'm already enough of a cynic, I don't need to pursue it any more. Which is what it would take to separate fact from fiction around here. The reality that I do know, though, is that the faster they work, the less they get paid.

It's easier on me when they do, but that's not much of a motivation for the average worker. Sure they like me, and they are glad I'm around, but they don't love me. By crossing the management divide I became part of the system where every boss is hated to a certain degree just by virtue of the position. And try as one might, the divide defies crossing.

But too much challenge, too little reward, too much demand, too little resources, too much shitty leadership from above, and too much expectation of superhuman leadership from me, and I am what I was warned to not be. I am a hardened cynic. I am a complaining, whining company bitch. And I do not care.

Worse yet? That last goal I accomplished... What I've become has worked in others the same that was worked in me. I've seen it twice now, and I saw it begin again this week. My workers, embarking on the same pattern of recognizing futile effort, hardening as a cynic, and lapsing into total defeat and nonchalance. They don't care either.

When I see myself reproducing that model which I so despise and which I personally swore never to perpetuate...that's my glowing exit sign, hanging over the door, signaling my time to go.