Friday, November 12, 2004

Cartwheels equal Chaos

A few months ago, I entered my daugher, Rachel, into a gymnatics class. It was done in part, because she likes gymnastics and part because she is highly uncoordinated for her age. She adores it. She does forward rolls and jumps on a trampoline and gets to jump into a pit of foam blocks. It's great.
In my head, I have pictured her one day attending school and playing with other boys and girls. She would maybe show someone the cartwheel she had been working on perfecting. Perhaps she would swing on a playground bar and show her friends how she could jump off and land on her feet. I don't know if she'll ever be a fantastic athlete, but she can have fun with her friends.
Today, I read the Drudge Report and saw a uniquely California article, so of course, I had to read it. A young girl was practicing her cartwheel and was suspended because it was too dangerous. Next thing you know tag will be outlawed because you might trip, can't have lawsuits because my child tripped at school. Check out the article 11 year old suspended.
I would love to hear what you think about it.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Happy Veteran's Day to those who served in the past and those who serve now

As the home of Camp Pendleton and various naval bases, California has certainly seen it's share of military. Every one of us in one way or another has been blessed by a member of the military. We celebrate the lives they have enabled us to have and the country they keep safe. The Marine Corps enjoys it's 50th Birthday and even those of us who have no military background can joyfully say "Semper Fi".

Thank you for all you have done and all you are doing.

Please read the president's statements on Veteran's Day, he speaks for us too. White House

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Forgiveness and Kindness need to reign

Praise God, today I saw the mom with whom I had the LOUD conversation, as my daughter Rachel called it. She enjoyed the conversation as did I and neither realized we were loud as our children practiced their gymnatic jumps and rolls.

Now I look to event of the blogosphere and talk radio. The name Arlen Spector comes up a great deal. He who is slated to fill the chairship of the Senate Judicial Committee. He has apologized, he has explained, he will probably chair that committee. Yet fellow evangelical Christians are still calling for his head. I know we must be wise, but shouldn't we also be kind and willing to forgive. His reputation speaks of fairness. For more on this debate, see Hugh Hewitt for the anti-Spector and anti-anti Spector arguments.

Today, I also read of an unexpected election result today. In the Drudge Report, Matt Drudge has an ongoing investigation of some high schoolers in Minnesota who fought so intensely about election results that ultimately the Kerry supporters beat the Bush supporters with fists and baseball bats. We must be careful how we teach our children. Politics may seem like a spectator sport, but unlike watching an intense football game, it affects our daily lives. As we support the leaders we vote for, we must remember to be cautious of the messages we send our children.

My daughter Rachel was a big help to me during the campaign as we went door to door placing pro-Bush flyers on the knobs. She developed a great love for our president simply because I was mentioning him often. She does not have the experience or discernment to appreciate what she would uniquely like or dislike about each candidate. Because of this I was careful to let her know that Kerry supporters were not evil people. Nor were they bad, we simply disagree on who would lead our country in the best possible way. I hope your children know the kindness which needs to be extended to those who disagreed with us during this past election. I hope you know it. There will be arguments over leadership choices or senatorial debates, but the battle for who will lead in the next four years is over. Let's help our children to learn how to be good winners and good losers. The winner doesn't shove it in the losers face and the loser doesn't beat the winner with a bat.

By the way, don't forget, tomorrow is veteran's day. Our soldiers deserve and require our support. Perhaps you will consider aiding someone with the purchase of a phone card to contact their family. An organization is heading up this need. Maybe you will support Soldier's Angels.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Christians do make a difference

I am all excited about the possibilities of the future. I know and have believed for years of the power of God in any and every situation. But to see a mainstream media report about it puts a different light on the situation. Of course, they gave credit to the people involved, by the real credit goes to the Almighty God. I have seen many ideas of Christian leaders fall flat regardless of how organized they are...but this is interesting.

The Washington Post had an article yesterday about the major impact evangelical Christians had on this election year. In fact, they gave all credit for George W. Bush's win to the organizational efforts of evangelicals. THAT'S SO COOL! It isn't cool because they gave credit, but because it is true.

There are times in our lives when we have to take a stand and risk being treated poorly for what we believe. Image how it would have been for all those committed Christians if GW had not won. I thought about it when I committed to help. But we/they still did it.

What does that have to do with California? Weren't we a BLUE state?
Yup!

But think of the possibilities. If Christians throughout California decide to stand up for what we believe instead of sitting back and letting a newsreporter tell us how things are or how they will be. Apparently, when it came down to it, Christians waited in line to vote in Ohio as late as 1am because it was that important. You think people have opinions here, they were having election visits daily in a state whose population is smaller than LA County alone. We can have an impact here. Now. We just have to be willing to get off the couch, stop playing video games and do something, not simply talk about it.

Didn't James say "Faith without works is dead..."? Come on California Christians, let's get to work!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Who are Republicans?

Last week I had an interesting experience and thought I would share it. I took my daughter, Rachel, to her weekly gymnastics class last Wednesday. I had, as you know, spent much time the day before trying to help President Bush win re-election. In the excitement of discovering a concession speach was coming, I decided to wear a Bush/Cheney '04 t-shirt to this class. I was simply excited about the future. In all honesty, I also thought perhaps I might have conversations as a result.

Wow! What an understatement! Ultimately, I ended up in a deep and slightly loud conversation with one of the other mothers concerning the Marriage Amendment. In truth, I loved the conversation. I often enjoy lively banter between people and it is very rare I am able to experience that either as a pastor or as a mom with two children in tow. Needless to say, my four year old daughter informed me following the class that I was so loud it was difficult for her to hear her teacher. Oy vay! Not my plan at all.
Never do I want to detract from what she is enjoying and doing for my own purposes.

I struggle with this as a highly opinionated and educated person. I long to speak my mind, but I don't long to squash my children or others in the process. In fairness, I think the other mother did a fanstastic job of explaining her views. Perhaps you can pray for me anyway as this Wednesday will be the next time I see her and I hope I in no way offended her.

The church I have been attending is starting a series on sharing the good news with our friends and our community. As the pastor spoke this Sunday, he mentioned that sharing the gospel is not about winning it is sharing or witnessing. He pointed out and confessed to knowing Christians who share their faith for the purpose of "being right" and somehow this rightness with convince others to change their minds. Oops!

All I could think about was how I had approached this conversation. A verbal battle...maybe I could change her mind, on the moment, with the right wording she would alter all previous views and change her thinking.
Right, that'll happen. I barely know her. If it were me, would I change my mind on a dime. No stinkin' way! Any opinion I have has taken time to form, to change it would also take time.

This election has made Republicans stand out as the religious ones. Those Evangelical Christians. On one radio show, Hugh Hewitt, children have called in to state the meanness they think Republicans express. Newspapers like the New York and LA Times are stating that evangelicals are the planners and starters of hatred toward gays. How does one talk about Jesus to someone who already assumes you HATE them? We are going to have to think hard about witnessing well in these next years. An assumption exists and we must not let ourselves fit that assumption. After all, "God is Love", if we serve Him, our goal should be to learn more about how to be LOVING.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Californians are different?

Growing up in northern California and then Arizona, I always thought of myself as Different. At first I thought it was me. I identified with it and learned to embrace it. But then I returned to the scene of the crime, my original home state...California. I realized that true Californians all have a certain strangeness about them. It is something we actually enjoy about ourselves. But are we truly different?
After the election, I had a chance to look at the map of California's various districts to see how our state actually voted. It almost looked to me like a side view of the country as a whole. Full of red sections, our state only had a few isolated areas of blue (i.e. Democrat) those sections were invariably Los Angeles and San Francisco. The difference, of course, was that John Kerry carried the state of California. But not every part. Miniscule numbers throughout the state totally to create the final blow.
I have often thought of California as a trend setting state within our country. It is strange that since I moved here I have come to realize that many parts of this unique state look like parts of the rest of the country. This is a reflection of the wide variety of people who live within it's boundaries.
We are different but only slightly. Slightly enough to make some profound differences. We are the state who solidly said, "Marriage is between one man and one woman" a few votes back. But we also said our money should be spent on developing embryonic clones and destroying them for science sake. We can be extraordinarily liberal, creating 1000's of gay marriages. Yet we can be profoundly conservative, removing an overly ambitious governor for one who is supposed to be more fiscally conservative.
We have a job Californians, the state is actually split. Those who speak the loudest and the most often are usually the ones who are heard. Who will step up to be heard? Will we simply let the opposing group be our voice and accept and unnecessary defeat. This does not mean we attack our neighbors for having differing views. It means we let our voices be heard.