Archive for the ‘Smorgasbord’ Category

Why Pastors Ride Harleys

Have you ever noticed how many pastors ride Harleys? According to my own Let’s Look Around Research Institute (LLARI) there are more motorcycle riders per capita among pastors than any other profession outside of motocross.

And I know why.

I Know Why

Riding a motorcycle is Bad. Bad, not sinful. Robbing a bank is bad…and sinful. Cheating on your wife is bad…and sinful. Riding a Harley is simply Bad. Bad as in cool. Bad as in “I’m not that wimpy, overweight, short tie-wearing, fried-chicken eating, fundamental, missionary minded, 1611, Baptist pastor.” No, I’m cool. I’m a real guy—a tough guy.

It’s not hard to spot the Harley riding pastor, especially on Sunday morning. Every fifth illustration in their “talk” begins with something like, “Earlier Harleythis week I was up on the Blue Ridge Parkway riding my Harley when…” I have to admit that grabs my attention quicker than “The other day while driving my 2003 Buick LaSabre to Wal-Mart,…”

These pastors don’t just tell the story, they show it. As the words “Blue Ridge Parkway” hit the invisible mic protruding from their right ear, up on the Hi-def screen flashes the pastor on his bike. And the congregation silently oohs and aahs. Our pastor is K-o-o-l. All across the sanctuary-turned-auditorium hundreds inwardly commit to inviting their friends and neighbors to “come hear our Bad pastor.”

Pastors have an image problem. Continue reading

Supercapitalism Got Me Thinking

I must admit I strayed outside my typical reading boundaries when I picked up Robert B. Reich’s Supercapitalism. I am the richer for it.

Instead of casting blame for the economic maladies of the United States, Reich defines and clarifies the issues that have merged to create the gross inequality of wealth in America. He plainly displays the logical consequences that flow from our everyday decisions to increase profit, ROI, and save a dollar on T-shirts. His concern is that capitalism has triumphed as the expense of Continue reading

Who is Defining What it Means to Be Pro-life?

What does it mean to be pro-life in the current health care debate? From my observation, most pro-lifers get the answer to this question wrong. We get it wrong because we are letting the wrong people tell us what it means to be pro-life.

For many, interjecting a pro-life stance into the American health care debate means refusing funding for abortions. Therefore, it is this one issue that propels many pro-lifers to reject any health care reform proposal. Yet, are these same pro-lifers taking the time to consider how health care reform intersects with fundamental tenets of what it means to be pro-life?

T. R. Reid, in his book, “The Healing of America,” shares a disturbing fact: “The American health care system ranks dead last [out of 23 countries in 2006 Commonwealth Fund study] when it comes to keeping newborns alive. Our rate of infant mortality is more than twice as high as Continue reading

Say What You Need to Say

Could it be that your organization is prevented from moving forward because of a lack of communication? If so, could it be that the lack of communication is born out of a desire to respect authority? Like many young Americans, I was taught that we are to respect those in authority. I still believe this. However, I now know “showing respect” doesn’t mean I idly keep silent and allow someone to blindly fail. For example, take the 1982 Air Florida plane crash outside Washington, DC.

The cold January crash provides a poignant illustration of how the errors of teamwork and communication can have devastating results. On takeoff, the 737 came down directly on top of the 14th Street Bridge, crushing four cars and killing 5 people. Of the 79 people on board, only four passengers and one Flight Attendant were pulled alive from the frigid waters of the Potomac River. These are the horrid facts, but why did this accident happen? Continue reading

Roll Tide Roll! Why Does It Matter?

It is now just days away from the BCS Championship Game for the 2009 NCAA College football season. The Crimson Tide of Alabama will be entering the game on a quest for their 13th national championship. I hope BAMA wins. Hope is too mild of a word. Honestly, I think about it constantly. To me, it matters. But why? Why does it matter if my team wins the game…the championship game?  Why is football so important to me? I am almost fifty years of age; shouldn’t my focus display more maturity?

This post is all about the struggle I face with warped priorities. This is my attempt to think out loud and perhaps discover why I long for something so trivial as my football team winning.

My disproportionate love for Alabama football affects my life well beyond what I want to admit. It disturbs me that this warped value system permeates Continue reading

To Validate

I never had the aspiration to be a parking attendant, yet I do want to be more like a fictitious parking attendant I was introduced to recently. I shared his story with our staff.

I am responsible for leading the staff meetings at our office.  A short time ago I turned to YouTube for the short film, Validation, to begin one of our monthly meetings. This 16 minute film is about a parking attendant who goes well beyond validating parking tickets—he validates the individual. This fable accurately tells the story of how our encouraging words can not only brighten someone’s day, but change their life.

The day after I showed the film to our staff, one of our employees shared with me how she had successfully applied the lesson Continue reading