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Monthly Archives: February 2007

I like to take things apart and put them back together again.  I took our microwave apart to see why it wasn’t working.  It is not outputting microwaves because the food is not getting hot; that much I knew.  So, I surfed the web for some help from the manufacturer to assist me in troubleshooting.  Sounds reasonable and simple, I thought.  I wanted to make sure what the problem was before I purchased a part on-line and save the hassle of returning it.  I called the manufacturer.  The person who answered suggested I call another number.  Ok.  When I did, the second person said, “we discontinued that service of helping the customer troubleshoot their equipment two years ago.” She went on to say, “all I do is take your order.”  Why didn’t the first person tell me that the troubleshooting service was discontinued?  Shouldn’t the first person know such things?  Maybe it is me but in general customer service seems to be in short supply these days.  Or maybe I am asking too much?

We all do it.  Everyone is guilty of comparing himself or herself with someone else.  But is comparing ourselves to others all bad?  I suppose there is a healthy form of comparing and an unhealthy form.  The healthy form shows itself when a person does something well as setting the ‘bar’ or standard; a standard worth aiming for or emulating.  For instance, a good teacher might do a self-assessment after seeing a well-seasoned teacher do a lesson or teach a class and ask how can I do better or be more effective?  This question is really aiming at how can one be excellent or improve.  There is wisdom in this type of comparing.

However, it is the unhealthy form of comparing that is most insidious and the form I consider folly.  This is a lesson I continue to learn or still have difficulty learning.  The unhealthy form of comparing aims not in working for excellence like in our teaching example above but rather this form of comparing begins with not being satisfied with one’s giftedness and talents (or looks) but measures his or her worth or usefulness based on how well someone else does it or on how attractive someone else is.  The perennial lesson here is to rest in or be content with who you are.

  • Jackass Penguins. My header pictures some ‘jackass penguins.’  The adjective, ‘jackass’, because these penguins in South Africa bray like you guessed it, donkeys.  Thus, the name. 
  • Celebrity culture.  Is YouTube feeding our innate desire to be famous, be known?
  • Beautiful.  Beautiful is seeing a bright red cardinal against the backdrop of falling white snow.

The second cousin of ‘believe in yourself’ is ‘I have a right to be happy.’  This ‘right to be happy’ principle is often the basis for selfish and damaging decisions.  For example, I know three men who have abandoned their families because they wanted to be happy.  All three left for other women.  All three have inflicted damage on loved ones – spouses, children, etc.  Will they find happiness?  Nope.  This is another lie propagated by our culture!  Happiness is so fleeting.  What our culture needs (and what we need) is a supersize dose of contentment and commitment!

The Non Sequitur comic strip in the St. Louis Post Dispatch Newspaper, (Tuesday, January 30, 2007) is a parody of sorts of what recently happened to the ousted Home Depot CEO.  A little girl approaches a desk at ‘House Depot’ and inquires about a position that recently opened up.  A lady at the desk responds, “um…what job is that?”  The little girl responds, “the one where you get to goof off and make bad decisions, then get $120 million when you get canned.”  Need I say more here?

Another thing that feeds my hyperactive cynical side is what appears to be the perpetual ill treatment of qualified African-Americans in their chosen profession.  Consider Bruce Field, the first and only Black professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School expresses what it’s really like to be the only black guy teaching at a white seminary:

“People sometimes ignore you,” says Bruce Fields, a professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. “Or, if there is attention directed toward you, it is subtly communicated that you are not to be taken as seriously as a white person of similar status, experience, and credentials.”  Need I say more here?

It appears Dr. King’s dream, “that blacks be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin” is yet to come true.

My only sure hope?  Christ will return and make all things right!