A Liberal Who Is Getting Ready To Be Apocalyptic

I’m getting ready to be apocalyptic.

Liberals are not known for being apocalyptic.  Don’t worry, I haven’t gone of the deep end.  Permit me to explain.

My good buddy, Frank, stopped by my house yesterday.

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Frank

Frank was looking for some “fresh meat.”  Or put another way, Frank dropped in to ask me to play some racquetball with him.

Write this down.  Never ever trust an old racquet ball player.

Frank was old 15 years when we played racquetball together.  Now he’s really old, which means now he really can’t be trusted.

Old racquetball players sucker in younger racquetball players and whip them real good.

When I first started playing racquetball at the Y in Charlotte, North Carolina, my racquetball partner was late. Seeing an old codger, actually Frank’s partner, by himself I asked if he wanted to play.  I figured – beat the old guy in a few minutes and start sweating.  It will be a good warm up for my real match.

So much for those plans.  I got whipped 15-3.  And after each point he scored the old guy turned and looked and me and grinned.  He knew what I had thought.  As it turns out, the guy with one foot in the grave was ranked 5th nationally in his age bracket.

Never trust an old racquetball player.

I had the opportunity to do the funeral of the guy he whipped me that day.  He was one of the most fun people I’ve ver met.  A very dry wit.  Sharp as a tack.  A Duke University grad.  Boooooo!  There were so many stories to tell at his funeral which was a packed house.

But back to Frank, he’s looking for some fresh meat to whip on the racquetball court.  He stopped by and asked me to start playing again. He asked me five years ago and I never acted on it.  But now I’ve going back to the racquetball court.  I’ve even bought a new racquet.  It’s called the Apocalypse.

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The racquet is described in this way: A revelation in racquetball technology, E-Force’s new Apocalypse high-performance racquet is the end of times for your opponent!

As a liberal Christian, I don’t think apocalyptic thought is very Christian, but I have to confess, I hope my Apocalypse is the end times of my opponents.

An Old Fart Golfer Offers Keys To Life (You Will Not Want To Miss)

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Andy is an 80ish war veteran whose hands shake like a leaf.  I have no idea how he is able to play golf.  I’m just glad our nation no longer needs him to shoot guns or our freedom might be on the line.  Andy has two purple hearts and a silver heart.  He was bitching during the last round about having to be treated for PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome).  I told Andy he was greedy, one purple heart would have been enough.  Andy, though, is not one to back away from a tough situation, even when his life has been on the line.

Andy’s marriage, he says, has been on the line, several times.  Being a military family puts additional stresses on a couple and their family, if they have one.  The thing that kept their marriage together, 2 purple heart (and 1 silver) Andy says is humor.  “You’ve got to make it fun.  You’ve got to make each other laugh.”

Andy, however, has some serious advice for marriages and relationships.  Males need to be able to say these sentences back-to-back.

“Honey, I’m sorry.”

“You are absolutely right.”

“I have no idea how I could have completely misunderstood.”

When you play golf with a person like Andy you learn a lot.  You seriously do.  And, you seriously laugh your head off.

I thank God for the Andy’s of the world who are good for our souls.

 

When People (Like Me) Don’t Change

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I played nine holes of golf with my son yesterday.  There’s nothing like father/son golf time.

I never wanted to play golf.  I thought it was a wimp sport, but my sonny boy went crazy about Tiger Woods when he was nine so I figured if I wanted to spend time with him I better learn how to play golf, or at least make a stab at it.

We entered Will in a Dana Radar Golf Camp in Charlotte, NC.  Will won a lot of the camp’s awards so we signed him up for individual lessons.  He blossomed.  In middle school and high school he was his team’s best player.  In recent years Will has been a scratch golfer (that means he shoots par) or close to scratch.  Will has even made a double eagle.  That’s a two on a par 5!

In addition to being an excellent golfer, Will has the ability to teach people how to play golf and is very good at analyzing a person’s swing and pointing out needed corrections.

My golf game has been suffering mightily.  I blamed my bad golf scores on not having time to play or practice, but the truth surfaced yesterday.  Will pointed out four or five things I was doing wrong.  Or put another way, practice doing it wrong and you will continue to do it wrong.  At the end of our nine holes I looked at Will and said, “I’m making the same mistakes I made ten years ago.”  He gave me one of those “hello/wake up looks” while also trying not to look critical or condescending.

Are you making mistakes you made ten years ago?  Habits, including bad golf habits, are hard as hell to break.

On a more positive note, I have changed one bad habit – conflict avoidance.  At my first church I was unaware I had gotten in between a soured relationship between two people in the congregation.  Never fun to be in the middle of sourness.  Anyway, one of the ladies sang in the choir and after singing and right before I started preaching she would get up out of the choir and exit the church.  How rude can you be! Nothing pisses a preacher off than a pissy person getting up in front of God and everybody and leaving church right before she or he preaches.

My wife tried to get me to talk with the lady.  I refused.  I didn’t want to support her rude behavior.  The truth, as my wife pointed out, was that I was a conflict avoider,  a passive aggressive person.

So the conflict went on and on and on.

Years later I went back for homecoming at the church.  I immediately apologized to the lady.  She was very gracious.

In my current church I’ve also had to deal with conflict and rude behavior.  Fortunately, with my past experiences, with my wife teaching me about conflict avoidance and the disadvantages of being passive aggressive, and with the help of counselors, I have been able to identify conflict and offer to meet with people face-to-face as soon as possible.

What are some lessons you’ve learned/behaviors you have changed that have greatly improved your life?

So sometimes we change and sometimes we don’t.  Let’s keep working on making needed changes.

For me it’s back to the putting green to work on not slicing my putts.  And it’s back to the range and golf course to work on a set up routine and a more around swing path.

I Wonder What Today Will Be Like For . . . .

 

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I wonder what today will be like for women living in the Arab world who do not have equal rights.

I wonder what today will be like for Palestinians suffering from Israeli mistreatment born of displacing people from their land due to harmful scripture.

I wonder what today will be like for a young woman raped who mistrusts the male boys club police department.

I wonder what today will be like for the Hispanic child born in the United States whose mother has been deported.

I wonder what today will be like for clergy sitting in their offices knowing their congregations are addicted to worship and aren’t making a damn bit of difference in the world.

I wonder what today will be like for children of aging parents.

I wonder what today will be like for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s.

I wonder what today will be like for those drowning in grief.

I wonder what today will be like for the poor person who does not have a job and is out of money.

I wonder what today will be like for those with challenging mental illnesses.

I wonder what today will be like for . . . .