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 . . . .

I Am A Christmas Decorations Pharisee

Wedgewood Church, along with First Christian Church, recently hosted Picturing the Parables of Jesus, a national traveling art exhibit of Christians In The Visual Arts (CIVA).  The most repugnant piece for me in the exhibit was Andy Rash’s The Pharisee and the Tax Collector.

Rash_A_The Pharisee and theTax Collector

The reason the piece was so repugnant to me is I find the Pharisee to be so off-putting, so like many modern Christians.  In the parable the Pharisee says, “Thank God I’m not like other people — robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.”

I try to be humble and not have feelings of superiority, but there is one area in which I tend to be a self-righteous Pharisee.  And that area is Christmas decorating.

Now that Thanksgiving is over Christmas decorations are going up and – and God forgive me, the word “tacky” is not sufficient enough to describe some of the Christmas displays I’ve seen.  Ugly.  Hideous.  Horrid.  Unseemly.  Actually, none of those words quite capture what I see.  Wish I could think of a word that works but even Pharisee Me can’t think of one.

Prayer:  God, help Pharisee Me to keep in mind that You don’t care about my personal preferences, and that there are more important things in the world to worry about than any of my PP’s.  Remind me that some of my gay friends who have the decorating gene have criticized my decorating decisions.  Amen.

Predicting My Wife’s Bleak Future


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The author of Ecclesiastes was not the most optimistic chap on the block.   The author of Ecclesiastes wrote:

The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 

2 Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher,
   vanity of vanities! All is vanity. 
3 What do people gain from all the toil
   at which they toil under the sun? (1:1-3)

I’m not willing to say all is vanity but I have (in a fun way) informed my wife that she has a bleak future.  After I die, one day she will end up in a nursing home and, not having me to assist her, will not be able to find the remote. She will be yelling, “Where’s the remote?  Where’s the remote?  Somebody get in here and help me find a remote!”

Have you ever been in an assisted living center and heard a senior (out of their mind) yelling for help?  If so, that’s the scenario I have in my mind.   My wife is of sound mind now but when the remote can’t be located she – she is not happy.  I can only imagine her at 95.

Let us remember that life is hard and life is stressful.  At a minimum, let us try not to make life more difficult or stressful for people.  Hopefully, like Jesus we can participate in the healing of people and the easing of their burdens.  And, by all means, we can help the love of our life find the remote until we breathe our last.