A Struggle with Mediocrity

I’ll be the first to admit I struggle with being mediocre. Lukewarm. It’s so easy for me to be lazy in my walk, having a disengaged mind. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that in the course of a mundane day, it’s easy to put your head down and focus on the details of what you’re doing and forget the bigger picture. At the very best, I fail to take advantage of the opportunities to glorify God to the fullest. At the worst, I set myself up for all sorts of temptations.

So I found this quote from Urban Meyer inspiring the other day. He wasn’t speaking of spiritual things, but he was speaking of truth. He said this to the Ohio State football team after the first day of practice:

It’s so easy to be average. you know it as well as I know it. You just practiced. It’s the first day, cheering and all that kind of stuff and I still saw average. It takes a little something to be special, doesn’t it? It takes a little something special to be a great player. We don’t have enough great players. To hell with that! We don’t want to coach average. I don’t want to be around you, why be around average? Did you push yourself to be great today? Did you do it? If you didn’t do it, you lost a day. We don’t got many days to lose. We’re going to push your ass like it’s never been pushed. Because what you’ve got in you, we’re gonna find out, ok? I’m gonna find out. And if there’s a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?

Continue reading A Struggle with Mediocrity

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Sexual Orientation Change Efforts

So there’s a law in California on the governor’s desk that is aimed at banning Sexual Orientation Change Efforts.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/08/18/california-law-barring-parents-from-curing-gay-children-moves-through/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-spradley/california-conversion-therapy-ban_b_1633053.html

I included both links so you can get a good view of both sides of this issue. It seems that, like all such issues, there’s an intentional equivocation done by one side or the other in order to support their point. Having not read the legislation itself, which is extremely lazy of me, I know, I’m forced to draw my conclusions from these two articles.

It seems to me like the intended target of this legislation is toward “Mental Health Professionals” who use psychological counseling and therapy in order to try to force a patient to change sexual orientation. This is a far cry from a concerned parent sharing the truth of God’s word and encouraging the child to consider whether his behavior and choices please the Lord. However the conservative side seems to want to lump the two together and act as though the law is aimed at both things.

Granted there is this quote from the article:

Just because one is a parent does not give them the right to “change” the essence of who a person is. Read a biology text about the development of sexual identity that occurs prior to birth.

This is Dr. Mary Strobbe, a professor of psychology at San Diego Miramar College. So based on this it does seem as though they are not only concerned with professional counselors.

But even if they are targeting parents and the home, there is a strong difference between counseling your children to obey the word of God and forcing them to change the essence of who we are.

Which begs the question, is sexual orientation something that’s ingrained into the essence of who we are, as the LGBT community wants us to believe? Well, I ask you this, what is ingrained into the essence of who we are? Sin. We are all born with an orientation: a sin orientation. Homosexuality is just one symptom of that underlying disease. Unless that disease is cured, we shouldn’t expect the symptoms to vanish. And even if we try to treat the symptoms, then either they will simply be suppressed for a while only to come back stronger later, or other symptoms will surface. Without the radical change of conversion and repentence that can only come by the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, nobody can change this essential characteristic of who they really are.

Thus, the goal of Christian parenting is not oriented toward changing anyone’s sexual orientation, or modifying any behavior for that matter. It’s aimed at ushering the children to the cross where they will meet Jesus. What the child does with him there is up to the child. Parents cannot force the outcome there. However, the Parent is responsible to ensure that this meeting happens. If the child responds in faith, then the change will start inwardly and will come from the heart of the child who is changed by the grace of God, not by the coercive actions of parents or psychological therapists. If the child responds by hardening his heart in unbelief, then no amount of parenting or therapy can make the child give up his sin, and it wouldn’t avail him anything even if it did.

So in conclusion, as long as some very common sense distinctions are drawn here to understand the difference between coercion and shepherding and protect the latter as within the rights of parents and religious people, then I’m actually in favor of this law. This is a bit like the distinction between spanking and abuse. There are very fuzzy lines there. But there is a difference between good gentle and nurturing spanking and harmful, violent and destructive abuse. The same is true of this. What’s interesting about this case is that, while parental activity may be somewhat in view here, the initial and primary target of this law is mental health professionals. In that case, it’s a bit like an abuse law that tries to outlaw taking your child to a professional beater. I think this is another case of Fox News trying to twist things to fit their agenda.

I think the key to knowing the difference between shepherding and coercion here is whether the parents are focusing on the externals or whether they are focusing on nurturing a heart that is oriented toward pleasing the Lord. The tree will be known by its fruit.

Those Who Forget History

You’ve heard the mantra “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” I think it’s a federal requirement that this quote be repeated at the beginning of every history class everywhere. It’s like the thesis statement of history. This is held up as the reason to study history. I happen to disagree though. I think there’s a far more important and practical reason to study history and that is that you cannot understand where you are today, unless you understand how you got here and where you came from. History informs the present. Unless we know history accurately, we do not know the present accurately. This is why Orwell said, “He who controls the past controls the present. He who controls the present controls the past.”

There is so much out there today that either blatantly ignores history or is trying to rewrite it. I found another example today. This is just one of a million different entries in the file of “Capitalism caused our current crises and has been proven false.”

Goldman Sachs: Off the Hook?

This article is mostly discussing the fact that Goldman Sachs is not going to be prosecuted for their misdeeds because apparently they didn’t break any laws. That’s not quite what I want to focus on. Rather, toward the end of the article, the author includes a quote from President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address:

In 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them. Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money. Regulators had looked the other way, or didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behavior. It was wrong. It was irresponsible. And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work, saddled us with more debt, and left innocent, hard-working Americans holding the bag … We’ve put in place new rules to hold Wall Street accountable, so a crisis like that never happens again.

Continue reading Those Who Forget History