Monday Morning Musings for 09.12.16

  1. Sociologists call our current era the age of "hyper-individualism." We seem to be slightly obsessed – and impressed – with ourselves. George Barna's latest data proves that true, revealing that 98% of Americans believe they are "loyal, reliable people" and 95% believe they are "solid, independent thinkers not influenced by others." We've raised generations of children with a "you are special and it's never your fault" message believing it would create better people, but we got the accounting wrong. We don't care for others more; we care less. We're not more content; we're more envious. In this culture, Paul's words in Philippians 3:1–12 ring true. "Whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ." While Paul could have gained status and power for himself by virtue of his heritage, he instead chose a different Kingdom. He chose to give his life for a different purpose. Perhaps we need to check our "accounting." Are we living a life committed merely to self, or are we living in the manner of Christ, poured out for the life of the world?
  2. At 9 a.m this morning, I will take part in a Service of Remembrance in front of the Dr. Phillips Center. Having planted 25,000 flags in the center's plaza yesterday, the Camaraderie Foundation, OPD, and OFD will lead us in remembering the victims and first responders of 9/11 and to raise awareness of the invisible wounds of war. There are 233,000 post-9/11 vets in Florida alone, and 33% of them suffer from emotional illness related to their service. The suicide rate among veterans continues to rise. It is important for us to remember that horrific day 15 years ago, but for the living, the pain continues and we need to support organizations like Camaraderie who are making a huge difference.
  3. THE REST OF THE STORY: Last week, I spoke about LSU's Josh Boutte delivering a late hit on Wisconsin's D'Cota Dixon, costing him a one-game suspension. What was later revealed was the way in which Boutte owned his mistake. He called Dixon the next day, apologized, made sure he was OK, and the two proceeded to talk at length about life, praying together at the end. Dixon said that the call has led to a new friendship. 
  4. BOOK REVIEW: Another must read from Tom Rinaldi – The Red Bandana. At the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Rinaldi tells the story of the mystery man with the red bandana who rescued countless people that day before losing his own life. Later revealed as Welles Crowther, Rinaldi does a masterful job of describing how Crowther's life was formed - what prepared him to act with such heroism that day. I think many of us wonder what we would do in a similar situation. When faced with such a crisis, a life and death decision, would we have the courage? Crowther did, and you'll be inspired and moved when you read it.
  5. I was fascinated to read a recent study on the aging population of our world and the stunning lack of doctors choosing to train for geriatric medicine. With the exception of the past 175 years, the average life expectancy of a human being was 30 years or less. It is only recent developments in medicine and technology that have pushed us to longer lives, so in studying aging, researchers are not trying to study a natural process, but an unnatural one. When considering the scope of human history, we are doing something we've basically never done, so we'd better start caring about and investing in how to treat the aged.
  6. I am generally a fan of Kirk Herbstreit on ESPN College Football coverage, but come on, Kirk – colored buttonholes in your suits to match your tie and pocket square? 
  7. I had a meeting this week with a young married man in our church. He and his wife are in their 20's, have been visiting FPCO for a while, and wanted to get to know me while learning some more about the church. He asked some questions, but then he apologized before asking his last question. I said, "No need to apologize. I'm happy to answer anything." He said, "Well, I have seen so many pastors fall and when that happens, it's very disheartening – discouraging. What you are doing in your life to be sure that does not happen to you?" Boom. What a great question. Those are the questions people need to be asking their pastors – and their friends. I was able to share my structures for accountability and marital fidelity, ones that I wrote about in our Columns Magazine last year. Email me if you'd like the full article. 
  8. It was a great week for FSU and it had nothing to do with football. More than a week after Travis Rudolph had lunch with autistic middle schooler, Bo Paske, Bo has become a celebrity. Proudly wearing his "Paske" FSU jersey and appearing multiple times on ESPN, he is now exceedingly popular at school while tearfully describing his friendship with Rudolph. More than that, I love that attention it has brought to Autism, both the challenges and the joys of raising such children. 
  9. Yesterday, I lost a bet to TCS student Karl Van Gelder, a Giants fanatic. If the Giants beat the Cowboys, then I had to mention that Karl has superior football knowledge to my own. Way to go, Karl!