Monday Morning Musings for 01.30.17

  1. As we struggle to live out of our true identity as the sons and daughter's of God, we face enormous cultural pressure to conform to a different pattern. In Romans 12:2, Paul acknowledges the challenge of NOT being pressed into the cultural model. It literally means that we are being crushed into a model that no longer resembles what we once were, no longer reflecting who God wants us to be. I wonder for me and for all of us, in what ways have we been pressed into the culture's form, a form we didn't necessarily want but have taken on nonetheless? It's a sobering thought, but Paul also gives us the key to transformation: in order to live out of our true identity (identity is not something we create, it is something given to us by God through Christ), we offer ourselves wholly to God as "living sacrifices", and then we use our minds to understand the full nature of that story. We are transformed by the "renewal of our minds." The more we know of God, the more we can ask questions of the culture that it cannot answer, the more we are able to internalize the depth of God's love for us. Our identity is located in the story of God's redemptive purpose in Christ, not the cultural house of cards that so often attracts us.
  2. I have finally emerged from being sick all week. It started ten days ago as I was traveling, and then laid me out last Monday through Thursday. I missed almost an entire week of work. It's been a long time since I was that sick, but honestly, I was pathetic. I would hate being married to a sick "me." Men are horrible at being sick. Leigh basically has the same thing now, and she acts like, "What? What's the big deal? I'm ignoring it."
  3. Mary Tyler Moore's death brought back a flood of memories. She was my childhood. Listening to "you're gonna make it after all" while she threw her knit hat into the air while spinning around (the beginning of each show) will remain etched in my mind forever. Her laugh, her timing, her undying positivity – as a middle and high schooler, she made me feel better about life. I grieved her passing, but I also grieved the passing of that innocent time, the way the world used to be then.
  4. I was thrilled by the selection of the Orlando Health Trauma Team as the Central Floridians of the year. They were, by far, the most deserving in the selfless and courageous way they served our community. To Michael Cheatham and the other surgeons who operated more than 24 hours straight, thank you for showing all of us the very best of our city.
  5. I am crushed in learning that Mike Greenberg is leaving the morning ESPN duo of "Mike and Mike." Why? Why? That's like breaking up Rodgers and Hammerstein, Mutt and Jeff, Laverne and Shirley, SpongeBob and Squidward, the Beatles… ok, maybe not the Beatles, but it's bad!
  6. I attended a lecture by Paul Mauer, President of Montreat College, and Sandy Shugart, President of Valencia. The topic was on the decline of American higher education since the 1950's. A number of books were referenced, two of which I have already read. A novel by Thomas Wolfe titled I Am Charlotte Simmons and a 1951 book by William F. Buckley Jr, God and Man at Yale. It is sobering to read how far we have fallen and the manner in which our kids are being shaped at that level. Until the end of WWII, every state college in America still required their students to attend a weekly chapel service. Why? Faith still provided answers to the meaning of life. Today? The President of Yale said in his recent commencement address, "We no longer have the ability to tell you about life's meaning, but we can teach you to ask really good questions." That's it. Most of higher education says we can't teach you anything transcendent; all we can do is help you ask questions. 
  7.  I don't care what your politics are, the attacks and comments on young Baron Trump are inexcusable. Can you imagine how hard it is to be him, and he's not even a teenager.
  8. SUPER BOWL PICK: Falcons 31, Patriots 17 
  9. IRONY: Yesterday, I began my sermon by describing my experience in airports last August during the Delta computer crash – and right on cue, they crashed again yesterday afternoon.