Monday Morning Musings for 08.07.17

  1. One of the true wonders of having faith in God is the realization that our lives have been crafted by His almighty Hand. Though fallen in nature, each one of us has been known and planned for since the foundations of the world, declared by God to be HIs "image bearers." (Gen. 1). Thus, no matter the circumstances behind any life, it matters. God, in His sovereign nature, is the author, sustainer, redeemer and defender of life. This is the essence of the cross. Therefore, hardwired into each one His "image-bearers" is an inherent instinct to care for and defend others. God actually commands it in Gen 9:6. Our society consistently reveals this ethic. For example, Chesley Sullenberger is hailed as a hero for his selfless actions in saving every passenger on the plane he crash-landed on the Hudson while Franciso Schettino was reviled as "Captian Coward" for quickly abandoning the Costa Concordia after the ship ran aground leaving hundreds injured and 32 dead. We affirm those who care for and defend life; we denounce those who don't – all with one exception: abortion. In that case, we yield to the individualism of our day. We fail to realize that our "right" to choose is never absolute. 1 Cor 6:19 reminds us that we have been bought at a price, and that we are free to honor God with our bodies, for we are His dwelling place. From the moment a life begins, when God sets the miracle in motion, that human life is sacred and purposed by God to thrive in this world. I pray we will reclaim the wonder of God's created order, and choose to value and protect what He has made!
  2. Having said that, Christian disciples have been slow in recognizing the suffering and pain which exists among the many women around us who have made that choice. Luther said at the time of the Reformation that the Church "must learn to comfort a terrified conscience." The Church had been all sin and no grace. The message of the Church then became the words of Jesus: "Your sins are forgiven." To all women who still linger behind a "terrified conscience", the reality is we all have. We have all made choices that fail to honor God as He commands. You are not alone. Therefore, together, let us hear what Jesus has declared to all of us: "Arise. Get up. Your sins are forgiven." God is in the life restoration business. He has not only redeemed your life, but will never waste your pain. Like Catherine Davis, CEO of the African-American Pro-Life Coalition, she had two abortions before age 20, but now saves lives by sharing her story in urban neighborhoods. Receive the forgiveness of God, and then see what wondrous ways He will use to redeem your pain and loss. 
  3. Leigh and I have developed a running battle over "sports" vs "fixer upper" shows. I keep telling her that all those shows are the same – just change the town and the people working on it. She says, "That's just like sports. Same game. Different town and people." I've had a hard time refuting that, other than her shows have no end. At least in sports, there is a season which declares a champion at the end. Who is the fixer upper champion?
  4. Our church and community lost a great man last week in Malcolm Clayton. A man of deep faith and personal integrity, he was also a "churchman". He was part of a generation of people who believed the Church, as God's divinely created bride, was worth building one's life around. So, he did. When the church called, he answered. He served in nearly every capacity you could imagine while giving with extraordinary generosity. Now, his family continues to serve in that same fashion. I will miss him. We certainly need more like him. 
  5. I was saddened by my own alma mater, SMU, when President Gerald Turner decided to move the annual 9/11 memorial (flags are planted for every life lost that day) from the center of campus to a far less visible location. Why? The administration said they respect the right of all students "to avoid messages that are triggering, harmful or harassing." Are SMU students really that weak after 16 years of doing it? It makes no sense, and once again, college is where students should have the free exchange of ideas in an atmosphere of mutual respect. You don't take some ideas or expressions and hide them.
  6. I thought Jordan Speith's back 9 at the British was one of the great achievements in golf history. And one of the keys to his success? Chewing gum. Yep. The Journal of International Sports Society and Nutrition published a study that said athletes who chew gum while competing had lower blood pressure and heart rate, translating to improved performance. Jordan was chewing it all afternoon.
  7. LAST CHANCE U: I have gotten hooked on this Netflix series about East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, MS – where many football players go after washing out at the DI level (John Franklin at Auburn, De'Andre Johnson at FSU are examples). Even if you're not a big football fan, it is a fascinating sociological study – from the coaches to the players to the academic adviser (Brittany, who basically steals the show). It is literally the "last chance" for many players and how they respond is quite interesting. Honestly, what if they made a documentary about your life? If cameras followed you around all the time for a year, what would that tape look like? It's pretty amazing that all those people allowed that level of access to their lives.
  8. THAT WAS DUMB: A study started at Harvard in 1959 involved humiliating and emotionally tormenting 22 undergraduates over three years. One of those students was a young Ted Kaczynski, who would later become the Unabomber. 
  9. As school starts this week, go hug a teacher or an educator. They are some of the most underappreciated and underpaid people in our society, even though we entrust to them the most precious gifts we have: our children.
  10. I am with Jon Snow, King In The North