If you are up to date on American politics and news, you might know that the walls are closing in on President Donald Trump, and his previous attorney Michael Cohen. Once upon a time Cohen said he would take a bullet for Trump, indicating a high level of loyalty, but what happens when the person you are trying to protect, purposefully and willfully walks into a line of fire? In this case, you might find yourself in the same situation that Cohen admitted to; making incorrect or dishonest statements, to be consistent with the person to which you are loyal. Cohen eventually plead guilty to lying, but it started with misguided loyalty. In The Church and The Community, Page 178, I wrote about a well meaning person who like Cohen, tried to protect a person they were loyal to. The end result was not good for either of them. Let us not do things that necessitate lying, and may we never be dishonest.
The iconic song by Frank Loesser, which won an academy award in 1949 and become a Christmas time classic, is now being banned for questionable lyrics. In the continued wake of the #MeToo movement, what was once considered a flirtatious, cat and mouse game that many a couple played, is now seen as highly offensive. Convincing is harassment, and pursuit is assault. Of course anything unwanted has always been, and should always be, illegal or wrong but in that light, every salesman would be a criminal for pushing past rejection. And in The Church and The Community, Page 183, I wrote about the other victims of #MeToo… those who are falsely accused by hyper sensitive or vindictive people. After deeply considering the lyrics of “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, tell us your thoughts on radio stations banning that song. And do you have a #MeToo story or concern, to share? Awareness, discussion and education is paramount.
Scattered throughout the southern regions of the United States are various confederate statues and monuments. You would think after the Civil War all symbols of Southern Pride would be banned as Nazi ones are in Germany, but our country loves to be different. And by different I mean deifying those who fought to continue the injustice of slavery, by seceding from what became the United States of America. They say it is not about racism, and slavery had nothing to do with the civil war, but the articles of secession from each state that fought against the union, prove the confederacy did have racial motivations. So for this reason, many southern cities are citing that confederate statues no longer represent who they are as modern, diverse cities with momentum, yet in The Church and The Community, Page 165, I wrote about the towns that are holding fast to the confederacy. Read and learn.
Of course there are some who say racism does not exist, and that most people do not see color; time and time again these assertions are proven to be false. In The Church and The Community, Page 92, I wrote about a Hispanic co-worker at Sears, who accidentally forgot to return a credit card to the customer. Ten minutes later, the customer returned to the store and demanded the card that the “illegal immigrant stole”, and with my co-worker on lunch break, I frantically looked for it around the cash register. My manager came over and by this time, the customer was calling his credit card company saying to shut off the card… the illegal immigrant is probably buying things right now in the mall. Then my co-worker returned, and showed us where in the register he hid the card. Most stories of racism end here, but in this same chapter I detail another half dozen, though in only one, the racist apologized.
You can spend an inordinate amount of time and resources working to improve upon your opportunities… would it not be more logical to figure out what you naturally do well, and then work to do it better? Take penguins for example; they are not built to walk quickly or efficiently. If a predator were to attack a penguin, no amount of training or preparation would equip the animal to escape the danger better than if said time was spent in the water. Penguins are built for swimming, not running. Have you identified your natural gifts and abilities? In The Church and The Community, Page 181, I shared my top 5 of 34 talents. I am strategic, an achiever, competitive, command oriented, and seek significance. If you are unfamiliar with your top strengths, I implore your to take Gallup’s Strength Finders Assessment. There is no point focusing on jogging, or trying to run faster, if you are a penguin.
As midterm elections are upon us in the United States, we are presented with various candidates who may, and may not, support our values. And depending on your religious beliefs, the decision might be further complicated by trying to decide which secular leader, secretly (or openly) aligns with your theology. One movement or party though, is gaining momentum again in the United States, yet their premise stands in opposition to the Bible. In The Church and The Community, Page 74, I talked about Socialism, and likened it to a situation where my siblings took property from myself that they felt they deserved. Forget capitalism, entrepreneurship, hard work, or even reaping what you sow… just take from the people who have more, to give to people who have less. Socialism. Now ask yourself if the candidates you support, support the idea of socialism. Thoughts to consider, as you vote.
Most people respond to being angry or upset in a healthy, reasonable manner. When you accidentally broke the item your friend let you borrow, they got over it in a few days, and were content with the replacement you purchased. Your business colleague from whom you “stole” an account or client, got over it quickly, after a few drinks at the company party. Juxtapose this with the time you offended your sibling’s spouse, or upset someone in your church, and you have the story I wrote about in The Church and The Community, Page 54. Unlike how a friend or co-worker deals with offense, the Bible admits how a religious person upset is more unyielding than a strong city, and their quarreling is like the bars of a castle. One’s own family members often stay upset equally long, for similar reasons. It is time though to be less judgmental and more forgiving, especially for family, and fellow believers.
Legally you become an adult when you turn a certain age, but does time on this earth guarantee one has reached manhood or womanhood? Being able to drive a car, smoke a cigarette, or vote does not automatically mean you fully understand life, to include its dangers and responsibilities. In order to become a man or woman, you need to ask yourself when did you stop acting like a child… when do you overcome your biggest fear? In The Church and The Community, Page 40, I talked about my childhood fear of getting physically hit or knocked down. Yet I found myself on a football team one year, and my commitment to be important landed me a spot on the offensive line, as well as on special teams. Before you knew it, my biggest fear was running toward me and I had the choice of running away, or facing him head on. I decided to face my fears and become a man. It hurt, but was worth it. When did you earn adulthood?
The answer is probably no. Maybe you heard the mantra “you have to earn my trust”? Well sadly, this is usually code for the person having been hurt in the past, and wanting you to prove trustworthiness. It makes sense, and is logical, but it is not right to force people through the lens of your past hurts and hang ups. Further, you run the risk of living a life alone, or one with very few friends, because you project past issues on present people. Thankfully, I have had the pleasure of developing many great friendships, from people who have gauged whether or not to trust me, based on my present actions. I wrote about one such friend, Benjamin, in The Church and The Community, Page 135. And with this, I encourage you; if you find yourself struggling to trust people, deeply consider why, then do your best to forgive or reconcile the issues of your past. Only then can you enjoy deep friendships, as do I.
Each decision in business, ministry, and life, presents an opportunity to effect success, or failure. These decisions are like intersections where you can choose the path that betters your situation, or makes it worse. Most people do not realize how many intersections they come to, every day. There are the large and obvious crossroads, such as choosing whom to marry or what career path is best, but what about the smaller and seemingly insignificant choices? Do you greet every stranger politely, and double check the air pressure in your spare tire daily? An inability to recognize and properly respond to all the opportunities we face, is a sure way to guarantee one’s life will not be successful. In The Church and The Community, Page 03, you will see how there are implications to EVERY decision in life. For your own sake, be certain you are comfortable living with the implication or outcomes, of each and every choice.