29 October, 2008

The Portal of the (Candidate's) Soul

There's an old anecdote:
It is said that Abraham Lincoln, when he was President of the U.S., was advised to include a certain man in his cabinet.
When he refused, Lincoln was asked why he would not accept the man. "I don't like his face," the President replied.
"But the poor man isn't responsible for his face," responded his advocate.
"Every man over forty is responsible for his face," said Lincoln.

As I look at this election, I care that Obama looks like a bit more of a socialist than McCain. But, I still remember the days when Republicans everywhere rejected McCain as a liberal socialist, too. And I care that McCain has some gravel in his gut that Obama won't have for a few more years. But, I know the job just might forge Obama into something great, too.

I know everyone's up in arms about having two such terrible candidates, but I really think these are two of the best candidates we've had in a while. I think there's a real chance either of these candidates could really make a positive difference in their areas of concern. I do like McCain's areas of concern better than Obama's. And I have a definite leaning to the right, anyway.

Still, I had my doubts.

Watching these videos was an, "Every man over forty is responsible for his face," moment for me, though. These videos moved me past my doubts. Obama ain't funny. Oh, his jokes are cute, and he has a presence, but given the opportunity to have some fun he takes no risks. Given the opportunity to join in play with his audience, he plays along instead. McCain jumps in the mud and starts slinging it. As I watched these videos, I really, really liked McCain's face. I'd love to see that man leading this country.

Watch these videos and tell me whether you see him differently. Or whether you just think it's silly to make big decisions over little things.

Obama Part 1

Obama Part 2

McCain Part 1

McCain Part 2

Oh, and I'm really sorry I'm not really blogging any more. Some months life just gets a bit busier than others.

19 October, 2008

We Shall See Him As He Is

One day we will see Jesus face to face. All our dreams will come to fruit, and we stand right there in front of Him.

But oddly, it will be a human-sized experience in some way. It will be the opposite of a dream that can keep changing with every new thought. Jesus will be Jesus, and He'll never change. He'll be there in a body, just like our new one, and He'll definitely look like something. It's an odd thing, but He'll no longer be an amazing million possibilities. Jesus will be Jesus, and when we pass Him on the streets of gold, we will recognize Him.

In a sense, that might be a little odd. Imagine meeting the girl of your dreams for the first time. 999,999 possibilities drop away in an instant when you see the real thing. You could almost mourn the 999,999 girls that will never be, but then you can finally begin knowing the girl that's really there.

Getting to know the Jesus that's really there just might be like that. We might first have to mourn the Jesuses we imagined before we can love the Jesus Who's standing there in front of us. I think that will feel good and right.

And when it happens, I suspect an amazing thing will happen. We will be shocked to discover that we already know Him. We'll be shocked at how few surprises there are for us, because have already known each other. Jesus will reach out to us, and we'll know that gesture because Bob and Dan were just like that. And He'll laugh with us, and it'll be just like Charleen and Linda.

I think the biggest surprise of meeting Jesus will be the degree to which we are not surprised by the beauty we see in Him.

It's an exciting hope.

08 October, 2008

The Eight

If you're over 40, you like the old songs. A lot. That's why there's so many oldies stations.

I noticed that this morning. I don't listen to the radio, and I do run with the windows down, so I hear a lot of stations over a month. I recognize the music rolling out of the windows of people my age. The Boomers are redefining the layout of the radio band as much as they are anything else, and I like it when they drive by because I get an instant warm feeling from whatever song they're currently ignoring.

And it makes me wonder stuff.

Are we hardwired to learn and like music in our teens, and after that everything we like requires extra concentration? I learned to like classical in my early 20's, and it still doesn't give me a warm fuzzy.

And I learned Camptown Races and She'll be Coming Around the Mountain (with variations) and others as a child, and they're still a part of my repertoire. There's hardly any cause to sing such songs any more, but they used to be a common language across generations according to popular American myth.

Amazing Grace is like that, or it was before it fell into complete disuse. These days you hardly hear it except on the bagpipes in movies that want to create instant grief. Just as I Am used to be one of those. I still wish it were around. It's probably my favorite sentiment, and statement of grace upon which I most rely. I chose it for my wedding 20+ years ago, and still love it.

It seems to me our churches are making a profound mistake by not perpetuating the common language of song. There should be (let's say) 8 songs that are sung at least 4 times a year, and everyone should be required to learn them. Anyone who is a member of the church should be able to sing these 8 songs, at least the 1st and last verses, without an overhead, hymnal, or karoake prompter.

Simple reality teaches me that the older folk ain't going to learn the new songs easily, so if we want the barrier to entry to be low for them, we should give the benefit of the doubt to an older hymn over a newer alternative.

What would your 8 songs be?

(Over the next week, I'll be at a conference in Wash DC, so I might actually be able to comment on this thread! WooHoo! Vacation!)

04 October, 2008

What Happened to Cause the Financial Meltdown?

Ya'll know I'm a diesel mechanic gone digital, not an economist. Still, this thing is big. And more than just big, it's fascinating because the damage control is being done in real time by panicked leaders and companies. The opinions are thicker'n skeeters in Louisiana right now, and not just from pundits. The average Joe has an opinion, the pundits are changing their opinions, congressmen have opinions, and it just so happens we have a quartet of presidential candidates with opinions.

It's absolutely enthralling.

In a, "Wow, my kids might grow up in the stone age," kind of way.

Anyway, here's a link to Michael Kruse summarizing his opinion of the steps that got us here.

I live in a world of linked data points. The more points you can make jive together, the more likely you've got a useful opinion. Michael is the first guy I've seen link every point. He indicts Democrats, Republicans, lenders, free markets, regulation, and greedy Americans, but that's no big deal. Everyone is doing that. He does it in the right way. He points out what they did, and why they did it - actually why I might have done it myself if I were in their shoes.

I respect and can use an opinion like that.

And, for the record, you might enjoy the video at his post, too. :-)

A Prophetic YouTube Post