Christianity Inspiration News Personal

A Bible And A Shovel

As you probably already know, a major snow storm hit the East Coast this past week which brought loads of snow and shut down roads and airports for a few days. Many people are still feeling the effects of the several feet of snow that left them stranded, like the people of Newark, New Jersey. But what you may not have heard about is Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, and a man that appears to be leading his town by example.

I first heard about Mr. Booker when he and Conan O’Brien were “feuding” over YouTube. During his short-lived run on the Tonight show Conan made a joke about Newark that didn’t go over too well with the mayor. So Booker took to YouTube to settle the matter, thus placing Conan on the Newark, New Jersey’s “no fly list”. The feud went back and forth for a while via YouTube and Conan’s show but ended on a high note when Conan invited Booker to the show and donated $100,000 to a charity in Newark.

But this week, Cory Booker was at it again–this time he wasn’t battling Conan, but the snow. According to Twitter’s blog, Cory was out in the streets of Newark with his shovel and a team of people literally digging people out of the snow. He was using his Blackberry phone and his Twitter account to let people know that he could come to them and clear their driveways or sidewalks and get them to where they needed to be. Some people had to work, others had doctor’s appointments, and the mayor wanted to make sure his people could get their safely.

As I read over his Twitter timeline and saw all the tweets and people he was helping I actually started to cry. Really, this man is leading by example and being an inspiration to others to do the same. It’s people helping people and that’s something anyone can get behind, especially those who are Christians, like myself. This challenges my own heart to remember that we all need to take care of each other, not just in snow storms, but in the storms of life. Mayor Booker might be literally digging people out of the weight of snow, but what about the weight of trials and hardship in life? I heard a pastor say once in regards to helping each other “… that’s what Christians do right, we help each other out!” I think he was right. The Christian life is not meant to be lived alone, but in a community of people and at times that is going to include getting our shovels out and doing some hard work to dig each other out. Another pastor I know said this during a men’s retreat which I think is appropriate, “There two things a man needs to be successful in this life: a Bible and a shovel.” He needs a Bible so he can understand God’s Word and follow what it says, and he needs a shovel to work hard and provide for his family and serve the church. Well, Mayor Booker is an example of how to use a shovel, and I am reminded that I can’t just read my Bible and expect things to happen–I need to pick up my shovel once in a while.

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The Beginning of the End For Marriage?

© Shay Thomason

I got married at 21. Next month my wife and I will celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary–I couldn’t be happier. But apparently I’m not the norm. At least that’s what the Associated Press is saying in a new article out today with the tagline “Is marriage becoming obsolete?” I offer you this snippet for your own discernment:

As families gather for Thanksgiving this year, nearly one in three American children is living with a parent who is divorced, separated or never-married. More people are accepting the view that wedding bells aren’t needed to have a family.

About 29 percent of children under 18 now live with a parent or parents who are unwed or no longer married, a fivefold increase from 1960, according to the Pew report being released Thursday. Broken down further, about 15 percent have parents who are divorced or separated and 14 percent who were never married. Within those two groups, a sizable chunk — 6 percent — have parents who are live-in couples who opted to raise kids together without getting married.

Then there’s this gem just in the middle of the article:

The changing views of family are being driven largely by young adults 18-29, who are more likely than older generations to have an unmarried or divorced parent or have friends who do. Young adults also tend to have more liberal attitudes when it comes to spousal roles and living together before marriage, the survey found.

via Four in 10 say marriage is becoming obsolete – Yahoo! News

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Flying And Your Privatesy

© Shay Thomason

Yes, I misspelled the word “privacy” in the title–it was intentional.

I wouldn’t share this if I didn’t think it was relevant, and if you use airplanes to travel for any reason this information is crucial. I’m not sure if you’ve been keeping your eyes on the latest procedures that are being considered for flight security, but let’s just say it’s pretty revealing–that is, revealing of your body, your wife’s body, and even your kids’ bodies.

After reading Ed Stezter’s post “Four Reasons You Should Resist the New TSA Security Procedures (and How You Can)“, I feel violated and I haven’t even had these procedures done to me. But I do spend time in airports every year, and the last thing I want are naked images of my family to be seen by strangers and/or to be groped in any way. I know these things sound terrible to even mention, but they are becoming a reality. And as so boldly stated by one congressman, “You don’t have to look at my wife and 8-year-old daughter naked to secure an airplane.”

I highly suggested reading all of Ed Stetzer’s four reasons why you should resist these new procedures. Here’s just a sample of his first point:

1. It is wrong.

Yes, I will say it that bluntly. It is wrong to take naked pictures of people as a requirement for them to travel across a free country. And, it is wrong to grope their genitals as a requirement of travel.

Now, honestly, I don’t care if they want to look at my lumpy physique all day. In one sense, you would have to consider that a painful sacrifice on the TSA agent’s part.

But, I have a wife and three daughters. I teach my children that only their parents or their doctor should see or touch certain places on their bodies. And, I do not think I should add, “Oh, and strangers in the airport.”

Read the entire post by clicking here.

My thanks to Scott Zeller for sharing this.

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Polygamy Coming to TLC

Apparently polygamy is going mainstream?

TLC is giving a real-life polygamist spin to “Big Love.”

“Sister Wives” will examine a Utah family of fundamentalists Mormons. The Brown clan includes one husband, Kody, and three wives — with a fourth on the way – and 13 children.

Seven-episode half-hour series premieres 10 p.m. Sept. 26.

“We want to tell our story,” second wife Janelle Brown told Daily Variety. “We want people to see for themselves and not what they read.”

TLC has had success showcasing burgeoning families with “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” “19 Kids and Counting” and “Table for 12.”

via Variety.

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Wait, Why Did I Vote Again?

“In one brazen act of judicial energy, California’s voters were told that they had no right to define marriage, and thousands of years of human wisdom were discarded as irrational…This decision, whatever its final resolution, serves as an undeniable reminder of the power of Federal judges. A single unelected judge nullified the will of the voters of California as expressed through the electoral process. Those who have been arguing that judicial activism is a fiction will have to look this decision in the face. The New York Times celebrated Judge Walker’s usurpation of the political process, arguing that “there are times when legal opinions help lead public opinions.” The paper, along with proponents of same-sex marriage, clearly hope that this is one of those times.”

– Dr. Albert Mohler

Read Dr. Mohler’s entire article.

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100 Years of Boy Scouts

"This American Boy" - Photo ©Shay Thomason

I read this morning that the Boy Scouts of America are celebrating 100 years. 100 years is a milestone for any organization–I definitely praise their accomplishment. I read the “Boy Scout Oath” this morning and couldn’t help think if something like this could ever be written in today’s culture–100 years later. It currently reads:

“On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”

No doubt if this were rewritten today it would read something like this:

“If I can, I will try to help all countries and obey the Scout Law; to help other people, animals, and the Earth; to keep myself from becoming obese and/or having diabetes, to play video games to keep my mind awake, and know that morality is something that’s different for everyone.”

I really hope it doesn’t come to that–I really do.

Photo © Shay Thomason. All Right Reserved.
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Retweet At Your Own Risk

To be perfectly clear, it’s my sheer nerd love for Back to the Future that I even write about this, but I knew I would have to say something once I got to the whole story. Let me explain.

I was wondering through my Twitter account today when I noticed a few “retweets” from my friends. For non-Twitter types, this is basically a tweet that has been copied and re-posted to other people’s accounts. Think of it as a “repeat” tweet if you will. As I casually read, I saw a couple tweets that stuck out. They were both referencing a statement about Back to the Future that I later traced back to some film site and some other dude–the tweets are shown above. If you’re a fan of Back to the Future and know your facts, you realize that this has 2 major errors in it.

First, Doc set the time machine to 2015. That’s just a fact.

Second, the date they needed is really in October…2015.

The question could be asked “where did they get the 25 years from?” Well, it’s the 25th anniversary of the film this year and they just announced a release of the trilogy on Blu-Ray. I’m assuming that’s it?

Lessons learned:

1. If you work for a magazine and are going to post a tweet about a trilogy that has a large following of people that have spent too much of their lives figuring out the time line of Back to the Future–get your facts straight.

2. If you’re going to ReTweet something, give it a once over just to make sure.

3. Both of these people are idiots. Comes from upbringing. Their parents are probably idiots too.

4. Back to the Future fans are definitely cooler than Trekkies, but they don’t joke around about their facts.

5. You are already bored by this blog.

6. You could care less what day Doc went in to the future, you are just laughing at someone eles’s mistake.

7. You really want hover board and are sad they don’t exist.

8. You still think Marty was smart when he tried to buy that Almanac in 2015 so he could go back in time and “put some money on the Cubbies”.

9. You are actually a little more interested in this blog at the moment.

10. We both wish that our lights came on at home when we say: “lights on”

11. You are seriously considering “retweeting” this blog post.

12. Things are very heavy in the future. It has something to do with the earth’s gravitational pull.

13. Whenever you see 88mph you should get a little excited inside.

14. You still don’t know what a “gigawatt” is.

15. Having information about the future can have disastrous consequences, even if you’re intentions are good. Didn’t these people actually watch the movie?!

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Why I Keep Reading About Abby

Photo © Shay Thomason

Ever since she went “missing” in the Indian ocean, I can’t help but keep up with the story about Abby Sunderland–the 16 year old girl trying to circumnavigate the world in her sail boat. If you’ve followed the story (or heard the news), you know she was basically a little over half way in her voyage when her boat was crippled by rough water and winds. Thankfully, she was equipped with location devices which she manually set off when her mast was destroyed and she laid in wait for rescue. The nearest boat to her was over 400 miles away, but Australian search teams did a fly-by and were able to contact her via radio to confirm she was OK. After about 40 hours of bobbing in the middle the ocean, a French fishing boat was able to rescue her while leaving her crippled boat behind to presumably sink. But however amazing and incredible the story already is, I think it’s just the beginning.

The tide has turned (so to speak) in this saga, and it’s headed straight for Abby’s parents. People everywhere want to know one thing: why would they let a 16-year old girl sail around the world alone? A few years ago they let their son Zac Sunderland attempt the exact same feat which he completed in mid-2009. Zac was 17 years old when he finished and it took him 13 months to make it around the globe. Abby, a year younger and maybe not as experienced as Zac, has now abandoned her quest and it was a dangerous voyage. But I have yet to find an article regarding Zac’s successful trip and blaming his parents for letting him complete the task. Were their parents doing the right thing then by letting him go and now they are to blame for Abby’s failed attempt?–I think not. The problem is not the Sunderland family’s parenting model, it’s everyone else’s.

We’ve long forgotten the days when “adolescence” didn’t exist–that is, this weird time our culture has created between childhood and adulthood. It’s a scary place where teenagers have little to no responsibility and learn to remain in childhood until they are at least 18 and then they’re allowed to venture out on their own. Newt Gingrich wrote a very interesting article in 2008 titled “Let’s End Adolescence” in which he basically gives proof for the failure of this “social experience” we call adolescence. As well he gives examples of young people who accomplished great things with their lives. He writes,

Benjamin Franklin was an example of this kind of young adulthood. At age 13, Franklin finished school in Boston, was apprenticed to his brother, a printer and publisher, and moved immediately into adulthood.

John Quincy Adams attended Leiden University in Holland at 13 and at 14 was employed as secretary and interpreter by the American Ambassador to Russia. At 16 he was secretary to the U.S. delegation during the negotiations with Britain that ended the Revolution.

Daniel Boone got his first rifle at 12, was an expert hunter at 13, and at 15 made a yearlong trek through the wilderness to begin his career as America’s most famous explorer. The list goes on and on.

[via Bloomberg BusinessWeek, originally pubslished Oct. 30, 2008]

That’s why the problem is everyone else. The culture we have created in America doesn’t want young people to go out and do hard things anymore. They’re either “too young”, “too inexperienced”, or any number of excuses we have created for them and there are no longer any expectations on them. The Sunderland family believes that young people have more to offer and they live by that. They understand that young people weren’t designed to sit around and play video games. They’re not here to just be a drain on our economy as the media teaches them to consume, consume, consume. Just because Abby didn’t make it around the globe in her boat doesn’t mean she failed. It means she tried to raise the bar for young people and call them to do something greater with their lives, and just because she didn’t finish doesn’t mean her effort wasn’t worth it. It’s also a call to parents to really look at the bigger picture here and realize that their kids are ready and able to do more than our weak culture thinks they can do. They are ready to be challenged with more than we are offering. They just need a little help from us.

For further reading:
Abby’s blog
“Abby Sunderland Makes it Home” – The Rebelution
Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex and Brett Harris

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U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!


And a little something from my iPhone this week:

Music News Personal

New Paramore Out Today

I’m a fan of music, which is probably why I talk about it a lot.

Today is the official release of Paramore’s 3rd album titled Brand New Eyes, and from what I’ve previewed on their website…it’s gonna rock. I suggest you get yourself a copy. This band is good, no doubt about it.