You should (n’t) do that

“A crossfitter, a vegan, and an atheist walk into a bar, five minutes later, everyone in the bar knows.”

I love reading articles on health, fitness, and diets. I enjoy conversations with people that are passionate about it as well. One thing I have found is people have strong beliefs on what is “good” and healthy, and are vehemently opposed to what is “bad” and terrible for you.

  • Find someone that doesn’t eat bread, and I’ll likely find someone that will tell me the Voldemort-like evils of bread.
  • Find someone that doesn’t eat meat, and I’ll get to hear how everything in the meat is causing cancer.
  • Find someone that does Crossfit, and I’ll hear how it’s the only “real” way to get in shape and get results.

This is interesting to me, because the same phenomena exists in the religious realm.

  • Find someone that doesn’t drink, and they will let me know why drinking is sinful.
  • Find someone that doesn’t struggle with sexuality (hetero- or homo-) and they will let me know what “god” thinks of it.
  • Find someone that goes on mission trips, and they will tell me that everyone should be doing this.

Of course, these are not universal (and Lord knows, I’m not immune). We all can easily fall prey to this mentality. All of us run a risk of believing what we are able to resist (that we believe helps us) should be resisted by all. We also believe what we are able to do (that benefits us) should be accomplished by all.

When I’ve sat down with people that say there is an acceptable and unacceptable amount of sin, I’ve tried to show how what they are saying (most of the time) is how convenient God forgives all the sins they struggle with. …Or what is more deceptive is how God doesn’t forgive certain sins they see in those they haven’t forgiven.

So the guy that told me in the sauna the other day that fasting is terrible for your body and your metabolism, I’m glad eating 6 times a day is working for you.

And the guy a few weeks ago that told me those that don’t go to church are just hiding from a community that exposes sin, I’m happy that the weekly gathering is helping you in your journey.

…Just realize that your results, and more importantly, your attitude towards us that are still working things out will be more convincing than your newfound truth.


God doesn’t care who is president.


I was at lunch yesterday with a buddy that shares many meals with me. We ramble and talk about pretty much everything (both of us are story tellers and walking tangents). As we discussed politics, I made the comment that God doesn’t care. After that statement, I tried to convey that He does care simultaneously. We were talking about this because we have family and friends that believe there is the “god-choice” when it comes to voting.

And it always amazes me how much God’s views on immigration, economics, human rights, defense, etc closely mirror my own and how no one can call “bullshit” on that.

Trying to explain a paradox-al view over BBQ usually leaves me with “I could have explained that better”.

Now Ben, who is more Right of center than me and a Follower of Christ, understood me. But a fly on the wall probably would of been like, “what?!”.

So let me state it this way: God isn’t concerned/worried/needy of anything with our elections because of 3 simple reasons.

1. God is omnipotence. Or simply all powerful.

God caring about the election is like me caring about the way the towel paper roll is on the “thingy” in my daughter’s bathroom. (I bring this up, because apparently there is a right/wrong way to put a towel paper roll on).

Like this, it doesn’t really matter. It’s irrelevant. We have other bathrooms. And honestly, if it was really important to me, I could instantly change things.

So, to the God of infinity and eternity, it doesn’t really matter and it’s irrelevant. God has other ways to do whatever God does. And honestly, if it was really important to God, He could instantly change things.

2. God is omnipresence. Or simply God is everywhere.

God caring about the election is on the same level with God caring about everything else. Although I’d argue that Jesus didn’t express that. Jesus expressed great care for people in poverty, those that were outcasts and disconnected, and those judged by the religious. He also stated not to be concerned with the powers and principalities of this world.  But hey, maybe Jesus was wrong because a lot us disagree with Him by our actions, words and what we share online.

God cares just as much about my kids grades….
God cares just as much about rain in California…
God cares just as much about the homeless guy that is getting kicked out of McDonald’s…
God cares just as much about a widow in India…

And on and on…

So to say that this is more important is drawing some kind of conclusion that really isn’t Biblical.

3. God is omniscience. Or simply God is all-knowing.

A candidate can deceive you and I. They may be smooth enough to deceive themselves. But they are not deceiving God.

God knows that those that seek power, capital, and control are doing it by taking it away from others. God is not some fool that thinks, “Oh, he or she is different than the previous (insert a ever-growing number) of people that are corrupt or will be corrupted by power, capital and control.

We can be persuaded that it will be different, but God knows the heart of all of us. Our desire to fix, control, or eliminate things so that we won’t have uncertainty, randomness, and chaos is not a Biblical command, right, or promise.

What they are, is however, a temptation to create something where God is no longer needed because we have become gods. And again, God isn’t fooled or duped.

So may those that believe in God use this a weapon to produce Fruit and may those that don’t believe use this a weapon to cut through the muck and mire of the idolatry that creeps up in us that do believe.

sharing what inspires you


There is a tale that a man inspired by God once went out from the creaturely realms into the vast waste. There he wandered till he came to the gates of the Mystery.

He knocked.

From within came the Cry: “What do you want here?”.

He said, “I have proclaimed Your praise in the ears of mortal, but they were deaf to me. So I come to You that You Yourself may hear me and reply.”

“Turn back”, came the Cry from within. “Here is no Ear for you. I have sunk My Hearing in the deafness of mortals.”

-Martin Buber

It is good to proclaim what is True.
It is good to share what is inspiring.
It is good to attempt to explain the ineffable.
It is good to capture the depth, and the width.

No string to the responses.
No amplification with the deafness.
No frustration.
No re-explaining to exhaust a point.
No insecurity to the mockery of it all.
No expectancy.

What moves me may just move me.
I have to express the encounter at times to complete it.*
I also have to allow it be “dry” to everyone else.

There is no need to convince anyone that Something is transformative or True. The life I live will be the constant hum of that.

I will continue to share, but not for the purpose of persuading, but out of abundance of what God is doing in me.


God may just put His hearing into how I will speak when no one will listen.

To the deafness in myself.



*I once taught on Grace (Charis). It is like a dance where there are two partners. God, who leads and extends, and our accepting and participating. In the context of this post, somethings need expression (action) for there to be acceptance. I feel that I understand and accept God’s Grace when I practice the extension of It.*



I am a short-sighted person.

Not about everything but really about one thing.

I love to predict the future and study the past. I love to read about different religions, politics, and experiences. I love to understand and go deep about many things, which makes me confident.

Which makes me arrogant.

And this arrogance blinds me to the reality that I don’t know a lot about what is good/bad for me.

This awareness has come from years of pursuing things that I thought would bring me joy/happiness/contentment only to achieve and/or acquire them only to find a let down, a ghost, or a dead end.

This awareness has also come from years of avoiding things that I thought would bring me pain/sadness/strive only to experience them and find an illusion, courage, or a treasure.

The Truth is: what I want is not always good for me and what I don’t want is not always bad for me.

This brings a pause. A breathe. A deeper thought about my desires.

It makes me hesitate, which frustrates those around me at times. I know it does because indecisiveness drives me crazy too and my own hesitation is exponentially disappointing to myself.

The hesitation comes from a fear though. I’m afraid of wasting my life. I’m afraid of going into a “deep sleep” of pursuit and waking up at 55 and having a crisis of identity (plus I don’t really want a corvette or a motorcycle). I also am afraid of becoming bitter and frustrated in my most influential older years.

There was a sermon a few years back by Matt Chandler called “God is for God”. It was powerful because of the setting (he was at a conference put on by Elevation Church… the Joel Osteen Jr.) and he brought home the message that God doesn’t give you what you want. And this is good news (the Gospel).

There is a frustration in not receiving what you want and ask for. I experience it daily. I think I know what’s best and what needs to be done. I’m right at times, and there are times when what I desire comes to fruition and it is good for myself and others.

It’s where my heart goes when my desires aren’t met that is vital. It’s the fulcrum of my soul. Not getting “what I want” is a fork in the road and the path (my response) I take is indicative of my heart.

The darkness lies in the thought “that God blessing with me with enough is NOT enough”.

So I write this to preach to my own heart.

I have enough money.
I have enough time.
I have enough people that I love and love me.
I have enough freedom.
I have enough space.
I have enough ability.
I have enough energy.
I have enough scars to have enough wisdom.
I have enough knowledge to make enough decisions.
I have enough experience to act on it.
I have enough ______ to do what You ask of me.
I have enough ______ to experience goodness and joy.

And in those moments where this isn’t True, You are with me, and that is enough.

The lesser of two paths.


So I stand there looking down two paths.

One takes me to place that seems harsh and mean-spirited. It is full of thorns and poison ivy. It seems, to me, to be a claustrophobic space. And from where I’m standing the more I head in that direction, the smaller the space is to move.

The other path is wider and seems to open up, however, it doesn’t really make sense where the path goes. It appears to be a path with more of a maze-like direction. Lots of dead ends. Lots of paths that really just lead back to the starting point.

One is too closed.
One is too open.
Both are loud and noisy with the commotion from those trying to make their way through.

People are rushing by me and I feel the breeze of their movement which naturally stirs me to move too. There are also nudges towards both that are palatable from those passing by.

Wind. Nudge. Breeze. Bump. A stream of bodies.

I’m near the entrance of both paths and able to see those that have just entered start to feel some reservation, but I see them move forward. They are encouraging each other and their shared frustrations to navigate helps to give off the aroma of a tribal bond. The scent is so intoxicating, and motivating.

Also near the entrance, there are gathered, men and women, that are very helpful with answers to questions that I’m not even asking. They are yelling at people to come to their path. They are true evangelist and apologist. They have the persona of really effective speaker: “A step in this direction and away from the other, is a step towards truth, fulfillment, and self-actualization”.

That works for some.

Some just need to see a friend or family member in a path to motivate them.  Although some go towards those they know and some go away simply because of those people.

Although, most of the people I see have chosen one of the two paths, and the those that haven’t yet are heading to one, I see a small group of people around a fire outside the entrances, off to the side.

I go over there to see what there are doing and I notice that they sit peacefully just staring into the fire. This is a group that doesn’t share much in common on the outside. They are the Island of Misfit toys, the Rat Pack, and the Planeteers.

They have nothing in common, but they don’t seemed bothered by it, because they are rarely looking up from there gaze at the peaceful embers.

Every now and again, those heading towards the path yell something at one the campers to get them to look up. Occasionally one does and gets up to see what the other wants. They rarely come back to campsite but no one sits in their seat, just in case.

I find a spot there to rest.



Today is my dad’s 64th birthday and would have been my mother’s 60th birthday.

It’s kind of cool and probably would of made for some killer parties had she not passed.

Now it might seem like a fun fact, randomness, or coincidence that they shared a birthday but it’s not.  Well it is that they did, but not the fact that my brother and I share parents that share a birthday…

We were hanging with my always wonderful aunt Marla over Christmas and she was sharing teenager stories of her older (“cooler”) sister.  My mom.  There was a calendar that my small town put out that showed everyone’s birthday, and before there was interest in my father, my mom thought it was “cool” that they shared a birthday.

A small seed of intrigue that grew into watching

…then interest

…then romance

…then a marriage

…then a family.


It’s  coincidence somewhat, but it’s also deeper than just that.


We are seeing and not seeing a lot at the same time.  There are prompts and nudges all the time under the surface of who we are and what we’re thinking.  Coincidence happens to all of us.  Running into people somewhere random, sitting next to a stranger on both legs of a roundtrip flight, or sharing a very specific similar interest with someone we are around and then becoming aware of it.

Coincidences are when we experience something in reality that seems connected but unconscious.  It seems random and unique, but I’d suggest that it isn’t.  The surprise (or shock if it’s something negative) is us just now becoming aware.


The more awareness I strive for, the more coincidences I notice and the more coincidences I notice, the more awareness I have.   I’m looking for more coincidences now instead of waiting to be shocked by them.  (Although the “SURPRISE!!!” is still a fun moment).  Connecting the dots is enjoyable because it connects my experience with yours and others.


I am a product of a coincidence, but that coincidence is a product of something eternal.

Regression to the mean.


It’s that time of year again.

…Turning over new leaves.

…Learning something different.

…Losing 15lbs.

…Writing more.

…Running a marathon.

And on and on.

I love them all.  I want to do them all (no marathons).  I’ll plan to change so many things in the positive direction this year.


But alas….I’ll arrive later this year with a lot of broken promises.


I’ll have good reasons and bad excuses for not getting where I hoped to be… and both are okay.  Changing things is hard work, takes time and takes times.  I’ll regress back to the mean (or the average) over time.  It’s not sad or tragic.  It’s logical, scientific, and the reality for most things.  It’s hard to change the habits and wiring of the brain (and those brains around me that impact my life).


But I have unlocked two ways to improve things in my experimenting.


The first way is incredibly effective, but hard to predict and structure.  It’s the “shit” happened and I HAVE TO RESPOND moments.  Now the “shit” doesn’t have to be negative.  Stress can be eustress or distress.  These moments are not daily, weekly, and rarely yearly, but when they arise they give us clear forks in the road to change.  I did 61 hours of college in 2006 because of a moment (Kai being born).  It took me 6 years to struggle to get through the previous 70ish.  I don’t constantly want moments like these (mom dying, jaw breaking, lung issues, collapsing of 30 year old thought, getting married, having 3 children, getting a promotion).  But what I do see is that they are opportunities to shift my thinking and actions abruptly.  It’s easier to change in these moments because there is support by those around me, and more importantly, support internally and personally.

A lot of resolutions just don’t pan out because the support systems (external and internal) are not pushing for it.

It’s much easier to stop eating gluten if it makes you sick and have headaches…

It’s much easier to quit drinking after you get a DWI…

It’s much easier to look for God when you’ve been living in a hellish situation….

And, honestly, it’s just easier to change if those around you are changing in the same direction.


The second way is less abrupt but is a little more controllable and less chaotic.  It’s simply the “+1 thinking”.  It works in the gym but works in the other disciplines as well.  If regression to the mean (average) is likely to happen to us, then altering the average of who we are over the long term will provide the change.

I will be transparent and let you know that I try to change 20-40 things a year. I fail to achieve most, but I do achieve some, and that’s enough.  The meaning is to shift the mean.

The truth is: most people that I admire (or can’t stand) made big choices on how they responded when the big moments happened, but they also made a lot of “+1 moments” over long periods of time.


It’s okay to set a ton of goals and then break them.



…or the Fear Of Missing Out.

It’s a real thing… sadly.

And a lot of us struggle with it to some degree.

Basically it’s the inability to commit to something because we’re worried that something “better” might be an option that we forgot or haven’t been offered yet.

This was extremely prevalent when I worked for the church.  A chunk of people would say “I don’t know” or “maybe” because they were afraid that if they said yes, then they might miss out of something that was still imaginary.  AND.  10 minutes before the event, we would be flooded with people wanting to go because that “thing” never happened.

That just a micro example of this happening all the time.

It also is why social media depresses some people.  We see the highlights of others and feel that we are missing out, thus multiplying the FOMO and the inability to commit.


It’s like the “Maybe” box of the letters we wrote each other as kids to ask each other to “go out”.  Today’s examples are the “maybe’s” on Facebook event pages or the “it’s complicated” relationship status.

(… FYI every serious relationship is complicated.)

We all have FOMO in different areas.  Some may not have it at all (kudos).

I don’t have it relationally, but I do have it vocationally.

I guess to fix this (for me) is to redirect the FOMO to what is in front of me.  I shouldn’t be worried about “missing out” on something that is, to some degree, an illusion or a fabrication.  I should however be worried about “missing out” on what is in front of me right now and focus more on being present.

No Bumper Stickers


I have been in traffic a lot over the last few months (being back at the Houston office).  I get the best and worst of the bumper-to-bumper experience in the 4th largest metro area in the country (#1 and #3 have public transportation systems so Houston might be more of struggle to get around than NYC and Chicago).


I see thousands of cars daily, and millions yearly, and I’ve noticed something.


Most cars don’t have bumper stickers.  And I mean the vast majority of them don’t.  I also was surprised by this for some reason.  Maybe I thought more cars had them.  Maybe it’s because the ones that do really stand out and are more memorable because they are witty, ridiculous, hateful, hilarious, or because they are “peppered” everywhere on one vehicle.


The take away is some of my options are false because some of the few are “loud” and “clever”, and this makes me think it’s more prevalent.


I worry that people eat the BS that is cable news (Fox, CNN and MSNBC) but the numbers are actually very small.  If you add up all their numbers, less than 1% of the population actually watches/listens to them.  That means that it’s even a smaller number that “buy” into a completely biased narrative on just one side of things because they are collectively dividing up the 1%.


I use to believe that there was a battle around Christmas, until I realized most people don’t care either way.  I’ve said “Merry Christmas” to those I know don’t believe, and “Happy Holidays” to those that I know believe, and the vast majority realize that I’m just being polite and friendly.  *Plus people that actually believe realize that Christ is in everything, not just a season….so what’s to get angry about?*  The “war” is simply fought by the few and ignored by the rest.


And lastly, I’ve always kind of known that all __________  (insert gender, race, religion, generation, orientation, wealth/status) are not ____________ (insert something positive or negative).  Something I picked up from my dad.  I know that there are generalizations that people think that are true… but are less true the closer you get.   Like a bad science experiment, the only way to make these generalizations true is to use a small sample size and ignore vast amounts of data.


As a species of 7+ billion, we should accept** our extremes/outliers but not expect them in most people.  Most people aren’t getting their guns taken away and most people aren’t trying to take them.  Most people aren’t political (see voting numbers).   Most people aren’t “dying on their crosses” and most people don’t care if you pray for them.  And on and on… Most people are just trying to pay their bills, get over their colds, go see the Star Wars movie, watch their kids in plays or performances, and visit their families this time of year.


I am not these extremes and from my experiences, neither are you.


With Peace and coffee,



**Accept doesn’t mean approve of, but rather we should accept that in a population sample of that many people, there are naturally going be those extremes.

neglection resolution


The easiest way to get ignored.

  • Be calm.
  • Be neutral.
  • Be honest about your own shortcomings.

If you want to be ignored in the cultural environment we are living in, just look at who gets attention, analyze it, and then do the opposite.

Being loud, angry, completely one-sided, and believing you are more intelligent than the “opposition” will get you all kinds of “likes” and comments these days.

This still seems to be an effective method because it is taking more and more to get our attention.  (HERE is a great analysis of the Economy of Attention)

Now, I may be wrong, but I have a fairly good intuition about causality.

As the media, your friends, and everyone else are fighting for this harder-to-grasp-attention, they’re going to have to present things in a more exaggerated fashion.  There is a breaking point when they attempt this.  They’ve already hit it for me, my bride, and many of my friends.

I guess there are others that have either a higher threshold, love the “high of feeling right”, or they don’t like the “gray” and nuanced.

Not sure, but I do see more and more people turning off the news and “blocking” things on social media.  I think after a while, your body gets wore out from the cortisol that the fear mongering produces.   Plus, people that go into the world and interact with people start to call “bullshit” on the idea that everyone is attacking you, trying to harm you, or take your stuff.  When something bad does happen, it captivates us because it’s so rare, not because it’s so normal.   Normal isn’t interesting.  It’s also interesting when people do amazing things too, but our brains process awesome differently.   I don’t look at JJ Watt or Ronda Rousey and think “I bet everyone is doing this”, but a violent thing happens, and my brain wants to project this onto other people.  (Bad analogy due to violent but incredible feats of Watt/Rousey)

“Be careful using exceptions to the prove a point”

Now I agree with this wisdom, but I’d add “…unless you’re wanting attention quickly”.

I do believe you will be listened to by trying to be calm, unbiased, and honest about yourself. (it’s not easy to do those 3 things).  It will, in due time, be attention worthy (even if that’s not your intention).  As the world seems to get worse (which it’s not), people are going to be exhausted by the fear, anxiety, and fighting.  Some will end up angry and bitter, however, some will end up looking for “salt, light and water” to bring them back to a life that they once knew.

Maturation of the Spirit does not produce cynicism, bitterness, and malice.

Our job (the few, the trying-not-to-be-proud) is to stay calm, resist the need to get a message across, sow seeds, and work the fields.  As the chaos engulfs someone we love, they may just need a person that is weathering the storm, not creating waves.

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