Thursday, May 29, 2008

Watch What You Say!

"Better to say nothing and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." (Author unknown)

Yesterday as I was studying for a class I ran across a Proverb that I had not read in a while but it strikes me as one well worth remembering. It is Proverbs 10:19 and says:
"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." (NIV)
My aunt Zelma was 100 years old when she died. She used to be known for her rather sharp tongue at times. I remember after a stinging comment hearing her say, "Now I'm sorry if that hurt but I just say what I think. That's just the way I am." I loved my aunt and want you to know that she had many endearing qualities as well but I think what her reckless words often earned her was loneliness.
Many of us remember our mothers telling us, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." That could be a very loose translation of this passage. Solomon wrote these proverbs down largely for the benefit of his sons. He tells them here and several other places in this book to think before they speak. Solomon doesn't give bad advice.
How many times would we have been spared embarrassment, hurt feelings and inconvenience if we had only heeded what Solomon says here? Below are some good tips for how to "hold our tongues".
1. Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know". When asked for advice or guidance we sometimes feel we will be perceived as smarter when we answer immediately only to find that we are really perceived as smarter when we answer accurately. When we speak quickly and inaccurately we are perceived not only as less than smart but also as unreliable.
2. When angry, the fewer words the better. Nearly everyone has spoken words in anger that they wish they could have back. Tragically a large portion of those words spoken in anger have been directed towards those we love the most (Mom, Dad, husband, wife, son or daugher, etc...). When emotion starts to enter a difficult situation for most of us it is time to be quiet. Move away from the situation if at all possible. Process the situation with thought after a period of cooling off and then consider the impact of the words you choose. Determine what you are trying to achieve with your words and construct your response accordingly. For the most part our goals will be to resolve a conflict, to express feelings in a way they can be understood, or to add meaningful content to an important discussion. When we allow anger to dictate our words our results are often to hurt feelings, escalate emotion in a discussion and move the perception of our comments to the realms of extreme and insignificant.
3. Remember Whose You Are. I say this to my kids from time to time before they go to school. My intent is to remind them that their words and deeds represent their God, their family and their church. No matter who we are or what position we occupy in life, our words will have an impact on someone. If the words we choose are hurtful, condescending or gossip the reflection is not a good one. If our humor or language is vulgur or impure the contrast between who we are and who we profess to be could not be more clear.
In all you say, speak as if the Lord were right beside you because in reality he is. He is there and he expects all of us to represent him with holiness and distinction.

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." (Colossians 4:6, NIV)

New Picture? You Vote.

Dina Clyde told me just yesterday that she thought my picture was just too "stiff". So, I thought I would leave it to a vote. Should I leave the picture as is or should I replace it with a new more recent shot? Either way, it don't get no prettier.

Friday, May 23, 2008

High Gas Prices...A Good Thing???

I have been called an eternal optimist at times and it is true that I generally try to find the good in just about anything. So when the gas prices roared past three dollars a gallon and went to four dollars a gallon, it was at first difficult to find the silver lining. I think however, I have found some hope in a discouraging situation. When our gas prices in the U.S. were hovering well below what the rest of the world was paying for the commodity (I know, often due to much higher taxes in other countries) many of us have gotten used to driving without thinking about the cost. That has driven the demand up and resulted (so they say) in the cost skyrocketing.
One other side effect of our indulgence is that our appetite for going and going has made us largely dependent upon other countries to satisfy our "need" to travel. Much of that dependency and no small amount of our cash has gone to countries that either covertly or overtly are encouraged by our distress. Countries like Syria, Venezuela, Iran and until recently Iraq have the power at least in part to manipulate our economy and are delighted when the U.S. standing in the world suffers. Being at the mercy of those who wish for our demise is not a good thing. It will push us to the brink of war again and again and unless things change, Afghanistan and Iraq are just the beginning of our military struggles.
I would agree that one of the things our next president needs to have at the forefront of his (or less likely her) agenda is breaking this dependency on foriegn oil. I think we need to open up land previously off limits to drilling and allow for more refineries to be built but ultimately we need to find a dependable, renewable energy source that has broad availability. While gas was cheap there was little incentive for anyone to develop the technology for this energy source let alone to spend the money on building the manufacturing and delivery infrastructure to support it. Perhaps now, with gas being so high and costs continuing to elevate, the proper motivation is there. Lets face it, the dollar is still the bottom line and until it becomes profitable no large scale efforts will be made to solve this dilemma. My hope is that now, businesses and investment groups with large resource pools will begin channeling funds into technology development and processing and delivery models that will allow us to move in the right direction.
I can't say that filling my tank these days doesn't make me feel sick to my stomach but I can say that I am hopeful. Even if the cost of travel is a little higher with a new energy source I still believe that the peace of mind for future generations is worth it.
I hope that in my lifetime I can witness the news story of a U.S. President who tells the OPEC nations that they can keep their oil. We don't need it anymore. Talk about defunding the terrorists! That will also keep the power in the world right where it belongs. Right in the home of the free and the brave!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Take Time to Remember

As the grim news about Senator Ted Kennedy began to circulate around in the news this past week, the networks were already piecing together tributes to him from their video archives. His failed presidential run and "Chappaquidick" were mentioned but the majority of the information was about his tenure in the senate, his standing for civil rights and his advocacy for the poor and for senior citizens. Well before his passing we are already gaining a perspective on his significance. It is a very common course of action.. What did this person do that mattered? What legacy did he or she leave?
A favorite T-shirt slogan reads: "Live your life so that the preacher doesn’t have to lie at your funeral." A funeral is another one of those times when we look back over a person’s life in search of what mattered. We tend to overlook the struggles he or she had and go right to the "He would give you the shirt off of his back" reflections. That is easier to do in some cases than it is in others.
Memorial Day is a great time to remember the significant sacrifices of those who have defended our country in times of war. Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (Jn. 15:13) and tomorrow we pay special homage to those who have shown the "greatest love" for us. All of those who have served our country in our armed services whether in war or in peace have demonstrated a significance that will mark their lives in a positive way forever. If you are one of those brave souls, the rest of us thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Today is a Memorial Day of sorts as well. Not so much because of the holiday but because it is Sunday, the day each week that Christians gather to mark the most significant memorial there is. Today and every Sunday we remember Jesus and the sacrifice he made for us. We remember that our life lacked any real significance until the forgiveness his grace afforded imparted a righteousness that we could not have achieved on our own. He added value to our lives even when sin had made them worthless. In our memorial each week we give him the honor and praise he deserves.
There have been many sacrifices made to allow us not only the best of life on earth but also the hope of a life eternal in heaven afterwards. We would be remiss to live our lives without being thankful and taking time to reflect on the road to success that was paved in flesh and blood and pain and suffering and sorrow.
Each chance we get let’s all take time to remember.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Welcome to my blog. Check back regularly for updates, information and random musings on things I find interesting and want to share. I will definitely enjoy your feedback as well. My articles and writings will also appear here. I look forward to keeping in touch with you.