Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Two to Tango

Two great posts you should read...both are challenges. Both worthy of the undertaking. Stop what you are doing on my page and go read these NOW! Then come back and share your thoughts.

Tim Stevens on "Are You Tired of the Noise?"

Steven Furtick on "Gratitude Project"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The American Dream

My five year old asked me to watch a movie with her this morning. I decided to sit with her while sipping my coffee. Little did I know I was in for more than I bargained.

The movie? Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. This seemingly auspicious movie packed a whole lot more than a "good viewing" experience. Set in the Great Depression, Kit details the human struggle while following a normal family faced with the trials of a broken economy. Sound familiar? This movie could have easily been set in 2008.

I won't spoil the movie for you (I'd highly recommend you take time out to watch it on your own), but I wonder if we are callous to the human suffering that goes on around us today? This was new territory for those in the 20's, but those "without" seem to be more prevalent today. Hobos may have turned into homeless by today's definition, but the struggle to survive is no different than it was nearly 100 years ago.

We have "more" resources than ever before in our great country but seem to have "less" of a desire to help those in need. Didn't we learn anything the first time around?

They say that history repeats itself. I for one, hope that this time they're wrong.

Friday, November 21, 2008

An American Creed

Continuing my thoughts from yesterday, here is a great commentary with much wisdom...


It is my right to be uncommon—if I can.

I seek opportunity—not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.

I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.

I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia.

I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say, “This I have done.”

By Dean Alfange [courtesy of Dave Ramsey]

Out With the Old...In With the New

I had the opportunity to visit "Theology at the Bottleworks" in St. Louis last night. This event is hosted by The Journey Church and is held at the Bottleworks portion of Schlafly. According to Journey's website, "In older, simpler times, a pub or 'public house' was often the focal point of the community, playing a similar role to the local church, where people gathered to openly discuss significant issues of the day."

First of all, it was a VERY interesting night. Second, the topic was one close to my heart:

"What is the role of art in today's culture?"

At it's surface, this topic may appear to be quite mundane, but I can assure you that the dialogue was quite animated. I won't go into great detail and to be honest, it's a bit hard to describe the process. I encourage you to check it out for yourself.

Here are a few things that I took away from the evening:
  • There is a definite generational gap in our society - those that have been there and done that, and those who are still trying to get there
  • Those who have experience are typically more cynical than those without
  • The older generation is still trying to convince the younger one that the past is much better then the future
  • Despite the circumstances, younger people are still trying to make a difference in the world
  • The older generation think first and feel later...the younger feel first and think later
  • Typically the older generation tend to be more conservative; the younger more liberal
These are just a few observations from one particular event at one particular moment in time. That doesn't necessarily make them accurate. What I found interesting is that the younger generation is still trying to dream big. They invite change, not discourage it. They feel emotions at a deeper level and are trying to express themselves in as many ways as they can.

At my age, I find myself in the middle of both camps. My experiences have given me wisdom (at times!) but I still feel that passion burning inside of me that I MUST make a difference. I still want to dream and create and scream and fight and to let everyone know that we can embrace change. It won't be perfect (and neither are we) and sometimes it will get messy. But that doesn't mean it won't be worth it. That doesn't invalidate the idea.

Sometimes opening up a discussion about a topic as simple (and complex) as art can stimulate a whole new world of thinking. And that is not a bad place to be.

What has stimulated your thinking lately?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Today's Poll: What Jobs Are Absolutely Necessary?

It's here. And you're feeling it. It's what some have called an "economic recession" and others have flat out called a depression. Whatever it is, many people I know have felt the pain. From losing a job to the panic of uncertainty about your job, in some way we have all felt the sting of this crisis. There's a lot of talk but very few answers.

All of the discussion has started my brain thinking (a dangerous proposition at best!) and I wanted to ask your thoughts on a specific question:

What jobs, if any, would survive if our economy totally tanked?

A fair question I think. What industry or job or the like would still be absolutely necessary if the economy ceased to exist as we know it?

I'd love to hear your response! Make a comment and we'll put it all together to find out what America (or at least our little corner of it!) thinks about this subject.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

50,000 Shoes...Be the NEXT Pair

This is hitting the web hard and I'm way behind the game (thanks to a crazy head cold!), but I can't say enough good things about Anne Jackson. Go here and check out the details on how you can get involved with 50000shoes.com.

While you're at her site, be sure to check out the rest of her incredible thoughts. Oh yeah...you can also pre-order her new book here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Fight to Vote

I voted today. And so did you. At least most of us.

It didn't take long to vote. As a matter of fact, it took much longer to visit during the "before and after" then it did to actually cast my vote. Today was the day I realized that voting has become more of a social activity than a right we should be compelled to exercise.

I also realized something else. You may say you care about the issues, but the truth is that you really don't. Most Americans will wake up tomorrow and go on with their lives as normal. The election will be over and within a week it won't matter to you who you voted for or what issues passed or failed. Most of us care more about the fight than we do the cause.

I posed a simple question the other day...Obama or McCain: who should I vote for? The response was incredible...but not necessarily in a positive way. To be sure there were opinions flying everywhere...the fight was on. But I began to wonder...are people more interested in the fight or the cause?

Think about everyone you have engaged with over the past month. I'm betting that politics were discussed at some point. And I'm also betting that there were some passionate discussions that ensued. People love to voice their opinions and engage in a fight to defend them. But when the election is over and the fight is through, where will all those defenders go?

What if we spent more time worrying about the cause than the fight? What if we spent more time feeding those who are hungry and finding clean drinking water when only dirty water can be found? What if you woke up tomorrow and the fight you were so passionate about for a few days suddenly became a cause that you were committed to for a lifetime?

I challenge you to re-evaluate your priorities. Pursue a new passion. Take your fight and put action behind your words. Make indifference your enemy. Struggle. Dream. Live.

We will make a difference.