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Archive for August, 2011

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“I’ve learned there are some things worth having, but they come at a price, and I want to be one of them.” The quote is from a woman named Karen, the subject of the 1937 novel and subsequent movie “Out of Africa”.

As I get older, I confess to conjuring up a bit of a “bucket list”, but admittedly, traveling to Africa was not tops in that department. Not, that is until a colleague and I were discussing potential for the establishment of a business line in Kigali, Rwanda. Then we began to discuss the need to go establish banking and other relationships, and I began to get a bit more interested. Seeing the “Gorillas in the Mist”? Hmm.

Then, we began to discuss necessary vaccinations, and he said the fateful words: “You won’t be able to give blood anymore”.

Ouch. Small stick, then a burn, followed by several small squeezes…

There is a blood drive coming up soon at our church, and even before hearing a passionate plea this past Sunday morning regarding the value of blood donations from the father of a cancer patient, the friendly vampires from The Oklahoma Blood Institute had called to inform me that I was again “eligible”.

As evidenced by the stack of T-Shirts pictured above, and this is only a fraction of those collected over the years, I’ve donated a few gallons in my time.

You see, Bing (Jeffrey Bing) really is an agent 007, and I even have that logo on an OBI shirt to prove it. I possess O Negative blood, the universal donor type, as does .7% (.007) of our society. To top it all off, I am CMV negative as well, meaning I’ve never had a common flu like virus where antibodies would be harmful to preemie babies and others who are ill.

I must admit, I don’t love the exercise of giving, but I cherish being gifted to perform said act. Very few (.007, anyone?) can give their blood and know that a small baby or a very sick loved one might see new days because of my slight inconvenience and minor pain. I don’t know that I’m ready to give that up, just yet. I’m just not sure if my calling is over in that department.

At my last donation, I was feeling good about clearing over 4 gallons when an older gentlemen nearby told me that he’d surpassed 13. Wow. I was humbled. Maybe I needed to hear that as a challenge and motivation to prioritize “the list”.

Maybe the gorillas will have to be seen on Discovery Channel. Maybe the banking can be done via phone, internet, and FedEx. Maybe a yet to be born child needs “a little bit o’ Bing” to brighten their day?

Here’s where you come in: are you giving the gift of life? Some can’t for various reasons, but many can but have never tried. You could save a life. You could save many!

“I’ve learned there are some things worth having, but they come at a price, and I want to be one of them.” I think I’m not done being an OBI special agent just yet, even if it keeps me “Out of Africa”.

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1 Corinthians 9:23-25

I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings. Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.

Yesterday was the perfect life example of the source of Paul’s analogy. Over 250 young men lined up to run on a hot Oklahoma Saturday, each knowing only one would “win”, and that few would medal. But the race is not about being first to finish, it is about accomplishment, endurance, and love for what you do.

Thanks to these guys for the reminder, and for the inspiration to keep running the great race before us.

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I’m Confused

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“What else is new? Tell me
something that I don’t already know, Sherlock”.

Allow me explain. There’s an old slogan that says “life comes at you fast”. That has been especially true, of late.

One daughter is in band. Late practices; early practices. Twin brother runs cross country. Practices; meets; and lots of calories consumed, and grocery runs to supply the calories.

And, the twin thing aside, they go to different high schools. Whew. Little Frau has been meeting herself coming and going, and I’m the first line backup.

To top it all off, oldest daughter is enrolled for another term of college, but she’s not moving into the dorms. She is boarding a plane to Asia. So what did we do today? We picked up a girl at the airport who flew in today from Asia, and then we loaded her stuff stored at our house and moved her into the dorms.

In the interim, girls from Texas to Tennessee are bunking at Hacienda Bing on their way to Europe in a week.

I can’t keep up. “What else is new? Tell me something that I don’t already know, Sherlock”.

At least, for this week, I have a good excuse. 🙂

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Coffee as an analogy for life? Some would suggest that coffee is life, and I would concur at times. For certain, life often begins each day after a first cup, but today I wish to ponder it before I drink it.

As I prepared the first “nectar of life” carafe of the day yesterday, I considered the description: “House Blend. Lively. Balanced. Intensity: Medium”.

What better way to describe my desired persona in the Bing Dynasty? Having lived at times like some other less desirable coffees, strong, bitter, heavy after taste, I prefer to be the “House Blend”.

Another desirable analogy is fruit: nourishing, refreshing, appealing, “juicy”, and at it’s heart, a seed ready for planting.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.

Certainly, if not coffee, I’d rather be compared to fruit vs. a fruitcake, but I digress.

If you will excuse me now, I need to go brew up a pot of the magic elixir. It’s about time for life to begin on a hot Saturday in Oklahoma…

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“Wall Street has a credibility problem.”. So says CNBC.com. Thanks for that news flash, although it understates the obvious and what we all are likely thinking and feeling these days. “The Street” has no “Street Cred”, it seems.

Mean what you say; say what you mean. Why is that so hard in 21st century society? I will confess it is tough for me personally.

Why so? Great expectations? High demand? Limited resources? Unrealistic dreams? A twisted view of self worth, not to mention true value?

Is it Competition? Competing demands; competing loyalties; competing.

Consider the following excerpt from “WiseGeek.com” and then compare it in perspective:

In hip-hop and inner-city cultures, respect is something one earns through tangible accomplishments, not empty posturing or superficial bragging. The truest measure of a person’s trustworthiness and expertise is often expressed as his or her street cred, short for “street credibility.” Street cred can mark the difference between a talented rapper or break dancer and someone who’s only posing, or deliberately exaggerating their skills.

True street cred is not easy to achieve, since it is based on real skills or true experiences. A rap artist who gets signed to a known music label, for example, might earn his “props” (proper respect), but that doesn’t necessarily mean he has earned street cred yet….

The term street cred has actually worked its way into mainstream popular culture. A professional in the legal, financial or medical fields, for example, may have to earn a certain amount of “street cred” in order to attract the best potential clients. A cosmetic surgeon often builds up a significant level of street cred by performing high quality work on A-list clients. The same could be said for a stock broker who earned his street cred by selecting the best stocks, or a lawyer who earned street cred by successfully defending high-profile clients.

Street cred in the inner-city or hip-hop communities is not always a permanent arrangement, however. Someone who shows disrespect for those in his or her former community, for example, may suddenly discover his or her street cred is no longer assured. Exposure as a fraud or a cheat can also seriously affect a person’s street cred. It is important to “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk” when it comes to maintaining true street cred.

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I’m reminded of the scene from the classic movie “Napoleon Dynamite” where he asks Pedro “you got any skills? You know, bow staff skills, nun chuck skills…”

We feel compelled to make our case, but in so doing, do we ever weaken same said case?

I think Jesus earned plenty of “Street Cred” with those around him:

Matthew 5:33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

So, it’s time to go out and make it a day; to “earn my Props”, so to speak. If I slip up, maybe Pedro’s cousins will be there to back me up…?

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My son, ever one of increasing amounts of insight and wisdom, expressed a thought to me earlier today: “hey, Dad, did you know that Bingham without the N spells BIG HAM?”.

Touché.

What is someone supposed to say to that? Truth be told, I plead guilty as charged, and I am proud to say that the nut does not fall far from the tree…

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Stay tuned for another famed First Week Follies video, coming soon to a campus near you. We ham it up, big time, once again!

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Unexpected; expect the unexpected. That phrase is even more ominous than “Bond, James Bond” and the like.

Yesterday was just such a day: unexpected. I will spare much of the detail for reasons beyond explanation, but when your day begins with coworkers meeting you halfway between your car and your building with phrases like “we need to warn you” and “I’m so sorry”, you know the day ahead will be a challenge. Have you ever seen piece of glass imbedded in a sheetrock wall 15 feet away from a broken window? Some of us did yesterday, and it was indeed unexpected.

Matthew 6:19-20 tells us “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.”

So why, I should ask myself, was yesterday’s event so unexpected? I believe it is because of where our treasure is. Yes, I treasure the University where I work. I treasure the results of several years of hard work and the physical and financial sacrifices of many wonderful people. I treasure the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. But, do I treasure the physical part too much?

The morning yesterday was admittedly depressing. There was shock. There was hurt. There was anger. There was disappointment. For some, both this new day morning and for many to come, those strong emotions and others may continue. But, for me “and my house”, it is time to move on.

Mid day yesterday provided just such an opportunity. Many had been up and going for several hours, their days full and distant from their previously Microsoft Outlook Calendar scripted plans. Only when a colleague from outside the impacted/response group suggested we go “grab a quick lunch” did things start to feel better. Lunch was good, it was less than quick, and the time to visit, the nourishment, and the glazed Solpapia made the day begin to feel better.

Therein lies the true treasure of yesterday: friends, faithfulness, passion, hard work, caring and sharing, and a common commitment to “pick up the pieces”, literally, and move forward together. No amount of moths, rust, or thieves breaking can take those treasures away; it can only make the treasure of even greater worth.

Yesterday was indeed unexpected, and today, I am thankful.

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