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Archive for November, 2012

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Little Frau’s words rang loud and clear: “Wow, they mentioned Chesterton in your class. You know Chesterton, don’t you?”

“Yeh, Chesterton, of course”, I replied. “The town in Indiana?”

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“A bad hybrid cigarette derived from a blend of one touted by Ronald Reagan and an anonymous blond model from the 50’s.?”

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“An oddball Casanova of silent picture fame?” . “No, that would be you” might have been her reply.

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I’ve never claimed to be an extremely well read individual. I am, after all, a bean counter. I do, however, have my literary preferences. Dilbert. The sports page. The Wall Street Journal. Robert Ludlum. Stephen Ambrose. Bob Woodward. Donald Miller. “I could go on, forever, baby”. And, of course, The Bible would make that list.

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But, strangely enough, Chesterton has not, to date. So, when Little Frau hollered “Donald Miller is quoting Chesterton on Facebook” earlier today, it naturally got my attention.

So, who is this Chesterton character, you might ask. I know I did. Let’s take a look:

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Christian Apologetics“: sounds deep, if not interesting. But, I’m crushed to learn that he was known as the “Prince of Paradox“. Lo, these many months, I’d come to think that was me. How will I ever adjust?

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A Learning Prayer

A Learning Prayer.

My words cannot adequately express what the words from the link above do. Proud beyond them is the best I might have to offer…

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DATELINE: Lubbock. At least it was, yesterday. This is a tale of miles driven, miles walked, and miles not.

You see, a colleague and I just went, and returned, from a 48 hour excursion to meet with a support group of sorts. Money folks are an odd lot. We spend, and we don’t. We travel, and we don’t. We talk, and we don’t, except when we do. And that is what this annual gathering is all about: faith based university financial guys and gals getting together to swap stories, issues, ideas, and support. It is one of the best things I get the opportunity to do each year.

We always trade off on who gets to host the event. Past year locales have been as varied as Music City Tennessee and the Proverbial Sunrise California coast. This year? Well, I told you it was an important gathering. Accordingly, we agreed to take a turn in Lubbock Texas. The noted philosopher Mack Davis once sang “Happiness is Lubbock Texas in my rear view mirror“. Given the drive we endured, and the things we got to discuss, I could not agree more.

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As my colleague and I were making the drive out, discussing politics, parenting, and pandemics, I wondered internally about the distance travelled. What if something happened? The media is all abuzz with end of society scenarios and prime time dramas about what we as a society would do. What if it all came to a crashing halt, and we could not drive back? What if there were no gas, no busses, no planes? What would I do to get back to my family? I knew the answer, but didn’t need opportunity to verbalize it.

The next morning, I began to walk. No, not back home, just down the lovely treadmill. There is a reason I take those walks, and it is the same reason I would take the greater distance back east, no matter the effort, should it have been necessary. My faithful friend “Pandora”, and the “Under Pressure” radio channel then sang it for me better than I could have ever said myself:

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When i wake up yeah i know i’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who wakes up next to you
When i go out yeah i know i’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who goes along with you

But i would walk 500 miles
And i would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked 5,000 miles
To fall down at your door

When i’m working yes i know i’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s working hard for you
And when the money comes in for the work i’ll do
I’ll pass almost every penny on to you

When i come home yeah i know i’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who comes back home to you
And if i grow old well i know i’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s growing old with you

But i would walk 500 miles
And i would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked 5,000 miles
To fall down at your door

When i’m lonely well i know i’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man whose lonely without you
When i’m dreaming well i know i’m gonna dream
I’m gonna dream about the time when i’m with you.

When i go out yeah i know i’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who goes along with you
When i come home yes i know i’m gonna be,
I’m gonna, be the man who comes back home with you
I’m gonna be the man who’s coming home with you

But i would walk 500 miles
And i would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked 5,000 miles
To fall down at your door

That one was for the Little Frau, who doesn’t really like being thought of in just that way. To borrow another phrase “She’s got a way about her”, but that’s a whole other lyric vault moment for later.

But I would walk 500 miles. In a heartbeat, for that is why it does…

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No slave November

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Bad things happen when I don’t shave.   People call me evil and sinister.   Financial markets fall.   They go up, as well.   And, most importantly, my face itches.

So, I’m shaving away this November, and am working to keep the Barbasol off my red thread bracelete.

My faithful frauline friend is working to educate many of us on the pervasiveness of human trafficking in the world of 2012.   I’m learning a lot, and am humbled each day to realize the threads on my wrist were woven by a young girl escaping a life of horror.   May the rest of my “threads” be spun in freedom and respect, as well.

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I’m at a payphone trying to call home
All of my change I spent on you
Where have the times gone, baby it’s all wrong
Where are the plans we made for two?

Yes, sports fans, it is Election Day, 2012. Like the great Giants vs. Patriots (no pun intended?) Super Bowls of recent years past, this one will probably go down to the final seconds before it is decided, and it may come down to some miraculous acrobatics determining who ultimately wins.

If you’ve come here looking for a prediction, you’ve come to the wrong place, but I will predict one thing with 100% certainty: the reactions.

No mater who wins, no matter who loses, the other side will be disappointed, possibly vitriolic, and will feel like they were just Marooned for the next 5 years. Yes, I know it’s only 4, but it will feel like 5, and I needed to stick with my lyrical analogy.

Adam Levine could not have crooned it any better. Truth be told, I guess he did. So, as “The Voice” of America prepares to speak out today, I found myself humming this song in the kitchen with my daughter:

Yeah, I, I know it’s hard to remember,
The people we used to be…
It’s even harder to picture,
That you’re not here next to me.

You say it’s too late to make it,
But is it too late to try?
And in our time that you wasted
All of our bridges burned down

I’ve wasted my nights,
You turned out the lights
Now I’m paralyzed,
Still stuck in that time,
When we called it love,
But even the sun sets in paradise

I’m at a payphone trying to call home
All of my change I spent on you
Where have the times gone, baby it’s all wrong
Where are the plans we made for two?

If “Happy Ever After” did exist,
I would still be holding you like this
All those fairy tales are full of it.
One more stupid love song, I’ll be sick

Oh, you turned your back on tomorrow
‘Cause you forgot yesterday.
I gave you my love to borrow,
But you just gave it away.

You can’t expect me to be fine,
I don’t expect you to care
I know I’ve said it before,
But all of our bridges burned down

Surprised? My daughter said she thought it was a bad song, but she still liked the tune.

My response? It does not have to be. It just depends on which version you pull up.

Kind of like the election. So, if you entered the lyrics above expected cursing, I’m happy to have not obliged. Hopefully, I will feel the same way later tonight…

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Sometimes, you just don’t realize something, until you do. Allow me to explain.

Last evening, Little Frauline posted a link on my Facebook wall: “How many slaves do you own?“. After a brief moment of bemusement and, admittedly, thinking “that’s not very nice”, I decided to take the linked online quiz. I was right: the answer was not very nice. It was 31.

The app takes you through a series of questions: your hometown, your age, your array of electronics, and the contents of your closet being the basics. In essence, the result is saying it takes 31 slaves in the supply chain to support my lifestyle. The average is 38. Seldom times before in life have I so appreciated being below average.

I immediately Googled info about the supply chain of my preferred “clothier”, and was somewhat relieved to see that they at least address the issue, if not take it even more seriously.

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You see, folks my age didn’t always get to populate wardrobes like folks do today. We didn’t pay $100 for a pair of jeans, but we didn’t pay $15, either. Clothes today, on average, are less expensive than they were 30 years ago, and you don’t need a Phd in Economics from Harvard to understand why: cheap labor. Real cheap. Or, free, and nothing in life is free, especially those who labor to produce your cheap pair of “pumped up kicks”.

To borrow a lyrical phrase, “we’d better run, better run..”. Indeed, we need to “Foster the people” who make the stuff we buy by standing up.

Standing up, like William Wilberforce, would be a good idea. Americans don’t allow slavery anymore, at least on our home soil, but “out of sight out of mind” does not make the issue go away”. I now understand that even more.

As we were preparing to go to sleep last night, Little Frau, she of the mother of Little Frauline fame, said “what if God asks us one day why we didn’t try to make a difference?”.

I think He just did. I got the message, and I think all of us should start to ask questions of ourselves and those from whomever we buy our “stuff”.

If anyone asks why, you can say a red headed little Frauline wilberforced you to. That would be the Frauline with the red thread bracelet, by the way…

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