The Fallacy of Working Harder

Lily Tomlin, a great comedian, says if you win the rat race it only means you’re the fastest rat.

For most us, we only think about winning the race. We don’t think: Is this a race I really want to win?

The fastest rat? Really? Surely life has more to offer than that. It does, but you have to be intentional about your choices. You can’t just go with the flow.

Everyone knows that water flows downhill. Here’s a news flash: when left unattended, EVERYTHING flows downhill. So, pay attention, and be very intentional about deciding WHO you want to be in your life and WHAT you want to do with your life. Then, make your choices accordingly.

Sure, life is hard. But just because it’s hard isn’t a guarantee that you’re doing the right thing. Too many of my friends have arrived at the painful realization they have been working very hard at the wrong thing. They won a race they didn’t want to run in the first place.

Working harder at the wrong thing doesn’t make it right.

Life is hard. Nothing comes cheaply.

This is a good day to make sure you’re running the right race, working for the right thing and in general paying the price for what you want. Every now and then, you need to lift your nose up from the grind stone to make sure you’re going where you want to go.

After all, you don’t want to be the first person to arrive at the wrong place.

Why We Have the First Amendment

Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin are the owners of a studio, Elane Photography, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A lesbian couple asked them to photograph their wedding, but they’re conservative Christians who don’t believe in same-sex marriage, so they decided not to accept the job.

The lesbian couple sued the Huguenins and won. They also won on appeal.

The case, as you might imagine, is on the way to the Supreme Court. It’s going to be extremely important for the future of our nation.

Now, understand, the Huguenins didn’t try to stop the marriage. From what I can tell, they did nothing to “enforce” their beliefs on the lesbian couple. The photographers just disagreed, and therefore, declined to be their wedding photographer.

In the appeal, the judge ruled that the Huguenins should put their religious beliefs aside because doing this is what is now required to be a citizen in these pluralistic United States.

I don’t think so.

Really?

The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Isn’t this what just happened? Does our culture now require we separate belief from action? If so, how do you do that?

I believe government should stay out of people’s business.

I don’t think we need a marriage amendment. I don’t think anyone has a right to say who gets to be with whom. That’s your business.

Sure, I have my beliefs, and I’ll be glad to talk with you about them if you ask. You have a right to disagree.

All of us, within reason, have the right to live our lives the way we want to, worship God as we believe best, work in a job we enjoy, and love our families the way we want to.

That means if the lesbian couple has the right to get married, the Huguenins have a right not to be their photographer.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’d love to hear what you’re thinking.

Kairos, Kairos via Scot McKnight

This is an excerpt from a blog post that Scot McKnight wrote shortly after visiting Brentwood Baptist Church:

Last week I was in Nashville for a special event for me: Kairos at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood (Nashville), undoubtedly one of my favorite places to speak — and more than that, one of the fine ministries to 20/30somethings in the USA. I’m a huge fan of Mike Glenn, and this time I got to meet a number of the ministry team and staff.

Check out the rest of Scot McKnight’s post

Everyone is Doing as Well as They Know How

I’ve been working with young adults for more than 10 years as the Teaching Pastor of Kairos.

Being part of this worship experience and the relationships that have resulted from it continues to be one of the most exciting parts of my life. I love hanging out with them and hearing what’s going on in their lives.

Unexpectedly, this has put me in the middle of a lot of interesting conversations.

More than one of them has had a conversation with an older person (mostly on Sunday morning) about the way they dress.

The guys wear hats in the sanctuary. Some of the jeans they wear have holes in them—on purpose. And yes, sometimes, the young ladies wear dresses that are a little too short for Sunday morning worship.

As you can imagine, this has brought some harsh stares and even tacky comments from a few of the Sunday morning regulars.

I live in both worlds. I love both worlds. More times than not, I find myself mediating these discussions.

I try to help my young adult friends understand that folks on Sunday morning aren’t mean, but the worship experience is very important to them. When someone shows up dressed in what my traditional friends would consider to be inappropriate, it seems as if the young adult is discounting the value of the moment—even taking it too lightly.

Most young adults have never thought about it this way.

On the other hand, I want my more traditional friends to understand that most times these young adults are coming to church on their own. Their parents aren’t making them come. None of their friends have forced them to be there. They’ve decided this is important to them.

Now, here’s the funny part. They ARE wearing their best stuff.

The jeans with holes in them cost more than my suits. And their hats? Believe it or not, baseball caps are a fashion statement now. And you’d be shocked to know how much these hats can cost.

Just remember this: These young adults paid $3.50 a gallon for the gas to get to church.

So, here’s what I’m asking my traditional friends. How about a little mercy here?

Everyone is doing as well as they can. Most of these young adults haven’t had parents who took them to church, who taught them about the symbols of worship or the sacredness of the moment.

First, celebrate that they are in church. And second, get to know them. Many of these young adults are creative, energetic, and fascinating to know.

And get this: most of these young adults would love having an older friend and mentor in their lives.

For my young adult friends, remember this: my traditional friends aren’t mean. They just see the way you dress as being too casual for the moment.

For them, this moment is holy and sacred. That’s why they seem mad. So, how about a little understanding?

Try this: Get to know the person talking to you. These people have lived fascinating lives. And they’d love to tell you their stories. You’d be surprised at how eager most of them are to have a new friend.

Yes, things are changing and that’s not always bad. The challenge is to have the discernment to know what to keep and what to throw away .

Let’s be wise and generous in what we hand to the next generation, and gracious in what we know really doesn’t matter that much anyway.