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26 posts from March 2005

My Easter Responsibility

It's Easter Day and I'm waiting for my wife to get out of the shower, so I can take one and then go to church. 

I'm trying to rekindle the true significance for me of what happened at the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I could wring my hands over the fact that the Lansing State Journal which I just finished reading has absolutely nothing about this holiday.  Same for all the newspapers that are online.

I even listened to the Easter sermon of Pastor Ken Klaus of the Lutheran Hour over the Internet.  It seemed to be the same sermon I've heard most of my life on this day.  You can hear it so often that it blurs in your mind and your heart just hears blah, blah, blah.

Then, I remember a Christian musician that my son, Justin, turned me onto named Derek Webb.  Recorded at a live concert, he talks between songs about the importance of the Gospel which has as its centerpiece, the Resurrection.

Webb tells a story about how Martin Luther's congregation complained about him preaching the Gospel week after week.  They emphasized that they knew the story.  They wanted something different, something in addition to the same Gospel.

The way Derek Webb recounts it, Luther responded that he would continue preaching the Good News or Gospel until they started living like they had it in their heart.  I guess, I should say I know that I need to hear it again today in church.  I'm still working on getting the reality of the Gospel into my heart.

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Easter at McDonalds on MLK

Okay, quick, tell me what you know about Good Friday.  Maundy  Thursday.  Let's go out on a limb here and tell me what you know about Easter.  This is pretty important stuff.  If you're Christian, this week is an observance of the most important event in human history.  It has eternal significance.

Look for an answer in the media and there's little there to tell about this important day.  For example, early this morning, Good Friday, after dropping my wife off at her school, I stopped at the McDonalds on MLK in Lansing and read USA Today.  I found no reference to Holy Week or Easter.

First thing this morning, I checked the local Lansing State Journal and only thing I saw was a pretty lame reference to Good Friday in the story about Pope Paul's health struggles.

Then, when I got home, I checked the online versions of various newspapers and . . .

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Promise Keepers brochure nails it

Promise Keepers is coming to East Lansing, MI and Michigan State University on July 8 and 9.  And because of that I went to an organizational meeting last night to assemble a local team of leaders. They passed out brochures about this year's event with the title, "Are You Awake?" Maybe because I've written too much copy for politician's brochures during my career, I didn't bother to read the copy of the PK brochure.  But, this a.m., I did and I'm glad.

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Does Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick have the skills

When I was younger I would bristle at the suggestion that older people could make better decisions and could lead more wisely because of their age.  Now that I'm older, I think I can see the importance of being  older and having a context from which to set priorities and make decisions.

I wonder if that's the case with Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.  He's still in his early thirties and he's running one of the bigger cities with some of the most complex problems in the world. 

Last night, he delivered his State of the City Address and it's really shallow. He comes across like a guilty teenager facing his parents about why his homework is not done.  He's telling the city of Detroit to trust him and provides a river full of excuses on why he hasn't made good on his promises.

Continue reading "Does Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick have the skills" »

USA Today shows its anti-religion bias

I don't take most newspaper editorials too seriously and this morning while sipping a cup of coffee at McDonalds, I read the USA Today editorial on Terry Schiavo.  Two words in the editorial concern me: religious conservative. 

It seems that whenever  somebody has a viewpoint that's based on values from the Bible, then it's wrong.  Huh?  I don't get it.  Where does the editorial writer get his or her values? If you're for life, then you're classified as a religious bigot.

I understand the questions being raised about whether the U.S. Congress exceeded its authority, but I don't understand the name-calling and intolerance of editorial writer.   As long as I agree with the viewpoint of an intolerant liberal, then I'm okay.  Otherwise, I'm a religious bigot.  Come-on.

Bill Clinton's press secretary is right about VNRs

When he was press secretary for President Bill Clinton, Mike McCurry had one of the toughest PR jobs in the world.  He had to deal with the whole impeachment thing over a sex scandal as well as numerous other juicy charges.

In today's USA Today, McCurry weighs in on the hand-wringing over the Bush Administration's use of video news releases.  He essentially tells the media to relax, take a deep breath and look at themselves.

The news media is not doing its job in covering government in a way that keeps citizens informed, he says.  So, departments try to pick up the slack to explain their programs and initiatives. I saw this time and time again while working in and around the Michigan Legislature and Michigan's state government. 

The Michigan Capitol Press Corps has grown lazy.  And, their bosses who assign the stories put state government stories on the bottom run for coverage.

Continue reading "Bill Clinton's press secretary is right about VNRs" »

Detroit Free Press column on today's television shows

Look at Detroit Free Press television columnist Mike Duffy's list of 12 family-friendly tv shows.  It's linked to his column on the struggles faced by parents trying to put boundaries on their kid's media habits.

His column points to one family in Rochester Hills, MI where the 15-year-old daughter likes to watch Law and Order SVU.  Ever watched that?  It's a constant barrage of violent sexual crime.  My wife and I watched three segments, back-to-back, on cable and we both felt like we need to wash our hearts out with soap after watching.

The family that Duffy points to seems to be engaged in their kids' viewing habits in a pretty positive way.

But what distrubs me...

Continue reading "Detroit Free Press column on today's television shows" »

The best job I've ever had

One more thing:  I may have drawn a real short straw in having an earthly father.  But, I've drawn the biggest straw in being one.  Being a father is the best job I've ever had.  The whole experience has made an imprint on my soul that will never leave.  I've been blessed beyond measure.

My daugther is flying back from West Africa this morning.  I can't wait to see her.  I am really proud of the woman she has become.  She knows where her real hope is. 

My son is going to college in the east and I'm really proud of him too.  He's a real man.  He knows God.

I know God has a plan for both of them.  I know they will make mistakes.  But, they both know how to get up.  If I lay down all my life experiences, the good and the not-so-good, I still come out on the winning side.  I've got it all, pure and simple.  It comes from Jesus.  I deserve God's wrath and he gives me his blessing.

My fuel for life is the hope that comes from what Jesus did on Good Friday and Easter.