Monday, August 31, 2009

Man Tears

This week church was packed when we got there. There was only one service at 11am and I was frustrated we were late, how could that be? We were supposed to meet a boy from our youth club and his family there but finding a seat for the family was all I could do being this late. This time it was not in our usual front left, five or six rows back, it was center section to the right near the front.

When we go to church on Sunday it is an all morning into the afternoon event. We try to get there by 9 a.m. and out by about 1 p.m.. It used to be impossible for me to even consider spending that much time at church. I remember when I was a kid we did the obligatory hour at church then straight home. My brother and I would have contests to see who could get out of our church clothes and into play clothes fastest. I don’t remember anyone who went to my church, the things we did or lessons learned. I am sure we did, it was just not a priority.

Now I don’t want to go to a church where I don’t feel like I am home. I want my friends to be there with me, I want to do life with my church. I realized not long ago that almost all of my friends are from my church. We plan time together, we meet for coffee, we hunt and fish together, we share our pain and passions with each other, real life.

I have heard many times folks that say they don’t need to go to church because they are fine with God and He isn’t in a building. They tell me they don’t want to be a part of a religion. I tell them I agree. I tell them I want a relationship with my God, not a religion too.

When you like golf you hang out at the golf course, you play golf, you watch golf on TV and you begin to surround yourself with friends who understand and enjoy all that is Golf. It is that way in most everything we are passionate about in our lives. I happen to believe when you love the Lord, when you truly seek Him in your life and how you can live for Him, you want to go to church. Now I suppose you could find other ways to fulfill the inner desire to be the best you can be, but the bible has a pretty good track record.

My wife saw them first, when I looked over they were standing right next our pastor, front row. He saw me looking and tapped the boy on the shoulder and pointed me out. I waved to him, his sister and grandpa. When they looked away I began to cry.

I am passionate about God in my life and how He has worked. I want to share the blessing of how living with Him as a guide in all areas makes life so much more rewarding. I really wanted this boy’s grandfather and sister to begin coming to church and feel the love and support that a church family can offer, to do life on that level with them.

If you look at my calendar you would think I am a pretty busy guy. I have a lot of business projects going on in a lot of areas and I love checking things off my to-do list. I spent plenty of years working from sunrise into the wee hours of the night. I am not a financially wealthy guy but I have built and sold a couple businesses, sat on some pretty important boards and was media manager for a multibillion dollar company. Thing is I never feel more fulfilled than when I participate in a church program, talk with someone in need, share Christ with them or when I spend quiet time in prayer.

I trust those who lead my church and that they are teaching me things I need to know to be a better husband, dad, and friend. The bumps and hick-ups I face each day are different than they were before I committed to a new way of doing life. The rewards for teaching that boy and his family about the Lord are so much more than a building made of brick or any physical thing I could possibly acquire with money.

My dear friend and my previous pastor Bob told me once, “when you teach people about God you can affect their lives for eternity.” That is a pretty good return on investment if you ask me and if there is a legacy to leave, that is the one I want.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Well, Well, Well - French Cooking Rescues Hollywood

If you follow this blog at all you know I had a very bad taste in my mouth over the recent Transformers movie. I thought it was crafted by lazy writers and exploited children. I think I said I felt the retailers and food chains using the movie as a marketing tool were also subsurface mucus. Basically, I thought it was disgusting.

Again, I am not the big movie buff at my house, my wife is. I do on occasion see a movie trailer that intrigues me and if the wife and I go to the theatre I push for the one that I thought I might like. On a rare convergence of the moon and stars we both agreed recently on the movie Julie and Julia, the new Meryl Streep movie.

OK, so guys are thinking what a chick flick dude, what were you thinking? To that I respond in a couple ways, first, I wanted to see it so shut up. The other is I just thought it would be a well done movie and I was looking for Hollywood to prove me wrong about my most recent evaluation. I don’t know if I am aligned with Streep and her political beliefs, but I can’t think of any that would keep me from going to her movies. Now forget it if it has Tom Cruise or Woopie Goldburg or a handful of others, I am not going.

The movie was the convergence of two wonderful memoirs, My Life in France by Julie Child and the blogs by young budding writer Julie Powell who worked through Child’s famous cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The movie was exceptionally well written and the two cuss words were not out of character, nor inappropriate for an adult rated movie. I love the actors, especially Streep who has got to be one of the most brilliant actors in the business. I don’t know if I have seen many movies where she did not stand out. Her accent and portrayal had me believing that that she was Julia Child.

I laughed through the movie and found at the end I was wanting more. The film did what I consider the purpose of a movie, to move you emotionally, entertain, create an enjoyable experience and not insult your intelligence. I want to be lead into an experience with a film, not tricked into the theatre.

I won’t take back my comments about the other movie I referenced at the top of this blog, it was bad. I am however reconsidering the industry as a whole. There are exceptionally well crafted films out there that deserve to be seen. Julia and Julia is one of them. Thanks to Nora Epheron who wrote the screenplay and directed the film, fabulous.

I am glad to see the talents of Julie Powell, Meryl Streep, Nora Ephron and Amy Adams recognized and that they collaborated in a film that inspires. This movie just makes everything a little bit better. I am keeping one eye open where the liberal west coast movie makers are concerned, but for now I am inspired and I must get back to de-boning my duck, bon appetite ya’ll.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Green Projects Turn Brown on the Vine

I could never figure out how our current president was going to generate millions of new jobs, green jobs. It all sounds nice, but I just could not see millions of folks building and installing solar screens on houses, changing out toilets or working on the giant wind turbines in West Texas.

Turns out I was right. The whole green energy movement is falling apart. Billionaire and businessman T. Boone Pickens spent $60 million of his own money buying advertising across the country to promote wind energy. He has millions tied up in the big wind turbines and has hundreds of them “in his garage.” Millions and millions of dollars invested in materials and land leases, but it is not going to happen, not right now. This is a guy who knows the industry, knows how to make money and has proven it over and over again.

I was reading recently that there is a global cooling going on right now. You would not know that by the mercury in my outside thermometer today, but, statistically, it has been cooling down.
The Big 8 Summit is where all the biggest countries come together to work on mutual projects to better the world. They flat out dumped the global warming hoax out the back door. This is all that crazy and expensive stuff that has earned Al Gore a huge home, a private plane and a rock star world tour lifestyle.

Greenpeace activists were recently arrested for hanging a banner on Mount Rushmore. The banner asked Obama to step up to the plate and lead on the global warming front. This came just one day after the Big 8 rejected the hype. If Greenpeace really wanted to make a difference, they could build water cisterns for elk in the park or replant native grasses. They could work with Texas Parks and Wildlife coordinating efforts to monitor fish kills caused by toxic golden alga or a hundred other constructive hands on projects. These things will cause change and create a greener, better world.

Next you can see the price of gas is going up. Depending on whom you ask, the reasons vary. But what most people do know is that the government is trying to get us all in smaller vehicles and they are forcing the automakers to add equipment to every vehicle that can be very expensive. Problem here is if you look around in rural America, small cars won’t get the job done. They won’t.

I am a conservationist and care for people. I spend a lot of time managing wildlife populations, feeding the hungry and caring for the land and waters I frequent. I spend a lot of time teaching kids how to harvest foods and care for the ranches and parks they visit. I dare say I may do more hands-on work, more conservation work that improves the planet and helps the animals, including humans, than most of the PETA or the National Wildlife Association volunteers.

You see, it is about getting your hands dirty. It is about personally experiencing the lifecycle and how land reacts to our use. God made this really neat little system of checks and balances that work. Expending energy and money on a banner hanging from Mount Rushmore is never going to do what a well in Africa or a field of native grass will do. Long-term results, planning and careful thought.

Most of the folks I know who do conservation work do it for the love of the land and animals that live there. They don’t care about media attention; they care about nature. They care about teaching kids how to get out there and do something good for the planet, never looking for a pat on the back. They do it because it is right. What are you doing today?