Monday, November 12, 2007

Silly Me!

I thought I'd heard it all! Silly me! From Mascoutah, Illinois comes a news report that a 13-year old middle-schooler had to serve two days of detention. Why? Did she swear? Start a fight? Skip school? Talk back to a teacher? No - she put her arm around the shoulder of two friends and slightly squeezed them. In other words, she gave them a little hug to 'say goodbye for the weekend." For that she got detention. Mom and Dad didn't like it but the only alternative was suspension - that's right, suspension! According to the school student handbook, "Displays of affection should not occur on the school campus at any time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved." So a friendly little hug is now a PDA? Hmm...And PDA's (public displays of affection) are a bad thing. Hmm...
So let me get this right. In some schools kids can get birth control without parental consent, in some states children can get an abortion without parental consent, and that's all OK. But to hug a friend discredits the school. I wonder - what if the school, or a student in the school, suffered a tragedy, such as death in the family. Just how will they show comfort without a little PDA? And what if, as the basketball player trots off the court after a scintillating performance the coach pats him or her on the butt and says, "Great job!" Will coach be in detention the next day? He/she better be - that is after all a PDA, is it not? And what about the girls volleyball team - after each point they hug and high-five. I guess they're in detention too.
I guess I'm just old fashioned, but give me a break! Recall the school board and let's get real! And if the recall is successful...better not hug the board members as they leave their last meeting! Of course, if you did, you could write a new student handbook during your time in detention!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

When Surrounded - Run!

Principle: “When surrounded, run!”

No – it’s not time to be a coward! I’ve been thinking about Hebrews 12:1-2. 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Since we are surrounded, run!

Now Heb. 12 follows Hebrews 11 (that’s brilliant, isn’t it?) What I mean is, the key to understanding these words is to remember what’s in chapter 11 – the “People of Faith” Hall of Fame. They are our witnesses. To what? To how to keep the faith in the midst of uncertainty and tough times. There’s Noah – he built the ark when there was no rain. (Imagine the neighbors!) There’s Abraham – he packed up everything, left behind everything familiar, and set out for a place he’d never seen. (I wonder if his family ever asked, “Are we there yet?”) There’s Joseph – so sure of his dreams, but such a long, round about, surprising way to their fulfillment. (I can hear him asking, “Lord, does anything ever come easy? Can I ever catch a break?”) And there are so many others.

In fact, says the author of Hebrews, consider Jesus. He knew all along that He would be King, the Ruler of the world. But first He “…endured the cross, scorning its shame…” Why? Because of the joy set before Him. Do you still believe in your vision? Do you still have your dream? Have you wondered lately if you’ll ever get there, if you’ll ever catch a break? “… ebeeHebrewssince we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hang on. Keep at it. Drop and put behind all the ’stuff’ that’s gotten in the way. And remember to look at Jesus. You’re not on your own. It’s true you’re surrounded – but since you are, run! You’ve lots of running partners!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Success That Never Lasts

What a weekend! The Lions not only won (now 6& 2) but looked like a good team in doing so! Michigan won in exciting fashion! The Pistons won to move to 3 & 0. My alma Mater, Central College is nationally ranked and undefeated once again. East Kentwood High School - from which all 3 sons graduated and for which all played soccer - just became the first team in their class division from the West side of the state to win a state soccer title. And Calvin College, where all 3 sons attended and for whom one played soccer, is headed to the national soccer tournament after winning the MIAA conference. And while they didn't play this weekend, the Red Wings are off to a terrific start. It's been a long time since all my teams were doing so well. In fact, the only downer was the Tigers - Joel Zumaya having shoulder surgery because a heavy box fell on it while he was removing things from his family's California home in preparation to flee the fire. I guess he won't be shouldering the load next year! I realize this may not be the usual blog entry for me, but hey, it's not very often I can enjoy writing about such success - so I want to enjoy it while it lasts. With sports, you need to do that - because success never lasts forever. Even the Patriots will lose some day!