judging winners and losers

a winner tries to judge his own acts by their consequences, and other people’s acts by their intentions.

a loser gives himself all the best of it by judging his own acts by his intentions, and the acts of others by their consequences.

-sydney j. harris

it’s better

u2 concert tonight. wonderful time.

for me the moment that stood out the most was a somewhat silly story. as the edge started playing the intro to the song “miracle drug”, bono began to tell a joking story.

“the edge is not from this planet,” he started. he continued, and recalled “meeting” him in the late 70’s in dublin.

“his spaceship landed and this creature came out.

‘who are you’, larry asked him.

‘i’m the edge.’

‘where do you come from,’ asked adam clayton.

‘i come from the future.’

so i asked him, ‘how is that?’

he replied, ‘it’s better.'”

while slightly silly, it was a story of hope. the hope and reason that each of us is here – that we are all working for a better future. often times it’s easy to say that the world is in a decline and that everything is falling apart, but the hope we have is that the future is a better place – even though we can’t see it.

though there is injustice now, though there is suffering now, though often times things seem to be getting worse and worse, i believe in a better future.

kelly’s 3 questions.

1. if i had to eat this week on the same amount of money i put in the offering plate on sunday morning, how many meals would i get?

2. if i was trying to develop a relationship with a significant other, and i gave to that person the same amount of quality time i’ve given to God in the past week, how long would that relationship last?

3. if Jesus looked into my heart and demanded something from me in order to have eternal life, would i walk away sad?

wooden’s seven points

Be true to yourself.
Make each day your masterpiece.
Help others.
Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
Make friendship a fine art.
Build a shelter against a rainy day.
Pray for guidance.
Count and give thanks for your blessings every day.

-John Wooden


When the brilliant ethicist John Kavanaugh went to work for three months at “the house of the dying” in Calcutta, he was seeking a clear answer as to how best to spend the rest of his life. On the first morning there he met Mother Teresa. She asked, “And what can I do for you?” Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him.

“What do you want me to pray for?” she asked. He voiced the request that he had borne thousands of miles from the United States: “Pray that I have clarity.”

She said firmly, “No, I will not do that.” When he asked her why, she said, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.” When Kavanaugh commented that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed for, she laughed and said, I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”

Craving clarity, we attempt to eliminate the risk of trusting God. Fear of the unknown path stretching ahead of us destroys childlike trust in the Father’s active goodness and unrestricted love.


for whom the bell tolls…

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee. Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbours. Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did, for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it.

-John Donne


Because while I do not know who the enemy is any longer, I do know who my friends are, and that I have not done as well by them as I should. I hope to change that. I hope to do better.

– from Bablyon 5


Yesterday a few of us headed down to Reliant Arena to help out with the relief efforts there. We were privilaged to be able to work in the makeshift pharmacy that has been set up, helping people get their perscriptions. I was struck not only by the thousands of evacuees, but also the thousands of volunteers who gave of their time, effort, money, and energy to help. As I sat back, I wondered what stories brought each of them to this place, and what each one of them would tell if they were able to speak.

There are hundreds of thousands of these stories that aren’t covered in the news. People who’ve lost everything. People who’ve dropped their lives to go down and help. People who took off an afternoon because they couldn’t stay at work any longer, and felt like something needed to be done. Big names and people who make a lot of noise get press coverage, but most of these people’s names will never be known.

Some people would have us believe that nobody helps people who don’t look like us or who aren’t in our social status, but in my experience yesterday I found that to be the exception rather than the rule.

There are more sacrifices being made than any of us will ever hear about in the news, whether it be doctors and nurses who fly in from across the country or drug stores that give away millions of dollars of medicine without knowing if they’ll ever get a cent from it, no questions asked.

what a relief…

written by my dear friend jeff keese…

during the course of an average day i spend several hours driving around the lovely metropolis that is bryan-college station. as you can imagine, this leaves much time for reflection, road rage and of course, dial-surfing the radio. usually i have to weather the storm of top-40 hits and country twang-songs (depending on who last drove my vehicle), but lately i have been addicted to a certain radio station from the small town known at houston, texas. the reason for my fascination with this station isn’t that they play the best music (by far) of any radio station on the dial but because they have been doing something simply amazing with their airtime. as most all of you know, the southern states of louisiana and mississippi have been devastated by the recent landfall of hurricane katrina. thousands of people have become refugees literally overnight and many of these refugees have found their way to houston and are being cared for by the american red cross in the astrodome. so this brings me to why this radio station is so wonderfully entertaining:

for the last forty hours (straight) the dj’s from this station’s morning show have been live on the air hosting what they are calling their “hurricane katrina request-athon.” here’s how it works: you call the station, you agree to donate a sum of money to their fund raiser, make a request and they’ll play it for you. (they’ll play anything, by the way…no really, anything. right now i’m listening to zydeco.) sounds simple, right? well, giving is when it comes down to it i suppose. so far, this simple fund raiser has gathered nearly a quarter of a million dollars in less than two days. (all this money goes to the american red cross disaster relief fund.)

i turned over to the local christian radio station hoping to find something similar happening , yet i was disappointed when the only mention of the disaster next door was a blurb in the news report. i was immediately frustrated! why could this rock station with their crude jokes and their songs with the offensive lyrics do so much more than we christians are!?! why were the unbelievers out-doing the believers!?! why do we talk so much about being Christ to those around us but when the time comes to actually be Christ we are left still just talking? why do i, knowing how much i have been given, still hesitate to give when i see a chance? what holds us back?

quick disclaimer: i know this seems entirely unfair to both the christian radio station mentioned and the christian community as a whole. i know that there are millions of christian families and people making sacrifices to help those people hurt in this disaster. i know that my saying that we are doing nothing is grossly inaccurate so let me just say this: i made the comparision earlier between the two radio stations to draw these conclusions: talk is indeed cheap and actions do speak much louder than words could ever do. i as a follower of Christ cannot afford to not serve those in need. if God has a mission and i do not step up then He will find some other way to accomplish His plans.