Thank You Mark Richt

Coach RichtI have spent a lot of Saturdays since 2001 with Mark Richt. I have watched him from Sections 119, 125 and 336 in Sanford Stadium. Mark Richt has provided a lot of good times with friends far and near as well as a lot of memorable victories and celebrations. Oh, there has been heartbreak sure, but every relationship has difficult moments and times. There has been frustration as well, but that is to be expected. As of yesterday, my Saturdays with Mark Richt came to an end.

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you probably know I am a Georgia fan. While I don’t make it a practice to write about football, I feel compelled to do so today. I don’t know Mark Richt personally, but all accounts place him as a good and faithful person. He has had the task of molding 18 to 22 year old boys into men. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t imagine being on the stage that these guys are on at age 18. There is no question the impact he has had and continues to have on people’s lives. We need more people, especially people of faith, like that in the world today.

Mark Richt will be fine, perhaps even better than fine. He spoke of discerning the next call that God places upon his life. You don’t hear too many football coaches talk that way. Maybe that’s what make him so special as a coach, he viewed coaching at the University of Georgia not as a job, but as a calling. Ultimately, his faithfulness in life will not be judged on wins and losses, but on fulfilling the call God places upon him. At the end of the day, that’s all any of us can ask for. Whoever the next coach at Georgia is, they have big shoes to fill. Not necessarily in wins and losses, but in life. Thanks Coach Richt for the memories and blessings on your path.

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

I get it. I really do. The recent terror attacks abroad and the Syrian refugee crisis is a tough issue. Our elected leaders have a really difficult task, in terms of deciding how to balance welcoming people into our country while maintaining a level of security that protects our nation. I get it. The terror needs to stop and the people committing it need to be brought to justice. The world needs peace and security. Continue reading “Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room”

Jesus Was Not Born So You Could Get a Good Deal on a Televsion

CupsKeep Christ in…Starbucks?

The war on Christmas has begun. More precisely, the war on the war on Christmas has begun. This is an annual tradition where some Christians decide that everyone and everything is conspiring together to do away with Christmas and anything having to do with the birth of Jesus all together.

The most recent affront was Starbucks (not a Christian company BTW, but one whose ethics align with Jesus in some ways) having the nerve to put out plain red cups for the season. They took off the snowflakes and other wintry accessories which apparently are symbols for the birth of Jesus.

Here’s the issue from my point of view. We do need to remember the “reason for the season” while also keeping in mind that Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection has very little to do with what we do to mark the holiday. Jesus was not born so that we may all get a good deal on a 40 inch TV and spend more than we can afford. My observation is that most people who are upset about the term “Happy Holidays” and the like are really upset about a loss of privilege. As our nation has grown more diverse, certain groups have lost privilege and influence and this does not sit well with them. So, a war breaks out against companies whose interest is gaining revenue and profit from previously mentioned diverse nation. If your customer base is broad, who wouldn’t work to speak to that broad base. After all, most retails companies capture 40-60% of their sales during this time of year. Yes, I’m looking at you, overly consumerist culture. The hysteria is pretty silly, don’t you think?

If we are serious about what Christmas means for our world, let’s have a serious conversation about it. If we really want to be outraged about something, let’s be outraged about the right things. How about we be outraged that we have the homeless, the hungry, people living on the margins because of discrimination, racism, an addiction to gun violence, etc ?Let’s be outraged about the right things if we are going to be serious about what Emmanuel- God with us- really means for not only our nation, but the world. What does that say about the faith if we are more outraged about what’s on a cup than we are about the suffering of God’s children?

So friends, how about we get over ourselves? Let’s drop the Christmas persecution myth and get on with the real work of Christmas. ¬†Healing, wholeness, and life abundant for all God’s children. That’s the type of world that puts Christ in Christmas.

Taking a Right at the Light- An Evening in Adair Park

Adair ParkI took a right at the light. I normally take a left to go to parking for Braves games. This time I took a right. Along with some friends from church, our young adults group was headed to the Adair Park neighborhood to serve dinner to a group of teens meeting for youth group in the neighborhood.

I had never really thought about taking a right at that light. I knew if I did it would take me into some of the most undesirable neighborhoods in Atlanta, places I would not want to go. I’ve taken a left countless times to go to Turner Field, but never right.

Several in our group had become familiar with the Stanley family, who blog at http://www.thestanleyclan.com. They are urban missionaries, committed to making a community better by being a part of the community. After observing them with the teens, it is clear that they have a clear call to be a part of this community. They are people who love their neighborhood dearly, precisely because¬†it’s their neighborhood.

If I am being really honest with myself, a ministry like this has always help appeal and perhaps some call with me. The lack of security and certainty has always caused me to look elsewhere long before I would became serious about exploring a call. For now, I settle for the glimpses of the power of relationship to transform a neighborhood such as this, and what I can learn from these experiences for my life today.

Most importantly, it reminds me of this truth.The people that you find when you take a right at the light are no different than the ones you find when taking a left. It’s pretty easy to proclaim this from a place of security. It’s when you take a right, that you truly see how true it is that we are all beloved children of God.

I’m working on my sense of direction, knowing that no matter which way we turn we can find the kingdom of God in our midst.