A 20 year plan?
During a recent conversation with a church strategist I casually mentioned that I have a 20 year plan for our ministry. This plan is detailed on an annual level and gives me security in the ministry. Security and longevity are things most Pastors do not find. Don't misread me, I completely understand that GOD ALONE provides our 'security'. I'm speaking in terms of security as it relates to relationships with people. We as Pastors face a 3 year average tenure in our ministries. The reality is that before most people find trust in us and even view us as their "Pastor" (5 years in transitional situations) most Pastors end up leaving. Having a long range plan and a solid course charted allows us to lead with the security to know that we are prepared for the long haul.
I spoke to a leader in the church recently over a decision. We didn't quite agree on a point and I honestly and lovingly asked "This is a long-term plan. I plan to be here for 20 years or more. Do you?" He looked back and replied "Honestly? No. When my kids graduate I plan to retire and move away" We both smiled and understood that it was best that I make the decision at hand.
I encourage you to consider a long-term plan. My conversation with the church strategist continued with the comment "Tally, do you realize that our best churches in the state don't have a 12 month plan let alone a 20 year plan?"
I'll likely share more about this over time. I'll also share how a friend of mine and I are looking into consulting as a way to share these types of plans with individual churches. These plans have to be UNIQUE to every environment. A long-range plan is Taylor-Made. We cannot afford to continue to cut and paste our ministry planning and tell everyone that we are 'contextualized' in our ministries.
Regardless of where you are in your context I urge you to consider planning for the long haul. In fact, no matter your situation... make a plan.
When I was a 10 year old in Baltimore City I sat front seat to Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's PR campaign. Upon taking office Mr. Schmoke gave the city a new slogan: "Baltimore: The City That Reads"
Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke defeated incumbant (all of 11 months) Clarence Du Burns to take the office previously held by the then new Governor William Donald Schaffer. Mr. Schmoke was't a slacker when it came to education. Schmoke received a degree in history from Yale University, was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University, and graduated from Harvard Law School.
I don't believe a PR campaign solves social ills however I do recall understanding as a 10 year old walking to school everyday in the city (seeing buses, city vehicles and city benches plastered with this slogan) that the new Mayor was attempting to convey the importance of reading.
ALL OF THAT TO SAY THIS:
I've been off lately with my reading (aside from church: extrachurch-ular). I enjoy law, government, the political system and some history. As a result I normally read something from these areas.
I have decided to forgive myself and pick up a new book. Last night I ordered "His Excellency" by Ellis.
I'll keep you posted with my progress.
Christians Gone Wild
Christians gone wild
A 10 year old was arrested last week in Florida while supposedly trying to take water to Terri Schaivo. Apparently little Joshua is following in his dad's footsteps who has a record of getting arrested for poor behavior while picketing at abortion clinics.
Tonight on Fox News, 'On the Record with Greta Van Susteren' featured the boy and his father. His father proudly held a coffee table-sized bible as his son tried to answer the questions. Greta asked the younger Joshua "Do you know how she got to where she is or what is wrong with her?"
The boy wasn't prepared to explain what he believed about the situation, only what he did and why.
I don't blame the boy. He obviously has been put up to this by his parents who are using the bible as their basis for their actions. He (in his good heart) is doing what he believes is right. I do find concern however when Christians bring God into this and then scream and kick and send 10 year olds in to get arrested. Did I mention that they don't even live in Florida, but rather Charlotte, NC?
Last week I posted about this arrest in support of the concern displayed by this young man. Now that I've seen 47 such arrests and today found out that only 4 of those have been people who actually live in Florida, I've set my feelings aside for my logic. My personal desire is that we always side with life. I still don't see the husband's view on this one but I think Christians are hurting the cause of Christ by their actions.
While I'm at It
Have you heard what the "church" has done to Judge Greer? I read an article today dealing with the fact that the Pastor at Judge Greer's church (the judge who ordered the feeding tube removed) wrote him a letter basically turning his back on the Judge.
Calvary Pastor William Rice wrote Greer a letter: "I am not asking you to do this, but since you have taken the initiative of withdrawal, and since your connection with Calvary continues to be a point of concern, it would seem the logical and, I would say, biblical course."
Again, I'm not hard core in support of the Judge on the issue at hand but I am a Pastor and not a lawyer. I'm not a lawyer and most certainly not a judge. I am not privileged to the last 15 years of court documents and medical exams or testimony. I can not see what Judge Greer sees. I know what I 'feel' but I don't know the facts as presented to Mr. Greer. If I am the Shepard of Judge Greer I do not believe that I would place myself in the battle. I believe I'd be his Pastor and be private spiritual counsel if he wishes. The Judge has a family that is affected also. The Judge has Christian family with whom he's been worshiping for years (presumably). If I'm the Pastor, I pray and encourage him. I do not turn my back on him.
This, by the way, is the same judge who is now getting death threats. Does anyone recall the judge who was killed a few weeks ago in Georgia? How about the judge who came home to her home in Chicago to find her mother and husband killed by a psycho?
It just seems to me that we as Christians should think through how we represent the name of Christ. Driving 12 hours to send in our 10 year old sons to get arrested doesn't exactly scream "Compassion" as loud as it screams "Crazy". I hope we as Christians would step back and consider each argument and our course of action before taking action we may later come to regret.
Focal Point Church is making it happen.
I want you to check out the authenticity on our church blog from Shelley. I've asked Shelley to organize our Connecting Points. Our Connecting Points are our small groups. We rely on our CP's to handle the true relationship building and a eventually a chunk of our discipleship. I believe true discipleship is relational centered (example: Jesus' ministry, Paul with Timothy, etc.). As a result, we've spent most of the time in our first year making our CP's into relationship centers.
We're transitioning our CP's now and Shelley is taking up the task. She's and extremely successful entrepreneur who will do a great job. I just love her post and the honesty that comes with it.
How many of us secreatly wanted to beat up the Easter Bunny?
I'm not sure why but this story seems so funny to me.
Jesus said "I'm Thirsty"
A kid was arrested today. What was his crime?
a) Gun in school b) Stealing a Car c) Trespassing with water d) Possession of Drugs
It seems to me that our laws should be a reflection of that which is right, we should not judge what is right based on our laws. Somehow a child in handcuffs and a woman being starved to death don't seem to be 'right'.
HOW SWEET (16) IT IS!!!!!
I am a Liberty Alum and Liberty University Women have just entered the SWEET 16!!!!!!
I am so excited! I jumped up around like a little kid when I saw the final score!
Liberty University has never won a single game in the NCAA tournament prior to this year! Now the ladies have won two in a row.
I'm very happy for Dr. Falwell who has always had the vision for Liberty to become for evangelical Christians what Bringham-Young is for Mormans and what Notre Dame is for Catholics, a world-class major University. He's always believed that in addition to academics (which have steadily been improving) and facilities (which are top of the line) that major Division 1 athletics should be of high quality so as to attract attention to what God is doing. Liberty University is certainly getting attention this week and next as the Lady Flames continue to soar!
I'm a pretty logical guy but I do admit my emotions are tied up in the Terri Schiavo case.
To begin, I do hold a pro-life view in every sense of the term. I'm pro life for the unborn, pro life for the elderly, pro-life for the poor, pro-life for the hungry around the world and pro-life for citizens of other countries.
Privately I've discussed this case and have heard just about every side of this argument. I feel horrible that this woman is a fraction of her former 'self'. I feel terrible that she's been in this condition for 15 years. I can see how both sides of this case have gotten to this point.
I have mixed emotions because of several beliefs I hold at the same time.
1. I'd imagine I could be defined as a federalist. One who believes we should defer to states rights as much as possible and even local city rights as much as possible always in an effort to best protect individual liberties. The higher up the chain we go in Government, the more of an opportunity for the individual to become less-free.
2. I don't see the tube as "life-support". In one sense it completely is life support. Without food and water we die. However this is a mechanism used to introduce substances into the body. This is not a machine acting for the body such as a respirator. I see the tube as an IV that provides nourishment.
3. I'm skeptical of the former husband who has already moved on and has a new family (for over 10 years now). Part of me wonders why he'd fight this woman's family. He's fought the family for Terri's death longer than he knew Terri before her complications. At what point is it more about him winning and less about Terri's best interest?
Okay, so my thoughts.
1. I wish Terri (as should we all) would have written out a living will.
2. I wish the husband would have given responsibility to the family the moment he decided to walk away from Terri and move on with his life.
3. I wish the husband would pull back even now and let this woman's blood relatives decide what they want to do with her.
4. I wish the Congress would not have gotten involved as they did this weekend. Although I am completely supportive of the action (keeping Terri alive) I am very concerned with what they did and how they did it. I admire the sentiment and value for this woman's life but I wish every life got as much concern from our Federal government.
Some of those lives include:
- Those in the inner city who are killed everyday from violence (ex:Baltimore, MD)
- Those who starve not because of a lack of a tube but because of a lack of compassion.
- Those men and women in the Sudan who are killed or starve to death because of their religious beliefs.
- Those like my new friend George at Dillard's who can barely pay for his monthly medication let alone try to help his aging sister.
- Those children of our fallen soldiers who have lost their lives in combat to protect ours. Can't our state schools provide free tuition to children of those killed in combat? Most classes could take an extra person or two without hurting the infastructure at the institutions protected by our service men and women.
On some issues I may sound more liberal than conservative but I don't care. I care about helping humanity and sharing the love of Christ. Political labels we apply to ourselves distort our minds and many times lead us to 'group think'.
We must all ignore our ideologies and look to Love as our guide.
We must look towards the orphans and widows as described in scripture.
We must look at Government as a tool, not as an institution.
Our society has come to view "government" as something separate and out of touch. The reality is that our governmental system is the most accessible system in the world. In many local elections it takes 5-10k votes to win. Imagine if the Senior class of 3 High Schools in your area all rallied around a candidate who wanted to make a difference...
Sorry, this turned into a blant (blog-rant). I guess this morning I'm sad for this woman, sad for our government, sad for the apathy but excited about God and his sovereignty over it all.
Consider this post a bit of snail mail. Remember the days when you used to check your mailbox every day for a week or more to hear how someone was doing?
This past weekend went wonderfully for myself and Focal Point Church.
We took about 26 people from the church down to Nags Head, NC for a marriage retreat on Friday and Saturday. We were led by a couple from our area (Steve and Debbie Mills) and led in worship by friends (Steven and Jennifer Wales). The weekend was filled with encouragement, teaching, fun and even some healthy debate. We discussed issues such as "creating safety" in your marriage, intimacy, divorce-proofing and so-on. From all accounts it was a wonderful retreat which everyone enjoyed.
Sunday we had a terrific worship service. The music led by Steven Wales was wonderful and the message I delivered may actually have been one of my best ever. I'm not puffing myself up, I just know that I felt "it" and "it" felt wonderful. I didn't even end up using the notes on the Worship Guide b/c they weren't needed. The topic was "The Glory of God". I love speaking about His Glory. So many things about God get me in awe. I love when I can communicate why I am so in awe with God. I think that's what makes those messages so powerful to people.... they walk away in awe of Him. That feeling is something we've lost in our 'modern day' or 'post-modern day' churches. That sense that God is awe-inspiring. We've often turned God into a spiritual ATM or spiritual bell-hop. God becomes nothing more than my butler when I picture him that way.
I've found that most groups paint the picture of the side of Christ they choose to see. We limit him that way. I suppose it makes us feel more comfortable because we naturally have a fear of the unknown but that fear is healthy fear. We're not supposed to know EVERYTHING about Him... We can't. If my mind can wrap around God... he's too small.
I spoke about how God is divinely huge. He is both the lion AND lamb. Beginning AND end. Alpha and Omega. God is huge and complex... and awe-inspiring.
For whatever reason we forgot/messed-up or whatever but the message wasn't recorded this week. I prayed and thanked God. Something tells me he didn't want me to come home and be excited about me and my speaking. He wanted me to come home and do as I did ... sit back and say WoW.
George at Dillards
I wanted to buy a new suit. The only suit I have has been in my closet since I was a junior in college. I haven't had much reason to wear a suit. I've done an occasional wedding and funeral but overall our church style doesn't require that I dress up so I haven't.
I do believe however that I will be placing myself into more circles where I'll be dressing up a bit more.
Anyway, I went to Dillards to purchase a suit this weekend and met a guy named George.
George was the man who helped me pick out my suit. He's a great guy who is 77 years old. He doesn't act like it though. George has been through a lot in his 77 years. He was born during the Great Depression (at the beginning) and went through multiple wars (even serving in Japan) and he was a medical doctor in his younger days. I'm 26. This means George was my age in 1954. That was the year the St. Louis Browns baseball team came to Baltimore (my hometown) to become the Baltimore Orioles (useless trivia information). George has been through a lot.
George recently moved to our area (Virginia Beach,VA) after spending the last 31 years in the Seattle area around the Puget Sound.
Monday was a mixed day that started with a funeral. I was asked to officiate the funeral of Chester Glenn Stultz, a grandfather of a teen in our youth department.
From all accounts Mr. Stultz was a great man. I would estimate 200 or more people came out for his service on Monday at noon. The service went very well. One woman whispered "I'm on the search committee at my church, would you be interested?". That was very kind of her but I obviously politely declined. I enjoyed meeting many of the people at the service. Many were fisherman from the area with whom Mr. Stultz had been a dear friend. I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life. The diversity reminds me how uniquely we're created.
The family was pleased and I commented back to them "It's easy to do a service for a man who was so loved and respected. It's obvious by the turnout that he impacted many lives."
I'd imagine that's what everyone would want at their funeral. A packed house of people who not only admired but were touched by that life. I'm reminded of the quote I often hear pinned to discipleship "You can impress from far away but you can only impact someone up close. Mr. Stultz did both.
Pimp my Google
Thanks to my dawg Sam Decker over at Decker Marketing for gettin' the word out 'bout da Gizoogle deally-yo!
This is a funny site that translates your google searches into the popular 'izzle' language popularized a year or so ago by rapper "Snoop Dogg". I listened to Snoop when I was a teen. I remember his first cameo on Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" album. To my generation he is one of those faces that we've grown up with.
Anyway, the site is just for kicks.
This evening we had our teens on a "Destination Unknown". It's an activity I do with them (we're a church plant and I work with the youth as well for now) each 3rd Thursday. We don't tell the teens where they are going. They bring $7 and a friend (most times). Past experiences have been bowling, putt-putt, laser tag, etc.
Today I decided to do something different. I decided that we needed to show the teens that there are ways to serve others and have a great time doing it. Why does it seem that sacrafice is always boring, dull and negative? SO... we had a "Hunt and Help".
The kids had a video scavenger hunt where they did crazy things like act like a chicken and cluck with wings flapping as they walked through Kentucky Friend Chicken (the managers didn't find it amusing) and have the workers at the YMCA sing the YMCA song (managers didn't like that idea either) and have a cashier sing a song (Farm Fresh has great employees).
The teams were competing for this... the opportunity to donate the student's money to charity. They were allowed to spend money on their activities (some things they had to buy such as Toilet Paper and soda (don't ask). In all the kids put together just under $70 which the winning team chose to donate to fighting Breast Cancer.
It was great to see our kids laugh at themselves, meet people randomly and give their cash away to a good charity. Instead of giving to a game of putt-putt, the kids gave to an organization trying to save lives. I hope to build on this activity in future talks and experiences shared with these teens.
On another note, I was sick today. Sneezing like crazy and cleaning up my nose all day. (I'm going to ask God why he invented snot) I'm not a good sick person. I get cranky and tired and whinny around my wife. I don't like being sick. I worked through it today and obviously tonight. Most people wouldn't bother to classify what I've been as even being 'sick'. Kristy and I have been together 7 years as of Tuesday (yes I remembered and sent flowers). She has only seen me sick twice. Once was the first week she moved to Virginia (in our first year of dating) and the other was a short time in Texas about 3-4 years ago. I'm always healthy. A little sickness is good b/c it reminds me of health and to be thankful for God's blessings no matter how big or small I may view them. Every blessing from God is unmerited Grace and favor.
I'm done. Have a great night.
Go to church or... die?
I read of a new study linking faith with long life. (per ChurchMarketingSucks.com)
From the findings:
"There's something involved in the act of religious attendance, whether it's the group interaction, the worldview or just the exercise to get out of the house. There's something that seems to be beneficial," said University of Iowa psychology professor Susan Lutgendorf, who carried out the study.
From the bible:
"My son, do not forget My law, but let your heart keep My commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1)
"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you." (Exodus 20:12)
From my head:
I know of saints that have lived a very long time. Our generation is blessed with three men who recently have been having health problems but by all accounts have had long and productive lives serving God by preaching Christ. (Dr. Billy Graham, Dr. Falwell, and Pope John Paul II)
I also know of wonderful Christian people who have had shorter lives than I. A friend I met on a mission trip when I was 17 died in a car accident after my first year of college. By all accounts this young woman was a saint. She was the type of person that made me want to become a better Christian.
Many times we look at the length of life as being the main point. We run from the aging process and we hold out all hope for immortality. Many Christians want Christ to return quickly not because of His will being done but because they are afraid to die. Isn't the point of our faith to value the Kingdom of Heaven over this life?
I'm not talking being irrational or belittling life. I'm talking about valuing the life to come as the end all. I'm talking about having a sincere belief that this world is not our home and that we have an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ that awaits. I'm talking about valuing that which we claim to hold most-high. When we value years of life as the end-all we miss out on the meaning behind those years. We begin to see short-sided and our daily decisions reflect that mentality. Our daily lives become consumed with "You only live once" attitudes that revert to self-centeredness or self-pity. This is not a Christian world-view. Unfortunately however, so many people who profess Christ believe and live this way.
More bible thoughts:
Jesus said this right after rebuking Peter upon his arrest " 34Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels.”--Mark 8: 34-38
This life and this world are wonderful gifts. We are to enjoy them, find satisfaction and joy in God's creation but always with the reverence and awe to the God who created it. When we begin worshiping the created we lose sight of the creator.
The Dollar is shrinking. Surprise.
With prosperity in the U.S. we now find ourselves consuming and importing more, producing and exporting less and trading paper (debt/bank notes) for goods and services.
The world is indeed global. In case you've been asleep or just haven't had many conversations about the subject we live in a more connected and close-knit age than ever. Now, I don't mean close knit like city blocks or front-porches... I mean close-knit in the sense of interdependency.
More and more we are inter-connected with people from around the world. The dollar in your pocket carries less weight because of decisions made half a world away. We can shoot emails around the globe (even to remote villages) and get a reply within minutes. We are debating things like immigration (legal and illegal) more often than before. We see active world courts, world health, world vision, world everything. Governments are willing to exchange some rights that used to be reserved for sovereign states (See: European Union).
Our world is more connected than before. We accept more connectivity and mixed families without much hesitation. We are now comfortable enough to make fun of what used to make for hate. (Yes there are pockets of ignorance and yes we have a long way to go but the movement is in this direction)
The point is this: We are global. We must think globally. The statement "All politics is local" holds true for now but I'm sure before long we will begin saying "All politics is global."
The governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger was on MSNBC's Hardball last night where he pegged Chris Matthews for thinking too simply on the issue of raising minimum wage. Matthews tried to go after him for not supporting a $7.75 minimum wage. Schwarzenegger aptly pointed out that if you raise that wage, employers will have to employ less people to make up for the difference. Those dollars come from somewhere. Then because less people are employed the companies will likely produce less product which will bring in less revenue and the cycle continues. It is not as simple as making everyone a millionaire. We live in a connected society like no other. No matter what our profession we must understand this fact and learn how to adapt before we are replaced or miss the boat.
Build an Altar
Sunday was a great day for our church body.
We celebrated our first "birthday". I spoke about the importance of building an Altar to remember what God has done in our lives and then also keep in mind that God called himself (among other things) "I AM". He's the God of the now. As we look forward in our future we know that God is there as well and 'there' are people who need Christ and want to know more about Him.
I personally believe our church body is solidifying around our vision to encourage and equip people to Know God through His Son Jesus Christ. We are a church built on relationships (with God and others) and a church that is wonderfully unified at this point.
As we move forward I ask for your prayers for wisdom and direction for some upcoming decisions. It's an exciting time in our church History and I'm looking forward to God doing wonderful things in our city.
I've long heard that Salvation can be missed by the 18 inches from your head to your heart. Unfortunately this post adds to the footnote to that statement. I'm reading the book "God in the Equation" right now and the implication of this book has no greater significance than what happened Wednesday at the United Nations.
Dr. Charles Towns, a physicist who is credited for inventing what would become the laser won a new prize reflecting his published thoughts on Spirituality and Science. This alone makes for terrific discussion, reading and debate. I would love to post constantly about this topic. Unfortunately however, the article gives the impression that Mr. Towns for all of his head knowledge and awards doesn't know (believe) if Jesus Christ was who he claimed to be.
"Dr. Townes, who described himself as a Protestant Christian, said there was no reason to expect that the Bible would be all correct. Asked about his beliefs, he said, "I have enormous respect and adoration for Christ and what he did," but he added that he did not know whether Christ actually was the son of God.
"He's closer to it than anybody else I know of," Dr. Townes said."[New York Times link]
25The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."
26Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."
5Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way"
6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
8Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
9Jesus answered: 'Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father' 10Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Show Me Your Glory
Third Day has a song of that title. It echoes my heart.
Do you ask God to show his Glory? Do you think that he is actually showing his glory every day?
Through the breath you breathe, through the lives of others, through our relationships with others?
God is constantly at work revealing himself to me (and you). He's not trying to hide. Romans 1:20 says that his invisible qualities can be found in the work of creation. He sent Christ as a physical manifestation and he gave us His Spoken word via scripture. God is always at work revealing himself.
I met a 10th grader named Gavin last night at a local coffee shop. Apparently he had heard about our church through some friends from school and wanted to ask me about ministry and share what God is doing in his life. I had just finished pre-marital counseling, had a trip to Best-Buy coming up and plans to play basketball (all of this was around 8pm and basketball started at 9pm). Obviously at that moment my schedule and attitude wasn't interested in more talking. However I could not help but to talk to Gavin because of his enthusiasm and passion for Christ. He shared with me how he was saved and all God has done to bring some young people into a bible study under his care. He shared some of his thoughts on scripture and worship all with a big smile on his face.
Gavin wants to be a Pastor. He wanted to talk b/c he wanted to hear from someone who is where he prays he will one day be. I'm nothing special at all. I'm so broken and insufficient. I have insecurities at times, I question things at times, I constantly have to 'die to self'. But this teen wanted to talk with me.
God showed me his glory last night at a coffee shop. He reminded me again of my calling and passion. He showed me how he's moving in other lives outside of my little church. He reminded me that he doesn't need me. He remdinded me again how big he is! God is huge.
My encouragement to you to today is for you to go to God today and say "God, Father, SHOW ME YOUR GLORY!" (and then after you pray, look for it... He'll gladly answer)
Just Sue Everyone!
That'll be how we curb LIFE. (long rant)
Let's sue everyone for everything. In today's society we can blame our personal problems, lack of self-control, stupidity or genetic makeup on everyone else.
When a doctor who went to college for 34 years makes a small mistake.. Just sue him. When your OB/GYN gets caught in traffic and you have to have someone else deliver your baby, just sue her. When your hair dryer seems to send shocks up your spine as you try to use it while taking a shower, sue the company. When McDonald's gives you coffee and you put it between your legs as you drive off, just sue them if it burns you.
This past week my wife and I became directly affected by junk lawsuits against good Doctors. Now, yes bad things happen. Yes a person should have the right to sue for reasonable damages and no I am not saying we should eliminate the right of the consumer to protect their family from big companies or big medicine. (That's out of the way, okay?)
What I am saying is that my wife and I will now be delivering our child at a hospital across town because the OB/GYN who has been delivering near our home is now consolidating to only 1 hospital in our area. We now will be driving to a hospital about 20 minutes away from the hospital near our home (approximately 3-5 minutes). Why did this happen? Because over the last year 30 OB/GYN doctors in Hampton Roads have left the profession or left this area because of rising insurance costs. Our doctors at "The Group for Women" now have an overloaded system on their hands. They are forced to consolidate to 1 hospital because they just can't risk driving to several places with the amount of patients they now have.
So what do we get when we allow junk lawsuits? We get less Doctors. We get longer waits and drives. We get less personal care b/c our doctor has 1300 people to attend to. We get crowded facilities. We get the raw end of this deal.
On a related front, I read this afternoon a story that solidifies this position that something has to change. Over at Rambling's Journal I read this story about a kid who's suing the city of Orlando after he fell 80 feet while attempting to jump from one parking garage to another. Yes... He's SUING the city of Orlando. You know what his claim is? ""There was a very, very short length of fence that was completely ineffective in preventing this from happening," D'Assaro (the attorney) said.
Hold on... "a very, very short length of fence"? He's suing (and probably will win in our society) because the city's fence (which did exist 8 stories up) was too short?
I don't know... How about the fact that your client tried to jump from one parking garage to another while 8 stories in the air caused him harm, not the size of the fence? Where does government entitlement end and personal responsibility begin?
I would ask if this kid bumped his head but that would be rhetorical. I'm more concerned about the Florida bar that gave this lawyer a license and this kid's parents who are encouraging the suit. Okay mom and dad, your teenage son tries to play Matrix and after you pick up Humpty Dumpty you call a lawyer? They should be sued for child endangerment for letting their child think that this is the City's fault.
My point: We (at the grass roots) have to push for an "Ownership Society". Own your home, own your car and yes own up to your mistakes. Own your decisions. Own your stupidity. We all have it from time to time. We all get mental hick-ups. Just don't go suing everyone and making the rest of us pay the price for your lapse in judgement. Again, if a suit is merited I'm all for it but frankly our legal system currently needs some Drano.
Laser Tag at Babies R Us
On a more personal post, Kristy and I spent the day setting up our baby registries at Babies R Us and Target (pronounced Tar-zh-Ae).
I had the honor of shooting the gun all day so some things may be out of place... credit those things to my being trigger happy. At Target this evening I tried to zap a moped but it wouldn't let me.
Overall the experience was pretty cool. Kristy and I spent some wonderful quality time together and dedicated a day to little Caleb.
Some tips for doing your Baby Registry:
1. Pre-register online. (you don't care to waste 10 minutes in the store getting their machine to type correctly)
2. One aisle at a time. (the market for kids stuff is ridiculous. Remember how to eat an elephant?)
3. Figure out the color scheme and theme of the room first. You can do this when you first start your experience. This will help you decide on most of the stuff for the room. Today there are 1000 colors of every item. Decide the theme first and you'll be able to ignore 900 of them.
4. Read reviews of big stuff ahead of time. We found a few things later that we're going to have to change b/c it looked cool in the store but when we got home we realized it wasn't practical according to practicing parents.
5. Think strategically. How many people will likely buy? What are the financial means of those people? What stuff would we prefer others get for us? What stuff can we get on our own that won't take away from stuff we'd like to have?
6. Let the guy Zap. Guys, I was interested in the process partly b/c I zapped. Kristy and I worked as a team. She'd say "That One" and I'd say "Got It". She held the clipboard and checklist, I got to play laser tag.
7. Pack a lunch (or plan for one). If you want to do it right, don't rush it. Plan the day. You'd walk just as much at an amusement park so why not plan the walk for your new baby.
8. Pay attention to what you're zapping. Especially with clothing. The store stocks items by style and not so much size. You may have to be sure that you keep in mind which size you're getting as well as how big your child will be in the season for the outfit. Sounds simple but I'm sure people get excited playing laser tag and forget that a swimsuit in December (although very cute I'm sure) just doesn't work.
9. Find a friend. You will have 1000 people giving advice. You do need it but you may not want it from everyone. Find a friend who has a child and say "check my list and see if I missed anything". This is the stage we're in now so I'll let you know how we did.
10. Have Fun! This is an awesome experience. Go enjoy it. Shopping is not my thing but spending the day today with my wife and thinking about our future child was totally my thing. Have fun with it. Realize that it's an awesome task and privilege. Enjoy it!
It's a BOY!
We found out this morning that the child growing within Kristy's womb is a little baby boy.
His name will be Caleb.
Names used to be pretty significant in biblical times. They were used as much to describe and inspire as they were to distinguish.
Caleb means "Faithful, Bold". Upon selection of this name, it's obvious that we're looking at the biblical account in the book of Numbers for inspiration. I wanted to chose a name that my child could look at as encouragement from his parents. This name (in my view) gives our son some idea of what our desire for him is in life. Even as he looks to scripture to see some positive actions of Caleb in the bible, he will find a big moment that is somewhat defining for what I want to communicate to my son.
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it."
With Kristy and I having our first child I am constantly asked by well-wishers the same question "Do you want a boy or girl?" My answer has been... "Yes. It'd be nice if the baby is a boy or girl."
Truthfully I'm in good shape either way. The gift of life is precious enough. Being a dad is crazy enough and raising this child will (I'm sure) be challenging and rewarding enough.
With that said, Kristy and I will leave here in a few minutes and head to the Doctor for what we hope will be a sonogram to discover the answer "Is the baby a boy or a girl?"
At our family site "WilgisFamily.com" the votes are pullin' for a girl. Most votes have been placed by our overly female laden family so this comes as no surprise.
I'll be sure to update you all.
We're sitting in the middle of history. I honestly believe this and I don't take that lightly.
While the world is focusing on Iraq there are other movements toward freedom in the world taking place. We are living in a time when millions of people are being liberated, set-free, read: no longer captive. I'm actually surprised that this world-wide movement isn't getting more ink.
I wonder if those of us who have grown up free haven't just taken for granted the very freedoms we enjoy to the point (through our inaction and apathy) we allow forms of slavery to exist all around us while we sit back and rake up debt by living in excess.
Where is the middle ground?