Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Commericial Break

i cannot stand commercials. they drive me insane. especially if its a show that i really enjoy. it is so frustrating to have to keep watching nonsense while you're waiting to view your program.

talk radio is so obnoxious. it is frustrating really. but there are a handful of shows i really enjoy listening to. they are mike and mike, colin cowherd, hannity and sometimes rush. i'd probably rank them 1. colin, 2. hannity, 3. mike and mike, and 4. rush. i don't listen to rush all that much.

the commercials for these shows are completely ridiculous. hannity in particular is terrible. he'll talk for like 5 minutes and then there will be a 90 second break. after that break he'll come back on and take one phone call and then it will be back to a break. i know this is going to happen because as soon as the caller is on the air he says, "make it quick because we have 60 seconds." i'm like, what? we just got back from a commercial. this is so frustrating when you're driving in the car and just want to hear the point!

top chef does this same thing. top chef is like the American idol but for cooking except that 14 year old girls don't vote for you. the show starts with a "quickfire challenge." whoever wins this mini challenge gets immunity from the real challenge. after the real challenge the judges pick there least favorites. so basically, at the end of the show, the judges talk with the three losers about their performance. then they go to a commercial break. after a commercial break they come back on air for 60-90 seconds. during that time they show the most pointless conversation between the other contestants. it makes no sense at all. then they go back to a commercial. this is so frustrating! why do this? why all the commercials? why on for 2 minutes and off for 1.5 minutes? i just want to know who lost!

i absolutely hate frustration. i cannot stand it. i guess no one really enjoys frustration, do they? do you? i highly doubt it. frustration creates anger. it causes us to lose patience. it stalls us. it prevents us from moving forward. and perhaps the most irritating thing about frustration is not that something annoying is happening, but the fact that the annoyance is keeping us from something.

but isn't that how things really are? would really be that annoyed by the flat tire if we didn't need to be at work in 5 minutes? would we be so fired up if we had 5 hours to get there?

would we really be frustrated with only having $10.00 in our checking account if we didn't have an electric bill for $50.00?

would we really be upset about waiting for the train if we weren't already late for that job interview?

tell me, what is more obnoxious? the cause or the effect? is the train annoying or is being late? is it having little money or not paying the bills? what hurts more? the break up or the fact that you can't be with the one you love any longer? which is worse? the infidelity or the trust you no longer have?

its just so frustrating for a goal to be stalled. it is so frustrating for your relationship to come to a hault. it is so frustrating to be kept from something. it feels like you're excluded. it feels like you're missing something. you feel left out, don't you? and this feels miserable.

and as i observe, reflect, pursue, discern, analyze, and attempt to consider God's feelings, i think he experiences so much more pain and frustration than i could ever imagine. i believe this is so true because he is so desperate to have a fulfilling relationship with me - and I keep sending him on this revolving commercial break - and occasionally i'll come back to him to spend 90 seconds on the most useless, pointless, junk that matters not.

i am one freakin interruption after another. a constant commercial break. i'll be on with God for 5 minutes, and then will take a 90 second break. 2 or 3 months of great relationship growth with him, and then 6 weeks of nothing. then i will feel bad and come back to him for a feeble 2 weeks before i lose interest.

think about the heartache. think about how God must feel. think about the disappointment. i would venture to say that it hurts God that I am away, but hurts God even more that he is missing time spent with me. i know God is furious with some of my actions - but i believe God is saddened, disheartened, and depressed by my absence.

if only I could be strong. if only my life was like a DVD with no commercials. if only i could be true to God. if I wasn't so weak. if i wasn't so selfish. if i tried harder. if I cared more. if i was steadier. if I didn't hurt God. if I was more consistent. then maybe I could give him the relationship he desires and deserves. then maybe i could stop being so frustrating.

Monday, December 1, 2008

My Temper

for the most part i am a level headed person. i can handle criticism. i can handle conflict. and it really takes a lot for me to get heated. i've never been a short tempered person. growing up my brother always was. i actually found humor in it -which is a dangerous combination. you have no idea how angry i could make him. my sister did it too. man we could get him fired up. i remember once he got so mad he was bright red with rage and stuck his whole hand and arm through the wall. i thought he was crazy then. now I think its funny.

i don't really think that I am that way. if someone is furious with me and slanders my name - i can handle that. that is fine. but for some reason it is a very different story with sports. i have become so unbelievably competitive that i just get fired up beyond belief. i play dodge ball in the city league and have found myself more angry than i can comprehend. the biggest thing is when the other team cheats. i absolutely cannot stand it. you'd be shocked at some of the things teams try to get away with. i was shocked. and that is why i nearly found myself in a number of fistfights with a bunch of adult men throwing balls at one another.

ya know, i can remember specifically the last two times i have been furious. it always seems to be that the patriots seem to lose an important game immediately before i have to take a long trip in the car. when the pats lost the superbowl i was devastated. i was shocked. literally, i almost cried. i was furious. for hours - and i mean hours - i could not calm my heartbeat. and the next morning i had to get up and drive from minnesota back to ohio. it was about 12 hours. it was the longest 12 hours of my life. (by the way, this capped off a great week with family and my sister in law's wedding.) i was completely stunned.

the second time, and most recent, was when the patriots lost - in embarrassing fashion - to the miami dolphins. i was sitting in my brother's living room (the one who used to have the temper) with my wife and his wife watching the game. as each second passed, i felt my pulse begin to race faster and faster. finally, i couldn't handle it anymore and my wife and I decided to pack up and leave with 5 or 6 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. i just couldn't stand it. (this by the way, concluded a lovely family vacation at the beach). but I had to leave. i was completely shocked by what I saw.

maybe that is what fuels my anger. perhaps i cannot stand what i consider to be shocking. i cannot stand the fact that someone would say they didn't get hit by a ball, when it bounced right off their face. i cannot comprehend how the patriots lost. i just don't get it. honestly. i'm getting fired up just typing this.

but you get me, right? you understand what i am say? i mean, i hope you do. when someone is so clearly wrong. its shocking? its shocking when somingething is so clearly off. and the shock drives us crazy.

i recently came across a website which evokes this same kind of emotion. check this out: this will take your salary and tell you how rich you are compared to the entire world. this website should shock you. it shocked me. take a second right now and look at it.

ok. to americans, i don't make a ton of money. i'm conservative enough to not reveal my salary to anyone. privacy, whatever. but i will say this - my salary is between the top 1-10% of the entire world. in fact - it is significantly better than 10%. i know my salary. believe me - i do not make much money. this is crazy. this is shocking.

just for fun, plug in random salaries. lets see how the numbers line up. a person who makes $75,000, would be in the top .82% of the entire world! crazy! lets go low. check this out: a person who makes $10,000 is in the top 13.31% of the world! 10k, and you still make more than 75% of the world population?

a little lower now. lets say you make a terrible salary of $5k. that's only about $415.00/month. if you make that tiny salary, you are still in the top 14% of the world. you would only have to make 850 dollar annually, to be right at the 50% mark.

let me ask you something. does this shock you? shouldn't this shock you? shouldn't this anger you?

i think the thing that shocks me the most, is that we - you and I - are not doing anything to take care of this problem. we think we are. the church thinks it is. but we're not. let us be honest with ourselves - we don't do squat about this huge gap between the rich and the poor. there really is no middle class.

we give and give and give. but nothing happens. why? even though corporations and churches give millions to missions and people in need, nothing changes.

perhaps the biggest reason is comfort. we, those of us at the top, have learned to give and still be comfortable. we have learned what it takes to give a little extra from our income to help someone out. we, who have so much, have learned what it means to give out of our excess. but let me ask you something, is this right?

there is a difference between giving out of excess and giving out of sacrifice. giving out of excess has no real effect on us. nothing in our life really changes - except that maybe we don't buy a drink when we go out to eat. or perhaps we take a month off from shopping for clothes. ouch. that hurts doesn't it? man we really are being generous.

sacrifice. we're called to sacrifice. we're called to suffer with others. giving out of sacrifice hurts. this means we cut our budget. this means we deny ourselves to be sure someone else has all they need. this means selling our things to be sure someone else is taken care of. this means bringing that child into our home - and not just sponsoring them and sending them a card. this means a complete and fundamental change in how we live.

we must be angry. we must be shocked. and we must move. but i am afraid we won't give - and really give - until we're shocked into it. we must let this fester in us and cause us to lose our tempers.