Playing Hurt

I’ve been in sports one way or another most of my life.  In my younger days and through High School I played football, basketball, ran track, and worked out.  My college years were filled with basketball, tennis, and racquetball.  Since college I took up golf more seriously, and it has become at present my nemesis as well.  I love and hate the game of golf.  Just when you think one aspect of your game is coming together, two or three things begin to slip, then boom your scores and handicap explode again.  It’s almost a metaphor for real life.

There’s another think that stinks about this game.  Every now and then something in your body gets tweaked as you try to keep the right posture, maintain the correct grip, and swing smooth instead of lunging at the golf ball.  Right now I’m being challenged to even write this blog because I tweaked something in my right hand that is causing serious pain in the knuckle joint of the third finger, all the way from my palm to the tip.

Poor me, huh?

Do you know the phrase people like these days? “Oh, just rub some dirt on it, and get on with it.”  That’s basically what the orthopedist said on Tuesday (in my opinion).  It seems my x-ray was clear.  It seems my tendons and ligaments were all in the right places.  It seems like he was saying I was faking it.  Alas, my friends, I know I wasn’t because I am the one in pain.  Wouldn’t it be great if I could some how transfer my pain to his hand so he would know exactly what I was experiencing?

Here’s the thing.  I’m wearing the splint, and I’m taking the meds, and if it isn’t gone in three weeks I guess the next step is the MRI machine.  I’m hopeful it will clear up and return to normal in that time frame.  But it got me to thinking…

We don’t really know what someone else’s pain looks like or feels like.  In my case when the Dr. tried to manipulate my hand to determine what was going on, I winced in pain, because it really hurt.  He explained that he couldn’t really examine me sufficiently because I was “guarded.”  Well, yes, I was guarded, it hurt!

So, what happens to you when someone presses on something in your life that hurts?  How do you feel when things look bleak, dark or hopeless?  When someone dismisses your pain, and says “grow up already,” does that bring warm and fuzzy feelings all over?

Now, imagine how someone else might respond when you treat them in this same dismissive way.  How does anything in this world change if we don’t learn how to listen to each other, and try to respond with kindness instead of judgment, hate, or dismissive retorts?

We all have to play hurt sometime.  We stay in the game because we have to earn a paycheck.  We stay in the game because we don’t want the marriage to fail.  We stay in the game because we love our children and want the best for them, even when they walk away from us.  We play hurt, and we rub some dirt on it, and we go on.  Just typing these words hurts, but I’m still typing.

I’ll leave you with these words of wisdom, as both admonishment and encouragement to face whatever today brings…

1 Thessalonians 5:13-18
… Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

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Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) – Where’s the Evidence?

First let’s define DNA. It is fundamentally the distinctive qualities or character of someone or something regarded as unchangeable, and inherent to their identity.

Bertrand Russell is a noted atheist philosopher, who was once asked, “If you meet God after you die, what will you say to Him to justify your unbelief?” Russell immediately snapped at the question in reply, “I will tell Him that He did not give me enough evidence.”

Does someone believing in God define them in some way? Can you examine a person’s life as an outside observer and determine with any clarity that person’s moral and spiritual DNA? I think so, and I’ll give you a literal or physical example, as well as a spiritual reference point.

For me this whole Kavanaugh confirmation process reads like a Shakespearean farce. And DNA plays a huge role in the equation. It seems to me that many people across the country found the accuser to be “credible” even in the absence of any substantive evidence of the accusation. Somehow misplaced in all the rhetoric is the word “allegedly.” Look up this word… it is “used to convey that something is claimed to be the case or have taken place, although there is no proof.” All I heard for days from radio and talk show folks is how the accuser was “credible, and compelling.” I found myself astounded at the faith it takes to believe the accuser instead of the accused.

I have to admit, I worry more about those who seek no support for the things they believe, than about those who pursue hard fought evidence to support their statements of belief. “Feeling” as though someone is credible is not the same thing as evidentiary support of what they say being true. There are some folks right now across this land vehemently vowing to come up with another plan to delay or destroy due process and the rule of law. It is unfortunate that these folks, whether their reasons are justifiable or not, are hostile towards belief in God. They malign faith in God as the lure of emotion, clinging to an idea while the mind is disengaged. They do not believe faith will sustain the weight of both emotion and the mind.

It has been determined that there is no evidence supporting the accusations made against this Supreme Court nominee. But is there evidence that supports His qualifications to serve in such a high place of the judiciary in our country?

Perhaps, if we step back and test the claims of qualification by the same measure that was meant to discredit him, by legitimately substantiating the facts, we will find him and his DNA as trustworthy. The evidence is already there. So, just like in the Bible, with the opponents of Jesus and their own disbelief that He was the Son of God, it is not the absence of evidence, rather, the suppression of it that is the problem.

What about you and me, and being caught up in all this nonsense? Should we care? Does it matter? Of course we should care and it is definitely a very grave matter.

What is the evidence in our DNA (spiritually) that would be observable and quantifiable in a world that has gone so haywire? One verse from the Bible covers it well.

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Even in his impassioned opening statement the accused, speaking eloquently and vehemently, exhibited a great deal of self-control. Even toward his accuser he intended no ill will. He was faithful to his family and friends even at great personal cost to himself. He patiently listened to hours and hours of embittered men and women attacking him, who’s sole purpose and goal was to destroy him.

Over the next few weeks, months or years, each of us will perhaps be given the opportunity to stand accused of some wrong doing. I wonder if our actions and words will live up to the evidence of God’s Spirit living and alive inside of us?

 

About as much sense as…

This morning my wife decided to brighten my day by reading me an article from the newspaper.  Here’s the headline “Bronx Zoo’s Happy the elephant is unlawfully imprisoned, lawsuit claims.”  Now, the headline alone made me bark out a laugh.  As she read the article, I thought she was making this up.  Alas, when I googled “Happy the elephant” it took me right to the article. (read it for yourself here)

Think of the implications.  Here’s how Happy is described, “She doesn’t belong to a social group. Her autonomy is thwarted daily. This has got to stop,” according to Steven M. Wise, founder of the Nonhuman Rights Project, filing a lawsuit against the Bronx Zoo.  Wise says the Zoo is denying her “common law right to bodily liberty.”

Here’s the thing.

In a world where an elephant is treated by an activist group with more respect and dignity than how the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary treated a well respected, acting judge nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court… it would be funny, if it were not so tragically sad.

Think about the elephant’s name.  Happy.  She is a 47-year-old elephant, captured in the wild, brought to the Zoo in 1977.  From everything I’ve read besides this one article, animals are animals, and humans are humans.  When we attribute “human” rights to animals, have we become nothing more than animals ourselves?

Genesis 1:26-27
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Do you see what the authoritative word of God says?  Let “them” (mankind) rule over all the animals of the earth.  This fundamentally says, animals do not have human rights… they are not human, they are animals.  Does this mean we treat them inhumanely?  NO!  They are God’s creatures and we are accountable to God for how we treat them.

However, there’s more to scripture than just what God says about animals.  God gives instructions about how we treat each other as humans.  Listen to the simplicity in this statement.  Jesus commands it.  Jesus demands it.

Luke 6:31
Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.

Luke 6:37
Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.

It just seems to me our world at large, and our nation in general, and our government in particular, and the Democratic party specifically, has either forgotten these words, or never read them with any intention of obeying them.

How ridiculous that our country is caught up in such battle stances over this supreme court nominee.  How sad that so many can’t see the markers and signs of a well-orchestrated attack on one good man, while his attackers are simply seeking their own hold on power and influence.  How frightening to think of what our future holds if they are successful.

That an animal rights activist should have any airtime, or print space, in light of the supernatural and eternal battles going on right now in our government makes about as much sense as … the FBI doing yet another investigation on an already vetted and qualified candidate before being confirmed to the Supreme Court.  It’s just dumb.  It makes no sense at all.

Somebody ought to say something.  Oh wait. You can.  On Tuesday, November 6th, you can.  Get up off your backside, go to the voting booth, and cast your ballot for someone who stands for truth instead of charades.  You want something to change?  Then get out and do something.

Be Happy. Vote.