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Archive for the ‘Everything else’ Category

The Lost Art of Attention to Detail

In Everything else on May 14, 2018 at 2:14 pm

“The internet will make us all stupid.”

Not an exact quote, but close enough to portray my Business English professor’s warning in the spring of 1996. It was my first semester back in college as a began a 3 year journey to earning my bachelors. It was also a year when the internet came truly alive on campuses across our nation. There were no WordPress or GoDaddy’s back then, just laborious hypertext coding, and it was a wild discovery which we had no idea would change the way we did… everything, basically.

But still, make us “stupid”? Seemed extreme. Seemed like the old guard having trouble with new management coming in and changing the way things were always done. That was until she clarified. “No accountability” (again, not an exact quote), she chimed, “No editors, no proofreading, no one caring enough to stop the bad grammar, misspelled words, or erroneous facts at the gate.” That made me rethink my initial response to her “stupid” claim. Perhaps she’s on to something. Perhaps she knows something — through 30+ years of teaching — that I wasn’t thinking. Perhaps.

The internet turned 25 years old this week. Twenty five years of giving a voice to anyone and everyone that had something to say — whether the rest of us cared or not. But it didn’t take 25 years to see the decline in our language — both in spelling and grammar. I dare say it took not even a year. Right off, year one for me (1996), I experienced a plethora of poor writing while using the internet to research for course assignments. Even the “professional” journal links were littered with poor grammar and misspelled words. It was as if we all quit caring about details — language details — and it was eating me up. From there it only got worse because the “bloggers” in the 90’s became the journalists and writers of the aughts and beyond, carrying poor language skills from the internet to print. These days, it’s more common to find poorly written work than not.

Attention to language details isn’t my high horse, but it does say a lot about the future. Most of all, it says that my Business English professor knew a thing or two I didn’t.

Running nowhere faster than I can get there

In Everything else, Life choices on April 30, 2017 at 6:32 pm

It’s so true how… wait — where was I going with that? I had a thought, just then, but it has somehow eluded me.

And such is life these days. A thought, a whim, a fear, a pain, a joy, any feeling known or unknown comes racing into my mind only to fly right back out. I’m not getting old — OK, I am, but not in that sense — rather it appears I’m on some sort of fast paced journey to find the next thing. Perhaps it’s the world I live in — always evolving and growing and changing — and if I don’t stay up with the shuffle, I’ll lose. Lose what? Who knows. I used to know, but that was so 10 seconds ago.

I run through the evolving, growing change because I want something. I might run after something, or towards something, or away from something, but in all that, there’s something I want. Most often that desire nurtures me, providing support, comfort, control, or any number of desirable outcomes. Most often the thing I want is a stepping stone to the next thing — a thing that will have me running again. Vicious, endless cycle.

How do we measure all this running — to, away from, alongside, over, under, and everything in between? If it was exercise, we’d all be fit, but it’s more often mental anguish. So how do we qualify, quantify, calculate, and weigh in on the endless journey toward the next thing? Where’s that golden rod to measure? And does all that working towards a moving target pay off? So many questions, but zero time to stop and answer them.

For me, I’ll look for a rest stop. There’s bound to be an oasis along my Nomadian path, one that might not offer answers, but is bound to offer refreshment. I’ll simply fuel up for the next leg, and this time, before I step into the desert, I’ll try to remember which direction I was heading.

Here I sit

In Everything else on March 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Staring forward I see a future. This future I see is uncertain, at best, jaded, at worst — a future that has my name written all over it. I wonder — often ponder — is this future in stone? Can some force, like a hurricane, change the course of my path? Can I, of my own ambition, or stupidity, grind my current future to a halt and then redirect it toward something else — better, worse, or just different? What principalities possess future-changing powers?

Of all the madness that fills each day, I cannot agonize over the details of things to come. Sure, there is always some nagging notion of “what if”, but I cannot allow that nagginess to curve my path. But wait?! What if that nagging IS my future? Could it be that — in some odd way — the voice that questions and re-questions, then questions my choices again is just a tool that encourages me along the way? Are the answers to the questions the steps that lead me on? Surely, there must be some guide that points me forward. Otherwise, I am left to wrestle with each decision, each choice, step after step, day after day, ad nauseam.

Yeah, well, such is life.

Bored to someone else’s death

In Everything else on March 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I understand constructing something. Building in order to create is a passion I share with millions of others. Whether it be something of brick and mortar or something with ones and zeros, the ability to fashion a finished… anything is an impressive goal.

Yet, there are yings to my yang — the bad people — those that deconstruct for the sake of destroying what others have worked to create. The deconstruction process — in and of itself — is not a bad thing, but the unrequested malicious destruction of what someone else has toiled to build is just plain mean. Let alone the time it took to construct, the shear disappointment of a project lost is heart wrenching.

These people (more like, animals) — what are they thinking? What courses through their veins that beckons them to target and destroy? What promises await them in the post-devastation? Who rewards them? Surely, there most be something motivating them beyond the simple notion to spite others. Surely.

All the same, I will rebuild. Taking refuge in the fact that I have more tolerance for foolishness than they have for wisdom.

Reboot

In Everything else on March 19, 2012 at 11:18 am

Well, thanks to folks that sit around with nothing to do but doodle — oh, and ruin websites with malware — I am officially rebooting my website. But no fears — I saved my old posts and will be slowly getting them back up.

Thanks for reading.

For the love of God…

In Everything else on January 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Why else do we do anything — anything at all? Seriously, if not for the Love of God, then for what?

This is a concept that my children lay hold of. They ask why people feel a need to do… well, anything, if they aren’t working toward something greater than themselves — the reference, concerning an individuals fundamental relationship with Christ. Even as children they understand that these are no random events, no whirling eddies, that comprise life’s daily dose of living. Even as children they see a Creator that has breathed purpose into an otherwise purposeless existence.

For the Love of God is the very reason I have the motivation to reach deep into my gift bag for forgiveness, and mercy, and faith, and hope, and love. His Love wakes my otherwise complacent and apathetic, often seemingly lifeless and meager, adventures. Without Him, without His Love, I walk in vain — and I am not one to do anything in vain. Therefore I embrace that Love.

The option of failure

In Everything else on November 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Let’s face it — we all fail. Say it with me, “We all fail.” Shame on your pride-stricken self if you didn’t say it — and it’s not about the “I’m a winner” mentally like you tell yourself. The fact that we fail means something important.

I actually heard a great line in a movie just the other day — “You learn from experiences, which are mostly bad choices.” We all make them — bad choices — and we all fall down and are forced to rise again. That doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human, it makes you real. The beauty in failing is in picking yourself back up again, dusting off the pride, and humbling yourself — that’s the “I’m a winner” talk you should be spouting. To learn from your poor choices and quick temper makes you more capable of being used by God. And to be used by Him makes you a winner.

River of thoughts

In Everything else on October 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Thinking is overrated. Maybe overrated is not the right word — how about tiring, although that says something altogether different. Yet, I tend to think about everything — literally, everything — in such detail, such tiring detail. It’s an OCD function, to be sure.

And with all these many thoughts flowing through my noggin, I am challenged to process and sort as to have some meaningful relationship with each one. Though truly, many a thought is unworthy of exorbitant attention, still I need to determine where priority lies in the realm of conscious consideration. I definitely don’t want to cheat a passing bliss, but neither do I desire to hang myself with an unworthy notion. It’s the point of processing that bogs the mind — it’s where the river bottlenecks and then overflows onto the banks of more meaningful living decisions.

Over the many wonderful years I have existed to date, I am becoming a master of thought. Like a”thought” Jedi, I can control the flow of information more easily, sorting, discarding, and logging for a later date. However, as I’ve grown older, the ability to store information for later retrieval has diminished. Now I face a deeper level of mental processing, beyond simply sorting into a category or two — I am now faced with mentally sub-categorizing. The act of taking a worthwhile thought and sticking it away for later use has become a dual-core function involving further processing and organizing. Woe is me.

So to conclude, I now accept (as I have for years) the fact that my computer-like brain, paired with my high attention to detail, tied to my chemically-screwed genetic structure will run at max RAM on all cores throughout my day. It’s neither a blessing nor a curse — it’s just the way God made me.

Tackled by fear

In Everything else on October 20, 2011 at 4:18 pm

When I was a kid in Georgia, just a tike, I’d ride the big yellow bus to school every day. And although I was a small kid, I was not one to put up with a bully — and there were many bullies. Now, I wouldn’t say I looked for trouble, but you can bet I didn’t back away from injustice either. Bigger kids on that bus often ran their mouths, putting down anyone outside their circle of friends, bad-mouthing the weaker, slandering their name, family, mommas, looks and so forth. I can’t remember if I was one of those targets, and it didn’t matter anyway, because a verbal assault on the weak meant an opportunity for me to stand up against the tyrant.

So there I was, in the back of the bus, running my mouth in the defense of someone weaker (or as weak as myself). I would manage, in all my childish wisdom, to become the new target. Suddenly, the threats started, and the bully would become 3-4 bullies ready to sock me good. I was scared. I hated bullies, I hated the fact that I was ever compelled to stick up for someone and now face the wrath of some bully’s poor upbringing. I was not upset that I had stood up for another kid, just that I was ever put into a predicament of such. Now my sense of justice was beginning to take the shape of fear, knowing good and well that size mattered, and I was on the losing end.

As the bus squeaked to a halt, I knew my small legs would only give me a few seconds lead — but what the heck, by some luck, I might actually run into a cop or something. So the door would open and I’d hit the ground like the 40-yard dash. And I’d run for all I was worth. And I’d muster all the remaining wisdom I had to high-tail it out of there. And I’d get about 20 yards — BAM! I was tackled by fear.

My own fear, I’d one day learn. It was my own fear that took me down, my own fear that dropped me. It was my own fear that I gave birth to in the back of that bus, then coddled and cooed, fed and supported. It was mine, and mine alone.

That fear has taken many shapes over my lifetime, always ready to knock me down. It stands and waits for me to speak out, make some life-changing decision, assert my creative gifting, and then leans in close to intimidate and scare me. It threatens me, warning that once the bus stops — watch out. It beckons me to run for my life. It hounds me to give up because I’m small and weak. It taunts me. It wants to tackle me.

As the years roll on, my physical size has increased, but my sense of injustice remains. I am no longer beaten down by bigger men, but rather feared by some instead. Not fear as through a physical assault, but rather fear through relational challenges. What is a bully to do when someone with wisdom, a voice, and physical stature stands against them? They learn quick that we are no longer riding in the back of a big yellow school bus.

What I didn’t learn in youth group

In Everything else on July 18, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I was sent an email by a pastor that included an article from CNN. Here are the story highlights:

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • More teenagers embracing watered-down Christianity
  • Teenagers see God as “divine therapist”
  • Teenager: “They don’t want to make sacrifices”
  • Who’s responsible for inspiring teens? Parents and pastors are

These are my thoughts:

I can relate to this article when interacting with young people (teens and early twenties), seeing so many that are unable to really talk about who and where GOD is. I blame parent’s ignorance mostly, in that they were lulled to sleep by their parents. I blame the American Church as well for remaining a “safe place” for everyone to be. It’s a tough challenge to weigh grace against the call to “go and make disciples”.

As for youth groups, they grossly fail to resemble anything close to living by faith (as they follow closely behind the church model). Is the youth group a safe place for teens to talk freely about their faith and lay hard-to-handle issues on the table? Or is it rather that “fun” thing you do one evening each week? My own children push to go when they are going to serve in the community, yet  hem and haw when asked about attending a youth group function where they play games and have a “quick lesson”.

The other hilarity about youth groups is that a young person (usually a male) “leads” the group. Why? Is this man capable of truly understanding the inner workings of a teenager? Yes, he is probably not far from a teenager himself, but doesn’t that just help him relate to the problem better than understanding how to talk about it from the perspective of an adult who is raising/has raised Godly teens?

And then we can address the issues of relationships (dating, “how far can I go?”), which I personally believe that most leaders adopt from their ideas from public school because most youth groups are “public school” in church form anyway. How is it that we expect a near stranger to address issues of sexual tension, building healthy friendships, and other such relational matters when so little is openly discussed in the home?
NOTE: This isn’t a home school vs. public school point. I have been through the public school system and home schooled my children, as well as attended youth group my entire teenage life, even into adulthood as a counselor/leader; therefore, I know quite well what the “system” looks like as opposed to a “family-centered” function.

The young people today are disconnected by virtue of our society – it’s demands and subtle teachings. The idea that another person (i.e. youth leader) will provide our children true Biblical guidance apart from the family is absurd. Christian education and faith-building starts in the home – period. I believe that when parents fail, the church youth group will probably not succeed – at least not in the state the American Church is in today. Rather it offers a listening ear, much like a school counselor. How is this a help when the rest of the youth group functions focus on petty issues and fun? It only leaves an empty and shallow feeling.

Yes, yes – there are a number of testimonies from young people who have “had their lives changed” by attending a youth group. Where are those young people today? What about every other young person who hates God and the church because of washed up religion? Hiding behind a testimony or two isn’t ground enough to build an American Church Youth Group on today.

What I suggest instead is a gathering of parents and teens, a home group of sort, where teens can get honest answers in front of their parents, from their parents , even if the parent simply says, “I don’t know.” Facilitating true and wholesome, life-changing dialogue is the essential if teens today are going to discover Christ for themselves.

The cost of getting along

In Everything else on July 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Over the last couple weeks I have been transferring my old home video VHS tapes to DVDs – all 25 of them. At 2 hours per tape, there is over 50 hours of video from 1992 through 2004. What does all this history show us? Well, lots of shaky video for one, and lots of birthdays, Christmases and holidays, lots of smiles and waves, even some tears, but more than anything, I see memories.

Having the privilege to get married young and start a family in my early to mid-20’s, I am now steadily moving from a parent of babes to a parent of adults. It’s surreal, no doubt, especially in the face of so many late 20’s and early 30’s friends that have yet to tie the knot, yet speak of having a family one day. Those friends put a great deal of energy into personal goals and ambitions pertaining to work, missions, or other. I don’t judge or condemn their choice, merely remind them of the ticking clock, as they begin to rattle off the ‘one day’ notion of parenting children.

There is a great cost when investing in children – and, shall I make it clear, a cost worth each minute. Yet with that choice we give up other opportunities, be it personal goals or acts of service. Choosing to give of ourselves to children means choosing not to be that other person. And I’m OK with that. For I know that my God-centered ambitions are not lost in the mayhem of bringing up the family unit, but rather will suffer a wait as my priorities are directed toward something better – better for me, anyway, because I was created to parent my little knot-heads. And I will embrace that beautiful place each day, even beyond the last one to fly the coop.

Learning to temper

In Everything else on May 18, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I am perspicacious. Few people care – especially those that wish only to see a certain set of skills. Others celebrate a portion of my keen judgment. No matter, it is me that must learn to change.

I have done others wrong by imposing my judgments upon their projects. Not out of meanness, mind you, simply from an ignorant state. I thought others wanted something which I simply presumed upon them, not clearly defining my personal goals and ambitions. Indeed, my mistake. And one which will not be so easily repeated. And yet, I feel hurt, as if my aptitude toward production was unappreciated. Does the idea of “collaboration” mean nothing? Where is the benefit in producing labor for another’s glory?

It’s a tough balance. One the one hand, I understand the need for “community” in indie film; yet on the other, I understand the importance of self-promotion. I try to walk that beautiful balance between giving and taking, but often short-sheeting my intentions, which leads to kicking and screaming as the night gets colder. I want to “give”, but I grow restless in the making, sorry that I gave. It would have been better to charge the premium and play the part. Instead, I charge little to nothing and still play the part. In the end, the “what’s in this for me?” comes creeping to the service and frustration grows from impatience. I need to be “that guy on crew” for a rate, or self-promote at no charge.

Be it true, there are those that will do and give with no expectations – but they have nothing to offer in return. For those of us that have much to offer, we must get something in return if we are to continue to grow. Balance, balance, it all weighs on personal ambition. There is just not enough time in my week to be everything.