Hurry up!

Have you noticed that when you try to rush through something, that’s when things are most likely to go wrong? The other day I was headed to work on the freeway when I saw a dramatic demonstration of this principle.

There was a California Highway Patrol (CHP) on the freeway and as usually happens, traffic was backing up behind the officer. I was in the number one lane (fast lane) as an impatient Porsche driver came up in the slow lane going much faster than we were going. It looked like the Porsche was going to try to pass two cars and then cut in front of them to make the off ramp. As the Porsche rapidly passed the two cars, he noticed the CHP and dramatically slowed down. It looked like the Porsche driver wanted to get between the two cars in the slow lane to hide from the CHP, however there was no room for him to fit there. The second car in the slow lane took that exact moment to speed up and pull out from behind the slower car in front. There are now three cars headed for the exact same spot on the freeway. You can imagine what happened next, which was rather exciting, given that I was on a motorcycle only two lanes away.

Those drivers were in a big hurry to get somewhere, probably work. (How big of a hurry do you need to be in at 6AM?) The Porsche driver was trying to save all of 2.3 seconds by passing those two cars. In the end, it cost him a bunch more time and hassle. The “hurry up” attitude cost him way more than it was ever going to save him. It was a bad gamble. An accident at 70 MPH on the freeway can turn into a disaster in a big hurry. I know that I can sometimes do that same thing. I have tendencies to be impatient. I often want to get things done quickly, to be efficient. But I’m not convinced that’s always a good plan.

I wonder how many other times in our lives we make poor decisions in an effort to hurry up. We can be tempted to make poor financial decisions in an effort to make big money in a hurry. We eat poorly (fast food) so that we can be done quicker. Rush through tasks at work. Even in our spiritual life we can tend to want to hurry up and rush through. We might be tempted to race through our devotion so we can get on with the day. Or maybe our quiet time is only a few seconds. In all these cases, we often hurt ourselves more than we help ourselves. So why do we continue with the “hurry up” attitude? Especially when we are talking about our spiritual lives, the consequences have eternal implications. Why does such a small gain seem worth the risk?

Tomorrow let’s try something different. Be efficient. Be on time. Be prompt, but don’t rush. Take your time. Do it right. Don’t be an accident.


Time Change

Remember, tonight the clocks go BACK one hour.

Whooo Hoooo for an extra hour of sleep.

Boooo Hoooo for it getting dark at 5pm.


Time for New Wallpaper?

No, not the wallpaper that you hang in your house, the wallpaper on your desktop. Are you tired of your current desktop wallpaper but you don't have a brilliant idea for something else? Check out Wallpapr (yes, that's spelled correctly). Type in a search term and see what turns up.


Video IPods have a Virus

Not just any virus, but (horrors of all horrors) a Windows (gasp!) virus. (Bill falls to the floor in hysterical laughter.) Oh man, that’s just too rich! I couldn’t make up a better story than that.

I don’t have anything against Macs or IPods. In fact we own a couple of IPods. I’ve even given serious thought to switching to a Mac. Some of you greybeards will remember the Amiga – I owned several of them through the years. I’m not afraid of going down a different path than Microsoft, but I digress. So this isn’t Mac bashing for the sake of Mac bashing. In this case, I think they earned it. Recent Mac ads have been, well, blatantly untrue. I guess the hip Mac computer and the stogie PC computer ads where the computers are played by humans are ok. But some of things Mac says, or strongly implies, are just flat out lies. Like Macs can’t get viruses. Macs can and do get viruses. It’s just that virus writers channel their efforts to PCs which hold something like 90% of the market instead of going after the much smaller Mac market. That doesn’t mean Macs are immune to viruses, it means virus writers go after the big market – doh. So when a Mac product gets a WINDOWS virus and it ships from the Apple that way – you just have to love that. Irony at it’s finest.

Apple’s website had this statement. “As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it.” Wow. Let’s think about that for a second. First of all, Apple follows the time honored principal of blaming someone else before accepting any blame yourself. Good marketing Apple. Not! They also seem to imply that Microsoft wrote this virus (or any virus) just to get Mac. Good grief. Secondly, if Macs can’t get viruses (Apples own advertising claim), then that means Mac must be using Windows machines to build/program Video IPods. How else would the IPod get the virus? Certainly the almighty Mac can do everything on its own. They wouldn’t use Windows machines, would they? It just keeps getting better. It’s not even a new virus. It’s been around for over a year. EVERY anti-virus program on the planet detects and stops this virus. (It’s not too obvious that I am enjoying this, is it?)

To paraphrase the popular bumper sticker, “Stuff Happens.” In fairness to Apple, I’m sure it was an accident. I’m also pretty sure somebody is losing their job over this as Mac managers fly into a rage. But when you put yourself up as the better product that can’t get viruses, you better make sure that’s true. You’ve set yourself up to be held against a higher standard. I’ve got nothing against high standards. In fact, I often campaign for higher standards. But the truth is no one lives up to their standards all the time. We all mess up and fall short. I think the goal is to try and make sure no one is watching when it happens. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for Apple.

Christians also fall short of their standards. And when we do, popular society often says, “What a bunch of hypocrites! They don’t practice what they preach.” But I think a more accurate truth is, “Stuff Happens.” Maybe Christianity would be better served if we didn’t set ourselves up as the holders of all truth. We often present ourselves as having all the answers. So when something happens and it is obvious that Christians don’t have all the answers, the natural thing is to question our claims. I wonder if Christians would be better served by a more humble approach. Instead of claiming to have all the answers, I wonder if we should just claim to be in search of answers? Instead of declaring everything as black and white, maybe we need to admit that sometimes there appears to be a big gray area. I’m not sure that God sees those grey areas the same way we do, but they sure do look like grey areas to us. I wonder if admitting that we struggle to find the answers would make Christianity more appealing to non-Christians?



Powers of Ten

This has been around for a while, but just in case, here it is again.

Click here to watch as we zoom in from outer space to the space inside of a cell. Viewing this always gives me at least two different feelings. The first is "how cool is that". The second is "How small and insignificant am I?"

Fortunately God doesn't seem to care how insignificant I am. He loves me anyway.


A Consistent Picture

Volvo has an interesting history of advertising. You may remember when we found out that the company that advertised itself as the safest car on the planet cheated when making their ads. They reinforced the cars so after they rolled over, they didn’t look too smashed up. Strike 1. You may remember when a car company that wanted to be known as the safest car decided to start advertising that they were fast. They were faster than a Porsche even. Huh? Since when do ‘being safe’ and ‘massive amounts of acceleration’ go hand in hand? Strike 2.

Now they have a new campaign, ‘Who would you give a Volvo to?’ Interesting. The ad seems to play off our selflessness. It addresses how much we care about the people we love. We want to love them and protect them with a safe car, so we should give them a Volvo. You can go to their website and submit a story about how someone ‘deserves’ a Volvo. But that’s about it. Volvo is not giving away 10 cars, or 5 cars, or 3 cars or even 1 car. They think we should give away their cars, but not them. They want us to be selfless, but not themselves. Strike 3. I believe Volvo needs a new ad agency. These ads are broken, as Seth Godin would say. They don’t make sense. They don’t give us a consistent picture.

I wonder how often we do the same thing with church. Are we being consistent? In church-speak we say “practice what you preach.” It’s good to be true to what you believe and do the things you say. But I think it should go much deeper than that. Are we presenting a consistent picture of who we are and what we are about to the people around us? Do we confuse people when they come to visit our church? Think about it from the point of view of someone who doesn’t usually come to church. We talk about love for God and our fellow man, yet many churches have a big cross (some even have a dying Jesus on it) as their main symbol to reach the masses with. I don’t know about you, but it appears to me that the cross doesn’t appear to speak about love to someone who doesn’t know what it’s about. The cross appears to talk about pain and death, not love. I'm not suggesting that all the churches should get rid of their crosses. But we should be aware that it takes a fair amount of understanding as to why the cross represents love. We talk about caring for our fellow man, yet when was the last time we did something for our fellow man – besides inviting him to a church event? Oh sure, we give a couple of cans of food at Thanksgiving, but I mean really DID something – got sweaty, smelly and worn out. Imagine, entire churches actively involved in working to help people in their community. Lives would be changed. People would really understand what we were about, lives would changed. I wonder what that would look like?