Showing posts from November, 2013

Wrong call

WrongCall, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. I hear it a lot in professional sports that the referee has a lot of discretion and an umpire can overrule a linesman and the fate of the game changes. Certainly that happened at the end of the football (NFL) contest on Monday night (Aussie Tuesday) when the New England Patriots played in Carolina against the Panthers.

I really don't have any affection or disdain for either team. They are both pretty good in so many areas. Tom Brady is the veteran quarterback and leader of the Patriots and was orchestrating a final charge down the field for a possible winning strike against the home side.

This photo taken off the television shows the bad call by the referee. The players in blue are converging on the ball and on the player in white. Problem is, the blue guy can't touch the white guy after 5 yards from the original line (way back where the other players are standing) until someone touches the ball.

No one had touched the ball and thus the … many is enough?

Everywhere Else, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. From a TED talk in the USA. Selections chosen and moderated by NPR (National Public Radio)

What do you think? How many choices paralyze and how many liberate?


OK, misconception number five - who doesn't like to have lots of choices, right? Like, say, for example, salad dressing.


BARRY SCHWARTZ: I want to say just a word about salad dressing.

RAZ: This is Barry Schwartz. A social psychologist, and this is from his TED talk...


SCHWARTZ: A hundred and seventy-five salad dressings in my supermarket, if you don't count the 10 extra virgin olive oils and 12 balsamic vinegars you could buy to make a very large number of your own salad dressings in the off-chance that none of the 175 the store has on offer suit you.

RAZ: Which is what it's all about. Why we are happy, why we live more fulfilling lives because of our limitless choices.


SCHWARTZ: The official do…

Courage to think and to do exploits

Dorothy and Toto from Kansas knew a thing or two about courage, and had enough to pass it on to the friendly lion, you know, the one without courage. He was nicknamed the "Cowardly Lion" and I suppose that's a proper appellation for him. Without courage one is rightly labelled cowardly. Remember what he needed? Courage. Very similar to what the Tin Man needed which was a 'heart.' Now I'm sure Frank Baum in his original writing was not leaning on the French language where 'courage' and 'heart' have the same root. In fact, I'm sure that the symbolism of the three industries of agriculture, military and the steel industry, about which many write was probably not anywhere close to Baum's thinking. Still, that's not our point today.

The Cowardly Lion makes his first appearance in the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He is the last of the companions Dorothy befriends on her way to the Emerald City where he ambushes her, Toto, Scarecr…

Prayer before they start

Prayer before the sortie, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. It's customary to offer a prayer to God before things. The most common prayer is 'grace' said before a meal. "Lord bless this food" or "Bless us oh Lord for these they gifts..." are standard. In Judaism, if the meal contains bread, we say, "Blessed art Thou, oh Lord our God, King of the universe who brings forth bread from the earth." A quick, and usually intentional "thank you" to the Creator. Good plan.

For others prayer is something done on the side of an arena or stadium. Their team is needing to sink the final two baskets or to score a touchdown on the final drive of the 4th quarter so that victory can be secured. The scene is replayed so often I wonder if God even notices it, but I'll have to admit He knows and notices everything. Still, the teams and their fans pray that God somehow will favor them with a win, and not a loss.

I remember the maxim, "There's no…


Worship, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. To me, worship is not singing, but it might happen when you are. It's an attitude and it's reflected in quiet, in humility, in love. This photos said that to me.

I find it silly when people say "Let's stand up and worship" when the Bible uses these phrases together: Psa. 95.6 Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. and again in
Is. 46.6 “Those who lavish gold from the purse and weigh silver on the scale hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; They bow down, indeed they worship it."

So worship says to me "bow down." It's about humility in body and soul. It's about saying to myself, "You are not" and saying to God, "You are."

Some get it (more) right when they invite us to worship in giving financially to God. I'll write more later about honoring God in our wealth, but for now:
"Honor the LORD from your wealth and from the first of all yo…

The theology of place

New gazebo, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. A nest in a tree is home to the bird and her young eggs. But one day the little ones are nudged out of the comfort and sent out into the world, to seek their own and their new home. I get that. I have three kids who all have moved from home and yet are ever ours and we are ever theirs.

The need for place, and the holy nature of place are in my mind today. This gazebo is a sanctuary of sorts, near a little Anglican church northwest of Sydney, in Pitt Town. The old parish building is on one side, and the newer building on the other, but this little shaded area is a stand-alone. And it's welcoming. And set apart.

Our little bookshop in Sydney's east in Bondi Junction will no doubt have to move within a year or so. Like so many urbanizing areas, the Junction is meeting the creativity and greed of developers so that little mom-and-pop shops are being replaced by multinational chains and Oxford Street is becoming Franchise Avenue. We will lose…