Missy and Machines

The Randall’s did not have a spectacular day yesterday when it came to interacting with their machines.  It all began when Missy’s car started whistling at her; not in the good sort of way.  Come to find out, she needed new brakes.

Shortly after pricking her car up from the garage, the car would not start.  She would turn the key and get the taunting clicking noise.  Come to find out, she needed a new battery.  Off to Walmart I went.

Later that night, Missy needed to print a work report on the printer.  The printer decided it did not like her report and refused to print it.  So, after a few updates and restarts, we finally got the thing to spit out her report.  Crisis resolved.

Finally, at about 4:00 AM, we noticed the furnace was not shutting off.  So, Missy staggered her way through the dark towards the thermostat.  Laying in bed waiting for her to alleviate the problem, I kept hearing this thudding sound coming from the hallway.  Investigating, I found my dear wife staring at the thermostat thumping it again and again with her finger.  Our touchscreen thermostat would not register her touch.  We turned the thing off and through another blanket on the bed.

As my darling wife drifted off to sleep in the wee hours of the mourning, I heard her whisper, “Why does technology hate me?”

They don’t hate you Missy, this is all just part of their plan to take over the world one person at a time!

Thank a Veteran

Hopefully, many of you participated in a Veteran’s Day celebration and appreciation event yesterday.  In Norman, there were a few events thanking our veteran’s for their tremendous service and great sacrifice.  As we begin to enter into this season of Thanksgiving, I believe we would all do well to stop and thank a veteran for all they have done for our country.  

Therefore, I would like to personally thank all our veteran’s for their humble service, their deep commitment to freedom, and their never-ending sacrifice they and their families have made for our country.

It was fitting somehow, just days after Americans exercised their freedom to select a leader, we honored the very men and women who made and continue to make certain we maintain the right to vote.  

Thank a veteran this week and shake their hand.

Democracy in Action

Election day is tomorrow, as millions of voters head to the polls practicing the great experiment that is America.  Democracy in action means our country will elect a president, other elected officials, and decide on numerous state questions around the country.  It truly is one of the most remarkable days to be an American.

With that said, I want to offer some insight on what tomorrow brings…

First, our democracy is only as good as its citizens.  While it appears we are nothing more than a divided country between red and blue, there is more to being a citizen than which name we mark in the ballot box.  We should be informed voters reflecting on the candidates, their positions, and the issues at stake using thoughtful analysis and keen insight.  We should do our own critical thinking, permitting cognitive reflection, honest assessment, and personal conscience to be our guides.

Second, not only should we be informed voters, we should be respectful voters.  The time for meaningless rhetoric and venomous pre-election attacks should be behind us.  Tomorrow, even though we will not all cast the same ballots, we enter our polling places a unified people accepting the greater cause of democracy over our own agendas.  A democracy that cannot tame itself from the pettiness of partisan politics on election day is not a democracy worth practicing.  Be respectful, be informed, and be at your polling places ready to put democracy in action.

Whether President Obama is re-elected or Governor Romney becomes our 45th president, our democracy will continue to move forward.  If there is one narrative history continues to offer, it is the stark reality that elections come and elections go, but the citizenry of our great country remains steadfast as long as the people practice a responsible governance starting with themselves.

Tomorrow, our country goes to the polls.  Democracy will be well served.  Make certain you are a part of the great experiment.

Are We Christians Ruining Halloween?

Is it just me or does it seem as though fewer and fewer children are outside trick-or-treating on Halloween night?  For the last few years, Missy and I have made an attempt to make Halloween special for the children living in our neighborhood.  A few years back we created our infamous “Garage of Ghouls” letting children walk the gauntlet of ghouls (our teenage son and his friends) to receive candy from each.  Seriously, getting seven pieces of candy at one house was a haul for any kid, let me tell you!

For last night, Missy put together a really scary “Behind the Black Curtain” porch for kids to walk behind to retrieve their candy.  When they approached a pirate head floating in a sea of candy shadowed by a strobe light, Missy would release a life-sized ghost beside them.  The screams were loud and the laughs that followed were even better.  Now, before you start sending emails our way, we did have a bowl of candy out front for the wee-little-ones.  We did want them to sleep some before turning sixteen.

Fun was had by all, but the reality remains there seems to be fewer and fewer families walking the streets on Halloween night.  My observation got me to questioning.  Why?  Where is everyone?  Why has Halloween lost so many of its participants?  Was there something better on television?  Did a new game come out for Xbox?  Or, is somehow the church to blame?

Churches now offer an alternative to Halloween they call “Fall Festivals.”  Now, I understand some of the reasons why they host them.  Some want to provide a safe place for their children.  Who can blame them?  Others want to use the event as an outreach to their community.  It is always a good idea when the church opens her doors wide for the community.  Even here at Northhaven, we have our own version calling it a “Pumpkin Party” the week before Halloween.

At NorthHaven, along with other churches, we think offering a fall fellowship is important, but so too is the opportunity to mingle with neighbors.  How often can you sit on your front porch and visit with neighbors you have never met before or seldom visit with throughout the week.  Sometimes it feels as though we Christians have become such isolationists we forget the importance of relating to a world outside our church doors.

This just may be me agonizing over an apparent dying out of a tradition, but I cannot help but ask what would Jesus do about Halloween?  Personally, I think he would cut some holes in a sheet, get some candy, and make a new friend!  What do you think?