stream of consciousness

Here’s what’s on my mind this Friday morning:

  • I can tell I’m in a bit of a bad mood this morning. I’m a little run down physically. But, it’s more just a random funk. We all have them now and then.
  • I’m pulling for the Dodgers all the way at this point. I think they have a great shot against the Cardinals based on pitching matchups alone. The same goes for the Red Sox against the Tigers. The Tigers may only get one start out of Verlander. I’m sticking with my Red Sox vs. Dodgers World Series pick.
  • Happy Birthday to my ever-quotable, 9-year-old daughter, Olivia. She always keeps us laughing…and is at the same time a great caretaker for others. One of my favorite Olivia quotes came from her introduction of me at Career Day at school a few years ago. “This is my dad. He’s a doctor…but not the kind that can help anyone.”
  • Our society works hard to turn parents into reactive, chronically worried messes. I’ve never seen parents more worried and reactive than they are today—despite the wealth of so-called knowledge on the subject out there. I say “so-called” because what Edwin Friedman called the “fallacy of expertise” often confuses, “information with expertise, know-how with wisdom, change with almost anything new, and complexity with profundity.”
  • Friedman also suggested there were two facets to the myth of data and technique. The first is that, if we just knew more, we would be able to fix anything. The second is that, if we fail, it is because we didn’t use the right technique.
  • This is why so many of us read so many parenting books reactively rather than focusing on our own personal health and being a non-anxious presence among our children–and then read those books as icing rather than cake.
  • I’m not against reading books on any subject—trying to learn more. We should. However, we must guard against the fallacy of expertise—the proclivity to seek our answers more in “data” rather than ourselves, the emotional processes we engender and God’s wisdom for our families.
  •  If you are looking for two books that will help you parent–I’d point you to Gary Thomas’ Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes our Souls, and Edwin Friedman’s Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue. The latter will also give you insights into your church as well–though it’s far more “scholarly” than Sacred Parenting.
  • The government is still shut down?
  • I just watched the show “Hostages” for the first time…now that Breaking Bad is over. It’s good…but it’s not Breaking Bad.
  • I’m taking my personal retreat early this year–at the end of October. It will be more brief, but it comes at a perfect time.
  • I turn 38 next Monday. I never thought I’d see 40 coming. I can now. In fact–it feels almost like it’s chasing me.
  • When I return from the personal retreat, I begin a message series on Job. What a book!
  • I had lunch with an older pastor of a large church in our area yesterday. He’s been at the same church for 38 years. I asked him for secrets to longevity in ministry. He gave me some gems. The one still rattling around in my head is: “Who you are is more important than what you do.” Wow. Isn’t that the truth!
  • Another one: “no matter what, keep throwing your 95 mph fastball.” Translation: Do what you do best–and don’t stop doing it. It’s OK to have a curve, so to speak, but pitching is fundamentally about the fastball. Find out what your fastball is, and throw it consistently with excellence.
  • I’m reading Jim McGuiggan’s, Celebrating the Wrath of God about 15 years after it’s release and I heard Jim McGuiggan’s controversial sermon and 3-day class on the topic at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures. I still love the book for what it does–in magnificently written prose, urge us to consider something we usually don’t–that all suffering ultimately must go back to God. This is different from saying it’s all His Will.
  • My fantasy football teams are off to great starts. But, injuries are the great equalizer. We shall see.
  • I should call my mom and dad. It always lifts me up.
  • Tonight, I will have six 8-year-old girls sleeping over for Olivia’s party. I can hear the squeals of joy and lack of sleep rolling toward me from midnight.
  • That crow is enjoying the carcass of whatever that is outside the window.

What’s on your mind this Friday morning?