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Posts Tagged ‘society’

What’s the Problem?


Living in a time of this world's history with lots of tough problems, people are looking for someone who can solve those problems. What is becoming increasingly clear is that the people on whom we're counting to provide answers don't even recognize what the real problems are. It's maddening to listen to people discuss ways to solve various problems when it's obvious that their solutions show their total lack of understanding of the root problems. They offer Band-aids for one part of the body when major surgery on another part of the body is what's actually needed.

Today's iv is several jokes that illustrate different aspects of not fully understanding the problem at hand.

When a customer left his cell phone in my store, I scrolled through his saved numbers, stopped at "Mom," and pushed send. When his mother answered, I explained to her what happened.

"Thank you, young man. Don't worry," she said, "I'll take care of it."

A few minutes later, the cell phone rang. It was "Mom."

"Martin," she said, "you left your cell phone at the convenience store."

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Reinventing Yourself?


picture of a fork in the road

One of my favorite Yogi Berra quotations is "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." My best friend will be at a definite "fork in the road" a year from now when his time on faculty at BJU will have come to a close. He and his wife are currently in Europe where he is exploring one of the possibilities that lies before him. He is also considering another part of the world where he could use his talents as a German teacher.

The buzzword "reinventing yourself" is not a new one, but after hearing it several times this past week, I've been thinking about the whole concept. Companies reinvent themselves, as do politicians, celebrities, and average people as well. It can be anything from changing little things about yourself to an extreme makeover. In his book Reinventing Yourself, Steve Chandler talks about viewing yourself as an "owner" rather than a "victim." Some use the expression for what has long been referred to as "midlife crisis." A web search will lead you to thousands of articles about reinventing yourself after 40, after 50, after 60, or after retirement. Many people are forced to reinvent themselves because their job skill/experience is no longer marketable.

At a recent SCFLTA conference, we foreign language teachers were reminded that many universities all over the country, not just mine, are eliminating foreign language majors. Foreign language classes are still being offered, but just not leading to an undergraduate major. We find ourselves wondering where the future language teachers will come from if foreign language majors are no longer offered.

The elimination of the French major and of the German major and minor at BJU is why my friend will be leaving at the end of next school year. Working overseas is actually something he's been considering for about four years — this recent turn of events has just given him the exact timing to begin exploring. In the fall of 2012, with one fewer French course per semester, I will be teaching a German course each semester in its place. I have taught both high school and college German for 16 years of my life, but it's been a while. So, in a sense, I guess, I'm reinventing myself. I'll have to alter the header of my blog to read "one French and German teacher's humorous and serious perspectives on life…" and add some images from Germany.
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Are words important?


picture of word hug

We live in a world of words. Words have such power, both to build up or to tear down. Anyone who has been one of my readers for any length of time knows that I am a word person. I love words! Many events in recent days have reminded me of words. First of all was our recent visit with our daughter Megan, son-in-law Jim, and grandson Drew in Michigan. (A few more details at the end of this post....) Since we last saw our grandson three months ago, his vocabulary has absolutely exploded! We can hardly believe all the words he uses now.

This past Sunday we visited a church out of state where the message of the morning was from Psalm 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." It was an excellent message on the power of words to encourage, to speak for the Lord and to the Lord, and even to share humor with others! (Imagine my delight!) 😀 One theme in the message was that "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34) Those words that come out of our mouths are merely an indication of what is in our hearts. That principle is repeated often in the Bible.

Words have also been a topic in the political scene this week in one way or another. The other day TOTUS (Teleprompter of the United States) — the machine that feeds words to POTUS (President of the United States) when he speaks in almost any public setting — broke, leaving him literally at a loss for words! A Google search for TOTUS just brought up over two million results, and much has been said about the many inaccurate things Mr. Obama has said (even personal facts about himself and his family), simply because he was reading the words on his teleprompter. I will not go into all of that in this post, other than to mention the preceding in connection to words.

One major event this week is the Senate confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor. Not only are the hearings the usual war of words, but Ms. Sotomayor is finding out personally that the words we speak have a way of coming back to haunt us. One quotation of hers that has received much attention this week and in the weeks leading up to the hearings is "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life." I've been trying to imagine what would be happening to a white male if he had said "I would hope that a wise white male with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman who hasn’t lived that life." She's fortunate, though, to belong to one of the groups of people incapable of racism. The trouble is that her statement was not a one-time "misspeak" (whatever a misspeak is!). It was given in basically the same format several different times over several years. (Out of the abundance of the heart,...)

Another statement of hers that is getting attention is that "the court of appeals is where policy is made." (I thought the Constitution assigns that duty to the legislative branch and that it is the duty of the judicial branch to interpret the law. Silly me!?) You can view her saying that at this link on YouTube. For those of you who cannot get to YouTube, I'm posting the clip below. Those of you reading this post in a blog reader may have to go to my blog post to view the clip.

It's been interesting to hear her and others try to explain away her words in order to convince the Senate that she is not a judicial activist with a racist agenda.

I relate those things about Ms. Sotomayor, not to grind a political axe, but to point out that words have consequences, or at least they do for most of us. She has said what she has said, and no one is putting words into her mouth. (Remember, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.)

As a teacher and as a blogger, I speak and write a lot of words. It is a sobering to ponder the responsibility that is mine for the impact of my words on my students and on my readers. Once your words have left your mouth or your computer, you cannot recall them. And try as you may, you can never completely change their impact. A verse that often comes to my mind in connection to this is Proverbs 10:19 "When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." It's important to weigh our words and to leave some of them unsaid or unwritten rather than to offend.

That said, on to this week's iv — several jokes about how and how much some people use words.

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A man was giving a speech at a meeting. He got a bit carried away and talked for three hours.

Finally, he realized what he was doing and said, "I'm sorry I talked so long. I left my watch at home."

A voice from the back of the room shouted, "There's a calendar behind you!"

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A husband, trying to prove to his wife that women talk more than men, showed her a study which indicated that men use on the average only 15,000 words a day, whereas women use 30,000 words a day.

She thought about this for a while and then told her husband, "Women use twice as many words as men because they have to repeat everything they say." To which he replied, "What?"

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In a monastery a new monk took a vow of silence. He agreed to abide by the tradition in this particular monastery of saying only two words every ten years.

After the first ten years had gone by, the monk was summoned into the abbot's office. The abbot nodded, and the monk said, "Food bad," turned, and went back to his room.

After twenty years, the scene was repeated, except this time the monk said, "Bed hard," turned, and went back to his room.

At the thirty year mark, the monk frowned and said to the abbot, "I quit."

The abbot looked at him and said, "Well, it's about time. You've been here for thirty years and have done nothing but complain!"

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Once upon a time, there was a prince who for some reason was under a curse. The curse was that the prince could speak only one word each year. However, he could save up the words so that if he did not speak at the end of a year, the following year he was allowed to speak two words. (This was apparently before the time of letter writing or sign language.) One day, he met a beautiful princess - ruby lips, golden hair, sapphire eyes - and fell madly in love with her. With the greatest difficulty, he refrained from speaking for 2 whole years so that he could look at her and say, "My darling." But at the end of these 2 years, he wished to tell her that he loved her rather than waste the opportunity on just those 2 words. So he went 3 more years without speaking, bringing the total number of silent years to 5.

At the end of these 5 years, he realized that he also wanted to ask her to marry him. So he went another 4 years without speaking. Finally, as the 9th year of silence ended, his joy knew no bounds. Leading the lovely princess to the most secluded and romantic place in the beautiful royal garden, the prince heaped a hundred red roses on her lap, knelt before her, and taking her hand in his, said, "My darling, I love you! Will you marry me?" And the princess tucked a strand of golden hair behind her dainty ear, opened her sapphire eyes in wonder, parted her ruby lips, and said, "Pardon?"

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This coming Sunday morning I am scheduled to be interviewed on one of our local TV stations WYFF in a segment called Sound Off South! I've been told that the interview will be on the Sound Off South! site later that day. You locals can watch it live between 7:00 and 8:00 this Sunday morning on channel 4. The rest of you can catch it on the site.

We recently took a long road trip to see family in Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri. While spending this past week at Meg and Jim's house, an activity I enjoyed with my grandson Drew was to stroll down the street several mornings to Tim Horton's for coffee and "Timbits," their version of donut holes. Here's a picture from my cell phone of Drew enjoying a Timbit.

picture of Drew with a Timbit

This post already has so many words that I'll stop for now. My wife will be sharing various aspects of our trip on her blog and has just posted about the first leg of our trip.

I look forward to your comments on what I've said about words.

quotation...

"The ultimate choice you must make concerning sin is that either your sin must go or God must go." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand.


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Forgive Us Our Trespasses


picture of no trespassing sign

Have you ever seen a no trespassing sign that made you laugh out loud? Most no trespassing signs are pretty straightforward and standard, but some communicate with great creativity the owner's preference that unauthorized parties not set foot on his property — an act that could lead to grave consequences. With that in mind, I take on various aspects of ownership in today's post.

I'll start off with a couple of signs that are straightforward – one commercially done and the other more homespun.

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

Here's one that is simple and made me smile.

picture of no trespassing sign

Here are some signs that explicitly spell out the risks of trespassing on that property.

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

Some signs leave you wondering what you are supposed to do or not supposed to do.

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

Of course the whole concept of trespassing is based on the principle of ownership of property, something our founding fathers firmly believed to be one of our basic rights as citizens. Here is a quotation from John Adams.

The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free. - John Adams

John Adams didn't shy away from the Ten Commandments. Stealing and coveting imply the existence of personal property rights. God says it is wrong to covet or to steal what is someone else's private property.

The concept of ownership is innate. One of the first words a toddler masters is "mine." Just let another child try to play with his toys! 1 Timothy 6:7 tells us "For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world." Once we're born, we spend their lives accumulating stuff. That verse reminds us that no matter how much we acquire, we can't take it with us. And is it actually our stuff since it will be someone else's after we've departed this world? Believers know that everything belongs to God and that we are merely stewards for a short time.

A few years ago I planted blueberries, blackberries, and red raspberries behind our house. The bushes are getting established well enough that we're hoping for a nice little harvest this year. Now I just have to convince the birds that those berries are ours, not theirs! I have put up the only kind of "no trespassing sign" that the birds can read – nylon netting. Below are several pictures of our berry bushes covered with netting.

picture of netting on berry bushes

picture of netting on berry bushes

We'll see the net results in the weeks to come. (Pun intended.) 😀

I look forward to reading your thoughts about anything mentioned in this post. Have you seen any funny no trespassing signs that you could share?

quotation...

"God has assigned an area for each of us to tend." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

On the grounds of a Nairobi private school: No trespassing without permission.


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Is a Bad Job Better than No Job?


picture of beggars

With unemployment high and jobs scarce, some people are coming to the realization that, in order to work at all, they might have to settle for a job that they would have never considered. Others are finding it necessary to stay in jobs they don't like. A sobering reminder of today's economy is seeing more people with "Will work for food" signs. The cat in the picture above looks like it could be saying, "Will work for effect."

Here are some pictures of people whose jobs, frankly, I would not want. All I can say about the first one is YIKES!

picture of bad job

I guess the job market is tight!

picture of bad job

This job is just plain gross!

picture of bad job

Can this be for real?!

picture of bad job

In the picture below, the German translates as "At the wrong time in the wrong place in the wrong job?"

picture of bad job

I ran across a German website whose schtick is to strategically place pictures on the sides of machines, advertising their job-finding services with the slogan "Life's too short for the wrong job." Some of these are extremely clever. I will give some help for several since the pictures might be hard to figure out.

An instant photo machine...

picture of bad job

Airport security machine for scanning carry-on luggage...

picture of bad job

picture of bad job

picture of bad job

So THAT is how those kiddie rides work!

picture of bad job

If you'd like to see more, you can go to the site shown in the pictures above. Let me warn you that some of them may not be to your liking, especially if you tend to fragility.

Our daughter Megan posted some great pictures of our grandson Drew on her blog this past week. I'll share several of my favorites.

Megan and her friend Beth took their little guys to a mall to see Curious George. Drew was delighted, and Joey was not.

picture of Drew and George

Afterwards they went to Krispy Kreme for warm donuts. Here's a picture of the boys watching the donuts go by on the conveyor. Our little peanut is just barely tall enough to look in the window without assistance.

picture of Drew and Joey

That's almost enough to make me want to be working on the other side of that window!

Later in the week Megan did a post about the golf clubs Drew had received as a Christmas gift. The weather is nice enough now for him to begin to enjoy trying them out. Here are a couple of shots of our young golf pro.

picture of Drew and golf

picture of Drew and golf

If you want to see more, head over to Megan's blog.

What are your thoughts about bad jobs? Would you currently settle for any job, even a bad one? Is there a bad job in your past that you're happy not to have as a part of your present?

Happy Memorial Day to those who have a day off work! Even though I have to work today, I'm thankful to have a summer job. I'm especially thankful for those whose sacrifice have helped secure the freedoms we currently enjoy. May those freedoms erode no further!

quotation...

"God created man to work, and so man is unhappy when he's doing nothing productive.... It's the fallenness of this world that makes work hard and unenjoyable." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Many people quit looking for work when they find a job.


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