Tuesday, September 20, 2005


There is a fine young man who came to our house the first time when he was an 8th grader. He used to drop by frequently when he was in high school. Now he is a 2nd Lt. in the United States Marine Corps and is the commander of a platoon which has recently been deployed to Fallujah, Iraq. If you watch the news you know that Fallujah is one of the most dangerous places on the planet. This man is more concerned for his troops than he is for himself. If any of them gets hurt he will suffer emotionally. If he gets hurt I will suffer emotionally. Please pray for his safety and for the safety of his men. * I do not mention his name because I didn't ask his permission to post this. But God knows who he is. * I think that God needs His people everywhere, which includes leading combat platoons in war torn areas. Selfishly speaking, though, I wish He had found some other mission for this polite, gentle, kind person. * I do not understand prayer. I don't think it is exactly like voting or shouting, where someone may pay closer attention to the concerns of fifty people than he will of five, but I am pretty sure that when it comes to prayer - numbers are good. So please, lift this man up.

Friday, September 02, 2005


I have been thinking lately about how I am a fan of various things. "Fan" is probably not a good term for what I am thinking, since it is short for "fanatic," but there aren't many good words in the English language to express this idea. Supporter, encourager, sender of positive energy to a person or persons so that they will be inclined to continue to strive diligently toward a goal of higher and higher achievement in their particular field - whether that field is sports, the arts, or living a good life on a daily basis. It's this last point that to me is the important one. I am not inclined to cheer for or to support an athlete who I know is a jerk in his daily life - regardless of how good he is in his sport. Likewise in the arts. John Updike is one of my favorite authors. I want to encourage him to keep doing what he does so that I can continue to enjoy the result of his labors, but if I were to find out that he is a wife beater I could no longer enjoy his books, and could no longer be a fan.

Why wear the team colors and cap and show up at the games, matches, races? Why sit in the audience and clap at the end of the play, and then tell the actors personally that they did well?
First of all, obviously, because you enjoy being a spectator at these events; but also because you want to recognize people's efforts in their area, and you want to encourage them to continue striving for excellence. And - perhaps most importantly of all - because you are convinced that this striving, this straining to improve will make them better people.

So go for it good people; do your best! I'm behind you all the way.