Archive - April, 2012

The Real Breadwinner Is?

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Oprah and Steadman, Tom Brady and Giselle, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. Quick, what do these three celebrity couples have in common besides fame?

At first glance it might seem hard to pick out what couples from different age brackets, nationalities, and vocational fields share in commonality.

The answer: In all three cases, the woman SIGNIFICANTLY out-earns her male counterpart.

And it’s not like Tom Brady isn’t working.

Long regarded as an indicator of healthy marriages, male breadwinning has historically been the sign of a principled man, motivated to provide a high quality of life for his family.

But times they are a-changing Bob Dylan, and not just in the world of celebrity.

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Final Touches On A Fantasy World

Dogwood Chapel-Thomas Kinkade

If you know my tastes you’d probably be able to guess that I don’t own a Thomas Kinkade painting.  It also probably wouldn’t surprise you that many people assume that, as a pastor, I would have one.  In fact, when they think of a pastor’s office, most people imagine three things:

1.) A large bookshelf

B.) A tear-stained couch

iii.) A Thomas Kincade painting…
of a dusky country church…
bursting with light…
from revival happening within.

It’s also no secret that many pastors imagine that their congregants have a Thomas Kinkade painting as well.  Sales figures indicate that 1 in 20 American homes features a Thomas Kinkade painting, the numbers significantly higher when you factor in self-identified “Christian homes.”

This shouldn’t be surprising since the self-proclaimed “Painter of Light” made his mark on the “art world” through a shrewd, if not calculated, strategy to target middle-aged Christian consumers – marketing his work through Christian conferences and retailers.

As a follower of Jesus, Kinkade didn’t just market his products to Christians, he also made the things that Christians hold dear the subject of his paintings: churches, family homes, and patriotic scenes were lovingly portrayed in bucolic and romantic settings… enveloped in the warm glow of “God’s light”.

Christians loved him, while art critics loathed him.

While he was accused of pandering his “mediocre abilities” to a “taste-impaired” target audience, this didn’t stop him from being one of the most collected artists of the 20th century.  Kinkade was celebrated as a genius by the community he created for, and his fans weren’t interested in whether the critics liked it… Imagine criticizing Stephanie Meyer’s prose to a 16 year-old.

As time passed, critical revilement turned out to be one of Kinkade’s lesser issues.

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It’s Not Discipline. It’s Love

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I’ve struggled with self-discipline all of my life. Because I wouldn’t do it on my own, my parents spent a lot of time pushing me to finish tasks I didn’t enjoy, like homework or chores.

This week I attended the Catalyst conference in Orange County, California. There were a lot of singers singing, dancers dancing, and speakers speaking.

One of them was pro-skateboarding legend Tony Hawk.

Tony was interviewed about the work he is doing among at- risk kids through community skatepark initiatives.

During the session, the interviewer asked him to tell the audience about the self- discipline it took to become the greatest skateboarder of all time.

Tony Hawk replied, “Oh, I didn’t do it because I was disciplined, I was all over the map back then, I did it because I loved it.”

While this sounded both obvious and insipid, his explanation actually revealed a bit of understated genius.

“I’d think about a new trick… I want to learn how to do this, and I don’t care how much time I have to spend or how much it hurts.”

He also didn’t hesitate to reveal that he pursued skateboarding because doing so was its own reward.

“I didn’t do it for what the pay was.
I didn’t do it for the audience.
I didn’t do it for acceptance.”

“I just loved riding.”

This love meant that he wasn’t spending his days forcing himself to start “practicing”, it meant that he just got to go out and skate.

“I did it wherever I could, I did it in sad parking lots for 100 people with whatever terrible set-up the local skate shop owner had put together.”

Then he tied it all up with this gem of a ribbon…

“That determination to ride and learn just turned out to be discipline over time.”

Discipline grew out of a love indulged over time.

When I think about it, I realize that the things that I’m good at, I also enjoy doing.

The things I love, I do.
Doing them is practice.
Doing them a lot turns into a lot of practice.

Which makes me wonder if the reason that we struggle to read our Bibles and pray is because we don’t love interacting with Jesus?

Sometimes I only pursue Jesus because I think something good will happen, or because I will benefit in some tangible way.

In those moments I’m not doing it because I believe that pursuing him is its own end, I’m not living like knowing Jesus is its own reward.

I’m “me focused” not “God focused”.

This only changes when I’m willing to pursue Jesus no matter what it costs or how much it hurts.

To not follow him for approval,
To resist performing for the audience,
To not follow him mindful of “pay”.

Wouldn’t this translate into a determination to grow and learn?

Wouldn’t this determination turn into discipline over time?

I believe that it can truly happen…

If I’m willing to love Jesus the way that Tony Hawk loves skating.

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