Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween No More

I am so disappointed with Halloween. I know it is second only to Christmas for commerce, and I'm not against helping the economy. Maybe I should, but I don't oppose Halloween on religious grounds, nor because of the gruesomeness of the movies, costumes, and decorations. It's seeing the kids totally miss the meaning of Trick or Treating that bothers me.

Let me tell you what happens in my neighborhood. I live in a subdivision a couple of miles out of town. Carloads, truckloads, and trailerloads of kids (most of whom were teens) are unloaded at the entrance of the subdivision to walk door to door with their pillow-case sized bags. At the door, sometimes you get the traditional "trick or treat" but often the child just stands there with the bag open. Again, sometimes a "thank you," but often they just turn and run on to the next home. No need to guess who it was, you wouldn't know them anyway. I was glad when the last of the candy was given away, and the front door light went out.

The whole drama of the exchange is gone. The meta-narrative of good and evil, power and surprise is missing, leaving the event crass and meaningless. Trick or treating is that mysterious time when children, with costumes, become something more than who they really are, curious strangers who have the ominous power to extract a ransom from you.

I can idealize a time when Trick or Treating was an enjoyable evening for a community. You didn't go to the store and buy bags of individually wrapped refined sugar, you made treats to give out. The neighborhood kids came around, often in family groups and you greeted people you knew, chuckled at their homemade costumes, and guessed who it was. The transparent threat of "treats or some trickery" was thwarted by sending them on with something good to eat.

Alas! My idealized version is just that, idealized. For me, however, I've decided that next year I'll just stick with the church carnivals with their "trunk or treats," and simply leave a twenty pound bag of candy on the front porch steps at home.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fitting In

My wife and I went to a banquet last night, a nice affair. She looked great, and I was dressed in my nicest black suit. But when we got to the door, I immediately knew I was under-dressed. All the men I could see were wearing tuxedos, but nothing on the invitation said, “Formal.” Oh well.

We checked in and Cynthia knew I was uncomfortable. She said she’d be OK while I ran home and changed if I wanted to. And I did. Twenty minutes later I was back - in my penguin suit like everyone else. Yea, I’d have been alright in my suit, but I did feel better in the tux. Just another confirmation of the old saying, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy!”

The incident reminded me of a dinner a few years ago in Jerusalem. Our traveling group was to have a nice formal meal at the hotel before flying home the next day. When you’re touring sites in Palestine, formal means a tie, and, if you have one with you, a jacket. But one guy showed up in a tux. I immediately thought how he’d had to haul that tux with him over the past ten days of touring. And then I thought how awkward he must feel being so overdressed. I felt awkward for him. But maybe he was one of those guys who doesn’t care what others think. Maybe, but who really is like that?

I’ve wondered what it is that makes us want to “fit in.” It’s not just peer pressure or social cohesion. Nope, for me it’s more primal than that – I simply don’t want to look stupid, especially in public. By blending in we lower the risk of being noticed, questioned, and having our deficiencies pointed out. However, if you don’t know what’s expected, if you don’t know the unwritten rules, or if you haven’t ‘been there before,’ you either have to have a lot of chutzpa, or like me, be ready to make a quick change.

Think about this when you invite someone to church. Often visitors are concerned about appropriate dress, as well as what will be expected of them. They want to “fit in.” However, what if the goal of worship is not to make everyone “fit into” a uniform expectation, but to stretch us so we fit in with God’s diversity?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Poem From a Day Away

Warming Light

Soft paddling up the rise
A lone goose left her sisters
Cavorting in the dark waters.

Studying me, she stopped only
Feet away, decided I was not
A threat, and turned her back.

She bore the mark of a narrow
Escape, with tangled feathers jutting
Out beneath her left wing, stripped
Of beauty, and apparently, of flight.

For an hour she preened herself
Around, between every feather;
The mangled ones receiving equal care
As the layered, symmetric ones.

Oblivious to what she should be,
Or could be, or was, she bathed
In the same warming light
Bathing my own tangled wounds.

28 October 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Poverty of God

Have invested chunks of time lately into missions - Salkehatchie youth mission camp and taking a team to Bombita, Dominican Republic. So this week have been reflecting on what I've learned from it all. I was helped yesterday in my devotional time with a passage by Simon Tugwell (in his book, Prayer) on the poverty of God. But I'll return to that in a minute.

In preparing the team for the DR, I stated repeatedly that we have three objectives. First, we are making ourselves available to God in a different (new, for some) way, and we should pay close attention to the work God does with our hearts on the mission trip. Secondly, we go to demonstrate God's love and our love in a ministry of presence, letting the people there know we care about them. Finally, we will do some physical labor to help the ministry there accomplish its goals. The order of the objectives is crucial. Most folks want to reverse the order, focusing on what we're doing to "get done."

Indeed, several times on the trip we wanted to make the third objective the first priority. Like most Americans, we were set on "fixing things." When we saw the lack of clean water in the Hatian village where we were working, we began planning how to get a micro-desalination plant installed there. When we noticed the lack of a wholesome diet, we brain-stormed how to introduce vegetable gardening. As we observed the subsistence housing, we talked about future trips to work on particular homes. We are easily deluded into thinking the most important things we have to offer are our "know-how," our "get-it-done" energy, and our vast resources.

A team member said during a morning devotional that she felt bad because, while our work on the school was important, she felt that there was so much more we could/should do for the people in the village. Guillermo, a local worker, replied, "You have done more simply by coming here than you realize. Your presence tells us you care, and gives us hope."

Simon Tugwell, referring to St. Paul's passage (1Cor 1) about the weakness of God, wrote about God choosing to reveal himself not in displays of power, but the foolish, weak, and seemingly unimportant things of the world. He states:

This is why, if we keep clamoring for things we want from God, we may often find ourselves disappointed, because we have forgotten what we may call the poverty of God. We had thought of God as the dispenser of all the good things we would possibly desire, but in a very real sense, God has nothing to give at all, except himself.

God wants to give us God's self, but we'd rather have the "things" God can provide. Might this have something to do with "You shall have no other gods before me"? And how do we carry an awareness of the poverty of God not just on a mission trip, but in our daily lives?

My wife left yesterday, driving nine hours to spend a day with a friend who is in the last stages of a battle with cancer. She said before she left that she didn't know what she'd say, what to do, or what to expect, knowing this would be the last time she'd be able to see our friend alive. In a very real sense, she has nothing to give at all, except herself. And if we could just learn and live that, perhaps we'd begin to understand the poverty, and power, of God.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day at the Font

Got to baptize a beautiful little girl today, taking her from the arms of her mom, as the father stood there with their three other girls. I told him (and the congregation) that a friend of mine says it takes a special kind of man for God to entrust with daughters, and that it was obvious he was such a capable, trustworthy man. While those words could just be bullfluff, I know the man well. He is great father and a mentor for one of our boys Life Groups.

But I was thinking, does it take something extra to be a good dad to girls. Not having a son, I'm really not in a position to make a comparision. Maybe the question should simply be, "What does it take to be a good Dad?" But I remember reading a book some years ago called "Bonding," by Donald Joy. He devoted a chapter to the important role a dad has in a daughter's developing sense of herself.

Joy says no one can take the father's place in giving a daughter a safe place to grow in her sense of femininity, and in her self-respect. Sounds like a tall order (and they don't come with instruction manuals!). Maybe you do what you should do with every child - balance good expectations with affirmation and be unwavering in your love and belief in them, and in the case of girls, add an extra dash of patience.

As most dads who take this role seriously know, I'm sure my girls have taught me more than what I might have taught them. And yea, I still haven't gotten over my goofy amazement that I get to be their dad.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Holy Conferencing

The Annual Conference of the SC United Methodist Church ended Wednesday. With all that occurred, it was, in a word, uninteresting. That of course is just my take on it. And I don’t name it such as a complaint, just an observation. A lot of people worked hard to make things run smoothly and that’s exactly what I told the Bishop when she asked Wednesday at lunch how I thought Conference was going. “Smoothly,” I responded.

Presiding over our proceedings, she did her part well, even getting everything done ahead of schedule. She assigned the preaching and Bible study times to our new church pastors and that was good. Hearing their enthusiasm and commitment to win new converts was inspiring, but it also was somewhat like when the foreign missionary comes to speak at your church. You’re thankful for the work they are doing, but you realize they are in a different world than yours.

We recognized a lot of churches and people for excellence in ministry over the past year. We again took Tuesday afternoon and did acts of service in the Florence community. We voted on the Constitutional Amendments (voting down the ones related to changes for the worldwide nature of the church by a consistent 85%). We commissioned and ordained some great new ministers, and we passed the necessary budget and reports, in general with little discussion. So, we did some good things over the four days.

Maybe that’s all Conference should be, that and the time for fellowship, (catching up with folks you care about but rarely see). But a part of me is nostalgic. I “grew up” in the Conference when the business, the budget, and the social stance of the Conference were often hammered out on the Conference floor. Breaks were a time to discuss strategy and the amendments we’d make motions. There were “characters” who interspersed humor or called us to observe parliamentary procedure with “points of order.” There were the wise leaders of the Conference, often not agreeing with one another or the presiding bishop, but guiding us with experience and vision.

Now it is obvious the “work” is done elsewhere, in committees and cabinet meetings, and Conference is there to receive the reports and give official approval. And maybe that is the way it should be. A new generation of leaders affirms the real work of the Church is done not when we gather as delegates, but when we scatter into fields of service. So I guess Conference should then be a time to celebrate, renew relationships, and worship. But sometimes I miss sitting on the edge of my chair waiting to gauge the next speech in a contested debate, and hoping and praying the Church body makes a wise decision with its vote.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Still At It With Faithful Eyes

Heard some staggering statistics yesterday. In South Carolina 50% of the births are to unwed mothers. In Sumter County, the percentage rises to nearly 70%! What? And what is equally amazing is where I heard the figures - in a happenstance visit with an obstetrician who probably is in her late 70's, and yet who is mounting her own campaign to address this social delimna.

In retrospect, I don't know which had more of an impact on me, the high number of children growing up without a father figure, or the social concern of Dr. B. As for the first, Dr. B. says we talk about a lot of social issues, truancy, gangs, high cime rate, number of males in prison, number of children living in poverty, etc., but we don't talk about the etiology (the causes), because it isn't politically correct. The truth is that we need to put emphasis and incentives into encouraging and preserving stable families. She recommended a 1995 book by David Blankenhorn, Jr. titled Fatherless America (which I have ordered.) How do yo even begin to address this?

Now, for the greater impact, this successful doctor, well into retirement, has a heart for "the least of these." She spoke to a state newspaper reporter about all this and the reporter questioned her statistics. So she went to the state agencies and researched it on her own. She's spoken to several representatives and state senators, and even the governor, trying to highlight the concern. And locally she has been connecting with male African American role models who "can give her insight to the causes."

I left that chance encounter inspired. I personally am not feeling like Elijah, who in his depression complained to the Lord "The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword, and I am the only one left." (1 Kings 19). But I did think of the Lord's response to Elijah, reminding him that thousands were still faithful. And I thought of Dr. B. as one of God's thousands, with faithful eyes to see what Christ might see, an open heart to care, a sharp mind to seek truth and answers, and the courage to believe she can make a difference. In many amazing ways the Kingdom of God is in the midst of us.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Thoughts

Making small talk at a wedding reception recently a friend and I realized we have in common an odd bit of history. We are about the same age and we both know we are probably here because President Truman decided to avert the invasion of Japan by dropping the atomic bomb. How can this be?

My father was a signalman in the Navy. At the end of the European theater of war, he was sent with other selected signalmen to train for the invasion. They were to be dropped offshore, were to get on land the best they could, dig in, and help direct the invasion from their vantage point. The Navy expected a survival rate of 1 out of 10.

My friend’s father was an Army sergeant. After time in Europe, he was assigned to a special force being made up for first wave of the invasion. I don’t know what survival rate was expected for this, but pretty sure it was slim.

Anyway, they were in training at bases in California when the news came of the atomic bombing of first Hiroshima and then three days later, Nagasaki. Six days after the second bombing, Japan surrendered.

This post isn’t made to offer rational for the use of nuclear weapons. I cannot imagine the horror they created and pray the world will never see them used again. But here on Memorial Day as I think of so many who have died in service to our country, I do give thanks that two young soldiers got the chance to live, and to become dads. And it reminds me that we who live peaceable lives owe a debt of gratitude.

Friday, May 15, 2009


My friends and family know I have been deeply involved in the Aldersgate Special Needs Ministry here in S.C. Our goal is to provide secure dwellings for adults with developmental disabilities. I have been chairman of the Board for the past year and it has been a job dealing with governmental agencies, regulations, revenue sources, worried parents, disgruntled board members, etc., etc. - especially since I really have no experience in the gov regulation area. Fortunately I serve a church where they don't worry about the days I give to Aldersgate, though I do try to schedule most of that on my days off.

Honestly, there have been several times over the past couple of months when I've asked myself why. There's no one making me do this extra work. It's frustrating, and it's all volunteer. Well, yesterday I got my answer.

In the past two months we finally got both our homes operating. The women's home has six residents and the men's home has one resident, with three other young men in process to get the funding lined up. I went by the women's home for a visit yesterday, my first since the residents had moved in. What a good move for me.

I was greeted by two of the residents and their first words to me were: "We love our home!" I met with some of the staff we've hired to run the house, but the residents cut that short, wanting to show "their home" to me, and to show me how they'd decorated their rooms.

You could tell they were so comfortable there, and with one another. One of the young ladies usually speaks in a whisper, but the other girls knew that and encouraged her when I asked her a question. You could readily tell they were already becoming "family" for one another.
We were worried about the transitions these girls would be able to make from their families. What's happened is that the residents have told their parents they don't have to come visit and check on them. They are enjoying their new found "independence."

There are many times in ministry when we work and serve and never get to see the fruit of our labors. Wow, am I fortunate. The experience yesterday does make the six year journey to get there feel so worthwhile. It has been a blessing to work with some dedicated parents and board members over those years, and to witness how so many people have given time, effort and resources to this cause. There's still a lot of work to do, and a lot of money to raise, but now I know in a new way what a difference it all makes. Thanks be to God!

Monday, May 11, 2009

What to do during the Lord's Prayer?

When the Lord's Prayer is sung by a soloist, do you bow your head/close your eyes for a public prayer, or do you watch the singer as you would with any other performance? This delimma came to mind at the National Day of Prayer breakfast last week. After the welcome the local Lutheran pastor, an excellent tenor, sang the Lord's Prayer. I considered it a performance and turned to watch him. There are many other prayers set to music and we do not bow for them.

But I noticed that the event leaders across the stage, except for the guest speaker, all sat there with their eyes closed or heads bowed. To me it looked rather odd. So I looked around me and found the group comflicted - most bowed, a few watching like me, and many sneeking glances.
Does anyone have a proper protocol for this?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Traditions

After a wonderful Taize Good Friday service with the area churches last night, we went home to a Taylor tradition, dying eggs. For 24 years we have dyed or painted emptied eggs and kept a few each year. They aren't amazing eggs, but their ours, and reflect the changes of the years. Even our dog, Cooper, got into the act, adding his special touch to one egg. Now the Big Basket holds over 150 eggs, and this year another dozen is added. I suggested this might be the last year, but of course, was voted down.



Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hit and Run or Not

"We saw your car get hit," were the words that greeted me at the church's Family Night Supper. I had just come out of a meeting and immediately I envisioned my Nitro, which I'd left parked on the street, rear-ended, and felt the adrenaline rush into my blood stream.

Turns out that the couple greeting me with such kindness were nursery workers this past Sunday and watched out the window as an elderly gent pulled in front of my parked car, and backed right into it. He didn't hit it hard, they said, but he never looked back. After he bumped into my front bumper, he pulled forward a bit, parked, got out and went on his way.

It's hard to keep from rushing ahead of the facts when you're hit with the unexpected, but I sure am glad I waited for the rest of the story before dashing out of the Fellowship Hall to "see the damage." Now, if I can just remember to do that when I have hit and runs with personalities!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

March Madness

March Madness usually refers to the excitement and insanity of college basketball tournaments, and the people who are fervently devoted to keeping up with it all. All that was settled last night with North Carolina reclaiming the national championship in a commanding win over Michigan State.

But there’s another March Madness I just learned about, done by some folks fervently devoted to a whole different value system. A friend came to me Sunday and handed me some money which he wanted to go to help feed the hungry. He didn’t win his family’s March Challenge, but he had $179 to contribute.

The Challenge? Feed yourself for the month of March on $10 a day. At the beginning of the month, each family member got $310. Everything you ate for the month had to come from that: meals, snacks, drinks, whatever. Family members could “pool” their resources for shared meals, but each person had to keep up with their own money. Anything left over was to go to a mission of their own choosing, and the one with the largest gift won.

Here are the figures for a family of four, assuming the $179 was the average: $524 given to charity and $716 spent on food – an average food cost of $5.80 a day per person. What kind of madness it this?

By the way, the 2009 domestic meal per diem rate, set by the US General Services Administration ranges from $36 to $61 a day, depending on which section of the country you’re in.

What a great “Lenten” focus, a family challenge that makes each person conscious of what it actually takes to eat and what can be done when we “plan” to give. But I don’t recommend you try it, not unless you’re crazy enough to believe in a whole different value system that claims:

Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.. (Matthew 6).

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Love Feast

To wrap up our church retreat we decided to have a Wesleyan Love Feast today instead of Holy Communion. Since no one on the retreat had done a Love Feast before I wasn’t sure how this would go over, especially the part where we share with one another our experiences of God’s love. The participants had been sharing in their small groups (squadrons) during the weekend, but now we were all in one group, one big circle.

Needless worry. No all shared, but many did. Soon all eyes were moist as young and old alike stood to tell about their experiences of God’s presence. Some shared thanksgivings and new folks told how they felt welcomed into the “family of God.” In this setting the love feast was the right service that opened us up to a powerful, shared spiritual experience. I guess we just had a different kind of holy communion today.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Basic Training

Have been at our church's annual retreat at the beach this weekend. The theme has been Basic Training, which I understanding is all about re-socialization. The army takes a civilian, re-socializes him or her to think and act like a soldier. We sure didn't attempt to get all that done in one weekend. But we did decide to talk about what we have to do as a community to re-socialize ourselves to be the people of God. Also, we divided into squadrons, and with a little team competition, have had a lot of fun.

There was a decision made early in the planning for this year's retreat that we would focus on community building, rather than bringing in a speaker. Relationships won out over more "head-knowledge." I think, seeing the participation, that it was a good decision. Sometimes, another good Bible study is not the right prescription.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Small Hinges

At an out of town meeting the other day I briefly encountered a fellow blogger in a group of ministers, and his greeting was even briefer. I remember his smile, but not his words exactly. It was something about the fact that neither he nor I had been blogging during February.

It was just a passing observation, nothing incriminating, nor particularly encouraging. And yet, it was that encounter more than anything that got me back to blogging. Interesting, isn’t it, how things turn on small hinges - chance encounters, an acknowledgment, or the recognition of a fellow pilgrim?

So, I’ve thought about today, not the meetings or conversations, but the brief encounters. I wondered if I left any encouragement in my wake as I passed by. That woman in the hospital elevator who looked so tired. I noted her weary eyes, but mine didn’t reveal anything in response. Blew that one.

But at the quick stop, when I bought the diet sprite, the woman in front of me wanted a pack of cigarettes and then two lottery tickets. The girl checking us out seemed conscious of the small line forming behind me, but we caught eyes and I said, “It’s OK, no rush,” and her eyes did smile back. Could that have been a hinge, maybe?

A Lenten Examination

My Lenten discipline is not denial, but examination. Denial hasn’t worked before. I might choose something to give up, but it wouldn’t be something crucial. And then, like a New Year’s Resolution, it would dissolve in a couple of weeks. Through pure human defect, I’m just not good at works righteousness.

So this year I choose an intentional routine of something necessary - a daily examination of the day, of self, and of God’s subtle magnificence. A discipline of filing the important stuff, sorting the demanding, and tossing the rest. And I begin with ashes.

I have always been disappointed with the turn-out for Ash Wednesday services, no matter how well attended. Disappointed, but not surprised. Who wants to come to church simply to be told, “You’re going to die”?

And yet, we come and pray, kneel and confess. To old and young alike, each age evoking its own ominous sensation in my chest, I say the words, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you will return.” Perhaps we come to be told the truth, our truth - a truth so veneered and disguised that now-a-days we experience death only as a fiendish thief, rather than as a stubborn, necessary, companion in the pilgrimage.

Live. Whatever life tosses on the table before you, take it and live it well. Else the greedy companion will take it for his own. Examine the day, keep what needs to be kept, and let him have the rest.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Worship Lurking

A woman who's visited our church recently told me I may see her slip into our worship now and then. She is active in local church of another flavor so I told her to make herself at home with us as much as she desires. She told me that for a period of time she would leave her church after the "song service," drive to a nearby park, and finish worship by listening to our service on the radio. I wasn't sure what to do with that bit of information.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A GRAN Movie

On this MLK Day with its emphasis on human relations, the best I can offer is to encourage everyone to see the Clint Eastwood movie Gran Torino. A warning: the language is strong and the racial slurs are frequent. The language however is not gratuitous. It fits with the bigoted character Eastwood plays, a man of stubborn pain who despises the Asians who have “taken over” his neighborhood. Yet the movie is a story of grace at work and the gospel is present in the outcome.

Another delight of the movie is the way the priest is portrayed. In so many movies and TV programs today ministers are shown as ineffective, out-of-touch, or unsavory characters. The young priest in Gran Torino grows in his role, but is honest, persistent and real, and the faith he offers makes a difference.

The movie is a poignant glimpse that in a harsh world there is hope in the power of love.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Instant Companions

As you would expect, this morning the NBC Today show had survivors of the Jan 15 US Airways flight 1549 crash to interview. This was the plane Capt "Sully" Sullenberger landed in the Hudson River after birds shut down both engines right after take-off.

One of the survivors, Denise Lockie, said she was in seat 2C, right beside a flight attendant. When Capt Sully said over the intercom, "Brace for impact." she looked at the attendant and asked/stated, "We're going to crash?" The attendant nodded.

Then she looked at the man seated to her left, a man she did not know. Immediately they held hands, readied themselves for the impact, and began to pray together.

Why? Why did two perfect strangers join hands and pray? Maybe because instinctively people know we are not to face this world alone. Yet it takes a crisis to shatter the barriers that isolate us from one another.

With death such a real possibility, they needed one another. Just like you and me, as we go through whatever fills our days.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's All About Us

"Jesus knows me, this I love." The person who put this on this church sign probably just thought it was a cute turn about of a well-known lyric, good for catching attention. If so it worked. It caught mine - enough for me to take a picture.

Maybe I'm seeing too much in it, but doesn't it reflect also the sad turn about of religion today? We've gone from revelation (Jesus loves me...the Bible tells me so) to,

Monday, January 12, 2009

A New Kind of Resolution

Have you ever moved and a few weeks later gone crazy looking for something? Sure you have. You know. You remember seeing it. You’re sure you knew where it was. But when you go to get it, well, nothing.

That’s basically how it’s been inside my brain these past two weeks. I sit down to write and that idea I just remember seeing cannot be found. I kinda poke around in the clutter and just as I start to get interested in something, another “task” calls me away.

This time however, I’ve got one by the hind legs. It’s just a simple thought, but I’m not letting it go. It will be written, given an amateur taxidermist treatment and mounted on this blog.

It has to do with resolutions. This is the time to write about that, isn’t it? Well, ever notice that nearly all resolutions are self-directed? We resolve in one way or another to improve ourselves. Lot of good in that, even if they’re only kept for a short while. But, what if you’re tired of working on yourself and you want to try something new?

This year, my resolutions are not designed to improve myself at all. This year I’m going to improve others! Yep. It’s time to put my energy where it will make a difference. I figure if I make those around me a little better, I’ll enjoy my world a whole lot more. It’s like the saying, “the rising tide raises all the ships.”

The benefits of re-directing your resolutions are amazing. It doesn’t take nearly as much personal effort, so you’re less likely to give up on it. And, if the improvements don’t show up as you expect, well, you really can’t lay the blame on yourself. After all, you’ve done what you could with what you had to work with.

There’s only one glitch. If my friends really do improve themselves, they might want a new friend, maybe even one who isn’t a pain in the resolutions. Oh well.