From the monthly archives: February 2014

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Colorado Caucus Is a Great Way to "Be Here"

 

A very practical way to “Be Here” is right around the corner in the Colorado Caucus.

The broken state of politics fills the headlines every day and it can be discouraging. Thankfully, in the caucus system, we still have significant opportunities to bring good to the political sphere and, consequently, to our city, state and nation. In the words of Proverbs, “By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted” (Proverbs 11:11). God, who is sovereign over all things, has given us a unique stewardship in establishing a governing system that depends on our contribution.

Delegates are selected from these precinct caucus meetings and they have a significant contribution to the selection of candidates at:

• The Larimer County Assembly on March 21 for Republicans, and March 29 for Democrats; determines candidates for Sheriff, Assessor and Treasurer, etc.

• The Congressional Assembly on April 11; determines the Republican United States Congressional candidate for the 2nd Congressional District

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Vision 2014: The Importance of Being Humble

 

Editor’s note: This is the last of Mitch’s series on recapping our vision for 2014. You can read the first three entries here.


For one last time, let’s head back to Sochi.

Shaun White. Let me interrupt where you think this is going. I’m not headed off on a diatribe against the pride of the Flying Tomato. Maybe he is proud. Okay ... he is proud – we all are. But that isn’t why I’m thinking of him as the “grab-your-attention” story for our final recap post of this year’s vision. 

That half-pipe event haunted me. Shaun White is snowboarding and, in particular, he defines the snowboarding half-pipe. His gold medals in Torino and Vancouver established him as the face of the sport for a decade. And he is still really good. Actually, he is still probably the best. But this year in Sochi, he did not visit the podium and there was no Russian conspiracy in play. 

In his first run of the semi-finals, Shaun threw back-to-back double corks (don’t ask – I don’t know) and laid down what would be the highest score of the whole competition, a 95.75. White would safely advance to the finals but his botched second run in the semi-finals cast a sense of foreboding over his journey to a third half-pipe medal. 

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Vision 2014: Be Here by Skating for the Only Judge Who Matters

 

So much depends on who is keeping score. 

Consider the women’s figure skating individual programs at the Sochi Olympics. South Korea’s Yuna Kim stepped on to the ice as the last competitor in the free skate. The gold medalist in the Vancouver games, Kim is a phenom in her home country. She is revered for her precise and artistic approach to skating and her remarkable generosity. The dramatic stage had been set for this final skate of the evening. Adelina Sotnikova, a nearly unknown Russian 17-year-old sat in first place, and Kim would need to skate the second best performance of her life to step past Sotnikova for the gold. Yuna Kim rose to the occasion. Her performance was flawless and artistically beautiful and scored almost 10 percent lower than Sotnikova’s. The sense that something was wrong was immediate. The athletes in the crowd were visibly disturbed, and Scott Hamilton’s commentary conspicuously ended. 

Amidst the ensuing controversy, Peter Tchernyshev, Sotnikova’s choreographer, had this to say: “It's not like track and field, [Kim is] a great skater but for today's rules, she was slightly not on top of her game, that's all.”

It is beyond debate that “today’s rules” were the decisive factor. Kim’s score would have been greatly improved had she competed according to the rules. The rules, at least on Thursday evening, emphasized more technical elements and the letters following her nameAs we came to discover, of the nine judges that evening, one was married to the president of the Russian Federation’s skating association, another recently was banned from judging for one year for cheating, and a third was seen hugging the Russian team after Sotnikova’s victory. Kim’s performance would have been judged more favorably had she, like her former countryman and Olympic teammate Viktor Ahn, turned in her KOR for a RUS.

So much depends on who is keeping score.

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Vision 2014: Busyness Is a Heartless Way to Be Human

 

No one tells me they’re bored anymore. OK, let me clarify: No one over the age of 5 tells me they’re bored anymore. When is the last time you even heard the word? The futurist in me envisions a day when linguists will explain that our language no longer has a word for the idea. 

But a word that linguists will never have to explain? It starts with a “B” and rhymes with “izzy.”
 
I’m maxed out. The calendar is filled up. My inbox is a disaster. My mind is always racing. I’m constantly looking for a way to maximize my efficiency and get more done. I treat myself like a machine, which means I probably treat others the same way. My communication occurs in sort bursts of electronically delivered information. My computer tells me I have friends and followers but something still seems out of place. The tin man has no heart. 

I know I’m not alone. In fact, I pastor busy people because I only know busy people. It is no coincidence, then, that I also pastor many lonely people (cue John, Paul, George and Ringo).

Being ever connected we are not connected. Being full of “friends” we have no friendships. Being ever “liked” we are unknown. 

Everybody’s talking about this cultural condition. But we are not victims. We have fashioned this idol with our own hands and found it to be a cruel master. The idol promises us stature if we offer it our margin. It will provide us value if we give it frenzy. Everyone respects a busy person, right? So we steer far from bored. Who among us wants to be less valuable? 

But compare this condition to the New Testament and there is some serious conflict. 


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What My Daughters Have Taught Me about Prayer

 

Back in September, Aaron Ritter shared a great example of how his sons’ requests of him can be a lot like our requests to God. I can relate, because I have discovered a lot about prayer from my daughters. I think a chapter in The Gospel According to Tessa and Alexa will be called “Big Prayers from Little Hearts.”

Most evenings around 7 p.m., my wife and I herd our girls (almost 3-and-a-half-years-old and almost two-years-old, respectively) onto the couch for prayer. Usually, we read the daily verse from a booklet with 31 character areas we want our girls to exemplify. Then I will pray for the girls to grow in that area and anything else on my heart. My wife Faith will do the same.

For the past year or so, Tessa has also prayed each night. There is something amazing about listening to a child who is just learning to talk as she prays to God. The sincerity, earnestness and enthusiasm are humbling. I considered taking a video to go along with this post, but recording a child’s prayers seemed a bit disingenuous, so you’ll just have to find yourself a 3-year-old to pray with.

I’ve heard dozens of solid teachings on the topic of prayer, read a few books and spent countless hours myself engaged in prayer, but I’ve still learned tons about what prayer really means from that little girl.


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