Tuesday, September 30, 2008

7 Ridiculous Ways to Die While Golfing

Ran across this on Digg the other day...

If you could choose the means by which you’ll check out of this life, most men would either die old, do something gloriously macho, or in David Blaine’s case find the lamest way possible. Not many would choose getting peed on by a rat. Yet, we have evidence that golf is one of the most dangerous athletic activities anyone can partake–not because of a lightening strike or an animal attack, but apparently what appears to be natural selection working its course when they would’ve been safer fighting MMA.

1997 - David Bailey, 40, of Dublin, Ireland was playing a round when he jumped into a ditch to find his lost ball at the Caddockstown golf course in Co Kildare. It turns out said ditch was inhabited by a rat who was so startled it ran up his trousers and urinated down his leg. Not to be phased, Bailey ignored his partners urging to take a shower citing that he had no visible scratches or bites–just pee. After touching his leg he proceeded to smoke a cigar and only got around to showering 4 hours later. Two weeks later he checked into a Dublin hospital with severe jaundice and dropped dead with a collapsed kidney. It turns out he contracted a bacterial infection called leptospirosis, which is often spread by rodents.

1994 - Jeremy Brenno, 16, of Gloversville, NY was so angry about his bad shot that he gave his 3-wood a good whack against a bench. Like a new scene from Final Destination the shaft broke, his club bounced back, and the broken piece pierced his pulmonary vein.

1951 - Edward Harrison of Kenmore, WA was playing a round at the Inglewood Country Club when the shaft of his driver broke and pierced his groin. He staggered 100 yards before bleeding to death.

1995 - Jean Potevan of Orleans, France was so irate after missing 3 straight puts that he threw his bag into a lake out of sheer frustration. Only problem: his car keys were also in the bag. He dove in and proceeded to drown after getting entangled in the weeds. According to his golf partner, his last words were “I’m going back for the keys, but I’m leaving the clubs down there.”

1995 - Takeo Niyama, 43, only had 2 previous convictions and had served 6 months for assaulting someone on the golf course just a year before; so obviously it sounds perfectly safe to play a round with him and make fun of his bad form. His golfing partner Aioa Sakajiri laughed at his horrible slice into a Tokyo lake, so Niyama beat him to death wtih a 5-iron.

1994 - Diana Nagy of Charleston, WV, became a widow when her husband Alexander Nagy fell from a golf cart while playing heavily intoxicated in a tournament at Berry Hills Country Club. Claiming the cart should’ve had seatbelts, she filed suit 2 years later seeking $15M. Her defendants included the country club, the golf cart manufacturer & 2 subsidiaries, and her own son who was driving the cart. Lesson: Don’t drink and drive, but if you do teach your son how to avoid golddiggers.

Despite all these unfortunate golfing accidents, there is one way to go that is worthy of going out in style:

1994 - Emil Kijek, 79, of North Atteboro, MA hit his first ever hole-in-one while golfing at the Sun Valley Golf Course in Rehoboth, MA. After doing so he approached the ball, said “Oh no”, and collapsed.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Elusive Editing Gene

Editing. Webster defines it: to prepare (as literary material) for publication or public presentation: to alter, adapt, or refine especially to bring about conformity to a standard or to suit a particular purpose carefully edited the speech

I liked how Robert Cormier put it: “The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile.”

In school we were taught that when you have written enough to satisfy the requirements of the assignment or you've said all you ought to say about a given topic, it is time to put your paper through the rewriting process.

In life we usually associate editing with writing books. It is common knowledge that publishing houses receive hundreds of submissions each day. The eyes of an in-house editor are trained to crush the weak and champion the strong. The acquisitions editor *might* give you a two-page reading before tossing your work into the slush pile. Many are tossed after one paragraph.

Could the same be said of sermons? I believe it can and should. The message, no matter how ‘prophetic’ we might believe it to be, should be filtered through the editing process. The messenger, no matter how ‘powerful’ he or she might believe themselves to be, should be submitting to the editing process. One of the most powerful truths that the editing process reveals is a need for others. When proofreading your own work, you tend to overlook your own mistakes. Your mind automatically fills in what it thinks should be there. The writer is too close to the material to be objective. An editor can recognize the repetitions, inconsistencies, faulty logic, and other problems that are often overlooked by the writer.

It is no secret to my church that I’m a better creator than editor. I’ve never been accused of poorly feeding or underfeeding or misfeeding of my flock. I’ve been guilty of overfeeding. More than once I heard the phrase, “like drinking water from fire hydrant” with regards to my preaching.

So pray for me. I don’t know if God will ever give me that all elusive editing gene. I do believe that he will continue to give me intense dedication, increased discipline, and a divine dose of Holy Spirit.

I want to preach the best sermons I can. More importantly, I want to bring God glory. I know God is glorified in my creating. Help me to learn that God is even edified in editing.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

About to Go Live with John 5

A few quotes from today's sermon on John 5:

Describing the scene:

"Suffice it to say that no less than three times a year, hundreds of thousands of “God’s people” made their way to “God’s city” to “God’s house” to worship “their God."

"A chaotic crowd of “holy people” coming for justification. The right people coming to be made right."

"I wish I had time to paint a better picture for you of the painful scene of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of hurting people outside of that smelly entrance to the holy city."

"I wish you could see the way that the covered colonnades became a hospital for the helpless."

"If you could only hear the pain filled cry’s and see the hope less eyes of that heap of humanity."

"Think Calcutta more condensed or Haiti more hideous."

Describing the man:

"I wish I had time to drill down in the state of the man whom Jesus heals. I’m not a doctor but we could unpack the atrocious atrophy that has afflicted this man’s body."

"How 38 years of no or very limited mobility has wrecked havoc on his muscles and bones. How he most likely suffered from sarcopenia which begins to rob nutrients from the bones and organs in a feeble attempt to rebuild muscle mass and how his body was in essence, eating itself to death."

Describing the irony:

"There are several ironies in this story. The first is the location of the pool. Most scholars agree that this pool, which has been escavated, is next to the Temple. The man laid within eyesight of the religious leaders for 38 years. The “church people” didn’t lift a finger to help the guy who couldn’t lift a finger."

"The name of the pool is uncomfortably ironic for in Hebrew is Bethesda and means “the house of mercy or grace” The guy laid helpless by a pool called “grace” for 38 years and no one showed him a drop of grace!"

"Ironic? Yes. Pathetic? Yes! Symptomatic of the selfish and slothful and sanatary religion of the day? Yes."

"Of our day? Of our church? Of any church? Surely there is somewhere in American where a guy in the house next door to the church is broke and contemplating suicide and they (that church 'out there') don’t know his name because they (or is it we?) hurry up and get in there (here?) to “get fed”, sing Amazing Grace and rush back out the door to lunch."

"Perhaps most ironic is the fact that some of these people had seen the need for 365 days a year for 38 years and done nothing about it and Jesus sees him one time and is moved to action."

"The “Good Temple Going Folk and the “Shepherds of Israel” see him 13,870 times and the Good Shepherd sees him once."

"Here’s even more irony or perhaps tragedy: Maybe they never saw him? Maybe they weren’t even looking."

Perhaps I'll post more later today? Perhaps I'll post my resume? You know what they say about preaching as a profession: "you're only one sermon away."

Good thing for me, prophetically proclaiming the Word of the Lord is not a career, but a calling.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Preach. Sleep.

In three minutes (give or take 10 minutes) I will go to sleep. I will lower my head on to the pillow and within minutes, I will be sound asleep. It will be an act of trust.

I've done it over 1,000 times. For 20 years about 50 Saturday nights a year, I've gone to sleep in full knowledge that should I wake up the next day, I will stand in front of a crowd of people and preach.

I will speak about God through Gods power on God's behalf.

I've never been nervous and I've never been scared of the crowd.

It is God that terrifies me.

He has given me a massive responsibility to speak for Him. I don't take that lightly.

I study all week. I pray all week. I pour over scripture, the work of other scholars, and study society itself. I think of the lives in the seats and needs in those lives. I think of my flock, my friends, my family. I craft a message that if I tried to explain how it comes to me, I simply could not express it in words.

I finished my message on Thursday night. I finished again on Friday afternoon. I carried it around with me today and read it over and over.

I think I have in my head what came from my heart.

I think...I'm not sure. I never am sure.

Yet I have to go to sleep...

And trust.

Tomorrow I preach. Tonight I sleep.