I’ve been fascinated by the power of phrases known as “performatives.” In brief, performative phrases actually change reality when uttered by the right person. Let me illustrate with a couple of examples. Take the home plate umpire in baseball who says, “You’re out!” His saying the words actually makes the batter out. If, by contrast, someone in the stands were to yell, “You’re out!” or if the catcher yelled the phrase, the batter wouldn’t be out.
Have you ever wondered? Have you ever asked the question?
Did Jesus have a sense of humor? Did Jesus laugh?
Some Bible teachers suggest that while we know Jesus wept (John 11:35) there’s no reference in the Bible to Him laughing. That might be true, but that doesn’t mean He never laughed, does it?
If Jesus was 100% percent human and 100% percent divine, it’s only logical that He enjoyed His time on earth, experiencing all of the emotions that you and I do, including laughter.
I’m in Washington, D.C. today where I had the honor and privilege to join Chuck Colson, Professor Robby George and Bishop Harry Jackson, among scores of others, in issuing the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience.
The unveiling came during a news conference at the National Press Club here in the nation’s capital, but this was a lot more than a photo op. It was a demonstration of solidarity among more than 125 Christians of all denominational stripes that we will not only continue to speak out in the public square, we will continue to stand firm for biblical principles in that public square.
I’ve just reviewed the final numbers from last Saturday’s Focus on ParentingTM simulcast and I must say I’m very encouraged by the turnout and impact. Some 31,000 attendees carved out the time for the day-long seminar. Although assembled in 270 different host churches spread across 44 states and 8 Canadian Provinces, these parents were united in their desire to help their families thrive.
So far, one of the big “take away” messages was the idea of intentionally giving each child the blessing before they go to bed at night.
Fans of comedian Jerry Seinfeld might remember his humorous recollection of Halloween. Growing up in Massapequa, Long Island, he remembers being admonished to never accept candy from a stranger. Although contrary to the “Get candy! Get Candy!” mantra running through his little brain, the warnings made sense, he said, until he was suddenly introduced to the October 31st holiday.
“You mean everyone we know is just giving away candy?” he asked incredulously. “What’s wrong with them?”
Many Christians, maybe even some of my readers, might ask the same question.
Is there anything more painful to endure than the death of a child?
Having been orphaned and abandoned as a young boy, I’ve been exposed to my share of sorrow. But, so have you. Nobody on earth can escape the human condition. Troubles roll like the relentless tides of the sea. Or, to quote William Shakespeare, “Troubles come not as single spies—but in battalions!”
If your life is happy and currently free of worry, rejoice—but brace yourself.
Several months ago, Jeff Shook, a good friend from my Yucca Valley High School days back in California, stopped by for a visit. Seeing him brought back a flood of memories—mostly good. The good times had to do with the countless hours Jeff and I spent playing football, basketball, and baseball for our school. Jeff was one of those natural athletes you just knew had the talent to go on to bigger and better things after graduation.
Statistics rarely move me on an emotional level. That’s probably because analyzing numbers and quantifying data with percentages is a “left brain” function. By contrast, the right hemisphere is where my emotions and my heart are more deeply touched. While that’s normally the case, when I heard these statistics I was floored:
60% of rapists grew up in fatherless homes
70% of long term prison inmates grew up in fatherless homes
72% of adolescent murderers grew up in fatherless homes
I think what takes my breath away is the fact that I could have been one of those statistics.
Everyone I meet has a story to tell. Each of us has an unique background; no two journeys are alike. Some of our stories rival a fairytale. If that’s your experience, rejoice. If your story involves a closely-knit extended family, the kind which, like a scene out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, gets together and has a great time over the holidays, you are indeed blessed.
If you’ve read my memoir, FINDING HOME, you know about the disappointments and hardships which defined my childhood—from a murder outside of my bedroom window when I was eight, to the death of my mother when I was nine, only to be orphaned a few years later—not to mention much of my family tree remains shrouded in mystery.
It could have been a scene straight out of central casting.
When injuries and motherhood caused highly acclaimed Belgian tennis sensation Kim Clijsters to retire from the sport in 2007, many of the pundits assumed she was just another star to have fizzled and faded away all too soon. Sadly, such is the usual trajectory of professional athletes. Of those who actually enjoy their moment in the sun, the time is almost always brief. High profile comebacks often produce headlines, but rarely do they result in historic championships.