Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The World and a Round Ball

I am a new fan to soccer. After all I am from Texas where the only ball that really counts with most Texans is football. Being a soccer fan has been a long and difficult journey for me. It all began with the Unicorns - my daughter's team when she was just a sprite of a young lady. She wanted to play soccer - I wanted her to be interested in basketball or softball or anything but soccer. She really only wanted to play soccer because her little girlfriends were all going to play and the uniform was "really cute", according to her. For a guy who would regularly injure himself because of his passion (and lack of skill) playing his favorite sport, to watch those little girls who knew nothing about soccer and really just enjoyed picking the little wild flowers they found out on the field - it was misery for me. After the game, they would all come running to the sidelines, "Did we win? Did we win?" For heavens sake, they did not even know the score!

After a while, I learned to just laugh and enjoy seeing my daughter run aimlessly around the soccer field, hoping to have an opportunity to kick the ball occasionally. This brand of soccer was all I knew and so it did not leave a positive impression.

But I have recently found the sport very interesting - the world cup has filled my cup! It was especially interesting with the big event taking place in South Africa. My wife was born in East London, South Africa and her family lived in Johannesburg and Durban. The passion and devotion the players and the fans of world cup soccer have is something to behold. The USA team got my attention with their last second win and their battle into overtime in a later game.

The world we live in is huge but it is also getting smaller. Events like the World Cup remind us that we live on a vibrant planet with people from numerous cultures and backgrounds enjoying the same sport and playing it with the same enthusiasm.

I know people who live and work in Europe, Russia, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Canada, and Panama. A world economy has us connected in ways we never dreamed we would experience.

A round ball that gets kicked around is making our world a more connected place than ever.

I need the reminder that "he's got the whole world, in his hands", not just my little corner of the world.

I am also reminded of this word from the Bible:
"God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) That is God's world view and I long for people to know about his love.

Just thinking, Steve

Thursday, June 17, 2010

No Friends, Please

Please do not ask me to join Facebook. If you like it, fine. The whole "social network" thing is not for me. I am trying to keep my number of "friends" to a manageable number. Really about a half dozen really good friends is all I can manage - having 5,000 would drive me nuts. Just buying a birthday present for all of them would send me into bankruptcy!

I need friends who have skin. Friends that I can look in the eye and know. I want friends who are so real that I know what they look like when they are not all dressed up and not trying to impress someone.

I have no interest in connecting with all these people from the distant past - I am sure they are living wonderful lives but I want to live today, not in the fantasy world of the past. My Grand Kids are better looking and smarter than theirs are anyway. What else would we talk about?

If I ever do choose to join Facebook please forgive me now for making fun of all of you who are currently addicted. Perhaps we can start a support group and become friends. Surely the 12 Steps could be adapted to those addicted to Facebook: "Hello, my name is Steve and I am a Facebookaholic."

Someone will say, "Steve, I started with just an occasional blog, then started reading blogs everyday, before I knew it I was "twittering away" and now I am a member of every social network available - you see what happens!"

It makes me tremble to think where all this might lead - it's a slippery slope, my friends!
There I go, using that dreaded word "friends"!

Just thinking, (and kidding around) Steve

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Smart Women

The world is changing in regards to women in new and refreshing ways. Read your daily headlines and women are moving into leadership roles that have long been reserved for men. In politics, business, journalism, education and research women are the cutting edge leaders of our time.

I have known all my life that women are gifted and smart. My mother was one of the most gifted and intelligent women I have ever known. She had limited formal education but her keen mind and passion for learning impressed me even as a very young boy. My mother was a leader by using her gifts to the maximum. She understood people and she cared deeply about building strong relationships that would last a lifetime.

I expect that soon there will be the first female President of the United States of America. I also expect that women will continue to thrive in leadership roles.

One of the gifts that some women have that make them especially good leaders is their ability to build good relationships without the need to play the power games that many men play. I know that some women can be as ruthless and power hungry as their male counterparts but some truly have a wonderful gift of making people feel included, appreciated, and valued in ways that are quite remarkable.

I have a daughter who is razor smart. She has gifts to offer this world that our world needs and I am glad we live in a time where opportunities for using those gifts are greater than ever. God speed the day when men and women work side by side to make our world a better place to live, to work, to love, and to serve others.

Just thinking, Steve