Thursday, July 31, 2008

I don’t know what to think of the Los Angeles City Council decision to place a one-year moratorium on new fast food outlets in South L.A. I’m thinking it’s a little like using a topical ointment when under the skin a bone is broken. What will change during this one-year experiment? Not the income or education level of the area residents. A more creative and effective approach would have been to find ways to reduce the demand instead of trying to limit the supply.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My granddaughter will already have three weeks of school under her belt when Labor Day gets here. In Anthem, Arizona, school starts in less than two weeks. My daughter emailed yesterday to say a backpack we picker out at REI 21 years ago is being passed to the next generation. So now I’m thinking about enduring quality. And I’m thinking about the lasting things that aren’t “things.”

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The subject line was “Invitation to the Swearing-In of Joseph LeBaron, US Ambassador to Qatar.” I knew my step brother had been appointed, but was surprised to discover the swearing-in would take place at Portland State University.

PSU president Dr. Michael Reardon, Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul DeMuniz, and Ambassador Joseph LeBaron along with his wife, Ellie, and daughter, Petra, came out the west side door of Simon Benson house one week ago yesterday at 4:00 p.m. and sat in front of a group of chairs under a large canopy.

It is believed to be the first time a career diplomat (Foreign Service officer) has been sworn in as ambassador in a public ceremony held inside the United States but not in Washington, D.C. The ceremony was dignified without in any way being stiff.

Joe’s mother and my father were married at Thanksgiving time during my sophomore year of high school. Our points of connection since high school have been limited, but I’ve watched Joe from a distance with admiration.

I thought I would like to toast Joe at a dinner after the ceremony with extended family. That toast would have been: “To words well chosen; to nuances read accurately; to an open mind and an open heart; to boldness and to wisdom. May the path forward have as much personal fulfillment as this day has had public affirmation.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The owners of the espresso and book store on First Street told me last night they were a little uncomfortable Sunday when the announcement came up on the screen at their church for the Tony Campolo book signing that will be held at their place this afternoon. They don’t want to use the church to promote their business and they don’t want anyone to wonder if they are doing that.

As a denominational publisher I see a lot of overlap between ministry and commerce. And there is a large grey area for them as well. For Christian book publishers and sellers, maybe instead of commerce being on one end of the spectrum and ministry on the other, perhaps it is all about commerce and all about ministry.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It’s Sunday morning and the faithful have gathered. Today at Hometown Friends it is one service instead of three and it’s out on the lawn instead of inside the building.

The word I’m hearing from 2 Chronicles 30 today is that even though the people did not get all their "i"s dotted and their "t"s crossed, grace entered the picture. I associate the legalism of the law with the Old Testament and I tend to think that grace premiers in the New Testament. There is a fallacy in this thinking if grace is part of the character of God.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sunday evening John Perkins will receive the 2008 Jordan Lifetime Achievement Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. It will happen at a big banquet in Orlando, Florida, where Christian authors, publishers, and retails will come together for the International Christian Retail Show.

I’m thinking about the people who will be standing (figuratively) with him as he receives the award. Mr. Buckley and his prayers will be there. He and his wife were farmers near Mendenhall who held the Perkins family under their wing. His prayers that John’s accomplishment and recognitions would not go to his head had a reach well beyond Mr. Buckley’s lifetime.

John and Vera Mae’s son, Spencer, will be standing with him. Spencer’s sudden death ten years ago left a big hole. But it also left a legacy. It was Spencer’s decision to follow Christ that was the catalyst for that same radical change in his dad’s life.

I don’t know if Mrs. Perkins will go to Orlando with John, but she is the third person standing with John in my mind—just as she has for 57 years.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Nonplussed is an interesting word. It’s a bit of what I’m feeling, but I’m also weary and restless. It seems like there should be a word for the feeling when we don’t know what to think or do about a situation (or a feeling) and it leaves us bouncing between apathetic and driven.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The large type on a full page in the paper today says: “Immigrants: The Pride of America.” The Carnegie Corporation is saluting immigrants who “have made, and continue to make, our nation strong and vibrant.” Nearly 50 names and photos include authors, athletes, actors, business leaders, college presidents, musicians, and scientists (but no farm workers).