Jnoahrod.com: Lead…Learn…Live…Love

Pizza Perceptions

pizzaI was having a conversation with my uncle many years ago about pizza. He refers to our beloved food pie as ‘pee-za’, not ‘pete-za’ as many of us do. –Because there is no ‘t’ in piZZa.– Anyway, he was trying to convince me that pizza didn’t look appetizing. And I remember thinking, being a teenage bottomless pit, sorry Unc, pizza is the dabomb! (Don’t judge, it was the 90s)

However, years later I began to consider what he said. Perhaps if I had grown up in a much different culture I would agree. If I was raised in a much poorer culture a much different society where food was looked at as an energy source and not recreation I might have a different. I began to realize a thin disc of bread slathered with blood red sauce and scattered with chunks of various meats and vegetables would not look so appetizing if that were so. Actually, it might look quite disgusting.

If I had never been introduced to pizza, never had the chance to taste pizza, and not grown up with a delectable steaming cheesy triangle in my grubby hands, I would probably not think much of it.

Familiarity + history = perception. Perception = reality

Simply put: Your pizza may not be my pizza. We can still get along with each other.

(Too confusing? Let me make it simple for you. Watch an episode or two of Bizarre Foods.)

Painful Dreams

My wife and I recently hit a couple of milestone birthdays. (You know, those that are divisible by five or ten.) The others in between don’t bother me much, but the milestones seem to slightly shake my inner core and I get all full of nostalgia and life evaluation. I don’t say too much about it to others. Just mostly internalize the landmark and stew over it some. Probably how I do with most of the issues I face. Anyway, my lovely wife just shrugged off another birthday and seemed to enjoy the surprise party I planned for her. I was quite proud to have pulled that off. She is too busy to worry about such foolishness. :-) Seriously, she has a lot on her plate and somehow conjours up the strength of three Super Women everyday to get through.

I, on the other hand, have been thinking a lot about my dreams. I never asked for much out of life as a teenager. I never planned to be rich. I never planned to build a personal kingdom. I was never one that was very ambitious or entrepreneurial. I only wanted two things. First, I wanted to work for God. I wanted to be busy somehow in His Kingdom. Full time, part time, whatever. Missonary, SS teacher, Pastor, whichever. Where He directed, that is where I would go. Second, I wanted to write. Articles, novels, poems, Adventures in Odyssey episodes…all of the above. Just those two dreams.

Now at 35 I have the opportunity to look back. I have been involved with my church for many years:teaching classes, leading youth in the past, serving on the board, etc. I have not been in full time ministry, but have definitley been involved in ministry.

Then I consider how much I have written. Grrr. That hasn’t gone so well. Several unfinished novels, a couple of neglected blogs, many ideas and storylines…no completed stories.

I have to wonder. What has kept me from my dream of being a professional writer? What keeps me from completing a story? Why am I so reluctant to bleed all over a page? Why am I so afraid of vulnerability? Why do I allow fear to shackle me? Why do I dread the pain I know I must endure to hone my craft and sharpen my talent? Why is the biggest obstacle in front of me, ME?

I don’t know of anyway to deal with me other than to rat myself out. So this is what I am doing. Do you all hear me??!? I am afraid. But I am still writing. I don’t want the pain, but I am writing. And in writing, I will conquer. And in conquering, my dream will become reality.

Same differences or different similarities?

image courtesy of photobucket.com

I had a short yet interesting conversation with one of my Facebook friends last week. She is more than just a “Facebook” friend. I know she is an actual living breathing human. Anyhow…

The conversation was about the difference between our respective churches and they style of worship each uses. She is an Orthodox Presbyterian and I am a AOG Pentecostal. Opposite sides of the spectrum to be sure. What I took away from the short talk really had nothing to do with P&W choruses or doctrinally based denominationally-sanctioned hymns. Far from it.

I once again realized how different and how diverse we are in the Body of Christ. We all have our preferences in music, formal or casual dress, lighting, delivery, decor, and on and on and on. We often divide and splinter over these trivial subjects. These things in the end really don’t matter as much as we think they do.

I am not going so far as to say our strength is in our diversity. (I will leave that to former President Clinton.) But I think if we look a little deeper than our differences, we will find we are much more similar than we think. After all, we are in the same Family.

Early Church Father Constantine is often credited with the quote, “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.” Whether he actually said it or not, someone came up with a winner. Love conquers all. Even our differences.

JR

Book Review: Then Sings My Soul -Special Edition

My inaugural book review…I am so happy.

First of all, the legalese:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the
publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book
review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The
opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with
the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
<http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides
Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Then Sings My Soul -Special Edition
Robert J. Morgan

Some  books demand to be devoured in one sitting. When you finally turn the last page you feel as full as you do at five o’clock in the evening on Thanksgiving Day. Other books can only be enjoyed a bit at a time-like fine chocolate. Satisfying bite after satisfying bite. Think of “Then Sings My Soul” as the finest of Swiss chocolate. No, actually like a whole box of chocolates.

“Then Sings My Soul” is a collection of 150 of the best loved hymns of the past few centuries. Morgan gives us a glimpse into the lives of the very normal individuals that penned some of the greatest songs our world has heard. These hymns simply convey the truth of the Gospel, the wholeness of the Scriptures, and the greatness of our faith.

In this modern church age, many have not had the privilege of learning hymns such as Crosby’s “Near the Cross” or Watts’ “Alas! And Did My Savior My Savior Bleed”. These are favorites of a time that has passed by, but hold truths that will remain for all eternity.

Some might find Then Sings My Soul boring or foreign or perhaps a little dated. I found it a refreshing ode to great hymn writers and hymns of yesteryear.

JR

Back in the game

basketball Pictures, Images and Photos

<photo courtesy of photobucket.com>

Procrastination is never a good thing. Especially if you want to write, or maintain a regular blog, or do any number of other things that pave the way to reaching your goals or dreams. Ouch.

So often just thinking about accomplishing a task seems enough salve to cause the bitter pain of failure to subside, but just for a while. At some point I have to get beyond the planning, thinking, marinating stage. That steak has to be thrown on the grill and sizzle it way to perfection. Maybe that was a bad analogy. <shrug>

So, I guess this is a step…a baby step. Get back in the game. The surest way to lose is to never step foot on the court. Some smart dude said that. Not me.

I always tell a good friend of mine, “One step at a time, one foot in front of the other.” Time to take my own advice.

JR