Oniomania:  It’s That Time of Year

Planting-Onions-1861281I remember the first time I saw oniomania in print.  My eyes read the word as onion-mania, and my brain processed it as a strong desire related to onions.

My confusion was the result of the God-designed partnership that exists between the eyes and brain in which they work together to interpret conflicting signals from the outside world. Even though it may not be reality, we see whatever our brains think we should.

Because the brain processes an immense amount of information as fast as it can, it uses any available shortcuts. According to Stuart Anstis, a vision researcher, the brain has “to find a minimum hypothesis to cover a maximum amount of data.”

When my eyes saw the onio prefix of oniomania, my brain took the shortcut of associating onio with onion.  This is the difference between perception and reality or feelings and facts.

Oniomania is an uncontrollable desire to purchase things, and during the gardening season it could influence your seed purchases.   What about onionmania?  Is it an uncontrollable desire to eat, smell, use, or plant onions?

Are you an oniomaniac?  Are you controlled by an overwhelming desire to purchase the goods of this world and fail to invest in the world to come?  This was the mistake that was made by the fool who built on the shifting sand instead of the solid rock:

Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on rock.  The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, but it did not collapse because it had been founded on rock.  Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, and it collapsed; it was utterly destroyed!   ~Matthew 67:24-29

What is it that compels you and drives you during this season of your life?  Is it the need to fit in with the world and your group of peers, or to be fit for the world to come and to please the peerless—Jesus Christ?

 

Faith, Values, and Politics

fox-debateA recent survey that was conducted by the Pew Research Center involved a national sample of 2,009 adults. The results of this survey, that was take earlier this month, offer some interesting findings:

  • Being an atheist is a big liability for anyone who pursues the office of president.
  • 51% of adults indicate they’d be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who is an atheist.
  • 37% of the respondents say they would be less likely to support a candidate who has been involved in an extramarital affair.
  • 41% of the participants say they would be less likely to support a candidate who has a history of financial struggles.

The chart below looks at the public’s perception of seven of the the people who have tossed their hat into the ring in an effort to become the next President of the United States.

reltableIs it important to you that the President of the United States is a person of strong faith and high moral character?    Do verses like Psalm 33:12 hint that our leaders should be people of faith, and do they influence how you would vote?

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”

While the hope of the United States is found in Christ and not the President, the actions and decisions of those we elect to office will either help or hinder the health of our nation.  This is why we should heed Paul’s instructions to Timothy:

I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior  

~2 Timothy 2:1-3

Thanksgiving: Thanks to a Special Person

When I posted  this call to  lift our law  enforcement officers  up in prayer, I had no idea that another tragedy would so quickly happen.  I was saddened by the death of  Police  Officer  Garrett Swasey, of the  Colorado  Springs  Police  Department, Colorado who died in the line of duty yesterday.  Please pray for his family, his fellow officers, and the those who were held hostage.

SwaseyToday is Thanksgiving, so I want to say thanks to a special person:  “Hey LEO, I’m thankful for you.”

I realize you might be asking:  “LEO? LEO who?”

Well, it’s not my Uncle Leo.  That fun loving, nephew-teasing, do-whatever-I-can-do-to-help-you fireman, left this world for a better place in 1990. While I am thankful for Uncle Leo, I want to go public, and say, “I’m thankful for a group of people called LEO.”

The character of our Law Enforcement Officers is under attack. This assault is Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc.  It’s poor logic that makes the mistake of claiming that one thing caused another just because it happened first.

Just because a rooster crows and then the sun rises, doesn’t mean that the sun rises because a rooster crows.  Too many people are making the same logical assumption.  Because one white LEO shoots a black person, does not mean that all white Law Enforcement Officers will shoot all black people.

Are there some bad apples in their ranks?  Most definitely, but the rogue are few in number.  Many of these men and women are college educated individuals who are punched, kicked, spat on, and cussed out as a part of their daily routine.  They go to work dressed in bullet proof vests, because they are willing to risk their lives to protect yours.

Are you aware that during the past 10 years, a total of 1,466 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty?  This is an average of one death every 60 hours or 146 per year. In 2014, there were 117 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.  During this same time period, there have been 58,930 assaults against law enforcement officers each year, resulting in 15,404 injuries.

Yes, I’m thankful for LEO:

  • I’m thankful for the more than 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States.
  • I’m thankful for each one of the 20,538 individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice to serve and to protect, and whose names are engraved on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
  • I’m thankful that while I’m at home in the warmth of my house and feasting on a plate of food, that LEO is at work. Whether it is in Chicago, NYC, Wichita, or El Dorado, I’m thankful for you.

If you’re thankful for LEO, “I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.  Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior.”                                                                                                                                       ~2 Timothy 2:1-3

How Valuable Are Your Values?

values_1After reading the conversation Jesus had with His disciples in Matthew 16, a question popped into my head:  “How valuable are my values?”

Jesus said, “Those who want to come with me must say no to the things they want, pick up their crosses, and follow me.  Those who want to save their lives will lose them. But those who lose their lives for me will find them.  What good will it do for people to win the whole world and lose their lives? Or what will a person give in exchange for life?  The Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory. Then he will pay back each person based on what that person has done (Matthew 16:24-27).”

The verses above allow a person to draw several conclusions:

  • Jesus has a greater concern for the size and character of my heart than He does for the square footage and décor of my house.
  • Jesus wants me to focus more on the compassion I display and less on my social status.
  • Jesus isn’t worried about the promotions I’ve received, but He does want me to be pro-motion in the help I give.
  • Jesus will not judge me based on the way I’ve protected my rights but on the way I helped those who have been wronged.

To make a difference in the day and hour in which you live, you need to be different in the way you craft each second of your life.   You need to pick up your cross and follow Jesus.  By losing your life in Him and for Him, you discover the purpose He has for you; and, your values become valuable.

A Slip of the Tongue

It was Benjamin Franklin who said:  A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.

Slip of the tongue moments can be rather funny.  About a month ago, I listened to a grandmother proudly tell of her granddaughter’s academic pursuits:  My granddaughter is getting involved in ocean pornography.  I laughed, knowing that she meant oceanography.

I remember a slip of the tongue moment from about 18 years ago.  Frank Marley misspoke and I laughed and then teased him a little.  Frank’s reply is something that has stuck with me:  Don’t take a man for what he says—take him for what he means.

Frank died in 1994, and I still have fond memories of him.  What I remember most is not his willingness to help around the church, but the way he communicated his values by living them.

These were values that were formed through the fire of the depression years and character born out of the turmoil of the world wars.  Tom Brokaw has described Frank and his peers as the greatest generation.

The values that defined this generation are the moral fiber of those that have followed.  Scottish minister Thomas Guthrie once said:   Religion is the mortar that binds society together; the granite pedestal of liberty; the strong backbone of the social system.

Just as crumbling mortar is a threat to the integrity of a building, anemic values weaken our social structure.  A position paper by the Institute for American Values has issued a warning:  as our social morality deteriorates, life becomes harsher and less civil for everyone, social problems multiply, and we lose the confidence that we as Americans are united by shared values.

The Institute says the symptoms of this decline are manifested in several ways:

• a spreading abdication of adult responsibility and an increasing acceptance of the adult as a perpetual adolescent;

• an increased tolerance for self-centered and selfish behavior in all spheres of life;

• a growing belief that success should be measured by how much money we have and how much we can buy;

• a dramatic undermining of the distinction between right and wrong; and

• the loss of confidence in the possibility of public moral truth.

The Institute proposes a strategy for renewal and express it in several goals.  The most important, they say, is to revitalize a shared civic story informed by moral truth. Regarding our civic faith, our main challenge is to rediscover the democratic bonds that, amidst and because of our differences, unite us as one people. Regarding our public moral philosophy, our main challenge is to rediscover the existence of transmittable moral truth.

Solomon rarely committed a slip of the tongue, and people took him for what he said and for what he meant.  If society would heed his advice, the need would be met.  He said, a commitment to godly principles is essential if we are to walk the right path in life.

I hope this thought keeps you thinking.