Archives for the month of: January, 2016

 

Perfection is a goal that can never be achieved. No matter how good a person is, no matter how hard one tries- nobody is perfect.

PERFECTION 2

It is seldom that our imperfection appears for all the world to see. Stephen Gostkowski was not so fortunate last Sunday.  Over 51 million people were watching his shortcoming and millions more read or heard about it through news media or friends.

Gostkowski is an American professional football player for the New England Patriots. He is the most accurate kicker in the team’s history and one of the most accurate kickers in the history of the National Football League. He holds the record for highest average points per game scored over a career (8.67 points per game as of the end of the 2014 season).

He is the Patriots’ all-time leading scorer, the team’s all-time leader in field goals, and he holds the NFL record for consecutive extra points- 523 times the kicker has successfully executed the point after a touchdown.

Nine years since he missed one- until last Sunday.

ESPN said the missed kick early in the game “had lasting ramifications throughout Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.” If he had made the extra point, his team would not have had to attempt a two-point conversion that was intercepted with 12 seconds left in the game resulting in the Denver Broncos winning 20-18 and advancing to the Super Bowl.

Gostkowski said after the game that he felt like the miss “lost the game” for the Patriots. “It was my fault, 100 percent. I just didn’t hit a good kick.”

PERFECTION 3

Teammates and coaches rallied to Gostkowski’s defense. They acknowledged his contribution to the team’s winning efforts all season long. “It’s not Stephen’s fault at all,” special-teams captain Matthew Slater said. “We definitely wouldn’t be here [in the AFC title game] without him.”

Teammate Rob Gronkowski said. “It’s a team game. It’s not one individual’s fault. You can’t put it on the hands of Stephen.”

Cornerback Logan Ryan called him “the best kicker in the league”and other teammates had similar messages. In spite of all the support, Gostkowski said. “I never would have thought missing a kick in the first quarter would be the difference in the game, but that’s why you’ve got to be good all the time.”

PERFECTION 1

Stephen, no one can be “good all the time.” Everybody makes mistakes. No one should give less than their best but nobody is perfect.

What do you do when your best is not good enough? Winston Churchill said, “Sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Sometimes you must do what is required.”

Lawrence D. Elliott said in a Huffington Post blog, “Admitting when we just don’t measure up is difficult for many people. They believe it’s a sign of weakness to admit one’s deficiencies.” He goes on to say, “Although it does sting, the realization that you’re not good enough should not be an ego-crushing experience. It’s a recurring thing in our lives, so we’d better learn how to deal with it. It happens in all areas of our existence.”

PERFECTION 6

Christian singer Amy Grant confesses, “I did the best I could, and in some arenas my best was not good enough. I’ve made some bad choices.” That is true for all of us but we must learn to forgive ourselves. Most importantly, we must learn to accept forgiveness and affirmation. Nobody is perfect.

Forgiveness is a divine attribute. We need to learn to accept it for ourselves and to offer it to others.

Jamie Jenkins

One of the best lunch bargains in town is the hot dog combo at Costco. If fine dining is your thing, then you would not find this satisfactory but for the price you can’t beat it. $1.59 gets you a large hot dog or polish and a drink. I am not happy that Costco does not serve Coca Cola products but the Minute Maid Pink Lemonade is alright.

Ketchup, mustard, relish, and onions, are available to dress your dog- and you can add sauerkraut on request. I prefer the polish with all the fixings. Not especially healthy but good.

I was enjoying one of those delicious lunches recently and noticed something unusual. The two women who ordered just before me sat nearby with their well dressed hot dogs. Each of them also had one of the large Berry Sundaes (only $1.59). They were eating their hot dogs with a knife and fork.

If you load the dog with all the condiments there is no way to eat it neatly but a knife and a fork!? That’s like eating barbeque ribs with utensils without picking them up. I do not want to disparage these two people but there are some things that just require you to pick them up with your fingers and be messy. At least that is the way we do it “down south.”

Someone might think its bad manners and they might be right. But I think it is just a cultural thing. There are a lot of things that may seem strange to you but very natural to another. It is not a matter of right or wrong but the accepted practice may vary in different geographic areas and with different ethnic customs.

My grandchildren were born in Japan where chopsticks are used instead of the utensils that I use to eat. In some cultures people eat from a common dish and use their fingers. Not right or wrong. Cultural differences.

I live in the United States where we drive on the right side of the road. However, in some parts of the world people believe the other side is the correct one. The way people dress can identify their country of origin.

I was born in Alabama and have lived for more than four  decades in Georgia. It is common to hear someone say, “Y’all come to see us,” but everyone knows that they don’t really expect you to take them up on the invitation. It’s a cultural thing just like saying “Yes, Ma’am.”

David Brooks, a writer for the New York Times refers to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ book, “Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence.” In it he suggests a “Theology of the Other: a complex biblical understanding of how to see God’s face in strangers.” That sounds like what the Apostle Paul was offering when he said God does not see us according to our ethnic origin, social standing, or gender (Galatians 3:28). I don’t think it is stretching his intention to add many other things that identify us and often separate us.

God, help us to see each other as you see us and treat everyone with dignity and respect because we all are your special creations.

Jamie Jenkins

If you have ever put your foot in your mouth, you have probably discovered that shoe leather does not taste good. I have been accused of taking my foot out of my mouth only to make room for the other one.

Speaking before you think is a dangerous thing. It can be destructive and can often get you in trouble. Off the cuff remarks, while they might be witty and humorous, can do damage. It is important to learn to put you brain in gear before you open your mouth to speak.

Dr. Neil Wyrick offers the following suggestions to help us engage in positive speech. (http://oneadayyourspiritualvitamins.blogspot.com/):

Spell out the word think and examine each letter one by one.

T…is it true?  This tale or opinion of someone or does it resemble to some degree distortions of a funhouse mirror…with no fun at all attending.

H…is it helpful?  Will it clear the air or pollute the air?

I…is it inspiring?  Will it make the angels sing or the devils dance or logic weep?

N…is it necessary that we spread the story? Will the world be a better or worse place by our answer and action applied to this question?

K…is it kind?  Ah, that word kindness cuts to the heart of the matter now doesn’t it?”

“A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!” (James 3:3-5, The Message).

“If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless” (James 1:26, New Living Translation).

Jamie Jenkins

*Reprint from Monday Morning in North Georgia June 2, 2012

 

History has recorded many tyrants, despots, and dictators. They have destroyed civilizations and wreaked havoc wherever they have been. Inestimable damage has resulted from their autocratic and violent reigns. Currently terrorists are creating chaos and destruction throughout the world.

Whether they rule a nation, control a radical religious or political faction, or espouse racial bigotry, they are all bullies. Some are powerful political or religious figures while others are angry societal misfits. They are all bullies.

“Everyone likely has a bullying story, whether as the victim, the bully, or as a witness.” (Michael Honda)

We have heard a lot recently about bullying among children and youth but bullies are not only nasty kids or mean teenagers. Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. They don’t all capture the news headlines or make a big splash. But they cause immeasurable harm to individuals and groups of all sizes.

Bullies may be aggressive drivers, pushy salespersons, bossy friends, co-workers, or angry strangers. They are the kid who steals a classmates lunch money. They are the boss that uses their position of power to harass those who are less powerful. They are close friends, neighbors, and family members.

Bullying can include repeatedly making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, or excluding someone from a group, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

You may not call them bullies but you know them. You have encountered them. With their words and actions they use intimidation, threats and fear. They play mind games of manipulation and control. They cause much emotional and physical  damage.

The Irish Times (Dec. 12, 2015) reported that “one third of trainee doctors say they have experienced bullying and harassment at work, according to a survey by the Irish Medical Council. The survey also found that over half of trainee doctors – 56 per cent – have witnessed someone else being bullied or harassed.”

“Bullying is a national epidemic.” (Macklemore)

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, asserts that “matters of workplace harassment (bullying) have gained interest among practitioners and researchers as it is becoming one of the most sensitive areas of effective workplace management… Under occupational health and safety laws around the world, workplace harassment and workplace bullying are identified as being core psychosocial hazards

Bullying never has to do with you. It’s the bully who is insecure. (Shay Mitchell)

Bullies are unhappy and unhealthy people who act out in inappropriate ways that inflict harm on others in an effort to boost their own sense of self-worth. They will continue to have their way at the expense of others and cause harm until we stand up to them and say “no more.”

We must recognize the strength that lies within each one of us- whether the bully is a radical Islamic terrorist, a family member, a friend, or whoever. We must resist the efforts of bullies to force their agenda upon us. We must not allow any individual or group to destroy our dignity as children of God.

In the beginning of this new year let us pledge to be present for those who feel they have no voice. To stand with those, near and far, who are oppressed. To oppose anyone who will attempt to impose their ideas and ideals upon us or others through intimidation and harassment. Let us join Jesus in his mission “to set free the oppressed, downtrodden, and bruised” (Luke 4:18).

Jamie Jenkins