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Faith Doesn’t Work without the Works

Book launchOn the 13th of January, my book was released. It’s titled, Fit2Finish: Keeping Your Soccer Players in the Game. No, I didn’t self publish. There is actually a publisher out there who believed in me and believed in my message enough to work with me to get this into print. Thank you, Morgan James, Publishing, for getting it into stores and into e-format so people can take a look at my work and decide for themselves whether it’s worth buying.

Here’s the KC part: when you publish a book, people are really happy for you. They congratulate you on your accomplishment, celebrate you on Facebook and Twitter and generally make a big deal about you.

“It must feel good,” they say, “to have arrived!”

IMG_6436IMG_6318And for a moment, it does. The moment when you open your box of shiny new books and look at your name on the cover, it feels very satisfying. But then the delivery truck arrives with the cases and cases of books needing selling. You thank the nice man who helped hoist your crate into your garage. You thank the kind neighbor who helped form the brigade to heave the cartons into your basement. You stack them neatly out of the way, waiting for the orders to roll in, so these books can go flying out the door!

But they don’t, because who knows about them? Who knows you? Who are you anyway?

When the glitter fades you are left seated on the throne of your unsold books, or perhaps buried by that very pile of books. The ones that were meant to be your “contribution to the world!” your “gift to all those families” the “saving grace for all those kids.”

Well-wishers glance in your direction and smile. “Good luck,” they say, as they depart for more important things and to attend to more pressing matters. They don’t say but I hear, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill.” (James 2:16)* The words spoken to a brother or sister in need who lacks the necessities of life, while (we) go along (our) way, failing to supply it.

Faith doesn’t work without the works.

How very poignant this message is to me now. My dearest of friends – the ones who truly believe in me – show me their faith, not with casual mentions or polite congratulations, but by showing up and sharing the work. They have purchased books, shared them with friends, connected me with resources, and generally spread the good word.

lebolt_v10There’s a book here whose author I know and trust. She’s got something important to say. Listen to her.”

I am responsible for that book. Inspired by my friends’ belief, I continue to work for the good of those who are dearly loved by the One who inclined me to write the book. Sale or no sale, He still gets His word in edgewise. “Don’t let up. This is My work you are doing.”

Faith in your story isn’t enough. You have to be out there telling it. Books don’t sell themselves, you know!

*God-nod: I was inclined to share the idea of this post but I couldn’t quite recall where the Bible story was. I opened my copy of The Upper Room this morning, and there was the verse, inspiring a powerful meditation by another author.

Deception is never harmless and often lasting

It seems harmless. A phrase posted on a Facebook status. It’s not true, but it’s part of a game. You post something that is nonsensical or hard to believe about yourself and then the comments start rolling in. What? What are you talking about? The trick is, everyone who comments then has to post one of these phrases on their status. And their friends, and their friends, and so on. This is how it can go viral. Which is exactly what the Breast Cancer folks want (read irony into that if you will) who started this “game” in the first place.

Here are your options if you want to play the game:

“LOL…You should not have liked or commented! Now you have to pick one of the 14 below and post to your status. This is the 2014 breast cancer awareness game. Don’t be a spoil sport! Choose your poison and change your status: 1) Damn diarrhea 2) Just used my boobs to get out of a speeding ticket 3) Anyone have a tampon, I’m out 4) How do you get rid of foot fungus 5) Why is nobody around when I’m horny? 6) No toilet paper goodbye socks! Post with no explanations. 7)Someone offered me a job as a prostitute but I’m hesitant. 8)I think I’m in love with someone what should I do? 9)I’ve decided 2 stop wearing underwear. 10)I still love my ex. 11)I really don’t know how 2 tell anyone and I’m sick of hiding it I’m gay. 12)Guess it was 2 good 2 b true I’m pregnant. 13)Just won $7000 on a scratchy. 14)I’ve just found out I’ve been cheated on for the past 5 months.Post with no explanations. Sorry I fell for it too ! LOL!!!”

Now “Don’t be a spoil sport.” “Choose your poison. “Now you have to…” Do any of those send out bells and whistles for you? … Just a game.

I declined to participate ~ which should be option #15. Even when this choice isn’t stated, it’s available. We can choose another path. I’m good with that. No hard feelings.

Except, in this case the status my friend posted was #13, the ‘least harmless’ I am sure it seemed to her. As a committed Christian, it’s the least obtrusive, least likely to hurt anyone who misunderstands. She was just sharing some “made up good news.” Since I am a close friend, I see all her status posts and was immediately excited for her. Albeit a bit confused that she had a lottery ticket but still, it’s nice to hear that a good person has stumbled on some really good fortune.

Then, when I commented with “!!!” I got her message with the “changes of status” that I had to choose from. I was appalled. Actually angry. Here was someone I trusted. I actually celebrated her good news and then she said, “Gotcha!”

Harmless, right? Well no. Because I know people who have fallen for “good news” …

  • the good news that someone loves them, then really doesn’t
  • good news that they’ve won a trip when they really haven’t
  • good news that they are under consideration for a spot on the team when they really weren’t
  • good news that life will get better and it hasn’t

There is lots of news out there masquerading as good news and it isn’t. When we practice deceit in the guise of good news it’s even worse than deceiving with news that is suspect. Because everyone knows to be suspicious of that. But people who have fallen prey to good news that wasn’t learn that news is not trustworthy, and they determine that they will never be so stupid again as to be deceived by anyone bearing good news. Their hearts are hardened against the one thing that will save them. This sounds to me like very bad news indeed.

Yes, as a Christian I must be discerning about all I read and all I hear, but especially about all I share. Because it has the power to reach the ends of the earth. And there’s only one thing that should have that power. Sharing anything else disrupts the power lines. And that is very, very bad news indeed.

I am with the Breast Cancer Community heart and soul. I have many friends who have suffered with this illness, some who currently are. Cancer, itself, is doing a fine job of spreading the news of the horror of this illness, it’s treatment and the lives lived in the shadow of it. But spreading good news and calling it true when it isn’t gives an already skeptical society even more reason not to trust good news when they hear it. And that is certainly not what you intend to go viral. In fact, it sounds much more like cancer.

Looking for truth through fallible eyes

See is believing, right? Well, yes and no.

I was talking with an elderly man who has been colorblind since, well, at least the 10th grade. That’s when they discovered it. When they showed his class the disk with the pixels and everyone else saw 9. He saw 27.

traffic-light-allHe’s red-green colorblind which is, apparently, the most common form of the disability. This means he can’t distinguish red from green. This presents a unique problem when it comes to traffic lights.

“I memorized the order,” he says.

He sees things in shades. The lit one is brighter gray…I guess. How really would I know? I can’t see what he’s seeing any more than he can see what I see.

Curious. He knows that diamonds and hearts are red. How? Because whatever “color” he sees them, he has learned, is red. Green? same. Purple, same. Yellow, same. He has taught himself to distinguish colors in ways I don’t have to. Literally, he sees color in the shades of gray.

So, how do we know what color something REALLY is? He sees it one way. I see it another. In fact, how do we know what shape or shade or orientation something really is? Maybe we just don’t see it. Or we don’t see it clearly? Or we see it differently?

Or, we interpret it differently because of our experiences, our perspective, our “dis”ability.

How do we know what something really is if our senses are all we have to count on? And they’re fallible. Or at least inconsistent, person to person.

“There are some things,” the elderly man says. “I just can’t think of them now.”

“What if there was something we all gathered around, each with our different sensations and perspectives, and it was the same to all of us?” I ask him.

“Yes,” he said, “that would be it.”

Perhaps the heavenly throne will be like this. Something around which we all can agree.

“Is that what you see?”

“Yes, I see it, too. Just that way.”

The only way we’d know it would be to consult the other. Down to the very last one. It wouldn’t be defined by our perspective. Rather, it would be confirmed by our consultation. Non-negotiable. Consensus, without debate.

That would be truth. Wouldn’t you agree?

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