Tuesday, August 25, 2009

To Tell the Truth

For those of us who have been trying to follow all of the proposals, bills, and changes in Washington this past year, it has been difficult at best and impossible at worst. I think I have part of the reason -- we don't know who is telling the truth.

For example, we were told that the "Cash for Clunkers" program was a success. Our local news reported car sales boomed, energy-efficient vehicles increased the national miles-per-gallon figure, and Congress voted twice to fund the program. That sounds like a success. But then the same local news reported that 8 out 10 top-selling cars were Japanese and South Korean cars with only 52 percent of them made in America. The same news report showed dealers who have empty lots and empty check book balances as they wait for the Federal money. That doesn't sound good.

Health care reform has been a hot topic almost daily on every news outlet. We are told Health care reform will not raise taxes, will not create "death squads," and will not fund abortions. We are told vocal opponents who seize on rumors and use bad manners to get their point across are shouting out misinformation. We are told private health care insurance programs will not be forced out of business. That sounds like good news. But then at the same time reports on TV show only one person who is vocal, members of Congress who admit taxes will be raised, and verbiage from proposals that seem to contradict the party line. That doesn't sound good.

The government, of course, doesn't have the corner on stretching the facts or withholding information. Phone solicitors promise goods and don't deliver; banks take mortgage money and then close; investment houses line the pockets of the wealthy at the expense of the soon-to-be poor, even athletes swear they aren't on steroids.

And closer to home we can cite times when family members have lied, stretched the truth, or misrepresented themselves. With each falsehood, the moral fiber of our society frays a bit more. With society's acceptance of non-truths and half-truths, should we be surprised when elected officials, business leaders, or even families indulge?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Survey Says. . .

Thank you to all who took time to complete our latest survey. Your knife is in the mail - if you were one of the first 500.

You shared and we listened. We already have started discussions on how we can implement the ideas, suggestions and findings into our eNews, BLOG, Bible studies and website. You gave us much to work on,

Some interesting results:

Over 64% of respondents indicated that you read it every week and over 26% occasionally - thank you.
Over 37% would like to see more graphics - we will work on that one.
Only 38% of you have ever forwarded it on to a friend. Challenge: What would it take for you to forward it on?

Bible study session:
Over 66% of you reported that your study group ranges from 6-20 men. Challenge: What would it take to have all of your study group registered to receive the eNews?

Bible Study Suggestions:
The winner: "Is This the Time to go Beyond the Ballot Box?"
Close second: "Just these 66?" or "the Gospel of Judas and Other Books that Began the Tournament But Didn't Play on Sunday"

Website (www.lhmmen.com):
Best value: Baloney Shop with a 44% "Excellent" rating. Bible studies and Upcoming events followed.
Too Tame according to 57% - comments indicated we should get out there with hard hitting, no-holds barred, take a stand website that tells it the way it is and challenges men

Cool Insight: Over 23% responded that their group attracted new members because of the Men's NetWork activities. That is awesome! Challenge: How can you attract even more new members to your groups Men's NetWork activities?

Cool Insight 2: Over 66% of the men responding to the survey are between the ages of 35-64. This was younger than expected! Challenge: How can you invite more pof this age group to participate in your Men's NetWork group?

Cool Insight 3: Over 97% of the respondents indicated they are on Facebook. Challenge: Become a Men's NetWork Facebook page fan and contribute to the page - pictures, comments, etc. are welcomed.

We pray that you will be continued to be blessed to be a blessing as you use the Men's NetWork.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I have something to admit: I don't know everything. I know this disclosure will upset some, but I must confess there are things in this world I ponder over and just can't understand. Here are a couple of enigmas, for example:

The Hand Dryer
After washing my hands in the restroom at the local mall, I went to grab a paper towel from the dispenser. The dispenser was empty -- as were the other two down the aisle. I had to resort to one of those reverse vacuum hose electrical dryers that take time, peel the skin off my hands, and really don't work that well. As I was rubbing my hands gently under the airflow, I read the sign posted next to it -- "Go Green, Reduce, Reuse, Renew." The implication was this air hand dryer would protect the earth and its resources for future generations.

I don't get it. How can using an electrical device be better for the environment than using paper products? Paper products are made from trees that grow again and again. Trees are a renewable resource. Throw a paper towel in the dump and soon you will have -- compost. That's not too shabby. Throw an electrical hand dryer in the dump and you will have -- an electrical hand dryer. Trees versus electricity.

Where I live, electricity is made from coal. A byproduct of this process is mercury, dust, smoke, and pollution. So, I need to save the earth by using more electricity? I don't get it. (Although the electrical hand dryer does move air around, which can be a good thing in a men's restroom.)

Nope. I don't mean the Canadian Football League, even though I will never understand Canadian football. Compact fluorescent lamps are supposed to save us energy and be good for the earth. Again, I'm all for saving the environment, but I wonder how using a mercury-filled light that works awkwardly in light fixtures and costs from three to ten times more than regular lights, is something we should be forced to use.

I'm not ready to return to whale blubber oil lamps, bee's wax candles, or kerosene lanterns for nocturnal indoor lighting -- although the romantic ambience is sometimes a boon. I'm just mystified at the wisdom of replacing what we have with something that is arguably not a whole lot better.

Lest one should get the wrong idea, I'm all for progress, convenience, and the wise use of our limited natural resources. As a Christian and a responsible citizen, I have a double desire to use what we have to the best of our ability. Truth be told, I think we need the old-fashioned cloth towels to dry our hands and I'd be happy to just light the house by the glow of the TV set. Alas, that wouldn't be prudent or responsible.

I write this to get you thinking about your use of God's gifts. When given a choice, I will always try to err on the side of responsible use of resources -- even if I have to stand in line in the men's room to dry my hands or figure out how to screw in a funny looking CFL.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What's in Your Bucket List?

As teenagers, lots of us start making "bucket lists" -- dream lists of items we want to accomplish before we "kick the bucket." Somewhere in our early 20s we may even write one out and stick it in our wallet. You're probably cranked out just such a list. These lists detail the great things we're going to accomplish, the exciting places we're going to visit and how, in a nutshell, we're going to be living large.

All too often though we end up like George Bailey from It's A Wonderful Life -- lots of dreams, too much responsibility, and zero travel. That can be a good thing showing that we're men of integrity who stay true to our responsibilities. However, sometimes we look at our lives and wish for something more. We think about skydiving, traveling on a safari, flying a plane, shooting a deer, gliding underwater in a submarine, scuba diving, or some other bucket list desire.

And there you go. We can get caught in the trap of living for ourselves or living for others. Do we buy that expensive toy for us or put food on the table for the family? Do we chuck it all and go on a solitary vacation or do we hang out at the park with the kids? Do we eat exotic and expensive food or is it popcorn at the movies with the little lady?

I confess I am very satisfied with my life -- my responsibilities. But that's easy for me. I feel I've accomplished most of my bucket list. Still, there are a few items left to be crossed off. The last item on my list has to do with being remembered as a man of God who made a positive difference. Selfishly, I will wait much longer to fulfill that one.

But seriously, when it comes right down to it that is the most important item on my list. All other accomplishments pale in comparison. So, having crossed off my submarine ride, piloting an airplane, and scuba diving, I still want to work on being a man of integrity, and of course, "being remembered as a man of God who made a positive difference."

What's in your bucket list?