Being Better Than You Sucks

This week a woman in Texas, Amber Guyger, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder of Botham Jean in his own home. Guyger, a former police officer walked into Jean’s apartment thinking it was her’s and shot him when he got up from his own chair while eating ice cream. There are so many pieces to the story that you can google but I want to focus on two parts. Before the trial ended, I thought she’d be seen as innocent. Most people did. I mean, come on! She’s a cop. Cops don’t go to jail. On March 3, 1991, Rodney King was beating within an inch of his life on camera by 4 cops, surrounded by cops ON VIDEO and a jury found them all innocent…so I wasn’t holding my breath. Then she was convicted.

WHAT?!?!?

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I'm Glad You're Dead

I made a promise to be back to Lewisporte, which was about an hour and change away, for an event so I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time to see building. But once I finally got back to it and saw it’s size (it looked like the school house from “Little House on the Prairie) and took in the sights around it (a small deserted fish market, a few tires and water), I began to imagine what it would have looked and felt like in its heyday. I began to imagine a family walking in while being greeted by the pastor at the door while other people walked around in their Sunday best. I thought about all the sermons spoken and songs sung and what may have led to its eventual closing.

After standing outside for a while, I decided that I had a few moments to walk inside, if the door was open. And it was!! Fear gripped me as I walked in, worried about waking up a family of rats, a family of humans or even worse, a demogorgon. But alas, there were no stranger things there, just the sound of the wind moving in and out of the broken windows, my vans hitting the flooring and my breath…slow and steady as I took in the sights.

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"20 More Minutes, Liam!" - Experiencing the Raptors Parade with the Chase Kids

“20 more minutes” I would keep saying to Liam as we would hear about how far the team was from our location…”They’ll be here in 20 minutes, pal!” 20 minutes became an hour of the kids getting free juicy fruit, starting random Let’s go raptors chants and playing Old Town Road on repeat. It was fun and it was painful, all at the same time.

But then finally the team showed up. Superfan led the way with his customary towel high in the air. “Thank you Masai” filled the sky as he and his family led the way in the first car. Coach Nurse looked super even keel even as he was cheered and waved at. Then there were floats with some staff people that we didn’t really know but hey, they were on floats, so they got cheered too.

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Sunday Confessions

“If you have sinned, you should tell each other what you have done. Then you can pray for one another and be healed. The prayer of an innocent person is powerful, and it can help a lot.” - James 5:16, CEV

I have carried around a deep shame in my life that few know.

One that has ruined many parts of my life.

One that has broken friendships, hurt close relationships and left me untrustworthy to many.

Shame is a terrible thing.

Especially, when it my case, this confession is not as deep as my opening words have made it out to be.

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Trying to Explain Blackness to a Seven-Year-Old

Liam is a legit seven year old boy. He's not thinking about his skin or the skin of his friends. He’s thinking about this list and adding WWE to it and doing pro presenter at church on Sundays. He’s thinking about how to trick me into letting him have another snack even after his mom said no more snacks. And yet, one day the reality that he is different will hit him.

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Leadership Lessons from Adele's Grammy Performance

If you watch her eyes, you can see she knows there's nothing she can do but motor through that sucker and save face. The longer it goes, fear leads to sadness, sadness leads to frustration, frustration then leads to the dark side. Okay, that's a bit much but she's not happy at all. After the 4:00 mark, she aims her best through the key change and it's not her best, according to her body language (side note: Her worst is still better than 98% of the world's "gold medal day" and I'm in the LOW end of that percentile). It's the 4:46 part that kills me though, when she knows it's over and the pro reminds us all that she's a human with one shrug to then shortly after, deflect attention by saying "I love you Kendrick, you're amazing."

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3rd Times A Charm - MCS 2016 DR Trip Recap

"So where does this trip rank in comparison to the other two?"

Wifey's question as we drove from Pearson airport caused me to pause and stammer a bit. It had been something some of our current first years asked me on our last day too and as with them, I didn't have a good answer. In fact, I still don't. Each trip brings with it unique challenges, choices, circumstances, comments and characters. While some of the elements might be the same (i.e. We'll always have classes during the trip since it is a class and not a traditional mission trip), how that translates into and through the life of a group of 18 to 24 year old is never the same. Even how I experience these trips changes.

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Leader's Log & Testimony (An MCS DR Recap)

...They aren’t perfect. They still can lean on immaturity at the wrong time. They can still have “opinions that they haven’t earned yet”. They can still move a little slow when they should move fast or try to outlead each other when they are frustrated. But every leader does this too. They are learning leaders. Learning from each other and older mentors on how to lead and to do the wise thing. You can't beat that, man.

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THIS STRUGGLE IS REAL (This is The Voice...I hate)

Yesterday in church, my pastor Dave Larmour shared a great teaching the importance of reading the Bible every day. He would have had no clue that I had planned and written this post the afternoon before as a "Welcome to my life" journal SPECIFICALLY on the day to day grind of reading the Bible every day. I am a husband, father, pastor of sorts and leader. 

And I struggle with the guilt of missing "devotions". 

This is what some of my mornings start like.

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The Curse of "Better" (A Thriller Tale)

In the 80s, it was cool to LOVE Michael Jackson. This was before any allegations. Before the hanging of a kid from a balcony and the dancing on a car. This was when it was a BOSS MOVE to have a pet monkey named Bubbles and to just bring him AND a date to award shows. And then another time, he brought a little person from a TV show and just carried him everywhere WHILE dating Brooke Shields. (He was Gaga before Gaga was Stephanie, man…). This was when everyone wanted to moonwalk and wear a shinny glove. And this was when Thriller came out.

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Dealing With A Common Addiction

"It is said that if you wake up in the morning and the first thing you crave is a drink, you might be an alcoholic. If you wake you in the morning and the first thing you do is check your phone to read email or scan through your social media before you even get out of bed, you might be an addict." Simon Sinek, Leaders Eat Last

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The Early Adopters (Race & @ThePAOC Follow Up)

I also learned that we have to define what we mean by diversity. Diversity is more than color or gender…but it’s the appropriate appreciation of the differences that make us special. It’s asking the right question, making people feel cared for. It’s listening and not judging. It’s not mocking with clothing or voice but making people feel safe. It’s not trying too hard or inappropriately through cultural appropriation. It’s celebrating the best of us. It also isn't promotion by legislation (a Christian version of the NFL's Rooney Rule) by based on who's right for the job. 

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Race, The PAOC, The Clippers and Me

...Now when you’re younger, you just laugh some of this stuff off. You laugh at people calling you a white black person (because of course, they are the authority on that stuff). You laugh at them putting up supposed gang signs or wearing their hats different when you come into the room (Because things like Cultural Appropriation are all the rage now, with our Django UnchainedsMiley Cyruses Avril LavangesKaty Perrys and more. Just a thought: If you have to say, it's not racist, it's probably racist). You laugh at the girls who say they wanted to marry black guys to have “beautiful babies”.  You faintly smile when someone says “Smile!” when you’re in the dark because supposedly, your teeth can glow. You even sadly join in, talking about other races and about your own. And look forward to getting out of dodge when it's all said and done... 

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Suicide, Sadness and So What Now?

I just read an article about a fellow minister of the gospel choosing to take his own life. This man, though I don’t know him, is a brother by faith-filled DNA and through our mutual chosen profession. And to hear this news sucks.

At this point, no one knows why he did it and at this point, it won’t make it easier for his wife and two kids to know the why…or maybe it will…or maybe it won’t because he won’t be able to reply to their follow-up questions.

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Letterman, Colbert and the Art of Building a Legacy

Last week, a great leader shared an article titled Why Older Pastors Don’t Retire When They Need To and the first reason listed is their identity. For many leaders, all they have known is the role they’ve been in for years. And the thought of not being known as “_____________” is a non-voiced fear. They get replaced and forgotten about…a picture on a wall with a plaque under it to show their years of service. The only way one could leave this type of role is if they have something to live for BEYOND their role.

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