Monday, October 25, 2010

A Presidential Debate

Last Thursday was a momentous occasion for me – my seven year old and I got to see the President speak. After posting a few photos and my status on Facebook, the feedback was not all positive. Though the majority was thrilled, more than one person must have been stunned – indicated by the following response: “Why would you do that? Did you know that he supports abortion?”

Oh, no! This is the worst blog entry ever. He’s talking religion, politics, and abortion in one entry. The trifecta of no-nos. I’m sure that more than one person was disgusted that I went to see him. I also know that many were thrilled if not downright jealous.

President Obama came to the University of Washington, a mere 25 minutes from our house, to support one of our senators who is seeking reelection. This was my first political rally and in many ways it was a lot like a church service: lots of passionate people, lots of enthusiasm, and a gathering of people with varying degrees of conviction.

The older I get the more confused I get in determining my response to politics. Neither political party represents my convictions A-Z. And so many politicians become corrupted by power. Frankly I don’t know how so many people swallow the inconsistencies of either party. Many loudmouth preachers have equated the Republican Party with God’s will manifest. Really? I thought God wanted to protect the environment and prioritize the poor. But the Democrats are neither the answer. As my FB Friend commented, abortion sickens me to no end and big government is not always the answer.

As I stared at the thousands cheering for the President, I simultaneously thought “how cool to be here” and “it’s too bad most Christians aren’t this enthusiastic about their faith.” I came away from this profound experience proud of my President. He comported himself very humbly and he’s doing some pretty good things. But I equally came away more convinced that Jesus is the answer. There is no one or no thing we can fully trust other than Him. Psalm 20:7 says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” A political party, government, a political philosophy, money, movies, rock stars, a good career, true love, 401Ks, a charismatic pastor, Subarus, nor a healthy lifestyle are the answers. As you think about what you truly hope and trust in, join me in praying (if you’re so inclined) for those in political, secular, and ecclesial leadership. May our humility and faith be transparent and measurable.

Monday, October 18, 2010

College Football Saturdays

One of the true consolations to losing summer is college football Saturdays. If you haven't the faintest interest in football, please stay with me here. Though attending baseball games was the sport of choice for the Frasers in the 70s & 80s, football has become the new favorite. As kids we took road trips with the sole purpose of going to state capitals and baseball games. We would also drive through the occasional college campus. Thanks to my folks' teaching profession and love of travel, I've been to 49 states and over 20 baseball stadiums.

But these days, my interest in football has far surpassed any other televised sport. If you so choose, you can wake up Saturday mornings and begin watching games at 9am and still be at the edge of your seat 14 hours later. Then you can watch highlight shows 'til dawn on Sunday.

For me, I love the sport and the geography:

The Sport - Believe it or not the sport surpasses just brutality. There's incredible athleticism and intelligence required. No other sport requires as much homework from its players - though they often elude their biology or French classes. The games rarely exceed 3 hours and if I record the games, I can watch one in 75 minutes.

The Geography - It's rather simple to transport yourself across country in a matter of seconds. On my 55 degree October Saturday I can mock those poor suckers in Minnesota wearing parkas and snow boots...and I can shoot darts at those lucky jerks in Arizona wearing tank tops. I can recall one of numerous road trips with my parents driving from state to state, touring this university or that, meeting farmers, urban dwellers, and residents of mid-size college towns. Dwelling on friendly rivalries between schools, I think of Johnny Carson's old joke from his Nebraska roots, "Why do the football fields in Iowa (or insert rival school/state here) have artificial turf football fields? So the cheerleaders won't graze after the games."

I am thankful to my parents for their gift of travel. (Of course it has come back to haunt them - their son has lived all over the western U.S. and their daughter is rarely even on this continent.) I am reminded of life's simple joys: like travel, like college football Saturdays, and like coffee (which I imbibe while reading the paper and watching the games). And watching those games reminds me of friends connected to those schools. Philippians 1:3 says, "I thank my God every time I remember you." So, I'm thankful to folks like...Jeff (who went to Illinois). My grandpa (who went to USC). My sister (who roots for UCLA and gets loads of grief from this USC fan practically every November). My old neighbor who bleeds Texas orange. My co-worker (who indoctrinates me on everything UW). The mom who teaches one of my Sunday school classes (who went to WSU and has to root for them). And any of you who has season tickets to the University of Hawaii - hint, hint.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fingerpainting, Part II

Yes, you’re reading that correctly. And no, I haven’t had an official entry entitled “Fingerpainting.” This entry actually carries over from last week’s discussion, but it’s a better title than “More Poop Scooping.” Call it the theme of the month, but we had a new event in our house this week.

I knew it was coming. Just like the way our girls each cut their own hair. I had just had this conversation two days prior with a friend at work. And I had been warned by my cousin on Facebook just a week or two ago. Our two year old fingerpainted on his crib. Suffice it to say, he provided his own art medium.

I got wind of this event when I went to retrieve him from his afternoon nap. The proverbial cloud penetrated the crack below the bedroom door and I knew…“something stinks” – no intuition needed. The last thing I remember, I yelled out, “Man down.” There was full nudity: a big rear end sticking up in the air, clothes strewn, and only his blue socks remained on his feet. The reinforcements (Jana) sprinted upstairs. We rock-paper-scissored for bath vs. doody cleanup duty. I guess we both lost because…well we were both cleaning poop.

The crib was clean after ten minutes – I used 409 and steel wool…seriously! (Apparently the above offense occurred well before the nap began.) Soon we resumed our afternoon of fun watching football and eating salsa with good friends like nothing had happened. We swept the area faster than a Haz-Mat crew. Shouldn’t we be getting paid for this?

Had last week’s blog entry never occurred perhaps I wouldn’t have been as prepared for this. Had I never had to change a diaper I wouldn’t have been prepped for that. If I continue rewinding I gradually find myself in high school again. A world apart! It’s no wonder high school students roll their eyes when I tell them about the roller coaster of parenthood – they’re light years away in many senses. But this stage of life is irreplaceable. The reminiscent King Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes that “…there is a time for everything…a time to weep and a time to laugh…a time to keep and a time to throw away…a time to be silent and a time to speak.” Well here’s my chance to speak. Though this may have been a time to throw away, it’s a time to keep. These are the moments that put life in perspective. No matter how gross this task, ‘tis a privilege to be where we are.

But, here’s hoping this is only a two part series!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Super Duper Pooper Scoopers

Recently it has become a big deal in this house…er, yard, for the two younger children to help daddy…uh…scoop poop. Of course I don’t let them actually scoop. They’re actually Pooper Spotters. Here’s how it goes down:

Because it rains constantly and the lawn isn’t freezing like it does in winter, you have to mow the yard every week or you get a nasty little phone call from the HOA (read: people who choose to spend life not attacking global poverty, but driving around complaining about neighbors with too many weeds in their flower bed). So every week I head to the back yard for overgrowth management. But before the lawn mower is revved up, I go searching for land mines so they’re neither stepped in nor projectiled while cutting the grass.

The kids love to play in the back yard and are usually present while I’m landscaping. Within milliseconds of picking up the shovel, the two munchkins quickly stand at attention and volunteer their finding services. They zig zag, they search, they celebrate, they point. Daddy walks to the scene of the crime, scoops, and praises his colleagues’ efforts.

It’s bewildering. It’s comical. It’s a bit disturbing too. Can one really be enthused at discovering dog poop? ’Til now I didn’t think so. The thought had never crossed my mind. But there they are – week in and week out – my doo doo discoverers.

Kids are the best. They just keep you guessing, confused, and laughing. We’re told in the New Testament book of Matthew that Jesus openly welcomed kids and their zest for life. “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” May we all maintain their joy, wonder, innocence, and faith in all we do!