Distractions

After running the 7 mile race last weekend I succumbed to the business of life and to some distractions that really interfered with my training this week. I didn’t run as much as I had hoped and my core work was severely lacking, as well. Today I ran 9 miles with the Folsom Trail Runners along Folsom Lake. I was able to keep up and ran the whole way. It looks like I am still on track with my training, despite my lax work ethic this week. Next week is a 10 mile run, as I continue to ratchet up towards my 26.2 in December, so I better step up my performance this week.

On the fundraising front, I have 4% of my goal. In the coming weeks I will have an chance to meet some of these children that I am running for. The important thing is to help these kids get the things they need and, hopefully, give them an opportunity to break the poverty cycle they are trapped in. You can help too… https://grouprev.com/kirkmcmorris

On Our Way…

I felt slow this week!

The Insanity workouts seem to be building up my wind, but the muscles are sore and I just can’t generate any speed while I am running. Then again, I ran 7 miles at Run On The Sly this morning and did it in only 4 minutes more than my 10K (6.2 miles) from the beginning of the year. I even ran the last mile in 7:36 while focusing more on form than speed (thanks Shaun T)… lift those knees, tighten those abs!

My training dilemma at this point is whether to work through the Insanity AND keep up with the running and hope (trust) that when the Insanity 60 days is over, I will have gained strength and endurance. Or, do I lay of the Insanity a bit so that I can make sure I complete the training for the marathon? Hmmm! Not sure yet, but I did end up skipping a couple of days of Insanity this week. For now I will continue to both as best I can.

I know I have several friends also training for the CIM… let me know how you are doing.

On the fundraising side, I see that a couple of friends have donated on my be change site (https://grouprev.com/kirkmcmorris). Thank you for supporting this great cause. Maybe we can’t change the whole world, but we can change this part of it and it won’t take very many of us to make a big change. I can’t wait to see what we can do together.

Chicken, Marriage, and Civil Rights or “How Marriage Equality Advocates Could Win The Debate”

I got sucked into a Facebook debate about Chik Fil A president Dan Cathy the other day. I probably should have just stayed out of it, but it’s been on my mind since then. Dan Cathy was called a bigot, a hate-monger, and intolerant. It also was suggested that the “one issue that separates the ‘good guys’ from the ‘bad guys’ is their opinion on marriage equality.”

I’m not thrilled about being called a “bad guy” and I don’t really agree that I am an intolerant, bigoted, hate-monger. I was even told that I was “hurting people I care about” because of my beliefs and opinions. So I had to think about why this issue has become so huge in recent years and what we can do about it. I think it is necessary to divide the issues and discuss them individually.

First (because it’s easiest) – Dan Cathy, Chicken and The First Amendment…

Reasonable people agree that Dan Cathy has the right to say what he wants and to support causes he chooses with his money. People may choose to not patron his restaurants because they disagree with him. Fine. No one has said that any of this violates his rights or their rights in any way. The First Amendment comes into play only when government officials threaten to limit his ability to do business in their districts because they disagree with his moral views. This is a clearly bigoted and intolerant position on their part… not on Dan Cathy’s part.

This leads to a second issue – terms and definitions…

Bigotry is behavior. Intolerance is behavior. Hate is an attitude. Some have claimed that Dan Cathy (and others) are all three of these because of their beliefs and that the only reason he treats customers and employees the way he does is because it is required by law. This is a ridiculous argument. It is possible to make a conclusion based on someone’s behavior, but it is unreasonable to make a conclusion about their thoughts that is contrary to their behavior. Tolerance is, in fact, the very acceptance of those with whom we disagree. I would concede that Cathy may have been insensitive in the way he answered the question, but it is, at least unfair, to label him in the way that he has been.

Enough about Dan Cathy… he really is not that important to this debate and does nothing to further the discussion, other than perhaps shedding national spotlight on it.

The problem is that some have redefined bigotry and intolerance as anyone who disagrees with their opinion and if one should voice that opposing opinion that is labeled “hate.”

One more clarifying definition… Marriage is NOT a civil right. Marriage is a ceremony, originating with religion, in which a man and woman are joined according to their religious beliefs. This is the definition of the term. Marriage has been recognized by most governments as giving these couples certain rights and responsibilities, but it is not, in and of itself, a right.

This leads us to the question of civil rights. What rights should all people have? What rights are afforded to married couples that others should have and do not?

Finally, then, how can those who are currently arguing for “marriage equality” secure the actual rights they seek for those who are currently denied them. The question to ask is, “Why are these rights given only to married people?” Shouldn’t non-married people, regardless of sexual preference, be allowed to choose their beneficiary? Shouldn’t everyone be allowed to determine who can visit them in the hospital? Shouldn’t any person be able to assign any other person of their choosing to have power of attorney or any other rights of survivorship they choose?

Truth be told, I would never deny any rights to any one and I will fight for and support those who are denied rights for any reason. However, comparing gay marriage to slavery and women’s right to vote is an insult to those who fought so hard for so long for those rights. I don’t believe that opinion makes me bigoted or intolerant. It’s OK with me if you disagree and I don’t hate you if you do so. According to the definition, marriage is not a right. Let’s fight for the actual rights and stop all the name calling and the intolerance on both sides.

Why The World Hates Christians – Part 2

In a word, “Christianeze!”

Christians have a habit of creating words for things that no one else understands. I don’t think it is intentionally designed to push others away, but that is the result.

Here are some examples you may have heard:

“Rapture” – the term given for the time when Christ returns and believers are caught up to join Him. The term does not exist in the Bible and the meaning is completely different outside of Christianity.

“Oh, that will be fun” – a phrase used when discussing doing something one feels they should be doing. Ironically, it rarely refers to something most would consider fun.

“Discipling” – the term created to mean the active process of developing other followers of Christ. If the word were to actually exist, it might also be understood to mean “being a disciple.” The Bible uses the phrase “making disciples” and a correct term for this could also be “mentoring,” but it seems that existing words just aren’t quite good enough.

“Relational vs. Missional” – Current buzz word for the dilemma of whether a church should focus on reaching out to others (missional) or create an inviting atmosphere to draw people in through relationships and small groups (relational). Three problems that I see here… First, “missional” is not a word and there already exist other words with this definition. Second, “relational” has a definition already. Third, and most importantly, Jesus asked us all to GO and teach people, AND to meet together often. He did not tell us to make a different church for each purpose.

“Blessings” – used to convey well-wishes to others, similar to “go with God” or “God be with you” but used among Christians more like “have a nice day.” When used in a mixed environment it just sounds weird and makes non-believers scatter.

There are others, but the point is that by creating our own vocabulary, we isolate ourselves and cause others to be wary (at best).

Truth be told, we push away non-believers, which, obviously, goes against His divine purpose for us all.

Why So Much of the World Hates Christians – Part 1

It is no secret that much of the world dislikes (at least) Christians. Many Christians, on the other hand seem to take this as some sort of affirmation since they are “hated because of Jesus.” Unfortunately, that is not the only reason.

Gandhi said “I like your Christ, I just don’t like your Christians.” I believe this is because there is an air of arrogance among Christians that is all too common. It is ironic to me that the very thing that we should be most humbled by creates this attitude of being better than others. That is, the saving grace offered to all by Jesus Christ’s supreme sacrifice. We are all “saved by grace, and that not of your own selves, lest anyone should boast.” Yet, boast we do.

Christians are often judgmental. Jesus told us that only God will judge, but His would-be followers seem to take upon themselves to be His proxy in determining who is a Christian, what defines a Christian and whether or not they are adequate at being such. Not to get political (that is not my point today), but prominent, well-respected Christian leaders, Franklin Graham and Rick Warren have each taken it upon themselves to declare that presidential candidate Mitt Romney is not a Christian.

Franklin Graham stated that Newt Gingrich is, because he claims to be such, but Romney is not, despite that Romney also claims to follow Christ. Rick Warren says that “the sticking point” is that Mormons do not believe in the Trinity as three separate beings as the “majority of Protestant religions and Catholics do.” There are two major flaws with that statement. First is that Catholics do not believe in the Trinity as three separate beings, but rather as one being who appears in three different forms. His second error is that Mormons do actually believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as three separate beings and state so in their first article of faith.

As an ex-mormon, I will gladly discuss my disagreements with that belief system and reasons that I chose to leave it, but the doctrine of the Trinity is pretty sound in that respect and Rick Warren simply does not have his facts straight. My concern here, however, is with Christ followers claiming that they are in a position to judge who is or is not a Christ follower. Isn’t that for Jesus Christ to determine?

Truth be told, it hurts all of us and diminishes our integrity as representatives of Jesus to claim from God what He says is only His… Judgement is The Lord’s.

Osama Bin Laden and Paul – A Comparison

It has become somewhat trendy among more liberal Christians to make a comparison between Osama Bin Laden and Paul (as in wrote half the New Testament). The thinking is that, before he became Paul, Saul was a really bad guy and then God changed him and he became the most prolific evangelist of his time and, perhaps, since, and that by killing Bin Laden it may have cut short his opportunity to be converted to following Christ and thus change the world as Paul did.

Let me first say that I am not a war monger. I do not support killing and wish that we could all live together in peace. However, war has always been a part of this sin filled world and death has always been a part of war and, in particular, holy wars have always been especially bloody. This post, however, is about my objection to comparing Bin Laden with Paul. We can discuss what makes a war justifiable another time.

Saul was a religious zealot persecuting a specific religion because of their beliefs that threatened his own. Bin Laden was a terrorist using religion in order to destroy a culture and economic system that threatened his own. I’ll concede that he may have seen himself as a religious zealot, but that is where the comparison ends due to the fact that his target was not a specific religious group, but anyone who disagreed with him.  In this, he is much more similar to Hitler that he is to Saul.

Saul was corrected, by God, and shown the error of his ways. He changed his name to Paul and devoted the rest of his life to correcting his error and showing all that he could the truth that he had found. Some may argue that Bin Laden may have changed his ways had it not been for some Navy Seals, but I propose that if God had intended to use Bin Laden in the way He used Paul that God would have protected him from those Seals and he would still be alive.

Truth Be Told, to suppose that the US Government killing Bin Laden messed up God’s plan is to suppose that the US is somehow more powerful than God and diminishes His very essence.

Westboro Church? Protests and the Supreme Court

I have a couple of thoughts on these people and, I promise, and it’s not political.

First, they are despicable people and they will have to answer some day for they way they treat people, for the hatred they spread and the hurt they cause.

Second, they are not really a church, but a group of 11 people who seem to all be related.

Third, they maintained a distance of 1000 feet and the family did not know they were the target of the protest until later.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the first amendment. People have a right to say what they want as long as others can avoid listening and, in this case, the Court ruled that they could.

Jesus taught us to love one another, to forgive each other, to be patient and understanding, even… no… especially… towards those with whom we disagree. I don’t believe the Westboro Baptist Church represents the teachings of Christ very well.

I know that not everyone believes the same way I do and I can allow for others to disagree with me without feeling ill will towards them. I’m not quite vain enough to insist that everyone think exactly like I do, nor so altruistic as to think that the world would be too boring if everyone did.  As Paul said to King Agrippa, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am.”

Truth be told, the world would be a better place if more people were nice to each other. We need more love, not more hate.

Sin City?

It may be true that there are more questionable choices available in Vegas then in a lot of other places – well, perhaps it’s just more readily available… there is prostitution in any city in the world, there are alcoholic drinks available anywhere (and for less than in Vegas), card rooms and bookies work everywhere, not to mention the betting that goes on in TV rooms and bars on every game of every sport world wide. Somehow, Vegas gets the reputation for having all the ‘sin’ available.

It was interesting to see that more and more families are taking vacations in Vegas… bring the kids, there’s lots of fun to be had. But the gambling still gets top billing. Fortunes are lost. Some say that fortunes are won, but they aren’t really. Oh, sure, some few win a car and I’ve seen stories about people hitting it big, but most of them end up losing. There is a reason that casino owners are among the wealthiest people in the world. The ‘house’ always wins in the end. If you choose, you can get ‘free’ drinks while you play. The casino figures that if they give you alcohol you will play longer and are more likely to make poor choices, but that just leads to other issues and you will not drink enough to make up for your losses at the table… I’m just sayin.

Roulette is my favorite. I like the wheel and the fact that I can see everything out there. In general, you bet that 1 of 36 numbers will come up. The odds aren’t very good, but there are ways to increase your chances. You can pick all odd numbers, or all evens, or all black or all red or numbers by groups or numbers in pairs or quads. Of course this increases your odds, but decreases your winnings if you win. I play conservatively… and I still lose. I’ll pick odds or evens and black or red. Usually one hits and the other doesn’t so I lose one and double the other and just move it over to place the same bet again. Every once in a while I hit both and double my money… or hit nothing and lose it all. Sometimes I’ll spread it around and, often, I’ll set my original chips aside and only play with my winnings until they are gone or I have won enough to quit. I’ve watched some people bet on individual numbers and hit. They win big but usually end up losing over all. Very few people walk away from the table with any chips.

My rule: set a budget of entertainment money… don’t lose more than that. Never Play with money you need or because you ‘need’ to win. Play for fun, not for profit. Final rule: Don’t go very often.

Truth be told it’s not gambling if you know you are going to lose.

The Government’s First Responsibility…

is to protect its citizens from foreign invasion. As most of you are probably aware, Arizona is the first state to pass a state law requiring the enforcement of federal immigration law. While those on the left cry “unconstitutional” many more centrist Republicans are jumping on the bandwagon in an effort to gain some (or at least avoid losing any) votes in the November elections.

Here are some facts. People who come into the country illegally are criminals. They break the law by coming here illegally. People who break one law are many times more likely to break other laws. DUIs, hit and run car accidents, thefts, and violent crimes are committed at significantly higher rates by those who have broken the law by coming into our country illegally. People who are here illegally are willing to work off the books for lower wages than citizens or legal residents. This takes jobs and benefits away from people in our work force.

People on the left claim this is about race and racial profiling. Even in Arizona, where 60% of the people are in favor of the law, 50% have at least some concern that racial profiling may be a problem in it’s enforcement. If I go visit another country, I am required to carry with me proof that I am there legally. It has never even occurred to me that it has anything to do with race. I have a legal driver’s license that I have to carry with me all the time. If I am questioned by law enforcement and they deem it necessary for me to show my identification, I have to do so. It has nothing to do with my race. It is a simple matter to prove that I am legally in the country and that I am who I claim to be.

California wants to declare war on Arizona. Texas and Utah are about to sign similar laws as the Arizona mandate, so I suppose California will declare war on them as well. Obviously California thinks it is still as popular as it used to be. Liberal spending and anti-American sentiment in California has destroyed the economy here and driven away businesses as well as residents. I suggest an opposing approach. If you have a business in California, move it to Arizona, Texas or Utah. If you are planning a family vacation, go spend your money in those states and avoid the high-priced California vacation spots. If you are thinking of moving, move to a state where they enforce the law and protect you from foreign invasion. If California wants to declare war on America, lets fight back. Liberal law-makers in California think they have all the power, but they only do as long as we let them. The rest of the nation could decimate California’s tourism industry and economy as a whole.

My wife just became a citizen. She came here on a student visa and then got her legal residency and finally her citizenship. Yet many people are rewarded for circumventing that process and cutting to the front of the line for jobs. They have not respect for our nation or its laws. They simply want to steal opportunity from those that are already here.

Don’t be fooled by those who are claiming that passing laws against illegal immigration is unconstitutional. Just because they are loud, doesn’t mean they are right. Truth Be Told, not enforcing federal immigration law and refusing to protect our nation from this, or any, kind of foreign invasion is unconstitutional.

A Life of Mediocrity

I always knew I wanted to be great at something, but I have not been able to figure out what it is. I dreamt of being a great athlete, but I never worked hard enough in the off-season. I always wanted to be a great musician or singer, but I never practiced enough. I thought I could be a great teacher, but I don’t spend enough time planning and thinking about how my students will hear my lessons. Maybe I could be a great coach, but I don’t devote enough time to it. I had the opportunity to be a great leader of men, but I am too distracted by other things to focus on the task at hand. I even think I could be a great writer, but I just don’t spend enough time writing. Not that I don’t have any talent in these areas, but I try to do too many of them. In fact, I’m fairly good at all of these things, but not great at any of them.

We have all heard the story of the baseball player who spent hours and hours practicing throwing the ball through a tire or bouncing it off the house, or the basketball player who spent all of his or her time shooting in the driveway with the dream of one day being a pro. We hear it from them when they have won a championship and they tell us that it was all they ever dreamt of and now they have achieved it. We hear the musician winning a Grammy and talking about how they first started singing when they were 2 and it’s all they ever wanted to do. I remember thinking, “I had that dream.” Most of us did at one point, but then the dream changes or we get otherwise distracted. Life gets in the way of our dreams, for some of us.

You might be like I am. I just haven’t been able to pick a dream. I have too many, and they get in the way of each other. Here I am, 47 years old, and I just haven’t been able to decide what I want to do when I grow up. Perhaps I am a Renaissance Man, you know, a “jack of all trades,” but I still have this burning desire to be great… at something. I don’t want it for my own fame or fortune (not that there is anything wrong with that), but I have always wanted to leave a mark on the lives of others. Sometimes I hear from students, from players, from men I serve with at church that I have changed their lives. I have even heard some professional musicians tell me I am a good harmonica player. I get just enough encouragement in all my dreams that I don’t let go of any of them.

No great advice for you today readers, just some commiseration for all of you distracted dreamers out there. You are not alone. Truth be told, I would really like to pick something and be great at it.