On the BTTFDay Bandwagon

Many, many people will be posting about Back to the Future Day ( #bttfday ).

This the day to which Doc and Marty went “into the future” in the second installment of the Back to the Future movie trilogy. So newspapers and website and probably 45% of the blogosphere will offer praise and lament for what the movie got right and wrong about the future.

I’ll echo the greetings of Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), for this day:

“Great Scott, if my calculations are correct it is now precisely October 21, 2015.

“The future has finally arrived.

“Yes, it is different than we all thought.

“But don’t worry, it just means your future hasn’t been written yet. Noone’s has.

“Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one.”

Or this.

Maybe you’ll want to spend some time today thinking in the direction of October 21, 2045. That’s the day that is to today what today was to the original story.

Truth in Advertising

BKyesandnoI know the picture to the left doesn’t look like me, but it is.
It is probably you, too.

The other day I took my kids to the BK that across the street from our church.  The kids like the playground there.

I got the best customer service I’ve ever received in that restaurant.  On my overall scale of fast-food expectation, the service was at least an 8 of 10.

Except for this: he suggested I try the new pulled pork sandwich.  One of the images above is from the menu board. The other is the actual sandwich I was served.

Can you guess which is which?

I wasn’t particularly happy. No amount of friendly service would have made up for the disappointment of barely being able to see the pork under the onions and pickles.  I think it tasted ok, but mostly I tasted bread. I expected, hoped for, the taste of pulled pork.

I know that in fast food in particular each menu item is very specifically defined for the kitchen staff.  There is a precise amount of each item for each product.  There is no room for creativity or interpretation on the part of the kitchen staff.

I felt pretty sure I hadn’t been shorted pork – at least not by the people working there. No, I had been shorted by the BK Corporation.

I shared my disappointment with the manager, who shared my sense of loss.

I didn’t think it fair to advertise that particular picture of the sandwich when the actual sandwich was so miserable and slight by comparison.

I never expect the food I actually receive in a restaurant to look as attractive as the image on the menu. I know better.  This seemed too much of a stretch for credibility, though. And it still does.

At the same time, I began to wonder how fair this serves as a metaphor for the way we live in public.

Too many of us present a version of ourselves to everyone around us that is not at all a reasonable facsimile of who we really are. Beyond “fake it till you make it,” too many of us live a facade and have for years.

How do you compare with the version of you your friends know?  with the social media version of you?  with the church version of you?  with the version of you your family knows?

May we all, by the grace of God, move our lives in the direction of a little more truth in advertising.

Who knows, maybe Burger King will follow suit!

Leadership Meadership

I had a sadly disturbing conversationleadership recently.

I did much more listening than talking in this particular conversation, but that’s not what made it sad or disturbing.

I was visiting with someone considerably older than I and someone who is close to death. This person is aware that death is near, and is, for the most part, at peace with this knowledge.

So I listened to quite a few stories.  Like most of us, this person tells stories about success and accomplishment. This person has quite a history of leadership.

This person also has quite a history of brokenness.  Raised by parents, various counties, and extended family, this person fought through this adversity to, as the stories tell it, successfully raise 4 kids.

I really wanted to find a story of healthy relationship or hope, so I asked, “You’re obviously quite a leader.  Where did you learn your leadership abilities?”

It didn’t take 2 seconds before a rather sharp, strong, “Myself!” was blurted out as an answer.

Which really saddens me.

I don’t know exactly where I rank on any leadership scale, but I know the value of leadership. I’m pretty sure I’ve learned and grown a great deal in my leadership abilities since my first ministry job in 1984.

A lot of that learning and growth has been pushing and stretching and trying and failing.  Myself.

But almost everything I’ve tried and failed (or succeeded) and most everything that has pushed, pulled, or stretched me has some source outside myself.

I believe recognizing this makes me a better leader.

Whatever leadership I have gained, it has all come in knowing that I am, at the same time, following someone else.

So, while there is an “I” in leadership, there is no “me.”

I hope I find the grace to offer this the next time I have a conversation with this person.

Rants

I remember this afternoon that conversation I had with a friend almost 9 years ago. My friend said that blogs are rants and she didn’t want to be ranting all the time.

I had been blogging for a couple of years at the time.  I took offense.  Then, after getting over the offense, I realized she was onto something.

I thought of that this afternoon because I just deleted a rant-blog-post.  It felt pretty good to type it out.  The act of typing it out and editing and typing again really helped me sort through that story.

In fact, I sorted it through enough that I no longer felt the need to share it with you.  Which will actually make your day better because you don’t need to read just another rant.  You’ll find (and hopefully ignore) enough of those today without my contributing.

Now, it could be that blogs have evolved over the past 9 years.  I know the way I deal with the internet has changed since 2006.  I bet it has for you, too.  Maybe we’re less ranty now.  Or maybe we have come to realize that things we put on the internet have this incredible propensity to stay there, to get around, to end up in places we don’t want them.

There IS a place for rants!  There are many,many more places NOT for rants.

May you and I continue to grow in knowing the difference!

Oh, and, BTW, that friend who suggested blogs were rants.  I married her 8 years ago this coming Tuesday.

And I couldn’t be happier.  Which cuts seriously into my need to rant.

Never Forget & Rascall Flatts

Here we are, September 11, 2014.

The answer to the obvious question:  I was at my office, at the church in Mart.  Internet wasn’t then what it is now, so the first I heard of the day’s events was from our building’s caretaker.

“Have you heard…?” 

I had not.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure at first that he was talking about something real or maybe he had just dreamed us into the latest of the “Left Behind” series.  It kinda sounded like that.

Once I realized it was indeed real, I did what most of us did – found a TV and glued myself to it.  Wonder, worry, pray, repeat.

Today, thirteen years later, before the date kicks in in my brain, I see several “Never Forget.”

Dang. Had I forgotten?

Clearly I had not; those social media posts took me back immediately to the same day in 2001.

Perhaps, though, I had forgotten if only in the sense that Rascal Flatts had helped me “forgot” my divorce.

I had never been much of a Country Music fan, but separated and divorcing in Mart left me with a lot of alone time AND one one music video station – GAC.

I became something of a fan of country music.  Looking back, it seemed an appropriate era of life to discover country music during.

Among the songs I discovered and listened to and bought and downloaded was Rascal Flatts “Moving On.”

I had a good bit of moving on that needed doing.  So I did.

But I didn’t forget.

I’ll never forget September 11, 2001.  But in many ways, I have moved on. I believe health, personal and social, is finding a place between the two.