Monday, December 21, 2009

A Letter to President Obama

Dear Mr. President,

We need health care reform. As a lay person I don't know enough to know exactly what that should or should not involve. But one thing is clear to me. This government should not force me, through my tax dollars, to pay for the murder of babies. I hope you understand what the passage of a such a bill will do.

In 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act - the turning point in our nation on the issue slavery. Many Americans did not like slavery but they were content to let is exist as long as the blood was not on their hands (slavery was someone else's problem). But when the Fugitive Slave Act passed, Americans were required by law to be "complicit" in slavery by assisting in the capture of run away slaves and the prosecution of those who helped them. It wasn't long before many idol citizens became and/or supported abolitionists. And it wasn't long before we were at war.

I'm sure Americans in 1850 are similar to Americans in 2009. They have never walked a picket line. They don't contribute money to a political cause. They don't write letters to their representative... UNTIL they are forced to. Passing legislation that uses my hard earned money to pay for abortions all but makes me complicit in the slaughter of babies. If that happens, I am silent no more.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Struck Hard

I've been struck hard lately. A dear Brother in Christ was afflicted recently with a tumor on his frontal lobe. He is the pastor of the church we attended for two years. This Brother is gifted beyond words and his ministry is real. His church is booming and God is changing lives.

At first I was struck with deep concern for him and his family. The physical implications of his surgery are obvious. But life doesn't stop for suffering. I have realized that as a parent. Children need to be fed. Houses need to be cleaned. The on slot of daily life keeps coming. Sickness and hospitals can be just as hard for loved ones as they are for the afflicted.

Then I was struck with the timing. Worst case scenarios ran through my mind and I don't like them. This Brothers ministry is thriving, why would God want to, at the very least, slow it down for an unknown amount of time? I was just talking with someone today about how I know God is Sovereign and I know God is good. I don't doubt Him but sometimes my finite mind doesn't get Him.

Then I realized how much I was really struck. I have prayed more for this Brother than I have for anyone in a long time. I have read my Bible every day since I learned of this news. When my Brother preached it wasn't really Him preaching, it was God, and God is still preaching through him, but this time through his suffering.

Then tonight I was struck that the real why questions related to suffering in this life should be more along these lines:
Why did it have to be a friend who chose to betray the Lord?
Why did there have to be a thorny crown pressed upon his head?
Why did there have to be a heavy cross He was made to bear?
Why did they nail his feet and hands?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A right of passage

Many months ago my oldest daughter came home with a new trick. I wasn't quite sure how to react the first time she showed me her new talent.

What was that special new trick? Burping on demand. As in gulping air until you make yourself burp.

It caused quite the conundrum in my mind. The parent voice in my head was telling me to deal with it quickly before it becomes a bad habit. The other voice in my head was, well, pretty darn proud.

Yet another milestone passed. Burping on demand is a right of passage. Every child should know how to do that. With plenty of practice she will be able say the alphabet in one burp like her father.

I can't wait 'til she can fart with her arm pit.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Why soccer is not loved in America

It's about time for a new post and here's what's on my mind. Soccer. Soccer is on my mind. What a great sport. I have a theory as to why Americans don't like soccer.

I played baseball one season when I was 7 and was bored the entire time. That was heartbreaking for my baseball loving dad. He tried soccer on me next and I never looked back. I loved soccer because it was non-stop action. I wanted to run. I didn't want to sit in a dugout half the game and the other half in the outfield hoping that a ball would come my way. I remember catching fireflies half the time. Soccer on the other hand meant non-stop action at the moment of kick-off. If you kick the ball away it is sure to come back your way within a minute at the most.

I think it's that non-stop action that hurts soccer in the US. Some people say it's the low scoring. I disagree. The problem with soccer is that the constant action makes it bad for t.v. There's no time for replays and analysis. I love to watch football on t.v. because there are so many breaks where the tricks of t.v. can entertain me (thanks to the great Tex Schramm). But have you ever watched a football game live, in person? BORING! I can hardly pay attention with all the stops in play. There are about 3 seconds of action for every 1 minute of huddle/get ready for the next play. The same is true for baseball. In fact, I have a phobia that one day I'm going to get pegged in the head by a fowl ball because I can't pay attention at games. If you've ever been to a soccer game live, the experience is totally different. The non-stop action that soccer provides make it a great sport to watch live...and play...but that breathless action does not always translate well with the America loving medium of t.v. In fact, I will admit that soccer is probably as equally boring to watch on t.v. as football and baseball are to watch in person. As long as that fact remains, Soccer will probably always struggle in America.

If you ever have a chance to watch a game in person, you should give it a chance.

P.S. The same principles apply to hockey...another great sport to watch in person but probably not the most exciting t.v.

Friday, July 17, 2009

10 Years

Dear Kerry,

It’s been a fast 10 years. You always imagine how you will feel at the poignant moments in life and sometimes you don’t imagine correctly. This is how I feel on this 10th Anniversary – We are just getting started! If I have my way, we aren’t anywhere near halfway through this marriage that God has blessed us with. If I have my way, we will one day be celebrating our 50th in old, wrinkly skin and hopefully a little more like our good Lord, who has blessed us more than we deserve. In honor of our 10th Anniversary, here are 10 things I love about you most.

10. You are great with my family and my family loves you...for the same reasons I will list here. ..

9. You are as smart as a whip...which can make our arguments a little challenging but still something I love about you. I want my daughters to have a smart mom.

8. You are an idealist. You want a family that loves and enjoys life together in the purest of ways.

7. You love people. I love the example you set for our children as you interact with people everywhere you go.

6. You are great company. It’s such a relief that we enjoy many of the same things (except movies). From old houses to plays - all those things we used to do together and will someday again...

5. You give me lots to laugh at. Bone-o for Bono...shall I go on?

4. You are growing more beautiful with age.

3. You are a fabulous mother. Our girls adore you and they should. Sometimes I’m in awe watching you deny yourself.

2. You have made me a better man. If it weren’t for you I would be a hippie somewhere. You love me and push me to strive for more than I might settle.

1. You are growing in Christ. I love watching the Lord work in your life.

Looking forward to many more,

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What A Weekend Should Look Like

This is wonderful. A Saturday with nothing to do. The past three weekends have been jam packed with activities. This weekend, other than a Saturday morning training for my job, we have no other obligations. I was home by noon and came home a little early yesterday to make up for the time.

Right now....Kerry is asleep. Jade is asleep. Lily is watching a movie. I just paid some bills but that's the only urgent task we have this weekend. Ah! It feels good. Lily and I may get the oil changed in my truck after her movie. We may go to Wal-Mart to spend my birthday money. She may go upstairs to act out the movie she just watched. I may take a nap myself.

That's just it, there's nothing we have to do urgently. Oh, there are things to do, but no order in which to do them. No schedule. No list to check off. Do a little here. Do a little there. But do it as you feel like it...instead of in a mad dash.

That's what weekends should be about. I MAY even skip mowing this of the benefits of no grass and the hot Texas sun taking its tole on the weeds.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Family and Jesus

Every time I'm with extended family, I walk away humbled and wanting to press into Jesus more. I am humbled by how few of them are walking with Jesus and how far away I am from telling them about Him. We live in a culture where it would be quite easy to live your life without ever hearing the real gospel. You might hear versions, but not the version that saves. In fact, most of what our culture puts out is entirely hostile to a gospel that claims exclusivity. It could very well be that my family members come in contact with but a handful of people who want them to know Jesus. Yet, there I sit, each and every time, hoping that they will know Jesus, somehow, but unwilling to share my heart.

So, as the death of a loved one reminds me of the frailty of life, I pray that some how, some day these words of an eventual martyr would be true of me.

I'm a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of His and I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I'm done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power.

My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear.

I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He'll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


The year was 1912. It was the same year that the Republic of China was created and that New Mexico and Arizona became the 47th and 48th states. William Taft was president of the United States but would not be serving another term following his defeat by Woodrow Wilson. Other than the Titanic sinking in the northern Atlantic Ocean, it seemed like a relatively quiet year.

I wonder how long it took for word to spread to the tiny East Texas "town" of West New Hope that the unsinkable ship was indeed sinkable. I imagine it took quite some time. West New Hope wasn't and still isn't much of a "town", more like an area in Titus County, Texas. It was near that little place where my grandmother was born in her home on May 28, 1912. I cannot begin to imagine the world into which this Scots-Irish girl was born. I cannot begin to imagine the change she has seen in her lifetime. I want to tell her story in honor of her 97th birthday.

Juanita Bigger (no middle name) was born to Marvin Jackson Bigger and Auzzie Thomas Bigger. Marvin Jackson paid the doctor, who birthed his second daughter, with a calf. I can assure you that it was a natural birth. The Biggers were a simple, poor Texas farming family -- at first. They would go on to have two more children after my grandmother. Orita was the oldest, followed by Juanita (my grandmother), Mary, and Samuel Laurence. Orita will be 100 in November. As I'm told, she liked to dance, while my grandmother was more inclined to follow the rules.

I don't know the details of this, but some time after they had all of their children, Marvin Jackson decided to leave farming to become a preacher. As I write this, I'm curious how that Calling came about. Somehow, with a family of six, he managed to get his theological studies done at Lon Morris College and a little at Southern Methodist University. If you were poor in the South, you were either Methodist or Baptist. Those denominations had less stringent training requirements of their preachers, which meant they could have more preachers and therefore start more churches in the predominately poor South. Though, it was hard to have less stringent requirements than the Baptists... My great grandfather was a Methodist preacher.

Juanita Bigger lived through the Great Depression, something I cannot fathom. On top of that, she lived through the Great Depression in the home of a preacher, but not just any preacher, an itinerant preacher who's salary was certainly very little, serving poor farming communities all over East Texas, none of which could support their own full-time pastor. My grandmother went to a different school just about every year. As my great-grandfather paid his doctor a calf to deliver his children, so he accepted payment of chickens and other farm animals in exchange for presiding over weddings. Oh, how I wish my own wedding would have only cost me one chicken. Funny thing is, a wedding is more expensive than having a child these days.

Through all of this, my grandmother was able to graduate from high school and go on to get a college degree, something that was very rare for women in her day. She spent a few years at Lon Morris College and finished up her teaching degree at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas - one of the oldest towns in all of the United States.

Her first teaching assignments took her to a little town called Sugar Hill. Again, another town that would basically cease to exist in time. But, there was apparently a reason for the tiny little school in Sugar Hill that is no more. It was there that she met another teacher -- a tall, gentle man named Ephraim Howard Cobb who would become her husband. I don't remember where they were married, however I can still remember getting in trouble for being too rambunctious at their 50th wedding anniversary back in the 1980s.

Juanita Bigger Cobb and Ephraim Howard Cobb would continue teaching all over the state of Texas, have three children, including twins, one of which is my mom. After teaching stints in Monday (West Texas), Amarillo (West Texas), Marshall (East Texas), Harlingen (Texas/Mexico border), they finally settled in the not so little town of San Antonio (South Texas) to raise their family.

After raising a family, Pappa and Memmy, as they are known to me, retired not far from where it all began, on the Cobb Land of Titus County, Texas. Today, she has 4 grand kids and still lives in Mount Pleasant, the county seat of Titus.

My mind races as I consider all of the change Juanita Bigger Cobb has seen in 97 years:
World War I, The Great Depression, World War II, the rise of the automobile, the Television, the 1960s, Kennedy, etc.

Happy Birthday Memmy!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The American Experiment

The American Experiment is probably an overused phrase - but the shoe seems to fit.

It's not popular to be overly patriotic anymore. I'm careful to be gushy about the U.S. myself, but I'm amazed at times by our nation. The colonies that made up the United States were the first to free themselves from European colonial powers - by a hundred years almost. The United States Constitution was the first of its kind. It is the shortest and oldest constitution of any major government in existence today. Ironically, we are the most powerful nation in the world - second place isn't even close - for now. Our Constitution is an astonishing human accomplishment and something to be proud of.

The form of government that it established goes against human nature. Hundreds of years of war and oppression in Europe led The Founders to something radical - popular sovereignty. Europe laughed. "How stupid are these Americans? The people can't rule. They are ignorant! They need an overarching government/ruler to make sure they don't screw things up." Europe thought this Experiment would never work. It wasn't until after the War of 1812 that the world began to respect this young nation and her short, seemingly insufficient guide/rules for government (not so much rules for the people).

Indeed America is an Experiment. Will we be able to sustain the trend away from human nature where the powerful tend to oppress the weak - by convincing the weak they can't do it themselves?

The 10th Amendment exists for a reason. The Constitution exists for a reason. To limit the power of our Federal government. I stand with Governor Perry on the issue of State's Rights. Texas may be thriving more than any other state these days, precisely because we believe in limited government.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I love this guys voice

Let me just get it out of the way. The following comments would not pass the scrutiny of Gay or Not Gay? on The Ticket's, Bad Radio show. They would consider what I am about to write, gay (as on the show, this has nothing to do with sexual orientation, but something that "real men" shouldn't say/do).

I have a favorite singer. It's a guy. In fact, I really don't like to listen to women sing. I heard him sing for the first time on one of the music award shows and thought his voice was really unique right off the bat. At the time I heard him, I was still very anti pop-country but had gotten into Americana and some Bluegrass. The dude just has a really smooth, deep voice that is more versatile than most other baritones of his range - not the typical nasally country star voice. There are some guys who are beginning to copy him now that he's been nominated for best vocalist a few times, though he hasn't won yet.

So, if you haven't heard much of Josh Turner, I recommend him. I should also mention that my wife thinks he's hot. Here are some of his tunes:

Josh Turner, Your Man

Josh Turner, Would You Go With Me

Monday, January 19, 2009

Something's wrong with this picture.

Don't get me wrong. I love Dallas, but as a worldwide destination ahead of the likes of Rome?... I'm not so sure. That's where a recent listing placed Dallas, Texas - as a destination to visit in 2009, a New York Times listing no less. Dallas is number 17 of 44, ahead of places like Rome, South Africa, Egypt, and France. Think I've gone mad? Just look here:

Dallas is under respected in my estimation - mostly due to the cowboy stereotypes that are way off the mark- but I don't know if I would go as far as the New York Times.

I'm especially surprised by the high ranking given by the NYT after George W. chose Dallas as his new home...starting in just a few days. You'd think they'd damn the city for that.

On the other hand, I've never really felt quite as much at home as I did in our little Oak Cliff (Dallas) maybe there just is something to Dallas. It seems like the city council is working together better than ever before. And Uptown has been a huge success, providing Dallas with a much needed make over. As I drive in to work every day I get the best view of Dallas on a Trinity River bridge and can't help but admire how many cranes are bringing up new buildings and how much the skyline has grown over the last 5 years.

So, maybe Dallas is beginning to get some of the credit it's due. Way to go Dallas!

But I still refuse to live there in protest for losing the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Defining Cultural Moment

One of my fondest childhood memories was loading up on a cold January morning to head on over to the Ft. Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. It was about a 45 minute drive over to Ft. Worth, the gateway to the West, as they call it.

Most people don't really think of me as someone who would appreciate the rodeo but those who know me best know that I was indeed a proud member of FFA for part of my High School career. The Ft. Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is the second largest in the country, second only to the stock show and rodeo in that city way south of here called Houston. The Ft. Worth rodeo claims to be the first indoor rodeo in the world.
This was a long standing tradition and defining cultural event that my daughters haven't experienced yet but will for the first time on January 31. I did take Lily to the stock yards a couple of years back to enjoy all of the animals when Jade was a wee little one, but she didn't get to experience the excitement of the rodeo. Everyone should experience a rodeo. Nothing can beat the non-stop excitement of bronc riding, barrel racing, men being trampled, chuck wagon races, steer wrestling, calf roping, lasso tricks, and the all important bull riding that includes some very brave clowns. The entertainment is so engaging, I don’t expect my 18 month old to want out of my lap the entire rodeo--something for which even a movie can't boast...
Here’s what you can expect at a stock show and rodeo besides the rodeo:
-cowboy hat makin’
-beautiful animals--lots of 'em
-petting zoos
-lots of family fun
I had dreams of Lily and Jade barrel racing one day, until I learned that a horse owner will spend an average of $250,000 over a horse's life time.

Rodeo 101 -