Thursday, February 9, 2017

Training Trumps Trying

No, this is not about the President.

Just over four years ago, my buddy Tony and I decided to run a half marathon together. We had heard that the half for the Tucson Marathon was a good one to start with, so we signed up and took on the challenge.

The course was supposed to be primarily downhill. I thought this was kind of deceptive, since the last mile or so was almost all uphill. At the very end of a very long run. And this is where everyone was lined up to watch, including a good number of my coworkers that had signed up to work the race. I couldn't slow to a crawl in front of them.

In spite of the difficulties, I was pleased with my time. I know some people can do the whole 26 miles in this time, but I was glad to finish with a 2:05. Tony finished a good five minutes ahead of me.

If I ran it today, I could not finish with a time that was as good as that. Not even if I decided to try really really hard. Not even if I pulled a Pheidippides and ran myself to death.


It's simple.

I trained for it.

For over four months, I spent hours and hours racking up miles on the road to prepare my body to run over 13 miles. It wasn't fun, but it made a difference.

I think this applies to every area of life. If you want to be better in your personal life, it takes training. If you want to be better at a skill at, it takes training. Better with your spiritual disciplines? Training.

I haven't been able to think of an area where training doesn't help you improve, where trying without training can even make your performance terrible.

Training Trumps Trying.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Refugees and Times of Terror

I am certainly no fan of Islamic terror, and it's posible that I'm more well versed than you on the history of Islam, the violence that has been associated with it and some of the motivations behind much of that violent history.
I am also very aware of the fact that we began having war with Islamic terrorists at the dawn of the 19th century and, arguably, even in the 1700's.
I have personally been sent to war to stand against a growing global threat of Islamic terror and have, so far, seen one of my sons sent to the Middle East to do the same.

In addition to this, I am very conservative in my views towards Israel. I am a supporter of this still new state as the only democracy in the Middle East and believe that it has been a victim of Islamic terror since its inception. Indeed, my understanding of history informs me that hatred of the Jewish people has been a driving force behind Islamic terror since Mohammed's time.

This is all background to help you understand where I  philosophically as I address the refugee issue. The reason I put all this down is because it is true that many of the refugees that have come to our country are muslims. Certainly not all, but many.

I want you to understand that I too share your concerns about Islamic terrorists infiltrating our borders and territories. I too am alarmed by those that talk about incorporating aspects of sharia law into our legal system. And, I want you to understand that I am certainly not encamped with many of those who identify more strongly with the left on most issues, either fiscally, socially or otherwise.

I won't take the time here to share the facts about our vetting process or the number of people that have been killed by refugees in the U.S., nor talk about how ridiculous it would be for someone to try  and come here to cause terror through the refugee process when a student visa would be so much easier.

I simply would like to ask "What will you do with the refugees who are here?"

One option is to ignore, ostracize and simply wish they weren't here. In my opinion, that hinders those that are here from assimilating, and makes the divide deeper. We simply aren't going to send people back.

Many of you have no reason to answer this.

But some of us, I believe, have a mandate to "Welcome the stranger". For those of us that have this belief, I think we have an unprecedented opportunity to show love, grace and peace to the nations as they arrive in our community. We can show those that have been driven from home by war, have had all their belongings stripped away, only to be replaced with a fear of more loss, that they can find peace and joy.

It's for this that I'm a part of the Tucson Refugee Ministry. Maybe, through what this group is doing we can make an impact on someone's life that will impact them (and others) for all eternity. For those of you that believe in the scriptures that tell us to share the "good news" with the nations, will you entertain the idea that you might have an opportunity to be good news to some of your new neighbors?

Check out Tucson Refugee Ministry at the link above.

And here's some recent news articles about TRM: