The Woman With One Of The Most Important Jobs In The World

Her ancestors were slaves.

The word ancestors doesn’t seem appropriate. It wasn’t all that long ago. Her parents spent time being educated in segregated schools and drinking from segregated water fountains. Her father was called cruel, racist names by respectable pillars of the community. Once, her mother was assaulted for daring not to move off of the sidewalk when four young white boys came walking by. Her mother still has a small scar under her right eye to remind her of that day.

But those were different days. Slavery is over. Jim Crow is no more. We all drink our water from the same fountain and share the same sidewalk. After all, it is 2017.

But not for her.

No, when she goes to work, it’s 1955 all over again.

She always did well in school. Helping others was what drove her. She knew what it was like to face one roadblock after another. She saw how bitter it made some of the people who she loved. She was determined not to let that happen. She wanted to serve the weak, not keep them down. As she saw it, there was no better career path for her to take than nursing.

She dreamed of working in a busy emergency room in one of the big city hospitals. That didn’t work out. But she never gave up on nursing. She got as much education as she could. It just wasn’t enough to get her out of her small town. Eventually, she came to accept that small towns need nurses too. Sure, there’s no big hospital or busy emergency room where she lives.

But there is a nursing home.

So that’s where she went to work.

For the better part of four decades, that’s where she’s been picking patients up off of the floor, distributing medicine, cleaning out bedpans and helping folks go to the bathroom. She does it with a happy heart, even when smiling doesn’t come easy. She’s not much for talking but when she does speak, it’s never negative. The same can’t be said for her patients.

Every time she walks into room 4A, she gets greeted with a racial slur. She always responds with a smile and some comment about how this is the day that the Lord has made. She sees the irony in helping a man go to the bathroom who in his younger days wouldn’t use the same water fountain as her parents.

The lady in 1C frequently tells her in a creepy, whispery voice, “If you steal from me again I’ll have you killed and no one will care.” Of course, she never has stolen from the lady in 1C. But she has picked her up off of the floor five times in the last two months and gave the lady’s son a strong talk about coming to visit his mother more often.

3B is the hardest. She used to have nightmares about 3B. The guy in that room knew her parents. He’s the one responsible for that scar under her mother’s right eye.

She thought of recusing herself from that room, sort of like judges do when there’s some sort of conflict of interest. But then she thought better of it. She decided that instead of running away from the man responsible for her mother’s facial scar and countless other emotional scars, she would run toward him in his weakness. She remembered the passion that drove her into nursing. Instead of keeping the weak down, she would try to help them. This wasn’t what she had in mind. It is what God had in mind.

The man doesn’t know who she is. She thought about telling him once. It wouldn’t matter. He’s a shell of his former self. His memory, his strength and his family are all gone.

 

She doesn’t think that her job is all that important to the kingdom of God. If you asked her, she’d tell you that the ones with the really important jobs are the pastors and missionaries and famous Christian authors. She’s wrong. As far as the kingdom of God goes, this woman has one of the most important jobs in the world.

Every day before she walks into room 3B, she prays for strength. She asks her Lord to give her the strength to be like family to the lonely man who did so much harm to hers. She asks for God to give her the power to resist the temptation to turn a blind eye to the man’s suffering and let him get what’s coming to him. Day after day, God answers her prayers. And day after day, the light of Christ shines when a nurse walks into room 3B. By the time she walks out, she has loved her neighbor, loved her enemy and ministered to the least of these.

Just like Jesus did.

And he is pleased.

But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:13 (ESV)

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Four Foods That You Should Never, Ever Eat

Here are four foods that you should never, ever eat.

  1. Bread.
  2. Meat.
  3. Fruit.
  4. Anything that you might potentially enjoy.

I’m kidding of course. But some folks aren’t. They’re called Food Nazis and this time of year, with everyone at least thinking about eating healthier, their frightening food advice is all over the Internet. If you’re not careful, they could do just as much damage to you as the greasy fast food joint around the corner.

I’m a healthy eater. Most of what I eat contains very few ingredients, no gluten and no words that I can’t pronounce. I like eating this way because it makes me feel better than I do when someone has to roll me out of a Golden Corral. Eating healthy works for me, so far at least.

But what works for me may not work for you.

And what works for the guy on Facebook who likes to remind you that you’re probably going to give your kids cancer for serving them Frosted Flakes this morning doesn’t work for anyone.

I love when I hear people talking about trying to eat healthy. I think it’s a smart decision. But while you’re planning out your new year of clean eating, there are a few things that you need to remember.

You’re still going to die. 

Happy New Year! Many of our grandparents cooked biscuits in pig fat while smoking non-filtered cigarettes every day and they lived to be 85. Those of us who avoid such delicacies could still drop dead today. Or when we’re 85. Or 115. But either way, it’s going to end some day. Be good to your body and it will be good to you. There’s some truth to that. But it’s only partially true. Here’s the rest of the story. One day, your body will betray you.

Enjoy what God has given to you. 

It’s not my aim to depress you. Quite the opposite, actually. I once heard a guy tell a group of people that food was never intended to be enjoyed. According to him, it exists only for fueling. Now that’s depressing, unless you happen to be a car. Food is used all throughout Scripture to relay a picture of peace and joy. The problem with our culture is that we’ve turned food into a god. So if I could be so bold as to amend the words of my friend, food was never intended to be worshiped. It’s meant to lead you to worship the One who sovereignly provided it for you.

Stop being an investigator and just eat already.

Yes, be wise. Never eat any food where the word beef on the box is in quotation marks. For example, “Beef” patties. Nothing good can come from this. You’ll probably die within 13 seconds of touching just one “Beef” Patty. On this much, we can all agree.

But your quest for more knowledge about what you put into your body can go terribly wrong. Take water for example. If you drink city water, what will the fluoride do to you? You could get a filter for your faucet but what about the ice cubes? Perhaps you should try a filter for your entire home. But what if the guy who installed it accidentally kicked up some dirt and the termite spray from the previous occupants accidentally gets involved in the process? After hearing all of that, you may just decide to opt out and stick with beer but remember this. Nine out of ten dentists do not recommend brushing your teeth with Natural Light. The tenth one went to Auburn University’s School of Dentistry.

It’s even worse if you get your water from a well. Can you imaging the harm that would be done to your body if a gluten eating stray dog decides to relieve himself in your water supply?

My point is that it never ends. Sure, maybe your chicken was raised on a free range farm and fed a diet of unicorn hair but trace it back far enough and you’ll find something you don’t like.

Along with being smart and informed, just trust God with your food. You know, there is a reason why we pray for God to bless our food before we eat it.

Stop listening to the Food Nazis. 

They can’t be pleased. I can’t prove it but I’m pretty sure that they are direct descendants of those people in the Bible who complained when God made it rain food.

People: “Man, I sure am hungry.”

God: makes food rain from the sky

People: “What is this garbage and where’s the nearest Whole Foods?”

Food is a lot like sex. Our culture has perverted both so badly that people are forgetting how to enjoy them. On one side there are those who swim in a sea of McDonald’s french fries. At the other extreme are those who would have us to believe that eating a steak with a potato is the unpardonable sin. And in the middle, most of us are left feeling confused and guilty with every bite we take.

Enjoy your 2016. Don’t let food ruin it for you. If you’re trying to eat healthier, that’s great. Keep at it because it’s well worth your time. Just remember that food is meant to be consumed by you, not the other way around. The fast food addict and the Food Nazi share a common thread. They are both consumed by their food.

Do your best to avoid both traps.

And just enjoy with a thankful heart whatever it is that is put on the plate before you.

Unless it’s “Beef” Patties.

[7] Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Ecclesiastes 9:7 (ESV)

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A Word Of Encouragement For People Caring For Sick Family Members

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Being a parent is hard. It’s hard when everything is going well, when there is money in the bank and when the kids are acting like you want them to act.

Being a parent is hard.

But it’s really hard when your kid is sick. I don’t mean the kind of sickness that goes away in a few days with antibiotics. I mean the kind of sickness that keeps you up through the night, the kind of sickness that makes you feel like your second home is a children’s hospital and the kind of sickness that often makes you struggle with trusting God’s plan as you push your son’s wheelchair past a bunch of healthy kids playing soccer.

Being a parent is hard.

And it’s especially hard when you have to be a parent to your parent. It’s hard when, instead of going to your dad for a few words of wisdom, you have to somehow find the right balance between honor and firmness so that he’ll take his medicine. It’s hard when dementia has him thinking that you’re stealing all of his money when in reality you’re trying to save him from financial ruin. And it’s hard when you continually have to pretend to have it all together while one of your greatest examples of human strength slowly withers away.

Being a parent is hard.

When you find yourself in the position of caring for a sick loved one, you are in a constant battle of questioning your decisions. Was it a lack of compassion or was it wisdom to refuse that last treatment? Am I an evil person for looking forward to the end of the day when I can finally unwind? Should I even consider a nursing home?

Through all of the questions, doubts and sleepless nights, there is something that you need to know. You are never more like Jesus than you are when you serve suffering people for the glory of God.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27 (ESV)

If you’ve spent anytime in a good church, you’ve heard that verse before. It has been used countless times to motivate Christians to consider orphans and widows around the world. And that’s a good thing. But you are not somehow less Christlike when the widow you are ministering to happens to be your own mother. In fact, caring for your those under your care is foundational to what it means to follow Jesus.

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8 (ESV)

It’s hard to be the parent of a sick child. It’s hard to be the parent to your parent. And I don’t have all of the answers. The Bible doesn’t tell us which doctor to choose and which treatment option is best. But God does provide grace and wisdom for those decisions (James 1:5-8). And God is glorified through you as you struggle to wear the many hats of parent, child and primary care physician.

He is glorified through your nights spent comforting your sick mother after that day’s cancer treatment did a number on her body.

He is glorified through you when you tie your child’s shoes while other kids his age are driving to school.

He is glorified through you when you fix washing machines, cut grass, plunge toilets, balance checkbooks and all of the other things that your dad used to do for your mom before cancer took him away.

He is glorified most through you when you are acting like Jesus.

And there is no better way to act like Jesus than to take care of the suffering people he has put in your life. So don’t let discouragement or worry get the best of you.

Keep going.

Keep caring.

Keep serving.

Keep praying.

Keep shining the light of Christ before your suffering relatives who otherwise may never see it.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (ESV)

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Essential Oils And Essential Freedom

The Preamble of the Constitution of the United States is written on the exterior walls of the National Constitution Center.

On September 22, 2014, Gary Young received a letter from the Food and Drug Administration. You may think that that has nothing to do with you. Your name isn’t Gary Young and you don’t have any dealings with the FDA. In reality, this letter could impact the freedoms that you enjoy as an American citizen.

Gary Young is the founder and CEO of Young Living Essential Oils. Over the past few years, essential oils have been popular natural remedies for treating anything from sore throats and cancer to dirty counters in the kitchen. Many people claim to have benefited from essential oils and that’s what got the FDA’s attention.

People have been telling their stories on social media. Some even have Facebook accounts used for selling essential oils. The FDA took notice of those posts. And you thought that the guy from high school stalking you on Facebook was creepy. Well, it turns out that he got a job with the FDA. The government organization decided that it was time to send a message to Gary Young and those who benefit from the services he provides. That message was clear. What you’ve been doing needs to be regulated by us. Or else.

Or else?

What could the FDA possibly do to a guy who just sells peppermint oil.

Probably the same thing they did to an Amish farmer who sold raw milk to his neighbors. That is, raid his property with heavily armed U.S. Marshals and state troopers. You know, all to protect the public from the dangers of lavender oil.

Here’s the thing with essential oils. While they certainly aren’t a cure all, they work. I’ve seen it. They make fevers go away. They help with certain side effects of cancer and arthritis. And yes, they can even be used to clean the kitchen counter.

But what if they didn’t? Pretend with me for a moment that the whole essential oil craze was a sham. Would that then necessitate armed guards coming in to someone’s home and taking away their inventory? Of course not. If it did, those same agents would have to forcibly remove over half of this country’s prescription drugs from homes. You know, those FDA approved chemicals that are great at covering symptoms while doing nothing whatsoever for the actual problem. Yeah, the ones with commercials where more time is devoted to informing you of the potential risks than the so-called benefits.

I know a guy whose job requires him to be one of the first people on the scene when someone in his community dies. One day he was telling me about the number of those deaths that are caused by drugs. In the community where he lives, none of those drug related deaths have anything to do with heroin or cocaine. No, most of them are related to pain killers. FDA approved pain killers. For the record, there have been no deaths caused by too much oregano oil.

The issue here is control. That’s why the same government that likes to tell us that a woman killing her baby is a matter of her body and her private business wants to threaten a man with force for selling you peppermint oil. The FDA can’t have people getting healed apart from the government’s infinite wisdom. If that started happening too much, well, people just might realize that we don’t really need the FDA as it currently exists. And trust me, the FDA as it currently exists doesn’t want that to happen.

One of the more popular essential oils is called Thieves. As legend has it, in the 15th century, four French thieves were caught robbing the dead and dying of their riches and they managed not to catch any of the diseases carried by those they had robbed. In return for a lighter sentence, the judge asked them for their secret. How did they manage to not get sick? It was the blend of clove, rosemary and other botanicals that protected them. Thus the name thieves.

Centuries later, that blend is still protecting people from illness. But the people also need protection from the thieves who wish to steal our essential liberties along with our essential oils. Thankfully, our protection has been in place for a couple of hundred years now.

If only our government would pay attention to it.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Amendment IV, The Constitution of the United States. 

So the next time you have a stuffy nose, look for some peppermint oil to rub under your nose. But if anyone from the FDA asks you where you got it from, tell them that Hillary Clinton sold it to you on her Facebook page.

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Thinking Twice About Pink

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It’s that time of year again when everything turns pink. Pink ribbons on cars. Pink baseball bats. Pink football socks. Pink is on it’s way to dethroning orange and brown as the official color of fall.

Most of it is well meaning. People hate breast cancer. We all know and love people who have in some way suffered from the disease. We want to do anything we can to help. But since most of us don’t know anything about medicine and finding cures, we do the next best thing. We give money.

But if we really care about life, we should consider who we give that money to.

Most often, the money spent on those pink socks and pink baseball bats and pink ribbons goes to Susan G. Komen. For the record, it’s  a lot of money. So much so that, in 2013 with revenue dipping by 22%, the organization still managed to pay its president and CEO a  $475,000 salary.

Use your imagination with me for a moment.

Suppose that you were the CEO of an organization that was devoted to ridding the world of some terrible thing. And suppose that you were paid quite handsomely for leading that organization. You, being the logical person that you are, know that if you do your job well, you likely will not have a job for very long. The good news would be that the terrible thing you were fighting would be gone. The bad news would be that your six figure salary would be gone too.

What would you do?

Would you still fight to put yourself out of a job or would you carry on existing to justify your own existence so that you can keep getting those big paychecks?

Perhaps your answer is a noble one. Maybe you would still fight hard and find yourself another job when the one you have isn’t needed anymore. Can you trust that someone else in the same position would respond with the degree of integrity that you would?

A few years back, Komen found itself in a difficult situation. People became aware of the organization’s links to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. So Komen decided to cut ties with the devil. Well, it turned out that the devil had quite a few supporters. And loud ones too. So Komen caved to the pressure and decided to keep giving some of their money to Planned Parenthood, who I should remind you is the nation’s largest abortion provider and partially funded by American tax payers.

You won’t hear Komen describing their relationship with Planned Parenthood the same way that I did. They’ll just say that their money only goes to support a few Planned Parenthood facilities.

Use your imagination with me again.

Let’s pretend that I’m trying raise money for a cause, say making public libraries better. So when I ask you for money, like any responsible adult, you ask where the money will be going. I tell you that 80% of all donations go toward rebuilding libraries, 10% goes to administrative costs and 10% goes to the local chapter of the Klu Klux Klan seeing as how they too care about libraries.

Would you still give me your money?

Perhaps you think that I’m being too harsh by comparing Planned Parenthood to the KKK. The similarities couldn’t be more clear. Both organizations are fueled by people who only notice, “The good they do,” and both organizations seem to want black people dead. But, to the Klan’s credit, at least my tax dollars don’t support them. Well, as far as I know.

I hate cancer. And I also hate baby butchering. Despite what the folks at Komen or Planned Parenthood tell you, there are alternatives. If you really want to give money to fight breast cancer, you don’t have to give to an organization that supports abortion. By the way, have you noticed the irony there? With some research showing a link between abortion and breast cancer, the nation’s leading breast cancer awareness organization gives money to the nation’s largest abortion provider.

It all looks like a pretty good con to me.

But you don’t have to be a part of it.

There are other options.

If you would like to research some of those options, here are a few good places to start. 

nationalbreastcancer.org and their founder, Janelle Hail

verabradley.org

bcpinstitute.org

abortionbreastcancer.com/index/

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Never Saw It Coming At The Home Of The Throwed Rolls

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First we found out that the General Lee was too offensive. Now, if that wasn’t enough, rolls are too dangerous.

Rolls.

Not rolls of quarters. We all know that those are dangerous. Once I saw the great Ric Flair beat a man half senseless with a roll of quarters live on WTBS in Atlanta.

No, I’m talking about rolls of bread. Fluffy, fresh-baked, buttery bread.

A while back a woman named Troy Tucker went into Lambert’s, a popular restaurant around the south and midwest. I’ve eaten at Lambert’s on several occasions. It’s a fun place. They have waitresses walking around with fake jugs of water pretending to spill it all over customers. They give you okra on a paper towel. I hate okra. But any food eaten on a paper towel instantly moves up two or three points on the Sanders Scale of Food.

And, they throw rolls at you. Not out of hate, mind you. It’s not like the waitress blows a gasket when you shake your empty glass of what was once sweet tea and whirls a chunk of bread at you. Instead, whenever the bread comes out of the oven, workers walk through the gigantic restaurant and throw the buttery bundles of gluten goodness at whoever has a hand raised. Sometimes the bread gets thrown across a table onto grandma’s empty plate and sometimes it gets thrown across the room into the hands of some hungry and aspiring young centerfielder.

Well, one also landed on Troy Tucker’s face.

More specifically, her eye.

And it did some damage.

Tucker’s injuries are described as follows. “A lacerated cornea with a vitreous detachment and all head, neck, eyes and vision were severely damaged.”

Now that’s some kind of roll.

No disrespect to Ms. Tucker. If she really was injured, I hope that she makes a full recovery.

But I can’t help but have my doubts about this injury.

Lacerated cornea?

Vitreous detachment?

Head, neck, eyes and vision severely damaged?

From a roll?

Look, I’ve eaten a lot of rolls in my lifetime. I’ve had even more biscuits, which we all know are far more dangerous than rolls. I’ve spent at least 223 Sunday mornings of my life eating biscuits at Hardee’s. Have you ever eaten a biscuit from Hardee’s? If so, you know that it’s not pretty. In fact, if you really want to fix healthcare in this country, do away with Hardee’s and 93% of your problem is solved right there. All that to say, I know bad bread.

But never once have I looked at some of that bad bread and thought to myself, “I better run back out to the truck and get some eyewear. This bad boy looks like it could cause a vitreous detachment.”

Have you?

Here’s the most important part of the whole story. It has to do with Lambert’s motto.

“Home of the throwed rolls.”

Now, if my grammar Nazi friends will excuse the poor choice of wording, it’s pretty clear what goes on at Lambert’s. When you walk inside, you will have a roll throwed at you. The warning is right there on the sign. For years, people have figured out that if they didn’t want a roll throwed at them, they should find another place to eat. Signs and mottos mean something in the restaurant business. Why do you think my idea for a restaurant named Jay’s Grill: Home of 30 Or So Hidden Rattlesnakes, never got off the ground?

Golden Corral is the home of eating chocolate covered macaroni and cheese while in your pajamas.

McDonald’s is the home of people who are really in a hurry and/or have already given up on life.

Chick-fil-a is the home of getting an idea of what food will taste like in heaven.

And Lambert’s is the home of the throwed roll.

It is your responsibility as an American to know such information before going into these places.

Hopefully, Ms. Tucker is doing okay now.

And hopefully this case will get throwed out of court.

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If Fast Food Executives Told It Like It Is

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You may want to think twice before you eat at a Checkers again.

Last week a video surfaced of an employee intentionally dropping a bun on the floor, smearing it around, picking it back up and using it to build a sandwich soon to be enjoyed by some poor customer of the fast food restaurant.

As you can imagine, the higher ups at Checkers weren’t too thrilled with this development. They came out with a video of their own where Lori Malcolm, the Senior Vice President of Human Resources shared her shock and disgust at the video. You know, all of the things that a Senior Vice President of Human Resources is supposed to say when one of her employees is caught contaminating the product with floor juices.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if Ms. Malcolm would have just told it like it is? I think that it should have gone something like this.

By now, you’ve seen the video of one of our employees contaminating a bun that would soon be served to a customer. I find this both disgusting and embarrassing. But, then again, I haven’t eaten at Checkers since the 8th grade and that was because I lost a bet. I just work here. Everything about this place except for my paycheck is disgusting and embarrassing. 

Still, you the loyal customer should not be concerned about this incident. We know exactly what is on our floor. Grease. Dirt. You get the point. But we don’t have the first clue what’s in our hamburger meat. Ham, maybe? I don’t know. It’s not my place to guess. I just take care of the employees. But my point is that now, at least you have some idea of what’s in your Checkers burger. Grease. Dirt. You get the point. See, it’s all about perspective. And really, I mean you’re eating at Checkers. I’m sure that cleanliness isn’t at the top of your list of dietary priorities. 

Also, the young lady who committed this despicable act will soon be making $15 an hour for her hard work as a contaminated sandwich builder. That’s another way of saying that her job will soon be taken over by a robot. Robots, in case you are unaware, never drop buns on the floor. Sure, they may try to take over the human race but they never, ever drop buns. 

But don’t feel too sorry for our former employee. She’ll land on her feet. Currently, she is entertaining a job offer to oversee the Department of Education’s school lunch program. She’ll be replacing the guy who had the idea to serve pizza, corn and milk in the same meal. It can only get better from there.

Thank you for eating at Checkers.

And may God have mercy on you.

Now that’s the kind of telling it like it is that this country really needs.

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The Government’s Guide To A Safe, Healthy and Educational Summer Break For Your Kids

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I got a call from The White House the other day.

It seems that the folks in D.C. have a new initiative to keep kids busy and out of trouble while school is shut down for the summer and they want me to help with getting the word out. They’re calling this new federal program Kids Growing Beyond (KGB) and they seem real excited about it. I figured, if the government is excited about it and it’s for the kids, it can’t be bad. So it is my honor to be the first person to publicize the government’s new guidelines for parents and kids this summer.

1. Safety first!

When you and I were growing up we spent our summers outside. We left the house after we woke up and we didn’t come back until the sun went down. That’s because we grew up all wrong and our parents had no idea what they were doing. Think about it. We could’ve been murdered.

Thankfully, the government’s new guidelines will help to keep that from happening.

From now on, all kids between the ages of 0 and 31 will not be allowed to leave the house unsupervised. Federally qualified supervisors include employees of Child Protective Services, a drone, and, as a last resort, the child’s mother. In dire circumstances, assuming that the proper paperwork and bloodwork is on file, the child’s father will be allowed to supervise for up to six minutes a day.

Also, children must not leave the house without a helmet and they must be in a car seat. Even if they aren’t in a car. Any sitting will have to be done in a car seat. The government’s new motto for this will be, “If you’re off your feet, get in a car seat.” John Legend is working on the commercial jingle for this.

2. Healthy eating first too!

During the summers of my childhood, I was fueled by a steady diet of fish sticks, tater tots ketchup sandwiches and Beanee Weenees. That diet falls well short of today’s high standards. Fish, in case you didn’t know, are people too. And the same goes for whatever animal that Beanee Weenees are made from. The government added ketchup sandwiches to their terrorist watch list in 2002.

In an effort to respect the fish and the Beanee Weenee animal while also getting away from the ketchup sandwich, we’re all going vegetarian. So make sure your kids are used to hamburgers made out of the grass that gets stuck up under the lawn mower when you cut the grass on a rainy day. Mmmmmm. Organic. Oh, and McDonald’s. McDonald’s is still cool as far as the government’s new vegetarian dietary standards go seeing as how they haven’t used any actual meat in their food in over 30 years.

For dessert, kids will be allowed one (1) peppermint per day. On special occasions, cake will be permitted. However, said cake will not be allowed if it is in celebration of a birthday or if it contains sugar and/or flour. The government’s new motto for this will be “Let them eat cake!”

3. Don’t forget the entertainment. That’s first as well!

Every summer has those days when you either can’t or just don’t want to go outside. That’s when television comes in. More specifically in my case, that was when it was time to watch CHiPs and Fat Albert reruns. CHiPs and Fat Albert were my best friends on rainy days. Where would we be without these shows? CHiPs taught us to respect the police. Even if those policemen still liked to compete in disco roller skating competitions. Fat Albert taught us what life was like for inner city kids who had to use things in the junkyard for band instruments. That band sounded pretty good. Way better than anything Rascal Flatts ever recorded. Life, as it seemed, was good in the inner city.

It turns out, we were taught wrong.

Ponch and John wouldn’t stand a chance today. Can you imagine two cops on roller skates trying to stop another one of those riots started by a bunch of rich college kids pretending to be communists at the local roller rink? And what about Fat Albert? Do you think that show would make it today? No way! Today Albert would be called Far Too Short For His Weight Albert and Dumb Donald would be Misunderstood By Every Teacher He’s Ever Had Donald. And there’s no way that Bill Cosby would be allowed to host. Ryan Seacrest would take his place. Far Too Short For His Weight Albert and the Seacrest Kids just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

So we need a healthier alternative for our kids.

The View.

Each week, children will be forced to watch The View. Excuse me. Each week, children will be invited to enjoy The View. After that day’s episode, the child will write a short paper entitled Why Whoopie Is Right And Everyone Else Is Wrong. The music of Alanis Morissette is strongly suggested while your child writes. I’m sure that your second grader can sense the excitement already as he begins to grapple with his guilt for having the nerve to be born a male.

When it’s summer, you don’t have to sacrifice safety, healthy eating and education for fun. You can have it all. And the KGB is here to give it to you. Hopefully these guidelines will help you. Actually, these are just a few of the guidelines. The actual initiative is much longer but I didn’t have time to read it.

But hey, it’s from the government.

What’s the worse that could happen?

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Doughnuts Are Good For You

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I don’t have a six-pack.

No one has ever referred to my arms as, “those guns.” At least not with a straight face.

Nobody at the gym has ever asked for my opinion on the best chest exercise. Once this lady asked me to get out of her way but that’s about as close as it ever got.

I’m okay with that. I don’t run everyday to look a certain way. I’ve got bigger goals when I exercise.

I run for doughnuts.

I didn’t run at all last week. I didn’t lift one single weight either. Instead, I spent almost every morning eating doughnuts with my wife and kids. Not organic, whole grain doughnuts either. White bread doughnuts. The kind that are filled with Fruit Loops or methamphetamine or whatever it is they put in those things.

It’s good to work out and eat right. God only gave you one body so it’s important to be a good manager of his gift. But being a good manager of the body God has given to you doesn’t mean that you have to be an Organic Pharisee, pronouncing judgments on thyself and all other pagans who partaketh of high fructose corn syrup. Sometimes it means eating a doughnut with your family.

That’s heresy in today’s food culture that’s determined to cure the childhood obesity epidemic, one bowl of organic grapes at a time. But feeding the kids from the Burger King Value Menu every night before bed isn’t the only way to ruin the way that they think about food. Constantly talking about calories or body mass index to your six-year-old will do the trick too.

Years from now my kids will not care about how big my arms were or how fast I ran a 5k. But they haven’t stopped talking about all of the mornings last week that we spent eating doughnuts and listening to old school country music.

So loosen up. Ladies, who cares if you can’t drop those last ten pounds. Men, stop beating yourself up for looking nothing like the guy on the Insanity commercial. We miss the  whole point of taking care of ourselves if we think that it’s all just about the way we look. Instead, we should work hard to have bodies that help us to fulfill our responsibilities for the glory of God.

Jason Peters is probably the best offensive lineman in the NFL. He’s 6′ 4″, 328 pounds and a perennial all-pro. For almost ten years some of the best defensive players in the NFL have had a hard time getting by him.

But Jason Peters would make a terrible wide receiver. He’s nearly 100 pounds overweight for that position and too slow. Peters isn’t built to be a wide receiver. He’s built for something else.

Jason Peters is good at what he does because he knows his job and works hard to do it well. Everything from the food that he eats to the weights that he lifts helps him to do his job well.

Most of us aren’t called to be on the cover of magazines, showing off our rock hard abs. If that is you, fine, stay away from the doughnuts. Most of us are called to be able to come home from a hard day of work and still have enough energy to play soccer with the kids or paint the guest bedroom. If we’re healthy enough to do that and bend over 575 times a day to pick up diapers, laundry and cereal, we should be content.

Maybe we would view ourselves differently if, instead of trying weird diets and exercises in an attempt to be someone we’re not, we prepared ourselves to excel at what we’re supposed to do. Sort of like Jason Peters.

Last week my four-year-old asked me a profound question. I could tell that it was weighing heavy on his mind.

“Dad, what is it that you have in the band if you want to play in Texas?”

“A fiddle. You got to have a fiddle in the band.”

He was relieved.

He got that question from listening to old school country music and eating doughnuts with his dad. Creamy, sugary doughnuts.

That’s why I exercise and try to eat right. So that, if God wills, I can be around for many more years to answer my son’s questions.

And I also exercise so that every now and then I can eat a doughnut with my sons and talk about whatever is troubling them.

Exercise is really good for you.

Every so often, a doughnut is too.

There’s A New Cult In Town

Statue of Gautama Buddha "Hua Zang Si" buddist temple 3134 22nd Street San Francisco, CA 94110

There’s a new cult in town and you probably don’t even know about it. Even worse, you might even be a member of it.

Unlike most cults, this one doesn’t really have a charismatic leader with a funny name who preaches about the end of the world.

And while you can pay a small fortune as a devotee to this cult, you don’t necessarily have to.

Knocking on doors early on Saturday mornings and handing out promotional materials isn’t necessary either. In fact, that would be frowned upon. But you do have to talk about this new cult. Well, you don’t really have to. It’s not like you’ll get kicked out if you don’t. It’s just that people who belong to this cult usually do talk about it. A lot. Social media is the primary tool. You have friends on Facebook who are members of this cult. Hardcore members. And, like I said, you may even be a member too.

There isn’t one god at the center of this cult. There are many. But each member worships his own god. That god is your own body.

The required sacrifices have nothing to do with animal killing, feasts or fasts. All that is required is several hours a day appeasing your body in a gym or on a track, trail or road. These are the places where regular worship services are held.

Worship is a big part of this cult. But it doesn’t require music, standing, sitting, standing again and then sitting with heads bowed and eyes closed while someone with a guitar sings. The primary act of worship in this cult is the selfie. That isn’t to say that everyone who takes selfies is a member of The Body Cult. However, if you can’t workout without taking a few pictures or videos of yourself for all of the world to see, you just might be a member.

You might say that I’m being too harsh. After all, it’s just working out. And working out is just taking care of your body. And God only gives you one body. What’s so bad about that?

Nothing.

Working out is good.

Taking care of yourself is smart.

But only when those things are done as acts of worship to the Creator who gives and takes away as he pleases. Working out and taking care of yourself, just like a host of other good things, become dangerous when they become our life’s ultimate things. And for many people, nice abs and a 600 pound deadlift have become ultimate things.

I know. I know. You’re a Christian. You’re no cult member.

Got it.

But here’s a question.

When was the last time that you missed two solid weeks of working out because you were, “too busy?”

Another question.

When was the last time that you went two weeks without reading your Bible or going to church for the same reason?

The answer can be telling.

Not because reading your Bible regularly and going to church make you right with God. They don’t. The answer is telling because worship and commitment go hand in hand. They always do. You will always be committed to what you worship. And you are committed to what you love.

The Body Cult promises a nice, healthy body just in time for the all important beach selfie. Again, the nice healthy body isn’t the problem. A nice, healthy body is a good thing. It’s the heart that puts the one true God on the shelf while the false god of the body is appeased that is the real problem.

The promises of The Body Cult come with a higher price than a tweaked shoulder from last night’s bench press or sore knees from last weekend’s ultra marathon. When your body becomes your god, your body becomes your burden. And the body is a burden that is too heavy for even the fittest athlete to carry. You could always be stronger. There will always seem to be a little bit of fat around your obliques that you would love to get rid of. There is always someone at the gym who is stronger or at the beach who looks better. The false god of the body is never appeased.

Jesus came to free us from burdens like this one.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

Jesus spoke those words to a culture of people who were weighed down by the overbearing rules of religion. But his words apply just as much to a culture of people who are weighed down by the burdens of performance, perfection and appearance.

If you really care about taking care of yourself, don’t neglect the eternal importance of a heart that is right with God for the temporary pleasure of a body that wins the approval of people.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (ESV)

Run in that race this weekend and try your hardest to win it. Work hard to reach your weightlifting goals. But do it all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). His love for you and approval of you is unlike anything else in the world. He doesn’t love you because you can still fit in to the jeans you wore in high school. He doesn’t approve of you because you’re so athletic for someone your age. His love and approval are based solely on his grace and the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

It’s not too late to renounce your membership in The Body Cult. Come to grips with the fact that you will never win this way. Open your eyes to the fact that the burdens of The Body Cult are more than you can carry.

For once, let someone else do the heavy lifting for you.

And go to sleep tonight with a body that is tired from a lot of lifting but a soul that is well rested from trusting in Jesus for your ultimate satisfaction, identity and approval.

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