New Heroes

Many a fine word has been written about the importance of having heroes, those we can look up to and aspire to imitate or emulate.  Maybe you aspire to out do Martha Stewart with her home decor or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body building prowess or maybe the sharpshooting skill of Chris Kyle – in any case they set a standard for us to strive too.

To my recollection as a child my heroes were Flint from GI Joe, Optimus Prime from Transformers, and possibly Jayce of Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors.  As I grew my heroes changed from celluloid animations to men and women of flesh and blood.  In my late teens to early 20’s I read Men’s Health magazine almost religiously.  It was there that I read my first article speaking to the need and impact a hero can have on your life. As a person of faith I hesitate to use the word ‘idol’ but in truth that’s probably a more accurate a term.

Now that I’m sneaking up on … well, perhaps it’s more accurate to say barreling at full speed, toward my 40’s I have come to realize the value of these objects of aspiration.  But for myself I find that I need more than one, a benchmark for the different aspects of life. In thinking of the spirit the ultimate Spiritual authority of Jesus Christ is obviously top of the list along with the likes of Billy Graham, A. W. Tozer, and N. T. WrightHenry Cavil, Hugh JackmanChris Hemsworth, and Sam Heughan (yes those links to shirtless pictures, and you’re welcome ladies) are body types I will hopefully one day obtain through eating right, exercise, and training; as wishful thinking hasn’t gotten me very far.  But my mind … I don’t know that I’ve ever taken the time to consider the type of mind that intrigues me.  There are several individuals who’s character I hold in high esteem … Richard Winters being one.  But this is a very short-list.  I recently added another. Meet Shelby Foote.


If you’re a fan of Ken Burns then you probably got to know Shelby Foote in his series, ‘The Civil War’.  Shelby was actually an accomplished author before appearing on Ken Burns PBS special but certainly received near celebrity status following the airing.  He’s written nearly a million words but is best known for his work “The Civil War: A Narrative“.  I appreciate him as a historian, an author, and as a communicator. But what I like best about him is his voice.  He doesn’t shy away from his southern roots and try to hide behind some learned mid-west tone.  He’s intelligent and able to see both sides of an argument.  Take a listen to his observations on the Flag of Dixie. I’m not sure when this was recorded as Shelby died in 2005, long before the uproar in recent years. But listen how he shapes the argument and places understanding on both sides. My point is not whether or not I agree with his position, though I think it’s a valid one, but rather the way he communicates puts you at ease and opens you up for a good conversation.

There are plenty other videos on YouTube. Take the time to check them out.  Thanks to my friend for re-introducing me to this character of a man.

Take the time and evaluate the heroes in your life.  Do not look for perfection but instead attributes that you wish to aspire too.  For example, Billy Graham isn’t perfect, but no one can doubt the impact he had on evangelism in America nor can you dispute his presence and ability to write and deliver a sermon.

By the numbers

I would say that one of the more challenging aspects of my job is not collecting or reviewing data.  Rather it is framing the data where it remains true and accurate to itself but is able to be consumed by anyone from Mid-Management up to Executive.  Often the best way to do this is to place the data in context and tell the story that the data is telling us.  I had seen the video posted below before but I’m just now taking the time to share it out.

WW2, for the most part, is a popular field of study in history.  At any given point you can find a biopic or special floating around the realms of HBO, A&E, or any number of streaming services.  While this awareness is great I think we sometimes lose site of the full scope of the conflict.  It was massive, impacting every corner of the globe.  Obviously most of the fighting took place in Europe and the Pacific; but we often forget about Africa & the Eastern front.

Check out the video to get a rather sobering picture of the cost of life this war took on our planet.  When I see the numbers I think that each one of those persons lost could have been a father or a mother.  How many lives are not here today because of the tens of millions of individuals that lost their lives during this conflict.

The author of the video does an outstanding job of putting the loss of life into perspective and makes it easy to consume.  Understand I’m saying it’s easy to understand … not that it’s easy to take.

The Fallen of World War II from Neil Halloran on Vimeo.

Not right

A Christian’s response to PlannedParenthood shootings

I have enjoyed my day of #optoutside … no shopping, no travel, just worked around the house building a walkway with some scrap wood to run between the motor home and the house.  My father-in-law likes to go out there when he’s had enough of the inside and this should help keep both places cleaner …

Then I come in and see news of a shooter in a PlannedParenthood facility.  Let me make one thing perfectly clear: No one who supports this shooting can call themselves Christian and be telling the truth.  I in no way support PlannedParenthood or any other abortion facility for that matter … but violence and murder is never the answer.  As Christians we are to strive to be ‘Christ’-like.  Christ never murdered … flip tables and run crooks out of the temple, yes … but never did he murder.

I have not been following the story to any great detail … other than seeing headlines.  I am assuming that folks will take this opportunity to say that this is another reason we shouldn’t trust Christians.  This act was not carried out by a Christian … or at least one being ‘Christ’-like.

I have seen some comments floating around on Facebook that this should be called terrorism.  I don’t think it will for two reasons:

  1. We, whether correctly or not, associate terrorism with actions taken by individuals or groups of individuals from the middle-east with some sort of organizational structure.  I’ll also say that when carried out by a single individual a bomb is typically involved.
  2. I don’t think media outlets want to call it that as such a term could be inciting panic during this holiday season and have an impact on the election cycle.  I know it may seem silly but surely everyone knows that if a terrorist act did occur it would become politicized by both parties which is just distasteful.

Terrorism is typically carried out by an organized group.  To my knowledge there has only been one incident.  If there are more at other locations then I think it’d be right to call it that. However in this case we do not know the motivations behind this mans stupidity.  It is possible that he was attacking an abortion facility because it was a place where abortions take place … it is also equally as possible that he was pissed at someone that worked there or maybe he was a jilted employee.  I don’t think anyone really knows at this point so for once it’s a good call not to jump to the ‘terrorism’ label.

None the less people have lost their lives today and that is the tragedy.  I stand against abortion because it ends a human life.  For that very same reason I stand and speak out against this senseless murder.  Unless in the case of self-defense or war, killing another human being is out of the question.

My sincerest condolences to the families impacted by the acts of this individual.

Sleep in the olden days

As mom is on her trip with her friends the girls have decided to camp in our bedroom. You’d be amazed at how much room a 10 & 6 year old take up in a king size bed. I have just enough room to sleep on my shoulder and for the first time in ages I caught myself rolling out of bed last night.

I ain’t mad though, reminds me of the first years of marriage.

Young men, my advice to you on what to do to prepare for marriage … learn to sleep in a 1 foot wide space on the edge of your bed. Trust me