What Made Eddie the Eagle so Special??

Eddie the EagleI think it was his under-dogged determination in the face of humiliation and possible death. Michael Edwards, aka “Eddie the Eagle,” made his claim to fame by entering, surviving, and coming in way under everyone else as last place “loser” in each ski-jumping event he entered at the 1988 Winter Olympics, but the fans went wild! Why??  Well, for a lot of reasons! Eddie the EagleEddie was pretty much totally self-funded and chronically broke. When he broke his jaw in a skiing accident, he tied it up with a pillowcase and continued working instead of being treated at a hospital. He wore 6 pairs of stockings to make his feet fit in hand-me-down boots. Eddie was terribly far-sighted, and his glasses would fog up under his googles at altitude when he was trying to jump. eddie-the-eagleEddie really was clumsy: When landing in Calgary for the 1988 Olympic Games, He ran into the door and broke some of his gear, thereafter being dubbed “Mr. Magoo” as well as “Eddie the Eagle.” Although it’s true that he finished last in both of his jumps in the Calgary Olympics, he did beat his own personal record and set a new record for Great Britain (who hadn’t had a jumper since 1928). Eddie the Eagle MovieEddie is now 52, and although he says he’s a fan of the movie, he also commented to BBC in an interview that only about 5% of the movie was accurate. Perhaps the most disappointing fiction to me was that Eddie was tutored in ski jumping at Lake Placid by two Americans, which is all well and good, but the redemptive story of a fabulous athlete who “blew it” in his youth and then became a winning coach did not occur. However, the one aspect of the movie that is most accurate is also most compelling: Eddie won the hearts of the people because he represented the average guy who succeeded in his goal— without wealth or education—simply through sheer guts and determination. Eddie the Eagle Wiki. Public DomainSince the Olympics, Eddie has become a folk hero, giving motivational speeches and inspiring others never to give up on their dreams. As is quoted in the movie (and was true), at the closing ceremony, Frank King (president of the organizing committee) gave this tribute to Eddie the Eagle: “At these games, some competitors have won gold, some have broken records, and some of you have even soared like an eagle.”

www.theguardian.comHow about you and me? Got a dream? Ready to soar?

(Just for the record: In the 70-meter: Eddie scored 69.2. The next lowest was Bernat Sola Pujol from Spain at 140.4, and Matti Nykänen from Finland scored 229.1 points. Sometimes it really is what’s in the heart that counts!)

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31).

 


Rise Up, My Love (196): Submitting, Not Because You’re Overpowered, but Because You Love

Rose RedSong of Solomon 6:5 “turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me.” Last week, I made several assumptions about this verse; this week I want to support my thinking. First, why do I think love must be what he sees in her eyes? Well, some will say, “Of course that’s what he sees! What else is even an option?”

The comment immediately preceding His request for her to turn away her eyes is, “thou art beautiful…terrible as an army with banners.” What do the banners say? She answers that herself in chapter two, verse four: “His banner over me was love.” The banners she wears are his banners…the banners of the love of the Son of God! The strength he sees in her is his strength…the strength and glory of God the Father.

The force of energy and light shining out from her eyes is nothing less than the radiant energy of God the Holy Spirit. God has developed in her the beauty and likeness of her maker—a fitting “helpmate” for the bridegroom, but an awesome power. Stop and consider the import of this moment of time suspended in space. Does it remind you of another time and another place where God had created and exalted another being to a position of magnificent light and beauty? It reminds me of Lucifer, “Son of the Morning,” who rebelled against the God of Heaven. Could it be that in that split second of time, Christ saw in his beloved bride the potential for her to chose evil rather than good…to become a traitor to God? Could it be that he felt his own heart so overcome by love that he felt temptation? He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness; could he have also sensed the temptation of the first Adam…to surrender to his wife’s will? “Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me.” The word for overcome is translated as “agitate” in the LXX, “disturb” in the Hebrew interlinear, “overwhelm” (NIV), “hold captive” (JB), and “dazzle” (NEB). It is found elsewhere only in Psalm 138:3, where it is rendered “make bold,” in Proverbs 6:3, where it speaks of “making sure” a friend, and in Isaiah 3:5, where it says “the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient,” or—as translated in the The Interlinear Bible, “the boy will be insolent against the elder.” Other commentators speak of the word being used to mean “make spirited” or “bewitched.” In each instance, there is the strong flavor of influence over another, and such influence could certainly be used for either good or evil.

The husband is in the position of power; the wife is in the position of influence. When the power of influence begins to overwhelm the person in authority, the person in the position of influence must make a choice: to attempt to truly overcome, or to look away as a sign of submission and surrender. Do not look at me anymore, lest I be tempted to love you more than I love my own Father. Turn away your eyes as a sign of willing submission. My heart is overwhelmed; you must love me and surrender to me of your own volition, because my love for you will not permit me to force you. Do not tempt me to surrender my will to you, for I love you as I love my own soul. You must become one with me, not I with you, in order that we may both be one with the Father. Choose to yield. Choose to submit. Don’t tempt me to yield to you, for you are not yet one with God for eternity, and therefore you still carry the potential for evil. Don’t rebel. I see your strength…it is in your love…love I gave you…but it pulls me like a magnet.

Turn away! Don’t draw me into yourself. Let me draw you into myself…in his time…which will be therefore into the perfection and will of God the Father. Could that be? I don’t know. I do know that it happens between a man and a woman. Could it happen between Christ and his bride?

The whole book of the Song of Solomon…in a deeper sense…reflects the entire earthly journey of a marriage as well as the spiritual pilgrimage of a believer. In a healthy marriage, the husband nurtures the wife until she becomes a powerful and appropriate…either “helpmate” or equal-rival. There comes a time in every marriage when the wife must choose—of her own volition—whether or not to surrender to her husband. For some, that is a choice they make each day, just as we must reaffirm in our hearts our desire to serve God each morning and moment of our lives. But, in a more global sense, the choice to submit is made initially at the altar when the woman becomes a bride, and then again at some point in the marriage…usually during mid-life (and typically as part of the mid-life crisis), after the husband has learned to truly love and admire his wife at a much deeper level. At that point the wife must choose again to surrender her power and yield to her husband’s will. There must come a time again for repeating, “Not my will, but thine be done.” Of course, ultimately both the husband and wife need to submit their wills to God’s will, as we are taught in Ephesians 5:21, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (so that God’s will is accomplished, not our own).

I Think I’m Going to Vote Republican…Strange as that Sounds…

Balloon at Republican National ConventionI can’t remember anguishing over whom to vote for this much since I was 10. In 1960 (even though I was too young to actually vote), I wanted Nixon to win. My 12-year-old sister wanted JFK, and she tried to persuade me to support Kennedy even if I really preferred Nixon, based on her theory that whoever was elected would be assassinated (according to past statistical records, which did prove to be true 3 years later). I stuck to my guns, though, and was sadly disappointed.

This election, the only candidate whose personal life made me trust him was Ben Carson, and the thought of Donald Trump was almost humiliating. I definitely did not have a high opinion of Donald Trump, and I didn’t want our country turning into a laughable reality T.V. show!   2016 Republican National ConventionHowever, last night I listened to Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, and I realized that (his past history aside) I actually agreed with most of his platform. Obama’s care of our nation will end with his nearly doubling our national debt from 10.6 trillion when he entered office to over 19 trillion today, and heading to upwards of 20 trillion before he’s out of office. I strongly want a conservative Supreme Court who will protect our constitutional rights. I believe in protecting freedom of speech and allowing religious institutions to retain their tax-exempt status. I believe in the right to bear arms, and the importance of upholding the immigration laws that are on the books. I do want protection from terrorists and fair trade agreements. I do want to support Israel and their right to have a tiny bit of earth where they can live without being persecuted. I don’t want illegal immigrants taking jobs from legal immigrants (because they’re willing to work for less and don’t pay taxes). It wasn’t socialism that made our country great and allowed for a healthy middle class; it was capitalism. What we need is the opportunity for people to be able to work hard and succeed, not to have all their needs met whether or not they’re willing to work. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10, notice the verse says “would not,” not “could not.” The Bible always admonishes us to be kind to those who are truly needy.) I do want someone whose intention is to put the needs of the American people first and to protect our nation. Isn’t that what a good leader is supposed to do? Think of God’s injunctions from the scripture: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8). I’m glad Alan is a compassionate physician and a generous donor, but I’m also glad he puts the needs of his children ahead of the unending neediness of the world of mentally ill folks he serves.  Donald Trump after speaking at the RNCI think if people who believe in the Republican platform don’t want to vote for Donald Trump, it’s because they don’t trust him…but hasn’t Hillary Clinton broken trust with the American people even more? Trump didn’t sound like an irrational lunatic to me last night; he sounded like someone espousing many of the views I also believe. YES, we need reform, but NO, we don’t need a continued slide into unprecedented debt and a re-formed constitution. I wish we had democratic and republican candidates with more honorable records, but that’s not going to keep me from voting for the candidate whose platform is best aligned with the values I believe in, and I hope—despite how much our political opinions may differ—that will also be true for you.

To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:3)

 

Quotable Quips for a Rainy—or Sunny—Day

Alligator v.s. CrocodileI love jokes and quips. Do you? Here are a few I’ve been saving up for just such an occasion as today. Hope you enjoy them, and if you’ve already heard them, I hope they still make you smile!

“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” ~Lily Tomlin

“Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?” ~Phyllis Diller

“If you love something, set it free. Unless it’s chocolate. Never release chocolate.” ~Renee Duvall

“If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?” ~Milton Berle

“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.” ~Paula Poundstone

“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, ‘Where’s the self-help section?’ She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.” ~George Carlin

“He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals.”~Ben Franklin

“The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.”~Erma Bombeck

“The best time to give advice to your children is while they’re still young enough to believe you know what you’re talking about.” ~Evan Esar

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” ~Doug Larson

“Laughter is an instant vacation.” ~Milton Berle (and I hope you’re enjoying some vacation during this beautiful summer!)

Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad” (Psalm 26:2-3).

 

Have You Felt the Joy of Joy Mangano?

Joy MovieOkay, so I’ve never bought or owned a T.V. and have hardly watched any since becoming a Christian back in 1960, so I can only give a blank look when people talk about things like QVC or HSN, but I really did enjoy watching Joy, and even if only 50% of the information was true and the other 50% from the amalgamated machinations of David O. Russel’s imagination (based on real and fictional characters), the life story of Joy Mangano is very impressive! Joy Movie 2A young divorcee with three children to support (two in the movie), Joy has had a meteoric rise from poverty to being worth 50+ million in about 25 years. This woman has 100+ patents to her name, some of the most famous inventions being her Miracle Mop, Huggable Hangers, and Forever Fragrant products. joy manganoThe real Joy Mangano is the president of Ingenious Designs, can sell a million dollars of product in one hour on T.V., and was honored by the Fast Company in 2010 as one of the “10 Most Creative Women in Business.” Besides that, I don’t think she’s been involved in any scandals, so what’s not to admire about her record? Cast-of-JoyI was disappointed to learn that she didn’t do all this while living with a totally dysfunctional, crazy family (although I’m glad they weren’t as bad as depicted), Joy Mangano HSNbut she still looks like a superwoman to me! All the trials and tribulations she went through to succeed, if not as humorous and horrible as portrayed on screen, were doubtless real and heart-rending all the same, and I think the message is worth hearing: It’s never too late to go for it if you have to good idea, so keep trying ’til it turns out right!Joy ManganoI couldn’t find much about Joy’s personal life, which she (understandably) keeps very private, but in our own pursuit of good things, God encourages us to call on Him for help in working out our bright ideas: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3). I don’t know if Joy is aware of this offer, or if her faith has anything to do with her amazing success, but I do know that God’s open invitation is something I’d never want to refuse!

“The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

Rise Up, My Love (195): The Power of your Love

Song of Solomon 6:5 “Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me.” In this new song of praise, which not only reaffirms but also reveals an enlarged admiration for the bride’s deepening character, the bridegroom responds very differently to his wife’s eyes. Compare this praise with that of chapter four: “Thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.” Those dove-like eyes now burn with such intensity that he is overwhelmed! It reminds me of another of Shakespeare’s lines from Romeo and Juliet: “This bud of love by summer’s ripening breath may prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.” Indeed, the bride’s love, tested and purified by the fires of separation and persecution, now burn with an unquenchable flame…her “bud” of love has opened into a magnificent bloom, and it takes his breath away. It takes his breath away… and melts his heart! What he sees in her eyes liquefies him…like heat melting a piece of hard, red, transparent balsam into a fragrant liquid. He feels his heart slipping away like wax dripping from a candle. A stony heart feels the blows of the chisel and hammer, but a liquid heart does not, because it moves and conforms instantly. Think about it. If you pour a fluid into a vessel, it rests peacefully within the boundaries of the vase. There is no battle over the will of water. Even so, a liquid heart can be poured out into any vessel and be used to fill it… The bridegroom feels her eyes melting his heart…his heart stops beating…he stops breathing…is this what it means to fall in love? “Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me.” Here is another puzzle I’ve turned over and over in my mind. It is one of those verses where I find myself “digging for wisdom” because it is like buried treasure which is difficult to mine. I find myself bringing the phrase before God and claiming James 1:5-6, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” That has been my daily exercise in prayer in this search for understanding The Song of Solomon…although sometimes the insights seem to be lying on the ground in front of me, and at other times they seem to be buried under an avalanche of debris in the mine shaft! Why would the king feel overcome, and why would he ask her to turn her eyes away? Well, the universal opinion is normally that he was overcome by desire…but why would that make him ask her to turn her eyes away? Why wouldn’t he just draw her to himself in marital communion if he were overcome by desire? Let’s work backwards and see if we can understand his heart through deductive reasoning. What makes a person turn his eyes away? I believe it’s when the intimacy becomes greater than the person is comfortable with…or able to bear. Have you ever had a stare down (intentional or unintentional)? To my mind, the person with the stronger will—the dominant person—wins. Dogs, bears, or most any wild animal will be more likely to attack if you look straight into their eyes, because they take that as a challenge and affront. In the book Bear Attack, people are warned to avert their eyes if they see a bear in order to avoid being attacked. Gazing into another’s eyes is a confrontation of sorts. It is a challenge to intimacy, to understanding, to establishing authority and order. A dog will stare lovingly into his master’s eyes but growl ferociously at a stranger who stares at him. Why? Because the dog is eager to convey submission and love to his own master but resists even entering into a contest with any other potential owner. “No man can serve two masters.” The dog—dubbed man’s best friend because of his undying loyalty—does not care to even try! How does this knowledge of the physical world relate to Christ’s revelation of himself in his reaction to his bride in the fifth verse of chapter six? What does he see in her eyes that overcomes him, and why does he ask her to turn away? Here is one of the most profound insights into the love of Christ found in the whole Bible. What he sees in her eyes must be love, and I think the reason he asks her to turn away must be to keep him from being tempted to surrender to her will.

Racing Extinction or Promoting Life

9                    Despite Racing Extinction being dubbed a “thriller” by some, Racing_Extinction_posterI think of it more as an electrifying documentary about the vicious and inexcusable exploitation of animals around the world that is resulting in a massive number of God’s two million+ beautiful species going extinct at an estimated rate of 150-200 (up to 2,000) per day, which many scientists believe is as much as 1000 times the natural rate and will be cataclysmic for our planet. 10Racing Extinction is a visually breathtaking and emotionally heartbreaking look at the cruel disregard for animal life in the mad rush for money and pleasure. louieLouie Psihoyos, a Greek American photographer and film director, has created a powerful documentary with enough incriminating evidence to convince anyone with a shred of humanity left that we need to do something to change our own habits and tastes in order to save our planet…literally! And, this isn’t just a money-making deal for Louie. 12On the day he was planning to accept an Academy Award for his documentary, The Cove, Louie instead went on an undercover mission to expose the (illegal) sale of whale meat at a restaurant in America. 6Racing Extinction shows several horrifying videos of undercover investigations of the shark fin and manta gill trade, and several of those who are risking their lives in this quest were choking back tears as they discussed the merciless killing of animals for delicacies or supposed medicines. 2In addition to the movie, activists have begun the campaign “Start with One Thing” to encourage people to change their habits. 1For those of us who aren’t in to eating Shark Fin Soup, there is one obvious way we can contribute: simply by eating a little less beef, which is hugely expensive to raise (in the global economy of resources). Fish Manta rayThat will be a tough one for me, because I love beef, but I’m going to try to do so, and I read that Americans are generally overfed, so it will probably be good for me as well as for the planet. After all, we’re all in this together!4And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28). God has given us sovereignty over the earth, but I believe his intention is for us to care for our world as good stewards, the way a kind and merciful king would oversee his dominion.