Human Nature

Daily News Headline

Back in the late sixties and early 70s we gathered around our TV sets with the three available channels on Monday nights for Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in on NBC.

One of the repeated gags on the lightning-fast show was the old joke from the diner, “Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.” I remember in one episode, the waiter is behind the counter and seven or eight people sitting at the bar say, one right after another, “Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.” Whoever was playing the waiter went down the counter, spewing out one punch line after another. Sorry, can’t find the YouTube clip for that, but it went something like this:

There’s a fly in your soup? Keep it down sir, or they’ll all be wanting one.

There’s a fly in your soup? Sorry sir, guess I forgot it when I removed the other three.

There’s a fly in your soup? Then we’ve served you too much soup, the fly should be wading.

There’s a fly in your soup? Couldn’t be, sir. The cook used them all in the raisin bread.

There’s a fly in your soup? It’s OK, Sir, there’s no extra charge!

There’s a fly in your soup? No sir, that’s a cockroach, the fly is on your steak.

There’s a fly in your soup? What do you expect? It’s fly soup.

Call me weird, but that’s one of the first things I thought of when I read the headline of the New York Daily News in the immediate wake of the devastating shootings in San Bernadino – yet another American city whose name has become synonymous with mass murder.

GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS, the headline blasted, riffing on and ripping the condolence statements of Republican presidential candidates. [click to continue…]

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Callings

by Andy Wood on June 30, 2014

in 100 Words, Photos

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Callings spur on much of our lives, and can come from many sources.

callings 4

Some people are called by deeply held values, such as liberty and country. [click to continue…]

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American 1Of all the nations who have drawn some borders and set up shop, perhaps none has a shorter and more mixed (some would say mixed up) pedigree than the United States.  If the planet was populated by nothing but dogs, we’d be the mixed breeds – the hardy, loveable mutts who may not be able to point to a long pedigree, but will probably live the longest, love the hardest, and fight the fiercest of anybody in the pound.

To be an American is to be a delightful, maddening mix of contributions and contradictions, possibilities and problems.  We’re a living demonstration of what can happen when you let “the help” run the kingdom.

To be an American is to believe in the power of the people.  Your people, that is.  It is to believe that authority resides in the will of the majority, even though at any given time the Commander-in-Chief was elected by less than 21% of the population. Or if that doesn’t work, maybe power can reside in the rulings of some Federal judge who can see things your way until the majority gets with the program. [click to continue…]

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Pulling the Wagon

by Andy Wood on November 19, 2012

in 100 Words, Leadership, Life Currency, Photos

Leading people is like pulling a wagon.

It can be complicated and frustrating to over-analyze or steer from the rear. [click to continue…]

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Help Wanted: Heroes

by Andy Wood on May 10, 2011

in Conversations, Spoofs

“Thank you for calling TOPO Services International.  This is Brenda.”

“Hi, Brenda, this is Andy.  Have we spoken before?”

“Quite possibly, sir. I do get around.  And I have only been at TOPO for a couple of weeks.  Now how may I direct your call?”

“Let me talk to Human Resources.”

“I am sorry, sir, but everyone in that department is out to lunch this week.  I am taking their calls for them.  How may I help you?”

“I hear you’re taking applications for heroes.  I thought I’d check it out.”

“That is correct, sir.  We have permanent and temporary positions available.  Are you currently employed?”

“Well, sort of.  Would I have to relocate?”

“Not at all, sir.  That is what’s so wonderful about working with TOPO.  You can continue to do whatever it is you were doing.  We initiate the hero program in the comfort of your own lifestyle.  By the way, what is it you do?”

“I’m a professor, coach and consultant, and manage a couple of Christian nonprofit organizations.  And I used to be a pastor.”

“Excellent!  That has some real possibilities, especially now that you are no longer a pastor.  There are some questions I will have to ask, however.”

“Fire away.  But when you’re finished asking questions, I’ll still be a pastor at heart.”

“Of course, sir.  First question:  Are you a victim?” [click to continue…]

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Seagulls: Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.
Nigel: Oh would you just shut up? You’re rats with wings.  (from “Finding Nemo”)

“Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night”  (Philippians 2:15, The Message) 

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Ever been haunted by words? 

I have.  Sometimes somebody expresses something so profoundly, so powerfully, that the power of their words lasts for years.

Randy Stonehill did that for me with a song he wrote 35 years ago, when I was a senior in high school.  In a couple of lines in one song, he described the desperation of the human condition.  The words and music still tear my heart out to this day: [click to continue…]

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Bobo Brown Saves Thanksgiving

by Andy Wood on November 22, 2010

in Insight, Spoofs

If you know my oldest-by-five-minutes daughter at all, you will eventually have the ex-Thanksgiving Conversation (XTC for short).  Carrie’s growing frustration is that in the rush to jump from Halloween to Christmas, the world has turned on Thanksgiving 

If you decide to hang your holly before you’ve baked your turkey, it may be a good idea to keep it to yourself.  Otherwise, if “Baby A” finds out about it, you may get The Look.  Or worse, execution-by-XTC.

So when we caravanned from Texas to Alabama this weekend for Thanksgiving, to Carrie, it was all about giving thanks.  And when we attended the Baptist church in Millry Sunday morning, Carrie became a shouting Baptist when Brother Billy talked about Thanksgiving being the Forgotten Holiday.

“Amen!  It’s about time!” she shouted.

Yes, I mean shouted (though she may take issue with my choice of terms).

Still a bit edgy and armed for early-Christmas bear, this led to more conversation.  How can we teach people to value Thanksgiving?  How can we turn the tide of obscene Christmas shopping, at least until the cranberry sauce is back in the fridge?  What can we do to capture the true meaning of what may be America’s most important holiday?

Deep stuff, friends.  Insight needed beyond my little pea brain.  This calls for the wisdom of Solomon, the intelligence of Einstein, and the people skills of Bill Clinton. 

“You’re in luck,” I proclaimed to the fam.  “It’s time to go over the river and through the woods!”

“But we’re already at Grandmother’s house,” said Cassie.

“Different river, different woods!” I exclaimed triumphantly.  “It’s time you met Bobo Brown.”  [click to continue…]

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I want to talk to you about something that for some people is pretty painful and scary.  Because of that, I want to say first that I am writing this in love.  I hope you can feel the love that compels me to say these things, even if they are difficult to receive or comprehend.

If this isn’t for you, it’s for somebody you know.  Maybe you can pass it along.

The truth is, I am afraid for you.

As you look in the mirror, as you go forth into the world, and as you relate to others, you only know two views.

You’re either a hero or a zero.

You are either on a pedestal or in the sewer.  [click to continue…]

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It’s time to break the silence.  So in a minute I’m going to tell you the most shameful, disgraceful thing I’ve ever done. Then I’m going to tell you the second most shameful, disgraceful thing I have ever done.  I’m not proud of either (hence the terms “shameful” and “disgraceful”), but in the spirit of James 5:16, there is healing to be found in honesty and vulnerability.  

More on that in a minute.  But first, here are seven new half-baked ideas that are still baking up in my oven… [click to continue…]

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The Sting and the Save

by Andy Wood on October 12, 2009

in Tense Truths

Okay, first watch the short video, then let’s talk. 

This is an adaptation of a story Henri Nouwen used to tell.  Voice, illustrations, direction by Allen Weathers…

Before the dawn of time as we know it, God foresaw.  [click to continue…]

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