Homeless to Famous: Thoughts on the greatest week of Ted William’s life, Part 2

Now, this isn’t a Jesus juke, but it seems to me the subtle, unspoken message from this whole event is “How did a guy with such talent end up on the streets?”.

My son, when he was just a toddler, used to love to push the recycling bin around the house.  And every so often, as I was taking the garbage to the curb, I’d look in the bin and notice my cell phone or some other random non-trash item.  It used to perplex me.

How did THIS end up in the garbage?  This has value.  This is useful.  It shouldn’t be tossed out like that.

And when you listen to Ted Williams speak, you can almost ask the same question.

How did HE end up in the garbage?  He has value.  He is useful.  He shouldn’t have been forgotten like that.

But that reveals a deep internal thought that we don’t really want to admit to.

We think everyone else deserves to be on the curb.

If Ted is the exception, than all of the other people with no home and nowhere to go simply become the rule.

I wonder how many other treasures we’d discover if we simply took to the time to not assume they belonged there.




Homeless to Famous: Thoughts on the greatest week of Ted William’s life, Part 1

My life has never been anywhere near as high or as low as Ted Williams.  I’ve had some pretty bad days, but never found myself in his shoes.  And, needless to say, I’ve never been the object of national attention.   But I had some thoughts about what is one of the more amazing turnarounds in a long time.

I think it is too easy to misplace the reason or cause for his sudden turnaround.  Some say that this is what makes America great.  A guy down on his luck can make it if he perseveres and doesn’t give up.  Or some say that it’s a testament to the power of the social web because without the viral nature of his story he wouldn’t have been afforded these opportunities.  Others have pointed to the videographer from the Columbus Dispatch or the paper itself for sharing the story.  All of those things are true.  But they are not the single cause for Williams’ turnaround.

Williams has continually given credit to God as the difference in his life.  The reason Ted Williams was able to have a week like this is because God loves the second chance… and the third chance… and the 839th chance.

Ted Williams didn’t get a lucky break.  He is the result of what God can do in a person’s life.  Doesn’t mean Ted will never do anything wrong.  Doesn’t mean Ted will always make great decisions.  It simply means that GRACE is greater than anything this world has to throw at a person.

“He’d be such a GREAT Christian”

I’ve heard it over and over as long as I’ve been in the church. 

“Man, could you imagine what would happen if <> became a Christian.  They have so much influence and don’t you know that the youths really listen to them.”

I’ve always hated that line of thinking.

One, because it’s an absolute lie.  We make the failed assumption that their influence is inherent within them.  But we know that’s not true.  Influence remains only as long as contemporary culture says they are relevant. And relevance is measured by the ability to cater to particular appetites.  Those are surrendered rather quickly once someone identifies publicly with Jesus.

It seems we’ve convinced ourselves that the reason that the world doesn’t love our videos, and movies, and music, and books is because of our production values.  If we could only be slicker, sharper, edgier, whatever they would give us their undivided attention. 

The truth is our culture only celebrates and gives attention to those things that feed their desires.  In a world carnally driven, the Spirit is not a hot commodity.

The other reason is because it’s a cop out.  The subtle undertone to this train of thought is that we are waiting for someone to show up and make a difference.  We need someone to take the reins and reach the world. 

We all to ready to wait for a white knight to ride to the rescue than we are to be the white knight ourselves. 

We’ve resigned ourselves to the thinking that programs, events, special services and meetings will make the difference in the world of those around us.

Imagine what could happen if we became great Christians…

Savoring Lost or Learning to Enjoy the Simple Things in Life

Of all the things that are taking place in the world at large, the end of a television show probably doesn’t rank that high. I can admit that. I have a completely obsessive relationship with LOST, but I am sober enough to acknowledge that in the light of the global, local, and personal issues we all navigate through on a daily basis.

However, as we near the end, I, like most fans of LOST, are expecting answers. After six seasons of polar bears and DHARMA hatches and Hurley birds and smoke monsters and weird, wet backwards talking Walt apparitions, we kinda feel entitled.

But it is that desire (NEED…?) for answers that may just make what should be the culmination of a long, strange journey anti-climactic and disappointing. Not because that the show is no longer entertaining. It is now competing with my own unrealistic and increasingly high expectations of what it SHOULD be.

How sad that I could miss out on something amazing simply because I could not set aside my own thoughts and expectations enough to receive it.

Yes, I know it’s only a television show. But what about other things?

What else do we miss enjoying simply because we haven’t learned to make the mental adjustment to make the most of them?

David Blaine… WTH?

We interrupt our regular programming for this special report…

David Blaine and the “Dive of Death”…

I didn’t get it.  Not a bit.  Not in a “Well, it could’ve been executed better, but I dig what they were trying to pull off” kinda way.  Just.  No.

Call me “unenlightened” but I’ve never really been amazed by Blaine’s stunts/performance art/magic stuff.  At best it seems like a self congratulatory way of demanding the world’s attention.  A guy living upside down (or in a fishtank, or an ice cube, or whatever) in the most media aware city on the planet seems a desperate bid for spectacle.  If it was merely a bid to prove endurance, than do it in your backyard.  At worst it seems to work to satisfy some kind of morbid fascination; the idea of watching another human being endure physical rigors for my personal enjoyment.  I’m entirely Abu Ghraib’d out and not interested.

But then there’s the two hour pre-hype itself.  Did anyone else feel as embarassed for John Saunders as I did? Granted, he’s getting paid so I shed no tears.  But to see a respected journalist trotted out to give the “event” a sense of legitimacy is sad.  What… was Geraldo not available?

I will admit the “street” magic always gets me.  But you can’t help but wonder what you are not really seeing. The forced perspective from the camera limits what the home viewer is able to see.  And don’t blame me if I’m not convinced of the observational powers of the winners Blaine randomly chooses to perform his “illusions” for.  Oh, and the toothless redneck is always a nice touch.  Don’t get to see that too much of him on primetime television unless he’s describing the tornado as sounding like a freight train.

And then the final “illusion”…  Jumping into a small puddle from 40+ feet in the air.  But wait… he’s harnessed to something…  and slowly stopping… and someone is yelling to pull him up…  and now he is floating away… WAIT…  Floating away is the trick?  Was the trick to see if you could make two hours of my life disappear without me noticing?

Okay, end of rant… Sorry you had to see that.  

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.