Sunday, September 22, 2013

No Matter How You Look at it.

One of the many things I've developed something of an expertise in over the years is the use of physical force.  For about the last 20 years or so, there have been few, if any, years that someone hasn't had me teach a class of some sort regarding some aspect of this topic.
Each time the request comes, I go through the old program and try to freshen it up so that I don't get stale in teaching it, because even though the same set of facts must be taught time again and even thought it's critical knowledge to have, it's terribly hard to pay attention to the rather boring nature of the law.
The one thing I keep coming to when I teach the program is the ugly fact that police officers may be called upon to take an action that may result in the loss of a life, and for the brief moment of that event, the life doesn't matter, the only thing that does matter is that a valid treat be stopped.
No matter how you look at it, that's a tough thought.

Highs and Lows

Some time back my church granted me "license to preach."  It's similar to ordination, but the process is not quite as grueling as an ordination can be.  According to the laws of New York, that license allows me to perform all the functions that an ordained pastor may perform, including officiating at weddings.
Though it was not something I'd ever planned to do, I was asked to officiate for the wedding of the daughter of the man who had been my best man nearly 40 years ago, and has remained among my dearest friends for all these years.  The honor and privilege of doing this for my friend's daughter gave me a terrific feeling all by itself and the fact that it was a wonderful ceremony that went off without a hiccup, topped off by a classy reception only increased the sense of euphoria...and then I got home and checked my facebook messages.
About the time I was asking "Who gives this woman to be married?" the daughter of another long-time friend was putting her head on her daddy's chest and hearing him take his last breaths.   Another retired ECO, a man with whom I'd worked quite often in years past and whose friendship I'd enjoyed, had lost his rather short battle with cancer.
The shock of his sudden passing was exacerbated by the timing...I went from a marvelous high to a bummed out state almost instantly.   Life certainly has a way of leveling out emotions, does it not?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Follow Through

Most of us understand the concept of follow through. To effectively swing a baseball bat, you need it; to hit a golf ball any distance you need it, and to be effective in life you need it too.
Lately, several folks among my friends and colleagues have bothered me by not following through. "I'll call you ."  He never does. "I'll be there." She doesn't show. "I'll...."  The exact nature of the broken promise doesn't matter, they've been too numerous to mention. And those are the promises that effected me; but there must be others.
There are other ways folks fail to follow through.  Not living up to clearly stated expectations comes to mind for some folks I know. Not completing projects whether large or small would be another. To be sure, there are many others.
As a simple matter of ethics, whatever our position in life, in whatever situation, we must meet our obligations. We must follow through!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Bit Stooped Over

This did not come out as the profound statement I'd hoped it was going to be, but just a thought for what it's worth:
As a police officer, when I work I carry a lot of weight around.  All told, the equipment I carry to keep me safe and protect others weighs in at 20 pounds or so.  Recently, I've noticed that it's starting to have an effect on me.  I have to purposefully check my posture when I'm on my feet for any length of time.  If I don't, I find that I start to hunch a bit and catch myself not walking erect, not looking up and around me, but looking downward and not really paying attention to my surroundings.  That's dangerous thing to do, not to mention the effect that the bad posture might have on my spine.  (No wise cracks about being an old man are necessary here.) It's a daily discipline to keep myself straight and looking around.
That got me thinking about all the things we carry around with us in life that tend to keep us looking down and not paying attention.  We take care not to let the bad things in our lives have adverse effects on us; but it's not just the bad things that weigh us down--we have lots of good things that do also.  We have families, jobs, hobbies, friends...all great things, but they all add weight to our lives and can surely weigh us down.  They can wreck our focus and keep us from looking around.  It takes a purposeful effort to keep ourselves straight and upright.
In recent years I've tried to trim down and redistribute the load of work gear I carry.  Maybe not a bad thought in the rest of life too.  What do you think?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Thoughts on Being Taught

I just had a disturbing conversation with a friend concerned that a third party was contemplating a change in some associations because he was not being taught within his current environment.  It may well be true that he is not being taught; but where is the responsibility for learning?  Is it on the teacher or the student?
There are several venues in which I have taught or currently teach as well as a myriad of topics which I do or have taught.  For technical school classes, police and security training, martial arts instruction as well as church related teaching and preaching people come to me to receive instruction. I don't go to them and say "let me teach you;"  I'm asked to bring the information to them.
When I've wanted to receive training, I've sought out my instructors, applied to courses or gone well out of my way to attend a class or seminar.  It's my responsibility, not the instructors.  Quite often, it's been on my time and my dime.
So, if the person involved in my friend's conversation happens to read this, I hope he takes it to heart.  There are plenty of opportunities out there to get what you're looking for.  Just ask.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

IF My People....

Yeah, that's IF...and it's a big if, I might add.  The entire text is: if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Ch. 7:14 NIV).

In today's world, there is this growing belief that God really doesn't care how we live, that He will accept and forgive us no matter what.  Well, He is in fact in the forgiving business; but He is also in the business of dealing with sin. In fact, he may use consequences of that sin to get our attention and bring us closer to Him.  Rest assured, He will deal with the sin.

Let's break down that verse a bit.  First is the condition "if" and the resulting "then."  If my people will humble themselves, if my people will pray, if my people will seek my face instead of their own evil ways (paraphrase mine); then--only then (italics mine)--will I hear, forgive and heal....

Another piece of the verse is the folks about whom God is speaking:  His people.  He is not talking about the world in general or mankind as a whole; it's HIS people He is discussing.  In the context of the writing it was the Hebrew nation, God's chosen people. There is a linguistic link between God and Israel (though I'm not scholar enough to explain it).  The truth of the statement was borne out again and again throughout the history of their nation.  They cycled through periods of oppression, confession, restoration, apostasy and back to oppression.  When they humbled themselves, prayed, looked for God's favor and repented, they came back to a state of being blessed

Now, among those who call themselves Christians--those of Christ--should we not take note of the situation of the Jews of 2nd Chronicles?  Instead, we live lives filled with pride; pray only if we we want something; seek our own will, often in ways absolutely contrary to His ways...and expect His blessing!

I have far too many friends who claim to be Christians and yet they live their lives in manners contrary to God's will, and many wonder why God is not blessing them.  Maybe they don't recognize the reality that their way is not His way; maybe they just chose to ignore it.  Whatever the problem, until they follow the pattern of 2nd Chronicles, they're probably going to find the world pressing in upon them.