Archive for October, 2010

AOK Thursday: Boom Boom!

Thursday, October 28th, 2010 by JEL

We’ve talked several times about acts of kindness never being random. Instead, they are intentional; you make a decision to be kind. As such, being kind can then be taught, right? Like to our children?

Yes, definitely. In fact, Boom Boom! Cards’ Family Deck just won the 2010 Brilliance Award in the Responsible Toy of the Year category. What is the Family Deck?

Boom Boom! Cards brings your family together to perform 26 acts of kindness. Once you’ve done a card, put a Boom Boom! sticker on the Command Central Activity Board to indicate that you’ve done it, post the story of what happened on the website, then pass the card on for someone else to do. Each card’s unique ID enables your family to follow the cards you do on the website’s map and see where they end up! Included discussion cards inspire conversation about the whole experience with your children. Teach the values of compassion, kindness and community and have fun doing it!

Awesome, right?  I love the company tagline: “the intentional acts of kindness kit”. Other great copy: “the uprising of  guerilla goodness”. Learn more and pick up a deck for your family at

There’s a Christian Flag?

Monday, October 25th, 2010 by JEL

Learn something new every day. Until today I had no idea there was such a thing as a Christian flag. Funny, I don’t remember reading about it in any of the Gospels. But I digress.

Christian FlagHave you been following the story about King, North Carolina? They have a Veterans Memorial in one of their parks and a Christian flag was flying there. Somebody complained that it was a violation of the First Amendment (separation of church and state) and asked that it be removed. King’s city council voted 3-1 to take the flag down and then people got upset. Here’s one complaint:

“Americans are slowly losing their religious freedoms and liberties. One day we’re going to wake up and find out liberties are completely gone. We’ve got to do something about it.” – Larry Reeves of King, member of Calvary Baptist

I agree with him on losing our liberties (Patriot Act anyone?). But where is the loss of religious freedom? There were others on hand:

“Stirring up this mess goes against Jesus, who preached peace and tolerance for all people. This seems to be intolerant of other people. There was once a dude named Adolf who had a flag and got all amped up about it. Think about it. Jesus just wants us all to get along.” – Colin Covington of King

Tricky Situation

Friday, October 22nd, 2010 by JEL

An investor in is suing the company for failing to become a profitable business. Roy Spencer “Bud” Miller, an Arizona minister, bought the domain back in 1996 for $50, and set up shop to “run the site for a sacred purpose.”

All that sounds nice and Jesus-like. Except that the company then accepted investors and wrote a business plan that included the line:

“It is the goal of the board of directors of to become very, very profitable.”

Ooops. James Solakian, the suing investor, owns 28% of the company and despite the whole camel-needle thing, has a legitimate beef. Heck, the domain name alone must be worth millions.

Slow News Day at the Vatican

Monday, October 18th, 2010 by JEL

When I first came across this story, I thought it might be a hoax so I did some more research and found other coverage here and here. I guess the only logical conclusion is that there was literally nothing else to write about over the weekend in the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. Or maybe the Pope was away on vacation?

Regardless, The Vatican claimed Homer Simpson as one of their own. This is what they had to say:

“Few people know it, and he does everything he can to hide it, but it is true: Homer J. Simpson is a Catholic…[The Simpsons is] among the few TV programs for children in which the Christian faith, religion, and the question of God are recurring themes.”

Yes, they certainly are recurring themes on the show. Maybe they should have consulted Ned Flanders first? Here’s one of Homer’s quotes from the show:

“Lisa, if the Bible has taught us nothing else – and it hasn’t – it’s that girls should stick to girl’s sports, such as hot oil wrestling and foxy boxing and such and such.”

Pop Quiz!

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 by JEL

Remember walking into your classroom in middle school or high school all relaxed and ready for a routine day? Listen, take a few notes, doodle, try to make the kid next to you laugh. Then all of the sudden, the teacher quietly asks everyone to put away their notebooks. Pop quiz! Did your pulse just shoot heavenward?

As a follow-up to the Pew Research study I posted about a couple of weeks ago, Nicholas Kristof put together the following quiz. I don’t think you’ll do very well, but you will learn how muddy the waters of religion can be.

Take the quiz >>

AOK Thursday: Online Comments

Thursday, October 7th, 2010 by JEL

Since canceling my newspaper subscription about 6 months ago, I have relied almost exclusively on online sources of information (except my indispensable New Yorker in print). By and large, this has worked out fine. Except when I get to the bottom of whatever article I’m reading. I know what’s coming and I know I should just move on, but something compels me to scroll down into the very depths of Hades itself.

I’m talking about the “comments” people post. It could be a story about baby pandas or a child prodigy or a new all-natural candy bar that tastes great and has no calories and the comments would be still be filled to the brim with hate and churning stomach acids. People screaming at each other and the world at large. I won’t even mention the political articles.

Wouldn’t Jesus be appalled at this behavior? You may hide behind your WACKBOY885 handle and think all of your bile is anonymous fun, but it’s not. It’s hate pollution.

If you believe Jesus is watching all things at all times, consider yourself in line for a good smiting.

Then consider some kindness.

Strong Ties

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 by JEL

People read the Gospels for many reasons, but often because they want things to change. They want the world to be a kinder, more tolerant place. They want to transform themselves. They want justice and love where none exists.

We live in a world of social media. Facebook and Twitter are now ubiquitous, but are they good tools for social change? Malcolm Gladwell, in his New Yorker piece “Small Change,” argues compellingly that they are not. Social media is great for quickly building large networks of people that have only “loose ties” to one another. All the major social progress has been accomplished, in contrast, by well organized hierarchical structures where members have very strong ties to one another personally. Social media, he says:

“is simply a form of organizing which favors weak-tie connections that give us access to information over the strong-tie connections that help us persevere in the face of danger. It shifts our energies from organizations that promote strategic and disciplined activity and toward those which promote resilience and adaptability. It makes it easier for activists to express themselves, and harder for that expression to have any impact.”

Like all of Gladwell’s articles, it is a great read. You’ll also learn what a logistical marvel Martin Luther King, Jr. was.