A digital commonplace for a Regular Guy called Charlie Pharis

Month: August 2014 (page 1 of 1)


Image: Peter Rukavina, https://flic.kr/p/4H9gCb

Image: Peter Rukavina, https://flic.kr/p/4H9gCb

I’m kicking around a blog post (I know…gasp!) on race, what we can and should learn from the happenings in Missouri, and our response, and I realized I need at least 13 disclaimers just to set up the post. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

You didn’t ask, and you’ll probably roll your eyes, shake your head, shrug, and say, “Who cares?” But here’s the list of disclaimers so far, in no particular order of importance…

  • I’m a white, middle-aged, Southern man.
  • I’m conservative (in the classic sense, not the current media caricature) in my political thought, leaning hard toward libertarianism.
  • I’m not a conscious “racist,” although my standard, throwaway line is: “I’m pretty convinced the HUMAN RACE is superior to all others on the planet.”
  •  I’m a Christ-follower, a Jesus-apprentice. Not a very good one most of the time, but I try.
  • I’m cynical (at best) about government “fixes” to problems in our society, believing that often, the “fix” is worse than the purported problem.
  • I’m an “individualist,” believing that the individual and his or her character is superior to the GroupThink that pervades our contemporary society.
  • Right now, I don’t have any close friends who are African-American (or black or people of color, or whatever the current term of choice is). Oh, and I don’t say that to be flippant…I’m just not sure what the preferred nomenclature is today.
  • That said, I don’t bear any animosity toward black/African-American/people of color as a rule (see disclaimer about the individual above). I just haven’t created or been availed of the opportunity to befriend them.
  • That also being said, in two of my three current jobs, I have the opportunity to interact with black/African-American/people of color. I think I do OK in those interactions. (They might think differently, but you’d have to ask them.)
  • Come to think of it, I have to admit I don’t have many of what I would consider “close friends” of any ethnicity. (That’s another issue for another time.)
  • I do consider myself a teachable learner, who is open to learn from the perspectives of others those with whom I may disagree and with whom I see eye-to-eye.
  • I believe the old adage: “All truth is God’s truth.”
  • I’m a lover and not a fighter. I would prefer to find common ground and get along than live in open hostility and disagreement.

Stay tuned…

I Thought About…

"thinking" by Riccardo Cereser https://flic.kr/p/bT2t4

“thinking” by Riccardo Cereser https://flic.kr/p/bT2t4

I thought about Robin Williams, and how all of us could be him. I could see how the pressures and difficulties of life – especially a very public life – could get the best of someone. I don’t think I could or would kill myself, but I can see it.

I thought about Hemingway and pencils, about a kid named Paco. I remembered the great opening sentence of “The Capital of the World,” and the hundreds of Pacos who showed up in Madrid to find forgiveness from their fathers. I remembered how John Maxwell telling that story made an impression on me.

But I had forgotten the second sentence:

But this Paco, who waited on table at the Pension Luarco, had no father to forgive him, nor anything for the father to forgive.

And that sentence made an impression, too. In fact, it left a mark for some reason. It made an impression because it seems in my limited experience, to be the epitome of a Hemingway sentence, true, direct, and to the point.

I thought about Barbara Brown Taylor. And I listened to part of her recent sermon at Second-Ponce. Again, I had the thought that while we probably wouldn’t see eye to eye theologically, she takes seriously the text of the Scripture. She doesn’t bring her outline into the pulpit, she talks the Word. She’s having a conversation, telling a story, engaging the text and the congregation. Her preaching probably wouldn’t pass the muster of most SBC preachers today. And it might not fit neatly with the therapeutic, life-event, felt-need teaching we have assumed to emulate.

I thought about Mt. Everest, and photography, and typefaces.

I thought about Anna and Andrew, and Mark and Alison.

I thought about extension cords and projector kits, color palettes and iPad connectors.

I thought about money, and the lack of it, and I thought about life and the brevity of it.

I thought about joy and how it seems to have long since left and is determined to stay away.

I thought about cursive handwriting and why mine is so illegible. I thought about sentences and words, and how I wouldn’t be able to decipher what I wrote in my notebook the day after I wrote it.

And I thought about quitting while I’m ahead, quitting while I’m behind, and dropping out of the race altogether.

I thought about a bunch of other things, but that’s enough for today.


"Toy Story Scene" by Bridgette Wynn https://flic.kr/p/8qiyL6

“Toy Story Scene” by Bridgette Wynn https://flic.kr/p/8qiyL6

Some people write ’em, some people tell ’em, and some people live ’em out.