Steven Blanton ~ Leaderocity

Read my blog on Leadership / Small Groups / Life @Leaderocity


Eat More Dove

You may know by now that some things are bad for you. Trans-fats for example, will kill you for even imagining that you allow such a vile thing to cross your lips. In some states it is actually illegal to serve up a tasty dish of trans-fats. Shopping for the week has become a course in nutrition by which we have all become experts. Of course you must now read the labels. The whimsical days of nonchalantly gathering your favorite packaged foods at the grocery is a thing of the past. Now that we know, we are responsible. So with bloodshot squints dedicated men and women brave the isles scrutinizing the fine print to see if there could be, lurking in that box of corn flakes, a sinister trans-fat. And I am right there with them, contacts dried to my eyeballs and blinkless. As it turns out, Cheese Curls may now not necessarily make the list of wholesome foods; unless of course it’s the Big Game. In which case, Cheese Curls may actually be a staple. But I digress. I keep a mental running list of the foods I may and may not eat in any given week. And this list is subject to change without notice. The foods I am presently allowed may be banned next time I reach for those exquisite dainties.

But mercifully, there seems to be a balance to life and with balance parachutes in the most delectable unexpected extravagance one could ever hope for: dark chocolate. I was totally blindsided by this. How could this be? Isn’t that candy... the stuff your mother told you would ruin your supper? This is a godsend for the no trans-fat taste-deprived. One could pour over a list of adjectives and never quite describe its luscious decadence. And wonder of wonders it is supposed to be good for you.

Armed with this fabulous news I began my search for the smoothest, most readily available dark chocolate I could find. Such is the life of a healthy eater. And then I found it; Dove. Three or four of these toothsome beauties a day and all is right with the world. Plus, it is doctor’s orders and I wouldn’t want to disappoint my doctor. But with Dove you get something no other chocolate gives you.

Wrapping these dark delights is a red foil with a proposition printed on the inside, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Conversational Hearts candy. They read, “Sing Along with the Elevator Music” and “Hey, Why Not” and “Listen to Your Heartbeat and Dance” to name a few. These are no doubt thought to be indulgences usually denied the individual. One other message I found buried under this treasure of chocolate said “Live Your Dreams”. The inference then must be that eating dark chocolate and living your dreams are indulgences. And I thought, “Is it an indulgence to live your dreams?”

For those who can’t seem to capture their dreams, it may be viewed as an extravagance. But much more of our life is under our own influence than we may have assumed. We have power and responsibility as free-moral agents to take the giftings God has blessed us with and live out His dream for us. But as James puts it: You don’t have from God because you don’t ask God or... “Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re [like] spoiled children, each wanting your own way.” [The Message] Or said another way, we want to consume His goodness without considering His plan for our lives.

But some extravagant indulgences are actually good for us. So discover God’s plan, live your dreams, and eat more Dove. Now that we know, we are responsible.

©WalkWay Group, all rights reserved. Steven Blanton


Drain Your Clepsydra

Every now and then you run into a word you don’t get to use very often but would love to. I could list several that come to mind but we all have a limited attention span. Clepsydra is just such a word. I can’t remember how long it has been since I was able to work that one into a conversation. “Say, would you happen to have your clepsydra available; would you mind if I looked at it?” So for the uninitiated, a clepsydra is the Greek word for “water clock”; literally “water thief”. The brilliant inventor, Ctesibius (285-222 BC) worked on a very basic, previously inaccurate, water clock producing vast improvements. Water dripped at a known, measurable, rate giving the Greeks an effective time piece. Little did Ctesibius know the avalanche of expectations his invention would impose upon the lot of us. Man could now, not only request that you be there by sun rise, but could say to be there at a specified time. So everyone’s eyes were fixed on the clepsydra to see if you would be late. And the boss says to you as you gallop in full throttle on your breathless donkey, “You are three dribbles late” and off you go to be drawn and quartered; effectively wrecking your morning.

With profound intensity we have time built into our DNA. Thus we are all on to do lunch at 11:45. There certainly can be no denying that we are all built with a measure of rhythm from breathing to heartbeat to the gate with which we lumber along. Meter is all around us beginning with the phases of the moon and the ride we take around the sun that lasts 364.25 days. And we are keenly aware of the passage of time in some of the most unlikely places. For instance, everybody knows where the longest red light in town is and how long it stays red. No clepsydra needed. We know where we can get through the drive-thru fastest. And for those of us whose god is our belly, we may be willing to compromise quality for speed to meet the compulsions of the body-call for food now. Or we may just be driven by a limited lunch “hour”, being hindered by all the other lunch fanatics.

Time and its demands are so commonplace that we can scarcely fathom being out of its reach. Many of us have no concept at all of the need to step out of time to rejuvenate. The addictive drug we all make for ourselves known as adrenaline is coursing through our veins. It is not FDA approved but is not illegal either and requisitions a new fix in increments of seconds. Few escape its ambitious clutches.

Perhaps surprisingly, Jesus often took time out and "departed into a desert place by ship privately". The way I see it is that if the smartest man that ever lived needed to "turn off" so must we. The Sabbath was “made for man”. Not only is rest a Spiritual discipline but is blatantly listed among the top ten of God’s Commandments. Time is a thief. Don’t forget to drain the clepsydra at least once a week. It‘s part of the rhythm of Life.

©WalkWay Group, all rights reserved

Steven Blanton

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The English language is filled with the most interesting expressions. After a cursory moment of research you can see that many of them come from actual day to day experience. For example, when purchasing a new computer, we find that most of the time they come with bundled, mostly useless, software. Thus we use the term bundled to mean “getting a bunch of stuff we didn’t really want even though it seemed free and sounded good to begin with”. And this has gotten me thinking about life.

At Panera one sunny morning I went inside from the patio to get my usual refill of their all-you-can-drink coffee. You can do that at Panera. I encountered a small line of anxious coffee drinkers awaiting the completion of four cups of coffee being individually added to for someone’s personal taste. The young lady doing the adding to was obviously on a coffee run for everybody else. She worked on one cup adding Splenda with half & half and another with skim but sugar. The third and fourth cups were black with sugar and just black, respectively. There are four different brews of coffees from which to select. I cannot even speak to the various flavors and combinations she must have been dealing with before I walked up. The number of variations is mind numbing. I waited there patiently, since I had already had one cup of coffee (lucky for her). She had engaged the help of the manager for a Sharpie to encode the various and sundry lids ensuring everyone got his flavors, sweeteners, and creams or lack thereof per preference. Then she placed the specified lids on the predetermined cup. As she completed her complicated, time-consuming task and gathered all the coffees and her separate bags of breakfast breads I noticed the line printed on the side of her purse in bold letters; “Live Simply”. I smiled and poured myself a cup of black decaf with a shot of Hazelnut.

The world is all about complications. The things we think we really need are actually about absorbing time. Every toy needs to be oiled; every pool chemicalized. Every cup of coffee needs special attention. Every consumer item has a learning curve and will take much more from you than you imagined it ever could. And in a few days, weeks or months it will have much less meaning and appeal than the marketing team and your dreams could bring into reality. The real trick is to see this before you get caught up in the bundle. Most of the “stuff” you can have never brings true satisfaction or purpose. It is usually a package of clutter that has only one usable program included. True, we must take what life hands to us but we do have a choice in how we spend our time. Live Simply; it is a Spiritual discipline. Unbundle before using.

©WalkWay Group, all rights reserved

Steven Blanton


Who Wants to Know

I am forever amazed at the interest that anyone has in the lives of others; I mean to the point that we should all have our own blog. Truthfully, it is a bit voyeuristic to sort of peak into the window at someone else's view of things. And then there is the other vantage of this blogging craze; that I would sit down at my keyboard and tell you what is going on in my life and that I assume you would want to read it.
I won't be stating the obvious here i.e. "I had a bad day/ I had a good day" kind of stuff (nothing wrong with that). I don't do anything of stunning impressiveness anyway. So I will be discussing other, deeper points of interest. Not issues like the Presidential elections or the War in Iraq, both of which are certainly worthy of every word I could muster. But there are things of eternal consequence that I believe have been largely ignored or overlooked or simply forgotten. I am not the first or only one to see this absence of these "deeper points". There are greater minds than my own such as Phillip Yancey and Dallas Willard who have delved into the ponderous with great finesse. I stand on the shoulders of those greater than myself as I discover who wants to know... next time.

©WalkWay Group, all rights reserved

Steven Blanton

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