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Jesus, Obama, Pilate and Palin

By now you've heard the ill-fated attempts to be clever by Rep. Steve Cohen (D) of Tennessee in comparing Community Organizer Barack Obama to Jesus and Governor Sarah Palin to Pontius Pilate. Of course, Susan Sarandon and some other namesake (who's name escapes me) echoed this sentiment.

Now, a lot of folks are offended by this remark. I'm more amused than offended, for at least two reasons.

First, I find it intriguing that these outspoken adults who are so adamant about the so-called "separation of church and state" are trying to position their candidate of choice as being "like Jesus." Doesn't seem like the best or most consistent strategy. But I could be wrong. I'm no political strategist by any stretch of the imagination.

Second, and most important from my perspective, Jesus being presented as a community organizer is a remark that could be made by someone who is, shall we say, only vaguely familiar with who Christ was and what He did.

According to Wikipedia, "Community organizing is a process by which people living in close proximity to each other, are brought together to act in their common self-interest. Community organizers act as area-wide coordinators of programs for different agencies in an attempt to meet community needs for various services. Community organizers work actively, as do other types of social workers, in community councils of social agencies and in community-action groups. At times the role of community organizers overlaps that of the social planners." The article continues, "Organized community groups attempt to influence government, corporations and institutions as well as achieve increased direct representation within decision-making bodies and social reform."

Jesus never coordinated any kind of program, never worked with any organization, and never attempted to meet any community needs for various services. Neither did Jesus ever attempt to influence any government, corporation or institution and He certainly never attempted to attain any direct representation within any decision-making body. In truth, very few labels could fit Christ (except the Biblical kind--prophet, healer, savior, redeemer, messiah, etc.). In fairness, the only label that could possibly be applied to both Jesus and community organizers such as Barack Obama is "reformer." Of course, that's also a label that has been liberally applied to Gov. Sarah Palin. But Jesus' methods of reform was so different from any political candidate that a comparison is only humorous at best. Jesus had no desire to reform government, religious or political. His stated goals were very different.

When asked about his potential political aspirations, Jesus' response was clear (John 18:33-38):

Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him.

Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?”

Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”

Pilate said, “So you are a king?”

Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”

“What is truth?” Pilate asked. Then he went out again to the people and told them, “He is not guilty of any crime.”

As for the Palin as Pilate comparison, that's equally amusing, but only if you know your world history. Trust me, Pilate was no modern-day, USA-styled governor. But even if he had been, his biggest fault was that he was spineless against the irrational and bloodthirsty demands of the people. Besides that, governors have, historically, become some of America's most recognized Presidents (Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and more...17 in all).

Of course, the "silver lining in the clouds" could be that, once again, Jesus is making news...nearly 2,000 years after His death. Now that's what I call a a true revolutionary, and the only one who can truly give hope or bring about the kind of change you can believe in.


If a picture is worth a thousand words...

then the videos you are about to see are priceless. They certainly left me speechless. Prepare yourself for the cheese-fest.

The Renewed Mind...

Our Promised Seed?


Evan Tanner, R.I.P.

Possibly the worst news to hit MMA in a long time...according to a news story on Five Ounces of Pain, Evan tanner has been found dead near the Palo Verde mountain area.

Death is always a tragic story, but it seems even more out of place when it's someone like Tanner: only 37 years old and still so much left to contribute to the world of MMA. The guy taught himself submission and grappling techniques using Gracie instructional DVDs. His fights were always entertaining--the man had a true warriors heart. And at one time he had even tried to set up a home for disadvantaged athletes and young men at risk in his own house.

Evan Tanner will be missed.


The Curse of Ratings

On the most recent episode of ESPNs MMA Live, the prediction was unanimous: Couture-Lesnar will break all UFC PPV records. That's good for the business, good for the fighters and (hopefully) good for the sport. But it certainly stinks for the UFC heavyweights.

At UFC 81 Nogueira defeated Tim Sylvia in the third round with a guillotine choke to become the interim heavyweight champion. Minotauro became the first fighter to hold both the UFC and PRIDE heavyweight championships. That's quite an accomplishment.

Then, when Couture gave up his legal battle (which was un-winnable in the first place), he resumes his spot as the reigning UFC heavyweight champ.

Realistically, his first fight back should have been against Minotauro. Period.

Instead, Minotauro and Frank Mir are stuck in reality TV hell, working towards a title fight that was promised but will never happen. And men's soap opera star (a.k.a. "WWE") Brock Lesnar will get a shot at the title against Couture, despite the fact that he has yet to earn such a shot.

Meanwhile, you have Fedor Emelianenko's manager suggesting that "Dana White Wants To Destroy Randy Couture." I have to be honest, that was my first thought when I heard the announcement of Couture's return and upcoming fight.What better way to get revenge against Couture than by setting up a potentially embarrassing upset by a "pro wrassler" turned MMA wanna-be.

After thinking it through, I can only assume it's more a case of logistics (Nog is busy) and ratings (Lesnar is a much bigger draw for the casual fan). Dana White is really hoping that by making Lesnar his golden boy, he can draw in all the WWE fans. That way there will be more folks to boo the real MMA tacticians (unless the fighters get thrown out the cage and hit each other with chairs, in which case they would cheer wildly).

Of course, the real issues won't arise until after the bout. If Couture looses, will he be deemed as irrelevant (the same moniker that White keeps assigning to Fedor)? And who will they make him fight afterwards?

If Couture wins (which I suspect he will), what happens to Mir and Nog? Will the two best fighters (Nog and Couture) finally get a chance to face off, or will more ratings issues get in the way?


Book Review: Love Is the Killer App

The Big Idea behind Tim Sander's (former Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo!) first book is very "proverb-esque": You can win business and influence friends by being a lovecat.

So, what is a lovecat? Sanders defines lovecats as those "Nice, Smart People" who cheerfully share their intangibles with others: their knowledge, their network and genuine compassion.

By knowledge, Sanders means any insight or reference which can help another person succeed (or just get ahead) in life and/or business. At the top of the heap is book referrals. Books, he says, should be your diet staple because they are the complete thought-meal. Magazine articles are between meal snacks. The news media are like candy and soda. Books give you knowledge. The news gives you awareness. His advice: Devour as many books as you can and spread the knowledge far and wide.

By network, he refers to your contacts. I couldn't help but wonder as I read this book whether or not "LinkedIn" was inspired by Sanders' book. If you understand LinkedIn (the way it is brilliantly explained by Lee LeFevre of CommonCraft), then you understand the heart of this section in Love is the Killer App. He asserts that the nodes in your network can accomplish almost anything for you. For Sanders, the purpose of collecting contacts is to give them away--to match them with other contacts. Therefore, he says, collect them, connect them and then get out of the way of the new relationship. And do it all with no strings attached.

By compassion, he simply means that you take a genuine interest in others and then show them that you care in whatever manner is appropriate for the particular context. By expressing your compassion, you create an experience that people remember. When people remember you, it's good for your business. The "P.S. I Love You" has a great thought Sanders paraphrased from Dale Carnegie: You can accomplish more in two months by developing a sincere interest in other people than you could ever hope to accomplish in two years trying to get people interested in you.

About a 5-hour read for me. If you haven't read it yet, you should. Broad applicability, whether you are in the 8-5 or not.

You can read all of my book reviews here.