Monday, June 19, 2006


"Only the losers win, they've got nothing to prove.
They'll be the ones with nothing to lose."
- Switchfoot

The purpose of this blog is quite selfish, I will warn you. But I need to figure out exactly why I hate losing so much.

Tonight was a double whammy. The Oilers lost the Stanley Cup in Game 7, then I lost at poker. And it was a stupid loss. I had played in such a calculated manner all game, folding hands that I had an urge to keep and not doing stupid things. Then, with practically nothing in my hand, I went all in.

The worst part about losing in poker is that it means you're done playing.

But I think on a deeper level, the way that I lost frustrated me. I am a very logical person in my head. But more than often, I act on my heart, or a gut feeling. Like tonight... the odds were NOT with me, at all. Even if I had a decent hand, there were much better hands out there... 3 other people were still in. And in my head, I knew he had the straight. But my gut won out, and then I lost.

It scares me that I let my "heart" beat my "head" sometimes... or maybe a lot of the time. In my head, I know all the answers, but my heart just doesn't follow sometimes.

That is where discipline comes in, I suppose. My new definition of discipline is allowing the head to beat the heart.

So, I don't know how I got to discipline from losing, but I think I lost because I wasn't disciplined.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Insights on Love from an Outside Observer

As I walked past the TV on my way to bed, an exchange between George Clooney and Julia Roberts caught my attention.

Clooney, as Danny Ocean: Does he make you laugh?
Roberts, as Tess: He doesn't make me cry.


Some years ago, (and you're going to have to forgive me for not getting all the facts straight, but since I doubt anyone reading my blog is an avid financial history buff, you can just take what I say in it's essence), Merton, Black and Scholes came up with a mathematical formula to completely eliminate risk. In 1993, Merton, Scholes and another guy (Meriweather, Black had died) set up a hedge fund to do this very thing, and the very minimum buy-in (apparently I've been playing too much poker lately because I can't think of the word to buy part of a fund) was something like $100,000.

So, they had this very lucrative fund, and for quite some time, the fund had huge positive returns. Merton, Meriweather and Scholes had eliminated risk in the market.

To make a long (and probably boring) story short, around 2000, this trillion dollar fund was on the verge of collapse. The Federal Reserve had to bail the fund out so it wouldn't cause complete financial collapse the world over.

Why did it fail? In short, it is impossible to completely eliminate risk.


So, what's more important? That we laugh or that we don't cry?

It is impossible to have a risk-free relationship. We can never structure it so that we always laugh and never cry. There is no formula to eliminate heartache. But perhaps that is the risk we take in order to experience love.


Anyway, not sure where that came from, but I found the quote from Ocean's Eleven vastly intriguing.

And, wow, tonight's a double header.

The Church

Tonight I went to church.

That isn't what I'm blogging about. The pastor said many things, and some of them intrigued me.

*Disclaimer: This is in no way a slam against the church I attend or any other particular church, instead it is to refer to the "churched" body of believers in North America.

I'm done with a church that cares more about politics than people. Church and Christianity are NOT synonymous with Conversatives and anti-gay-marriage. While I have nothing against the Conservatives (I actually support them for their fiscal views), I'm tired of feeling like I have to support them in order to be a good Christian. The Church should be non-partisan, and while there is nothing wrong with working to preserve morality in the government, we need to focus on living out a faith that is not contingent on what the law or even popular thinking dictates.

I'm tired of a church that cares more about fancy sound systems than hunger. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with nice sound systems and good music. BUT, where is our focus? Do we invest more of our resources in equipment designed to make our services more "seeker-friendly" than we do in doing what Jesus did - feeding the hungry, healing the sick, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless and providing hope for the broken-hearted? Yes, Jesus was relevant to his culture - but not at the expense of those who really needed him.

I'm tired of a church that cares more about denominations and doctrine than Christ. Yes, truth and doctrine ARE important. But have we lost Jesus in the process of hammering out the pre-destination fiasco and pre-trib vs. post-tribe vs. amillenial vs. post-sydromatic-forganian discourse? (Yes, the last term was actually not a real, but the point is that all of the other words are just terms) It is important to study the Bible and to have a sense of where you stand, BUT, have we lost sight of the character of Christ and His message? The message we were clearly given?

For a while, I figured that at some point in time when I'm talking with God in heaven, I'm going to ask him if he created the world in seven days, or if he used evolution. And, being brought up with a good theological standing, I can say with confidence that I know how God is going to respond. "I created the world, that's all that matters," will be His response. If we could take a quick trip to heaven to chat with God and ask Him about end times theology and whether Christians are going to have to live through the "tribulation," he's going to say, "I'm coming back."

I don't want to minimize all of the study and theology that has gone into these issues, but have we lost sight of what Jesus was really saying? After all, he did tell us that if we wanted to enter the kingdom of heaven, we would have to become like little children. And I've done a lot of work with children, and I can honestly say that I have never once heard them arguing about whether God chooses us or we choose him. They simply pray, "Jesus, please forgive my sins and be my friend."

Anyway, these are just some thoughts. I need to start by living them out.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Nothing to Say these Days...

The inspiration just isn't coming to me these days.

Sunday night I sat down to blog about poker. I was going to pull some profound analogies, but they just weren't happening. In the last week, I have played three games of poker (and before you report me to the pastor, I don't play for money) and lost every time. Usually, I can hold my own at games, but I haven't quite caught on to poker yet. Sunday I had the win in my grasp, but the combination of my oh-so-great poker face and lack of aggression cost me the win. It was a tragic loss, too. I thought I had more chips than the other guy. He pulled me all in. With pocket jacks, I had to do it. He had a 10-9 suited. Then the flop contained a 10 and a 9. He had two pair. Then as I was counting my chips to give him what I owed, it turned out we were exactly even. And it was over. Next time, I suppose. Maybe I'll try to pull out the "I've got pocket Aces" face when I've got a 2-7 off-suit or something.

Tuesday night I sat down to blog about refugees. That evening I had gone to see "Lost Boys of Sudan" at the social justice film festival ( and it would make for some good blog material. But the truth is that I didn't really take what I was supposed to from the movie. All I could think was that we need to work on the problems that are causing these people to be displaced. Why should they have to leave Africa to come live here? More and more I think they've got it more together than we do. Obviously there are problems - food and water and health are important. But they have values that seem to surpass our own. People are so much more important there.

Then tonight I just sat down to write, and this is take two. I think I'll keep it.