Photo by Steve Webel

What I Learned From a World War II Veteran and a Teenager at Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A is often mentioned as a shining example of great customer service. The staff are polite, direct, and eager to please. It is obvious that they emphasize customer service in their employee training.

Today is Veterans Day and Chick-fil-A offers a free meal to all veterans and active servicemembers. I’d already placed my order and was standing near the counter waiting for them to call my name as an elderly man came in with his family.

As they approached the counter, two things were apparent. The first was that the elderly gentleman enjoyed Chick-fil-a. He didn’t need to look at the menu, and he was clear and direct when he ordered. The second insight was he didn’t care much for preferential treatment. Continue reading…

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The Me-Too Wall [illustration idea]

“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” -CS Lewis

It can often feel like we’re alone in our experiences or dreams. At our Winter Retreat this year we did an activity that helped our students discover how much they actually have in common. We called it a Me-Too Wall. It was really simple and effective, here’s how it works. Continue reading…

Yosemite Time-Lapse [video]

Yosemite is easily one of my favorite places I’ve hiked, and while no picture or video can fully capture the majesty of that granite valley, this one comes pretty darn close.

Sometimes it’s important to sit back and remember that we live in a pretty magnificent world.

An unexpected surprise and the value of being authentic

I had the delight of attending a show one of my students directed at her school this week. It was a variety show for a production class, with Beatles covers and original songs and dances and computer animations. It was a really fun time, and a well done show.

For me, the most poignant moment came when a student performed this song. It was something deeply real amid pretending. I assumed it was a cover, like many of the other acts, but internet sleuthing only turned up one recording, from that same student. Turns out he wrote the song.

One of my favorite things in life is coming across a young person with passion. It’s striking how the mood changes the moment someone owns what they’re presenting. The covers were fun, enjoyable, and made me tap my feet. But the only moments where I felt moved was when the performer was also the creator. His authenticity exposed the pretending around him.

Last night at youth group we talked about how living for Christ means living different. Part of what happens is when we start living for Jesus it exposes the pretending around us. People with real joy expose those clinging to false joy. People with true hope expose those pretending to be optimistic. People with real comfort draw out the hidden pains of those with inadequate coping methods.

This artist (who goes by P.Soul) gave the audience something real that morning. Authenticity inspires us to be authentic too. I’m glad this young man reminded me of that.

This is a talented young poet. I’ve copied the lyrics below, take a moment to listen and ponder. Enjoy.

 

Verse 1:
In this day and age, we’ve become modernized slaves but instead of wearing shackles we’re rocking gold chains. We pick the cotton from the clothing racks and account the price to our success. Slowly being hung by the stones around our necks. What do you believe in? because it seems we’ve lost the truth trying to find our religion by selling our souls for a pair of true religions. Who is your Jehova? is it Ye or Hova? But Yeezus can’t save you, either can the roc, chasing diamonds only makes you part of the flock. You don’t seem to realize diamonds come from the rocks so you’re investing all your energy into the wrong stock. You wanna be free but even lady liberty had shackles on her feet yet we sell our soles on Ebay, calling it a trade without acknowledgement of the price we pay.
Slaves
To the Pharaohs of the new America
We’ve all become slaves
To the Pharaohs of the new America
Verse 2:
I was once consumed by the consumerism, I was no difference until I realized a brand name won’t make no difference it’s just putting a brand name on my pigment… Are you listening? I dread this will fall on deaf ears so lock in, in order for you to hear. ** I’m seriously seeking this truth like it’s the Apple of my eye but Apple got it boxed up in a clever disguise. A wise man once said don’t sell yourself to fall in love but I’m watching the world give it all to fall in lust. When will we ever have enough? I’ve said too much, but even saying too much isn’t saying enough. I believe in designer. But not a fabric. I believe in a designer. He’s the craftsman. I believe in art. I am a canvas. I believe in being a vessel. Lord as my witness we are
Slaves
To the Pharaohs of the new America
We’ve all become slaves
To the Pharaohs of the new America
I believe in greater being, I believe in being greater, than a hard piece of plastic or a green piece of paper.