Pale Blue Dot


Well, that’s us. Yeah, that little tiny pale blue dot at the end of that arrow. Look closer. You might need to put your glasses on. This is a shot of us taken from the Voyager 1 as it got ready to leave our solar system at more than 4 billion miles away. 4 billion miles and still in our solar system. Astronaut Carl Sagan said of this image (it was his idea to turn the camera back around and take this picture by the way):

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confidant religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there- on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”

This image was recently revealed to me by Louie Giglio during his sermon series at our church entitled “Indescribable” It really is indescribable. We are so little, and yet God cares for us. That couldn’t be more true! I thought that I had grasped that concept pretty well and that I knew what Louie was talking about. Carl Sagan was wrong. There are hints of rescue. In truth, we have already been rescued by our loving Creator through Jesus Christ! But there is more to it than that. All that we are, all that we have been, all that humanity will be is contained in that puny little dot! God is HUGE. We are NOT! And yet her cares for us. Significantly insignificant is what Louie said. After all, David talks about the stars and the works of God’s fingers, and yet God still cares for simple man. We are significant to God, and yet I think that we still fail to grasp our insignificance. Today I think I got a little closer to that understanding. I started reading the book “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper and he asked this question and then gave a response that blew my mind. So before I ask it, look at the picture again. Those lines you see across the picture are sunbeams, they have nothing to do with us. We are just the dot. The mote of dust.

“Why would God have bothered to create such a microscopic speck called earth and humanity and then get involved with us?”

That is the question. Now consider this:

“Beneath this question is a fundamental failure to see what the universe is about. It is about the greatness of God, not the significance of man.”

So wait….it’s not about us? Even though we know we are little and we know that God is big, somehow we, or at least I, still get wrapped up in myself. Suddenly it becomes, I AM SO INSIGNIFICANT! god is so huge. But that’s not it at all! We put the caps in the wrong place! It really isn’t about our significance, it’s about God’s GREATNESS! Is anyone else oddly comforted by that?

Jack Bauer

For all of you 24 fans out there, you are gonna love this! If you are not a 24 watcher, Jack Bauer is the main character and he is the man. You still might think these are funny!

If Jack Bauer was in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Nina Meyers, and he had a gun with 2 bullets, he’d shoot Nina twice.
 

If you wake up in the morning, it’s because Jack Bauer spared your life.
 

Upon hearing that he was played by Kiefer Sutherland, Jack Bauer killed Sutherland. Jack Bauer gets played by no man.
 

If it tastes like chicken, looks like chicken, and feels like chicken, but Jack Bauer says its beef. Then it’s definitely beef.
 

Superman wears Jack Bauer pajamas.
 

Jack Bauer once forgot where he put his keys. He then spent the next half-hour torturing himself until he gave up the location of the keys.
 

1.6 billion Chinese are angry with Jack Bauer. Sounds like a fair fight.
 

Let’s get one thing straight, the only reason you are conscious right now is because Jack Bauer does not feel like carrying you.
 

When life gave Jack Bauer lemons, he used them to kill terrorists. Jack Bauer hates lemonade.
 

Jack Bauer played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won.
 

Jack Bauer was never addicted to heroin. Heroin was addicted to Jack Bauer.
 

Jack Bauer once won a game of Connect 4 in 3 moves.
 

Osama bin Laden’s recent proposal for truce is a direct result of him finding out that Jack Bauer is, in fact, still alive.
 

Jack Bauer doesn’t miss. If he didn’t hit you it’s because he was shooting at another terrorist twelve miles away.
 

When Jack Bauer was a child, he made his mother finish his vegetables.
 

If Rosa Parks was in Jack Bauer’s seat, she’d move to the back of the bus.
 

Jack Bauer won the Tour de France on a unicycle to prove to Lance Armstrong it wasn’t a big deal.
 

Jack Bauer killed 93 people in just 4 days time. Wait, that is a real fact.
 

Simon Says should be renamed to Jack Bauer Says because if Jack Bauer says something then you better do it.
 

Killing Jack Bauer doesn’t make him dead. It just makes him angry.
 

Jack Bauer’s favorite color is severe terror alert red. His second favorite color is violet, but just because it sounds like violent.
 

When you open a can of whoop-a**, Jack Bauer jumps out.
 

When Google can’t find something, it asks Jack Bauer for help.
 

You can lead a horse to water. Jack Bauer can make him drink.
 

Jack Bauer can get McDonald’s breakfast after 10:30.
 

When the boogie man goes to sleep, he checks his closet for Jack Bauer.
 

Every mathematical inequality officially ends with “< Jack Bauer".
In 96 hours, Jack Bauer has killed 93 people and saved the world 4 times. What the heck have you done with your life?
 

Jack Bauer got Hellen Keller to talk.
 

If you spell Jack Bauer in a Scrabble game, you win. Forever.
 

In kindergarten, Jack Bauer killed a terrorist for Show and Tell.
 

Jack Bauer can order a Big Mac at Burger King.
 

Guns don’t kill people, Jack Bauer kills people.
 

Jack Bauer laughs at the movie Mission Impossible. There is no such thing as an impossible mission for Jack.
 

Jack Bauer once killed so many terrorists that at one point, the #5 CIA Most Wanted fugitive was an 18-year-old teenager in Malaysia who downloaded the movie Dodgeball.
 

If Jack and MacGyver were locked in a room together, Jack would make a bomb out of MacGyver and get out.
 

What color is Jack Bauer’s blood? Trick question. Jack Bauer does not bleed.

Um…yeah

So I figure I can post a lame blog about what’s going on in my life, which is nothing really, or I can post and tell you that I haven’t forgotten about my blog, but I just don’t have anything interesting to say right now. I think I will go with the latter. More to come….when I have something interesting to say.

Interesting Speech

This is the speech that Bono gave at the 2006 National Prayer Breakfast. If you have a minute, read it and let me know what you think.

Mr. President, First Lady, King Abdullah, Other heads of State, Members of Congress, distinguished
guests…
Please join me in praying that I don’t say something we’ll all regret.
That was for the FCC.
If you’re wondering what I’m doing here, at a prayer breakfast, well, so am I.  I’m certainly not here as
a man of the cloth, unless that cloth is leather.  It’s certainly not because I’m a rock star.  Which leaves
one possible explanation:  I’m here because I’ve got a messianic complex.
Yes, it’s true.  And for anyone who knows me, it’s hardly a revelation.
Well, I’m the first to admit that there’s something unnatural… something unseemly… about rock stars
mounting the pulpit and preaching at presidents, and then disappearing to their villas in the South of
France.  Talk about a fish out of water.  It was weird enough when Jesse Helms showed up at a U2
concert… but this is really weird, isn’t it?
You know, one of the things I love about this country is its separation of church and state.  Although I
have to say: in inviting me here, both church and state have been separated from something else
completely: their mind. .
Mr. President, are you sure about this?
It’s very humbling and I will try to keep my homily brief.  But be warned—I’m Irish.
I’d like to talk about the laws of man, here in this city where those laws are written.  And I’d like to talk
about higher laws.  It would be great to assume that the one serves the other; that the laws of man
serve these higher laws… but of course, they don’t always.  And I presume that, in a sense, is why
you’re here.
I presume the reason for this gathering is that all of us here—Muslims, Jews, Christians—all are
searching our souls for how to better serve our family, our community, our nation, our God.
I know I am.  Searching, I mean.  And that, I suppose, is what led me here, too.
Yes, it’s odd, having a rock star here—but maybe it’s odder for me than for you.  You see, I avoided
religious people most of my life.  Maybe it had something to do with having a father who was
Protestant and a mother who was Catholic in a country where the line between the two was, quite
literally, a battle line.  Where the line between church and state was… well, a little blurry, and hard to
see.
I remember how my mother would bring us to chapel on Sundays… and my father used to wait
outside.  One of the things that I picked up from my father and my mother was the sense that religion
often gets in the way of God.
For me, at least, it got in the way.  Seeing what religious people, in the name of God, did to my native
land… and in this country, seeing God’s second-hand car salesmen on the cable TV channels,
offering indulgences for cash… in fact, all over the world, seeing the self-righteousness roll down like
a mighty stream from certain corners of the religious establishment… 
I must confess, I changed the channel.  I wanted my MTV.
Even though I was a believer.
Perhaps because I was a believer.
I was cynical… not about God, but about God’s politics.  (There you are, Jim–a reference to the
author of “God’s Politics” by Jim Wallis)
Then, in 1997, a couple of eccentric, septuagenarian British Christians went and ruined my shtick—
my reproachfulness.  They did it by describing the Millennium, the year 2000, as a Jubilee year, as an
opportunity to cancel the chronic debts of the world’s poorest people.  They had the audacity to renew
the Lord’s call—and were joined by Pope John Paul II, who, from an Irish half-Catholic’s point of view,
may have had a more direct line to the Almighty.
‘Jubilee’—why ‘Jubilee’?
What was this year of Jubilee, this year of our Lords favor?
I’d always read the Scriptures, even the obscure stuff.  There it was in Leviticus (25:35)…
‘If your brother becomes poor,’ the Scriptures say, ‘and cannot maintain himself… you shall maintain
him…  You shall not lend him your money at interest, not give him your food for profit.’ 
It is such an important idea, Jubilee, that Jesus begins his ministry with this. Jesus is a young man,
he’s met with the rabbis, impressed everyone, people are talking.  The elders say, he’s a clever guy,
this Jesus, but he hasn’t done much… yet.  He hasn’t spoken in public before…
When he does, is first words are from Isaiah: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,’ he says, ‘because He
has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.’  And Jesus proclaims the year of the Lord’s
favour, the year of Jubilee.  (Luke 4:18)
What he was really talking about was an era of grace—and we’re still in it.
So fast-forward 2,000 years.  That same thought, grace, was made incarnate—in a movement of all
kinds of people.  It wasn’t a bless-me club… it wasn’t a holy huddle.  These religious guys were
willing to get out in the streets, get their boots dirty, wave the placards, follow their convictions with
actions…  making it really hard for people like me to keep their distance.  It was amazing.  I almost
started to like these church people. 
But then my cynicism got another helping hand.
It was what Colin Powell, a five-star general, called the greatest W.M.D. of them all: a tiny little virus
called A.I.D.S.  And the religious community, in large part, missed it.  The one’s that didn’t miss it
could only see it as divine retribution for bad behaviour.  Even on children… Even fastest growing
group of HIV infections were married, faithful women. 
Aha, there they go again!  I thought to myself Judgmentalism is back!
But in truth, I was wrong again.  The church was slow but the church got busy on this the leprosy of
our age.
Love was on the move.
Mercy was on the move.
God was on the move.
Moving people of all kinds to work with others they had never met, never would have cared to meet
…  Conservative church groups hanging out with spokesmen for the gay community, all singing off
the same hymn sheet on AIDS…  Soccer moms and quarterbacks… hip-hop stars and country stars
…  This is what happens when God gets on the move: crazy stuff happens!
Popes were seen wearing sunglasses!
Jesse Helms was seen with a ghetto blaster!
Crazy stuff.  Evidence of the spirit.
It was breathtaking.  Literally.  It stopped the world in its tracks.
When churches started demonstrating on debt, governments listened—and acted.  When churches
starting organising, petitioning, and even—that most unholy of acts today, God forbid, lobbying…  on
AIDS and global health, governments listened—and acted. 
I’m here today in all humility to say: you changed minds; you changed policy; you changed the world.
Look, whatever thoughts you have about God, who He is or if He exists, most will agree that if there is
a God, He has a special place for the poor.  In fact, the poor are where God lives. 
Check Judaism.  Check Islam.  Check pretty much anyone.
I mean, God may well be with us in our mansions on the hill…  I hope so.  He may well be with us as
in all manner of controversial stuff… maybe, maybe not…  But the one thing we can all agree, all
faiths and ideologies, is that God is with the vulnerable and poor. 
God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house… God is in the silence of a
mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives… God is in the cries heard
under the rubble of war… God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if
we are with them.  “If you remove the yolk from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking
wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light
will rise in darkness and your gloom with become like midday and the Lord will continually guide you
and satisfy your desire in scorched places”
It’s not a coincidence that in the Scriptures, poverty is mentioned more than 2,100 times.  It’s not an
accident.  That’s a lot of air time, 2,100 mentions.  [You know, the only time Christ is judgmental is on
the subject of the poor.]   ‘As you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it
unto me.’  (Matthew 25:40).   As I say, good news to the poor. 
Here’s some good news for the President.  After 9-11 we were told America would have no time for
the World’s poor.  America would be taken up with its own problems of safety.  And it’s true these are
dangerous times, but America has not drawn the blinds and double-locked the doors. 
In fact, you have double aid to Africa.  You have tripled funding for global health.  Mr. President, your
emergency plan for AIDS relief and support for the Global Fund—you and Congress—have put
700,000 people onto life-saving anti-retroviral drugs and provided 8 million bed nets to protect
children from malaria.
Outstanding human achievements.  Counterintuitive.  Historic.  Be very, very proud. 
But here’s the bad news. From charity to justice, the good news is yet to come.  There’s is much more
to do.  There’s a gigantic chasm between the scale of the emergency and the scale of the response.
And finally, it’s not about charity after all, is it?  It’s about justice. 
Let me repeat that:  It’s not about charity, it’s about justice.
And that’s too bad. 
Because you’re good at charity.  Americans, like the Irish, are good at it.  We like to give, and we give
a lot, even those who can’t afford it. 
But justice is a higher standard.  Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice; it makes a farce of our idea
of equality.  It mocks our pieties, it doubts our concern, it questions our commitment. 
6,500 Africans are still dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease, for lack of drugs we can
buy at any drug store.   This is not about charity, this is about Justice and Equality.
Because there’s no way we can look at what’s happening in Africa and, if we’re honest, conclude that
deep down, we really accept that Africans are equal to us.  Anywhere else in the world, we wouldn’t
accept it.  Look at what happened in South East Asia with the Tsunami.  150, 000 lives lost to that
misnomer of all misnomers, “mother nature”.  In Africa, 150,000 lives are lost every month.   A tsunami
every month.  And it’s a completely avoidable catastrophe.
It’s annoying but justice and equality are mates.  Aren’t they?  Justice always wants to hang out with
equality.  And equality is a real pain.
You know, think of those Jewish sheep-herders going to meet the Pharaoh, mud on their shoes, and
the Pharaoh says, “Equal?”  A preposterous idea:  rich and poor are equal?  And they say, “Yeah,
‘equal,’ that’s what it says here in this book.  We’re all made in the image of God.” 
And eventually the Pharaoh says, “OK, I can accept that.  I can accept the Jews—but not the blacks.”
“Not the women.  Not the gays.  Not the Irish.  No way, man.” 
So on we go with our journey of equality.
On we go in the pursuit of justice.
We hear that call in the ONE Campaign, a growing movement of more than two million Americans…
left and right together…  united in the belief that where you live should no longer determine whether
you live.
We hear that call even more powerfully today, as we mourn the loss of Coretta Scott King—mother of
a movement for equality, one that changed the world but is only just getting started.  These issues are
as alive as they ever were; they just change shape and cross the seas.
Preventing the poorest of the poor from selling their products while we sing the virtues of the free
market… that’s a justice issue.  Holding children to ransom for the debts of their grandparents…
That’s a justice issue.  Withholding life-saving medicines out of deference to the Office of Patents…
that’s a justice issue. 
And while the law is what we say it is, God is not silent on the subject.
That’s why I say there’s the law of the land… and then there is a higher standard.  There’s the law of
the land, and we can hire experts to write them so they benefit us, so the laws say it’s OK to protect
our agriculture but it’s not OK for African farmers to do the same, to earn a living?
As the laws of man are written, that’s what they say.
God will not accept that.
Mine won’t, at least.  Will yours?

[pause]

I close this morning on … very… thin… ice.
This is a dangerous idea I’ve put on the table: my God vs. your God, their God vs. our God… vs. no
God.  It is very easy, in these times, to see religion as a force for division rather than unity.
And this is a town—Washington—that knows something of division.
But the reason I am here, and the reason I keep coming back to Washington, is because this is a town
that is proving it can come together on behalf of what the Scriptures call the least of these.
This is not a Republican idea.  It is not a Democratic idea.  It is not even, with all due respect, an
American idea.  Nor it is unique to any one faith. 
Do to others as you would have them do to you.’  (Luke 6:30)  Jesus says that.
‘Righteousness is this: that one should… give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and
the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for the emancipation of the
captives.’  The Koran says that.  (2.177)
Thus sayeth the Lord: ‘Bring the homeless poor into the house, when you see the naked, cover him,
then your light will break out like the dawn and your recovery will speedily spring fourth, then your
Lord will be your rear guard.’ The jewish scripture says that.  Isaiah 58 again. 
That is a powerful incentive: ‘The Lord will watch your back.’  Sounds like a good deal to me, right
now.
A number of years ago, I met a wise man who changed my life.  In countless ways, large and small, I
was always seeking the Lord’s blessing.  I was saying, you know, I have a new song, look after it…  I
have a family, please look after them…  I have this crazy idea…
And this wise man said: stop.
He said, stop asking God to bless what you’re doing.
Get involved in what God is doing—because it’s already blessed.
Well, God, as I said, is with the poor.  That, I believe, is what God is doing. 
And that is what He’s calling us to do.
I was amazed when I first got to this country and I learned how much some churchgoers tithe.  Up to
ten percent of the family budget.  Well, how does that compare the federal budget, the budget for the
entire American family?  How much of that goes to the poorest people in the world?  Less than one
percent. 
Mr. President, Congress, people of faith, people of America:
I want to suggest to you today that you see the flow of effective foreign assistance as tithing….  Which,
to be truly meaningful, will mean an additional one percent of the federal budget tithed to the poor.
What is one percent?
One percent is not merely a number on a balance sheet. 
One percent is the girl in Africa who gets to go to school, thanks to you.  One percent is the AIDS
patient who gets her medicine, thanks to you. One percent is the African entrepreneur who can start a
small family business thanks to you. One percent is not  redecorating presidential palaces or money
flowing down a rat hole. This one percent is digging waterholes to provide clean water.
One percent is a new partnership with Africa, not paternalism towards Africa, where increased
assistance flows toward improved governance and initiatives with proven track records and away
from boondoggles and white elephants of every description.
America gives less than one percent now.  Were asking for an extra one percent to change the world.
to transform millions of lives—but not just that  and I say this to the military men now – to transform the
way that they see us. 
One percent is national security, enlightened economic self interest, and a better safer world rolled
into one. Sounds to me that in this town of deals and compromises, one percent is the best bargain
around.
These goals—clean water for all; school for every child; medicine for the afflicted, an end to extreme
and senseless poverty—these are not just any goals; they are the Millennium Development goals,
which this country supports.  And they are more than that.  They are the Beatitudes for a Globalised
World.
Now, I’m very lucky.  I don’t have to sit on any budget committees.  And I certainly don’t have to sit
where you do, Mr. President.  I don’t have to make the tough choices. 
But I can tell you this:
To give one percent more is right.  It’s smart.  And it’s blessed.
There is a continent—Africa—being consumed by flames.
I truly believe that when the history books are written, our age will be remembered for three things: 
the war on terror, the digital revolution, and what we did—or did not to—to put the fire out in Africa.
History, like God, is watching what we do. 
Thank you.  Thank you, America, and God bless you all.