Richard Dawkins Is Not Always Wrong (The Issue Of Waste)

A couple of Twitter posts from Richard Dawkins caught my attention this morning.  Dawkins is a well known British scientist who is also a staunch atheist, and someone who seems to jump at every opportunity to dismiss and demean any group who believes in God, creation (by God), or anyone who questions the theory of evolution.  I am not saying he is a bad person, because I am sure he is not.  He strikes me as a very conscientious and intelligent (obviously) individual, even though he may come across as very arrogant to people of faith.  I believe in God, so obviously, I don’t agree with Dawkins on some very important issues.  I also don’t like how people like Dawkins and atheist entertainers like Ricky Gervais communicate their atheist view point in a way that paints ALL believers as loons (let’s face it, there are some loons, but come on…)

So why do I follow these guys on Twitter?  I don’t know…I don’t like being lumped into a bucket of God believing “idiots,” but hell, I think Gervais is a brilliant actor, writer, and I just really like his comedy…so I like to see his observations.  I wasn’t so sure about why I followed Dawkins until I read the posts this morning regarding huge American serving portions and the amount of food we waste.  See below…



And there you have it.  At first, I was a bit offended.  Who is this Brit to be complaining about our food portions?  I like it when I go into a good restaurant and I don’t come out still hungry.  But the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with it, grating as his words were.

I pondered this HP=W (huge portions = waste) phenomenon on my way to work this morning.  I recalled a time when I started a new school in 5th grade….I hadn’t been in the country that long from my native El Salvador although by this time I was a fluent English speaker. I remember being befuddled when I saw kids wasting buckets of cafeteria food.  Stuff I considered good too: meat loaf, mashed potatoes, lasagna, etc. Too many kids would take 2-3 bites of something and dump 90% of the remaining food into trash bins.  I know cafeteria food has a bad rap, but I must say, it wasn’t THAT bad (with the exception of the canned spinach.)  I remember thinking, even as a young kid, what a waste!  How could people throw away this much food!  There are starving kids in the world!  Etc, etc.  I did come from a foreign culture, so it was very shocking to me.

Fast forward some years later, when I discovered the wonders of the Chinese and Indian  buffets….and later, places like King’s Table or Hometown Buffet, where I constantly saw people get mountains of food only to pick at it, throw it away, and get something else.  I actually thought (and think) this is more than just waste, but even sin.  I am not harping against people that go to buffets, I love buffets myself, but is it necessary to have an all access pass to a ton of food?  Never mind the food waste, how about just the blatant attack on our health?

So as much as I disagree on issues like the existence of God with Mr. Dawkins, and as arrogant as he comes off when dismissing my beliefs as nonsensical myths, I have to say that I agree with him about how wasteful we are as a society.  We are so self consumed that we fail to see the harm we do to the environment and even ourselves.  We are so preoccupied with self gratification that we learn behaviors like stuffing our face even when we don’t need it only to gain obesity and a multitude of health problems down the road.

So yes, as arrogant as Dawkins’ tweets seem (to folks who don’t agree with him), I ask you to consider this issue of waste in our lives and our culture, and the learned behavior that has caused us to accept the mantra “more is better.”  We should be more responsible about  this, especially as Christians, or people of faith.  We have been entrusted to care for our environment, our natural resources, and ourselves.  Our body really is a temple and not a garbage bin.  I tell you what–every time I look in the mirror and see the huge gut I’m carrying, I will think of those tweets.  I know when something is true, even when I don’t like it.

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A Worship Leader’s Worst Nightmare

I don’t consider myself an “Ego” guy.  In fact, more often than not, I’m actually quite insecure about things, especially when it comes to anything artistic.  As the saying goes, “You are your own worst critic.”  That is certainly the case with me.  If I create a song, or see video of myself performing, I pick it apart.  There is NEVER a shortage of things that could have gone better, or things that were done less than good enough.  This is why this particular occurrence was strange.

I was happy preparing for this worship service.  Why?  Because I had D playing drums, and he just makes everyone sound better.  So you kn0w, I was feeling confident about the night.  I figured, we’re going to rock it tonight.  Yes, yes, it’s all about God and all that, but we’re going to rock it.  Well, as usually happens when we “boast,” something happens that brings us back to earth.  Oh, yes, I’ve been knocked down a peg or two on occasion.

So we’re practicing and it’s going great.  D is on his game, keeping immaculate time and adding a nice flavor to the rhythm.  I also have the services of a keyboardist, and my son on bass.  I brought 2 guitars that day…my ol’ reliable black Aria (had that baby since highschool–made in Japan to boot), and an Aria DM 380 (Korean), a great sounding mosrite copy, however very temperamental.  It goes out of tune frequently, the set up is not the greatest, etc.  I figured I was covered–if I broke a string on my “Diamond,” I would go to good ol’ Blackie.

Towards the end of the practice, I broke a string on my Diamond.  There wasn’t much time for the service to start, but no biggie, I strapped on my black guitar.  Technically, we should have started the service, but we have a very small congregation (compared to our English services) so we were waiting for a few more people to come in before starting.  As I was noodling with my guitar while talking to D, I break another string.  Now we’re in a bind because we’re late already and now we’re going to be even more late.  Yes, I got a new string, and towards the end of the first worship song, I break another string!  This is just plain ridiculous–3 strings???

Our main music pastor happened to be in the room at the time and I asked through the microphone if there was another guitar available.  He went downstairs to find one and after a guitarless worship song, brought a very nice PRS from a guitarist in the English service (they were done already!) So here we go, with a nice axe in hand, I start the next song….and then the PA system craps out…Wow.  At this point, this was beyond ridiculous.

To make a long story short, this was a horrendous worship service.  I was dying a slow death as everything was unfolding.  You can kind of hear it in my voice when it just goes terribly flat and lifeless.  This was not a worship service at this point, it was a fiasco.  Afterwards, I was talking to D, who told me, “Maybe we weren’t supposed to play today.” or something along those lines.  I half-heartedly agreed, but was thinking in my mind, “Damn right, I shouldn’t have been playing in the state I was in.”  I had been more focused on “rocking it” than giving God the glory he deserves.  Lesson learned, Lord.  I am sorry.

I’m sure I will continue to make bonehead moves along the way, but thinking I am going to “rock it” is not going to be one of them.  My two cents: when you let your confidence go to your head to the point where you start putting ego ahead of God, be prepared to go through one of these grueling experiences.  That’s just how the Big Guy rolls.



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