t-shirts, protests & maybe a little bit more

It’s just a t-shirt. Amazing how a set of shirts can say so much…


This year prior to the start of the season, the Director of Basketball Administration & Operations at Purdue University sat down with the men’s basketball team, as he often does, discussing things other than basketball. They talked about many things — from the mass shooting in Las Vegas to the protests by some NFL players during the National Anthem.

While it’s no secret the Intramuralist loves her alma mater, this is just one more reason why. I love that with a college backdrop, they recognize that far more than an academic education is both valuable and vital.

And so going into the season, Purdue’s seniors led the way, asking each of the 14 members of the men’s team to submit a word or two that was meaningful to them — “words you believe in,” said starting guard Carsen Edwards. And so the above list was born.

Now, with the season in full swing, while warming up on the court prior to game start, each of the 14 wears a t-shirt donning a single one of the words.

For Carsen Edwards, it’s “love.”
For nationally-watched guard Vince Edwards, it’s “humility.” He spoke of all his parents taught him. “Be humble. Always be respectful.” Hence, he picked humility.

Vince Edwards goes on to explain: “The shirts pretty much stand for everything we need in this world right now. We just wanted to give the message. All the words make you think when you see 14 different players run out with 14 different words on their chest.”

So true. So diverse.

The challenge with so many people earnestly desiring to make a statement today is that they do so with protest. And friends, there is nothing wrong with a peaceful, respectful protest. Yet way too many protests seem to leave something vital out.

For example, think of the person screaming “Justice! I demand justice!” But in their calls for justice, they omit love and respect. It thus sounds as if they don’t truly care about all people.

Think of the person who screams “tolerance!” But in their demand for tolerance, there exists an absence of compassion for those who think differently. The extent of effectiveness of their demand will then be minimized, as it’s obvious only some things will be tolerated.

And think, too, of the one who shouts “equality!” But in their sincere efforts to pursue such, they only do so by demeaning and insulting someone else, treating them as, well, someone less than equal.

Too much is omitted in too many protests.

We cannot forget the contagiousness of humility.
We cannot ignore the power of empathy.
And we cannot omit the dire need for forgiveness.

True, they are just 14 words on the chests of 14 players — from all different backgrounds and walks of life — no doubt a diverse crew.

Amazing how a set of shirts can say so much.


enemies no more

First published in 1928, German vet Erich Maria Remarque wrote “All Quiet on the Western Front.” The fictional account depicts some of the intense physical and emotional stress experienced by WWI soldiers, while also describing the challenging attempts to resume civilian life once back home. The book (and its sequel) was later banished and burned in Nazi Germany. I wonder if such was in part due to one of the book’s most powerful accounts.

As told by blogger Scott Higgins…

“Erich Remarque’s book, ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ tells of a remarkable encounter between two enemy soldiers during the Second World War. During battle a German soldier took shelter in crater made by artillery shells. Looking around he saw a man wounded, an enemy soldier. He was dying. The German soldier’s heart went out to him. He gave him water from his canteen and listened as the dying man spoke of his wife and children. The German helped him find his wallet and take out pictures of his family to look at one last time.

In that encounter these two men ceased to be enemies. The German had seen the wounded soldier in a new way. Not as an enemy combatant but as a father, a husband, someone who loves and is loved. Someone just like him.

This is always the path of peace and reconciliation, learning to truly see the other and in them recognizing someone just like yourself.”

For years the Intramuralist has advocated for what’s good and true and right. Reconciliation is one of those things. Few things are more powerful, moving, and contagious than reconciliation.

And yet we live in a society which increasingly justifies not reconciling. We live in a society that seems to instead justify adding to our personal enemy lists.

Last week “The View” cohost Joy Behar appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” in a seemingly sincere segment addressing the difficulty in conversing with persons who feel differently than she does about the current state of political affairs. Behar then averred that she did not believe supporters of Pres. Trump and opposers could actually find a way to live together. In the ensuing roundtable discussion, the cohosts and others seriously wondered aloud if such was even possible.

My heart saddens. Not because it’s about Pres. Trump; we could make it about another person and still find the same sort of heated division. The reality is that society has morally digressed so far that we now often see opposition as people we can’t live with… people we can’t speak with. We see them as enemy combatants.

We justify seeing them as combatants.

But what would it change if instead of looking at another as the enemy combatant, we saw the person differently?

What would it change?

We might not agree with them. We might still think they’re a little off. But what if we actually, intentionally looked at them differently — humbling ourselves long enough, seeking to love and understand — what would that change?

What would happen, if, just like the German soldier — who had far more on his personal vendetta list than most of us will ever have — if instead of seeing those who fought a different fight or came from a different angle — even militarily — what if we could see that person as… a father, a husband…

… someone who loves and is loved…

… someone just like us.

This is us, folks. If we could only realize that, wouldn’t we solve more? Wouldn’t we listen better? And wouldn’t we love better and more? Wouldn’t we also rid ourselves of some of the hatred that has unknowingly settled within our own hearts? It’s so deep and passionate we can’t always even tell it’s hatred?

That reconciliation would be so good, so true, and yes, so right.

It’s also always beautiful.


speaking up for women

Come on in. Pull up a chair. It’s a sensitive topic today, and thus I want to make sure we handle it respectfully and well. Let’s address #metoo — the two word hashtag which spread virally last month in the wake of allegations directed at Hollywood mogul and major political player Harvey Weinstein, denouncing sexual assault and harassment.

The phrase encouraged women to speak up and denounce misogynistic behavior; women should never be treated so callously — as if they are only physical or sexual objects. The speaking up has since continued, with allegations seemingly flooding out, directed at persons hailing from all walks of life.

I have empathetically and heartbrokenly watched for weeks, hating to see so many so hurt and so much hurt buried — but I also admire those brave women who have finally felt courageous enough to speak out. Such triggers a few more questions and thoughts… honestly, truthfully, and with tremendous respect…

First, we can’t say enough that any who state that they have been assaulted or harassed should be treated with the utmost sobriety and respect. No matter who is involved, such never qualifies as any SNL fodder.

A few other brief observations…

I’ve noticed that harassment is not an indigenous activity; it’s not prone to a specific people group, party, or politics. For too long, however, too many have seemed to suggest that only one people group has a problem. And as long as we’ve allowed ourselves to politicize something that should in no way be politicized, piling on has been encouraged, frequent, and become a basis for further divisive, disrespectful, social media memes. As we now watch the accusations evolve against multiple people groups, we see that no group has cornered the market on treating all women well.

Unfortunately, with that, it seems a watching public tends to give the benefit of doubt to those they politically align with… we “wait and see” with those who vote the way we like, but we are quick to throw patience, grace, and that benefit of doubt right out the nearest window when political alignment is nonexistent. It thus seems our political stances continue to cloud our judgment.

In addition to the imprudent politicization, no less — and this is a tough but sincere question — what if not all accusations are true? What if some accounts are exaggerated, false, or even unknowingly wrong?

Please go back to our first statement in that any who state they have been assaulted or harassed should be treated with the utmost sobriety and respect. Also, with the current professional collateral damage that seems to accompany accusations, there may exist motive to lie, especially for those among us who’ve convinced themselves that the end justifies the means. The “end,” so-to-speak, should never alter our moral compass.

But there’s one point that seems absent from the public dialogue thus far — and truthfully, it’s a little tricky to articulate — because it’s not quite comfortable nor convenient in 21st Century America. We are discussing the abuse and mistreatment of women in our society. We are collectively saying that we will take this no more; women are not to be treated as solely physical or sexual objects. But what if in our society, there exists an accepted venue that treats women as exactly that?

What if there was an accepted venue that treats women so poorly, yet shockingly brings in more revenue annually than the NBA, NFL, and MLB combined? … more revenue than ABC, CBS, and NBC combined? … more traffic than Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter combined?

The pornography industry is the largest, most profitable industry in the world. And yet, women are treated as physical and sexual objects.

“It’s no secret that porn has become mainstream entertainment in our society,” Fight the New Drug articulately states. “From popular porn sites putting up billboards in New York City’s Times Square to online news sources like BuzzFeed normalizing porn with viral videos, it feels like porn is everywhere you look. Porn is plastered all over social media sites like Tumblr, and it’s easy to see on Twitter considering the Twitterverse is home to an estimated 10+ million porn accounts.”

All women deserve to be valued and cherished. The bottom line is that all women are not valued nor cherished in pornography.

There is much to speak up about and denounce, my friends. Seems like we need more than another hashtag.


the intentional giving of thanks

What I love about Thanksgiving is the intentional giving of thanks.

What I love about the intentional giving of thanks is the removal of focus on self and the sincere acknowledgement of someone else.

Allow me to thus acknowledge someone else…

Thank you to each of you — for joining us here and participating in the Intramuralist.

Thank you to my family and friends — for your awesome encouragement and consistent support.

And thank you to the great big God of the universe — for making all things possible. I could not do this without you.

Allow me one more brief thought on this day of great purpose, as sweetly and succinctly articulated by Joe Fazio in his poem of “A Thousand Thanks”…

* * * * *

“To He who is all powerful, thanks for the many
blessings you have bestowed on me.

To those I love, thanks for all you do.

To my friends, thanks, for teaching me the
meaning of friendship.

To those I have angered, thanks for your patience
and your understanding.

To those I have disappointed, thanks for your
forgiveness. I’ll try to do better.

Thanks, to the strangers along life’s path, for
their kindness.

Thanks, to those who do for others and remain
without acknowledgement.

Thanks, for the charity of others, extended to
those who are less fortunate.

Thanks, to those of differences, who arrive
at the point of compromise.

Thanks, to all in their journey of life, who
attempt to make this, a better world.”

* * * * *

Many thanks, my friends.

Many blessings, too… this day and always…


ok to discriminate against one?

Let’s juxtapose two different legal proceedings.

First, as reported by the progressive advocacy news site, “Think Progress,” in May…

“At last, Jane Meyer gets to celebrate a victory.

The former senior associate athletic director at the University of Iowa sued the university for gender and sexual orientation discrimination, whistleblower violations, and unequal pay. On Thursday, she was awarded $1.43 million in damages from a Polk County jury…

Meyer began working at Iowa in 2001, when she was hired by then-athletics director Bob Bowlsby as the senior women’s administrator. She was the second-in-command in that department, and Bowlsby gave her excellent performance reviews and indications that she would be able to run her own athletic department some day. But everything changed when Bowlsby left the school in 2006 and Gary Barta became athletics director…

At the end of 2014, Meyer gave Barta a memo outlining the gender discrimination she had witnessed and experienced in the department. The following day she was reassigned to another program at the university, away from the athletics community she loved.”

Second, as reported by the conservative commentary, Stream.org, a little over a month ago…

“Former college basketball star Camille LeNoir was hired to be a college assistant coach. However, the offer was rescinded when the school found out from an old YouTube video that she was no longer gay. Not only did she no longer identify as gay, she said it was a sin.

LeNoir’s former coach at New Mexico State University, Mark Trakh, offered her a job as an assistant basketball coach. But just two days before she was to leave for New Mexico, he called her to rescind the offer. Trakh informed her that he’d watched a 2011 YouTube video where LeNoir talked about basketball, sexuality and faith.

For most of her collegiate career, LeNoir was in a relationship with women. After college, LeNoir played basketball in Greece, where she was the top Point Guard of the league. It was during her time in Greece that she felt convicted to leave homosexuality…

Trakh told LeNoir to pull the video or she’d never work in the industry. ‘I felt the job was taken away because of my heterosexuality,’ she said. She’s now suing New Mexico State in a U.S. District Court. She said she was discriminated against because of her religious beliefs and sexuality. New Mexico State claims in court documents that LeNoir’s statements on homosexuality in the film would ‘have had an adverse impact’ on her ‘ability to effectively coach and recruit players who identify as LGBT’…

‘I never had a chance to talk to anyone, to share,’ LeNoir told The Washington Post. ‘It’s like they took this video and the fact that I’m heterosexual now and made decisions without getting to know the Camille six years later.’

‘I believe it was an injustice,’ said Camille. ‘A huge injustice.’”

So two women feel discriminated against…

One because she is gay.
And one because she is not.

Assuming the accusations are true (which has yet to be determined in the latter case), allow me a brief series of sincere questions:

Is discrimination ever ok?

Why would we be sensitive to only some injustice? Why would we be sensitive to only one of the above?

And, in our sincere efforts to love and respect some, why do we sometimes justify the victimization of someone else?

Respectfully… always…

last week’s questions

As this semi-humble current events blogger, attempts to have a pulse on the world around us, often it helps to scan the news for the latest questions. True, the question mark is notably the Intramuralist’s favorite piece of punctuation, as it’s the only punctuation mark that invites a response.

I wonder how we would each respond to last week’s questions, each of the 50, which at some point was a featured headline…

  1. Does Intellectual Humility Matter for Democracy?
  2. Is Being Good Good for You?
  3. On Taxes, Who’ll Be Crying in Their Beer?
  4. What Does Patriotism Mean?
  5. What’s the Matter With Transparency?
  6. Can My Children Be Friends With White People?
  7. Can Carbon-Dioxide Removal Save the World?
  8. What Will Happen to the UCLA Players in Trouble in China?
  9. How Will California Pay for Free Community College?
  10. Do Better Tests Lead to Better Teaching?
  11. Is the Middle East Breaking Up?
  12. What If All Americans Went Vegan?
  13. What Are Your Thoughts on the Latest College Football Playoff Rankings?
  14. Liberals Still Aghast at Trump, But What Good Has It Done?
  15. Who Will Vote for Republicans Next Year?
  16. Write-in Option for Voters?
  17. Could Prince Harry Ever Marry Divorcee Meghan Markle?
  18. Can a Robot Join the Faith?
  19. Should We Fear Robots?
  20. Is There an Intrinsic Morality of the Free Market?
  21. Want More Gilmore Girls Episodes?
  22. Will Schools Start Lying About Attendance Rates?
  23. Can Religious Symbols Be Tolerated on Public Lands?
  24. Pre-Black Friday Sales: BS or a Good Deal?
  25. Is the Gun-Maker Liable?
  26. Did World War I Not Teach World Anything?
  27. LeBron Looking to Make a Statement at MSG?
  28. What Will Happen This Winter?
  29. Why Do We Sleep?
  30. Are We Born Believing in God?
  31. After Wacky a Week, What Happened to Reliable Fantasy Studs?
  32. Did Crabs Hide Amelia Earhart’s Remains?
  33. Is This the Future of Commuting?
  34. Can You Really Be Addicted to Sex?
  35. What Policies Can Really Lower Drug Prices?
  36. What Happens When Secular Ideals and Tenets of Faith Conflict?
  37. Do We Understand the 2nd Amendment Anymore?
  38. What’s Wrong With Sidney Crosby?
  39. Apple Cider Vinegar for Hair Loss?
  40. Does a Litigious Culture Undermine Our Capacity for Humility?
  41. More Lawyers or More Justice?
  42. What Is Moral Injury?
  43. Does China have a Grand Strategy?
  44. Is Trump’s Base Support Slipping?
  45. Do Trump’s Liberal Critics Seem Increasingly Unhinged?
  46. When Does a Watershed Become a Sex Panic?
  47. Who Should Pay for Electric Vehicle Chargers?
  48. Is God Wholly Separate from the Material Universe?
  49. Can You Learn to Control Your Mind?
  50. (… and, maybe my favorite this week…) Why Don’t Fish Swim Upside Down?

Amazing the variety of perspective we could learn… that is, if we actually took time to ask questions.


wrestling with a tough topic

Talk about tough topics in current culture, I came across a unique one this week. Allow me to share the unfolding pattern prior to any specific perspective…

It started with a bold statement on social media.

Then, some genuine, diverse opinion was shared.

Then came some strong feelings…

Are you referring to me?? To my family??

To some, it became personal. That led to finger pointing and defensiveness…

I am actually shocked that you are not supportive… Your concern is not my fault…

And then motive was assigned to opposing opinion…

They are afraid.

Few questions were asked seeking to understand — from any supposed side. There was more an assertion of individual opinion accompanied by a disdain of perceived opposing opinion, as it seemingly evolved into an “only two-sided issue,” where only one could be right — and one had to be wrong.

Hence, with no questions, then came the actual dismissal of any validity in different opinion…

This is the way it is. Period.

As a current events observer — and only a semi-humble one at that — I paid special attention to this thread, as it was based on a subject matter of which I’m fairly ignorant. Seeking to learn from those who have broader perspectives than mine, I thought it was a great way to learn.

But I was quickly dismayed that any learning opportunity was squelched by how personal the topic was perceived, the justification of finger pointing, the absence of questions, the assignment of motive, and the rejection of any other perspective “other than mine.” There was no tolerance for perceived opposing opinion.

And so I again found myself asking…

Is there only one right angle?

Is there only one right way to think about this?

If I put myself in your shoes, would I feel exactly like you? Do the “shoes” matter?

And the great big, profound clunky question: since we believe what we believe because it is best, what happens when what I think is best is different than what you think is best?

My sense is our goal shouldn’t be to beat another into submitting to our opinion. My sense is also that we should not finger point, assign motive, and reject. In a wise society, friends, we are to respond in love. All the time. Regardless of issue.

This issue had nothing to do with kneeling, climate change, or the latest college football rankings. There was no talk of the 1st, 2nd, or any Amendment. There was also no one who invoked (good or bad) the name of the current Oval Office holder. Still, it was a subject in which admittedly, the Intramuralist knew little…

Co-ed wrestling.

“As a parent would you want your daughter to wrestle?”

“… There’s not a girls’ wrestling team… Some boys will not be able to give 100%… I think there’s a big difference between youth vs. high school…”

I wish we could have all conversations better… conversations, regardless of topic, in which we could respect one another, allow differing opinion to exist, not make it or take it personally, resist the assignment of motive, especially regarding perspectives we don’t share.

I wish we would respond in love.


what’s most important

Marquese Goodwin has known much success in his 26 years.

He was born in Lubbuck, Texas and attended Rowlett High School. There he had the second fastest 100-meter time in the Lone Star State, was the state champion in the triple jump and long jump, and was a member of the state title-winning 4×100-meter relay team. He won seven team track and field championships.

Goodwin’s success did not stop there.

On scholarship at the University of Texas, Goodwin continued to succeed. In track and field, he was a two-time NCAA champion in the long jump and a four-time All-American in track and field. He won five Big 12 Conference championships and made the All-Big 12 team seven times. His collegiate success then propelled him to the 2012 Summer Olympics, finishing tenth in the long jump.

But Goodwin simultaneously played collegiate football, starting as a receiver and returner, including in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game. He has played in the NFL since 2013; he is currently a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers.

This past Sunday, the Niners played the Giants. In the second quarter, Goodwin was on the receiving end of a huge play, scoring an 83-yard touchdown, his best play of the year.

As soon as he reached the end zone, Goodwin blew a kiss to the sky, fell to his knees, and made the sign of the cross. He then gently laid his head upon the end zone turf, as several players came and appropriately, gently knelt beside him.

Just hours earlier, his wife, former Longhorn hurdler champion Morgan Goodwin-Snow, had to deliver their first child prematurely due to complications within the pregnancy. The baby boy did not survive.

Said later in an Instagram update by Marquese:

“I just wanna thank those who’ve genuinely prayed for @morganakamomo & myself through out this pregnancy. Unfortunately we lost our baby boy due to some complications, and had to prematurely deliver him early this morning around 4am. Although we are hurt, I am grateful for the experience and grateful that God blessed me with a wife as courageous and resilient as Morgan. The pain (physically, mentally, & emotionally) that she has endured is unbelievable. Please Pray for the Goodwin family.”

I can only imagine the depth of the pain the Goodwin’s feel at this time… and to still go to work. Gut-wrenching.

And while my heart aches for this family, I find myself simultaneously struck by Goodwin’s apparent realization of what’s most important.

When Goodwin crossed the goal line, there was no celebration. There was no dancing. No drama. None of the current clever, often whimsical festivities.

Goodwin did his job, was honest in his emotion, and in his grief, still later was able to acknowledge the great big God of the universe.

My sense is that sometimes we get lost in the game. We get lost in any perceived competition — be it sports, politics, you-name-it. Sometimes we get distracted and derailed. We start to major on the minors, no longer able to recognize what is minor.

My prayer is that we always instead realize what is most important.

God be with the Goodwin family. Pray for them, Marquese humbly requests.

It’s important.


a social experiment

Every now and then I really like a line on this blog so much, I think it and say it over and over; sometimes it’s more than a line. I keep thinking today of how each of us contributes — knowingly or unknowingly — to the division in this country. As stated Thursday, “Our national divide will never get better if we keep contributing to the fire. We’re adding fuel to the fire with our sideways comments… our angry posts, our cutting comments on social media… the rolling of our eyes when people are sharing their stories.” Yes, we are part of the problem.

I have a good friend with whom I have long bantered over all sorts of stuff… from music and kids to healthcare and home life. We’ve long been able to talk about all. We don’t always agree, but we both recognize that agreement is not necessary for unity; respectful dialogue is always more important. We are both sharpened via such.

In recent months, my friend found herself tempted to be more of the problem, contributing to that division. It’s easy, folks. Sometimes we don’t even recognize our involvement. We feel strongly… react strongly… sometimes even baiting another by posting something provocative… maybe they’ll say something disrespectful or outlandish back… then everyone will see that they are the problem.

Unfortunately, we are part of the problem.

Recognizing such, my friend decided to conduct a small but significant social experiment. With her permission, I share such with you now…

What exactly was your experiment?

I wanted to see if I could change the quality of my Facebook feed and take control of the algorithms. I unfollowed anything political in nature — all news and current event pages — and I unfollowed friends who only post provocative political posts. I also marked all like ads as irrelevant — and I replaced them with pages that promoted peace, joy, kindness, etc. I began liking posts like crazy that were similarly peaceful and positive and then hiding posts that triggered anger, sadness, or hopelessness.

What motivated your experiment?

My feed had become 90% news and politics. Funny thing is that before the 2016 election, I hid many abrasive conservative friends. After the election, I had to hide my abrasive liberal friends, too — who were doing the exact same thing, just from the other side. I don’t care for Pres. Trump, but I didn’t need to hear the sky was falling every time I opened my feed. My gut then told me the steady diet of political opinion was unhealthy and responsible for my emotional funk. I had to change the diet or continue feeling badly.

What have you learned?

I’ve learned that I feel better when I stay clear of the political backbiting. I was taking every snipe personally, feeling defensive and hopelessly unable to control the mess in our country. I’ve become better at observing others without my heart getting so personally involved. I’ve learned it’s pretty easy to change your social media feed.

What has surprised you?

I was surprised how easy it was to change. By limiting my exposure to the bad stuff and focusing on what unites us, I began to feel better immediately.

Do you feel like you know any less than you used to?

No. I can tell if something major happens by other people’s posts. I’m then forced to go to actual, factual news sites, avoiding the provocative spin of social media.

Will you keep it up?

Yes. No second guessing. I want my involvement in social media to promote peace and loving kindness — to all. I don’t want to be drawn into any mudslinging.

What else?

I think it’s important that we take charge of the angry rhetoric being thrown around — rhetoric that only divides us. We need to realize how easy it is to become part of the problem.

My friend also added that she wishes to help build that path to unity — to positively influence those around her — to intentionally build positive relationships.

Building positive relationships… dare I say, so much wiser than any fueling of the fire.



can you feel the tension?

It’s a prudent practice to heed the wisdom in others — recognizing none of us are anywhere close to cornering the market on wisdom. I thus spent some time listening to a wise friend this week. I couldn’t scribble fast enough. Here are my notes… his comments, with a few of my a-ha’s etched in…

The country is divided. Can you feel the tension?

But know what’s true?

We all believe what we believe because we believe it’s best.

But what happens when what I believe is best is different than what you believe is best?

We believe what we believe with passion. We believe it’s best. We also believe unity is best. So what is the path to unity?

Is unity that you agree with me all the time?

Is unity that we all see eye-to-eye on every single thing?

Let’s be clear: unity is not uniformity.

“Unity is oneness of purpose — not sameness of persons.” (as said by Dr. Tony Evans)

There are people who don’t think like us, act like us, look like us, talk like us. So let’s remember that the name of the game is not trying to get you to believe what I believe; the name of the game is not trying to get you to think, act, look, or talk like me either.

True unity can only be found when we minimize our personal preferences. But many of us rubber stamp our preferences and put them above all else… above other people, above divine inspiration and instruction.

What if true unity can only be experienced to the degree that we have accepted undeserved grace?

It’s all about grace. It’s all about grace. It’s all about grace. (Did I mention it’s all about grace?)

But the reality is that undeserved and unlimited grace only comes from God. From everyone else it is limited in some capacity — some way, somehow. From everyone else it only goes so far. Unlimited grace… unearned grace… undeserved. It only comes from One who is bigger and wiser than we. And there’s only one of him.

If you’re a woman, pay attention. If you’re a minority, pay attention. If you’re a woman or a minority, it was Jesus who spoke of your value before any of the movements today.

So want to be part of the solution to the division in this country? Want to be on the path to unity, which most people agree is best? Remember it’s not beating down others so they agree with you; it’s not squelching the voice of varied opinion; it’s not even getting back at them in the next election.

Unity comes only from the awareness of how hugely much God loves each of us. When we recognize how much God loves us and all he’s done for us — and all he’s done for the person next to me, regardless of social status, income, or ethnicity — we learn to treat that person next to us better. We learn to treat him or her with love. All the time.

Hence, learn how to respond with love.

… to those people you can’t stand… to those colleagues at work you just wish would be transferred… away, far away… Respond in love.

Our national divide will never get better if we keep contributing to the fire. We’re adding fuel to the fire with our sideways comments… our angry posts, our cutting comments on social media… the rolling of our eyes when people are sharing their stories…

That’s contributing to the division. That’s participating in the work of someone or something other than God.

Someone mentioned that we are fighting the wrong enemy. So true.

So let’s be part of the solution. Let’s be the leader of humility, kindness, and grace… knowing that available, unlimited grace. It’s something that black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Democrats and Republicans, we all have in common.

Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

[FYI: Time with my friend was well spent.]