Category: Culture

Up, In and Out

Up, In and Out

By Danny Burns

Since the tragic death of George Floyd and the days of protests across the country, there are a wide range of reactions. Fear, outrage, anger, hatred, sadness, frustration to doubt, indifference, and plain apathy.  The issues that are before us are as wide as they are complex and have plagued our country for centuries and our world for even longer.

As such, there aren’t enough pages to write here to provide all the answers we need. There are some answers we won’t ever get. But in this moment as a follower of Jesus who has a responsibility to lead not only my family but assist in the leading of an entire church, I have a duty and calling to serve….to try and be helpful – to point us back to Jesus with the hope and desire to be used by God to be agents of change for as long as He calls us on this earth.

As a white Christian who will never fully know what it’s like to be a minority in the US, what is our posture? How do I respond amidst this pointed time in history? Media outlets and social posts give us long lists of actions we can take, groups we can join, and causes we can take up. Some believe it’s easier to be quiet for fear of saying the wrong thing or offending the wrong person. Others believe the problems we face are too many to solve. Still, others don’t believe the level of response we’ve seen in our streets is even warranted.

Our First Response

Regardless of where you find yourself, as Christians, our first response should be one of brokenness.  At minimum, we should recognize a man lost his life, while pleading for it, while others begged for it at the hands of men who weren’t supposed to take it.  That moment on 38th St in south Minneapolis created a ripple effect that continues to travel like a never-ending ocean current. Families forever changed, communities ravaged and scarred, countless lives that won’t be the same. As my fellow pastor, Will Turner, preached this past Sunday, “It’s not supposed to be like this…”

That posture of brokenness as Christians is one we should have. In Romans 12:15 God says, “weep with those who weep.”  Feel the weight of this command. Then layer in all the history of oppression, unfair and unjust systems, and the realities of what it’s like to be black in this country. I will never know what that’s like, but I can and should still mourn, because it’s not supposed to be like this.

Getting To The Root

God says the human heart is “deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). While we, as Christians, are redeemed and made new (2 Corinthians 5:17), we are still capable of sinning. I’m personally convinced that because we live in a fractured world, even as followers of Christ we have biases – beliefs that we have about certain people, groups of people, governments, organizations, etc. that aren’t actually true and are unfair. Some of them we may be aware of, and sadly some of them we are not. These biases are the most insidious because we live each day completely unaware of how these beliefs are hurting us and others.  They rob us of our witness, hinder our effectiveness, and cause us to not look anything like the One we say we follow.

While we may not self-identify as racist, we are capable of holding biases of all types and sizes deep in our hearts. We must do the work of seeking the Lord, reading His Word, and asking the Spirit of the Lord to search our hearts to reveal those things we incorrectly believe about someone or something. May Psalm 139 be our cry! “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 NLT.

I’m confident the Spirit of the Lord will teach us, will train us and will impart wisdom on us to reveal those dark parts of our soul. Work with your pastor, small group leader, mentor, or fellow brother or sister in Christ to get to the root. Then work through the process of repentance. Repentance is a vast topic in itself, but here is a helpful place to start.

No Excuses

After the Holy Spirit has awakened us to our own sin and the biases we have, after we have taken the time to repent, I believe only then are we in a place to truly be the light of the world. Over the last few days, I get the sense there are Christians who are afraid to say the wrong thing so don’t really say anything at all. I’ve seen some who would rather wait it out and just hope it goes away. I’ve had conversations where people believe the challenges are too big.

Be mindful of cynicism. The belief that nothing can change and there is little hope. Cynicism leads to indifference, and indifference leads to inaction, and inaction leads to history repeating itself.

God is going to have to do what only He can do. But the complex challenges of race don’t give us as Christians an excuse to do nothing or to limit our actions to prayer alone.

Our Christian faith has always been one of extensive action. Proverbs 31:8 says “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”

Jesus himself was a man of action and the New Testament writers give us countless instructions that action is an integral part of our faith. As the writer James told us, without action, we have no faith at all.

Next Steps

I believe once we have been broken by the events around us, that we’ve done the hard work of letting the Holy Spirit reveal the dark places of our own soul and repenting of those things we can put action to our faith.

Prayers of Lament
With a posture of brokenness, we can enter into prayers of lament. This is a powerful, Biblical approach to communing with God. You can learn more about that here and in a recent sermon at Redeemer Fellowship

Get Educated About Our City
Racism has a history in Kansas City that runs deep. Here are a few selected titles that have been recommended to me to give important context about our city.

Learn About the Unique Challenges of Someone Who Is Different Than You
There is so much power in empathy, and we can increase our capacity for empathy by learning about others even if we will never fully know what their life is like.

Invest In Your Community
Investing in your community will look different for everyone, so be led by the Spirit and be courageous.  Look around your neighborhood, have conversations about the events unfolding, and listen. Pray for genuine friendships with people from other races and ethnic groups. Consider joining different organizations or groups that are pursuing racial equality. Explore serving in a leadership role in school or city government. Learn about all the issues our cities and nation are facing and vote when the time comes.

Be Mindful of Social Media
Social media continues to be a polarizing, at times impersonal, and fractured way to foster real change. Use it as a place to empathize and encourage and a starting point for deeper, in-person, one-on-one conversation.

May we be awakened to the brokenness all around us, to our own depravity, and the call for action to be a part of our faith. May we be encouraged by the fact that we serve a powerful God who will one day return to restore this place to the way He made it.  And until that day comes, may we never stop pursuing all that God has called us to as active followers of Jesus Christ.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Grace, peace, and courage friends.

Photo credit:


The City I Love?

The City I Love?

Do I really care about my city?

In a couple years I will have lived in this city for 10 years. When I moved here right out of college the jokes about Independence were about as abundant as traffic on Noland Rd. Everything from the quality of our schools, to crime, to the people, to the general consensus that Independence was simply a city not as good as its neighbors. Economic development, commercialization, housing — the glory days had come and they were now most definitely gone.

I’ll admit that since living here I’ve delivered just as many cheap shots towards the city of Independence as the next person. For awhile I felt I could, after all, I do live here. But for all the jokes, all the put downs, the snide “under your breath” remarks, I began to feel uneasy. Over the last year or so as the comments rolled on, I’ve had this odd, unexpected feeling. As best as I can describe it, a simultaneous sense of anger and hurt. What is this all about? I mean…really?

It turns out that Independence is the city I’ve begun to love. And the simultaneous anger and hurt I occasionally feel is because I care about my city. The rich, the poor, the somewhere in the middle. The schools, the businesses, the neighborhoods. My neighborhood. My neighbors. The ones we do know and ones we don’t know. The guy who police chased through our streets a few weeks ago and the Liberty Tax guy who shares a corner with the T-Mobile guy. These are my people. This is my city.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the importance of caring for our cities, let alone our neighborhoods. The very people who should care the most, the people who live in a city, throw rocks and condemn it. When Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” He wasn’t giving you the right to be selective. Your neighbor isn’t just the people you know, the people you go to church with, the people you work with. Your neighbor is your literal neighbor, the girl at the checkout counter, the guy who cut you off, the family with the crazy kids at Pizza Street and the elderly woman who is unfamiliar with the 35mph flow of traffic. Everyone in your city is your neighbor.

There is too much need in this city, too many opportunities, too many people that have never experienced true unconditional love to have one of their own toss another rock on the pile of insults, put-downs and mockery. If the people in a city don’t care about it, no one else will.

So if you don’t love the city you live in — begin the process of searching out how to love it. If you can’t or don’t want to, move to a city you can. Regardless of your property taxes, your shopping districts, your home value, or schools no city is exempt from its challenges. And every city needs the people within it to love unconditionally.

When Talent and Passion Collide

When Talent and Passion Collide

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I spent all of my college years and the first few of my professional career believing that talent and passion were one in the same. If you’re talented in something you’re naturally more inclined to be passionate about it. History had proved this to me as I spent years honing my skills in web and print design. I sniffed out mediocre websites, released new sites, revamped print materials, redesigned terrible logos…I was talented and passionate.

But several years ago, I discovered that often times just because you’re talented at something doesn’t automatically mean it will be your life-long passion.  For some this isn’t true. A talented teacher might spend a lifetime teaching at various levels. A talented innovator might bounce from company to company creating and re-creating. Someone good with numbers might go on to create a career in engineering. For me however, the moment the key turned and I was open to the possibility that another passion existed beyond my talent, the roof blew off. I was free to explore, empowered to hunt down my passion and challenged by the potential before me.

What I learned was that my talent in web and print design would be an essential tool in my life-long passion – to see life change because of the Gospel of Christ. They are different, but they work together. Currently that passion is playing out full-time in the arena of athletics as I’m tasked with helping athletes and coaches around the world experience life change with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. My talent is one of the vehicles I use to execute my passion.

But before you do anything rash and look at changing majors, careers, cities, churches or countries – here are a few guideposts:

  • Whatever your current career – stay “all in”. Your current position is not a playground to go find your passion. Your organization or company, co-workers, customers and salary demand you are 100% engaged. Explore on your own time and count yourself blessed to have a job.
  • Discovering your passion can take years and often times you can’t rush it – so don’t try.
  • Surround yourself with honest, wise people of various life experiences and seek their input in what they see in you. If you can’t find overwhelming agreement about a potential passion – give yourself more time to search. Don’t pursue your passion in a bubble.
  • Your passion might grow, expand or change but you’ll probably find a single thread woven throughout all of it. Think of it as a fruit. You can have a whole orange, an orange smoothie, oranges on top of a salad or orange juice. Different presentation – same ingredient.
  • Don’t be discouraged. Even if you are doing something that you are talented in and you know it’s not your passion – keep pursing both your talent and your passion. Find peace in knowing you and everyone else are “in process”.

If your talent is your passion congratulations. If you are slowly learning that the two are different, that your talent can drive your passion but ultimately you get the sense there is something more; patiently, carefully, slowly start exploring.

Eventually, when you can identify your passion and your talent fuels it like a high-performance engine – your job will become less like a job and more like a way of life.

Thanks to Scott Lee for the encouragement to get this post online.

Have some life experience about talents and passions? Have challenges or questions?
Let the discussion begin.

Saying Hello to Amazon Kindle with Special Offers

Saying Hello to Amazon Kindle with Special Offers

For months, I browsed the e-reader market in search of a winner. After carefully examining Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Amazon’s Kindle and a host of other candidates I settled on the Kindle because it had:

  • a lower-price
  • the ability to sync between devices on a book-by-book, page-by-page basis. Meaning, with WhisperSync if I stopped reading on my Kindle at home, I could grab a iPhone or iPod Touch and read on the go, right where I left off.
  • a huge library
  • wi-fi built in
  • a great screen
  • exclusive rights with some publishers. While I can’t say I like it – Amazon signs exclusivity agreements with some publishers. I didn’t want to have the possibility of not getting a title on an e-reader.

In the months leading up to my birthday, Amazon released an additional version of the Kindle with Special Offers.  Save $25 and receive Special Offers periodically on the Kindle. At first glance I was a bit skeptical. But the Special Offers never appear while you read and only appear on the “Home” screen and when the screensaver turns on.

I decided to go with the Special Offers version and save the $25. In just about three days, the Kindle arrived pre-configured with my Amazon account, complete with a “Hello Danny, welcome to Kindle” letter when I powered it on. Not necessary but a nice touch.

As I flipped on the wi-fi, downloaded some sample books and began reading, I noticed the ads on the home screen. The static ad wasn’t obtrusive, but I didn’t really need any summer swim wear from Amazon. Oh well, I saved $25, right?

To my surprise, over the last several weeks, the Special Offers have actually been really good deals. Since I was already planning on purchasing a few books, these deals have been quite “special”.

  • $20 Amazon Credit for $10
  • $10 Amazon Credit if you use a VISA card for any order
  • 1 Kindle book for $1 ( thousands of titles)

I’m not sure if the “Special Offers well” will dry up, but I’m a fan. You get all the benefits of a regular Kindle with additional Special Offers. The ads rotate periodically whenever you connect via wi-fi or USB and again, don’t interrupt the reading of books.

What kind of effect will the Kindle have on my reading? Will I read more? What about printed books? Libraries? It’s too early to tell, but if you’re in the market for an e-reader – the Kindle with Special Offers is definitely a solid choice.

How Long Is Your Piece of the String?

How Long Is Your Piece of the String?

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There is an analogy that if time is represented by an endless piece of string, then your life on earth is but a small, minute, piece of that string.

Much of what we do while we’re alive is focused on our small, minute, piece of the string. We’re constantly asking, ‘What do I want to do with my life?” We chase all sorts of challenges, goals, dreams and aspirations. And while none of those are wrong, I think we need to ask a bigger question.

How do we extend our piece of the string, so that when our life is over it sill ripples across the line? I believe it comes back to a dusty, old word that is rarely used today…legacy. What we do with the years we have  in this life, has the potential to extend way beyond our piece of the string. It’s legacy that is the driving force of our life ripple. Our legacy determines if our life has any significant influence beyond the years we’ve been given.

Chasing all sorts of challenges, goals, dreams and aspirations are fine, but if they’re not done in the context of the bigger question of legacy than our lives truly are a vapor, a small piece of the string.

No matter what we do, none of us can defy the inescapable truth that eventually, in any given moment on any given day, our piece of the string will come to an end. What we can influence however is the potential of our legacy.

There are causes to get behind, projects to pursue, relationships to invest in, seconds, hours, days and years that will be spent. But what are you doing or not doing that will carry the ripple of your life far down the line?

Why Rob Bell Is Helping The Church

Why Rob Bell Is Helping The Church

Rob Bell - Courtesy

In Christian circles, pastor Rob Bell has created a stir of controversy in questioning the certainty of hell in his new book, “Love Wins”. In a matter of weeks the blogosphere and Twitter universe were reeling with critiques, reviews and backlash – even before the book was released.

While some have pointed out that what Bell argues isn’t anything necessarily new; what has caught many off guard is the questions are being posed by someone with such influence and responsibility. There are over 10,000 people who attend Mars Hill Church in Michigan and thousands more who follow his videos and books.

For all the backlash and hype, I believe there is a small silver lining. Bell has given people a reason to engage the conversation.  MSNBC, CNN and countless other news organizations are talking about life, death, Heaven and hell. The book is the match, but the conversation is the fire. And the fire is spreading. People are asking questions.

I believe Bell has actually helped the church by putting it in the best possible position to answer the questions he asks but sadly doesn’t answer.  And the church has responded. Pastors and significant Christian leaders have published in-depth responses to Bell’s questions. One seminary is holding a panel discussion, broadcast live on the web. I have no doubt that churches around the country, even across the pond, are answering the questions about life, death, Heaven and hell.

As they should.

Where I diverge from Bell however is on the idea that the questions he asks don’t have answers.  He loves to ask questions; many which challenge Christian tradition. His questions don’t scare me and I welcome them because wrestling with our faith on many levels is good. But I believe answers to his questions and many others do exist in Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. If we ignore clear, literal, accounts of the character and nature of God, how He interacts with His Creation, and what He’s said about our past, present and future, we are devaluing one of the greatest gifts of the Christian faith behind the saving work of Christ. Apart from Scripture we  have little to build our understanding of the Christian faith.

Regardless of Bell’s intentions, as Christians we have the opportunity and responsibility to fill the void he has created. Heaven and hell are realities and as Christians we aren’t given the license to massage our faith to a point where it’s more palatable or comfortable.

We must come face to face with the uncomfortable issues of Heaven and hell and know what we believe and why we believe it.

Thankfully there are answers in a book, it’s probably just not in Rob Bell’s.

***Fill the Void***

I believe Mark Driscoll and Tim Challies do a tremendous job at accurately explaining the Biblical evidence on questions relating to Heaven and hell.

Leader In Tent

Leader In Tent

We all have responsibilities. I carry the rolls of Christian, husband, son, brother, friend, manager, leader, teacher and yes, soon to be father.  But a conversation with a co-worker this past week accidentally gave me some insight into how I can execute each of these rolls successfully.

My co-worker was telling me about a military concept called “commander intent.” In order for the successful execution of a mission, the troops must know the exact details provided by the commander. If they know his or her intent – they know what they have to do and how they have to do it. Without commander intent, the mission would be open for interpretation and the chance of failure or mistakes would be high.

Sounds simple and makes sense. Here’s where the accident happened.

When I first heard him say it, I thought he said “commander in tent” – meaning leaders have to be present, “in the tent”, in order for a successful mission.

[pullquote]…the greatest opportunity for success for a leader requires he or she literally be “in the tent”[/pullquote]That’s when the light bulb turned on. The intent of a leader can best be communicated if he or she is “in the tent.” As a result, the greatest opportunity for success for a leader requires he or she literally be “in the tent”.

The personal application? I have to be physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally “in the tent” if I am going to have the best chance of successfully carrying out the rolls I have in life. The reality is, I’m often not fully “in the tent”. My mind is all over the place, the task list is long, the resources are few and I often can’t seem to find a few extra hours in a day.

But if I’m not a leader in the tent, completely – the “mission” will suffer. My faith, marriage, relationships, team and work won’t be getting all of “their leader”. Like a mission without details, the chance for ultimate success is significantly lowered.

How do I stay in the tent? I believe that will take a much more life to figure out. But here are some lessons I’ve learned thus far.

  • Prioritize – If everything is important, nothing ends up being important. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Look at that which takes up your time (physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally) and “cut the fat”. Some things have to take priority over others based on what they are and the season of life you are in.
  • Get In One Tent At a Time – So much of our life bleeds together, but if you don’t stop it somewhere, it gets overwhelming in a hurry. If you’re still in the “work tent” and you’re at home, talking with your kids attempting to be in the “home tent” – both tents suffer. Get fully in the tent you are supposed to be in in that moment.
  • Guard the Door – There will be countless things that try and get into your tent. Other distractions (people, places or things) that masquerade as “opportunities”. These will often pull you into all sorts of tents, disrupt your focus, leadership, goals and objectives. Saying “no” to something or someone can be a good thing.
  • Know Your Tent – With all that you have to juggle in life it’s easy to abandon certain tents. We put them on “auto-pilot” and go tend to the areas of life that are more exciting or those that are in crisis. But just like a plane can’t land itself, auto-pilot is only good for so long. If you don’t know what’s going on in your family, work, relationships or any other roll you’re in – those you lead will suffer. Know your tent deeply, regularly and fully.

Regardless of the roles you carry, if you lead a family of three or a corporate team of 20, may we all be leaders who are in the tent; leaders who are physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally engaged in the rolls we are called to. The mission is too great for us not to be.

the commander’s stated vision which defines the purpose of an operation, the end state

Pocket Idols

In a recent Facebook status update, I made the observation while sitting in a crowded cafe that I wondered “…if the time we used to spend thinking on the things of God is now taken up by our smart phones?”

The problem isn’t inherently with our smart phones. We have all sorts of technology that can take our time. Laptops, YouTube, Hulu, television, movies, music, fantasy leagues; it’s an endless list. I’m by no means anti-technology. I work with it everyday, have a smart phone with a data plan, am on Facebook, etc. Each of us has a responsibility to manage our time, our thoughts, our hobbies and interests. The infamous bumper sticker, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” comes to mind. Nevertheless, I haven’t been able to shake the observation I had at that crowded cafe.

Sitting down for breakfast last week I finally had a breakthrough. I believe mobile devices have the incredible potential to turn our affections away from God, more so than other technology and here’s why. Unlike the TV, the personal computer or even the laptop, mobile devices are always on and always with us. As such we are tethered to our social networks, our news, apps and everything else clawing for our intention, our time, our thoughts and yes, our affections.

The things that can turn our affections away from God are now more readily accessible and more difficult to disconnect from.

So what’s the point? I’m not calling for boycotts or for everyone to return to the dark ages. Mobile technology has the potential for good and there is so much about it that is good. I simply hope that there is a realization that there are two sides to the coin.

All the good that mobile devices provide open us up to unprecedented amounts of proverbial “golden calves.” And we can get comfortable, love our Tweets, our status updates, the Facebook banter, our fantasy leagues, Farmville scores, go to church on Sunday and yet be oblivious to the idols in our pocket. We co-exist and the greatest lie we tell ourselves is to puff up our chest and say technology has little to no effect on us. Make no mistake, it does effect us, it already has and it already is.

As Christians, we should come to grips with that reality. If we don’t believe there is a great potential for our heart to turn its affections from God and that there is a virtually endless supply of things which can cause it; we run the risk of diluting our influence, losing our effectiveness and as Tozer says, become just another “sluggard”.

Use technology, don’t bury your head in the sand or retreat to an underground bunker. For those who are given much, much is expected. But always be on guard. Our hearts are as deceitful as the things that clamor for our attention.

Should You Rent from BlockbusterExpress?

Seemingly late to the “kiosk” DVD rental system that has made Redbox a household name, Blockbuster has launched their BlockbusterExpress kiosks found most often in QT gas stations across the country.

We’ve been faithful Redbox customers but when the Redboxes around us didn’t have the movie we wanted, we decided to try BlockbusterExpress. Here’s our experience…

  • The website, is similar to Redbox. The only annoyance was that the website displayed all the locations, not just the locations that had our title instock. After scrolling through and clicking on several little pushpins, we finally found a location. This might be picky, but easily allowing customers to see the locations with the desired title first, would be helpful.
  • Purchase was a breeze, I found a free rental code online. A simple Google search should do. Only downside for you Blu-Ray fans, unlike RedBox which charged $1.50, Blockbuster charges $3.99 for Blu-Ray titles.
  • Here’s where it gets a little dicey. I fault Blockbuster and Google. Blockbuster had incorrectly listed the phone number of the QT location and Google incorrectly mapped the location to a residential neighborhood. After two phone calls to Customer Service, another check of the GPS and some driving around, we finally found the correct QT location.
  • The kiosk was outside and was just as fast as Redbox. There’s an odd “trap-door” you have to open to get the disc. If you do the right combination of leaning back and to the side, with a little squat in the middle, you can get the disc. It’s kind of like someone at Blockbuster said, “We don’t want to be identical to Redbox, so let’s make it different” – ended up just being odd.
  • The only glaring negative for me, aside from the Blu-Ray price, is Blockbuster’s case choice. Appearing to not want to “be just like Redbox” the plastic sleeve that holds the discs is solid black and requires you to slide the disc out. So why is this a big deal? A few issues:
    • The opportunity for people to damage the disc seems higher because you have to slide it in its case. People usually don’t give a rip about discs after they rent them. This increases the possibilities for scratches actually caused by the case as a customer slides it in.
    • For some reason Blockbuster left a rounded tab open on the back of the case. Take a look at the photo. This exposes about 1/2 an inch of the readable area of the disc to all sorts of potential damage. From being shoved in a purse, bag, backseat – in my opinion this again increases the chance the disc is going to be damaged.

So, should you rent from BlockbusterExpress? I would say yes, but only as a last resort.

  • The potential to get a bad disc seems greater.
  • Blockbuster charges three times more for a Blu-Ray title.

After our renting experience, we remain RedBox fans at heart. BlockBuster hasn’t lured us away. I would probably agree with industry analysts who say it’s too little, too late for the bankruptcy bound Blockbuster.

Happy movie watching!

Counterfeit Communication

Counterfeit Communication

When the first McDonald’s opened in 1940 it paved the way for the fast-food explosion here in the U.S. and the promises were plenty. Great food, great price, super fast and you didn’t even have to get out of your car.

Nutritionists will tell you that while fast-food is “food” it’s not “real” food. Meaning, it doesn’t have the nutritional value to sustain your body long term, it’s not balanced, includes a variety of additives and has excessive amounts of certain ingredients. Try living on fast-food alone and you’ll end up with body shutdown (see SuperSizeMe).

So Americans have been sold a counterfeit version of what “real food” is. And we absolutely like our counterfeit version. It looks like food, tastes better than food, is faster than my own cooking and simply costs a couple bucks. What’s not to like? We all enjoy a good burger!

Turns out, decades after the golden arches began glowing into the night, everyone now knows that the super fast food did come at a great price…our health. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease and a host of other medical conditions plague many Americans and our counterfeit food is most definitely a factor.

Today we live in arguably the most connected culture the planet has ever known. But I wonder if to some extent, we have accepted a new counterfeit? It’s easier, faster and more convenient. It’s delivered how, when, and where I want it. It has been billed as something that will allow us to stay “even more connected” only to foster a false sense of true connectedness. It has shrunk in relevancy and context. This new counterfeit? Counterfeit communication.

I know I’m missing some, but follow the progression. First it was in-person communication, then it was the letter, then the telegram, then the phone, then the wireless phone, then email, now txt, status update and tweet.

What began as slow, fundamental shifts in the way in which we communicate with one another has changed rapidly in the last 5-10 years. The relevancy and the context in what people communicate has shrunk. Current generations don’t meet in person for a couple hours to “catch up”. We don’t write letters. We often don’t even talk although we have the physical and technological capabilities to do so. We communicate in short bursts of information limited to 160 characters, plenty of status updates or some new photos.

I’m not advocating we close our Facebook accounts, toss our cell phone plans, grab an ink quill and parchment and don the designer apparel from Little House on the Prairie. I’m simply asking us to evaluate how technology has changed the way in which we communicate. The good and the not so good. To be more aware of how we as individuals, friends, couples, families and communities are being changed by technology. To not blindly embrace it or fearfully reject it because “that’s just the way it is,” but to intentionally evaluate the role it plays in our lives and the effect it has in every aspect of our lives.

Over 70 years ago fast food made great promises. No one knew then what we know now. But, we have an opportunity to evaluate counterfeit communication today. To hold it up and compare it against communication that is deep, meaningful, relevant, transformational and profound. To live a life that consists of a well-balanced, healthy diet of real communication and be ever on-guard for the counterfeit and all its’ side effects.