This is what we do for the joy of the King,
For His peaceable Kingdom,
For a world in despair.
And this is why we bring any hope we can give,
Any bread from the table,
Any touch of His hand.
This is what we do.
This is where we go.
This is why we sing.
This is how we live.
This is who we are.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Squawk On the Street

This morning at the gym I had just settled myself in for a 45-minute workout on one of the new elliptical cross-training machines Bally's just got. The book I intended to read was propped up on the book-ledge and I was just about to open it and dig in. For some reason, I lifted my head up to glance at one of the 4 new flat-screens in that workout room. (Bally's must have come into some serious $$ lately. Funny. I'd heard they were about to go belly-up. May have something to do with my increasing monthly dues! I digress.)

Anyway, CNBC was the selected channel on the TV that was in my most direct line-of-sight. I gotta tell you, normally I find CNBC about as interesting as attempting to detect "random art patterns" from hardened chewing gum wads on the undersides of library tables! In a gym where hip-hop music blares from overhead speakers, there was, of course no sound from the TV itself. I was only able to watch the network's talking heads mutely spouting off the latest Wall Street scuttlebutt as a NYSE ticker zipped across the bottom of the screen at warp speed. Just as I was about to turn my full attention back to my book, something behind the "star" of what I assumed was a very entertaining "show" about stocks and bonds, caught my eye. There in varying shades of green (symbolic of money, no doubt) was a fascinating wall-filling logo which read, SQUAWK ON THE STREET.

Squawk on the street! For some reason, that title clicked with me. I thought it sounded so cool. I mean, how often does one in real life see, hear, or speak the word "squawk" on any given day? Or week? Or year? (There's probably a reason for that. It's your basic ugly word.) On the other hand, it's really descriptive: "SQUAWK!" One of those "onomatopoeia" words we learned in high school. You know, when a word sounds like what it's describing.

I actually looked up the definition (although I had a pretty good idea what it meant): "to utter a harsh, abrupt scream; to complain or protest loudly or vehemently." If one spends much time around small children, animals, (or certain church members, for that matter!), the occasional squawk is inevitable. In fact, most of us have been guilty of squawking from time to time.

But, "Squawk On the Street" actually made me do a bit of introspective thinking. As a Christian, generally, and as an ordained pastor, specifically, I wonder how often my ears are receptive to squawks on the street. Not the road rage-type squawks. I mean the "I'm-in-pain" type of squawks. Because squawks are inherently ugly or demanding, it's tempting to try to drown them out with other sounds--much more pleasant ones. Sometimes our response to someone else's squawk may simply be to let go with one of our own! After all, doesn't one good squawk deserve another?

Seriously, I feel like I do need to ask myself how Christ would respond to the squawk on the street. He certainly wouldn't turn the other direction. He wouldn't avoid it. He'd probably look into the heart of the squawker and discern--lovingly--the reason for the squawking. The squawk is definitely outside the comfort zone of nearly everyone. Are the folks at CNBC the only exceptions? Maybe our "investments" should be in the lives of squawkers more than the stock market. The dividends may not be as tangible, but they'll certainly last longer!

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