Thursday, May 07, 2020

Corona Babble


Corona Babble. Not Babble as in B-A-B-B-L-E, rather B-A-B-E-L as in the Tower of Babel (or ba-bel if you prefer Webster’s alternate pronunciation).

Could the corona-virus known as COVID-19 be our era’s Tower of Babble, Ba-bel?


In this time of non-stop virus news and the ever divisive social commentary of: he said, she said, they’re stupid, the Great Cessation of our economic world, and the severity of the shutdowns at least we've enabled, lots of time for contemplation and discussion. 

In one recent discussion, a dear friend said, “what if this whole thing, the virus and the shutdown, is simply God’s way of blowing the whistle and yelling “everyone out of the pool NOW!” 



That comment led me to ponder whether this moment in history could be our Tower of Babel moment.

Do you remember the ancient telling from the book of Genesis? 

After the flood, the people, who all spoke the same language at that time, were told to spread out across the globe to repopulate it.

However, when the people came to modern-day Iraq, they looked around and decided they liked it. They said “Come, let’s build ourselves a single spectacular city and a tower that reaches all the way into Heaven itself. Let’s make ourselves famous.”

Like us, our ancient ancestors were also prone to the temptations of wealth, honor, power and pleasure!
As the people got underway building their dream, God took one look and said, “no telling what they’ll come up with next - they’ll stop at nothing!  I’ll garble their speech so they won’t understand one another and then they’ll be forced to scatter across the globe and repopulate with their new and varied languages”.

And just like that, the people could no longer understand one another. It became, he said, she said, they’re stupid. They had to quit building their city and their tower. The spot became known as the Tower of Babel because that’s where God turned their language into babble.


Now, fast forward to today in the year 2020. We number nearly 8 billion people on this globe. It’s safe to say we have repopulated and then some. 

While we still speak a wide variety of languages, the truth is that the number of languages in use are actually declining, and English has become the universal language of business. I traveled the globe on business for years, and English was all I could ever muster, and yet it worked.

Many will argue that business itself has become our focus, our Tower of Business, lifting people up while sometimes pushing others down. 

There’s ongoing talk of a single world leadership and a single world economy. An economy valued at roughly $80 trillion, of which the USA represents $23 trillion annually.
Who even understands those numbers?

The truth is, as a people, we’re increasingly lonely, but we’re hyper-connected via the always-on, social media platforms enabling us to seek fame and fortune; how many followers do you have? No one liked that post. YouTube pays for silly videos if they go viral! Now there’s a word - viral - that sounds different today doesn’t it? 

And of course, there’s the ongoing Trump memes… “You are a great, great Mom. Really terrific. Very beautiful. Really fantastic. Other Moms? Total disasters! Everyone agrees. Believe me.

Yep, we appear to be in full wealth, honor, power, & pleasure pursuit.

Then this virus shows up, intentional or not, more contagious or not, more deadly or not, it’s reached around the globe without doubt, leaving concentrated pockets of rampaging damage.

And all of our tower of business work comes to a screeching halt.  The whistle has been blown and God has ordered everyone out of the pool, right now.

Like little kids, begrudgingly, we comply. For a while anyways. Now we want back in. But can we re-enter, will we understand one another again, or has our tower of babble story concluded.

I don’t know.

I do know I want very much to see people in person again. I want to share meals again. I want hugs again.

My Mom, when sending me to stand in a corner (social distancing old-style) for some childhood crime I may or may not have committed, would often say, “and you’ll stand there until you’ve learned your lesson”. Often, I pondered what lesson I was supposed to learn. Without doubt, I knew I didn’t want to stand in the corner anymore.

So, now I’m out of the pool, standing in the corner. Is this our Tower of Babel moment?  I don’t know. I just know I don’t want to stand here anymore.

Please God, give us the wisdom and the courage to follow the proper path forward through all this Corona Babble.

Monday, September 16, 2019

One More Chapter Closes...

My time as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PureFlix.com has come to an end though the business will continue with gusto.

What started five years ago as a simple consulting favor to my colleague Linda Blazy, turned into a full time gig, building and developing a team of employees and partners, whom together, successfully launched and grew PureFlix.com into the world's largest Faith, Family, and Fun streaming video service with a vision to influence culture for Christ through media.

Besides building and streaming a catalog of more than 10,000 videos to all sorts of Internet connected devices, bringing entertainment and faith-based teaching to people and families everywhere without the language, sex, and violence that has become so prominent in so much of today’s media entertainment, PureFlix.com also helped fund families ready to adopt babies via Adopt Together, supported Veterans programs across the USA via Reboot Combat Recovery, and devoted a portion of each month's marketing budget to helping fund many other organizations and people capable of doing good in our world.

To be able to deploy hard-earned, secular-world, business building skills to serve the faith and do good in the world at the same time, was a most unusual reality for me given how the secular world had for years taught me to totally eliminate “faith” from my business thinking. Instead, PureFlix.com proved to me that marrying a faith-forward-focus with hard-nosed business and data-driven skill sets, could work and thrive in a manner that the secular world would be astounded by. That’s a lesson I’m very thankful to have learned!

There are a few key PureFlix.com team members whom I wish to sincerely and personally thank for their efforts over the years:

Amber Paulsen
Andrew Ameduri
Ashley Kelly
Billy Hallowell
Brian Pancarik
Cali Testerman
Cris Fastrup
David Migdal
Debbie Stackis
Dena Spoklie
Franklin Santagate
Jim Schubert
Kelly Tinsley
Kristy Resch
Linda Blazy
Marc Beckwitt
Yovonne Jenkins

Many of these good people are still working at PureFlix, while others have moved onward. Regardless, all of them to a person, exhibited and shared their servant's heart. I was truly blessed to serve with and learn from them. Thank you all.

Of course, no team of people, no matter how strong, functions without outside expert partners and PureFlix had some of the very best in the industry come alongside at just the right time.

A few of these notable partners include:


These outside partners delivered skills and lessons at just the right time in the development of the PureFlix.com business.

Many of these partners simultaneously delivered lessons that spoke directly to my own heart; two such lessons include:

  • Ken Ham asking me directly, “if you take the stance that Genesis, the very first book in the Bible, is just a fairy tale, how can you logically profess that all the other books in the Bible are true?”

    That single question sent me on a quest, reading the Bible in a way I had never experienced before. It was the right question at exactly the right time and I’m indebted to Ken and the Answers In Genesis team for speaking so boldly.

    By the way, Ken’s book One Race One Blood is also a valuable reminder that we are all truly in this together - there are no divisions beyond those we self-impose.
  • Ray Comfort of Living Waters also gave me a lesson in hope, likely without even knowing it, when I heard him say that one of the secrets to reaching people for Christ is in poking at their God-given conscious. While it’s often buried, sometimes deeply under our secular teachings, it’s always there within each of us. And if we can just help ourselves and others uncover it, the truth right and wrong is readily discerned such that we might all seek forgiveness and growth.

Lastly, to the co-founders of Pure Flix Entertainment, the movie studio behind faith-based films such as “God’s Not Dead”, “The Case for Christ”, “Do You Believe”, and the original PureFlix.com streaming video vision, thank you for the opportunity.

Russell Wolfe, your spirit was my first introduction to Pure Flix and the premature loss of your presence was mourned by many; may you rest in God’s peace.

Michael Scott and David A.R. White, you each have carried the Pure Flix torch for many years now. May you be blessed with integrity, strength, and funding to carry the mission onward for years to come. PureFlix.com remains in my prayers.

In closing, some may be wondering what’s next for myself… At the moment, only God knows and I pray that I’ll be open to following the right path at the right time. Until then, there is a lot of family time (including grandson time!) to enjoy, trails to hike, airplanes to fly, and people and causes to serve.

Thank you to all who made my PureFlix.com time a wonderful capstone.

###

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Most Beautiful Church

Lake Taggart at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming

When traveling, I've always enjoyed the majesty and mystery of the many churches built throughout history; soaring arches and ceilings, carefully considered lighting in sync with seasonal rhythms, and the various carvings, stained-glass windows, and statuesque tributes.

Saint Augustine - Minster, Ohio
My memories are chock full of photo snippets from Churches in England, France, Sweden, New York, and even my hometown church of Minster Ohio.

However, none of those memory snippets compare to some of the outdoor location memories where my heart felt an overwhelmingly strong message that I was, at that very moment, in "the" Church of God and so very close to our Father.

As a Boy Scout, I first experienced a wilderness version of...