Kaepernick’s MOUNTAIN

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So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.  

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What’s the mountain you are willing to defend with life, limb and honor?  How about me?  I’ve been at the base of numerous mountains, defended only a few.  With each one, hopefully wisdom played a role, but more importantly I would like to cite courage as the determining factor in my choices.

I am not a sports participant, never have been.  Doesn’t mean I cannot follow football or baseball enthusiastically or knowledgeably.  Especially enjoyable are the personalities who have made sports their life-time endeavors and discovered lucrative careers playing a game for millions upon millions of dollars.

Patrick Mahomes just signed a contract with the KC Chiefs for a 10 year period for 450 million dollars.  Amazing!!  Do I begrudge him and the money?  Absolutely not.  He has discovered his niche in life and has learned early how to capitalize.  If corporate America (yes, professional football is just another corporate conglomerate) is willing to belly up to the table with that much moolah, then more power to Patrick.

However, I do not idolize money.  The less I have, the more content and peaceful I feel.  What impresses me is not the money these guys earn, but  the mountains they are willing to defend for reasons of social justice and moral compass.  Colin Kaepernick is one such man.

Exiled from professional football in 2016 for taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality, Kaepernick was the focus of public scorn from a broad spectrum of political and professional celebrities for his “unpatriotic” behavior.  Most notably was the involvement of the WH under the tweeting thumb of a well-documented draft-dodger during the Vietnam era.

Colin Kaepernick has signed a deal with the Walt Disney Company to be featured in a documentary series produced by ESPN Films ‘telling scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social justice and the quest for equality.’  

His deal will extend across all Disney platforms including Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Hulu, Pixar and The Undefeated.  “I am excited to announce the historic partnership with Disney across all platforms to elevate Black and Brown directors, creators, storytellers, and producers, and to inspire the youth with compelling and authentic perspectives,”  Kaepernick said in a statement.

The moral of this story – carefully choose your mountain to defend and then courageously do it never looking back.  Great men will attack, small men will tweet, but those who matter will support your journey.

Disney – Kaepernick sign deal

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HEROES – 2018

Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  Beyond the horizon is rest beckoning me.  Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy will follow me.

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Who are your heroes?  Sports celebrities, maybe?  World politicians, social justice advocates, personal friends, maybe a parent?  Why do you think of them as heroes?  Intelligence, money, fame, accomplishments, ethics?  Whatever your criteria may be, your choices are absolutely valid because these are your heroes, not your mother’s, your pastor’s, your teacher’s or those of your spouse.  You measure them according to your code of conduct, your conscience.  You see in them the person you strive to be, the legacy you would like to leave as a member of humanity.

In the world of sports celebrities, Derek Jeter of pro baseball, Tim Tebow of college football’s Heisman fame, and Colin Kaepernick of pro football top my list.  The one common thread with the three, in my mind, is their surrender to a purposeful life superseding their athletic gifts.

Jeter exhibited a wholesomeness of character which presented to his fans a lifestyle worthy of emulating.  Derek did not use PEDs, he did not carouse, he did not create chaos in the sports world. Unlike numerous peers who succumbed to the glitz and glitter of fan adoration, he maintained with innocence and wholesomeness his poster child presence as a man of integrity and ethics.

Tim Tebow was quarterback for the Florida Gators winning the Heisman in 2007 and leading his team to BCS National championship games in 2006 and 2008 seasons.  My most memorable thought of Tim is the 2009 BCS Championship game during which he wore in eye black John 3:16.  Over the next 24 hours that verse generated 90 million Google searches.  In 2010 the NCAA banned messages in eye black.  His visibility as a Christian believer created controversy on the playing field and among the sports pundits.  That high-profile walk in faith probably closed many doors of opportunity in the sports world.  He has been instrumental in numerous philanthropic endeavors.

“Loving others is not an option.  As followers of Jesus, we don’t get to love certain people and not others.”  Tim Tebow

Colin Kaepernick is most notable as the professional quarterback who took a knee during the playing of the national anthem.  In subsequent games, fellow team mates and players across the realm of pro football joined him in protesting a country and an Administration which was not paying attention to the increasing incidence of police brutality against blacks.  The POTUS referred publicly to Colin as an s.o.b. who needed to be run out of pro football.  Sports fans will argue till hell freezes over about the legitimacy of Kaepernick’s protests, but one cannot argue his dedication to his belief in social justice for all Americans.  As with Tebow, this highly gifted athlete has put principles above wealth and fame thus seeing his sports career nosedive.  He is the founder of the Colin Kaepernick Foundation to fight oppression and he hosts the Know Your Rights Camp for youth to get educated on how to interact with law enforcement.

My ultimate hero is Jesus of Nazareth.  Not the God-man as created by church fathers in the 4th century, but rather, the human being who loved his fellow-man so much that he was willing to suffer crucifixion as the penalty for his crime of offending the Jewish powers and inciting the Roman conquerors.  Jesus protested the social injustice, aided the oppressed and poor, lived his life according to ethical principles.  I think Jesus is smiling when he sees Derek, Tim and Colin.

Merely my humble opinion of course because I believe life is like a baseball game.  Got to keep on slugging away for what I believe is right – just like my heroes.