Skip to main content

iron sharpens iron

- i can't wait to witness this sharpening process first hand sometime this week, and see that scripture-quoting, wisdom-dispensing guru of a coach (i call him the warrior poet) continue to refine this team into what they will become.  part of my annual pilgrimage. 

-iron sharpens iron.  that's not something tomlin made up, of course.  you can find it in proverbs 27:17.  it says, "as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."  its a statement about conflict and resolution, as i see it.  its not merely a proverb about war, or football, or even arguing all the time.  its saying that when we try and exist in a vacuum, we become very dull indeed.  but when we live our story, when we are authentic and genuine and find ourselves bumping up against others who are also living theirs, we inevitably experience a bit of friction.  and friction, when it exists in a constructive context, is a sharpening agent. 

-the lesson in football, of course, is that the bumps and bruises along the way are all growing pains as the team becomes just that: a team.  if the cornerbacks play their best in practice against the wide receivers, it makes the wide recievers' game that much better.  likewise at every level of competition on the field.  if the incumbent first string player is being challenged by the young kid, hungry for a job and willing to do anything to prove he deserves it, it drives the veteran player to be his best.  all of this involves some level of conflict.  collision.  sparks fly.  emotions run high.  but in the end, there is clarity.  there is edge.  there is identity. 

-the lesson in life, is that others make us more authentically ourselves.  surrounding ourselves with people who think like us, act like us, talk like us, smell like us, drive like us, and vote like us makes us a very dull version of ourselves.  we become blunt and boring.  and we sort of blend into the background.  but if we engage the story of "the other" - whomever that may be for us - we may feel threatened but, in the end, we discover more about our identity.  we get clarity about who we really are.  and we do that same thing for others. 

-so how are you being sharpened these days?  and how are you helping in the sharpening process for others? 


Popular posts from this blog


i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

vote. and pray. but do not be afraid (the King is alive).

i'm not sure how many americans right now are feeling optimistic about the government.  i know i'm not.  in fact, while i didn't live through the civil war or anything, i have to think that faith in our elected leaders - indeed the whole system of electing them in the first place - is at one of its lowest points.  i just don't have a great deal of confidence in those individuals who have been elected, or in those who want to be.  i find myself slipping at times into what feels like a swamp of apathy: sinking, to be sure, but not sure that i care enough anymore to do much about it.  i see this attitude all around me: in conversations, on social media, and in popular culture.  perhaps there is no more clear indication of our nation's view of the government than this current election season, when we would teeter on electing liars and thieves, crooks and clowns. 

which is why i was so startled as i sat down to read psalm 72 this morning. as i read the ancient song, i…

Steelers Training Camp 2016

on friday i had the opportunity to lead a group of 10 of us to latrobe for the annual friday night lights steelers practice at latrobe memorial high school stadium, along with 12,000 of our closest friends. we drove out there, did the steelers experience with the kids (including bounce house races, rock wall, face painting, spinning the prize wheel, football toss, and a photo op with the steelers' 6 lombardi trophies, among other things). then we waited in line to get in, so that we could get our position around the autograph fence, and then there was a significant amount of waiting.  but at least the weather was beautiful!  we enjoyed good conversation and laughter along with homemade steelers cookies.  finally the team and coaches arrived on school busses and the autograph session began.  you never know who might come your direction, so we were pretty surprised when ben roethlisberger came near us and started signing.  sure enough, he came our way, and i got his autograph on his…