Are You a Back Row Believer?

In the Navy, we frequently say, “Fill it in from the front!”  It’s a simple way to show good order and discipline.  It avoids unnecessary gaps or dead space in seating arrangements. It shows respect and courtesy for the speaker, while also allowing any stragglers to sneak in without disturbing others.

“Hey, are you guys on the back row Catholic?”

This question came from a Navy Rear Admiral in a meet and greet at my command.  She went on to express the ease of leaving church after communion, particularly if you sit in the rear. Another senior officer chuckled softly, “That’s how I do it.”.


I found it peculiar that individuals intelligent and persistent enough to have risen through military ranks would be so partially committed to their faith.  Then again, maybe that’s the secret to their success.  In life, you can have anything but not everything.

Preparedness on the left
means lack on the right.
Preparedness on the right
means lack on the left.
Preparedness everywhere
means lack everywhere.
The Art of War

There are things in life that you ought to be sitting in the back row for, but instead, you’re up front.  Maybe for you, it’s social media, video games, fantasy football or feeding an unhealthy addiction.

There are areas of your life that you should be fighting for the front row but settle for the back.  You do the bare minimum and move on to something else – sneaking out the rearward exits without a trace!  What “front row” should you be keeping warm?  Perhaps it’s making prime time for the family, furthering your education, exercise, healthy eating, or time management.

THE CHALLENGE:  Examine key areas of your life intellectually, physically and spiritually. Determine if you are sitting in the appropriate row for each item.  When you discover a need to move, take immediate action.

(By the way – immediate action looks like this.)

Think of the row you sit on as a direct reflection of your belief in a particular goal or mindset etc.  Remember, there is always room at the front!

Photo by William Murphy

Mad Science and the Riddle of Religion

Try this riddle:

Whoever makes it, tells it not.
Whoever takes it, knows it not.
And whoever knows it, wants it not.

What is it? (Continue reading for the answer)

Religion or personal convictions regarding the subject are not the focus of this blog.  But, today’s thought is born of yesterday’s experience, one that I have slept upon and still feel equally inclined to write about.

I listened to an audiobook by Bill Nye titled “Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation”  Americans growing up in the 90s will undoubtedly recognize him as the host of the PBS children’s science show Bill Nye the Science Guy (1993–1998).

I can’t recall ever watching the show myself, but I certainly knew the name and therefore figured it would be an interesting book to ruminate on.  At large, this was true for the many scientific ideas and questions presented. What I did not expect was his vigorous attack on religion.  I walked straight into a mental ambush.  I say “ambush” because I expected a man of his prominence to communicate with graciousness.  Rather, it was peppered with shrewd and cunning language designed to fuel the debate between religious and scientific fundamentalism, and only then, I suppose, because he knows it is not possible to completely eradicate the horn of the opposing view.

I personally believe that true science and true religion go hand in hand.  I will never argue with people of opposing views.  In fact, I can’t relate to this behavior.  I am not so ignorant as to believe that my religion (as with any other) can’t be scrutinized, probed and dissected to reveal the inconsistencies and weaknesses of man.  I am also not so ignorant as to believe that science has all the answers.  There are mysteries that will remain mysteries as long as I am alive…and long after I die.

There is much that can be learned from Mr. Nye and many like him.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for his passion and the effort he puts into his craft.  He fights for the starting job, and that’s something we can all emulate!

So here’s the answer to the riddle…

Counterfeit money

THE CHALLENGE:  How often have you been asked a riddle and after one or two guesses said, “I give up.”  Or, how often have you been the one asking the riddle and prematurely asked your participants if they give up?  It’s as if deep thought were a taboo to be shunned.  I believe you have the right to worship or believe in what you want, how you want.  My challenge, however, is that you give this subject a lifetime of thought and meditation as it very well deserves.

If we don’t have enough attention, patience, and brain power to solve an elementary riddle, then how can we confidently declare the cause of creation?  The riddle is infinitesimally small in comparison and consequence, yet there is no shortage of humanity willing to make a brisk, impulsive,  chop-chop decision and declaration on the universe and their role therein.


Photo by me
Camera Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Lens 135L
Exposure 0.003 sec (1/320)
Aperture f/3.5
ISO Speed 250