“Multi-tasking” can be a serious challenge

By Curtis K. Shelburne: Local columnist

Like most men, I find “multi-tasking” challenging, and I am not very proficient at it. Come to think of it, I may not be all that good at “uni-tasking” either.

So I was a bit surprised when this evening I found myself watching clips from President Obama’s news conference on health care reform, reading a magazine article, and writing a preface for an issue of the devotional magazine I edit, all at more or less the same time. And I still managed to learn some interesting things, I think. (Remember, I’m not good at multi-tasking.)

No surprise, I learned that about the only thing I understand about the administration’s “health care reform” proposals is that they will be expensive for small business and one more way the government helps keep small business small. I don’t doubt that serious reform is needed. I have the deepest sympathy for the self-employed forced to pay unimaginably high premiums that just keep going up. And the number of people in our country driven to medical bankruptcies is a national disgrace. I don’t know what to do about it. But the news conference didn’t give me any confidence that the government knows what to do about it either.

Turning to a George Will article in Newsweek (his articles are the main reason I subscribe), I chuckled sadly as he observed that if a typical liberal (he mentioned a party but I don’t want to be partisan here) is hit on the knee with a rubber hammer or is napping in a lawn chair and startled by a cymbal crash, “he or she will leap up exclaiming, ‘Tax the rich!’” He continued, “Forgive such people; they cannot help themselves. It is a reflex.” He went on to make a strong case (complete with eye-opening stats) that taxing away affluence is a great way to decrease society’s wealth and further weaken the economy which hurts us all, rich and poor alike.

Then I shifted back to the TV news in time to see a “ribbon” at the bottom of the screen reporting that one of Osama bin Laden’s sons was killed in Pakistan by a U.S. “Predator” drone strike. That caught my attention, not only because it was a good shot at a major “chip off the old block” terrorist but because I’d recently learned that the Predator drones, apart from their takeoffs and landings in Iraq and Afghanistan, are flown by pilots watching screens in control rooms at Cannon Air Force Base, thirty miles from where I live. I assume this one was, too.

I’m still working on that preface but stopped to write this column. Which means that in addition to digesting my dinner and breathing, I’ve done maybe three things almost at once. Must be a personal best.

I’m glad God has no trouble at all juggling galaxies and sparrows and taking care of his people all at the very same time.

Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at