Posts

Thursday; July 19

The Old Testament book of Judges has a lot of odd stories – but one I shake my head at is the story of Abimelech.In this chronology of faith and deliverers, Abimelech is neither.This usurper translated his father’s popularity into his own opportunity for power.Abimelech was a vile and vicious man who was willing to do whatever it took (including mass familicide) to get his way.While the story of Abimelech is really strange, one of the oddest things comes near the end when the ruler “gets his own”.The evil man’s life comes to an end when a woman drops a millstone on his head in what he determines to be a potentially fatal blow.Rather than making amends for his life he called his armor bearer to his side and said, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that it will not be said of me, ‘A woman slew him.’” (Judges 9:54)  Here was a man whose legacy would be filled with godlessness, murder and corruption, but he was more concerned about the fact a woman’s actions contributed to his death.That is…

Wednesday; July 18

I was listening to the radio the other day and came across a musical group called the “Dangerous Snakes”.My first thought was who in the world would come up with a name like that – my second thought was they had some pretty good music.Through the years there have been some pretty odd sounding band names – the Beatles (notice the spelling of their name), Lynard Skynard, a regional group called Foxes and Fossils, Hootie And The Blowfish, Walk The Moon and many others that neither space nor good taste will allow me to put in this document.I am sure there have been some names that made or broke the band, but for the most part, it was the music that determined whether a group became famous or fizzled. I imagine that bands spend a lot of time coming up with their name, but have you noticed how little thought we put into the names we call ourselves and others?How we ever called ourselves a “loser” or “stupid” or “worthless”?Have we ever demeaned someone by calling them “racist”, “weak” or a “…

Tuesday; July 17

The principle of forgiveness is the one of most basic aspects of humanity.Anyone who believes in an eternity realizes that we have done wrong and must rely upon Divine forgiveness to receive any type of reward after this life is over.Those of us who believe in Christianity also understand there is a “condition” connected to the forgiveness of our sins – we must be willing to forgive others.One of the earliest principles of Jesus’ teaching is, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:15-16)In fact, if the truth were known, I would imagine that even the non-religious would promote this principle of forgiveness.If we want people to forgive us for our offenses against them, we must be willing to reciprocate to them. Interestingly, there is another type of forgiveness that is vital to our mental, emotional and spiritual health – our will…

Monday; July 16

Last week I heard a speaker by the name of Bryant Marks discuss the topic of “Implicit Bias”.  This is something relatively new to me, but it did get my attention. From what I can tell, implicit bias is the unconscious beliefs we hold about other groups due to our own limited life experience.  The things that intrigued me about this concept were two-fold:  First, everyone has them.  In essence if you have the ability to experience life and process it’s impact, you are going to have biases.  Yet, it is the second aspect that appeals the most to me – just because I have a bias doesn’t make me a bad person.  These types of biases aren’t born from a lack of goodness or a weak moral nature – they come from our personal exposure and reinforcement.  Being implicitly biased doesn’t mean that I am bad person or have malice towards a certain group, rather I am just ignorant (and not in in demeaning way).  Several years ago I was in an educational training that asserted that “we are al…

Friday; July 13

I know that you heard about it on the news – but, sure enough, the other day I saved the life of one of God’s creatures!As I walked out of my house I felt something moving on my leg and looked down to discover a Daddy Longlegs was latched on for a free ride.While I was a little bit startled, I reached down and tossed him aside (yes, he was all intact).However, before I let him go, I explained to him that this was his lucky day ... had someone else found him, his fate would have been much different.This may make me sound big and brave, but the truth of the matter is that spiders and snakes don’t bother me, but if it had been a mouse, the whole neighborhood would have heard about it and there would have been one less rodent in the world. The point to this story is simple – have you noticed how we can be scared by some of the smallest critters in the world?We are much bigger than bugs and other creepy-crawly things, but they are the ones with the upper hand when we interact with them.Have…

Thursday; July 12

I was probably a little young to enjoy the show “Rawhide” when I was a child, but I sure did like the theme song.Frankie Laine’s version of song is the one that I recall the most, but I have to admit that I do like the Blues Brothers’ rendition as well. The other day I was listening to the song and one of the verses struck a chord with me (sorry about the pun, there).In the middle of the song the cowpoke laments, “Keep movin’, movin’, movin’ ... Though they’re disapprovin’ ... Keep them dogies moving’, Rawhide.Don’t try to understand ‘em ... Just rope ‘em, throw, and brand ‘em.Soon we’ll be livin’ high and wide ... My heart’s calculatin’ ... my true love will be waitin’ ... Be waitin’ at the end of my ride”. Now that I have this song stuck in your brain, let me ask a question – are we tempted to treat people the way this cowboy treats his cattle?If you have ever been around a herd of cattle, you realize that sometimes what they do makes no sense at all, so it is futile to try to get in…

Wednesday; July 11

Have you ever come upon someone in a social setting whose first language was obviously not English and wondered what to do next?I have come to accept the fact that about the best I am going to be able to accomplish in the foreign language department is the ability to read the menu at my local Mexican restaurant or find the beach on a Caribbean Island, so I have often found myself standing there in that awkward moment of what comes next.Usually, at that point, one of us smiles – and that it all it takes.A smile is a smile in any language.We may not be able to carry on a long conversation but, we can be civil and friendly with each other without saying a word. It has been said that non-verbal communication is the most common way of exchanging ideas.Whether it is through body language or tone of voice, how we act usually tells more about us (and our mood) than the words we use.If we want to become fluent in any language, the first thing we need to be able to do is learn to smile.When we s…