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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hallelujah...Pass the Ammunition!

Do you make your own decisions, or let others make them for you?

How much control do you have over your life?

What is true strength?

(65 Deep Philosophical Questions by Operation-Meditation. Three above questions retrieved from

As a youth I deeply envied John Wayne.   When portraying a character he swaggered in with guns ready at the hip--nobody was going to tell him what to do.  Later I learned that my fictional hero was just that – fictional.  In reality, willingly or unwillingly a myriad of decisions that affect our lives are beyond our control.  If measure of control is not a reliable indicator of  personal strength, what is?   I think it very simply has to do with the guts we show in defending our inner lights.  Conformity is the name of mediocrity. The drudge disease is to go along to get along. How refreshing it is to find someone who assumes that God placed them on this planet to make a unique contribution to the flow of life. I am particularly thinking today of someone I saw yesterday that I greatly admired when I worked for St. Petersburg's Parks and Recreation Department. His name is Steve and he is the manager of Twin Brooks Golf Course.   I have seen him in a meeting when a mounting tide was flowing strong in ill-advised ways. The lone dissenter, he convincingly made his case! Yes!!! --"Hallelujah...pass the ammunition!"

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Principles as Precipitates of Experience

Should people care more about doing the right thing, or doing things right?  ("65 Deep Philosophical Questions" by Operation-Meditation. Retrieved from

All through life, be sure and put your feet in the right place, and then stand firm.”  (Abraham Lincoln. Retrieved from

The above quote from Abraham Lincoln illustrates how the man could extract important principles from very ordinary affairs.  He came up with this important observation while placing steppingstones for someone in muddy-rainy weather.  In other words, like all pristine principles of practice carrying wide application; it was conceived of in a memorable moment of time drawing upon pressing everyday occurrences and representing the precipitate of experience.

Thus with great intuitive QED force, we see that while it is always important to do things right, the preliminary task is to determine the right endeavors for our investment.  There is no need to elaborate on the self-evident truth represented here--all we need do is just remember it, and above all apply it .

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Failing to Fail

Is it worse to fail at something or never attempt it in the first place? ("65 Deep Philosophical Questions" by Operation-Meditation. Retrieved at:

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:17 NIV).

There is a saying that exceptional cases make for bad law. We can say the same thing in regards to this question. Typically, it is far worse never to attempt something in the first place rather than to attempt something that results in failure.  Fear of Failure can become the intimidating idol that we cowardly worship.  There are exceptions. The surgery that could restore mobility to the body but which surgery comes at a very high risk even of death is a case in point. Ultimately in these cases, it must be the family's responsibility to make the final call. But in the overwhelming majority of cases, it is far worse never to attempt something in the first place rather than to risk failure. Recent research has shown that higher-quality products derive from learning that takes place through many trial and error attempts, rather than through perfect planning of an ideal product in which no action is taken until the one sublime plan appears. That is, for example, we will make a much finer pottery vase through making perhaps hundreds of them on a trial and error basis before arriving --possibly with serendipity's help--at a product of excellence; rather than by doing the alternative--avoiding fabrication until the perfect plan for the ideal vase is first conjectured.  Practical hands-on action has great value in ultimately producing exceptional results.  During the interim, failure can only be seen as the necessary road to an admirable end.


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Saturday, December 27, 2014


This blog dedicated to Kenna Rose who blessed us this Christmas.

What one piece of advice would you offer to a newborn infant? ("65 Deep Philosophical Questions" by Operation-Meditation. retrieved at

I would tell Bright Eye's looking up at me to grow persistently and respect your brain.  My father always reminded me to take care of my teeth--you only have the one last set, he would say.  I think like teeth we tend to take our brains for granted abusing them a thousand ways, sometimes damaging them irreversibly.  Additionally, I would stress the need to be like a live oak--holding one's ground from nut to towering oak while growing persistently shooting forth new leaves and branches.    Then I would "sing" this lullaby.

The Captain - Edelweiss lyrics

Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Every morning you greet me
Small and white, clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Bless my homeland forever

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Go, and See

Where is the line between insanity and creativity? ("65 Deep Philosophical Questions" by Operation-Meditation. Retrieved at:

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (Luke 2:15).

In a way, science might be described as paranoid thinking applied to Nature: we are looking for natural conspiracies, for connections among apparently disparate data. Our objective is to abstract patterns from Nature (right-hemisphere thinking), but many proposed patterns do not in fact correspond to the data. Thus all proposed patterns must be subjected to the sieve of critical analysis (left-hemisphere thinking). The search for patterns without critical analysis, and rigid skepticism without a search for patterns, are the antipodes of incomplete science. The effective pursuit of knowledge requires both functions. (Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence
 By Carl Sagan. retrieved here). 

Insanity and creativity are virtually identical (both generate speculative patterns in abundance) the key difference being the lack of objective verification in insanity.  In our Christmas Bible story the shepherds say "Let's go... and see." Thus counsels sanity.  Insanity would be if they had excitedly gathered in a circle and engaged in endless torrents of internal speculation about the matter. Despite the religious nature of Scripture, it showcases throughout memorable examples of experiential discipline--more dramatically so as verification is sought within a spiritual matrix.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Rationalization or Reason?

What things hold you back from doing the things that you really want to do? ("65 Deep Philosophical Questions" by Operation-Meditation. Retrieved at:

To answer this question I will include "people, places, or things" that hold me back.  And the answer is "no one, no place, no thing." Perhaps some will call this the grandest of all rationalizations, but I do not see it that way. My desire is to fulfill God's will for my life. I assume he places me where he wants me. I assume those things which I do not have, he does not want me to have. I assume those things I have not attained, he does not want me to attain. So if anything holds me back, it is God. But since my greatest desire is to do the will of my Heavenly Father, then whatever state I am, I am content.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Hunch about Changing the World

If you could change just one thing about the world, what would it be? ("65 Deep Philosophical Questions by Operation-Meditation. retrieved at:

Of course the greatest temptation with this question is to tinker with the nature of mankind. Right off the bat I suppose we would all like to eliminate evil – just turn off the evil circuits in the human brain. The unintended consequences of such a rash action could very well end up eliminating us entirely.  So I choose what followers of my blog will groan about (Here goes Johnny One-Note again!).  Yes, I would eliminate the ingestion of ethyl alcohol. I think the adverse effects of alcohol on human society are incalculable. If it were eliminated in far less time than expected, huge positive influences would fructify the planet in multiple realms of empathetic creativity.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Liked or Respected

Is it more important to be liked or respected? ("65 Deep Philosophical Questions" by Operation-Meditation: retrieved from:

Underlying this question is the assumption that a trade-off exists between being liked and respected. Often this question is asked regarding those in authority – should the school teacher seek first to be liked or first to be respected? If the teacher is to be liked then the assumption seems to be they must lose some respect. All we have to do is consult our experience to realize that there is no trade-off here. Those teachers that we respected the most almost invariably are the ones we liked the most, and vice versa.

At the base of whether we like and respect someone is the values which we wish to live by. Every morning  I look at three graphics.  I look at a comic strip (Dilbert) which I cut out from the newspaper some time ago. In the final frame, the following statement is made:  "My daddy used to say it isn't a problem if you can give it to someone else." Next, I look at a newspaper photograph of a mobster being escorted down a hallway. He has a beaming smile on his face. He epitomizes for me those persons who have no concern for the destructive wake they cause--as long as they personally come out smelling like a rose.  Finally I look daily at a photograph of my father. He has his arm around my brother and me when we were children. One glance at my father's visage and you know instantly that he is not the kind of man that cares nothing about the wake he causes. Quite to the contrary, he is deeply concerned about the implications of his actions for others.

So when I look at the mobster on the one hand and my father on the other, it is clear that some would greatly admire the mobster – the tough guy with the lust to successfully externalize problems.  These people would see my father as weak and lacking macho class. For me there is no debate whom I choose to like and respect.  What about you?

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Divergent Lights

How do you know that your experience of consciousness is the same as other people’s experience of consciousness? ("65 Deep Philosophical Questions" by Operation-Meditation; retrieved at:

Human consciousness is profoundly influenced by attribution of symbolic meaning. This has incalculable impact upon consciousness, and subsequently upon behavior.  I drive a Mazda because I think it has sporty lines and this will lead the observer to attribute positive qualities to the driver (your's truly) – most especially that the driver is not an old fuddy-duddy. A moment's reflection will make clear that in fact I could be an old fuddy-duddy driving a Mazda CX9.  It's easy to characterize this sort of wishful thinking as immature – it is immature for me to assume that the car I drive will  determine the consciousness of another.  Contrarily, one could rather see me in the car and react with disgust – what is that old fuddy-duddy doing driving a CX9?....what a waste!

It approaches mysterious wonderment the extent that symbolism affects human affairs for good or ill.  I quote Jimmy Carter here: Whenever we do good works, we should nurture an inner spiritual attitude that says, "I'm doing this in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ." And it doesn't hurt to say it out loud." (Through the Year with Jimmy Carter, page 231). Think of all that Jimmy Carter has participated in that helped the suffering – like virtual elimination of the guinea worm. Surely without question we must say that his involvement produced practical results that were far more than symbolic. However, if it weren't for  Jimmy Carter's consciousness heavily influenced as a follower of Christ, there is a possibility that he would never have acted as he did. In fact, if he saw affliction as a  justified punishment of God for a recalcitrant population, he might well have done nothing or even something detrimental to the health of the sick. Thus we must stand amazed that symbolic acts have tremendous practical consequences precisely because our consciousness is richly determined by pervasive autonomous symbolization. Charles Manson is a flipside to philanthropy. What symbolically infested consciousness drew him on and out?

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Help Wanted

For approximately 3 years (from around January 2012), I have used the Serendipity Bible for Groups published by Zondervan for stimulating questions to use in my blog. There are literally thousands and thousands of excellent questions in this book designed for group study. I have especially appreciated the open-ended questions that allowed flexibility in answering. Today I find that I have completed my trek through the book using only a small minority of the questions available. The question that confronts me today is do I return to page 1 and proceed through the work again hopefully not treating the same questions?  Or do I find a new avenue of interest? I visited two bookstores today and came up with nothing to replace the Serendipity Bible for questions. The dearth of such resources testifies to the hard work that is required to come up with lists of good questions.

I am open to suggestions for good sources of questions to treat in my blog. You may write me at with any ideas.  The material could span many topics and not just focus on Bible subjects – though I expect Bible themes to apply to most anything. Your help will be appreciated.  If I don't get suggestions I may resort to writing on "deep philosophical questions" --the main result being to prove that I should keep at the shallow end of the pool. Thanks for your help. --Wayne

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sex as Determined by Personal Modalities

Sex is sometimes seen to have a profound affect upon our dominant behavior. The fact is that our dominate behavior actually has a significant and profound affect upon our sexuality. Sexuality becomes a symbol for ourselves. There are basically two different self modalities. As has been pointed out by others we tend to be either givers or takers.

This can be mapped as follows for men and women. An extensive understanding of males and females can be derived from this schematic.

Men:  Are mainly  "Sex Pistols" or "Big Dippers"

Women: Are mainly "Parks" or "Boot Camps"

"Sex  Pistols" for men and "Boot Camps" for women are individuals fixated on control and are takers.  Lust is the proper reference for sexual activity here.  Lust--such as exercised in formal or informal rape--is all about control and taking charge rather than giving.   

"Big Dippers" for men and "Parks" for women are expansive and generous empathetic givers.  Sexual love and romance are typical here.

Neurotics do not fit comfortably into either sexual category. 

Think of people you know and evaluate if the characterizations above align substantially with your perception of reality.

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The Plague of Self-Loathing

Glad Day
William Blake

What would be the worst plague for you to experience: Sores all over your body? Intense heat without air-conditioning? Total darkness? Or great thirst with very little water? Why? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1724).

The preeminent curse of mankind is self-loathing. More mischief is caused by this evil than any other. Even overweening pride has at its base abject self-loathing. The deceitfulness of man is fundamentally to hide this closely kept secret of self-loathing. Man's sexuality as a symbol of self is caught up in this mire of negativity. We become ashamed even of life's vitality itself.

Unfortunately religion can serve to compound the problem rather than releasing us from it, as it rightfully should our being created by the will and in the image of God.  We think of sex as being dirty because we think of ourselves as being dirty--not the other way around as typically assumed.  The basic problem is guilt about ourselves based upon perverted and unrighteous thoughts. As in Eden, we seek to hide and deceive – the modern bowdlerized term is "to filter." Father forgive us for our sinfulness and lead us to righteousness in Christ's holy light. Amen.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

God as the Adult in the Room

Adults are vulnerable to being chronically immature--much like a gaggle of children in kindergarten.  Jimmy excuses his misbehavior by saying that Johnny did something just as bad or worse--raising a petulant and self-serving temper tantrum that in effect would drown out all accountability.  Absolute right and wrong are lost in a tempestuous sea of wishy-washy.  Immature political brouhahas turn consequential moral issues into a chorus of bleating, high-pitched and defiant voices.  In the resultant chaos Jimmy can thus get his way--provided and assuming there is no adult in the room. 

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Monday, December 15, 2014

A Cautionary Word About Torture

Torture - or any other atrocity--can always find its defenders.  I know I always have a ready defense for any wrong I commit--rationalization is an elemental aspect of my nature--of human nature. The greater the wrong, the greater the drive to legitimize it.  America is based on the theory of human dignity and this theory is underwritten by belief and commitment--so long as that theory is vitalized in each generation.  I agree with you that theories will always appear  weak when contrasted to no-nonsense arguments of practicality. Contrast the theory of passive resistance advocated by MLK with the no-nonsense prescription of violence advocated by black militants.  Surely the torture inflicted by the KKK in a practical sense when reinforced by retaliatory rage (and personal demons always standing ready in the wings) could justify tit-for-tat torture.  Based upon our own individual behavior and experience, we should learn to beware of compelling  practical arguments especially when those arguments are undergirded by retributive emotion.

Personal note: I saw America at its best when I was imprisoned--never once did prison authorities (many with military backgrounds) show any less than Constitutionally  sanctioned human respect for me; never once trying to eviscerate my soul or to penetrate my anus.  I am thankful for this but am only too well aware--as has recently been chillingly demonstrated--that such behavior is readily defendable.

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Discrete Life as More than a Moment

How do you look upon death: As a rest? A reward? A new phase in the journey? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1723).

Life is a window of opportunity--a structured systematic window opened by reproductive inheritance and to be closed by systemic failure.  Eternal life, if it not to be an oxymoron, must in some sense transcend the cessation of individual biologic systems. Due to a persistent human conviction that idiosyncratic life does not in fact end with death, various rationalizations have been proffered to formalize this belief.  As of today, eternal life remains --as does the immanent will of God and the dignity of man--within the Province of Faith.

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

On the Wisdom of Torture

For that matter why do we indulge in the effete niceties of a criminal justice system at all? Torture would be so much more efficient and arguably a thousand times more effective. In this we should surely join the more righteous, rational, and enlightened countries. It would save a lot of trouble, money, and endless fiddle-faddle about the dignity of man.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hurricane Donna, 1960

What is the most memorable storm you have ever been in? What happened? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1714).

In 1960 I lived with my mother and daddy in Bowling Green, Florida.  That year hurricane Donna tracked over Hardee County, including Bowling Green. The storm dramatically showed me man's ready vulnerability to the elements. Four things come vividly to mind when I remember the storm. Right outside my bedroom a large oak limb crashed to the ground. The picture window in the living room was riddled with the sound of debris hitting it. The board that allowed access to the attic lifted and fell constantly with a bang.  At one point I went outside and intentionally attempted to fall forward against the wind. The wind not only held me up, but pushed me in the opposite direction.  Even though I have lived in Florida all my life, I have never again experienced this. It gave me a deep respect for the violence nature can subject us to.  Man's comfortable assumption that he is in uniform control is in fact at base a carefully contrived illusion.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

If you could invite any famous person for dinner, whom would you ask? Why? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1714).

I would invite Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. Life is not a game for them; it is for real. And they're for real--assiduously equipped to meet it intelligently, practically, and compassionately.  They serve my Lord and have taken abuse for the truth. They have made a practical difference in the lives of the suffering around the world.  Everyone has their own list of great presidents. The compiler's list probably tells more about them than it does about the presidents. Well, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter are for me the first of first families. I am immensely honored to be one of their contemporaries.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ol Man River

What are some closed doors [Christ has] placed in your career? In your social life? In your schooling? How have you responded to each of these closed doors? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1714).

As a winding river will find a way around most any obstacle, so my life has flowed around denials of a straight path. I am one of those people who never takes "No" for an answer. I think of my schooling, for example. I dreamed of being discovered by a professor whose occurrence would open a career path for me.  That never happened, but I got a top-notch and diverse education nevertheless. I dreamed of a career in management  –  that never happened, but I had a fulfilling career in computers that opened opportunities only dimly perceivable in my younger days. I wanted to have a life mate, but the endeavor encountered prolonged delay – yet eventually happened and bestowed gratifying fulfillment.  Even today I don't take "No" for an answer.  My dearth of natural talent would suggest that I will never be able to play the guitar. But I will do so, and a year from now will post a link to YouTube of me giving a private recital. God has put in my heart the drive for self-expression. That is reliably accomplished in one way or another always in line with the inexorable disciplines and destinies of God.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Peace as a Weapon

What weapons has God giving you to do battle with? Which has proved very helpful? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1713).

Philippians 4:6-7 New International Version (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

In my view by far the most helpful weapon that a Christian has in dealing with the world is the peace "that transcends all understanding."  It is childishly immature to expect all in the world to like you or even respect you. Great psychological energies can be expended in fretting over this matter. When one seeks first to do the will of the Heavenly Father, this permits one to navigate life absent a whole freight-load of vain anxieties.  The anxiety loop we tread attempting to control how others think of us is rendered largely nugatory.  The great guiding principles of the Bible challenge us to productive spiritual freedom and creativity.  One's validation as a person does not then depend upon the vicissitudes of the vicious.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Prison Erratum

What's scary experience with fire have you had? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1708).

The memory still abides.  I can still see my eyes fixed in fear upon a cast-iron coal burning stove with its door-chute area glowing red-hot. It was one of those little stoves about waist high that stood out in the room with a metal chimney pipe bending out from the back.  Heat expansion had earlier caused a crack to form in the cast iron front. On this day, that crack was wider than ever and was glowing red hot.  I feared the stove might lose its integrity altogether.

It was approximately the winter of 1968. I was a trustee at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee. My job on the weekend was to go to a maintenance shed over the hill out of sight of the gun towers and water the seedling plants. I was there alone.  For some stupid reason I decided to determine what would happen if bars of lye soap – the prison issue soap – were tossed in with the burning coals. Within seconds the little stove in the normally cozy cabin area sounded like a blast furnace.  I froze in fear, terrified that my gross stupidity would result in an unleashed fire and--just as bad from my point of view--general knowledge throughout the compound regarding my abject foolishness. Within about 15 minutes the fire died down, the cast-iron once glowing red hot darkened again, its expansion contracted; and I was thankful that my stupidity would remain unknown to the inmates and prison staff.  This is the first time that I have ever mentioned this moment of weakness.  It is now my belief that perhaps the statute of limitations has expired for any belated discipline by appropriate prison authorities.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Conditions Nourishing Friendship

In picking close friends..., what do you look for? How can you be that kind of friend to others? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1706).

I like close friends who respect me and my property. I like friends that are generally positive about themselves, about me, and about circumstances.  I like friends with a "can-do" approach to life. They come with a certain sense of destiny. My friends do not take me for granted or assume they know my wishes in every situation.  My friends don't have to be super-intelligent, but they do need to possess a certain wisdom not only regarding the world, but of intangible spiritual matters – in other words their intelligence manifests multidimensionality. I like friends with a certain tentativeness – they are not all-fired sure that they know the will of God in each and every matter.  I like egalitarian friends  – snobs repel me. I need friends that are dependable and trustworthy. I prefer friends that love Jesus and strive to emulate him. You might be guessing that I have few, really close friends. Come to think of it, I'm not all that popular myself.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Love and the White Lie

Which is easier for you to do – "walk in truth" or "walk in love"? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1705).

When I have been untruthful – say about someone's new hairdo – I fancy telling myself that I'm out of love sparing the feelings of others.  So when asked "How do you like my hair?," I will say "It looks lovely," rather than the more truthful, "Your hair looks like it was caught in a runaway clothes dryer."  

Now I say "fancy telling myself"  because, nine chances out of ten, I am not so much trying to save the feelings of others; but selfishly trying to be universally and unconditionally well-liked myself. Thus I basically tell a lie out of weakness.  Additionally, the white lie is really a form of laziness. I could craft an honest, helpful,and kind answer; but that would require effort and hard work. So I take the easy route and just tell a white lie. 

Finally I tell white lies because of the Golden rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Sometimes quite frankly I don't want the truth so much as I want encouragement. I'm only too well aware of the stark nature of my shortcomings. What I'm looking for is validation of elemental worthiness. So if you were to say "Wayne, I really like your blog today," I am only too happy to accept it as a more general affirmation not so much of my blog, but of me – kind of a cheerful, creative, and encouraging way of your pleasantly saying "Good morning."

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Me Fourth, and Rightly So

Whose home could you drop in on unexpectedly and know that you would be welcome? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition,  page 1705).

The short and quite proper answer is absolutely no one's.  Shame on me if I make the test of one's love and regard for me that they suffer any inconvenience at my every capricious whim. I tutor in The Literacy Council of St. Petersburg. There is a tremendous supervisor and coordinator of the program and her name is Ann.  Last week I made an unreasonable request of her, and she totally ignored my importunities. I called her the Monday after Thanksgiving at two different numbers leaving messages requesting that she fill out a form on that day--a day the Council did not even meet. It is even possible that in order to fill out my form she would of necessity have been required to traveled to two widely separated schools to get the necessary logs. Quite rightly, she did not even return my phone calls. I admire her tremendously for this refusal to put my interest before hers. As head of the program, she must always underscore that students not tutors come first. That's just the first point.  The second point was the unreasonable nature of my request.  Lurking behind my request was the inherent ugliness of a "me first" attitude.

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