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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Now That Is Compelling

What difference does Jesus’ ‘once-for-all” sacrifice make in terms of your security with God? Your self-image? Your desire to follow Christ? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1673).

To be frank, I have never been able to understand how the idea that Jesus was a sacrificial animal (lamb) and his dying (like the practice of killing innocent animals to excuse the sins of people) made any sense at all.  It has never sunk in my understanding how killing something innocent relieves the guilty party of guilt.  This practice could certainly work to eliminate the overcrowding of prisons.  The accused party could simply appear in court with a chicken (for example) to give to the judge to excuse his crime.  Nope, that has never made any sense to me–though the judge would certainly never want for a nice chicken dinner.

What has made sense to me is that Jesus loved humankind so much that he died rather than compromise that love. In other words he could have told the judges at the time–“Aw shucks! I was just kidding about that ‘love thy neighbor’ stuff...forget all that, just go on watching out for number one.”  Jesus had such integrity and love for humanity that he remained true no matter what it cost him personally.  Now that generous gift...not compelling. 

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What Kind of Claimant?

What skill do you have that you could brag about? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1634).

As a question presented to me or anyone else, this should be the easiest of all questions to answer. For while many are graced with talents, none should be a braggart.  Everything we have including talents are rightly seen as a gift from others.  Arrogance and false pride are born of blindness and myopic self-centeredness.  The concept of justice is lacking broadness once we lay invidious claim to all our advantages.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Road Trip

Write a verse of praise to God using the special events from your own spiritual journey. (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1419).

Glory to the skies that wrapped my childhood in a sanctuary of daylight. Glory to the skies that redeemed me from youthful despair with undergirding frankness and holy love. In the sad years of weeping and want, you guided my steps staying always near. You gave me a personal structure of peace – the “little joke” that provided a firm foothold. In the stresses of middle age, you came to me and showed within your presence the bridge to eternity. In my working years you gave me purpose that extended far beyond a paycheck. And now retired, I have assurance of open roads and a clear view home.

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Concentric Fools

Have you ever been one of these fools: (a) the intellectual seeker? (b) the practical atheist? (c) self-destructive? (d) unhealthy in relationships? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 789).

Fool: a person who acts unwisely or imprudently (not showing care for the consequences of an action; rash); a silly person ( having or showing a lack of common sense or judgment; absurd...): what a fool I was to do this. (New Oxford American Dictionary).

The element common to all four types of foolish approaches to life listed in the question is self-absorption (arising from whatever reason–fear, a sense of inferiority, herculean efforts to be special in artificial ways).

The “intellectual seeker” refers not to someone sincerely seeking to understand, but to someone seeking merely to convey the sheen of knowledge without having a true passion and love for it.  The person is self-absorbed for he desires most to be seen as in that special class of intellectuals that excludes all but the uppermost layer – a self-appointed mutual admiration coterie (well-deserving each other).

The practical atheist is the religious pretender who seeks to appear ineffably in tune with the most obtuse doctrine, but in actuality lacks the faith to risk safety for a second.  He is self-absorbed because the true basis of his religion is not trust but innate fear.

The self-destructive person is fixated on self and does not lift his eyes to see the need of others for kindness, encouragement, and love.  He is a Johnny-One-Note of negativity that finally mows down all possible sources of help.

One unhealthy in relationships seeks to control others–although this can be veiled in cloying dependency. The self-absorbed individually is deeply enervating to healthy relationships.

The question asks: Have I ever been a fool? I claim exemption from no foolish behavior; yet friends have occasionally stayed my hand.

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

A “Heavenly” Heaven

No one knows exactly what heaven is like, what would make heaven especially “heavenly” for you? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1404).

Heaven will be “heavenly” for me if arriving there I find those that have enriched my life through the years. These of course are those people that I have known personally on earth, but also those who have passed on before me but whose legacy has meant so much to me. This would include writers and musicians, statesmen and scientists. And it would also include people of whose name I’m unaware. I would like to shake the hand of the person who first came up with the idea that a wheel could be used to transport goods. When I was born in 1944, there was a huge collection of concrete and abstract artifacts that embroidered the culture I became a part of. Most significantly was the voice that cried out through the centuries and even then, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

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The Mixed Matrix of Peace

Upon what human institutions do people pin their hopes for “peace now”? What might Jeremiah say at one of their conferences? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1059.)

Overwhelmingly people look to government to bring about peace. Why? Because government to government accessibility and the sword of the state are seen as indispensable elements in the creation and implementation of enforced peace. We should not be too dejected when we consider that peace  must be enforced. Even on a community and local level there is a sense in which peace is always underwritten and enforced most immediately by the local police department – including extensively criminal and civil matters. The United States is remarkable for its peaceful transitions of power. Partly this is due to tradition, but significantly it is due to enforceable law. When the larger peace finally descends that we yearn for, it will of necessity be an enforced peace; which is simply recognizing that contention is deeply ingrained in human nature and human affairs.

Even though we depend extensively upon government for peace, we know full well that a strong government is insufficient to bring about peace. If all institutions besides government were to lose their way (the family, the church, the creative sector), then nothing that government could possibly do would prevent certain societal collapse. An indispensable constituent of peace has been stated with brevity: let peace begin with me.

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Strength and Humility

How could “competitive” giving misdirect the reason for giving gifts to God? What can you and your group do to avoid this problem among yourselves? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 226).

How do we define strength and what is humility? What is a strong president and will that president also embody humility? Must a strong president always suggest cavalier or aggressive employment of the police power of the state? To what extent do we want a president standing tall with his hand at gun--does carrying a gun always suggest strength rather than weakness? To what extent are the answers to these questions subject to paradox and the law of diminishing returns and the associated spectacle of unintended consequences?

From the current American race for the presidency one would think that strength is defined as bullying, spewing arrogant judgements, arbitrariness, and the “courage”to wallow in slime. This is not at all what I see as strength, and I certainly do not believe that an effective president is one that lacks humility. Let me explain.

Humility is an absence of false pride. False pride is pride based upon aggrandizement and show rather than contribution and service. I wish to see a president resplendent with contributory humility and filled with the calm and peaceful self-assurance that effective contributions bring. 

Strength is emotional and mental forcefulness.  Unlinked to humility, strength is subject to much blind stupidity due to the law of diminishing returns and the spectacle of unintended consequences. Mental forcefulness need be alloyed with wisdom and discernment.  Emotions need be alloyed by past training with patience (count to 10) and a bias towards ultimate ends (a strong feeling for the final results we would like to see).  We must not in the name of competition relinquish true strength and humility for the current counterfeits on display in American politics.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Meriting the Favor of God

In light of who God is, who are we? What are our problems as creature relating to our Creator? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 738).


The Word Became Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome [understood] it. (John 1:1-5).


When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 NIV).

What is the special claim of religion over humanitarian values? On the news this morning I heard reports of terrorism. It was suggested that we should relax our restrictions on rules of interrogation and include elements of torture (such as sleep deprivation, waterboarding and other “enhanced” techniques). This is a bipolar approach to life – when times are good we get warm and fuzzy and cozy, when times are bad we get “realistically” cruel and practical and tough and no-nonsense.

Religion allows no such neat categorization susceptible to bipolarity. The special claim of religion is that it is the widest of all sets in which literally everything else is a subset (including human behavior as well as the material world). It is a light that has universal suffusion and that provides the reliable approach to the world under any and all circumstances (which assertion we ascribe to with faith and trust). The minute that we think that values are of our creation and are thus expendable is the minute through rationalization that we revert to duality and bestiality.  And this is not limited to matters of war, but to all other aspects of life in which we find it convenient to lay humanitarian values aside. Religion does not let allow such facile hypocrisy.

The United States must confront this question: are we a nation governed by love or of hate? Our religion and our civil faith ascribe to the illumination (NOT elimination) of love. The human brain and its perception is susceptible to modality. We must not mirror the mind of our enemy but rather merit the favor of God.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Some Veiled Effrontery

Have you ever seen abandoned farms, a ghost town, or ancient ruins? Where? How did it make you feel? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1057).


By Percy Bysshe Shelley
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.” 

Antiquity teaches humility as we stand and judge yet mirror fleeting sands. It is always a little jolting to know that we were not the first to think that we are somehow exempt from the rule of mortality, and that the sun will eternally shine upon us highlighting our youth and vigor; and that the intense drama we experience now will someday hold only quaint and passing interest to our long-distant progeny who, standing in their time, will sense some veiled effrontery from our nerve in dying.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Are You Teachable?

Are you “teachable”? When are you most able to receive instruction? When are you most resistant? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 824).

Today I was at Dollar Tree standing in line behind a precocious five-year-old. Near where we were standing was a display of colored pencils. With sheer delight the little boy was spelling the names of colors and gleefully pointing out correctly each color. He then took an interest in what I had in my shopping cart and wanted to know what things were for and why I had bought two of some items. I looked at that sparkling intelligence and could only regret the extent to which adults have willfully or inadvertently dulled their brains with prejudicial notions and toxic substances.

I think one of the most damaging and damning features of a jaundiced brain is label reflexivity in which, for example, within an organization we circumscribe and delimit individuals by the organizational roles they play.  For example where we live is a wonderful jitney driver named Naomi. I have come to see her as just that – a jitney driver. The other day I happened to be sitting in the back of a large room that was vacant except for someone in the front queueing up videos for later presentation. Suddenly on the screen stood a composed and gracious Naomi speaking with professional polish without notes. The sound was turned down so I could not hear what she was saying, but on-screen she had the charm and presence of an accomplished Secretary of State. In short, I saw her without the usual ironclad organizational frame of reference. Immediately I felt convicted that here was a person I had seen one-dimensionally. My tired old brain had tricked me into believing a perceptual fiction rather than a multidimensional fact.

The mental ruts we live in hurt not only us but others. So you see the question posed above can be sad to contemplate.  As to when I am most open to training, that’s a slamdunk – when I feel at home and perceive the communicator embodies intellectual humility. Today Connie and I attended Bowling Green United Methodist Church. Amy Harper is the pastor. She gave us something to remember for the week ahead: do what Christ said; feel how he felt; tell others about Jesus. The second concept was particularly striking to me since I had never much thought about  it. One of the most remarkable things about Jesus was the way he felt open and accepting (even on a flat-out shocking level) with those who most people would label unimportant and reflexively dismissible or repugnant. I hope it is not too late for me to revive the fresh outlook of a vital five-year-old traversing a perceptual wonderland of intellectual curiosity and engagement.

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Nobility of Spirit

Where you live and work, are you among the “nobles” or the “masses”? Why? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 953).

My religion and the articles of my country challenge one to nobility. By that I mean that we are to respect others, live by the Golden rule, feel in many ways equal, yet in many ways special, and are called to be leaders in the sense that we are to embody integrity about our beliefs and opinions and daily meet the challenge to be good citizens while faithfully witnessing for Christ in our daily lives. This call to excellence and leadership yet to simplicity and equality maps core nobility and represents the creative genius of my faith and of my country. Though we number in the many millions, we know instinctively that to think of ourselves as powerless, faceless victims tossed in the wind signals the approach of mediocrity, chronic unhappiness, and eventual mass dissipation.

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Awake America!

How has greed and its cover-up afflicted the older generation of today? The young professionals? Big business? National government? Even you? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 530).

I’ll be frank with you, I hate alcohol so this might in some way influence my analysis of American life saturated as it is now by the marketing and consumption of this insidious drug. When one considers the long list of pain inflicted upon innocent people by this malicious product, it gives one pause and not a little sadness at the clouding of judgment and its consequent macro effect upon American life. I have heard the American people railing against government as if rousing from a drunken stupor. It reminds me of the Israelites railing against Moses when the only crime he has committed against them was is in helping deliver them from slavery and bondage.

Perhaps the greatest of all crimes induced by liquor is the subtle withdrawal of parents from the responsibilities of parenthood – and I don’t mean the provision of money, but the provision of wise and sober nurture and a parental example worth aspiring to. It is my firm conviction that we have only the dullest notion of the full impact of the clouded mind upon the tenor of American life. The more we drink, the more we drift towards escapism and the tired, long history of tragedy. Will we confront the lies perpetrated by this greedy industry before it is too late and save ourselves from permanent mental impairment and certain social declension? 


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Friday, March 18, 2016

Crush Over with Donald Trump

Is evil tolerable as long as the economy looks bright? Is it better to be poor and Christ-like or comfortable and compromised? What gets your attention most – the bank balance or the word of God? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 545).

Consider...the Republican candidate mustering the most votes to date is Donald Trump. Donald Trump encourages violence and thuggery, advocates engagement in waterboarding (torture), appeals blatantly to racism, debases religion, and runs his campaign on the fumes of bitterness and hatred. He says he wants to make America great again. America perhaps has never been great in the sense of what it has fully realized, but great rather in the quality of its aspirations and the sincerity of its effort. It began with the Constitution that gave us the Bill of Rights aspiring to and in some sense assuring individual liberty – which in turn is founded upon respect, goodwill, and the Golden rule. This is what has made America a light on the hill, not success at any price, not bearing any burden in the name of greed, not with malice chiseling the rest of the world out of just earnings. To the extent that Donald Trump represents the Republican “Southern strategy” with the bark off, it reveals that effort to be the most cynical of all strategies – not seeking our best as Southerners, but pandering to our failures and worst instincts. As a an American, as a Southerner, I say seven times no to this moral bankruptcy and spillage of raw sewage into the public square.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Making All Things New

Where are you on [the] road to wisdom? Stuck in traffic? Backtracking? Fast lane? Fool’s alley? Why? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 875).

The better part of wisdom is to discern forward purpose in the every day. Or as the Lord’s Prayer interjects shortly after “Thy kingdom come;” it then reads “Give us this day our daily bread.” That is, we are to live a life fully anchored daily even while this life is concurrently maintained within the steady pull of positive transcendental forces. For the community of man, the most essential structures are in the form of principles that are spiritually inferred and accepted with a practical and tenable faith. Wisdom uses the indispensable role of process to yield a sense of stability within a field of flux.  Intelligence creates new things in abundance while wisdom fills even old things with redemptive purpose.

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Respecting Dreams

What is your “dream” for the future? Do you feel your dreams will be realized or not? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 103).

When I consider the road to the Presidency, I see the way littered by shattered dreams; for in the end only one candidate wins, but many others lose. Political contests may have vast public implications; but there is inevitable private implications for ravaged “also-ran’s.”  Some dreams were shattered election day, March 15th.  The hosts of these dreams will find additional company in the days ahead until the contest is finally decided. We voters sit as spectators with thumbs up or down.  Yet, even so, we dare not disrespect the fallen, for there is kinship knitted within man’s dreams. 

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Monday, March 14, 2016

The Other Side of Experience

In living your life, do you tend to walk more on the broad road or the narrow road? What makes the broad road most tempting for you? What makes the narrow road difficult? Rewarding? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1336).

The broad road is one of self-aggrandizement and self-preservation. The narrow road to righteousness is one of self-sacrifice, forgiveness, and goodwill. From this description it can be anticipated that virtually all humans have difficulty traveling the narrow road, for the broad road speaks directly to several basic psychological needs. Yet a fuller conception of man takes into consideration the need for long-term joy and happiness only fathomable paradoxically through an active and restless charity. This cultivates the fruit of the Spirit concurrently with myriad sacrificial reflexes which together bestow an innocence born only of extensive experience.

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Certified Still

What awards have your received...Why were you given them? Were they worth it? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 211).

I have recently renewed my teaching certification in the state of Florida.  I am certified through June 2021 to teach English, Speech, and Bookkeeping.  Renewal required an expenditure of some $2600 (including tuition, books, and fees).  I was required to take two courses.  I took Creative Process at Eckerd College and Special Education at the University of South Florida.  Even though I had to compete with students in their early twenties, I managed “A’s” in both courses. Actually, I had great fun doing it, though it was hard work.

I haven’t taught in years, so don’t ask me to give a completely rational reason for why at 72 I still want to keep the certification active.  It might be for all the wrong reasons, for example, a lack of appreciation for sunk cost.  Since I cannot come up with a convincingly practical explanation, I simply say because I felt led by God as, in fact, I did.  

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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Weeping Over Washington

When have you seen despair give birth to hope? What “midwife” made the difference? Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1280).

Tonight Donald Trump in a stump speech said that in the future when he is president we will once again be able to say “Merry Christmas” in a public forum. He said that when he is president it will be acceptable to be Christian again. That is music to my ears. I am sick and tired of living in America and finding myself curtailed in the affirmation of my faith except within the narrow confines of delimited arenas. Such a view of Christianity – of any religion – hobbles it and makes it in a real sense unlivable as a faith. Such a view yields total credence to the unrealistic and one-dimensional view of religion ascribed to by religiously ignorant materialists. I think those who wrote the Constitution would be shocked to find that the document redacted any religion from the public square under the purported banner of freedom – heavy irony indeed.

That said, I will not support Donald Trump, but instead vote for Bernie Sanders on Tuesday. That is because I realize that Donald Trump is a genius at currying favor. He knows just what notes to play to endear even those carrying burning hatred in their hearts . He says he’s a Christian, but the majority of his speeches are completely foreign to the spirit of Christianity. I choose to vote for a Jew who has fought for migrant farm workers and decline to vote for a snake-oil Christian.

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Recovery Time

When the direction of your life undergoes a “midcourse correction,” how do you generally respond?
  • by getting mad at God
  • by getting defensive
  • by lashing out at others
  • by beating up on myself
  • by asking for forgiveness
  • other_____________
(The Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition)

Like many others who sincerely try to do right and not hurt others, I find it exceptionally easy to beat up on myself after committing even a social faux pas. I’m sure that this is very much an inherited trait as my mother showed similar characteristics.  My mother who never once robbed a bank or even thought of it, prayed that God forgive her many sins. What sins, I ask myself, did she commit? I’m sure that she would say those many times she failed to be consistently helpful to others.  Sometimes I fantasize what it would be like to have a carefree spirit and to go about my life totally confident that I had done the right thing – totally absent any painful regret. But is unadulterated euphoria necessary for abundant life? Isn’t abundant life in part made possible because we are reluctant to engage in overbearing thoughtlessness? Should our prayers not always acknowledge the sins that we commit and especially those misguided sins we fail to see?  Can we afford to outgrow the need for lent with utter facility?


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Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Wisdom and Power of Coaching

Several weeks ago I was having lunch with John Reynolds, a 92 year-old retired middle school coach whose prior students still greet him affectionately when seeing him about town. John could readily appreciate my obvious need to lose weight, and he approached the matter very tactfully and helpfully. He said, “If it were me I would consider whether I value more living a long life and putting my heart under less stress or whether I enjoy rich food so much now that I had rather do that.  Wayne, it’s for you to think about and it’s your decision to make.”

I straight away felt empowered and ennobled for it is empowering and ennobling to face a question squarely and then to do the responsible thing.  I made my decision without hesitation and since have eaten baked chicken and fish and fresh green and yellow vegetables without heavy oils. My goal is not far off and rosy, but is met every time I do the right thing at a daily meal. I have lost 5 pounds after making that decision. John makes a point of seeing me every day with his usual cheerful and positive smile and wants to know how it’s going. He says he’s thinking and praying for me.  I feel very blessed to have a seasoned and beloved coach now coaching me.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Set Ajar

What do you do when someone says something you do not want to hear? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1395).

It all depends on who is telling me something I do not want to hear.  On one extreme let us say that it is a medical doctor I respect saying I should get a bone marrow biopsy to test for cancer.  This is not music to my ears, but my inclination is not to get a second opinion, but rather to do what he advises as soon as possible.  At the other extreme is someone who lacks credibility for me, at least in the subject at hand.  I have a friend that is politically at odds with me.  He is given to sending me emails with recommendations for his favorite candidate.  If I can tell from the subject line such a recommendation is what the email is all about, I don’t even open the email for I detest the candidate and am frustrated that my friend could in any way support him.

So these are two factors in the accessibility equation–the credibility of the source and the nature of the subject.  A further factor is the measure of control I have over the situation.  Say I am a student in a class taught by my aforementioned friend.  It is a political science class and he freely professes all the great things about the candidate I detest.  Since I am now in a position with significant lack of control (I can be tested on a political essay question that includes reference to his candidate), I must at the least show that I have listened to what my friend the professor has said on the subject.

A final factor, of course, is emotional valence.  If the subject matter or personage elicits major negative emotional stress on my part, a typical response is avoidance.  I have taken courses in which the subject matter was particularly stressful for me due to the alien nature of the subject. I did not feel adept or at home (the smell of biology lab comes to mind).  In these cases “study time” were tense times of enforced moral duty and desperate mental flights.

I suppose the “right” answer for the beginning question is that I marshal fairness, goodwill, and calm; and with an open mind consider objectively with full attention all that is said. That might be the right answer, but it does not work for me.

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Monday, March 7, 2016

When the Word Becomes Flesh

What comes first in your spirituality: (a) Action? (b) Sacrifice? (c) Prayer? (d) Talk? Why? What comes second?... (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page (786).

When we consider thought self-talk, and when we consider conversation whether alone or with others oral thought; then talk becomes the precursor and sustainer of action, sacrifice, and prayer.  Talk whether written or oral is a tool for the further framing of thought.  It is arresting to consider the role of talk in defining terms, attaining symmetry in sound and sense, mapping action,  identifying purpose, and discerning/interpreting results. An important function of the Holy Spirit is to stimulate the genesis of verbal thought.  Talk, far from being cheap, is a priceless medium of exchange.

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Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Sea of Tranquility

When, if ever, have you “run away”? Where did you go? For how long? What were you escaping? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 456).

Today is communion Sunday, a day we remember the grace of God who loves us unconditionally and yearns for us to come to him with full integrity – fully cognizant of and fully fessing up to our heretofore reflexively veiled and carefully concealed imperfection – a heady dishonesty that inevitably leads to a practiced defensiveness and hypocrisy with shades of neurosis. Christian psychology tells us that being unconditionally loved and coming to Christ with humble honesty and unflinching integrity is the only route to freedom. Everything else is an escape from freedom in which we defensively run away from other people, God, even ourselves. It is in this light that I no longer pray for scintillating confidence; I pray instead for the steady anchor of abiding peace that suffuses one’s life when assured that one is fully known, fully accepted, and eternally loved. 

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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Spotlight on Conflict

What feelings do conflict stories, especially your own, bring out in you? Do you tend to avoid or create conflict? Why? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 504).

There are two types of conflict: orderly conflict and disorderly conflict.  Disorderly conflict occurs in an unruly, chaotic classroom or in a forum where everyone is talking at once.  I don’t like this kind of unfocused, meaningless conflict.  I do enjoy focused conflict–two boxers fighting it out in a spotlighted ring or the focused conflict when David felled Goliath.  The first type of conflict prostitutes the soul of conflict, the second type elevates it to a type of moral order that is essential for life and progress – providing a dramatic stage for the establishment, even creation, of meaning rather than its nihilistic destruction.

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