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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Leadership Litmus Test---To Incite or Inspire?

Poet and sculptor do the work   
Nor let the modish painter shirk   
What his great forefathers did,   
Bring the soul of man to God,   
Make him fill the cradles right.

Under Ben Bulben

Please view video at this point (link below)


My father exercised three aspects of leadership: goodwill (love), empathy, and power under control (humility). Naturally as a Methodist minister he sought to encourage and inspire from the pulpit and occasionally during everyday discourse. This is something I think that most expect from their religious leaders. But of course, this need not be the case. We are all-too-familiar with the fact that religion can breed fanaticism that incites the most dangerous and inflammatory human emotions. 

As for religion, also for politics.  While of necessity a great deal of a government official's time is consumed by narrative of facts and what can be called rational prosaic commentary, it is also undeniably true that a government leader need also address the hearts, mentality, and emotions of citizens for these elements of human nature form an intractable part of life (embodied rhetoric).

Today may we seek to embrace enlightened prose and authentic poetry and eschew rank diatribe and destructive doggerel.


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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Are We Still of Any Use?

 Are we still of any use?



Verb: nurture

1. Help develop, help grow
2. Provide for and care for during childhood
3. Provide with nourishment

Noun: nurture

1. The properties acquired as a consequence of the way you were treated as a child
2. Helping someone grow up to be an accepted member of the community



Adjective: surrogate

1. Providing or receiving nurture or parental care though not related by blood or legal ties

Noun: surrogate

1. Someone who takes the place of another person
2. A person appointed to represent or act on behalf of others



As a Floridian I love to vacation in the mountains for there one is almost impelled to recognize the sweep of the forest. Today I want to contemplate society in the broadest terms. Let us ask what is the basic demand that most institutions exist to meet?  (I say “most” for in America we always maintain an underbelly of harmful “sin” enterprise often justified and even legitimized on the dubious claim of equal and ever-present free choice.) 

Institutions are created to meet unique demands arising from the multi-faceted need for nurture. I would like to discuss today two institutions – the family and the church. (Other institutions include government and the diverse roles reserved for the creative enterprise sector.)  In broadest terms, I hold all institutions are, in fact. service institutions in that they arise from the persistent need to nurture.

The unique gift that the family contributes to nurturing is the indispensable requirement for intimacy in human development and maintenance. Often, we are tempted to hold that “small things” don’t really matter that much. Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth. The unaffected knowledge that we are truly loved and that someone gives a damn whether we live or die can arise from a gentle touch on the shoulder—however irrational that may seem. Animal studies show that deprivation of intimacy can have long-term and profound debilitating effects.  The important question that confronts us is, can intimacy lack immediacy? Likewise, can surrogacy provide sufficient intimacy?

I would like to speak briefly of the church. Jesus asked us to pray by saying “Our Father.” (Some would even say “Our Daddy.”)  Nurture and extended family intimacy are very near the core of church life. When one says that we are to love one another – how different is that from saying that we are to nurture one another?  Can a  formal assembly lacking in intimacy or a family feeling still be the church?

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Wake of a Storm

Man is subject to death so seeks to limit his vulnerabilities.  In somewhat stable times, he can go so far as to hone a sense of security by fabricating dubious guarantors of strength either materialistically (showrooms filled with unsinkable Titanic’s) or ideologically (comforting Towers of Intellectual Babel).

During dire threats, however, man’s prior reflexive succor from handy pacifiers is at last shorn away leaving the ultimate defense against death where it has always resided—exercise of equality’s Golden Rule and mutual accommodation. Then everyday kindness is not readily dismissed as mere cotton candy, but cherished as the most vital strand of DNA.

Nature's Own Program Language  (click link below)

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Monday, September 4, 2017

Easy to Say

"You've made your bed, now lie in it".

There is a dilemma in human affairs that persists in all seasons. That pertains to the concurrent need for accountability and for forgiveness. Often it is the human heart itself that must resolve this ever-wreathing Gordian knot. Jesus represents the preferred recourse in elegant simplicity. In the incident of the woman who was the target of stoning, Jesus noted the obvious truth that none of her accusers were without somber error. By masterful indirection, he slowed the pace of events and effectively disarmed the situation. Then, as day follows night, he said to the grateful woman “Go and sin no more.” Even so, as for the stiff-necked chromium personifications of self-righteous cruelty preying upon society at large, he unrelentingly denuded them for public display.

I must share that I saw on the news last week President Trump directly relating one-on-one with little children during his visit to a flood disaster relief center in Texas.  This instantly caused me to weep.  May light suffuse our nation.

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