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Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Spirit or the Deed : The Chicken or the Egg?

(From book WiseDogs : Brown & Spartas)


Let us define success by working towards meeting the full panoply of human needs, and a singular basic need is the sturdy health of self-confidence.  If you are one of the lucky ones, your parents realized that essential nourishment requires not only food and water--the bare necessities--but also multiple opportunities to cultivate a flourishing confidence drawing upon skills, yes--but beyond that—enduring hope and a wide array imagination and fantasy. 


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Faith: A Certitude Defined by Flexibility

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Crack-Up" in Esquire (2/36)


Hebrews 11 J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
11 1-3 Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see. It was this kind of faith that won their reputation for the saints of old. And it is after all only by faith that our minds accept as fact that the whole scheme of time and space was created by God’s command—that the world which we can see has come into being through principles which are invisible.


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Friday, April 13, 2018

Heading Down the Zion Trail

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Declaration of US Essential Dependence

Matthew 22:36-40 New International Version (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 

39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 23

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Please consider the following video link urgent and obligatory!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Meditation Moment in Double Time

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Work in Progress

It’s 5:30 AM and this morning I am sitting alone in front of the Marshall Student Center at USF Tampa – now all aglow in lights. On the way here I stopped  by  the Waffle House and had a T-bone steak with eggs and grits. The restaurant was full of happy people well acquainted with each other and with the staff as well.  A great feeling of warmth came over me when I realized we were all "works in progress." Somewhere I have seen on T-shirts “God is not through with me yet.” That’s really a wonderful insight I think. – To know that we are not the end-all and be-all of human progress and civilization. I remember so well a University of South Florida's history professor saying that it seems that every generation thinks their challenges are the most important that mankind has or will ever face. What a relief it is to see that humanity is a work in progress. There is always so much more to learn and understand. Why don't we have a little more generosity for our fellow humans not only in the past nor merely present but also in the time to come. If God is willing to risk it,  who am I to do any less?

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Springtime Throwing Open of Windows

Matthew 16:5-12  NIV
5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.


John 3:3-7  NIV
3 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.

3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]”

4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]


Sometimes I like to think of Emily Dickinson in correspondence with Lucy from the Peanuts cartoon.  I think it would only be a matter of time before one or the other or both committed suicide.  The above passages cannot help but elicit sympathy for Jesus—surely he must have occasionally sighed—“Come on fellows…give me a little help here.”

This past week I have been in several discussions about the story(s) of creation described in Genesis—people ask, do you think it is true?  In my view the original tellers of this story might change a word or two considering the endless enervating and bizarre discussions we now hear that seem to totally miss the point.  Maybe the author would settle for “first phase” rather than “first day" (anything to bring a little sanity and peace and, lo, a semblance of intelligence to a tiresome discussion recalling the endless chatter about how many angels can fit in a phone booth (or was it on the head of a pin?). 

But the whole point anyway is to affirm with no wiggle room whatever that God IS the Creator and humans ignore THIS FACT at the direst of personal and social peril.  Part of being real (Genesis makes clear) is that God is boss, and we are not.  (Considering the Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence of God, it seems absurdly unnecessary to make such a statement except for man’s ego IQ whose elevation falls pitifully below that of a sun-bleached cow patty.)

I too await a rebirth of wonder….punctuated often by laughter and joy.

(PS:  Some weeks ago I dismissed a friend’s sincere question regarding the Genesis creation account with an arrogant dismissal as if the question were stupid….rather than that of my splattering ego IQ.)

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Puzzle Is in the Proofing

Isaiah 41:~9 & 10 NIV

I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


Matthew 16:1-4  NIV

1Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came and tested Jesus by asking Him to show them a sign from heaven.
2But He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘The weather will be fair, for the sky is red;’ 3and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but not the signs of the times! A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Then He left them and went away.

It seems a curious thing that believers can see the assisting hand of God daily while non-believers never see it at all. There are here two perceived realities, yet it is fair to ask is there only one set of facts?—is God in some sense absent from not only the perception of non-believers but also from actual ad hoc micro assistance as well (the Bible holds that the benefit of macro blessings obtains to all).—So then, if a probability study were to be made regarding the egregiously small likelihood of a related chain of micro events (a miracle) obtaining to the benefit of believers, it would be difficult if not impossible to devise a tenable control group to assess the sway of perception as distinct from fact.

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