Furious or Faithful

Anger with compassion is Intimate and Integretous

I was reading a devotional this morning which was dealing with Genesis 3:21 “And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and the woman, and clothed them”

The author used the illustration of a mother:  making a special cake and putting it on the kitchen table.  She then told her two children to not eat of it, as it was a special cake prepared for a special purpose.

When the inevitable happened she says the mother yells, “I can’t believe you ate the cake. I gave you one thing to not do.  One thing! Furious she kicks them out of the kitchen.”

I became furious. I heard an internal voice say,  “Okay man settle down it is not that critical”.  So I took a deep breath or two then decided to blog on this issue and concern.  I know the author was well intentioned and trying to be cute.  I do love the image of God making sure people have sweatshirts on to keep them warm as this does present a compassionate God.  I do have some concerns and questions:

 

Why picture God or humanity this way?  It is not even close to unfolding the text.  As I calmed my furious parts down, I imagined that on that days thousands or more years ago, God did the same thing.

 

First the text clearly indicates God’s compassion, as instead of being exclusively furious, he made clothes for them to effectively intervene at a practical level and in a caring way. Their action gave opportunity for God to react not in anger and fury but with love and grace.

Second, anger and even fury are just emotional responses to disappointing moments.  It is the behavior in response to those emotional moments that indicate character and substance.  I have no problem with God being angry at their defiance.  Yet, while “hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn” (, heaven is full of compassion for a humans preoccupation with indulgence and self satisfaction even if it is self defeating.  Even when God throws the couple out of the garden (the kids out of the kitchen), it was not his fury that did so but His compassion.  They had eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil so God could not let then stay in the garden to eat presumably (knowing the past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior) of the other tree, the tree of eternal life.  Had He not led them out of the kitchen they would have sealed their eternal demise by continuing their behavior with no opportunity for restoration to the mother’s love or redemption from their “fateful choice”.  Again God’s compassion likes and cares for his creation.  He does not strike down his creation but likes them up!

Thirdly, what mother would set these children up this way.  The nature of children is to be curious and investigating.  Touching and eating are primary senses.  We were at a museum that has a kid’s space with all kinds of creatively created objects that children were to walk around and see but not touch. My wife commented, “really they expect children to not do what is innately natural for them to do. I thought, “yes and why do we think the God who created us is not aware of the very nature that he gave us and would actually punish us for “being kid like” or “just human”.  Then additionally, why would we think that this God who knows who and how we are, would respond with a part that only slams for doing what is the most natural thing to our species.  GOD clearly responded with love and compassion.  Would not a caring mother do similarly. If indeed she chose to set the plate this way, would she not know or presume that the kids would eat.  Would she not then come in while they are eating and say:  “I totally get that you saw and are enjoying this cake regardless of what I said.  I get that if I did not want you to eat of the cake I should have put it out of your reach.  At the same time there is something I want you to learn from this:  a life lesson.  In fact that is why I did not put it out of your reach.  So here is what I want you to learn:   If you just do what you want based on what looks good or tastes good and think it is okay to do, without thinking of the effect or affect on you or others, you can miss all the pleasures and good things I have prepared for you to know, experience and grow through.  Even this one can cause you to grow.  So know I love you regardless of anything you do. Additionally, I will always be wanting you to learn something from your faltering and failures perhaps more than you would ever learn from your good choices and successes.  Life is about learning and growing “in wisdom and stature with God and fellow humanity” (sound familiar).

God in effect says:  I will never throw you out of the kitchen without preparing another kitchen from which you can eat, live, and enjoy life.  Calm out of the cold, cave of your hiding,  I have prepared sweatshirts and sweat pants for you and they will keep you warm and will forever be a symbol of my covenant of love for you regardless of anything.

Just my thoughts on the subject.

Comments welcomed!

A Friend is Someone: who is there when the rest of the world is not

Defining a friend a collection of sayings - add to it and send it to me if you like

A friend is someone you turn to.

A friend is someone you confide in.

A friend is someone who stands by you.

A friend is someone who lifts your spirits.

A friend is someone who encourages you.

A friend is someone who you treasure always, as they treasure you.

A friend is someone who makes you smile.

A friend is someone who brightens your day.

A friend may be someone you do not even know, who takes time to say hello.

A friend is someone who doesn’t take your side but is at your side.

A friend is someone who knows your heart even when they here your hurt.

A friend is someone who sets their schedule aside because caring for others is more important than schedules.

A friend is someone who sticks closer than a brother or sister or mother or father, a friend is always available to sit at your table.

 

A Message from and to A Third Grade Class, like a child can lead us

Never and always

Never stop caring about the little things of life

Never stop dreaming, and don’t give into strife.

Never stop wondering are we on our own

Never stop thinking has your spirituality grown

 

Never stop building bridges that lead to better tomorrows.

Never stop trying and do not give into sorrow

Never stop feeling amazed at the beauty that surrounds you.

Never stop hearing the music, and do not give into the blues.

 

Never stop pushing away negative thoughts that make you feel sad.

Never stop looking at all the miracles we have had.

Never stop loving the ones you hold dear.

Never stop giving in acts of love, and do not give in to fear.

 

Never stop smiling, but look forward to each new day.

Never stop shining in your own special way.

Never forget that all storms will clear.

Always remember brighter tomorrows are always near.

 

-Anonymous

 

The Hope of the world: Intentional Acts of Kindness

Not random acts of kindness but intentional spontaneous acts of goodness and kindness gives hope

The following quote from Abraham Lincoln gives old perspective on our days: “In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to us all and it often comes with bitter agony.
Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You cannot now believe that you will ever feel better. But this is not true. You are sure to be happy again. Knowing this, truly believing it will make you feel less miserable now.
I have had experience enough to make this statement”
– December 23, 1862
 
Lincoln said this in the context of a bitter war that we call the “Civil War”. There was nothing civil about it. It was barbaric. Fear, anger, hostility ruled the country. Dominance and control was seen as the only way to resolve differences. In over 150 years not much has
changed. All the humanism of the 20th century has not made us more human. All the religion and spirituality of thousands of years have not brought love and peace to the floor of our living.
 
We would rather crush our enemies on the floor than work at understanding their hatred toward us. We use religion in the same way. Superiority, egoism, being right(so we think) energizes not “love and peace the essentials of God.
 
Christians and another religious groups all play the same song. We care about you but we know you are wrong and we are right so if you just believe the way we tell you the world will be a place of love and peace. How arrogant, self-serving, antithetical, and incongruent with the Jesus who said if they are not against us they are for us”.
 
Only when we all let go of the I am right they are wrong attitude will we see others not thru a prism glass but though a clear window having first looked in the mirror and seen the beam inn our own eye.
 
AS my life comes to a close I want to commit every moment of the next one or tow or even three decades of living to sowing seeds of “love and peace” in the world so my grandchildren might inherit a better place to live and raise the children than the current world of violence and vengeance.
 
A world where acts of kindness are reported on the front page of the newspaper and the media chooses to not report the heinous and senseless acts of a few.
 
The other day my wife and I drove up to a Starbucks. There was a long line of cars waiting in the drive through. They had their cars running for air conditioned comfort, there was little space between each vehicle. As I arranged myself in my wheelchair I noticed that the path to the door was blocked by the cars. I also noticed a young man alone in his white pick up truck looking my way. He was not distracted by his focus, or his radio, or his phone but he saw me. The next thing I saw was surprising and welcomed. He backed up getting very close to the vehicle behind him. Getting the vehicle behind a little uncomfortable that had them back up getting a little more space. He had made a clear path, unobstructed to the door, for me. My wife pushed me through the parted red sea, in the teeming heat. We both were saying a loud thank you and he waved. Then suddenly I saw him jumping out of his comfortable air conditioned car in to the heat of the day, ran to the door and opened it for us. I said to him,
“Thank you, this is beyond the act of kindness of moving out of the way this is above and beyond thank you. He said it’s nothing. I said oh no this something that everyone should see. Thank you. My wife echoed the same sentiments as he went to jump back into his truck.
 
I thought “a young man in a white pick up truck”…..there is hope for our world!
 
So my experience from a wheelchair makes this statement: “Deliberate, instinctual, intentional and spontaneous acts of goodness and kindness motivate by humanism, decency, or religious teachings are the hope for the world.”

The Ten Commandments Reframed into 10 Healthy Commandments

Healthiiness Contributes to human development and not to egocentricity of framer

A new Ten Commandments for 21st century

1. Believe in one Divine Superior Being who is the creator and sustainer of all.

(This superiority is not about nor sustained by dominance and control.  A superior creator who with courage creates a world and gives that world “freedom of choice” is about integrity and responsibility. It is offered and maintained by a super pack that is not about intimidation and power over but of the power of the presence of courage, compassion, and integrity and congruity.  This creator is secure in its essence of power and its existential presence. (It is not a top to bottom pecking order of power but a bottom to top healthy development of all having equal access, practice, and preference)

2.  Practice the love your neighbor as yourself philosophy where there are no limits to those who are your neighbors!

(the espoused philosophy and theodicy of Jesus until people assumed the right to shift it to self servicing, self propagating, self delusional, self beneficence and malevolence towards others) get to know your neighbor so that what you do for your neighbor is about him her them not you!

3. Do not discriminate against anyone or anything in God’s great expanse of all created things. Embrace all with value validation and virtuality of all things

4. Do not pull up or put down any theodicy or philosophy or the lack of  such but embrace all with affirmation to and for all.

5.  Do to others, believe in others, be with others as you would want them to do, believe or be with you 

6.  Let thoughtfulness kindness gentleness goodness mercy faith love joy and peace rule in your hearts and minds and be extended from you to all of creation.

(the fruit of the spirit that need to be nurtured to offset the fruit of selfish care that can become imbalanced and develop an unintentional but ubiquitous mindset toward fragmentation and fracturing rather than balance and harmony.)

7. Enjoy your own sex life and do not interfere in the other persons manner, means and methods of sexual affirmation, expression and experience

8. Live in balance and harmony with all things and people, valuing and validating all parts while not depreciating or devaluing anyone or anything in all God’s creation. (Defying yourself by saying or implying you know truth or devaluing others by denying what they believe to be as truth are two parts of the same egoistic path.)

In the multiplicity of things: All parts are welcome, no parts are exiled.  Love and peace is what holds all and is held by all in the Universe of light and dark, good and bad, white energy and dark energy.

9. Do not covet your neighbors anything, for in so doing you let the desire to have overrule the design to be content and at peace with what you have.  (The fear of the loss of status, ground, or possession and the desire to gain control over another as a way of feeling superior is at the heart of the human delusion that power and dominance are key to healthiness when they create arrogance and greed and are anything but healthy and foster violence and vengeance not virtue and vitality.)

10. To see clearly that the world as it was in the beginning and even now and ever shall be (prophetically all and hopefully all) is to see a world of two essential attributes or characteristics namely Love and Peace.  (the extension of outward actions of love and the experience of inner peace combine to produce peace of mind and compassion of heart.)

In the beginning God (however you frame, endorse or enthrone him/her/them) created the heavens and the earth. The waters that covered the earth Genesis 1: 2 and the sea of glass Rev 22 symbolically represent peace. The creator God symbolizes the dual Qualities of Love as the courage to let it not always be about me narcissism and the capacity to let it be about both you and me with equity as superior divinity.  Divinity that is about mutual value of multiplicity of parts and a divinity that is unthreatened and invalidated by the assertions of it here’s.   World with out end is a world of love and peace in theory theodicy and practice.

The Multiplicity of the Human Mind

The Ineractivity and Interconnectivity of the brain: body, mind and spirit

The web site below identifies how exercise effects the brain and how the brain effects our propensity and practice of eattign and exrcising in healthy ways.  Healthiness is multiplicity oriented and mutually impacting mind body soul and spirit.  Every part of the brain and every part of the body are interconnected and desire integration and interactivity.

  http://www.preventdisease.com/images16/303529011.jpg

Every part of of God’s creation and every particle created are not created in isolation but in a dynamic energy of interactivity and integrative interactions.  As no man is an island so no part of the brain is disconnected or disenfranchised from a nay other part of the system.  We may be a multiplicity of parts but in the end we are a whole person with a multiplicity of parts.  When Paul the apostle said in Philippians 2, “Let this mind be in you” promotes the idea that the mind of Christ is a unified not divided, complex yet simple, profound yet often perplexing, but in the end every part is simply part of the whole.  The Greek word is “proneo” which affirms and implies a “propensity to be prone” to sacrificial, surrendered and steadfast loving.  While our human nature we are “prone to wander”, our divine nature is prone to “courage, calmness, clarity, and compassion”.

Philippians 2 suggests that the “mind of christ” “: v 2,  “having the same love, being one in the spirit, and one in mind, doing nothing out of selfish ambition, in humility value others better than yourself, not looking to your own interests but each one looking to the interests of others”.  This is the mind of Christ that 1) thinks of others not just oneself, 2)  is humble, 3) values others as better than your self, 4) surrenders selfish ambition to healthy “self-affirmation” and “self-compassion” and 5) is indivisible.  So the brain composition sends a clear message of interactivity, inter connectivity, and infusion of equally important parts regardless of size, shape, morphology, or metaphysical dimensions: all parts are important.

Run Anyway (cf. www.runanyway.org)

God is With us all always we sometimes just can't see God's presence

A year ago as I was coming out of a depressive time in my life I began to see it is not what you are given it is who you are that helps you to rise from the ashes, fly with the Phoenix bird, and “run anyway” or for all “live anyway”.  Live through it whatever it is that is what God wants us to do.  It is not that god sends stuff our way to learn that lesson but that we can choose to learn to grow in wisdom and stature.  It is about “living with whatever happens” like Paul’s “thorn in his flesh”, like Job’s “would be friends”, and like Daniel’s “rejecting the finest of beef for the tenderness of vegetables”.  I hate when people say, “God did this to draw you closer to God”.  No, God didi not do this to me.  It happened and God gives me the choice to learn and grow through it or “roll up and die or rev up my anger and become vengeful”.  The event is not God driven or directed but the event does give me a choice to look at God with anger and blame or look to God for strength: calmness, clarity, courage, and compassion in God is with me with that.

I ran my first in 1986. Received permission to present a Religious Service “for Runners by runners” began a long relationship with Fred Lebow, Grete Waitz, and NYC Marathon. I have held a “By Runners for Runners” Service (not churchy) it is “runners encouraging runners”. In 1992 I ran with Fred and Grete in Central Park. I raise money for Fred’s Team (MSK) 20+ years a Thank you for life and vision of Fred. On Father’s Day this year while walking on way to get into my car, I was struck from behind by a vehicle thrown into my car, the air, and to the road, was airlifted to Albany Med where I had surgery on a severed pelvis, fractures to the pelvis ring, et al. Today, 4 weeks later, I am out of rehab hospital, begin outpatient PT treatment next week. As Fred so often said, “running is like life you do it no matter what. He ran with cancer. Whether in a wheel chair with Achilles Runners or on crutches with the walkers, I will finish my 28th NYC Marathon this year. As a new friend who began a new association the year the marathon was cancelled (2012). I will “run anyway”. This obsessed or crazy or because I believe in the strength God gives in adversity and whatever life sends your way you can’t give into it but rise above it. So I will run inspired by Fred, empowered by God and supported by family and friends all over the world.

painespresence has internally the message that pain is present in our lives to give us opportunities to grow and develop in life and faith.

Violence produces violence, Kindness invites kindness

Religions dark side, and the True Light of Life and Faith

At least 40 people have been killed in attacks by Islamist militants in this Muslim-majority country since 2013. The attacks, mostly carried out with machetes, first targeted atheist bloggers, then religious minorities, gay activists, foreigners and others.

Hatred and violence done in the name of religion against any subsystem groups of our society are regrettable, reprehensible, in congruous with a mature and mutual respectful world view. It is an oxymoron to use the expression of “religious hatred” because the essence of true religion contained in all religious literature have to do with courage and compassion to be shown to all especially those who are outcasts, abandoned, widowed, orphaned. (James 1:12 “True Religion which our God accepts as pure and faultless is this  to love the orphans and widows and keep oneself from being defiled by the world”)

It is not religion that is the problem it is the use of religion to condone or even propel prejudice and passion falsely placed.  Religion is the celebration of meaningful truths that contribute to the healthy, mature, and mutual respectful posture of all people of all religion.  When religion promotes itself and its teachings as superior, better or worse exclusively “right” they step over the boundary of healthiness.

Jesus said, “When I return will I find faith operating on the earth”.  He did not say will I find Judaism, Christianity, etc.

Faith is operating with love and hope as the three things that Paul told us last forever!  Will people be living by faith, by works, by sight?  Faith sees what no one else sees and works that it might become a reality.  Fatih in these turbulent times (police shooting innocent people, people shooting innocent police officers, people shooting a group of gay people and their friends in a bar in Orlando, people putting booby trap bombs in parks,people shooting or driving trucks into groups of innocent people, on and on) sees a time of “love and Peace” and then works for it to come to be.

Let Faith be seen in all you do and say.

Making Sense of Nonsense

A Profile of God's Character

Genesis begins in a rather ostentatious but clear way.

“In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was without form and void and Darkness covered the “face of the deep” and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters”.

The Hebrew word translated here as “darkness” is Tehom which means chaos.  Before order came chaos.  That makes sense as even today in teh chaos of our world we seek for and desire some kind of order.  Some nations of people when in the throws of chaos will actually sacifice their freedom for anyone or anybody who can bring order intot their community.  This is why dictatorships thrive in some chaotic people zones. 

Flood stories, that are about God reasserting order out of chaos.  they occur in 217 cultures in one form or another of religious literature or storytelling.

All the earth had the same language and the same words and they used their common language and common to try to build a tower that would reach to the heavens.  Imagine someone designing a building like the twin towers in NYC before the exploration of space and before we knew about hemispheres, atmospheres, and glass ceilings.  The story says that God was disturbed by the “tower of babble” so destroyed it, and spread the people out over the earth and re organized their language pallets so they could not work together because they were unable to talk to each other.  Really.  Is this “urban legend”, “tom foolery”, “creative story telling” or an adaptive story of reality.

The story implies that a) people could build a tower high enough to get to God.  We know that is not physically or metaphysically possible.  So I presume God knew it was impossible. b) that God was threatened by what man might do as they worked together so God decided to frustrate and confound and scatter people.   This makes no sense on multiple grounds.  So what is the story.  I am not sure anyone really knows. far be it to assert than any story is true.  However, I can assert a story that for me makes sense and say this might be true or some version of it that makes no sense especially must be true.

God is secure, sound-minded, and unthreatened so what can be true here.

Humanity tried to do what it wanted to do and failed and the fall out of their failure had them disperse and as a result of their dispersion new cultures were born and with them new languages were formed.  So when the writers of the Bible recorded the vents they, true to their human nature made up a story that  put it all on gone and took no responsibility for their role in the event.  God did it all to us rather than we did something that brought on the very problems that e today are working on coping with.  Imagine that and ask yourselves how many times that is the “true story” not the folklore.

A Two Way Street

Moving to Complimentary and cooperative Understanding

I read the following paragraphs in an Op Ed in the Hew York Times.

Nicholas Kristof, in a “History of White Delusion” on July 14th after the heinous crime of senseless murder of innocent police in Dallas no less heinous than the multiple crimes against innocent black youth by not so innocent policeman. He states,

“As it happens, the trauma surgeon running the Dallas emergency room last Thursday when seven police officers were brought in with gunshot wounds is a black man, Brian Williams. He fought to save the lives of those officers and wept for those he couldn’t help. But in other contexts he dreads the police: He told The Associated Press that after one traffic stop he was stretched out spread-eagle on the hood of a police car.”

So I as a white person have a similar feeling when I fight for the rights of minorities, weep over the tragedies that threaten to break up the moral fiber of the founders of our nation, can march in solidarity for justice with my black neighbors because they are my neighbors, but in other contexts dread, or can fear the presence of a black person.  I am not sure this is prejudice in one direction but it is a statement about how prejudices are born and bourn and it includes a hint of where the problem really lies: in fear.

“Williams shows his admiration for police officers by sometimes picking up their tabs at restaurants, but he also expressed his feelings for the police this way to The Washington Post: “I support you. I defend you. I will care for you. That doesn’t mean I will not fear you.”

Really.

I was recently in the hospital and a huge african american man born in Oklahoma but nationally from Ghana (neither of which I knew as he came into my room at 7 am.  He had heard the staff talking about me and wanted to meet me.  I would be lying if I said there was no fear in me as memories of past experiences that were not so pleasant raced into my mind, but I did not let them live their lie in my response.  We began a dialogue.  We talked for over and hour right through my breakfast.  We found so much commonality so much sense of brotherhood so much communion.  We were two people sharing thoughts feelings and our lives as if the color of our skin, the heritage of our ancestors, and the prejudices of our world were unimportant and non-existent.  Is this delusion or deliberate re-elusion, re-alignment, re-attachment to humanist.  This is building a bridge in the context of our humanity.  It is not feeding fears, justifying prejudice, and pretending everything is fine.  It is a “Golden Gate Bridge to a New Dimension of Reality” that is free of prejudice by intention rather than filled with prejudice by design.  the intelligent designer of the universe created a world with a multiplicity of diversities and called it a “universe”.

That is my thought.  Here’s the authors conclusions:

 “That’s a narrative that many white Americans are oblivious to. Half of white Americans today say that discrimination against whites is as big a problem as discrimination against blacks. Really? That contradicts overwhelming research showing that blacks are more likely to be suspended from preschool, to be prosecuted for drug use, to receive longer sentences, to be discriminated against in housing, to be denied job interviews, to be rejected by doctors’ offices, to suffer bias in almost every measurable sector of daily life.”
So Please build a bridge to feed the “fear dragon” as he/she are filled with hurt, anger, vengeance all justifiable but no act of “violence of hatred” is justified as it never leads to healing or a sense of community.
Am I my brother’s caregiver, defender and friend?  Absolutely and unequivocably yes.