“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Gandhi September 27, 2010Posted by needinc in emPulse.
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EmPulse for Week of September 27, 2010
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, [2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948], educated at the University College London, Gandhi left London immediately after finishing his exams, the day after he was called to the High Court (12 October 1891). He became the pre-eminent political and spiritual leader of India during the Indian independence movement. He pioneered satyagraha— literally “Soul Force,” nonviolent/passive resistance to government suppression. Through this, he won India’s self-determination from British rule & domination. As a practitioner of ahimsa, Gandhi swore to speak the truth and advocated that others do the same.
During Gandhi’s second year in England, two English brothers asked him to study the Bhagavad Gita, a part of the sacred Hindu scriptures, with them. Written several hundred years before Christ was born, the Gita is a dialogue between the Hindu god Krishna and Arjuna, a warrior about to go into battle. It glorifies action, renunciation, and worldly detachment, and its message seared Gandhi’s soul.
At about the same time he was searching through the Gita, a Christian friend persuaded Gandhi to read the Bible. The Old Testament set him dozing, but the New Testament, particularly Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, evoked a spiritual recognition. “Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man take away thy coat let him have thy cloak too.” The seeds of Gandhi’s philosophy of renunciation and nonviolence were thus planted almost simultaneously by sacred Hindu and Christian texts. [http://www.progress.org/gandhi/gandhi02.htm]
It is amazing what influences us as we formulate the principles that will guide our lives. Most of us do it when we are in our late teens through our mid-twenties; others, much later. For many of us our life-principles grow out of some incredible life-experience— a tragic event, a betrayal, or a great accomplishment, like conquering a 14,000’+ mountain. Whatever the event it changes our perspective on life from that point on. We see things differently: we become something other than who we were. For Gandhi, it was his search for meaning. For me, it was a confrontation with Jesus Christ, late one night (3:00 a.m. to be precise) in New York City. It is different for all of us.
That is, if you are even trying to live by some over-arching life-principle. Purveyors of the postmodern mindset tell us that the only absolute truth is that there are no absolute truths. Which, in the real world, leads to self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing, personal and cultural arrogance. For the long haul, in families, in businesses, social networks, and especially in the sciences, postmodernism’s presupposition fails miserably. But, what does work? (… always the pragmatist.)
Do we join the masses and go along with group-belief? Not possible: there are too many large masses that believe quite different things about reality. Or should we strike out on our own and construct a belief system that works for us…, forget everybody else! Back to personal arrogance. No, we need to carefully consider why we are in whatever life situation we find ourselves and not in some other. What do I need to do to make a difference HERE?
In truth, Gandhi was right on the mark— we do need to be the change we wish to see in this world. It starts with me, personally; with all of us. In my faith, I try to follow the axiom the Apostle James laid down in his letter; chapter 1 verse 27—
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Gandhi would have done well to have kept on reading.
Have a nice week.
flying September 21, 2010Posted by needinc in emPulse.
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EmPulse for Week of September 20, 2010
Wouldn’t it be great if we could fly?! When I was maybe 7 or 8 I used to tie a blanket around my neck, pretend I was Superman, and jump off my neighbor’s second story porch. Hoping…, always hoping; maybe next time; if I concentrate r-e-a-l hard. No, I never broke anything; I did limp a lot though. I didn’t care: I really wanted to FLY !
Putting aside all the philosophical/theological discourse that might ensue from a personal desire to be superman, it would still be great to fly. Simply to walk outside and gently lift off, in full control of your body, directing it to move this way or that. Imagine! Not for everybody, though; just for a select few. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be that special. And think of the rush hour gridlock; people coming at you from every which-way. At any rate, capes are still cool!
When it comes to our lives most of us still want to FLY. We want to matter, to make a difference, to be successful. No one starts out dreaming of being a loser, a failure, a nobody; that’s beat into us by other people. Some of us actually listen to them and come to believe it. Some of us rise above the negativity and fight back; we overcome the naysayers with a spirit of positive energy & drive. We get to FLY! [Why do some people become failures, down-&-outers, victims, and lose their dreams, and others don’t? Another time, another time.]
Of course, flying…, just stepping outside and taking off, doesn’t seem to be in my near future, and most likely not yours either. If we want to fly we use airplanes, pay extra for our bags (God bless Southwest), and then take off. Boeings, Learjets, McDonald-Douglas, Airbus, and the rest all have at least two things in common— a lot of forethought & design work, and a lot of maintenance. Were it otherwise most of us would be averse to flying altogether. The first flyers, Orville & Wilbur, were truly out of their minds; but they did it anyway.
It’s the same with us. If we truly want to FLY in life, to take off and make a difference, we have to be a little out of our minds: but we also have to put in the time on forethought, design, & definitely on life-maintenance. To neglect these time & effort consuming endeavors is to assure the probability of a crash ‘n burn. So take heed, lest you jump off a second story porch without a well designed cape…, which, in a pinch, I guess, could double as a parachute. Or, for those of us who are less visual—
1. THINK. Think some more. Keep thinking, whether ½ day of ½ a year. Then commit! There comes a time when thinking just gets in the way of action. FLYI
2. Listen to the advice of friends, experts, those who have gone before. But remember where the buck stops.
3. Refine, adjust, add, delete, modify, scrap— whatever you need to do to stay in the air.
4. Remember to sacrifice for others; it will lighten your flight and keep things in perspective.
5. More ideas- ___________________________________________ (Your turn! Write me.)
Have a nice week.
flirting September 15, 2010Posted by needinc in emPulse.
EmPulse for Week of September 13, 2010
Do you really want to go there? The eyes…, the smile…, the delicate drop of the head? It feels great, but it could be trouble. Real trouble. You’re attracted, yes. But is it worth it? If you’re 14, or 16, or 18-21, sure it is! If you’re over 30, or married, or divorced, well, it’s a little more “complicated,” isn’t it!? Maybe you should rethink this move.
The fact is we all flirt with the edge every day; we trifle within a fantasy life— get the girl, get the promotion, buy that Jaguar, or, man, those great shoes! Day dreams on the edge of a bad idea. Expensive imaginings drawing us, ever drawing us to pretend a life we do not lead. Don’t get me wrong, dreaming is great! Art, science, creativity, and exuberance for life all flow from within our inner playgrounds. I still dream of standing on top of Mt Everest, of driving that Jaguar XJL, of guiding people to discover who they are and who they need to become, of building that sprawling log lodge in the Tetons & providing our society’s leadership with some rest, reflection, and godly insight; I dream about growing old with my wife (but not too old), of taking my grandchildren on their first climb up Long’s Peak in Colorado (and, yes, the Wall). I dream…, therefore I am.
All of our dreams and aspirations can come crashing down around us if we persist in flirting— flirting at the edge of personal disaster, professional corruption, moral compromise, or spiritual negligence. Flirting may be a wonderful game in our youth but it is a matter of serious consequence as we mature (or not). The genuinely mature individual takes responsibility not only for his actions, but for his heart’s desires as well. Sure, she may be pretty; sure, my husband will never know. I’m only going to do it this once. Don’t kid yourself. Moral, professional, spiritual integrity does not compromise itself; rather, it struggles daily to gain even small victories, to overcome flirtatious abandon with confident integrity. We are on a expedition, in this life, seeking to discover a successful route between putting ourselves first, and putting others before us; anything else will lead, eventually, to inhuman debauchery.
Does all this sound like a warning of impending peril? It is. For, on the one hand, we often take ourselves too seriously and thus take every occasion to stretch society’s rules and regulations that hem us in. On the other hand, we toy with God’s principles for living wisely and safely in this universe and thus flirt with our own demise. To play this game, in either direction, will ultimately compromise us as disreputable human beings.
Flirtation in our youth is a wonderful, fanciful past-time; flirtation with life is a double edged sword. You are going to get cut—deeply.
So, continue to dream, imagine, and scheme wondrous adventures and what ifs. Not to dream is to die. Fantasy can become reality…, as long as it plays by the principles (yea, verily, not guidelines) that God the Creator has deliberately designed for our protection and prosperity, for our safety and successes, for our relationships and our resolutions to differences as we inhabit this world of His.
Have a nice week.
lemmings September 10, 2010Posted by needinc in emPulse.
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Lemmings are small rodents, usually found in or near the Arctic, in tundra biomes. Lemmings weigh from 1.1 to 4.0 oz. and are about 2.8” to 5.9” long. They generally have long, soft fur, and very short tails. They are herbivorous, feeding mostly on leaves and shoots, grasses, and sedges in particular, but also on roots and bulbs. Lemmings do not hibernate through the harsh northern winters. Misconceptions about lemmings go back many centuries. In the 1530s, the geographer Zeigler of Strasbourg proposed the theory that the creatures fell out of the sky during stormy weather and then died suddenly when the grass grew in spring. This myth was refuted by the natural historian Ole Worm, who accepted that the lemmings could fall out of the sky but that they had been brought over by the wind rather than created by spontaneous generation.
Lemmings became notorious in popular culture because of a myth that they commit mass suicide when they migrate. Driven by strong biological urges, some species of lemmings may migrate in large groups when population density becomes too great; but Lemmings swim quite well and may choose to cross a body of water in search of a new habitat. In such cases, some may drown. This fact combined with the unexplained fluctuations in the population of Norwegian Lemmings gave rise to the development of the mass suicide myth, which we now know just isn’t so. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemming]
People will believe what they want to believe, no matter the reality. When masses of people believe in something it becomes more difficult to contest their position. Yet the reality is that we all conform to mass behavior patterns of one sort or another. It’s a natural part of the enculturation process. For things to work smoothly in a culture, a business, a family or an army, various degrees of conformity must be sanctioned by all. Not to do so would result in conflict & chaos. But every culture, nation, family etc. needs some individuals, who do not accept what is, to step outside of the pack, and dream what is to come. Then there are a select few, paradigm pioneers we call them, who make it happen. They envision a future for the rest of us; they forge pathways through thick confusion and a seemingly deadlocked worldwide quagmire.
Some are inventors, who bring us mobile phones, iPads, secure Internet connections, new sources of renewable energy or intelligent diplomacy to end the misery of third world hunger. Others are spiritual leaders who make a major difference in their respective cultures— Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi, Mother Teresa (born Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu), William Wilberforce, Nee Shu- Nee Tsu (Watchman Nee), William & Catherine Booth, Isabella Baumfree (Sojourner Truth). Still others are behind the scenes, #2s, VPs, COOs, making sure the wheels of industry and commerce turn smoothly. And still another category we might describe simply as lovers; people whose love motivates, inspires, and sustains the efforts of so many. We know them as mothers, fathers, mentors, a band of brothers, comrades in arms, confidantes, friends, etc.
Ask yourself these three questions—
1. Do you compromise your life-principles to run with the majority, to be “like everybody else?”
2. Are you fulfilling your design to be different, possibly a paradigm pioneer, leading the rest of us?
3. What are you inventing? Who are you leading, spiritually? Who knows you love them?
Lemmings are such common creatures, with almost predictable behavior patterns. Who knows…, that may be your role in life— to keep the wheels of industry, of society running smoothly. But if you’ve been designed to think outside the box, to initiate rather than re-create, to forge new frontiers of science, medicine, technology, or even loving relationships, then you had better step up to the plate and take a shot. So help you God! (And you will need all the help you can get!)
Have a nice week.
terrible truth September 1, 2010Posted by needinc in emPulse.
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EmPulse for Week of August 30, 2010
Truth has many interpretations…, or so we’re been led to believe. It’s a matter of perspective. Say some. Truthiness, touts Stephen Colbert. Truth is divine Revelation found in Scripture, the Koran, the Bible…, or, truth is what you make it. It’s all relative, relatively speaking. Whatever your perspective on Truth, or truth, if you prefer, one thing is clear— we all want Truth to be something with which we are comfortable. Good truth, happy truth, encouraging truth, truth lite. If there must be bad truth, let it be about somebody else, their bad, their rotten situation, their tragedy…, not mine!
This is the reason many Christians have veered away from talking about hell, the final judgment, even people’s sin against a Holy God. It makes people uncomfortable. Let God deal with it; it’s His problem that we’re in this mess anyway. If God were all loving and all forgiving we wouldn’t have this problem. We could live with His Truth as well as ours and there would be no conflict. Besides, who’s to say there’s anything like “ultimate” Truth anyway. Truth is individually and culturally determined.
Ah, if it were only so; but it is not. There are terrible Truths in this reality of ours that cannot be averted— Suffering exists, war, personal pain & loss, disappointment, betrayal, deceit in business and love, murder of the innocents, etc. Albert Einstein was once asked by a reporter “What in your opinion is the most important question facing humanity today?” Einstein replied, “Is the universe a friendly place?” I believe most civil human beings would like it to be. Some of us pretend that all is rosy, bright, and simple; we endeavor to live in that reality (fanciful as it might be) as much as possible. Disaster strikes this type of person and leaves life endangering scars that often compound the delusion to the breaking point.
So wonder with me for a few moments on some of the Terrible Truths we all live with, like it or not.
- God is not exclusively all loving and all forgiving. He is also the Lord God Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of life, and Judge; He will judge us all according to how we have lived & treated others, especially His son, Jesus.
- We live in an unfriendly universe; it is not a neutral place. Einstein is right.
- NO ONE gets to redefine Truth/truth in their own terms. It stands independently, outside of human control, be it scientific, natural, or spiritual. We merely uncover it and learn of its further effects on us.
- The buck stops with each one of us to make a difference. If we shirk off our role in society, the family, or the world, we become part of the problem and are no longer contributing to a solution. Absolutely, our bad.
- We can choose to live honorably before God and man; or, we can choose to live as if the world exists for us to suck dry of all it holds. This is beyond a doubt, truly dishonorable living.
- All actions have consequences, good and bad. We should not think we can get away with our sinful actions, against God or other people.
- There is freedom and forgiveness to be found in Jesus Christ; but we do not receive it automatically, just for living, just for doing a few good things along the way. It can only be acquired through contrition and repentance before the Holy God who made us all.
Have a nice week.