a closed mind February 28, 2012Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: critical foundation, critical thought, presuppositions, questions of life, tunnel vision
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the certainty of a closed mind
There are three kinds of people in this world…, those who make up their minds once & for-all about everything, and those who are so opened minded that their brains fall out. For those who come to final conclusions early in life, congratulations! The rest of your life will be a simple flow of newinformation feeding through a predisposed filter with no further consideration needed. This is truly a wonderful way to live! There are no longer variables in the questions of life, merely pre-established conclusions. For those who chose to remain open-minded on most topics, there will be a constant reconsideration of new information without a critical foundation by which to make an assessment. The wheel is spinning but the rat is dead. The third kind of people just never bother with any deeper thought than large or small fries.
Clearly, no one is singularly one or the other. [Actually, I recant that. I have met some people who have truly relinquished all critical thought; they lie in both of the aforementioned categories.] Nonetheless, it seems prudent to keep an open mind on some issues, but to construct some kind of value-screen whereby information and experiences can be measured, evaluated, (categorized?), and considered for significance and reliability.
We live in a milieu of pluralism where it is supposedly politically correct to keep your options open; to keep an open mind about things. But we also live in a mosaic of cultures where some have opted to close their minds on anything outside their immediate subcultural network. Tunnel vision would be a step to the left. These groups have been denoted as Republicans, the religious right, the evangelicals; or, if you will, Democrats, the radical left, liberals, the 1%, and even the arrogant elitist aristocracy. No matter where you find these people they all have one thing in common— they have closed their minds to any consideration of new data or any reconsideration of established presuppositions.
If I might, I’d like to come-out. I am a genuine Christian; I am not plastic, superficial, or judgmental of other faiths or philosophies; nor do I attempt to convert people to my way of believing. I leave that to God. AND I am open to the possibility that I MIGHT BE WRONG. The principles I adhere to are known as the Christian faith, by the way. I cannot prove what I believe is true. You cannot prove your presuppositional origin either.
So will you agree with me that it is time we confessed we are not as certain about things as we pretend, and open our minds to listen intently to other points of view? If we do so our beliefs will be challenged: then they will be affirmed more vigorously or drawn into a reexamination of our basic beliefs. How can we go wrong!?! Subsequent discussion over a fine glass of Shiraz preferred.
Have a nice week,
collateral damage February 22, 2012Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: casualties of war, climb up the ladder, collateral damage, moral justification
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One of the givens of war is collateral damage— the incidental destruction of property and human life not intended as part of a tactical military maneuver; also known as- the casualties of war. Each side in the conflict will report and dramatize the extent of collateral damage inflicted by the other side as if the intended targets were indeed the innocents. The propaganda and misinformation war waged alongside of the military conflict will always seek to claim moral justification for its retaliation by producing the most graphic images. The truth is
that too many innocent people are used as military shields, as propaganda tools, and, sadly, as actual targets. IF they have any military value whatsoever, they are expendable. Casualties of war.
Similarly, some of us have no idea of the collateral damage we leave in our wake. Some, to be sure, are glibly blind to the havoc they cause. They are simply stupid people who need to be confronted with their stupidity. It is those who have no issue with littering casualties along the way as long as they can achieve their personal goals that are at issue here. Why is it that some of us believe we have the right to use others, to step on them to climb one more rung up the ladder, to wound them deeply, and then to dispose of them as little more than rotting rubbish!?! And then they continue their climb up the ladder, suffering no moral or ethical pangs in what they have done.
Common decency and courtesy would seem to dictate that a simple apology containing some degree of civil or humane restitution would be in order. Yet if it remains with the abuser to put forth the contrition, to take the lower place, you may well have to provide your own snowballs in hell. Thus, just or not, it will most probably fall to you to take the lower place, and accordingly to rise to the level of bringing some reconciliation to the situation— even though you remain the collaterally damaged and discarded one . Ever heard this adage?
If you place yourself on top, there’s only one direction you can go.
If you place yourself on the bottom, there’s only one direction you can go.
Never, ever be the one who inflicts collateral damage on others!
Have a nice week,
love3 February 13, 2012Posted by needinc in emPulse.
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“How do I love thee, let me count the ways…” “Better to have loved and lost…” “I am my beloveds, and my beloved is mine.” ”She walks in beauty like the night…” To presume to pen any original inspiration on the issue of love is, at a profound level, most audacious; at a fool-hearty level it is at least impudent. Not to write at all is to relinquish earnest passion and attentive consideration to the past. I, for one, am not disposed to do that just yet. For love has roused anew in our progeny from ancient times and will do so long after we have crossed that sacred line of our lives.
Though there are endless examples of verse, song, physical expression, psychological and/or chemical analysis of love, it remains one of the rare universals that bind our race together. Nations have gone to war for the love of a woman; they have also gone to war over betrayal of love. One world renowned counselor/educator, Dr. Gary Chapman has even identified The 5 Love Languages.
Affirmation through Words
Acts of Service
[You can decide where taking-out-the-trash, changing-juicy-poopy-diapers, and cleaning-the-cat-litter-box go.]
There are at least three shapes of love that must be woven together for any kind of love to remain stable— love3, or, love cubed.
1. Feeling— Being drawn to the other; whether by a boy, a girl, a car, a dress, a beautiful island, or a life purpose. Your heart is stirred, your passions aroused, and feelings stirred.
2. Action— Whatever the object of your affection, you want to do something to show your love. If between a man & a woman, flowers and dinner; something to demonstrate your interest in them as a person. If a car, wax it, detail it— to the polishing of the wheel-wells. To aspire to achieve your life’s purpose is to focus your energies (& actions) toward that end. This is genuine love— feeling in action!
3. Commitment— But Feeling & Action are not enough. There must be Commitment for the first two to stand the tests of time. You must ask yourself, How committed are you to this person? For better or for worse, in sickness & in health, ‘till death do us part? How long will I hang on to this old clunker? How serious am I about achieving my goals and making a difference in this world?
There is a short poem in the Hebrew Psalms (15) that asks a question— Who may stand on God’s Holy Hill, in His Temple, before His face? One of the answers it gives is, He who swears to his own hurt and does not change. He keeps his word and follows through. Good advice for any lover these days, eh!?! Love3.
Have a nice week,
that’s not your story February 9, 2012Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: c s lewis, discontent, miserable life
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In C.S. Lewis’ children’s book, The Horse and His Boy, there is an exchange between Aslan, the Lion-God of a mythical (?) land called Narnia, and Shasta, wherein Aslan reveals some of the things he has done. Shasta is stunned and asks, “But what for?” (seeking inside information about his friend Aravis.) “Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”(p.147)
Stories. We all have them; each one of us. Each story is unlike any other; each one of us different from any other. There may be touch-points, similarities, or surprise commonalities, but we each are still unique. So why is it that we are persistently trying to write or live someone else’s story?!? How do we become so discontent with our story?
Could it be a sense of failure, of never being good enough (for your father or mother); maybe we fear our reality and want to be in someone else’s reality. Or could it be envy— that we want what someone else has and think we deserve it more? Of course, if we are living a miserable life, in a deplorable job, in a dead-end, abusive or bland relationship, almost anyone else’s life would seem more desirable. When we are young we want a story that is epic, heroic, and exciting. Most of us live far less adventurous existences. Nonetheless, far too many of us, for whatever reasons, lust after a life we do not have; we yearn for a story written for another.
Some of us want to participate in the Grand Story—the Metanarrative. Today, the more common opinion issuing from postChristian oracles is, “There is NO Grand Story! So forget it. Go ahead. Write your own story! Other people’s stories be damned. Steal them if you want!” Not unexpectedly, the more we usurp other people’s stories, the more convoluted and confused we become. We become actors in a theatre, playing which ever role suits us for the moment. But these are not our stories; they are only playacting. Conversely, if we do not return to our story, over time, we will lose sight of how it was meant to be written.
So, what IS your Story? Do you know it? How’s the writing going? Your story is yours, uniquely. But are you also allowing room for other story-writers to place their stories beside yours? Please, for your sake, make sure you read their stories; it will deepen your comprehension of your own story if you do. You will also come to appreciate your place in God’s creation-story far better if you do.
Keep in mind that you are not the only writer in your story. On one level, there are many contributing authors who influence your writing from the side— kids, encouragers, detractors, other visionaries, even those who exacerbate you. Yet on another level, you are also a contributing author to a much bigger Story.
Write sagaciously…, and with vigor!
Have a nice week,
no name, exit 119 February 2, 2012Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: career shifts, exit sign, glorious surroundings, hard stuff, single soul
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no name, exit 119
Driving West on I-70 through the Rocky Mountains in the state of Colorado you would eventually be distracted from the glorious surroundings by Exit sign 119. It reads simply “No Name…, ½ mile.” The first time I saw it I was convinced it was a very sophisticated college joke. My son assured me it was no joke. He explained it was named after No Name Creek, now with a population of 123. When my curiosity finally got the best of me a couple years later I exited Exit 119 to see what was there.
I never saw a single soul.
Life is often described as a journey. It has many curves & dead ends; we all have accidents of one kind or another along the way. The journey holds good times too; vacations-to-remember, great relationships, weddings, births, and many, many celebrations. Hard times too. That’s just life. When our son turned 18 he informed us “I’m 18 now and life should be the way I want it to be.” I replied, “Good luck with that.” He knows better now, as do we all.
Yet I wonder, as do you if you’re honest, about those No Name exits. The exits you never took; the lane changes, the career shifts, risks avoided, relationships never nurtured. The what if’s. How might things have altered had you made one decision differently? How might an outcome changed had you apologized, admitted you were wrong, or insisted on doing the right, honorable thing? We all wish we could change some things in our past. WE CANNOT. But…, we can change the future!
Some of us will need to avoid exiting our current life’s journey: we get off track to easily. Other of us will need to take a couple no name exits to rest, to breathe more regularly to regain our life’s heart-beat. Too many of us take no name exits either because we refuse to believe we can handle the hard stuff, or because we do not want to face the road ahead. Bad moves, both. And others are barreling ahead at such a velocity that any course correction, no matter how slight, could wind up being catastrophic.
So I admonish you, take heed to the direction of your life journey. Too fast? Too slow? Too fearful? Too self-assured? Some No Name Exits may be just what you need. Or, maybe not.
And please, for Christ’s sake (literally: and for yours), don’t be afraid to ask for directions!
Have a nice week,