Kosher Bacon October 2, 2013Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: atheist, bacon, beliefs, christian, clarity, honesty, jewish, muslim, oxymoron
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This is a strange world.
When Boneless Spiral Ham is marketed as Delicious for Chanukah something is seriously out of kilter. “What’s next?!? Kosher Bacon!?!” Some things just don’t work. They don’t go together.
They’re termed—Oxymoron’s. Amicable divorce, act naturally, authentic reproduction, and the like. Grammatically, they make no sense, except as a play on words or a jest. But in the world of flesh & blood, when things don’t go together there can be serious consequences. For example, making a commitment, while never intending to honor it; whether it be a diet plan, a marriage, an employment requirement, or a peace treaty, breaking commitments is a serious breach of trust.
Business practices are not always complimentary: some are so oppositional that even the business ethic is transgressed. It is the same for systems of government, philosophies of life, and personal value practices; unless there is a clear understanding and coherence to a singular set of standards there will be compromise, corruption, and constant confrontation from divergent perspectives.
It is most likely that some Jews do eat kosher bacon, whatever that is. But they have compromised something to do so. All of us make compromises to make things work together for the common good. But is it worth it to compromise our basic values and beliefs “for the common good?” None of us should hold a principle which we consider good and right, and then shade is as if it were not so good, not so right.
If you are Jewish, then be Jewish; if you are Muslim, then be Muslim; if you are Christian, then be Christian; if you are an atheist, then be an atheist. Know what you believe and have reasons for it. If you do not know what you believe, but merely adhere to the general faith of the thing, well, maybe it’s time you did some review of what you say you hold so dearly as true.
[Note: there was no EMPulse for 09/23/2013 because it was my birthday & I didn’t feel like writing one.]
For what it’s worth,
Prophet… September 16, 2013Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: advisers, advisors, Jesus, prophet, TheChristianLeft, tipping point
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Prophet, do you have something to say that is compatible with life?
Most of us arrive at various tipping points in our lives where it is time for us to change, time for a shift in who we are and how we live. We need to re-think everything about ourselves, from the kind of work we do, to our relationships, to our life perspectives. Or at least we should. We need to ask ourselves some very basic questions about life—
1. What am I all about?
2. Is this what I want to be about?
3. Well, if not this, then what?
4. Then, what do I need to do to get started?
It is at these tipping points when we most need the perspective and insights of others. It is also at these points in life when we are most vulnerable to the most persuasive voices. There are men and women among us with prophetic voices that are able to guide us along a healthy path to fulfill our journey with meaning and a sense of completion.
But there are also false prophets who just want a following; they claim to have an edge on the truth, special insights into your life that you should follow. They can be health guru’s, business advisors, life coaches, spiritual advisors, or simply good drinking buddies you listen to…, 8 beers in. Really!?!
How do you determine if your particular brand of prophet, or consultant, counselor, advisor, knows what they are talking about?
1. Listen carefully; then get a second, or third, or fourth opinion.
2. Scrutinize their lives to discover if they are taking their own advice, living by their own principles.
3. To what extent are they considering the risks you will be taking based on their advice?
4. To what extent are they coming alongside you? To what extent sending you out on your own?
Finding a voice to trust is no simple matter. It involves a good bit of trial and error—especially error. In my formative days I played with the Bible with some degree of philosophical skepticism and child-like disbelief. The whole thing seemed no more than fanciful stories. Except for the stories of Jesus—his stories seemed compatible with life the way I saw it around me. His stories seemed to fit life; my life. Thus, my conversion to the Christian faith was prompted more by philosophical investigation than anything else.
If Jesus were asked then, or now, “Prophet, do you have anything to say that is compatible with life?” he would more than likely not answer. Rather, he would continue teaching the principles God had sent him here to teach and live a life that backed up his claims, leaving his credibility to our discretion.
For what it’s worth,
culturally incurious September 12, 2013Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: change, Christian left, current-events, selfishness, society
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A great friend of mine, and mastermind in all aspects of world-cultural history, once described a group of Christians as culturally incurious. An odd but insightful comment to be sure, but one that he would not make lightly; though much of his brilliance rolled off his tongue the way most of us would drool for pizza.
How many of us are culturally incurious? What we don’t know we don’t want to know: our world is fine the way it is. “Don’t bother me with more information I don’t want to think about. I don’t want my perception of the world challenged or changed. Leave me alone!”
For some people the deepest thinking they ever do is the decision to buy a truck or a cross-over, to watch NCIS or CSI: Miami. They are culturally incurious. If anyone challenges them that they might need a world view or a life philosophy they simply dismiss it as either not necessary to their nice little packaged life or too much work.
Why have so many of us, especially genuine Christians, lost most interest in the world around us? Why has our curiosity dissolved to little more than sound-bite news clips on TV?
Maybe we’re too pressured with our own problems. Maybe we believe that government should sort through this massive mess—it’s just too big for us to make a difference. Maybe we’re on information overload and refuse to handle even one more thought!
Whatever the reason, too many of us (genuine Christians) seem too content to attend church, tithe 2% off our net income, provide for our families, and strive to be as stress-free and as comfortable as possible the rest of the time.
What has happened to us?!? How about it, folks, can we make a difference in people’s lives around us? Can we support movements, organizations, political lobbies, and missions that are active change agents in our world? Sometimes I wonder if we have more of an interest in getting our bodies in shape that in getting our world in shape.
Life is messy: get used to it. Life is dirty: learn to build castles out of dirt. Life is painful: learn to celebrate in the midst of the pain. Life is hard: toughen up!
But, you say, I’m pretty beaten down, broken, and have little hope for the future. Don’t you know that our God wants to lift you out of the pain and mire and hold you in His arms? Why don’t you let Him do His job? And then go out and make a difference in our world!
daily duty September 3, 2013Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: busy, daily, duty, enjoy life, rat race, tasks, work
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We are busy beyond belief. Between work, extra work, after work meetings, taking work home, it just feels never ending. Add to that the daily chauffeuring of the kids to this sport or that activity, preparing meals, cleaning, cleaning again, laundry, keeping the car(s) in working order, constantly paying bills and it gets overwhelming after a while. Nonetheless, there are some things which have to be attended to on a daily or weekly basis which no one else can do but YOU. Congratulations! You are just like the majority of the human race. You have responsibilities.
It could be worse: you could have nothing to do; just sit around and while away your millions on this, that, or the other thing. So fulfilling!?! Maybe you could become a philanthropist, investing in the future of our nation’s prodigies. Or curb the plight of the world’s hungry.
For the rest of us, we have to work, and work hard, if we’re to make a living. The trick is to find a way of enjoying what we’re doing. Whether manual laborer or corporate executive, the work is hard, and it is not going to get any easier; that’s our culture. So finding a way to make our daily duties more pleasurable is extremely vital.
1. If your job is tedious, boring and monotonous (been there, done that), find an avocation that lights you up! Like sky-diving, or roller derby, or hiking…, even reading. Or try the theatre—you, an actor!
2. If your job demands extra energy from you, consider a separation on a weekly basis— a massage, a bike ride, an evening with friends who are similarly exhausted. S-e-p-a-r-a-t-e!
3. Maybe you are in a start-up venture, or in middle management. Either way the buck stops with you and you’ll get it from both ends, top & bottom. Get used to it. There will ALWAYS be too much work to get done. Oddly, walk away…, or you will succumb to the depression of being married to your work.
4. Delegate— especially laundry, dishes, and car washes. AND form a team of fellows at work who will help you divvy up the tasks to accomplish them more efficiently.
5. Finally, (and I am sure there are many more ideas out there), please remember that you cannot get it all done in one 26 hour day. Utilize every resource you have, trust people and let go. If you don’t, your daily duties will bring about your demise.
Turning out the light now,
Does anyone know of any books on the 11t August 28, 2013Posted by needinc in emPulse.
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Does anyone know of any books on the 11th century? I’ve read on–WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE IN THE YEAR 1000. Very story-like in it’s telling. Based on the Julius Work Calendar, it invited the reader into the warp ‘n woof of the daily patters of folk in that time period. let’s just say that the Danes held an intriguing place in the advancement of the Christian faith as they bashed in the heads of the Brits.
male pregnancy August 27, 2013Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: adversities, god designed, male pregnancy, women
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Women are amazing creatures! They run households (40 hrs. a week), DO lift heavy things, manage finances, prepare meals ‘round the clock, work at meaningful jobs (40 hrs. a week), carry children in their bellies for an eternity (or 9 months), and then raise them after they are born (24/7, 365 days a year, 18-35 years).
Then there are men. We work at meaningful jobs (50-60 hrs. a week), providing safety for our families; we lift heavy things (producing hernias), spend money serendipitously (We have a budget?), rarely prepare meals (unless you are our son Josh, who is a chef), we would NEVER carry a child in our gut, and need to spend more time raising them once they’re born (ask any mother). Did I mention diapers… ?
But what if…?
Consider the adversities a man would face if any of us (God forbid) were pregnant.
- We could not play golf because we wouldn’t be able to see the ball.
- We would have to give up coffee due to morning sickness.
- Our voices would change pitch because of hormonal changes.
- We would have to cut down on beer to make room for the baby.
- Sliding in and out of cars would become a chore. O, never mind; it already is.
- Getting comfortable in bed would become a distant memory.
- So would sleep.
- Back pain would quadruple.
- No aspirin; no Alka-Seltzer; no laxatives—even though you feel like you are the model caricature for constipation.
- Then, there are the joys of giving birth. Not going there, guys!
Every life-form on this planet has a place in the grand scheme of things; humans especially. (With mosquitoes, I take issue). To be sure, there are exceptions and deformations (The Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick 1862-1890, is an extreme example). This realm is a vast, complex eco-system and that the God of the universe has arranged to work in a symbiotic relationship for the common good. Thanks to modern technologies we are daily discovering more of our life’s intricacies as we journey on.
Please, don’t try to mess up what God has designed. Especially if there is a danger of me getting pregnant!
So, Kudos to God our Creator; and to every woman everywhere, thank you,
nobody August 19, 2013Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: introverted, invisible, isolation, safety
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When I walk into a room no one notices. Standing among a group of people maybe one of them asks me a courteous, inconsequential question. If I sit down I melt into oblivion. No one notices. When I get up to leave no one stops me. I am gone. And no one notices my absence.
I own a cell phone—but no one ever calls; sometimes, not even to return my call. I post a message on Facebook, or Twitter. No comments.
Where I work I have reconstructed some of our procedures to be more efficient. Someone else took the credit and was never questioned. Of course, I never spoke up about it to anyone.
When it comes to deep relationships with men, or women…, well—same story. No one wants to know me. So I withdraw deeper into my isolation and tell myself this is normal for some people. I know I am lying.
I am nobody.
Too many of us suffer from a form of isolationism that deepens with the years. Sometimes that self-seclusion is learned through the berating and rejection of others: sometimes it is self-imposed. Throughout my own youth I was constantly told I wouldn’t amount to anything. For a time, I simply accepted it. When I grew up it was an astonishing revelation that I could actually accomplish some things of significance. People who knew me were surprised; so was I.
It is true, “Ships are safe within the harbor; but that’s not what ships are built for.” You have been created by God to make a difference during your time on this earth. Have you discovered what it is? I encourage you to try something new, anything; although, if you have bad luck, sky-diving should not be the first venture. Eat new foods, get lost on a country road (er, with a GPS device nearby), read outside your normal purview; try sports (maybe not Rugby). You have not been designed to hide your life under a soggy cloud.
Now get up, get out of bed, and try to make someone else’s day! You are not nobody. Live with it.
For what it’s worth,
Energy August 12, 2013Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: chaos, energy, exercise, human body, life, push yourself
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One of the greatest challenges to Evolutionary Theory is the teenager’s room. Left on its own, it will degenerate into chaos so fast it will utterly baffle you! The same is true of the human body; left alone it will not naturally evolve into Jessica Alba; it will decay into something that more resembles me (no pictures, please).
Like a farmer’s field, a great metropolis, or finely tuned Bugatti, the human body needs the proper infrastructure, nourishment, and discipline to prevent it from devolving into total couch-potatodom. Sure, a lot of our body type has to do with our genes; but it is probably more a matter of no longer even caring enough to fit into our jeans. We get lazy, eat convenience-foods, comfort-foods, and just plain junk. We lack the discipline to push our bodies to maintain the physical stamina they need to keep in balance.
A Question- Where do you get your energy? If it is from the food you eat, it is more than likely that it is time for some serious modification. To get your body functioning at a healthy level you need to eat right. Then…, there is exercise. Turn off that TV. Shut down that Laptop. Get up off your a## and move! If you never move, you will never need energy [no movement = no energy = fat build-up.] Duh.
As months and years pass you will need to become more intentional about grabbing all the energy you can; mostly because your propensity to not move will be on the increase. [less energy = less life.]
This same principle runs throughout every aspect of our lives-emotional, spiritual, relational, or professional. Unless we are consistently endeavoring to feed our soul, as it were, we will falter and stumble in every arena. Feed the body-right foods. Feed the emotions-balance receiving and giving. Feed the spiritual part of your life-feed your soul through prayer, meditation, and Scripture readings, study. Feed your relationships-nurture closer friendships; put something into them; even make new friends (at any age). They do not just happen. Feed your professional life-think creatively about your work and how you can make it more pleasurable and more productive.
If you find yourself energy-less you need to UpGrade your way of life: put a bit more kick into your step, push yourself just a little further. Never rust on your laurels. No matter where you find yourself along in your life’s journey, there is nothing like punching that turbo button and launching yourself into overdrive. Unless you are on your death-bed you have no one to blame but yourself.
For what it’s worth,
The Gettysburg Address August 9, 2013Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: commitments, courage, human-rights, Lincoln, responsibility, sacrifice, slavery, society
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The Gettysburg Address
It is likely that a majority of Americans recognize Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It is just as likely that less than 10% of those know of it have even read it. Even less probable is, of those who have read it, few understand it. For it requires a knowledge of the Bible, European history, American history, and the political arena of the era.
But it also demands a firsthand knowledge of courage, sacrifice, and commitment. So, please, read what follows with an appreciation of the tasks to which Lincoln summoned us.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
November 19, 1863
In these days of self- asserting significance and the pursuit of happiness (read $$$) above all else, we have become a people who, by in large, neglect our God given responsibility to the principles of democracy, diversity within plurality, and the protection of those with whom we differ. We each have a voice; let us speak out. We each have hands; let us work for the betterment of others. We each have a mind; never cease to use it.For what it’s worth,
Pocket Watch July 23, 2013Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: openness, punctuality, timing, timing is everything, timingis everything, tmining, watch
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It was almost 35 years ago that my father died. If you’ve lost a parent, no matter how recent or in distant memory, you know how you never quite lose those special moments you had with them. Recently, I came across my father’s pocket watch, a Waltham. It had been given to him by his father. Now I have it. And it still works.
Pocket watches were used to time everything in their day; but mostly for determining train departures and arrivals in the rail industry. Their accuracy was extremely important. If a train left the station or yard too early if could find itself on a collision course with another train coming in on the same track.
Timing is just as critical in our technological era. From picking up the kids from daycare, to traffic signals, to being on time for a flight, to space craft launches, TIMING is critical.
Timing is critical in relationships as well. Simple Punctuality is a sign of respect. Knowing when to speak, and when not to, is a sign of wisdom & intuition. Words spoken are difficult to retract; some people remember things said to them all their lives. Some forgive; some do not.
Being truthful is a necessity in conversations. You never want to be caught in a lie, or a half-truth. End of credibility. But timing is critical when considering the difference between HONESTY and OPENNESS. Honesty should be required to direct questions. Openness is more a matter of perception, timing, and sensibility. For example, frank, honest discussion within a relationship is always good for the soul and for all those involved. Openness, laying out all your concerns on another in one single exchange, may be too much for them to bear.
Consider the import and ramifications of your words. What effect might your openness have on the other person? Are they at a good place to accept them, to ponder your perspective?
This is a kind of timing that is unavailable on the face of a pocket watch, or any other timepiece, for that matter. But it is an art we would all do well to learn.
Someone has said, “There is enough time in each day to do all God has assigned you.” So use your time wisely. Use your words wisely too. Timing is everything.
For what it’s worth,