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Troubled November 10, 2014

Posted by needinc in emPulse, Journey, Perspectives, Rejuvination, Wisdom.
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Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Troubled, Crisis, Troubles, despairWhat troubles you? Money? Family? Relatives? Competition at Work? Feelings of failure? Emptiness? Mistrust? The list goes on. There are so many things that can get under our skin and irritate us without let-up. Some of us live our entire lives in frustration, crisis mode, turmoil. Nothing is ever settled. Nothing ever seems to work out. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) put it best—

Double, double toil and trouble;

 Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

~Macbeth

            In life, troubles will come; that’s a given. The issue is how we face them when they do come. Some people ignore their troubles, believing if they don’t address them they will go away. They won’t. Others put their troubles out of their mind, pretending they don’t exist. They do. Still others face their problems but have little hope of overcoming them alone. Yet they push on, commiserating with no one.

Most of us are troubled about something-or-another most of the time. Something is always troubling us. So please forgive me if I offer this sound, if risky, advice.

1.      Start with a thoroughly gut reaction! Cry, yell, sulk, hit something (not someone). If your emotions are raw, let them be raw. When something is eating away at your core you need to address it first at a primal level of gut reaction. Then, walk away. Get over it! After some time has passed, even within the same day, regain your composure and start to think clearly, peacefully. Address the issue head on. A true friend may be needed to give you honest advice..

2.      If you are an external processor, talk with a trusted friend who has some wisdom. If you are an internal processor, get alone for an extended time period; ruminate. Drink tea & remain calm.

3.      DO SOMETHING. What should be done first to solve this problem? What RESOURCES can be drawn upon to help you?

4.      Evaluate if your actions made a difference. To what degree did they help toward a solution to these troubles?

5.      What’s next?

6.      Pray for God’s wisdom and insight. You are not in this alone. If you do not believe in God or prayer, do it anyway. There might be a big surprise in the light at the end of the tunnel. (NO, not a train.)

7.      Learn to ask the questions that need to be asked; even if it turns out that YOU are the problem.

There are very few troubles that come our way that do not have a solution. Whether it comes from private pondering or picking the brains of our friends, or turning to God, these are always ways to face our fears and our foes, and to overcome them. DO NOT give up!

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

 

Death with Dignity November 4, 2014

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Brittany, Maynard, Death, Dignity, Compassion, suicide, Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christian, HemmingwayDeath with Dignity— Brittany Maynard, 19 November 1984 – 3 November 2014

(CNN)—  Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old who said she had terminal brain cancer, took medication to end her life under Oregon’s ‘Death with Dignity Act,’ advocacy group Compassion & Choices said Sunday.

“Brittany chose to make a well thought out and informed choice to Die With Dignity in the face of such a terrible, painful, and incurable illness,” a post on her website said. “She moved to Oregon to pass away in a little yellow house she picked out in the beautiful city of Portland.”

In a statement, Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life choice advocacy group that has been working closely with Maynard, said she “died as she intended – peacefully in her bedroom, in the arms of her loved ones.”

 

Brittany Maynard was an incredible young woman. She lived her life as she saw fit. And she ended her life as she saw fit; not enduring the agony of a terminal brain cancer, but rather choosing to die with dignity, foregoing further deterioration and suffering.

Some years ago my friend Tom faced the same choice. At age 24 he started feeling like something was very wrong. It was. His body was spotted with all kinds of cancerous cells. Like Brittany, he too made it almost to his 29th birthday, dying just 3 days before. Unlike Brittany, Tom chose to endure the pain and suffering, the loss of mobility and, eventually, mind. His death, too, was surrounded by family and friends.

Why did Tom make his decision to suffer to the end, rather than to end his life with dignity? Tom trusted in God for his life and did not believe he had a right to tamper with the decision to end it.

So, what is it to die with dignity? In Brittany’s heart and mind she believed she made the honorable, dignified decision. Tom made a different decision. Was his death any less dignified than Brittany’s? This comparison raises a serious philosophical question. Death is a complex issue. Who is the final arbiter of our passing? Soldiers sacrifice their lives for the lives of their comrades-in-arms; family members willingly put their lives on the line to save a brother, a sister, a child, a wife. But giving your life for another is not the same as taking your own life. The first is sacrificial; the second is self-centered.

The question is— Do we have the right to make the decision to end our life? In many ways I can understand Brittany’s decision. In so many other ways, I cannot. It benefited her tremendously, I suppose. But it also deprived those she loved the experience of processing her death with her; through pain, suffering, disorientation, and the end. But can we truly call it death with dignity when her death was actually assisted suicide? She believed she was dead already. I believed she deprived those who loved her from their responsibility and joy of caring for her to the bitter end.

Determining the morality of Brittany’s decision is something we need to discuss in this culture. Her choice should give us pause about our own ethic, or lack thereof, when facing our own mortality. We really do not want to think about such things until our own life is at stake.

If the truth be known, we chose not to think much about anything smacking of ultimate realities. It is simply much easier to let life carry us on from one event to the next. This is not very smart. Sooner or later we will all have to face the tougher questions in life— some sooner than later. But if we do not face them, life will seem very cruel when it takes us by surprise.

If we accept Brittany’s choice to take her own life (suicide) then we have progressed (?) to the point of convenient functionality in our society. If your father is failing, help him end his life. If your child is dying, do the same. Or maybe we need to establish a maximum age, say 70, beyond which the elderly are deemed non-productive and useless in contributing further to our society.

Really!?!

We have finally fulfilled Earnest Hemmingway’s social prophesy—

“Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”

~For Who the Bell Tolls (1940)

Trick or Treat – an Opinion October 31, 2014

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Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christians, Halloween, Trick or treat, Holiday  Early this morning I came across this post—http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2002/11/Tract-Or-Treat.aspx . It reminded me of how ridiculously out-of-hand and warped our perspectives can become.

When I was a young trick or treater I groveled and grabbed all the Halloween goodies if could. No discrimination, just grab! Upon my return to the warmth of our kitchen to sort out my loot, I found one of those “Chick-Tracts©” among my booty. I glanced at it briefly and dove back in to produce my own delirious, personal sugar high.

Now older I’ve come to believe many Christian evangelistic efforts at Halloween to be offensive. We seem to be quick to condemn this “pagan” festival that was once a Protestant Christian celebration— Reformation Day. But just how “pagan” is it NOW?

In our culture at large Halloween has risen to little less than a dentist’s dream! Our God took a pagan festival and turned it into a candy fest for kids…, ok, and their parents.! Now…, do we have a creative God or what!?!

But for those of you who still want to use Halloween for evangelism, allow me to offer some more appropriate ideas.

1.      Join in the festivities with other parents, freezing together as you trek alongside of your kids.

2.      Gather back at your place for the kids to sort out their loot and to swap their goodies.

3.      Gather the adults in another room for hot mulled cider and cider donuts. Build relationships. Let the conversation flow where it will.

4.      DO NOT use Christianeze to explain your faith! Normal people have no clue what these terms mean— sin, salvation, saved, born-again, redemption, etc. Find culturally appropriate phrases to translate Christian faith into a language people can understand. Like— “We need to reconnect with the God who made us.” or, “Jesus Christ can sustain your life and give it meaning.”

5.      ASK QUESTIONS. Do NOT try to get YOUR point across. Learn to LISTEN to other people’s view on life…, and Halloween…, and criticisms of Christianity.

6.      Shift from mulled cider to wassail. This will deepen the level of conversation. Mostly.

7.      END EVERYTHING in under an hour. Kids gotta sleep; so do we.

One of the criticisms of too many of us Christians, is that we are no fun. Making Halloween an evangelistic event is one more piece of evidence that we are truly out of step with the world around us. Tracts and the like may be good in some parts of our society, but I’d be hard pressed, in this postChristian culture to find the place.

We are admonished to “Be in the world, but not of it.” (-John 17:15-17) So, in all the festivities surrounding Halloween (All-Hallowed-Eve) let us not partake of all its rituals and pagan roots. But, please, be in this world, at least as much as it involved entering a cultural celebration of family & candy. You will surprise your friends, and delight your dentist. Selah.

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

#VirtueCampaign – Judgment Stinks October 21, 2014

Posted by needinc in Communcation, emPulse, Faith in Culture, Perspectives, Relationships.
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needinc:

We need to get this. We need to put out the effort and start thinking about being a Christian in this society, instead of running commando raids into it and coming back and debriefing.
Never, ever DO evangelism, instead look at the way Jesus moved among the people. Did He explain “the Gospel” the same way to each individual? No, it was dependent upon who He was talking to. Go and Do likewise.

Originally posted on Covered By Mercy:

In the spirit of lifting up the young people in Christ, I think that it’s important to talk about judging people before we get to know them.

You know, sometimes people can be very different from us. The world says that everyone needs to fit into a certain box and if they don’t, then it’s right to belittle them or refuse to associate with them.

That couldn’t be further from the truth! God creates each person as a unique individual for a reason: so that He can be glorified through their personality and unique skills once they return into fellowship with Him.

Let me also say that everyone comes from a different background. Some kids are raised in church and some aren’t. Either way when a person comes to Christ and receives salvation, Heaven rejoices! So who are we to judge them for their pasts? We don’t know them. We…

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preemptive positioning May 14, 2014

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Dr, Gary, Davis, restitution, reconciliation, Clueless, Christianity, NEEDinc, posturing, positioningIn time of war a preemptive strike is meant to give “first strike advantage.” Strike first, surprise the enemy, and win the day. The same is true in much of the world economy, interpersonal relationships, and politics. It’s all about positioning. [I wonder if we even play this game with God.]  Humans tend to want the higher ground in all creation. We need to win, to be right, to dominate in business, in interpersonal relationships, and in our general mindset that—

I am always right!

            We hold and assert preemptive presuppositions on just about everything.

“There is NO God!”  “There is only One God!” 

“God is on our side!”

“Killing anything, anyone, ever, is wrong!”

“War is always wrong!”  “Peace at all costs!”

“All men are pigs!”  “All women are manipulative!”

“Eating meat is wrong.” “Vegetarians are stupid.”

You get the picture. We position ourselves as judges over other peoples’ life-choices so we can pontificate for our position. In so doing we dismiss their thinking with little comprehension, let alone compassion, for what they value and hold dear. THAT is what makes such positioning both presumptive and preemptive. We drift naturally toward winning the debate more than considering the person or society so different from our own.

            Is this what we want out of life? To be on top? To control? To win at any cost? Granted, there are many things worth fighting for; some worth dying for. But to start with a preemptive strike, and continuing to annihilate your adversary’s position, and/or life, does not add much to human dignity, let alone reconciliation and restitution.

            May I proffer that a preemptive strike may win the day, but hardly the war. For a peoples’ values and beliefs run deep; defeating your enemy may give birth to generations of aggressors against you. I’ve always found Jesus’ words to be of some value— “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Probably something we should all work at a little more. For it calls on the greater power, be it a nation or individual, to create a path of peace. This is hardly our world’s operating procedure today. Contrary to Vince Lombardi’s, Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing, maybe it is the peacemakers who are the ones who truly win.

  Gary

Not about me today… May 2, 2014

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When did our world’s become so introspective, protective, and self-absorbed? It is almost as if we believe that being alone, “an army of one,” self-contained, is somehow safer, more independent, than being “in-community.”
Really!?!
Then why would God scatter so many different kinds of peoples across this planet? Jus’ sayin’.

I am waiting April 26, 2014

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I Am Waiting

BY LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for the Second Coming
and I am waiting
for a religious revival
to sweep thru the state of Arizona
and I am waiting
for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored
and I am waiting
for them to prove
that God is really American
and I am waiting
to see God on television
piped onto church altars
if only they can find
the right channel
to tune in on
and I am waiting
for the Last Supper to be served again
with a strange new appetizer
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for my number to be called
and I am waiting
for the Salvation Army to take over
and I am waiting
for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth
without taxes
and I am waiting
for forests and animals
to reclaim the earth as theirs
and I am waiting
for a way to be devised
to destroy all nationalisms
without killing anybody
and I am waiting
for linnets and planets to fall like rain
and I am waiting for lovers and weepers
to lie down together again
in a new rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered
by an obscure general practitioner
and I am waiting
for the storms of life
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for the day
that maketh all things clear
and I am awaiting retribution
for what America did
to Tom Sawyer
and I am waiting
for Alice in Wonderland
to retransmit to me
her total dream of innocence
and I am waiting
for Childe Roland to come
to the final darkest tower
and I am waiting
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder
I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again
youth’s dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am awaiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “I Am Waiting” from A Coney Island of the Mind. Copyright © 1958 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation, www.wwnorton.com/nd/welcome.htm.

Source: These Are My Rivers: New and Selected Poems (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1993)

No reason. It’s just Friday. http://www April 4, 2014

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No reason. It’s just Friday.
http://www.sidecarclub.ca/images/sidecar-cow.jpg

The isolating lie we all tell all the ti April 4, 2014

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The isolating lie we all tell all the time. – Indexed http://ow.ly/vpwhx

“When did doilies and your mother’s dishes become so important to you?” April 4, 2014

Posted by needinc in emPulse, General, Journey, Perspectives, Rejuvination, Wisdom.
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Dr, Gary, Davis, despair, Hobbit, Dwarves, doilies, comfort zone, dreams,  It was with this question that Gandalf the Grey, Wizard of Middle Earth, challenged Bilbo Baggins of the Shire in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

            Bilbo had become comfortable, complacent, uncomplicated; retired, in some senses. He had grown at ease with the life he had come to enjoy in the Shire. Everything was as it should be; everything was in its place; life moved along within predictable perimeters. Then, in one evening, his world was launched into chaos and mayhem with the arrival of Thorin Oakenshield’s band of thirteen dwarves. With dwarves and dishes flying everywhere Gandalf arrives to bring a meager sense of order to it all. It is then that the Quest to retake the ancient Kingdom begins to take shape.

            It is often out of chaos and mayhem that our own lives begin to take shape. Tragedy cuts short our plans and dreams; broken trusts confound our relationships; fear grips our souls with spiritual and emotional stringency. There seems no place to go but…, actually, there just seems no place to go: we believe there is no way out of the quagmire that bogs us down in futility.

Thus do we give up.

            Do not despair. There is always a way to push your way through the fray and conquer. Some suggestions, if you will—

1.      Stop! Give your heart and mind time to recover from the shock.

2.      Ponder. Think through your own shortcomings as well as external causes of the recent events that plunged you into this devastation.

3.      Talk with wise friends; not just with drinking buddies who will commiserate with you. You need sound advice and reflection.

4.      Pray for guidance from above…, especially if you do not believe in a god. There just may be one who might surprise you. Boo!

5.      Do NOT watch excessive amounts of TV to escape. That will merely dull your senses and make you tired the next day.

6.      If you are married, talk with your spouse about what you are experiencing. This is the one person in the world who loves you the most. Time to open up.

7.      If the road ahead still seems muddled, seek professional advice. A life-coach, a professional job coach, a relationship therapist, a pastor, AA. You do not have to go this road alone.

8.      Recall your own network of friends. There usually is someone there with connections.

9.      Use an actual piece of paper and pencil (not pen) to clarify issues, draw connections, identify failures (your own & others), and to lay out your next steps. Do this alone first, then, with someone who knows you v-e-r-y well. BE HONEST.

10.  Let it all go on a walk, a run, a basketball court, Ultimate Frisbee, or a fine dinner out. Thinking about your situation ad infinitum will drive you crazy.

I make these recommendations because I have been where you are now in life. I have known the pain, the broken trusts, the tragedies, the loss of those I love, the personal failure. You can and will get through this— for your own sake, and for those you love.

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

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