Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gethsemane

Looking through the shadowy foliage of Gethsemane, we don't see the classic portrait of Christ, rendered by the artist. We don't see Him in a snow-white robe kneeling beside a big rock, hands peacefully folded, with a look of serenity in His face as a spotlight from heaven illuminates His golden-brown hair.

Instead, we see a man flat on his face, fists pounding the hard earth in agony. We see a fact stained with tears and dirt, hair matted with sweat, facial muscles contorted in pain like the gnarled, twisted olive trees looking on. God was never more human than at this hour.

Have you been in the dark garden of Gethsemane? Betrayed by a friend? Deserted by those around you? Felt abandoned? Lonely?

The next time you think no one cares, pay a visit to Gethsemane and see the man of sorrows. Because seeing God like this does wonders for your suffering.

Charles Swindoll
For Those Who Hurt

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Love consists in

Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Stomping of the Foot

I'll never forget the student who charged out of one of my first philosophy classes. The professor had challenged the student's view of religion and the young man stomped his foot, turned red, yelled, and left. Why such an emotional outburst? Perhaps his beliefs were built on a weak foundation. A little rhetoric from an authority figure threatened to topple it over. Understanding the "why" behind a belief typically brings calm, thoughtful responses. It's when we accept the conclusions of others, never figuring out the "why" for ourselves that we build a weak foundation. Should we intentionally avoid opposing view points? It turns out we naturally steer clear of conflict. A recent study finds the less certain you are about what you believe, the more likely you’ll stay away from opposing viewpoints (and probably freak out when you run across a widely different opinion). Researchers reviewing nearly 100 studies came to that conclusion. Details are in the Psychological Bulletin by Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. People tend minimize their exposure when they are less certain and less confident in their own position. In fact, we're nearly twice as likely to avoid differing opinions than we are to consider different ideas. And for those who are close-minded.. the percentage jumps. Three-out-of-four times the close-minded will stick to what supports their own conclusions. Stephen Goforth

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Less Traveled Road

Briers below and limbs above. Avoiding them slows your walk. There's a log to step across. Here's a hole to avoid. Yet with your every step you come closer to seeing wonders few will know. The question is: Will getting past those obstacles below and above really be worth the surprising revelations you'll encounter? Choosing to walk the less traveled road may mean periods of intense loneliness and nagging doubt. There is the path of comfort and conformity and the path of adventure and self-definition. Your choice. Stephen Goforth

Monday, April 14, 2014

Let us not despair

Let us not cease to do the utmost, that we may incessantly go forward in the way of the Lord; and let us not despair of the smallness of our accomplishments. -John Calvin

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

Stop spending time with the wrong people.  Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth. And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.

Read more here.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Knowledge and Power

Knowledge isn’t power until it it applied. – Dale Carnegie

The Artist is a Collector

An artist is a collector. Not a hoarder, mind you, there’s a difference: hoarders collect indiscriminately, the artist collects selectively. They only collect things that they really love. There’s an economic theory out there that if you take the incomes of your five closest friends and average them, the resulting number will be pretty close to your own income. I think the same thing is true of our idea incomes. You’re only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.

Austin Kleon
How to Steal Like an Arist

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Imaginary Friends

There's a little bit of evidence that adults who are novelists or musicians, for example, tend to remember the imaginary friends they had when they were children. It's as if they are staying in touch with those childhood abilities in a way that most of us don't. Successful creative adults seem to combine the wide-ranging exploration and openness we see in children with the focus and discipline we see in adults.

Alison Gopnik
The Philosophical Baby

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Your Darkness

Knowing your darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people.
Carl Jung

Each time You Lie

Each time you lie, even if you’re not caught, you “become a little more of this ugly thing: a liar. Character is always in the making, with each morally valanced action, whether right or wrong, affecting our characters, the people who we are. You become the person who could commit such an act, and how you are known in the world is irrelevant to this state of being.” In the end, who we are inside matters more than what others think of us.

Michael Dirda in a Washington Post review of Plato at the Googleplex by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Proving Your Worthiness

Have you ever had someone bait you during family gets together?  “Come on. Join me in those old patterns you’ve wanted to shed.” Maybe they don't say that out loud, but that's the invitation.  While you try not to let the person get to you, some how you still end up behaving in a way you thought you had left behind. Throughout the evening, there’s a tone in your voice that shows you are irritated. You just can't stop yourself. You fall back into an old pattern of conflict.

Why does the other person do this to you? Maybe he or she wants to feel superior. Perhaps the person motivated to comfort him or herself by trying stepping back into a certain kind of relationship with you.

Perhaps you've learned to avoid the conflict by being passive. You put off the problem, but you doesn't redefine the relationship. It solves the issue of the moment, but it doesn't reframe the situation. You’ll have to continually remind yourself not to set aside problems for the sake of peace. But the goal should be a healthy relationship, not the absence of conflict.

There are some lessons here for your other relationships. You are vulnerable to people who use the same kind of put-downs or teases. You rise and fall by their approval or rejection. Perhaps you may be overly sensitive to any suggestion that you are inadequate or anyone who looks for ways that show you are "unworthy" of respect.  You can even end up creating conflict on your own over the resentment that builds over time. You may be spending a lot of your life bouncing back and forth between working hard to prove worthiness and resenting the need to prove it.

Stephen Goforth

Monday, April 7, 2014

Eyes open

Keep your eyes open before marriage. half shut afterwards.
Benjamin Franklin

Start with Letting Go

One of the most important differences between a change and a transition is that changes are driven to reach a goal, but transitions start with letting go of what no longer fits or is adequate to the life stage you are in. You need to figure out for yourself what exactly that no-longer appropriate thing is. There’s no list in the back of the book. But there is a hint can save you considerable pain and remorse: Whatever it is, it is internal. Although it might be true that you emerge from a time of transition with the clear sense that it is time for you to end a relationship or leave a job, that simply represents the change that your transition has prepared you to make. The transition itself begins with letting go of something that you have believed or assumed, some way you’ve always been or seen yourself, some outlook on the world or attitude toward others.

William Bridges
Transitions

Friday, April 4, 2014

Your voice

Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.
Edward R. Murrow