A Curious Paradox

All Our RighteousnessPhoto by A Man Called Martyn

Here’s a curious paradox:

Of ourselves, God requires everything,

Of our righteousness, He requires nothing.

Why is that?

Because our “righteousness” is the very thing

that keeps us from Him.

~AΩ~

Posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Unity, Not Conformity

Olympics Motto 2021

Unity is far superior to conformity. Conformity suppresses individual traits and strengths. Unity embraces them, and in so doing helps all of us to go higher, run faster, and be stronger — together.

In the spirit of the Olympics…

“Though one may be overpowered, two can resist. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” ~Ecclesiastes 4:12

“We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”
~Gwendolyn Brooks

“Like a sculptor, if necessary,
carve a friend out of stone.
Realize that your inner sight is blind
and try to see a treasure in everyone.”
~Rumi

“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” ~The Talmud

“Speak to me: I will spend my lifetime trying to understand you.”
~Kamand Kojouri

“If the entire world sought to make itself worthy of happiness rather than make itself happy, then the entire world would be happy.” ~Criss Jami

      “I didn’t just hear music. It seemed as if I were part of the music.”      ~from 90 Minutes in Heaven (Don Piper)

             “What would the world be like if there were no ‘them,’ only us?”      ~The Wishing Map

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Animalympics!

The Olympics! COVID and controversies aside, my wife and I will be glued to our television screen for the Opening Ceremony tonight and for various events over the coming days. But humans aren’t the only great athletes. In fact, most of the world’s record holders (sometimes intentional, sometimes accidental) are of the decidedly non-human persuasion. Enjoy!

Click on any image to enlarge it, or to begin slide show.

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Why?

Princess Anne hovercraft (dailymail.co.uk)Photo: Daily Mail

When I was a young man, I began searching for the meaning of life. Along the way, I wrote a travel journal, a mix of prose and poetry, and labelled it Fool’s Odyssey.

Why? Why do we need to know why? We just do. I’d flown to London, leaving behind a half-baked faith in search of a simpler recipe. But each one I’d found—materialism, sensualism, idealism—had failed to rise. So, finally, like the Wise Man (newly ex-Fool) in Ecclesiastes, I’d abandoned every ism. Now what?

I took the hovercraft from Calais. It seemed strange to see the sea refract on the windows and feel the hydroplane hydro-plane. I watched everyone’s drinks fly up in the air in little time-exposure globs of booze as we crashed over each successive wave, looking for the white cliffs of Dover, hoping not to throw up. God, it felt good to be a landlubber again!

It didn’t take long to return to Victoria Station, where the first of my chain of delusions had begun. I’d thought in my desperation that even if I never found out why, I might at least live a colorful Hemingway-life full of happy, delicious despair. But despair was not the thing for me.

And besides, Hemingway killed himself.

For the first time in my life, I’d had to confront the fact that I wasn’t enough, that I was just a hollow brick. And yet I still needed to know why. The real why. Not one of the little ones. I mean, I didn’t need to know why farmers planted grain; they planted it to eat. But why were there farmers? It was that kind of question, and it wouldn’t go away.

Why couldn’t I just exist? I didn’t know, I only knew I couldn’t.

I walked around London all day, trying to recapture the feeling I’d had two weeks ago in my youth. But the problem is that the moment you realize you’re dreaming, you always wake up, and you can never get back to that dream place again. It’s gone forever, along with your innocence in believing…

It was real.

To read the next episode, click here.

fools-odyssey-title-art-2

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People Watchers

CaptureMy Featured Blogger this week is Tricia Sankey, whose “musings of a milspouse” site is a long-standing favorite, so I’m remiss in having taken so long to share her with you. A professional editor and ghostwriter, Tricia, who also “plays with words in her free time,” loves “helping (her) clients crush through their writing block and create something they can be assured is well-written.” And indeed, she knows how. The proof is in her own writing!

Tricia Sankey

“The core of every fruit is better than its rind,” Mike read aloud before placing his book on the hotel bed and retrieving an orange from the extravagant fruit basket.

Laura squinted at the title of the poem he was reading -“Precious Core,” by Rumi. Room service had just delivered a tray of oysters on the balcony. They sat down for a bite and to people watch. The world seemed so peaceful from this height. So sane.

“You think the core of humans is soft or chewy,” she asked, peering down at the crowds below. “Perhaps they’re a bit gooey like these oysters?”

Mike laughed, then his face grew serious. Some people are hard to crack. It’s okay if you cry.

The visiting angel shook her head. “No! I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.

Photo by Tommaso Cantelli on

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My First Girlfriend

Woman Haters Club - Gerrie Vernon(flickr.com)Photo by Gerrie Vernon

My Real Memoir

While still in 2nd grade, inspired by the Little Rascals, my buddy Jeff and I formed a “He Man Woman Haters Club (No Girlz Allowed!).” We met a couple of times in a “secret” (not really) clubhouse in Jeff’s garage, and talked about “man stuff.” It was kinda boring.

Two weeks later, I resigned. Which left Jeff as the only remaining member, so he resigned too. The problem was, I liked girls. I liked talking to them, and especially liked looking at them. But what sealed the deal was when, after I’d skinned my elbow on the school blacktop, a tender-hearted 3rd grader saw me crying. She rubbed my shoulders as she escorted me to the nurse’s office.

“That must have hurt,” the nurse observed.

“No, it felt good!” I said. I was thinking about the shoulder-rub, not my elbow. Still, I had no future with older women.

Then I met Lisa. She was a tall, dark-haired beauty (i.e. she liked me) who loved books–I’d met my soulmate! So I walked her home. I told her I couldn’t stay, but then we talked about our favorite books. Still, I had to go. But then she opened the door, pointed at a chess board in her living room, and said, “I could teach you.”

So, you see it really was woman who first tempted man.

I don’t know how long I stayed, but when I left it was almost dark.

“I was worried sick about you!” Mom yelled when I walked in the front door. (“Sick”? Honestly, I never once saw her throw-up when I came home late.) I told her about Lisa. “I think she’s my girlfriend.”

Mom grinned. “Well, not until you buy her something.”

“What?”

“How about a ring?”

I went to the world’s most sophisticated store, J.J. Newberry’s (pre-curser to that bastion of fashion Walmart), and spent all I had (35¢) on a handcrafted ring with a rare gem, probably a ruby.

Still, you know how things are. Over time we drifted apart. We last three days. Adventure was calling, in the form of Jeff. So I answered.

Years later, in high school, a short, platinum blonde smiled at me. I smiled back. “Don’t you remember me?” she asked. “I’m Lisa.” I was stunned. Alas, the magic was gone.

Still, we’ll always have our memories.

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

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Work vs. Living

Something to Live ForPhoto by Jamie Street

Thought for the Week

Monday is the start of the work week for most of us. And while we know we should “work to live and not live to work,” is that enough? It’s important to check our compass from time to time to make sure we’re heading toward something worth living for.

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ~Winston Churchill

“Money often costs too much.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff: a $300 pair of socks…a fur sink…an electric dog polisher…gasoline powered turtleneck sweater…and I bought some dumb stuff, too.” ~Steve Martin

“If everyone was cognizant of their purpose on earth, we would only need weapons for hunting and nothing else.” ~Gift Gugu Mona

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” ~Matthew 6:24

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don’t (just) teach, live your life as a living teaching for all humanity.” ~Abhijit Naskar

“Simple, genuine goodness is the best capital to found the business of this life upon. It lasts when fame and money fail, and is the only riches we can take out of this world with us.” ~Louisa May Alcott

Live!

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The Reason for Your Hope

The Reason for Your HopePhoto by Lina Trochez

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

20 Worst “Romantic” Lines Ever

giphy

I went to a singles bar once and…sorry, that’s all I got.

Here are some lines I didn’t use:

  1. “You’re like a keyboard–your just my type.” Dated reference (requires knowledge of something called a “typewriter”). Still, if you’re cruising retirement homes…
  2. “I’m new in town. Can I have directions to your apartment?” Translation: “You strike me as the slutty type.”
  3. “If I could rewrite the alphabet, I’d put U next to I.” First of all, it should be “me,” not “I.” Although “me” isn’t part of the alphabet. Just as U shouldn’t be part of his life.
  4. “Is your father a terrorist? Because you’re the bomb.” Maybe if you’re a member of the Al Qaeda Singles Club.
  5. “Baby, you must be a broom, ’cause you just swept me off my feet.” Suggested response: “Blow-off, dust bunny!”
  6. “You can be my auto-correct, and I’ll be your mistake.” He doesn’t mean it. He’ll never change.
  7. “The more I drink, the prettier you get.” Translation: “I skipped my AA meeting to come here, and you’re the only other person in the bar.” Romance at its finest.
  8. “Are you a magician? Because whenever I look at you everyone else disappears.” Cheese Award: Runner-up
  9. “Can I tie your shoes? I don’t want you falling for anyone else.” Cheese Award: Bronze
  10. “I’m no organ donor, but I’d be happy to give you my heart.” Cheese Award: Silver
  11. “What time do you have to be back in heaven?” Cheese Award: Gold
  12. “I’m trying so hard not to kiss you right now.” Suggested response: “I’m sorry. Let me help.” Leave.
  13. “My love for you is like diarrhea, I just can’t hold it in.” Highest gross factor ever. Leave before he gets the runs!
  14. “Did we take a class together? No? Because I could’ve sworn you and I had chemistry.” OK, this might actually work if he/she is a science major; try following up with a series of lab experiments.
  15. “If you were a triangle, you’d be acute one.” Might work if they’re a math major.
  16. “Your daddy must be a drug dealer because you’re dope.” Go ahead, insult her family and objectify her.
  17. “Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again?” If their tone says, “This is my disarmingly self-mocking way of getting your attention,” they might actually stand a chance.
  18. “Want to get some coffee? ‘Cause I like you a latte.” If hideous groaners are your thing. Or if it’s said with an adorable Italian accent.
  19. “On a scale of 1 to 10, you’re a nine. I’m the one you need.” Do you really want to date a clinical narcissist who thinks you’re “incomplete” without them?
  20. “I may not be what you want, but I am what you need.” File a restraining order. Now.

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Sometimes a Sappy Smile is Just the Thing

I love humor (who doesn’t?), and I confess to having a sarcastic streak (OK, more like a motherload). But there’s just so much mean-spirited humor out there these days that sometimes I find it refreshing to have a chuckle or a sappy smile–at no one’s expense. These images had that effect on me.  

Click on any image to enlarge it, or to begin slide show.

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