Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Quote From Ghandi

I was busy proofreading a fellow student’s paper and flipping through my Bedford Handbook when my eyes fell upon a quote from Gandhi. Now, though he was a Hindu, what he said could have been found in any early Christian text.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Ghandi

So, so true. In the midst of today’s hurt, what the world needs is not more hurt but a forgiveness of that hurt. When tears of sorrow are shed, understanding is more welcome bitterness and anger towards others. Where egos are bruised by misunderstand, compassionate forbearance oils the mechanism of harmonious living.

The quote caused me to stop and think. If I insist on a fair measure of retribution from those who have hurt me, someday I will need to pay someone else what they demand of me. So instead of constantly demanding others to soothe my ego, why not allow them to live and I absorb the pain they caused me? Why not “give back” by not demanding a full measure of payment? Painful, yes. Radical, only because too few are willing to do so. Christlike, most definitely.

Have you given an “eye” recently?

EJ

Categories: Praise, Quotes, Rants and Randomness | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Sunday’s Musings 4/28

Recapping a few events from this past week. . .

Monday night, I called my younger brother. We chatted for about 40 minutes and he mentioned some intriguing news.

Saturday, around noon, a car drove up our driveway and a young lady got out.

On Saturday, I busied myself with work and missed a call from Mike, a good friend of mine. Knowing what he wanted to talk about, I returned his call. I was wrong. In the course of our conversation, he dropped his news.

Exactly what do these have in common? Love and its flourishing in this season of spring.

My younger brother mentioned the start of a relationship between two young people that are both mutual acquaintances of ours. I’m glad for them. May they find God’s will.

My brother’s girlfriend came to visit my brother for the weekend. It has been over a year since they began their relationship and in my mind, it’s only a matter of time till they quit dating and plan for their wedding. My opinion of course. I wish them no ill will; only the best. I’m glad for them.

I had known that Mike wanted to visit me here at Faith Builders. He had been on a visit to central PA to see his girlfriend and his path takes him past here on Interstate 80. I thought he wanted to make final plans and coordinate his visit around my classes. Well, his news wasn’t a bombshell and definitely not what I thought he was calling about. My congratulations to him, he successfully conned a girl into agreeing into a lifelong commitment.Smile Dropping the facetiousness, I’m truly happy for him. He has battled some health issues the past few years but those are now past him. My mind went back to last year and to the days of early summer. We had taken a few trips to Indiana together and our conversations revolved around this mysterious force called love. His naive musings gave rise to questions and ponderings that diverted attention away from myself. I’ll admit that, at times, I artfully twisted the conversation to bring the focus back around to him. He, in his state of bliss, was happily unaware of how I tried to keep the focus on him. Having seen him at the beginning of his relationship, I hope to be there at the final realization of it.

And who am I to write further on this matter? Poets have waxed eloquent on this subject. Romantics swoon underneath the spell of the sweet influence of this invisible  force. Ballads have been sung on starry summer nights by bards under the spell of a lady fair. I haven’t studied love in depth nor have I what could be considered success. Yet the current season is spring. With the awakening of the earth comes the flowering of passions and love emerges. May it flourish!

EJ

Categories: Sunday's Musings | Leave a comment

Today

While sitting in chapel I browsed through the notes on my iPod. On of those notes stated the goals I have for this semester. I had forgotten about one of my secondary goals, the goal of focusing on the positive and good in life. While I enjoy being eloquently vague, much good can be found in expressing the positive. Today with this beautiful sun shining, I feel inspired.

Today, I’m thankful…

  • for this lovely morning
  • my phone conversation with my younger brother last night
  • this morning’s pancake breakfast with my mentoring group
  • the generosity of friends
  • the opportunity to learn for 2 years
  • the fact that less than a year ago, I was wrapping up a two year commitment in Paraguay
  • for all the personal growth I experienced in Paraguay
  • for the goodness of God in the year since I’ve been back
  • for humor that is shared with friends
  • friends who listen even when they don’t understand
  • the many people who make studying at Faith Builders possible

This is only a partial list and not near a look at the whole. I could go on but I’d risk sounding cliché-ish. Nonetheless these are blessings that are real to me this morning.

Now, duty calls and I must be off.

EJ

Categories: About life, Just me | Leave a comment

Sundays Musings 4/21: On Opinion, Relativism and Other Bits

The other night I had a front row seat of what amounted to a display of biases. It was late in the evening and I was tired; ergo, I did not contribute to the discussion. I’m not sure how beneficial my participation would have been, given my tiredness and the fact that my biases did not align with those in the conversation. Though I was tired, I still found myself amused at the whole display of what amounted to personal opinion and nothing that could be proven to be technically superior. In fact, one particular bias could be proven to be inferior but I digress. The evening proceeded along these lines. One of the speakers had recently purchased a device and someone had asked him how he liked it. Wrong question. The one asked, Person A, gushed freely. Part of his move involved a transition to new software. It wasn’t just Person A. Persons B and C were equal sympathizers in the discussion. I, if I would have spoken, would have been the lone dissenting voice, so I remained silent. But I literally was getting sick to my stomach over the whole thing. It is only a piece of metal and glass. There was no real objectivity raised or fair comparisons made.  Somehow, to me this knowledge added a sense of blind fan rabidity in the effusive praise of the object.

The conversation moved on to the subject of grad gifts. While this was equally fascinating to observe from my spot on the sidelines, the entire conversation was a spouting of personal views. While these views varied, a few actually had sound reasons attached to them. But this was only intermission; round 2 was coming.

It proved to be a doozy. Somehow the conversation turned to a piece of machinery and how that piece originated. One of the participants, whose family has a business interest in these devices, raised a protest against what the others said. But, though it interested him, his argument was weak. He hadn’t studied it sufficiently to argue effectively. He had a passionate response but his lack of knowledge compromised his argument. After watching with interest, I left for my bunk. It was past midnight; maybe that explains part the reason why the conversations went the way they did.

Yet the whole thing had proven to be an educating experience. Foremost in my mind was this question Why do we cling to an opinion without fairly portraying the opposing view? Or hold on to it when faced with contrary evidence?

I like to think I’m fairly unbiased. I’d also like to think that when presented with new information, I’m open to changing my mind. Yet I know the human tendency to see any new information as being an personal attack. That is how we tend to see these things. We also tend to view accepting new knowledge as exposing our own deficiency and lack of knowledge. Either way we don’t like the feelings we get from having to change our opinions so we resist. Though the entire exchange was entertaining and informative, it reveals how easy conflicts can potentially arise.

Of course, all of the above is just my opinion of something I recently observed. Now about me and my opinion about opinions. Something disturbing that I find in myself in relation to this subject of opinions is I find I am a little relativistic. What this does for myself is it causes me not to stand as firm as I should on matters that are more than just opinion. It’s fine for the other person to believe what they do as long as I can keep my opinion. That last sentence is relativism in a nutshell. In a way, it is intellectual protection yet I don’t like it. On certain matters a grounded defense is needed. On opinions such as I witnessed what someone once said comes to mind. “People all have two opinions and sometimes they stink. So live with it.” I put that last sentence on ‘cuz what are you going to do? Present your opinion sans an argument?

Great men still abound. Almost invariably, every time secular society finds them, they write about them. Here is a link about such a person. This is something I can appreciate. A man teaching young men how to be men and being involved in their lives. May his kind continue!

Oh, and before I run off to class, I’m posting this as well. Pray for the remaining Boston bomber suspect. He needs it. Care to dispute? Click here and read prior to arguing that he doesn’t deserve prayer. Now, I’m off to class.

EJ

Categories: Just me, Sunday's Musings | 2 Comments

Change

A few weeks ago, clumps of white decorated the landscape. Pure, beautiful, and inspiring, they have left. Never mind the fact that this morning winter attempted to return . . .spring is here!! Yes!!! Let the smell of freshly cut grass fill the air, may the sound of a Little League baseball game accompany the symphony of birds, and may the sun return to reign in cloudless blue skies.

From this . . .

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To this . . .

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Ah, spring, thy glory exists without compare!

Thy colors from the loamy soil spring,

Invigorating mankind with thy balm air,

In testimony to thy King.

Spring, truly thou art glorious.!!!

EJ

Categories: About life, Pictures | Leave a comment

Come to the Water

Oh let all who thirst, let them come to the water,

And let all who have nothing, let them come to the Lord;

Without money, without price,

Why should you pay the price,

Except for the Lord?

 

And let all who seek, let them come to the water,

And let all who have nothing, let them come to the Lord;

Without money, without strife,

Why should you spend your life,

Except for the Lord?

 

And let all who toil, let them come to the water,

And let all who are weary, let them come to the Lord;

all who labor, without rest,

How can your soul find rest,

Except for the Lord?

 

And let all the poor, let them come to the water,

Bring the ones who are laden, bring them all to the Lord;

Bring the children, without might,

Easy the load and light;

Come to the Lord.

 

EJ

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Sunday’s Musings 3/24: Part II

To the readers of my blog,

Many of you I know in real life and I understand why you would be interested in reading this humble blog. Others I haven’t met. Your reasons are more obscure to me. I’m not here to quibble about such matters. I write; it’s my freedom. You read; it’s your privilege. Your reading shows your interest. Ergo, this post.

In reference to my last post, I wrote about an area of my life that had been essentially destroyed. The ruins still abound. But despite the freshness of the rubble, greenery already pushes through. While time will tell how well I handle the destruction of this area in my life, I’ve been blessed by a sense of peace. Its sweetness has sustained me. So how can I go from a sense of utter desolation and loss to a stated peace about life and living?

It’s not easy and it’s not without pain. But for the Christian, healing can not start without acknowledging God’s hand in it. The death of my hopes and dreams is painful. I don’t see the big picture. I only see this day, this week. Shoot, I can’t even predict a month in advance. Looking back over the past weeks, months and years, I can see God’s hand at work. The paradox comes back. I see Him working and because the future is so unknown, I struggle to trust tomorrow and the following days to Him. In the face of the destruction to my dreams, anything less than total surrender of control hinders the healing I seek to the pain inside of me. This is the first step.

Secondly being able to talk about it to someone brings a great catharsis. Talking to a peer or a mentor, whether or not they fully understand, offers an outlet while bring a sense of closure to the shattered dreams. As a Christian, I am in this with other believers. Life is a journey but along our journey, we encourage Christ in other Christians. This is beautiful!

Last night, my friends and I engaged in a lively discussion about God’s will and how that leads us into current situations. Here’s another element. While I do not idealize a complacent passivity that leads me into God’s will, I do acknowledge the fact that my choices may bring me to a place where I question God’s will. I’ll try to break this down. God will not always hand things to me. He wants me to pursue Him. Nor will He make all of my decisions for me. I seek His will. Finding a path that seems to be the one He’s nudging me towards, I proceed in faith. If that path is wrong, God will reveal that; He will take away that option. Out of the accompanying pain and sorrow comes a need for the above first two steps.

So, does the last step mean that I’m always setting myself up to be hurt? No, it as a alive and active pursuit of God and a desire to know more of Him. The danger lies in a complacent attitude that can lead to arrogance.

It truly is painful to experience this demolition and regrowth. It can happen in almost any aspect of my life: in my occupation, my church, my relationships, or my family. Yet at times it is necessary. Dreams die hard especially when I have set it up. But God wants control of those dreams and sometimes the way to do it is to destroy them. He wants me to say with the songwriter, “Take my will and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.”

EJ

Categories: About life, Just me | 1 Comment

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