Archive | March, 2017

A Call to Mercy

31 Mar

About a month ago, I read A Call to Mercy: Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve by Mother Teresa and Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C.

A Call To Mercy

Two things continue to haunt me.

First there was Mother Teresa’s childlike faith.

Yes, there were daily devotions and prayers.  However, I didn’t get the impression that there was a litany of wants/needs.  There seemed to be basic prayers — Our Father or Hail Mary or devotion to a particular saint — coupled with belief that the needs would be met.

Clearly, our world would be a better place if our beliefs were less complex and more childlike.

Second was Mother Teresa’s view on religion.

Yes, she was Catholic.  However, her ministry extended to Muslims and Hindus as well. Having attended a church while in college that refused to interact with other Christian churches, it was amazing to read about Mother Teresa’s service to not only living Muslims and Hindus but also those who had died to insure that their bodies were dealt with according to their beliefs.

Certainly, our world would be a better place if each of us could embody religious tolerance; after all the moment of truth is going to occur when each of us stand in judgment upon our death.  Let’s get out of the Dark Ages of religious intolerance.

Just think about it!

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Daily Stoic – March 8

18 Mar

The theme for the meditation on March 8 was “Don’t Unintentionally Hand Over Your Freedom.”

Daily Stoic

It compared our reaction to physical restraint versus mental restraint.  Especially given that society seems more upset with the concept of physical restraint while embracing mental restraint.  This meditation really struck a cord.

I’ve begun to realize how often I surrender my mental freedom and how easy it is to fall into that trap.

  • My friends on Facebook keep repeating the same message.  It must be true.  But … why hasn’t Hillary Clinton been arrested?  Perhaps my friends are only repeating what they want to hear.
  • The news entertainment folks seems to have one political agenda, i.e., expose the ineptitude of the Trump administration.  It must be true.  It’s on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, BBC, PBS, etc. Perhaps the news entertainment folks are only repeating what they want to hear.
  • The President and journalists seem to be at an impasse regarding “fake news.”  What is real news?  Where are the facts?  Where is the evidence?  Where did the facts, evidence, or information come from?  Who said it?  Who provided it?  I’m tired of news by innuendo.  I’m disgusted with ongoing character assassination.  My mantra has become “an unnamed source” means “it a figment of the author’s imagination” regardless of whether it’s mentioned by the Administration or a journalist.  Perhaps it’s all “fake news.”
  • Then there are the pollsters.  They fail to tell the whole story.  Who was surveyed? How were they selected?  Is this sample representative of some larger group?  Were they paid?  Who paid for the survey?  In the end, without a complete picture, these pollsters simply report meaningless numbers; yet, these random numbers are treated as if they came from God.  Perhaps it’s simply filler for politicians, journalists, and the news entertainment folks.
  • Scientists have an agenda.  For some reason, my science teachers emphasized that scientists were in the vanguard for the impartial quest of knowledge.  However, they now seem to find results consistent with whoever paid for their research.  Do cigarettes cause cancer?  Does aluminum cookware contribute to Alzheimer’s disease?  Is genetically modified food dangerous?  What about global warming?   Perhaps science has simply become a whore to big money.

I remember that witnesses never tell the truth, but only testify as to his or her observations of the events.  When all the evidence — testimonial, documentary, real, circumstantial, demonstrative — is put together, the truth tends to be somewhere within all that stuff that was submitted for consideration.

I continue to ask questions.  I continue to be suspicious.  I continue to seek freedom from mental restraint.

Think about it!

 

Daily Stoic – March 6

10 Mar

After reading about VADM Stockdale’s experiences during the Vietnam conflict and how influential the Stoic philosophers were to his survival while a prisoner of war, I wanted to learn about this philosophy.  Consequently, one resolution for 2017 was to contemplate the daily meditations presented in

Daily Stoic

For March 6, the theme was “Don’t Tell Yourself Stories.”  I won’t repeat it here.  Get the book and read it yourself.  However, it did strike a note … actually three.

Admittedly, I’m a wallflower.  Oh, I have Walter Mitty dreams (thank you James Thurber). Thankfully, I don’t share them frequently although a couple of success stories while serving as a Navy JAG do come to mind.  I’ll practice the Stoic philosophy and keep it to myself.

I changed barbers because of his stories.  Whenever I had an appointment, I could count on hearing his tales at least twice: once while waiting and again while having my haircut.   His stories always took the same form — “but for” his actions something wouldn’t have happened.

  • He “saved” criminals by starting a Christian ministry for those in the County Jail.
  • He single-handedly managed all aspects the annual Lion’s Club annual auction.
  • He organized the Fourth of July parade and, through his efforts to fly the flag, brought patriotism back to the community.

Reality?

I have two friends who know everyone. Just mention a project and they know an expert.  Just mention a purchase and they can name people who have the item at a price lower than whatever I paid.  Just mention a genealogy project and they have or can easily access the needed information.  Yet, when asked for the experts or the folks having the item or the information, it disappears.

Reality or just stories?

Finally, I had an employer who always imagined the institution was on the cutting edge.

  • If the issue was student retention, it was always other institutions, not us even though the department meetings consistently stressed the need to retain students.
  • If the issue was acceptance of academic credits, it was always other institutions that didn’t, not us although the nursing department routinely refused to accept military training because there was no evidence that the student could make a bed.
  • If the issue was job preparation, it was always other institutions that didn’t, not us; however, our advisory committees were filled with graduates who approved what they had been taught.

Yet, if the objective data was any measure, then each of these areas needed attention.

Just stories?

This meditation reinforced the concept that some folks, and institutions, can sometimes just be blissfully ignorant.  They become obsessed with their own stories … their own fantasies.  I shall strive to focus on what’s real.

Just think about it!