Don’t you just love a cogent argument?

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Power_of_words_column_lands_on_meaning_of_myth.html

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Don’t you just love a cogent argument?

All the letters assumed what L.T.’s assumed, whose dictionary defines myth as “a false representation of the truth.”

In colloquial use, the word “myth” is used by modern people to casually dismiss something as false or inaccurate. In some cases, “myth” is used as pejorative — an intellectual contempt. When in college, driving my Volkswagen Beetle through the snows of Flagstaff, Ariz., I asked the tire dealer about wider tires to get better traction. “That’s a myth,” he said, and sold me the vehicle’s regular tires. He meant, of course, it’s not true that wider tires help, though it’s widely believed.

But there is another use of the word “myth” not often employed by modern people. A myth is a story, a narrative containing and transmitting a worldview, values and essential meaning. While myths can contain history and certainly emerge from and in history, historicity is not the fundamental aim.

When I wrote of the “Hebrew creation myth,” I meant the Hebrew story that reveals to the people Hebrew who God is, how God is related to creation, how we, therefore, as creatures, are related to God, the earth and to one another.

For the record, Genesis is my favorite book of the Bible, precisely because I find the myths contained therein to be so powerful, useful, not to mention (in my opinion) a universally accurate depiction of the human condition.

My understanding of the importance and the power of myth is why I offer no shrift to the modern tempest regarding evolution versus creation. I think of that debate as a conversation between two people using two different radio frequencies.

Now, I do confess freely that I am not a biblical literalist. What I take literally is what the Bible means. As Presbyterian author Frederick Buechner says, to take the Bible in every way literally would be like using “Moby Dick” as a whaling manual.

Though raised in the church, Oxford professor C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) was a professed atheist by age 15. In 1926, he met and forged a close friendship with Oxford colleague J.R.R. Tolkien. This relationship became the nexus of Lewis’ conversion to Christianity. After many discussions and spirited arguments, Tolkien is said to have said to Lewis, “Clive, you know what a myth is, yes?”

“Of course I do,” Clive assured him.

To which Tolkien said, “Well … Christianity is a true myth.”

And Lewis was converted and later baptized in the Anglican Church.

It is in exactly this sense that I meant “the Hebrew creation myth.”

A myth is in fact not a “false representation of the truth.” A myth is eternally true.       [An ontic happening  —   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontic      ]

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Grief/despair/pain are part of this indifferent and tragic world

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Religion_should_help_not_hurt_suffering.html

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A lot of other people wrote back, too. Uh, not so appreciatively. In simple terms, I got into a nest of unhappy Christians.

I was told to leave theology to those who practice the faith. I was told that all suffering is of our own making, that no one suffers at the hands of God. That I was “short on Bible knowledge, and (I needed) a big lesson, quickly.” Then the parade of saccharine sayings: “God will never give us more than we can handle.” … “If God seems far away, guess who moved?” … “God has a plan” … on and on. “It does not take great faith to be angry at God,” a pastor scolded me, “It takes great faith to trust God.” Meaning, I assume, that a pilgrim must choose between anger and trust.

The rush was on to defend the Maker and to admonish me.

I take it as self-evident that healthy religion is a good thing. Equally do I think that critical dialogue about unhealthy religion is crucial, not the least because unhealthy religion makes people miserable. Worse, unhealthy religion is an accomplice in some of history’s most despicable evils.

Which is not to say that Christians are or Christianity is evil, nor to say that the people writing to me were evil. Rather, I think they were threatened. Afraid. Specifically, afraid to let human suffering be just what it is — hard, painful, often inexplicable and certainly unavoidable.

If I seem especially impatient with modern Christianity, it’s because I am one. A Christian, that is. And we, of all people, should know better than to intellectualize or placate or theologically “explain away” suffering, let alone to pile on by saying that suffering and the sometimes ensuing anger is evidence of deficiencies of faith, trust and love.

Love crucifies us. In the end, it wounds us. It has to. It’s designed to. No one can love anything or anyone without suffering. It’s why the central symbol of the Christian faith is not a smiley face or a rainbow or a picnic basket. It’s a cross. I think of this every day, every hour I sit with patients. Because no one comes to therapy who isn’t suffering.

Faithful and meaningful ministry to suffering pilgrims should be the thing the church does best.

So, back to my analogy:

I have a dream. It’s not a big dream. It’s a little dream. My dream is that, if, heaven forbid, you should ever be beset by inexplicable, unjust, or even well-deserved suffering, should you ever fall into egregious moral failure, should you ever have your heart broken because someone you love is dead, that people would not then say, “Whatever you do, don’t go to church.”

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Irony — the deepest revelation

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Lennon_struggled_with_fame_even_as_he_looked_for_it.html

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John “apologized.” It was the worst apology ever: “Originally I had pointed out that fact in reference to England, that we meant more to kids than Jesus did, or religion at that time. I wasn’t knocking it or putting it down, I was just saying it. It was a fact. And it’s true more for England than (the United States). I’m not saying that we’re better or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person, or God as a thing. I just said what I said and it was wrong, or it was taken wrong, and now it’s all this.”

You hear an apology in that? Me neither. It’s John’s contempt. What John said was a fact. Christianity at that time and place was not compelling the imaginations, hearts and minds of young people as The Beatles were. You have to go back to Palm Sunday, perhaps, to see a Jesusmania that rivals the Beatlemania of the mid-’60s.

Christians remember the Gospel story. Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a week before he was executed. He road a donkey into town, while the people sang and rejoiced.

The donkey often is thought of as an expression of Jesus’ utter humility. But I’m convinced it was yet another expression of Jesus’ favorite political ploy: satire. Yep. Jesus wasn’t orchestrating and basking in his fans’ adulation. He was satirizing the pretense of pompous Roman authority and particularly Pontius Pilate, who always thundered through the Jerusalem city gates on a decorated horse.   [the deepest ontic/unction   — irony — is to show up human folly for what it is  — overpride/jealousy/greed/anger]

Jesus had contempt for pretense and hypocrisy.

Offended religious leaders complained to Jesus about the praising crowd, and implored him to tell them to be quiet. Jesus replied, “Well, I could tell them to be quiet, but then the rocks would just start singing.”

A boast? Hardly. Jesus was merely observing. When a group of people is caught up in The Spirit, there’s no stopping the ecstatic response.

The Vatican says John Lennon’s quote was “a boast.” Wrong. It was an observation. A contemptuous, incredulous observation. John Lennon was the first Beatle to truly despise Beatlemania. His arrogant, biting quips to adoring fans are legendary.

But the Vatican was right about one thing. John Lennon was a young man grappling with fame. And grappling badly much of the time. John hated fame, yet could not stop seeking it. When he and wife Yoko posed naked on the cover of Two Virgins, John is at once a narcissistic exhibitionist and a man pleading with himself and the world, “I’m just a man.”

In that same notorious interview, by the way, Lennon described the 12 disciples as “thick” and “ordinary.” Which they were. Once again, John Lennon is right.

That’s why the disciples have always inspired me, actually. Because they are just like me.

John Lennon was a celebrity. In Latin literally “the one who helps us celebrate.” And did he ever help us celebrate. And the price he paid was the burden of fame. Celebrity is a calling. Fame is simply nuts. In the end fame killed him.

If anybody needs forgiveness here, it’s us.

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Should faith be outcome-dependent???

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/It_takes_great_faith_to_be_angry_with_God.html

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One of the most honest theological observations ever appeared suddenly on T-shirts a few decades ago. But, since this is a family newspaper, I’ll just say “stuff happens.”

Stuff does happen, dear man. Anybody who says differently is trying to sell you something.

The spiritual swamp you’re trudging has a name: theodicy. Theodicy is that lesser-known branch of the theological task wherein pilgrims are forced to find meaning or arrange meaning out of suffering and evil vis-a-vis a God who purports to be both good and God.

The Hebrew story of Abraham and his long-awaited son, Isaac, is a struggle with theodicy.

God puts Abraham to a test of faith. Go, sacrifice your son, Isaac. And Abraham obeys. He ties his son to the stone altar. Lifts the knife … and God interrupts. Abraham has passed the test.

But, in my fantasy postscript, father and son go home. And the son says, “good night,” and turns his back on his father, whom he’ll never trust again.

And Abraham says his prayers and says: “A test? Excuse me? You put me through that to test me?”

It would be like faking your own suicide to “test” whether someone really loved you. Then you’d come back and say, “I’m actually not dead, and now I know you love me.” But, the test you administered to your loved one would probably forever alter your relationship with the loved one. And not for the better.

J.K., it takes great faith to be angry with God. In the same way it takes great faith in your mate to be rightfully angry in your marriage. In the same way that Jesus quotes the Psalms from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Anger is a holy, if difficult intimacy. Your estrangement is now a part of your journey with God.

Most people, by the time they die, have a personal list in their pocket, which, upon arriving in heaven, they will go directly to the Complaints Department and submit. What the hell was this about? What did this mean? Why was this necessary?

Or, perhaps death itself is a healing and transformative process that renders these questions irrelevant.

But in the meantime, if we’re honest and human, we have to ask.

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No arguing over “to thine self be true”  —   Hamlet/Shakespeare’s way of declaring love for life/empathy   —

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Suicide_assessment_first_step_for_depressed_friend.html

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You don’t have to be a professional therapist to execute a skillful suicide assessment and intervention. Indeed, a skillful suicide assessment is the beginning of a competent intervention.

The larger number of people in an acute, suicidal crisis do not make overt threats. They make covert threats. They “joke” about suicide. They make inferences. They talk in crypticisms: “People would be better off without me” … “I wish I could go to sleep and never wake up” … etc. They withdraw suddenly from relationships or pleasurable activities. They give valuables and sentimental belongings away.

The most important step is the first one: making the covert overt! You ask. Straight up. You can ask graciously, “one-downing” yourself: “This is kind of embarrassing, and I’m sorry if this question sounds crazy, but … are you having thoughts about killing yourself?” Often this is all it takes to make a person say: “What?! No! Why would you ask me such a thing?” And then you can reference the “joke” about suicide, shrug and say, “Just checking.” Even if people are lying baldfaced, making the issue overt is sometimes all it takes to wake them up and get them back to a firmer, more stable grip on their own lives.

And sometimes you’re not gracious. In some cases, when the evidence and threats are more acute and obvious, we ask uncensored: “Are you going to kill yourself?”

If they say anything close to “It has crossed my mind,” then, as a friend, we let them know firmly and compassionately that their suicide is not OK with us. At once, we accept that we don’t have the power to keep anyone alive, yet we also bind them — in words — to the ties and accountability of our relationship.

Once the issue is overt, the assessment continues …

History: Does this person have a history of suicidal ideation or attempts? Plan: Does this person’s current ideation focus on a plan (gun, medication, etc.)? Means: Does this person have access to a gun, medication, etc.? (Amazing that some folks’ spoken plan for suicide has no likely means to execute the plan.) Intent: The assessment ends where it began. “Are you going to kill yourself today?”

With each “yes,” the person is assessed as a more acute suicidal risk.

If they are a moderate to high risk, you insist they seek treatment. And if they make an overt threat and insist they are going to die and refuse to seek help … you do your moral duty. It’s called “danger to self.” You call the police and ask for a “welfare check.” You report the threat as you heard it. Not because you have the power to keep suicidal people alive but because, should the person insist on dying, you want to be able to tell yourself you didn’t participate in the suicide because  you knew and did nothing.

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healthy fantasy

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Letters_pile_up_in_response_to_pornography_column.html

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Conservatives were unhappy. Liberals were unhappy. Hedonists were unhappy.

I, on the other hand, always feel happy when I can make conservatives, liberals and hedonists unhappy with the same column. Always makes me feel like I’ve told the truth.

You both completely missed the point of the column. I was addressing men who attach themselves to pornography as compulsion, specifically to dodge the work of marriage. Of course I said nothing about women as consumers of erotic material. I was addressing men. Men use sex compulsively much more often than women.

Rambling sidewalk preacher? I went to great pains to say overtly that my motives were not at all related to religious moralisms. My motives were and remain critical questions of meaning versus meaninglessness.

But, now to you and your wife: Perhaps I can generate more unhappy mail.

Modern culture has abandoned so many vital symbols, ceremonies and other meaningful festivals. If you read my column, you know I harp on this incessantly. Well, here I go again: Modern Western culture is absent healthy, corporate [meaning “in and of the public domain/realm,” not business corporations]  erotica. I mean public, ceremonial celebrations of human sexuality.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking: Our modern world is overridden with public sexuality. But narcissistic acting-out, exhibitionism, voyeurism, etc., are not the same as healthy corporate erotica.

You have to go back to premodern times to catch sight of what I’m talking about. Tribes that, during appointed seasons, would put the kids to bed, light bonfires, give drums a ferocious beat, and invite adults to dance naked together in rhythms and movement designed specifically to provoke eroticism and desire.

There is no evidence these activities broke down the mores and customs of faithful marriage or meaningful sex. Nobody swapped. Folks went back to the appropriate grass hut and had a romp with the appropriate partner.

And the next day hunted and gathered with an ease, a smile and a lightness of step.

The closest thing we have in our culture are exercises shrouded in ideas of vice, taboo, sin or outright sordidness: pornography, adult book stores, strip clubs, sex clubs, clothing optional adult resorts. I’m saying that these phenomena in our modern day are, from an anthropological view, half-baked efforts to reclaim corporate erotica. Half-baked because, in a culture of sexuality shamed and repressed, corporate erotica can only emerge from the shadows and the unconscious, instead of from consciousness, intention and the light.

When we reach for corporate erotica from The Shadow, the outcome is invariably fraught with moral dilemma, and that, on a good day. The people in those films are somebody’s father, mother, sister, brother, son or daughter. And the simple truth is that the people earning a living thusly are so often tragic, wounded people. And the world of the modern sex industry is pervasively grim and exploitative. It is not rendered benign by the cheap and easy protestation of “consenting adults.”

Having said that, it might surprise you to know that I’m a big fan of couples who can find healthy ways to participate in corporate erotica while navigating the moral ambiguities. In the way you describe it, it sounds like your marriage is a fun and joyous playground. Good for you!

The most important rule for socially edgy sex adventures in marriage is “it’s about us.” Meaning, that it’s a vehicle for joyous connection and celebration, not a dodge from the marriage and the work of intimacy.

In short, I hope you two have a lifetime of joyous, erotic adventures.

My column wasn’t about you.

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Writing is simplicity and contentment    —

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Playing_with_words_is_fun_as_well_as_meaningful.html

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So, I have come up with three questions. First, why do you write? Second, what inspires you? Third, what do you do to overcome “writers’ block”? — B.F., San Francisco

Why do I write? I write for the same reason people ride roller coasters: It’s a rush. A flow. Movement and rhythm. It’s sensory. Aesthetic.

Words, for me, are like being 8 years old and having a huge bag of Legos. Every day my dictionary contains the same English words, just like every day the bag contains the same Legos. But today I have the chance to assemble them differently! And that’s fun for me.

Why do I write? I write because I love words. I hate jargon, but I love words. Yes, there are a lot of different ways to talk, but words matter.

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The right word can help us apprehend our lives in deeper, more intentional and more meaningful ways.

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There’s a reason the Hebrew verb dabar can mean either “to say” or “to do.” The Hebrew worldview speaks to the power of words: “And God said (emphasis mine), ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

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Words have a creative force. Until we say “I love you,” there will be something about love that does not yet exist.

Am I a ‘word snob’? Oh, maybe. OK, probably. Dammit, yes! But I don’t think my demeanor is snobbish. More relentless and passionate.

I admire excellence and precision with language. I’m a harsh critic of the way American pop culture lazily conscripts the English language willy-nilly.

Americans tend to think of this — when they think about it at all — as another entitled “freedom.” A creative evolving of language. Most of the time it’s exactly the opposite. We broaden, distort and thereby cheapen the meaning of important words. This undermines meaningful discourse.

In the end, it’s worse than merely me not understanding what you mean to be saying; you no longer can accurately apprehend your own experience with anything like clarity and meaning.

For me, there is only one dictionary: The English Oxford Dictionary. Why? Because it alone is willing to guard the power and meaning of the English lexicon.

If I step out on my front porch, and shout “Labeedoowitz” loudly enough, the word “labeedoowitz” will show up in the next printing of the Rand McNally Dictionary.

OK, that’s hyperbole. But, I swear, coin the word “labeedoowitz” in a hit Broadway musical, and it will indeed be automatically included in the dictionary your son and daughter take to college.

I want to chase people to the dictionary. Regularly. I don’t apologize for using important words when just the right word matters.

I love it when I hear a new word. I interrupt people, right there on the spot. I say, “Ooh, I don’t know that word!” That’s a rush for me. A delicious feeling in my brain.

Why do I write? I write because I’m a compulsive communicator who loves to think out loud. Critical thinking turns me on. I like building an argument the way little boys like Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs and Erector Sets.

I even have fun when the argument collapses. My best friends will tell you that I flat out love being wrong. Yep, when someone puts a finger clearly and accurately on the flaw in my argument, my brain stem hums as if I’d just bitten into a vanilla creme chocolate. If your argument can derail my argument, then I’m like a little kid with a new toy! I’ll race back home with your argument. Take it apart. Put it back together. Play with it. Integrate into my worldview, now changed.

Bring me a good argument, and I’ll ask you to marry me. (Uh, metaphorically speaking. I am so off the market.)

What inspires me? Life. Love. Tragedy. Suffering. Redemption. Evil. Beneficence. Truth. Beauty. Moral dilemmas. Mystery. The human journey inspires me, in virtually any form or circumstance.

What do I do to overcome “writers’ block”? Two things. First, I surround myself with deadlines imposed by others in authority over me. I’m inherently lazy. Not much of a self-starter. Without deadlines, I tend to sit around congratulating myself for thinking about all the brilliant things I could write. The thing that best “jump starts” my most creative self is the high expectations of others, especially if I have contractual obligations with them.

Second, I overcome “writers’ block” by writing. It’s like pumping the pump handle on a reluctant well. At some point I stop saying, “When I get a worthy idea, I’ll start writing.” No, I just sit down and start banging the keys, until a worthy idea shows up.

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Truth floats [emerges/manifests]

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Truth_floats_even_out_of_human_darkness.html

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“False. Abernathy acknowledges in his autobiography that King had a ‘weakness for women’ and indulged in extramarital affairs, but makes no mention whatsoever of ‘drunken sex parties’ or prostitutes, and explicitly denies that King had dalliances with white women. Furthermore, Abernathy writes, far from being physically abusive, King was ‘always gracious and courteous to women.’ “

What we can know, J.D., is that King was unfaithful in his marriage. Serially unfaithful.

Your use of the word “hypocritical” provokes questions for me. It’s a Greek compound, and it literally means “to play-act.” Used literally, we could only describe King’s sexual behavior to have been hypocritical if indeed we remembered him saying, “I’ve never cheated on my wife,” or if we remember him harshly condemning that behavior in someone else.

In our modern day, most people use the term “hypocritical” to refer to any behavior that doesn’t exactly match our stated values. Used that way, everyone is a hypocrite, because no human being always and in every way lives their values. For example, condescending to people doesn’t fit my values; but I am sometimes condescending. That doesn’t make me a hypocrite, merely a garden variety sinner.

Choose either definition and you’re still stuck. Either it misapprehends the term or is an observation so banal as to be nearly meaningless.

To your question: Does bad behavior have the power to pollute or denigrate what he preaches? Strictly speaking, no. Bad behavior can and does ravage our integrity. certainly our credibility. It can make our words harder to hear and our good works harder to see. But truth floats. So do beauty, brilliance and inspiration. Even when those things float out of darkness.

And maybe that’s the most uncomfortable truth in this: Truth, beauty, brilliance and inspiration tend to flow most powerfully from the brokenness in human beings. Our darkness is a part of our light. It no longer surprises me, for example, that so many of our world’s most gifted people seem so often to flounder in excesses of appetite and instinct.

Not saying those excesses are OK; just observing the facts.

Henry Ward Beecher had an affair with a parishioner, and I still think he’s the greatest American preacher in Protestant history. Paul Tillich died in the arms of a prostitute, and I still think he ranks in the top two or three among American Protestant theologians. George Washington owned slaves, and Thomas Jefferson probably sired children with one of his slaves, and I’m not wanting to remove either visage from Mount Rushmore.

Here’s what I notice: When Americans raise questions like you have raised, it almost always regards sex. When a preacher, for example, is gluttonous, emotionally dishonest and manipulative, arrogant, spiteful, envious, mean — nobody ever wonders aloud if these sins might pollute or denigrate what he/she preaches. But sex? Well, then the very doors of hell hath opened.

President Clinton had a sexual dalliance with Monica Lewinsky, and the larger part of his presidency will be forevermore the butt of jokes. President Reagan, er, sorry, some mystery folks in the Reagan administration, er, I mean Oliver North went behind Congress’ back to trade arms for hostages and to fund Contras, and we’re pretty much OK with that. He/they/Ollie were just being benevolent and paternal, doing what was best for us.

I’m asking us to notice and examine that our acculturated hostility to sexual sin is curiously, even astoundingly disproportionate when measured against sins eminently more dangerous and destructive to the collective. I wonder why that is.

 

 

 

 

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120 Responses to Don’t you just love a cogent argument?

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  20. Pingback: Jesus continually sought out marginalised people to befriend. An immense compassion drew him toward poor people, those with leprosy (who were regarded as outcasts) and tax collectors (who were loathed as traitors). Jesus had friends who would feel at home

  21. Pingback: Jesus’ invitation was for “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” to share in the Kingdom of God, a feast of equals, of open commensality, where there is no distinctions at the table. Jesus broke down barriers by lifting up those s

  22. Pingback: Richard J. Henderson: Once a journalist who had come to report about her mission, looked at her huddled over the body of a dying, destitute man. He said, “You couldn’t pay me to do that kind of work!” Hearing him, Mother Teresa turned an

  23. Pingback: Time and again His parables sought to justify His association with outcasts (Lk. 14:15-24; 15:1-32; Mt. 18:23-25; 20:1-15; 21:28-32). — Carelinks Ministries | Curtis Narimatsu

  24. Pingback: Richard J. Henderson: Once a journalist who had come to report about her mission, looked at her huddled over the body of a dying, destitute man. He said, “You couldn’t pay me to do that kind of work!” Hearing him, Mother Teresa turned an

  25. Pingback: Sage Edward F. Markquart: In Jesus’ parables, the accent is always on the last figure, on the last personality of the story. That is where the focus is. For example, in my opening stories, the focus is on the third stringers who had a change of heart an

  26. Pingback: Jesus’ life was full of paradoxes: the shepherds who first came to him were the lowest of the low, wandering around in fetid clothes, while the magi were some of the highest in their society. Baby Jesus was surrounded by the pungent smell of animal excr

  27. Pingback: Jesus’ invitation was for “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” to share in the Kingdom of God, a feast of equals, of open commensality, where there is no distinction at the table. Jesus broke down barriers by lifting up those sh

  28. Pingback: Sage Marci Glass: Jesus doesn’t seem to care WHY the other man is in this situation. But Jesus does seem to care enough about this man, this foreign, tomb-dwelling, demon possessed man to heal him. | Curtis Narimatsu

  29. Pingback: David Wilson: If you’ve not been beat up, downcast and broken at some point in your life, stop reading now. For the unscarred and unscathed, I have nothing further to share. I am thankful you have ventured here and wish you continued smooth sailing.

  30. Pingback: The kicker, the twist in this story, is the guest list and the etiquette. Jesus says, Don’t make the rich people, the healthy people, the prominent and powerful first. Nope, invite the poorest, the sick, the cripples, the lowest of the low. They’re th

  31. Pingback: The kicker, the twist in this story, is the guest list and the etiquette. Jesus says, Don’t make the rich people, the healthy people, the prominent and powerful first. Nope, invite the poorest, the sick, the cripples, the lowest of the low. They’re th

  32. Pingback: In the case of Christ we have a unique form of persuasion. It is like what happens when an error in our viewpoint is shown to us, and our mind reassembles around the truth that we have not seen. But it is unlike this process in that the truth that takes u

  33. Pingback: In the case of Christ we have a unique form of persuasion. It is like what happens when an error in our viewpoint is shown to us, and our mind reassembles around the truth that we have not seen. But it is unlike this process in that the truth that takes u

  34. Pingback: Jesus violated every conceivable tradition when it came to His associations with the marginalized of Jewish society. He infuriated the Pharisees with every compassionate touch. The Qumran community of the Essenes had an unconditional law: “No madman, or

  35. Pingback: This is why when the almighty God came into the world in Jesus, he came as the lowest of the low, as weakness itself, as a complete and utter nothing. — Robert L. Short | Curtis Narimatsu

  36. Pingback: The beautiful word minister, or Huperetes in Greek, has a very special meaning. It is the name of a very low slave, the lowest of the low. This slave was either shanghaied from his home or from the streets or taken from prison or simply kidnapped and was

  37. Pingback: What did Jesus see? — Judy of Rapture Ready | Curtis Narimatsu

  38. Pingback: They heard him preach about how the smallest, lowest, and least among them, were precious in God’s eyes, and the greatest in the Kingdom of God. — Malina & Altenburg | Curtis Narimatsu

  39. Pingback: We typically refuse to help those who are the source of suffering, disappointment, injustice, humiliation, or disgust. — David Chadwell | Curtis Narimatsu

  40. Pingback: But compassion seems to drive religious people’s charitable feelings LESS than other groups — the more religious ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in doctrine, communal identity, or reputational concerns. | Curtis Narimatsu

  41. Pingback: The Pharisees’ statement is intended as a stinging rebuke. It’s not really a question, it’s kind of a rhetorical question, intended to be vindictive and bitter. It’s outrage, why do you eat and drink with the tax gatherers and sinn

  42. Pingback: After all, where was Jesus found most of the time? For me, I see Jesus living and interacting with beggars, prostitutes and tax collectors the lowest of the low in His society. And by choice and association Jesus himself was one of the marginalized, and I

  43. Pingback: God who is so high above the nations, reigning from heaven, still looks down upon the earth to the poorest of the poor, the lowliest of the low…God cares for these folks that are often overlooked. When the Psalmist asks us, “Who is like the Lord our G

  44. Pingback: God who is so high above the nations, reigning from heaven, still looks down upon the earth to the poorest of the poor, the lowliest of the low…God cares for these folks that are often overlooked. When the Psalmist asks us, “Who is like the Lord our G

  45. Pingback: After all, where was Jesus found most of the time? For me, I see Jesus living and interacting with beggars, prostitutes and tax collectors — the lowest of the low in His society. And by choice and association Jesus himself was one of the marginalize

  46. Pingback: They heard him preach about how the smallest, lowest, and least among them — were precious in God’s eyes, and the greatest in the Kingdom of God. — Malina & Altenburg | Curtis Narimatsu

  47. Pingback: God who is so high above the nations, reigning from heaven, still looks down upon the earth to the poorest of the poor, the lowliest of the low…God cares for these folks that are often overlooked. When the Psalmist asks us, “Who is like the Lord our G

  48. Pingback: God who is so high above the nations, reigning from heaven, still looks down upon the earth to the poorest of the poor, the lowliest of the low…God cares for these folks that are often overlooked. When the Psalmist asks us, “Who is like the Lord our G

  49. Pingback: Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now but you shall understand hereafter.” You don’t get it, Peter, you don’t get My humiliation. You think this is too lowly for Me, you think this is too humble for Me,

  50. Pingback: How often do we judge others? I’ll be the first to say that it’s definitely more than it should be. Without even realizing, we judge instantly based on appearance. In the back of our minds, we convince ourselves we are better because we don

  51. Pingback: If you were in the bottom of a hole.. who would you most resent helping you out of the hole? Just think about it….. ‘Cause that’s whom Jesus calls you to love. — April Coates | Curtis Narimatsu

  52. Pingback: Healing the sick. Loving the unloved. Welcoming the unwelcomed. Gathering the little ones. Receiving the rejected and abandoned. Comforting the elders. The Paschal Mystery (Passover) is the greatest act of compassion. God, suffering with us, putting every

  53. Pingback: Many of us claim to love humanity even – the lowest of the low like lepers, prostitutes, and tax-collectors. (Now you know why income tax returns are due at Easter). In affirming the lowest of the low Jesus affirmed humanity. In His emphasis upon th

  54. Pingback: Many of us claim to love humanity even – the lowest of the low like lepers, prostitutes, and tax-collectors. (Now you know why income tax returns are due at Easter). In affirming the lowest of the low Jesus affirmed humanity. In His emphasis upon th

  55. Pingback: Many of us claim to love humanity even – the lowest of the low like lepers, prostitutes, and tax-collectors. (Now you know why income tax returns are due at Easter). In affirming the lowest of the low Jesus affirmed humanity. In His emphasis upon th

  56. Pingback: Here’s the power of hospitality—this willingness to go out of our way to invite and welcome and include those who formerly felt themselves to be on the outside looking in, creating holy space where those who formerly felt themselves to be alienated an

  57. Pingback: But is that the way Jesus treated tax collectors and other outsiders? Matthew 11, verse 19 refers to Jesus as “a friend of tax collectors and sinners”. Time and again in the gospels we witness Jesus befriending those whom others have cast asid

  58. Pingback: But is that the way Jesus treated tax collectors and other outsiders? Matthew 11, verse 19 refers to Jesus as “a friend of tax collectors and sinners”. Time and again in the gospels we witness Jesus befriending those whom others have cast asid

  59. Pingback: Jesus stood in the face of all social convention, and loudly proclaimed that those that see the spirituality of service, and sacrifice, are closer to the kingdom of God, than those with correct doctrine, correct church, and correct lineage. Jesus, this ra

  60. Pingback: Do you know Him? | Curtis Narimatsu

  61. Pingback: Jesus stood in the face of all social convention, and loudly proclaimed that those that see the spirituality of service, and sacrifice, are closer to the kingdom of God, than those with correct doctrine, correct church, and correct lineage. Jesus, this ra

  62. Pingback: But is that the way Jesus treated tax collectors and other outsiders? Matthew 11, verse 19 refers to Jesus as “a friend of tax collectors and sinners”. Time and again in the gospels we witness Jesus befriending those whom others have cast asid

  63. Pingback: How often do we judge others? I’ll be the first to say that it’s definitely more than it should be. Without even realizing, we judge instantly based on appearance. In the back of our minds, we convince ourselves we are better because we don

  64. Pingback: In praise of Lester Chun: Intentionality & the Holy Spirit within oneself | Curtis Narimatsu

  65. Pingback: The Christian distinction which separates Christianity from earlier religions: Matthew 5:44 — Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you. | Curtis Narimatsu

  66. Pingback: What is not in your power to do — to change your enemy — thence, help heal your pain by letting go of your vengeance | Curtis Narimatsu

  67. Pingback: Of a Natalia Stavas — Bombs, Instincts and Morals: Why Heroes Risk It All for Strangers — Jeffrey Kluger | Curtis Narimatsu

  68. Pingback: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson — Embracing Authenticity — by Randy Hain | Curtis Narimatsu

  69. Pingback: My Saint — Oscar Romero — and a flourishing of the Social Gospel, with credit to current Pope Francis | Curtis Narimatsu

  70. Pingback: Karyl McBride: Why Am I So Afraid of Being Alone? It may even clear your thoughts about what is healthy for you. “Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn that anything or anyone that does not bring you alive

  71. Pingback: Karyl McBride: Why Am I So Afraid of Being Alone? It may even clear your thoughts about what is healthy for you. “Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn that anything or anyone that does not bring you alive

  72. Pingback: Karyl McBride: Why Am I So Afraid of Being Alone? It may even clear your thoughts about what is healthy for you. “Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn that anything or anyone that does not bring you alive

  73. Pingback: Living well[spring] | Curtis Narimatsu

  74. Pingback: How to deal with loneliness: To stop feeling lonely, we first must accept that we are feeling lonely. Sometimes admitting that to ourselves is difficult. We then have to express those feelings of loneliness in some way. We might find ourselves writing in

  75. Pingback: As the recent history of American Protestantism proves, when faith becomes the servant of partisan politics, even a great religious tradition can lose its soul. So, where have all the Protestants gone? They are swelling the ranks of America’s fastes

  76. Pingback: “This is Water” – David Foster Wallace — Wallace used many forms of irony, but focused on individuals’ continued longing for earnest, unselfconscious experience and communication in a media-saturated society. Wallace helped u

  77. Pingback: What’s the lesson in your narrative? — Kare Anderson | Curtis Narimatsu

  78. Pingback: A practicing Catholic, Stephen Colbert asked record-breaking author Dan Brown, “Did you write this to familiarize yourself with where you’ll be when you die?” | Curtis Narimatsu

  79. Pingback: “Ultimately I was fascinated by Gatsby as a character. I was moved by him. It no longer became a love story to me. It became a tragedy of this new American, this man in a new world where everything is possible, and at a time of great opulence in the

  80. Pingback: Ask yourself the ultimate questions in your life. Who am I? What is my purpose? What is important to me? How do I live an authentic life? By asking the ultimate questions in your life, you begin the lifelong journey inward, a journey of reflection, contem

  81. Pingback: am not concerned if you believe in the resurrection. But I challenge you to practice resurrection. What within you aches to be reborn?Who around you desperately needs renewed hope, a new word of encouragement, a new perspective, a new lease on life?Or as

  82. Pingback: Ask yourself the ultimate questions in your life. Who am I? What is my purpose? What is important to me? How do I live an authentic life? By asking the ultimate questions in your life, you begin the lifelong journey inward, a journey of reflection, contem

  83. Pingback: Ask yourself the ultimate questions in your life. Who am I? What is my purpose? What is important to me? How do I live an authentic life? By asking the ultimate questions in your life, you begin the lifelong journey inward, a journey of reflection, contem

  84. Pingback: I am not concerned if you believe in the resurrection. But I challenge you to practice resurrection. What within you aches to be reborn?Who around you desperately needs renewed hope, a new word of encouragement, a new perspective, a new lease on life?Or a

  85. Pingback: I am not concerned if you believe in the resurrection. But I challenge you to practice resurrection. What within you aches to be reborn?Who around you desperately needs renewed hope, a new word of encouragement, a new perspective, a new lease on life?Or a

  86. Pingback: Jesus’ death becomes even more powerful when this particular messiah also carries your personal projections. That is, the celebrity’s life mirrors important pieces of your own psychic journey. Your own life dramas. Jesus did this for me with h

  87. Pingback: Jesus’ death becomes even more powerful when this particular messiah also carries your personal projections. That is, the celebrity’s life mirrors important pieces of your own psychic journey. Your own life dramas. Jesus did this for me with h

  88. Pingback: Jesus’ death becomes even more powerful when this particular messiah also carries your personal projections. That is, the celebrity’s life mirrors important pieces of your own psychic journey. Your own life dramas. Jesus did this for me with h

  89. Pingback: Like most writers, I use bits and pieces from my life in my writing. I start with character because that’s the crucial part. I base my characters on bits and pieces of people I either knew or know now. I do that, realizing we’re all capable of

  90. Pingback: I draw water from the well of my life’s work, and create stories. — Mark Rubinstein | Curtis Narimatsu

  91. Pingback: We all have the power to pick our attitudes | Curtis Narimatsu

  92. Pingback: Then Jesus cleansed the temple of everything evil about us — then in typical mob hysteria, we “cleansed” ourselves of Jesus via His Crucifixion | Curtis Narimatsu

  93. Pingback: In praise of nickname Stoner’s bridging the proverbial age gap — from Stoner age 43 to Peter age 66: “You are not an uptight jerk” (like other ultra-judgmental old farts!!) | Curtis Narimatsu

  94. Pingback: In praise of nickname Stoner’s bridging the proverbial generation gap — from Stoner age 43 to Peter age 66: “You are not an uptight jerk” (like other ultra-judgmental old farts!!) | Curtis Narimatsu

  95. Pingback: In praise of nickname Stoner’s bridging the proverbial generation gap — from Stoner age 43 to Peter age 66: “You are not an uptight jerk” (like other ultra-judgmental old farts!!) | Curtis Narimatsu

  96. Pingback: Ambivalence: The hair-thin line between being thrilled (Jesus our savior comes to our town Jerusalem) and being threatened (our own ambivalence — Jesus cleanses the temple of everything evil about ourselves — we feel threatened by Jesus reveal

  97. Pingback: Ambivalence: The hair-thin line between being thrilled (Jesus our savior comes to our town Jerusalem) and being threatened (our own ambivalence — Jesus cleanses the temple of everything evil about ourselves — we feel threatened by Jesus reveal

  98. Pingback: Love-hate dynamic of mob hysteria in praising, then killing Jesus — all within a week’s time | Curtis Narimatsu

  99. Pingback: So Jesus exposed our unlovely selves (Jesus’ cleansing of the temple by ridding it of our money-changers) — we didn’t have to kill Jesus — we could have sublimated our primal fears about our hypocritical nature — and instead

  100. Pingback: We depraved humans are so fickle, to say the least — my recount of Jesus’ exposure of our mob hysteria 2,000 yrs. ago — nothing has changed in us since then — we still are a mob in senseless hysteria | Curtis Narimatsu

  101. Pingback: Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 400 yrs. before Aquinas — and to us 400 yrs. after 1200 AD Aquinas — yet, nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our sensel

  102. Pingback: Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 800 yrs. before Aquinas — and to us 800 yrs. after 1200 AD Aquinas — yet, nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our sensel

  103. Pingback: Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 800 yrs. before Aquinas — and to us 800 yrs. after 1200 AD Aquinas — yet, nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our sensel

  104. Pingback: Nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our senseless mob hysteria — Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 800 yrs. before Aquinas — and to us 800 yrs. after 1200

  105. Pingback: We depraved humans of immense despair — nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our senseless mob hysteria — Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 800 yrs. before

  106. Pingback: We depraved humans of immense despair — nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our senseless mob hysteria — Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 800 yrs. before

  107. Pingback: We depraved humans of immense despair — nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our senseless mob hysteria — Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 800 yrs. before

  108. Pingback: We are depraved humans steeped in immense despair — nothing has changed in us — we still are as depraved today as we were when we crucified Jesus in our senseless mob hysteria — Aquinas is equidistant to early church father Augustine 800

  109. Pingback: Jesus’ mind-blowing “huli ‘au” (upside down) overturning of this world of our flesh — Jesus violated every conceivable tradition when it came to His associations with the marginalized of Jewish society. He infuriated the Phar

  110. Pingback: Mind-blowing Jesus stands inexplicably before us, and Jesus turns common-sense ideas upside down/”huli ‘au,” confounding us all! Dedicated to authentic Ri-in!! | Curtis Narimatsu

  111. Pingback: Life is full of reversals of expectations, baby!! Dedicated to my little girl Staycie age 40 — my separation anxiety from my baby girl when she turned 18 & left home to live on her own turned out to be her greatest crossover to independence R

  112. Pingback: Hawaii’s greatest modern wayfinder Rev. Hung Wai Ching (1905-2002) alter ego Rev. Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) — Niebuhr’s immensely popular Serenity Prayer: “Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it

  113. Pingback: Calvinism, we keep being reminded, was the faith of the Puritans who settled most early American colonies, and its teachings are reflected in founding documents. Since the U.S. Constitution is so preoccupied with checks and balances, some old-timers found

  114. Pingback: Calvinism, we keep being reminded, was the faith of the Puritans who settled most early American colonies, and its teachings are reflected in founding documents. Since the U.S. Constitution is so preoccupied with checks and balances, some old-timers found

  115. Pingback: To love and be loved are what life is all about | Curtis Narimatsu

  116. Pingback: I’m here to love and be loved | Curtis Narimatsu

  117. Pingback: Nobody comes to therapy who hasn’t lost something. The heart is injured. Limping. Constrained by psychic adhesions. Aching, either obviously or just behind the curtain of consciousness. The therapeutic relationship is the MRI. It reveals what’s torn.

  118. Pingback: Nobody comes to therapy who hasn’t lost something. The heart is injured. Limping. Constrained by psychic adhesions. Aching, either obviously or just behind the curtain of consciousness. The therapeutic relationship is the MRI. It reveals what’s torn.

  119. Pingback: To love and to be loved are mystical desires a la Carl Jung’s archetypes (Jung’s forebearers were mystics Plato, Apostle Paul, & Augustine) | Curtis Narimatsu

  120. Pingback: The young man with terminal cancer was going to die quicker than he thought, and he was very depressed about this. And of course he hadn’t gotten to make his mark, and he had this conversation with this young woman. And the young woman said, “No,

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