“For me, there’s hardly a gnat’s whisker of difference between the psychological idea of healthy individuation and the Christian idea of salvation. Both include the lifetime journey of authentic living.”

Title quote from Steven Kalas       http://www.lvrj.com/living/living-authentically-a-challenge-worth-embracing-89350462.html

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Discuss/break down the fork in the road with  one  path leading to healthy atheism, the  second  path to healthy agnosticism, and the  third  path leading to healthy theology          —-

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The more practiced you become at living authentically, the more often you’ll have to make friends with Alone.

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If you take seriously a commitment to authentic selfhood, you find that you regularly must sacrifice belonging. Living authentically includes regular renegotiations of how we belong to family. In some extreme cases, whether we will belong to family at all. Likewise, adjustments in friendships, and sometimes distancing and even discarding friendships.

There are journeys of selfhood and wholeness that must be walked alone.

“Intimacy is difficult to achieve; and, once achieved, even harder to tolerate.” The quote is by David Schnarch, Ph.D., author of “Passionate Marriage.” The minute I heard it, it simply nailed my shoes to the floor. It’s breathtaking. You’ll never see it in a Hallmark card. It just happens to be true.

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/living-authentically-a-challenge-worth-embracing-89350462.html

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http://www.lvrj.com/view/steven-kalas-agnosticism-presupposes-a-healthy-dose-of-healthy-skepticism-129284418.html

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Atheists, agnostics and theists might all be cynics, each for his or her own reasons. Again, on a personal note, I happen to be a theist who regularly must stare down the temptation to be cynical, even bitterly cynical about modern institutional religion. When I’m feeling centered and objective, I’m smart enough to know there are tons of religious folks wielding their theological worldview with absolute sincerity, keen integrity and emotional honesty, not to mention that their work in the world is self-evidently useful, healing and holy. When I’m feeling surly and I fall into the memories of injustices I’ve experienced or witnessed by less sincere, less honest and less self-aware religious folks … well, the temptation to paint with a broad, cynical brush is hard to resist.

My values — both moral and academic — expect more of me than that.

What agnosticism does presuppose is a healthy dose of  healthy skepticism. I say “healthy skepticism.” If you recall in my column, I went to great pains to distinguish  between  skepticism as a crucial and necessary tool in the search for truth and learning  —   and skepticism wielded as pseudo-intelligence. Skepticism as a disguise for both ego and intellectual irresponsibility. Laziness. Moral shallowness.

But, back to agnosticism and the healthy skepticism it contains …

I would not ultimately trust a religious person who never doubted. That’s because I’m convinced doubt is a crucial part of authentic relationship and any real intimacy. Take marriage as an example: What makes fidelity meaningful is precisely that your mate doesn’t have to be faithful. He/she can choose not to be. It isn’t possible to give your whole heart to someone and not also, regularly wrestle with insecurity — aka, doubt. Saying “I do” is a phenomenal risk. An abject vulnerability. Great love affairs, over a lifetime, must include cycles of … well, you might say a “marital agnosticism.”

Presbyterian author Frederick Buechner says it this way: “Doubt is the ‘ants in the pants’ of faith; it keeps it awake and moving.”

I’m saying all authentic journeys with God include doubt and times of agnosticism. If, by definition, it’s not possible for you to allow anything — any experience or any idea — to count against the possibility of God or even the goodness of God, I would wonder how deep the meaning of postulating God at all.

I think that’s why I respect Hebrew theology so much. What else is the story of Job, the Book of Ecclesiastes, Jacob wrestling with God (Genesis), the Book of Lamentations and the Wailing Wall if not a codifying of doubt/agnosticism as part and parcel of the journey of faith?

And, in the Christian story, the disciple Thomas is showcased as the walking, talking icon of doubt. And, when finally confronted by Jesus, Thomas is not criticized for his doubt. Jesus is in no way personally offended by Thomas’ doubt. Instead, Thomas is invited to see, think and experience for himself: “Put your hands in my wounds…”

What makes Bugliosi’s book so credible for me is precisely how he describes both atheism and theism as integral elements in the bosom of his healthy skepticism.

I respect your path.   I would count you a companion on mine.

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

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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.”

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A myth is  eternally true.

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Life in a crumpled paper sack   [pathos]   –

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/clap-your-hands-for-advocates-who-stand-by-us-in-our-shame-160159705.html

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Perhaps there is no more sublime work in human relationships than advocacy. From the Latin “vocare,” meaning “to call.”

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“To call” on one’s inner/core being is the mark of great respect for oneself  [self-respect] and for another living creature [empathy/compassion].   “I’ve got your back,” or, “I will never throw you under the bus.”    I call on my core being –  “vocare.”

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Meaning, join the rest of us – and that would be all of us – who have unlovely [as well as lovely] chapters in our lives.        Everyone has a life hidden in a crumpled paper sack.      All I need to do is remember the times I hold my own life in a crumpled paper sack.

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Individualism as ego overpride is not the solitary reflection of an authentic life   —

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http://www.lvrj.com/view/steven-kalas-we-are-individuals-in-consequential-relationships-162688016.html

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This is another reflection of individualism run amok. We are never merely individuals. We are individuals in relationships. Those relationships are consequential. Weighty. Formative.

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/to-live-in-hope-we-must-make-peace-with-hope-s-foolishness-160987545.html

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To live in hope, we must make peace with the foolishness of hope.

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We must accept that the format of hope comes with knowing not all our hopes will be realized.

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Disappointment is a regular companion on the journey. To live well, we must negotiate a truce with this companion.

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Yet, the reality of disappointments is  no  excuse to give up. We keep extending ourselves in hope to possibilities yet unimagined. We hope that life is meaningful, worthwhile and good, even when it doesn’t feel that way.

But, from time to time, for all of us, hope just exhausts us!!!

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So we craft ideas, stories and conclusions protecting us from the risk of hope. We lean into these ideas. We assert them to ourselves and each other as if we were handed them on golden tablets in God’s handwriting. We talk as if we know that we know the bitter limits of our happiness, our well-being, our contentedness, our forgivability. (I made up that last word. It means “the extent to which I could rightly hope to ever be forgiven or to forgive myself.”)

But, often – usually – we don’t know anything at all!!!!

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Which brings me to the woman in my office. …

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But here it comes: a conclusion that sounds like truth, disguised as truth, but smells like … well, horse patootie. “I regret the time I wasted,” she says, “and I fear it may be too late for me now.”

“This is dirty pool on my part,” I say, “but …”

I tell her that I’m turning 55 in a few weeks. That, for reasons unknown to myself, I’ve decided this birthday will be iconic for me. On that day, I’ve decided to start my life all over again. I’m going to make changes. Extend new hopes into the world. Change my thinking. Try some new things. I’m really looking forward to it.

I give her two choices. I ask her to take a breath, count to five, and decide between two things to say to me. Either, “It’s too late for you, Steven.” Or, “Steven, it’s not too late for you.”

Her face roils. She shrugs and says, “You know which one I’m going to say.” And I shrug back: “You get to pick.”

She centers herself, meets my gaze and says, “Steven … it’s not too late for you.”

“That’s good to hear,” I answer back.

Her eyes fill with tears: “I’m sad about the way my life has turned out.”

“I’m sad about the way a fair chunk of my life has turned out, too,” I say. “But, just a minute ago, somebody told me it’s not too late.”

She leaves the session looking a bit dazed. She knows she’s just been had. She knows she can’t have it both ways. If it’s not too late for me, then …

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/in-relationships-we-bond-by-mastering-our-brokenness-149408345.html

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In the National Football League, a player will face a huge fine if he loses his playbook. Well, of course. If the playbook should fall into enemy hands, the season could be ruined. Your opponents will know just what plays you will run, and thus, how to stop them.

But your mate is not your enemy. So, in life partnership, it’s just the opposite. Partners willingly exchange playbooks. “Hey, sweetie, this is the play I like to run when I’m feeling disconnected and alienated from you. Here’s the play I run when being close to you forces me to look at my own brokenness. Here’s how to recognize the formation. And here’s how to stop it. Here’s how to make that play not work.”

It’s a paradox. At once you and your mate surround your mutual brokenness with compassion … and a non-negotiable expectation. To wit: that, over time, you will less and less often find it necessary to deploy behaviors that get in the way of the joy and wellness that you came together to find.

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/pondering-the-paradoxical-mystery-of-human-connections-144133365.html

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I was still dumbstruck before the opened gift of unconditional love.

Perhaps important, valued relationships are like this. Yes, I see more deeply now. There is a time — a powerful, holy time — when the needed gift your child or friend or beloved mate needs is the surrender of your expectations. When love, working always toward the loved one’s wholeness, freedom and happiness, is offered absent any agenda whatsoever. The gift given is the payment received.

Whether in giving or receiving unconditional love, you’re always even with the house.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_suicide#Liberalism

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 Forms of Existentialist thinking essentially begin with the premise that life is objectively meaningless, and proceed to the question of why one should not just kill oneself; they then answer this question by suggesting that the individual has the power to give personal meaning to life and kill oneself.

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But my pal Puerto Rican Frankie Borales born 1946, without even a formal grade school education, presciently and prophetically says that a suicidal person suffering from immense loss [of a loved one] needs encouragement and comfort and a re-building of self-respect and self-confidence.  

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Frankie wanted to kill himself after his wife continuously committed adultery with other men, but through the help of Frankie’s psychiatrist Dr. Bloomgarden — Frankie was able to restore Frankie’s self-respect.  

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Frankie’s brother Larry did not fare fortunately  — Larry OD’d on painkillers after Larry’s wife left Larry  — and Frankie laments till this day that if only Frankie & others could have carried Larry — literally — and held and comforted Larry  — Larry would be alive and joyful today!!    So sad.   Ohhh so sad  …..

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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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Jesus always embraced the reproached, the outcasts, of society, knowing that these imperfect ones had a closer affinity with God, more so than the overproud decadent sentients in mansions & palaces. To Jesus, imperfection is beautiful, as we grow in God’s Holiness. His Holiness, is not outcome dependent for us on earth.

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And remarkably authentic Jodi Hills’ heartstopper missive –

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Learning The Hard Way

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You gave me a vision,

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Of what life was to be,

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You showed me the world,

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What I was to see.

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You promised me love,

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Said you’d always be there.

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To lend me a hand,

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To show me you care.

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We walked through the days,

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Never rushing our steps.

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We cherished our time,

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For our time …

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well spent.

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Then suddenly one day,

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You came and took your love away.

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As my heart began to sever,

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I knew you were gone forever.

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But not a tear did I cry.

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I rushed through the days,

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By myself, all alone.

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I cherished our memories,

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Although my angers grown.

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Then one day I thought of you,

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And sighed a bitter sigh.

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The long awaited sadness,

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Pierced my heart and …

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I cried.

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I cried for …

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the empty dreams,

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That people have these days.

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I cried because I had a dream,

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And …

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it slipped away.

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I cried because a love like ours,

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Was always meant to last.

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To endure throughout eternity,

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The present, …

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future,

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the past.

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Although I wouldn’t have changed it,

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In my heart

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I know it’s true.

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A lesson learned the hard way,

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Was the price of loving you,   Malie.

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http://www.poemhunter.com/search/?q=learning+the+hard+way

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/51132957.html

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Wow!! Lamentation!!

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-morley/writing-tips-6-ways_b_1591232.html#s1088091&title=Workshops_work

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We are born writers in the sense that we are born storytellers. Language is who we are to the world.  Our ability to tell our story with clarity and panache will make the difference between being heard and being ignored.

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We like to think that artistic genius, at least, feeds on solitude. It is not uncommon for new writers to worry that they will become less distinct, less original, if they spend too much time sharing ideas with their peers. But consider the case of Jorge Luis Borges. When he went to Europe as a young aspiring poet, he found his feet (and an education) in the tertulias of Madrid. Returning to his native city of Buenos Aires, he continued the habit. The almost nightly conversations he had with Adolfo Bioy Casares and other writers fed directly into his writing, and into theirs. If Latin America literature then went off in a direction not yet possible in Europe and North America, it is largely thanks to this unruly group of literary hybrids, who drew as much inspiration from Edgar Allen Poe and G.K. Chesterton as they did from Shakespeare and Verlaine. They gave each other the courage to be break conventions, question received ideas, and imagine the unimaginable.       – Maureen Freely
 
 
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Write, firmly believing that imagination is the quintessential self/the quintessential way of “knowing” the world. This imaginative knowing has the potential to dispel barriers that isolate individuals and communities. Exercising imaginative “knowing” allows, always, for a potentially transcendent narrative, that is trans-global, trans-cultural and speaks to our common humanity.    – Jewell Parker Rhodes
 
 
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 **********Remarkable that one’s experiences span a century or more, if one is lucky enough to live into old age.       My uncle Masaaki 1903-1970 was 50 years older than me.    My grandson Silas is 50 years younger than me.    Uncle Masaaki is a century older than Silas.     My life experiences span a century between Uncle Masaaki and my grandson Silas.    Gatz!    Defy Father Time??*Of course, one can stretch even longer life’s time span   –   my grandma [Uncle Masaaki’s & my dad’s mama] Tome was 70 years older than me.     I’m just short of age 60, so my lifeblood youngest progeny is my youngest grandchild, my granddaughter Maya, who is 59 years younger than me.     Not equidistant, but 130 years separate my grandma Tome from my granddaughter Maya.     

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Actor William Demarest 1892-1983 was 60 years older than me, thus meeting the equidistance measure, with my granddaughter Maya being 60 years younger than me — the total span being 120 years from William Demarest [or my uncle Bill Cappy Chun, also born in Demarest’s time] to my granddaughter Maya.      Here is prolific vaudeville/longtime character actor Demarest  –

William Demarest Picture
 

William Demarest(1892–1983)


Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, William Demarest was a prolific actor in movies and TV, making more than 140 films. Demarest started his acting career in vaudeville and made his way to Broadway. His most famous role was in My Three Sons, replacing a very sick William Frawley. Demarest was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting role in the real-life biography…See full bio »

Died:

December 28,     1983         (age 91) in        Palm Springs, California, USA

 
Still of Humphrey Bogart and William Demarest in All Through the NightStill of Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre and William Demarest in All Through the Night
 
 
 
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I was 20 when my daughter was born, 40 when my oldest grandchild/mo’opuna kane was born, 50 when my middle grandson was born [among 5 grandchildren, 3 boys, 2 girls], and nearly 60 when my youngest grandchild/mo’opuna wahine was born.    

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My parents whom I worship and miss dearly were 40 years older than me.    My mature parents were tutus/grandparents to me in age chronology, & I am blessed by their mature wisdom/magnanimity & composure/equanimity.   

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 My parents died 15 years ago 4 months apart [coincidence  — Mom died of a stroke/Dad died 4 months later from cancer].

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I felt like a grandchild blessed with the most loving & supportive tutus/grandparents in the world, though when I was a barefoot plantation toddler here in Wainaku [Ha’aheo Elem. School atop Kamehameha the Great’s most beautiful pu’u/hilltop]  — I felt terribly embarassed that my parents were fuddy-duddy oldsters vs. my village kid peers’ parents, and that my mom worked, so that I never came home to a homemaker mom who had cookies laid out for me on the kitchen table in our old plantation mill camp.    

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When my parents died 15 years ago, I suddenly crossed over to be a tutu/grandparent to my burgeoning mo’opuna/grandkids.     My grandparents 70 years older than me had died by the time I was born.

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I don’t remember being a child [in a most blessed sense], but undeniably I was blessed/gifted [of the spirits?  Cor./Romans/Ephesians/Peter/etc.] as a grandchild would be, with my dearest parents who were like grandparents to me in wisdom/countenance.    

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Nor do I remember being a parent [my daughter who is approaching middle age at 40  — laughingly tells me that I was a lousy party animal parent but above all else  — I loved my daughter more than anything/anyone in the whole wide world  — and this is the only thing which counted for my daughter, which is/means everything to her!!].    

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But now here I am as a grandparent [by default  — ha ha  ha — still a party animal], and wow, time flies, baby! !!

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And now I am by default/pied piper via hedonism/elan tutu again to 2 dearest “hanai”/emotional attachment — mo’opuna  — Colton age 27 & Jill age 22, grandkids to me in age chronology!   I ask Colton how may I be of service to him/Jill, & Colton shoots back, “Don’t!   Just be you!”    Gatz!   Who am I????   [ha ha    ;-)    ]   

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Foggy bottom, baby   — is my head — spinning like a top???!!    Ha ha!   Dig my hero George Harrison’s video   –   [40 years from age 20 to 60 for me  — go by in the blink of an eye!!][Maui resident Harrison died of cancer at age 58 after 9/11 & a year after this You Tube video was produced] 

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Yes, I hope to make it to age 80 & still feel like a passionate teenager in love!!   Ha ha ha!!        Enjoy [the treats below], baby!!!

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Age is a   figment of our imagination     — our core being is   ageless!       –

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See especially timeclock 4:19 to 5:05 of youtube below about Harrison’s opinion on aging as soulfully deepest youth enjoyed  –

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uVnKjv4fK0&feature=related

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A good person lives here on earth for all creatures both small and large together to enjoy.
 
 
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A good person must find in oneself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it!!
 
 
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In common parlance, “gestalt” is a noun. You will hear therapists talk about “opening a gestalt.” We mean by this a spontaneous moment wherein the whole of a human being is radically open and present to the wholeness of a life experience.

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We can’t decide to open a gestalt. It happens apart from our will. It’s not a choice; rather, a happening. An in-breaking.
 
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Gestalts bend time and space.
 
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At once do gestalts frighten and fascinate.
 
 
 
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Falling in love is a gestalt. Acute grief is a gestalt. Profound awe is a gestalt. Comedy can open a gestalt. The wonder of nature. Authentic joy. Physical suffering. Religious experience. Terror. Great art form — music, dance, sculpture, paintings. Intense anger. Sex is a gestalt. Passionate oratory can open a gestalt, in individuals or sometimes entire nations, for better or worse (see the public addresses of Adolph Hitler).

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Mammon    —

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http://baselinescenario.com/2012/08/23/why-does-wall-street-always-win/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BaselineScenario+%28The+Baseline+Scenario%29

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After a long summer of high-profile scandals – JPMorgan Chase trading, Barclays rate-fixing, HSBC money-laundering and more – the debate about the financial sector is becoming livelier.

Why has it has become so excessively dominated by relatively few very large companies? What damage can it do to the rest of us? What reasonable policy changes could bring global megabanks more nearly under control? And why is this unlikely to happen?

If any of these questions interest you – or keep you awake at night – you should take another look at the last time we had this debate at the national level, and reflect on the work of Ted Kaufman, the former Democratic senator from Delaware, who was far ahead of almost everyone in recognizing the problem and thinking about what to do.

Senator Kaufman represented Delaware in 2009 and 2010, and Jeff Connaughton – his chief of staff – has a new book that puts you in the room. In “The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins,” we see Senator Kaufman as chairman of oversight hearings on the Justice Department and the F.B.I.’s pursuit of financial fraud, pushing the Securities and Exchange Commission on the dangerous rise of computerized trading and working with Senator Sherrod Brown, Democratic of Ohio, on the legislative fight to impose a hard cap on the size and debts of our largest banks. (I wrote many pieces supporting the work of Senator Kaufman at the time, including in this space, but I never worked for him.)

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Wall Street is manifestly too powerful and showers too much money on former and future public servants in Washington. Our political system could not respond meaningfully to a devastating financial crisis that brought the country to its knees. While this book is about the past, the implications for the future are clear.

The apathy on the part of public officials during this administration is pervasive and frequently appalling. As Mr. Connaughton puts it,

“For me, what is deplorable is not the Justice Department’s failure to bring charges, but its failure to be adequately dedicated and organized either to make the cases or reach a fully informed judgment that no case could be made.”

The administration apparently thought that any kind of legal action against major players in the financial sector would slow the recovery; this point of view seems to have come from the very top, in the White House and at the Treasury. As a result, then and now, Mr. Connaughton writes, “Too-big-to-fail banks continue to act lawlessly, teeter on the brink and destabilize the global economy.”

On the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislative debate in early 2010, “the Treasury Department was taking a tougher line in negotiations than the Republican senators whose votes were in play,” the author tells us, meaning that Treasury was more on the side of big banks.

And, in case you previously did not get the memo about how all this really works,

“The Blob (it’s really called that) refers to the government entities that regulate the finance industry – like the banking committee, Treasury Department and S.E.C. – and the army of Wall Street representatives and lobbyists that continuously surrounds and permeates them. The Blob moves together. Its members are in constant contact by e-mail and phone. They dine, drink and take vacations together. Not surprisingly, they frequently intermarry.”

Could we change all of this in the world’s greatest democracy? Mr. Connaughton exhorts us: “Every voter who wants to break Wall Street’s hold on Washington should put congressional and presidential candidates to the test,” demanding that they shun lobbyists’ contributions and asking, “Will you agree not to take campaign contributions from too-big-to-fail banks and non-banks?”

Will it happen? This seems unlikely within our existing party system. It would take a broader citizens’ movement, a groundswell of educated opinion focused on breaking the political power of Wall Street and ending the enormous, nontransparent and dangerous subsidies currently received by very large financial institutions.

Intellectually, the right and the left can unite on this issue. But where are the political leadership and organization needed? We had a huge crisis and elected a president who promised change – and that didn’t make much difference. The biggest Wall Street firms are larger and probably now more powerful than they were in the run-up to 2008.

Read Mr. Connaughton’s account and think about what real change would involve.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/opinion/krugman-galt-gold-and-god.html?ref=paulkrugman

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80 Responses to “For me, there’s hardly a gnat’s whisker of difference between the psychological idea of healthy individuation and the Christian idea of salvation. Both include the lifetime journey of authentic living.”

  1. Pingback: empathy | Curtis Narimatsu

  2. Pingback: “The unconscious is relentless in its desire to communicate authenticity and wholeness to the ego.” — from extraordinary Steven Kalas | Curtis Narimatsu

  3. Pingback: I often think of Buddhism as “the shadow side” of Christianity (in the Jungian sense of The Shadow.) Not a negative thing at all. Rather, as the necessary counterbalance. Christians talk of attachment and striving. Their religious practice is

  4. Pingback: I often think of Buddhism as “the shadow side” of Christianity (in the Jungian sense of The Shadow.) Not a negative thing at all. Rather, as the necessary counterbalance. Christians talk of attachment and striving. Their religious practice is

  5. Pingback: I often think of Buddhism as “the shadow side” of Christianity (in the Jungian sense of The Shadow.) Not a negative thing at all. Rather, as the necessary counterbalance. Christians talk of attachment and striving. Their religious practice is

  6. Pingback: I often think of Buddhism as “the shadow side” of Christianity (in the Jungian sense of The Shadow.) Not a negative thing at all. Rather, as the necessary counterbalance. Christians talk of attachment and striving. Their religious practice is

  7. Pingback: I often think of Buddhism as “the shadow side” of Christianity (in the Jungian sense of The Shadow.) Not a negative thing at all. Rather, as the necessary counterbalance. Christians talk of attachment and striving. Their religious practice is

  8. Pingback: I often think of Buddhism as “the shadow side” of Christianity (in the Jungian sense of The Shadow.) Not a negative thing at all. Rather, as the necessary counterbalance. Christians talk of attachment and striving. Their religious practice is

  9. Pingback: I often think of Buddhism as “the shadow side” of Christianity (in the Jungian sense of The Shadow.) Not a negative thing at all. Rather, as the necessary counterbalance. Christians talk of attachment and striving. Their religious practice is

  10. Pingback: I often think of Buddhism as “the shadow side” of Christianity (in the Jungian sense of The Shadow.) Not a negative thing at all. Rather, as the necessary counterbalance. Christians talk of attachment and striving. Their religious practice is

  11. Pingback: I often think of Buddhism as “the shadow side” of Christianity (in the Jungian sense of The Shadow.) Not a negative thing at all. Rather, as the necessary counterbalance. Christians talk of attachment and striving. Their religious practice is

  12. Pingback: I often think of Buddhism as “the shadow side” of Christianity (in the Jungian sense of The Shadow.) Not a negative thing at all. Rather, as the necessary counterbalance. Christians talk of attachment and striving. Their religious practice is

  13. Pingback: I often think of Buddhism as “the shadow side” of Christianity (in the Jungian sense of The Shadow.) Not a negative thing at all. Rather, as the necessary counterbalance. Christians talk of attachment and striving. Their religious practice is

  14. Pingback: I often think of Buddhism as “the shadow side” of Christianity (in the Jungian sense of The Shadow.) Not a negative thing at all. Rather, as the necessary counterbalance. Christians talk of attachment and striving. Their religious practice is

  15. Pingback: Dedicated to Jesus disciple Lester Chun: Lester’s lifetime journey of authentic living | Curtis Narimatsu

  16. Pingback: Those who are driven by a quest for happiness are more likely to end up feeling lonely instead, according to a study. This is because they focus on themselves, rather than on their connections with others. As a result, self-seeking individuals end up feel

  17. Pingback: Those who are driven by a quest for happiness are more likely to end up feeling lonely instead, according to a study. This is because they focus on themselves, rather than on their connections with others. As a result, self-seeking individuals end up feel

  18. Pingback: You may be shocked to learn that the supposed essential principle that this country was founded upon — “The Pursuit of Happiness” — is nothing more than an impossible vainglorious wild goose chase. All the saints, sages and wise me

  19. Pingback: The law of freewill ensures that the self will never force itself upon you, but that doesn’t mean It has abandoned you. This is when understanding the difference between loneliness and aloneness becomes very important: Loneliness is an emotional voi

  20. Pingback: The law of free will ensures that the self will never force itself upon you, but that doesn’t mean It has abandoned you. This is when understanding the difference between loneliness and aloneness becomes very important: Loneliness is an emotional vo

  21. Pingback: The law of free will ensures that the self will never force itself upon you, but that doesn’t mean It has abandoned you. This is when understanding the difference between loneliness and aloneness becomes very important: Loneliness is an emotional vo

  22. Pingback: In Obliquity, John Kay argues that the best things in life can only be pursued indirectly. I believe this is true for happiness: if you truly want to experience joy or meaning, you need to shift your attention away from joy or meaning, and toward projects

  23. Pingback: In Obliquity, John Kay argues that the best things in life can only be pursued indirectly. I believe this is true for happiness: if you truly want to experience joy or meaning, you need to shift your attention away from joy or meaning, and toward projects

  24. Pingback: sage Carl Gregg: The expectation of The Parable of the Mustard Seed would have been for the comparison to have been to a Cedar Tree, a symbol of empire in the ancient world. Among many Hebrew Scripture examples, consider Ezekiel 17. The expectation is for

  25. Pingback: sage Carl Gregg: The expectation of The Parable of the Mustard Seed would have been for the comparison to have been to a Cedar Tree, a symbol of empire in the ancient world. Among many Hebrew Scripture examples, consider Ezekiel 17. The expectation is for

  26. 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

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. 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

  30. 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

  31. Pingback: Greatest sage Viktor Frankl: Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other t

  32. 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

  33. 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

  34. 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

  35. 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

  36. 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

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

  38. Pingback: Augustinian meme “Tear down the wall!!” (of fear/pretense/self-importance) — no, not from Reagan’s 1987 Berlin Wall crucible, but from Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters’ 1979 The Wall movie — tribute to my mentor Tea | Cu

  39. Pingback: Augustinian meme “Tear down the wall!!” (of fear/pretense/self-importance) — no, not from Reagan’s 1987 Berlin Wall crucible, but from Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters’ 1979 The Wall movie — tribute to my mentor Tea | Cu

  40. Pingback: Augustinian meme “Tear down the wall!!” (of fear/pretense/self-importance) — no, not from Reagan’s 1987 Berlin Wall crucible, but from Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters’ 1979 The Wall movie — tribute to my mentor Tea | Cu

  41. 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

  42. 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

  43. Pingback: My life list: Listen more than one should speak. Engage with the world. This is where ideas come from. Such connections are vitality at its finest — in praise of connector Kim Pu’u born 1965 | Curtis Narimatsu

  44. Pingback: What if God just wants you to discover yourself? — Peter Enns | Curtis Narimatsu

  45. 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

  46. 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

  47. 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

  48. 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

  49. 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

  50. 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

  51. 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

  52. 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

  53. 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

  54. Pingback: Jesus’ mind-blowing reversal/frustration of all expectations — turning common-sense ideas upside down, confounding us all — spark our deepest imaginative opposites/impossibilities, to say the least!! | Curtis Narimatsu

  55. Pingback: Jesus’ mind-blowing reversal/frustration of all expectations — turning common-sense ideas upside down, confounding us all — Jesus sparks our beautifully deepest, imaginative “opposites/impossibilities of thought,” to say the

  56. 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

  57. 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

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

  59. 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

  60. 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

  61. 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

  62. 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

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

  64. Pingback: In praise of Pastor Jay Hernandez — Colossians 1:20 – And having made peace through the blood of the cross, that all beings in heaven and on earth would be reconciled or brought back to God. | Curtis Narimatsu

  65. Pingback: In praise of Pastor Jay Hernandez — Colossians (phonetic pronunciation: kuh-LAH-shuhnz) 1:20 – And having made peace through the blood of the cross, that all beings in heaven and on earth would be reconciled or brought back to God. | Curtis Narima

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

  67. Pingback: In praise of Pastors Calisto & Violet Mateo of Our God Reigns Ministry at 1289 Kilauea Ave. Hilo Suite H, phone (808) 961-6540 | Curtis Narimatsu

  68. Pingback: Yep. It’s true. I’m an alien. I don’t know much about love — loving or being loved. It’s a mystery that, if we have the courage, commitment and patience, will reach across the abyss of wounds between the alienated genders to heal, to make whole,

  69. Pingback: Limerence: Falling in love is a powerful, spontaneous projection of self. The experience is cosmic and powerfully bonding. — Steven Kalas | Curtis Narimatsu

  70. Pingback: 1 Peter 4:8 — Love covers a multitude of sins — Center of Grace — or in the secular sense, forgive yourself for what is not in your power to do | Curtis Narimatsu

  71. Pingback: luck of the draw (bad or good) — forgive yourself for what is not in your power to do — Steven Kalas | Curtis Narimatsu

  72. 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.

  73. 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.

  74. 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.

  75. 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

  76. Pingback: New Age Spirituality aka integral/evolutionary/transformational — not to be confused with Christianity’s I Am (Exodus 3:14) | Curtis Narimatsu

  77. 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,

  78. Pingback: Modern society’s devolution and self-absorption — we need symbols which participate in the things they represent | Curtis Narimatsu

  79. Pingback: Depressive symptoms: Crisis of meaning and self-absorption | Curtis Narimatsu

  80. Pingback: Music: A bridge from abandonment and brokenness to wholeness and freedom | Curtis Narimatsu

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