Artful confessional writers use the dailiness of their observations as a jumping-off point to examine their lives minus a plot — to go anywhere in time as a portal — to make sense of the fragmentary nature of life

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Dedicated to faithful disciple of Jesus   —   Ku’ulei Coyaso

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Ku’ulei manifests Biblical pleasant fruit    —  

 

http://biblehub.com/songs/7-13.htm

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which are

new and old; denoting the plenty of grace and blessings of pleasant fruit, of old laid up in Christ, and from whom there are fresh supplies continually: or rather the doctrines of the Old and New Testament; which, for matter and substance, are the same; and with which the church, and particularly her faithful ministers, being furnished, bring forth out of their treasure things new and old, Matthew 13:52;

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which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved; Christ, whom her soul loved; for though the above fruits, the blessings, promises, and doctrines of grace, which she laid up in her heart, mind, and memory, to bring forth and make use of at proper times and seasons, were for her own use and benefit, and of all believers, yet in all for the honour and glory of Christ, the author and donor of them. Respect may be had to a custom with lovers, to lay up fruits for those they love; at least such custom may be compared with this.

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mandrakes—Hebrew, dudaim, from a root meaning “to love”

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Brain Memory

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/01/diary-online_n_7109776.html?utm_hp_ref=arts

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Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church 

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My mother used to tell me that we weren’t the type of people to air out our dirty laundry. What she meant was good Southern girls didn’t go around talking about their troubles or divulging their secrets. (I can only assume it was by some divine corrective that their daughter turned out to be a blogger.)

But this is a cultural idiom, not a Christian one.

We Christians don’t get to send our lives through the rinse cycle before showing up to church. We come as we are    -–    no hiding, no acting, no fear.

We come with our materialism, our pride, our petty grievances against our neighbors, our hypocritical disdain for those judgmental people in the church next door.

We come with our fear of death, our desperation to be loved, our troubled marriages, our persistent doubts, our preoccupation with status and image.

We come with our addictions–to substances, to work, to affirmation, to control, to food.

We come with our differences, be they political, theological, racial, or socioeconomic. We come in search of sanctuary, a safe place to shed the masks and exhale.

We come to air our dirty laundry before God and everybody because when we do it together

we don’t have to be afraid.

(pp. 70-71)

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I can tell you what I hear a lot: church is fake, and if church is fake, God is fake, and life is too short for fake, so no thanks.    Please, no church, ok??!!

People  need to hear that they are understood, and to watch someone model the very path they are on and yet still talk about church in a hopeful way.

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Rachel is able to speak to people like that because she went through that process herself–not to mention she is a great writer, with a healthy tone of self-deprecation and humility in all of it. She sees herself in this list; I see myself, too.

 

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/05/a-brief-word-on-rachel-held-evans-her-dirty-laundry-and-her-new-book/
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/12/pew-religious-landscape-survey-2014_n_7259770.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

America Is Getting Less Christian And Less Religious, Study Shows

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-tener/writing-a-book-forget-formulatry-method-_b_7157396.html?utm_hp_ref=books&ir=Books
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Narrative can follow a deep psychological form, like Joseph Campbell’s work with The Hero with a Thousand Faces — but I don’t think we get to the heart of the stories we’re writing by filling out the boxes of what happens at 75 percent or 95 percent of the way through the timeline/chronological narrative. I’ve tried that approach and it kills  creativity.

I think it’s far better to “pants” — write by the seat of your pants — and then use tools like the three tools of Book Architecture: the grid, the arc, and the target to ascertain what you’re working with and how to make your material come together on its own terms.

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As writers, we want to create something original, so we need to “pants” first and then find some tools to assess what we’ve done that will help us evolve our thinking over the next horizon…and then the next. This way we’re in a constant dance with our own unfolding imaginations. And that’s the best thing about writing that there is.

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We are so taken up with thoughts and cares of worldly things, that we have neither time nor spirit to see God’s hand in them.

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Our purpose is to love others (as God first loves us).

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Ecclesiastes 3:15

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Is there anything of which one can say,
  

            “Look! This is something new”?


It was here already, long ago;

             it was here before our time.

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This realization often comes much later, in mid-life, when the frantic pace of our youth has become tiresome, when we finally slow down a bit and take stock.

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I’m just another in a long line. I’m not at the front or back. Just in the massive middle. So are you. So is everyone.

We are here for a while, we busy ourselves, we accomplish things, and then we move on — and others continue the cycle.

I also, strangely, felt peace at this thought. I wasn’t exactly sure at the time why, but perhaps knowing that things are as they are and that I will not break this cycle  —-

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leads to a healthy resignation, a release of the fantasy that we control our universe, our lives.

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This is how I put it: my epiphany was a tender “letting go” moment.

I have found that letting go is a key component of the Christian life—of any spiritual life—but I was never taught “letting go” in my Christian education, in church, college, or seminary. The sub-current always seemed to be how “special” and privileged we were not to be part of this endless cycle of life.

I was taught to think of myself as outside of the circle.

But we live our lives within this circle, and our lives do have meaning. Not a meaning handed to us, but a meaning we forge—right here, right now — by choice. Not by denying our humanity but by looking it square in the eye, shedding any notion of being above it all  — and choosing to walk or not — in spiritual salvation with our Lord Jesus.

After all, as Christians believe, God himself entered the human drama, the cycle of life, as yet another man in the long line of men before and since, born of a woman, in ancient Judea, in Galilee, who grew and learned like everyone else.

God valued the cycle enough to be a part of it.   So will I.   I so choose to walk in spiritual salvation with my Lord Jesus.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/04/discovering-the-futility-of-human-existence-at-my-high-school-reunion/#ixzz3YGIJHHDx

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/neal-samudre/6-reasons-spiritual-leade_b_6575080.html

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6 Reasons Spiritual Leaders Are More Successful in Life

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1. They know they can distance themselves from the noise.
Warren Buffett is known for saying, “The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” Basically, the successful person is comfortable saying no to the matters that don’t contribute to their mission. They know how to filter through the noise. Yet, the unsuccessful person is someone who can’t filter the noise, and as a result, say yes to everything.

A spiritual leader knows they don’t have to contribute to everything. They are content with the silence. In fact, most spiritual practices incorporate a practice of being content to offer nothing to the noise. Silence is how spiritual leaders spend time with more important matters.

2. They incorporate intentional practices of slowing down.
A spiritual leader is concerned with finding peace throughout the day. This is why many leaders wake up early and do devotionals in the morning. They are concerned with sharpening themselves to face the day. An unspiritual leader might wake up early but get right into the rush of work, while the spiritual leader knows that their most optimal performance only comes after establishing peace.

3. They don’t feel the need to showcase their accomplishment.
Humility is a large part of spiritual practices, but it isn’t treasured in many cases outside spirituality. However, it should be valued in all cases, because many of us waste our time, attention, and energy trying to get others to notice our work rather than doing better with our work. Humility and secrecy is how we break free of the addiction to showcase our accomplishments, and focus on creating better victories instead.

4. They focus on the wellbeing of their employees, not just their output.
A benefit of cultivating one’s own spirituality is that they know how important it is for others to do the same. They know the health it brings to someone’s entire life. Because of this, they foster habits and practices that encourage not only output from their workers, but transformation. They are more inclined to care about their worker’s overall wellbeing, which in turn improves their workers commitment to the mission.

5. They measure success with internal features more than external ones.
Many of us measure success with numbers and statistics. Yet, the true success is not only an external matter. Most successes spill out from internal reservoirs, such as our belief in the project or our personal achievement in it.

The irony is, when we care more about the internal aspects of a success, we create better success than we would if we cared more for an external feature. For instance, when we are passionate for a project, we work harder for its success than we would if we were just putting it out there for the numbers or response from others. Spirituality, by discipline, teaches us that it is the heart that matters in many cases–not how people respond to what we do. Because of this, we create better success by first pouring all of ourselves into the project–not by catering it to fit mass popularity.

6. They understand life is not all about their work.
People with spirituality often have a bigger scope to life. They realize that life is much larger than their work, though it comes as a high priority in one’s life. Their scope typically includes how they respond to God in their daily dealings. Because of this larger scope, they allow for more grace and margin for errors in their life. They understand there is more to life than work when they commit a mistake at work. Giving themselves grace because of this scope keeps them healthy and guilt-free–the conditions necessary for making a difference.

While it’s true that anyone can be successful in life, letting your beliefs inform all aspects of your life helps establish the balance necessary for finding a deeper success–one that’s not defined by how much you do or have, but rather by the meaning you feel resonate in your life.

Beliefs add meaning to life. It’s time to apply those beliefs into our work so we can feel a deeper meaning there as well.

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Dig out your root of bitterness    (tribute to Christian mystic Pastor Wilfredo Agngaray)    –

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http://www.greatbiblestudy.com/bitterness.php

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Bitterness is a root!

Hebrews 12:15, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”

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Bitterness is hidden under the soil or surface. The same is true with bitterness in a person’s soul. It is a hidden element that lies under the surface, and out of it sprouts up anger and other negative emotions against others and against the circumstances around us. People who have a root of bitterness find it easy to get upset over things that others are doing around them. It’s like a volcano that lies beneath the surface, waiting to explode onto the surface.

Bitterness is a root, thereby making it harder to identify and expose than many surface issues, but none the less it’s a deadly poison that needs to be released.

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“Why do you drink a poison brewed from the root of bitterness — in order to foment a curse on your adversary??”  rhetorically asks erudite sage Wilfredo Agngaray.

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My life has been a Griffin Dunne character in After Hours    

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Paul Hackett (Dunne) experiences a series of misadventures as he tries to make his way home  (mishaps produce laughter via cynicism, skepticism, & the irony of incurring wrath thru one’s desire of pleasure).

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This film is on the list of “Great Movies,” and it combines comedy, satire, and irony (irreducible truth) with unrelenting pressure and a sense of all-pervading paranoia/destruction.

Hopscotch to oblivion’, Barcelona, Spain

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtPI9jIx1kU

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_Hours_(film)

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What others meant for evil, God meant for good   — the epiphany of Josephine A. Roche  — she loved to no end her dad — but also empathized with the forsaken of society  —

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In 1925, Roche returned to Colorado due to her father’s failing health, and in 1927 inherited his holdings in the Rocky Mountain Fuel Company, a coal mining company which he had founded.   By 1929, she had purchased a majority interest in the company and become president. She then proceeded to enact a variety of pro-labor policies, including an invitation for the United Mine Workers of America to return to Colorado and unionize her mines, 15 years after her father and other coal mine owners had broken the unions in the aftermath of the Ludlow Massacre of 1914.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephine_Roche

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludlow_Massacre

 

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The value of the Old Testament includes not just the pattern/representation of Jesus  — but also the expectation of long suffering  (perseverance of the saints)     –

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2014/12/well-at-least-the-old-testament-has-one-thing-going-for-it/
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Their experiences are very much like ours today: life is hard, and life of faith does not automatically make it easier. It may actually make it harder at times.
Spiritual struggles are normal for Christians. They are not to be sought after, but they are normal. They are not to be romanticized, but they are normal. They are not to be shown off and bragged over, but they are normal.

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http://www.differentspirit.org/blog/gethsemane-and-what-follows/
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The suffering and sacrifice of Jesus allowed the Holy Spirit to be poured out on those who believe in Him. There is joy in our salvation, and joy in the promise of what is to come in eternity.

Trials and tribulations, pressure and suffering, are part of the human condition. Christians do not escape.

However, Christians have the joy of knowing that God is with us through times of pressure and suffering, and that He allows it because the final outcome will be good ( James 1:2-3, and Rom 8:28 ).

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What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?”       ― Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes    

http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/3375915-nineteen-minutes
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Although I don’t drink alcohol, I accompanied my friend & Alcoholics Anonymous leader for our island to a community group therapy session.   I went in cynically with the 4-word notion of “practice what you preach” when alcoholics stay sober by urging others to stay sober (the so-called hypocrisy of not addressing self-restraint/responsibility).    Lo/behold, I came out with the amazing 3-word resolution of “man’s fallen nature”    — that you do whatever it takes to  keep you straight   — even if it means telling others to stay straight in order for you to stay straight  — I thereby accept man’s fallen nature & proceed accordingly  — instead of being haughty/puffed up/judgmental.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-arpinricci/the-vulnerable-faith-of-brene-brown_b_7021714.html?utm_hp_ref=books&ir=Books      adaptation below   —
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As with  the Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971) Serenity Prayer, we must  be willing to name our imperfections and accept what we cannot change.

This critical point is central to the book, Vulnerable Faith: Missional Living in the Radical Way of St. Patrick (Paraclete Press, 2015), where one draws  from the gritty truths of Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Steps. The steps take for their foundation an unqualified declaration that we are powerless alone to overcome our own hurts, hangups, and habits  — that we need something bigger than ourselves. Most of us hide from the difficult reality by embracing what I call “the other deadly sin” —  pretense.

“Pretense, like hypocrisy, is the act or appearance of being something that it is not. It is about giving the impression of something as being true that is, in fact, false.”

From the covering of our nakedness in Eden to the polite dishonesty of “putting on our Sunday best,” pretense is borne from our fear — fear of being separated, alienated and rejected. Yet it also becomes the prison that keeps us bound up. Vulnerability is a path to freedom from these chains, but a freedom purchased at a high price. It should not surprise us that we so often opt for pretense over vulnerability — after all, the latter is a call to a form of death, in part what Jesus means when He calls us to take up our crosses and follow Him. However, when we follow this path to the cross surrounded by the love and grace of God and trusted family and friends, the liberty frees us to be people we were truly meant to be. As Jean Vanier reminds us:

Coming to terms with life means embracing the essence of our humanity, which is vulnerable. Life implies death. Loving one another implies the possibility of humiliation or rejection. This is reality. But to live in fear is not to live at all. And so we must be vulnerable so that we are free from fear, free to love.

Far more than simply a self-help method of personal freedom, the liberty that comes with vulnerability frees us, as Vanier pointed out, to truly love others. The beauty of the saving work of Jesus Christ is that, as we embrace humble vulnerability, out of our weakness and brokenness emerges ministry. Despite the thinking of modern marketing, that suggests our faith will be most appealing to others when they see it as a glorious and flawless life, the wisdom of vulnerability demonstrates that people are more likely to be drawn to a community of mutually struggling, yet hopeful and gracious people. In other words, there is more hope in honest brokenness than in the pretense of false wholeness.

This is why I choose St. Patrick of Ireland as my patron saint of vulnerability. Patrick was born to privilege, power and wealth. Yet, it was when he was kidnapped and sold into slavery that he was forced to face the emptiness of the pretense in his life. Not only did that process bring him into a meaningful faith in God, but also produced in him a love that was truly selfless. After all, after his escape to freedom, that love led him back to the land of his captors as a servant missionary. His example is worth our consideration.

Thomas Merton once said, “We stumble and fall constantly even when we are most enlightened. But when we are in true spiritual darkness, we do not even know that we have fallen.” The work of Brené Brown invites us to shed light into that darkness and to face our imperfection with humility and hope, to embrace a the power of a vulnerable faith.

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Biblical Jonah typifies our broken fallen nature   — hailed as a prophet for going to Nineveh to proclaim Nineveh’s destruction (Nimrod’s city), Jonah’s overpride eventually spells Jonah’s doom.   Like Jonah, our lives go up and down like a pogo stick, eventually staying stuck in the abyss of self-pity.

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Christianity’s Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus are about love for one another, even if it means giving up one’s own life for another.    

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Unlike Asian faith/thought  (solitary escape-release from suffering  — Japan has among the highest suicide rates among industrialized nations), Christianity is about helping one another, not solely for one’s own salvation, but especially for the wellbeing of others.   Jesus died to save us, why shouldn’t we die when necessary to save others?

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Love is all about relationship   — to love one another  — and to be loved by one another.    

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Sunday morning Christians say relationship, not religion, but the truth and reality of Christian love are way deeper than boorish impetuous quick fix catch phrases.  

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I am reminded of David Foster Wallace, who in “This Is Water” urges us to imagine with generosity the lives we encounter: “I can choose,” he tells us, “to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket’s checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, but that some of these people probably have harder, more tedious and painful lives than me.”

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Christianity does not just “swallow its own stomach.”    Yes, the truth and reality of Lord Jesus  entail endless reflection and violent reversals, and ensure incomprehensibility at the moment they compel speech.  

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Yet, unlike especially Eastern religion mindless aimless tropes/cure-alls/riddles  (e.g. koans

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dan#Insight ) —

 Christianity overcomes vexing despair, indifference, hopelessness, and tragedy — rampant in today’s global culture of instant gratification and gratuitous violence/pleasure.

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Jesus fulfills “patterns” not “predictions.”

In other words, rather than thinking “Here is where the Old Testament clearly predicts Jesus of Nazareth,” think, “Who Jesus was and what he did was described by these early Christian writers by calling upon Old Testament ‘patterns’ that they believed reached their fullest and final expressions in Jesus.”

So when Paul says that Jesus died and was raised “in accordance with the scriptures,” he is not suggesting we play Where’s Waldo with the Old Testament to look for some verses that speak of Jesus in a predictive way. He is saying “look for these patterns of God’s dealings with his people of old and then see what happens with them in Jesus.”

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The Joseph story is not a “prediction” of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection in any sense of the word. And to limit how we see the connection between this story and the gospel as “prediction” is really to under-read the “patterns” in the Bible.

From the point of view of the Old Testament writers, and in my opinion, these stories of Israel’s patriarchs were written from the point of view of Israel’s later experience of going into their own “pit/death”  of exile in Babylon–returning home was a kind of “national resurrection.”

In other words, Israel’s later realities were scripted into their ancient stories.

The gospel writers and Paul follow on this theme by portraying Jesus as returning his people from “exile,” thus being raised from the dead. Jesus’ own physical resurrection is an embodiment  and therefore fuller expression of the Old Testament nationalistic ideal.

 

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/04/does-the-old-testament-predict-easter-no-actually-it-does-more/#ixzz3WkrJEa3q
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Writing as expression requires assimilation of the starkest realities and contradictions of our ephemeral nature and existence. Betrayal, violence, and death dangerously draw the expressor to the flame.

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One experiences rending of the veil.  Expression is the opposite of “play church” — expression here is spirituality without its man-God —  expression is spirituality with real God.  The expressor might even be Tolstoy’s Hermit in Three Questions, Cormac McCarthy’s Mennonite in Blood Meridian, a cosmically mind-blowing Prophet Fool.  The expressor manifests sublime vision that is matched only by still more ferocious irony.

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Evocation is genesis. Hatching a fully fleshed world, dense with character and narrative, from a single deed. Maybe from an ambivalent glimpse.

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Creation requires transgression, the obliteration of boundaries, and a vision beyond vision. The evoker does not choose one’s creation. The creation chooses the expressor —  the creation impregnates, violates, and inflames the expressor. To inhabit the worlds one births, both elevates and isolates the expressor.

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This creation is a subtraction of self, an absence, a loss one experiences and hopes to share.  Loneliness.  Few ever escape the afflictions of spiritual poverty, depression, illness, and addiction. Creation hurts. One fails anew each day.

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Loss suredly slips into failure. Creation is destruction. Of spouses. Of progeny. Of friends. Creation requires an audience, but never guarantees it. Without external validation, emptiness and nihilism can impinge upon this pilgrim. The scorn of one’s peers might buffet a writer, yet silence could unhinge one.

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No author creates without indwelling a marginal status — albeit immense imaginative horizons which self-reduction imbues. The expressor as loser, as outcast, as exile, as a point diminishing nearest to oblivion — acquires the option to create capaciously out of nothingness, which is infinity. The expressor as author serenely vanishes. We inherit everything left behind  — eternity.

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adapted from

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/modern-societys-devolution-and-self-absorption-we-need-symbols-which-participate-in-the-things-they-represent/

 

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I draw water from the well of my life’s work, and create stories.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-rubinstein/writing-process_b_2707747.html?utm_hp_ref=books
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http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Lite/LiteBred.htm

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Paradox and irony seem quite distinct.

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Paradox relies on the clarity and exactness of language; it shows that truth can be expressed by words alone.

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Irony uses words to point beyond language.

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Irony shows that there are some truths which, though they cannot be articulated in words,

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can none the less be expressed by means of words.

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Irony, like many other figures, is a way of transcending and ultimately extending the limited resources of everyday language,

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of ensuring that it does not disguise thought

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but is both the midwife and the medium of thought.

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Not everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly,

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but everything that can be thought at all can be put into words.

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E.g. –

In praise of mystic Christian Joanne: “I recognized that our seminaries could teach us how to think and even how to apply the truths of Scriptures to certain situations, but our seminaries did not have the ability nor the capacity to teach their young ministers how to feel. Only the Prompt of the Spirit could provide that.” — James H. Hill, Jr.
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E.g. –

Richard Hays’ Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul: Paul’s readings of Scripture are not constrained by a historical scrupulousness about the original meaning of the texts. Eschatological meaning subsumes original sense…. True interpretation depends neither on historical inquiry nor on erudite literary analysis but on attentiveness to the promptings of the Spirit, who reveals the gospel through Scripture in surprising ways. In such interpretations, there is an element of playfulness, but the freedom of intertextual play is grounded in a secure sense of the continuity of God’s grace: Paul trusts the same God who spoke through Moses to speak still in his own transformative reading. Just as my lectionary commentary invites Christians to read the Bible as Jesus read the ‘Bible’ in his day (with a hermeneutic of love), Hays’ work invites us to embrace the same freedom to interpret the Bible that Paul with other ancient commentators claimed. — sage Carl Gregg

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And yet,

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The Epicurean paradox “problem of evil” is a cosmic irony due to the sharp contrast/incongruity between reality and human ideals, or between human intentions and actual results. The resulting situation is poignantly contrary to what was expected or intended.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Paradoxes#Philosophy
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony#Cosmic_irony_.28Irony_of_fate.29
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Jacob’s Dream

by William Blake (c. 1805, British Museum, London)

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Christotelic  —  Telos is a Greek word meaning “end” or “goal.”  

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Toward Christ.

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The Old Testament does not  flow easily into the New Testament,

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nor do the Old Testament writers “predict” Jesus of Nazareth in any conventional sense of the word “predict.”

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The tendency toward “mystical”(i.e., midrashic ) readings of scripture in Judaism at that time is the hermeneutical (interpretive) backdrop for understanding our “Christotelic” hermeneutic (an instance of genre-calibration — interpret the New Testament alongside the other ancient analog Old Testament).

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This is why – as several Bible readers  know – New Testament writers, when quoting the Old Testament, typically “take it out of context,” meaning the context of the original utterance. The gospel includes creative re-framing of Israel’s story.

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adapted from

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And that is the goal of story: to make meaning out of a set of events  — into a collective narrative. 

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The right words 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, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

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

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Playing_with_words_is_fun_as_well_as_meaningful.html
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These, anyhow, are the price of admission, or as Luke intones,  the cost of discipleship .         

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Jesus lived without wealth, position, status, and even acceptance in that He was rejected by His own (John 1:11). Unlike the foxes that have their dens and the birds their nests, the Son of Man had no place to lay His head (Matt. 8:20).     

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What about us? Although rights, privileges, pleasures, possessions, expectations, and well-formed plans may not be wrong in and of themselves, are we willing to hold them just temporarily and  then let them go?

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Though nowhere near the caliber of Jesus,   contemporary social outsiders who expose to absurdity especially the manners of the upper gentry include Charles Dickens and W.M. Thackeray  —   thematically, we  all are flawed to a greater or lesser degree. 

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A riddle is a statement or question or phrase having a double or veiled meaning, put forth as a puzzle to be solved. Riddle enigmas are problems generally expressed in metaphorical or allegorical language that require ingenuity and careful thinking for their solution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riddle
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Hope   —

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The Thorn Birds book title obliquely refers to the mythical “thornbird” that searches for thorn trees from the day it is hatched. When it finds the perfect thorn, it impales itself, and sings the most beautiful song ever heard as it dies. It directly alludes, as should be obvious from the novel’s subject matter, to the Parable of the Sower in the Synoptic Gospels and chapter 9 of the Gospel of Thomas.     The seeds falling on thorns represent those who hear the word, but allow fleshly carnality, such as lust, to kill the word   — as with a taboo relationship between priest and penitent.

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Whether you are prepared to pay it or, whether it coincides or conflicts with your attitude on what is “nice” is something for you to decide.

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 F. Scott Fitzgerald on the Secret of Great Writing

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Irony entails endless reflection and violent reversals, and ensures incomprehensibility at the moment it compels speech.     Essentially, irony swallows its own stomach.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony#Irony_as_infinite.2C_absolute_negativity
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In this sense, the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) is unique to Matthew’s Gospel because it does not give us an explicit interpretation (unlike the parable of the sower in Matthew 13).
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 As a result, scholars have offered many interpretations, including the implication of justifying unfair or abusive labor practices by employers. 
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Does Jesus mean that we should be content when we or other workers are treated unfairly?
“The majority will rule”  (negative connotation is “mob rule”)  —   our creed   —  honest day’s wages for honest day’s work, not pay for non-performance, our majority rule/ethic  —
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is upended by God’s rule of follow me into my Kingdom  —

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Perhaps the parable is not really about work. The context is that Jesus is giving surprising examples of those who belong to God’s kingdom: for example, children (Matt. 19:14) who legally don’t even own themselves. He is clear that the kingdom does not belong to the rich, or at least not to very many of them (Matt. 19:23-26). It belongs to those who follow him, in particular if they suffer loss. “Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first” (Matt. 19:30). The present parable is followed immediately by another ending with the same words, “the first will be last, and the last will be first” (Matt. 20:16). This suggests that the story is a continuation of the discussion about those to whom the kingdom belongs. Entry into God’s kingdom is not gained by our work or action, but by the generosity of God.

http://www.theologyofwork.org/new-testament/matthew/living-in-the-new-kingdom-matthew-18-25/the-laborers-in-the-vineyard-matthew-201-16/
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Paradoxes are irresolvable truths, not contradictions, in which only one opposite is true (a contradiction).

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Irony and paradox as distinct and not convergent   —

 

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http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/english/2010/lesson_plans/reading/nonfiction/9-12/14_11-12_readingnonfiction_recognizing_ambiguity_contraction.pdf
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There is something compelling about people’s stories, something that taps into a deep human need for narrative. The pull of Pericopes and Parables can really be traced back to ancient story telling traditions, which exist in every world culture. We see parts of ourselves in both ancient and modern-day narratives, just as we construct stories about our own personal realities.

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Psychological scientists have in recent years begun to examine this deep human yearning for story — in particular our need to create a coherent narrative identity. They have been using narrative identity as both an indicator of psychological health and a possible tool for enhancing well-being.

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We all construct a coherent narrative identity, according to the emerging theory, from the accumulated particulars of our autobiographies as well as our envisioned goals. We internalize this story over time, and use it to convey to ourselves and others who we are, where we came from, and where we think we’re heading. Consider the example of redemption. McAdams and other scientists have been asking people to narrate scenes and extended stories from their past, and then they code the accounts for key ideas like redemption and self-determination and community. They have found that people who include themes of redemption in their stories — a marked transition from bad to good — are less focused on themselves and more focused on community and the future. They’re more mature emotionally.

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This is just one example of how people make narrative sense of the suffering in their lives. Others have studied how people narrate life challenges, such as a painful divorce or a child’s illness, and they have found that those who produce detailed accounts of loss are better adapted psychologically. Their narratives often strike themes of growth and learning and transformation. Importantly, the stories of the well-adapted have endings, positive resolutions of bad experiences.

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Psychotherapy is largely about personal narratives. Therapists help their clients to “re-story” their lives by finding more positive narratives for unhappy experiences. Indeed, when scientists asked former psychotherapy patients to describe how they remembered their therapeutic experience, the healthier ones told heroic stories, tales in which they bravely battled their symptoms and emerged victorious. This narrative theme of personal control was also and by far the best predictor of therapeutic success: As patients’ stories increasingly emphasized self-determination, these patients’ symptoms abated and their health improved. The stories themselves created an identity that was mature and well-adjusted.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/ambivalence-challenges-most-close-relationships

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An accepted bit of “wisdom” in our culture is that, in marriage, being “in love” and hot sex must, of necessity, “wear off.” The elders ask us to accept that.  But this bit of wisdom isn’t so wise.

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 In fact, it’s a sad excuse for lack of commitment to a most intimate spiritual togetherness.

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It is ambivalence that erodes love and sex. Nothing more. Nothing less. The human ego finds the experience of great vulnerability — great love — both compelling (approach-love)) and intolerable (avoid-hate). So we seek it, find it and then promptly begin to erode it, starve it (slow deprivation) and stonewall it (slow poison) so as to protect ourselves. This almost always is an unconscious process.   (slow deprivation/slow poison below)

In fact, that’s the rub: Ambivalence begins unconsciously. And we can’t manage it well unless we are willing to make it conscious. When ambivalence is made conscious, then we have choices for bearing it creatively, usefully, sometimes even playfully.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/acknowledging-ambivalence-best-way-cope

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Perpetrators of domestic violence are provoked to violence in two primary ways.

One is obvious: the perpetrator’s felt loss of control over the mate. But lesser known is the alternate route to the perpetrator’s rage: the mate got too close, emotionally speaking. The perpetrator experienced an intimacy and therefore a vulnerability.

Other people, while not committing/experiencing acts of physical violence in marriage, can and do exhibit another type of disturbing — not normal — ambivalence.

I’m referring to couples with frequent cycles of reactive hostility pingponging back to cosmic sex and breathless romance. “Frequent” here can mean two to five such highs and lows in a given week. The participants are beaten to an emotional pulp.

For some folks, these slingshot highs and lows are near addictive.

The cycles create powerful bonds. Just not healthy bonds. Certainly not happy bonds.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/bonds-untie-moment-barely-noticeable-moment

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The two most common enemies of marriage are the least obvious. And that’s a disturbing proposition, because we often don’t recognize the enemy as an enemy until it is too late.

It’s like termites. You don’t know you have termites until you come home to find your roof on the living room floor.

The most common enemies of marriage are treacherously subtle. Domestic violence, infidelity, addiction, vicious arguments — these enemies of marriage are obvious. But they are not the most common enemies. Just the most obvious.

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The two most common enemies of marriage are Slow Deprivation and Slow Poison.

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Slow Deprivation is what happens when your mate becomes slowly but surely inattentive to nurturing the bond. The connection. Your mate “falls asleep at the wheel,” so to speak. A little less present each day. Each week. Each month. But doesn’t know it. Doesn’t see it. And never had a conscious intention to do so.

It happens in subtle, mostly unnoticeable increments. It’s like feeding and watering your roses a little less … and less and less … and then being surprised to find that your roses are dying.

And the roses are duped, too. They don’t notice, either. Until their life is passed the point of no return.

Slow Deprivation is practiced by good people who are deeply in love and believe deeply in marriage.

How many times can you put your mate second in line, or fourth or ninth, even for all the “right” reasons (children, career, aging parents), before your mate decides he/she no longer particularly needs, wants or cares to be first in line?

How many times can you explain leaving the customaries of romance unattended by saying, “I’m just not very romantic,” as opposed to saying, “I should bloody well learn to be romantic”?

How many times can you decline great sex by saying, “I’m tired,” as opposed to saying, “I must be a better steward of my energy so that I can show up for great sex”?

How many times can you decline your mate’s eager invitations to join him/her in socializing, hobbies, recreations and interests before the invitations simply dry up? Stop.

It’s like eating one calorie less each day and then being sincerely shocked and surprised to find you’re starving to death.

If you are bent on teaching your mate not to need, want or desire you, then Slow Deprivation is the master teacher.

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Slow Poison is what happens when your mate slowly but surely acquires the habit of pushing negative energy into the marriage. Persistent complaining. Speaking in tones that are short, curt and sharp. Impatience. Mobilizing more warmth and eye contact to greet the dog than to greet you. Moving unconsciously across the line from playful teasing to sarcasm and belittling. Entitling oneself to chronic moodiness. Deciding that good manners no longer matter except in public. Forgetting to be grateful, appreciative, complimentary and encouraging.

These are slow-acting poisons. And they are deadly to marriage. Often these poisons are undiagnosed until the autopsy of divorce makes them plain.

I know this couple who devised a plan to help them stay alert to the enemies Slow Deprivation and Slow Poison. It’s absurdly simple: The Weekly Check In. Once each weekend (Saturday or Sunday depending on their schedule), they fix a time to talk.

Sometimes just sitting together. Depending on the weather, they might go for a Talk Walk. And they “check in.”

How are you? How are you feeling about our connection? Is there anything left over from (this or that conflict) we need to process or talk about? Are you getting what you need from me? Am I injecting poisons unawares? How goes your heart? Are you feeling loved?

Sometimes the conversations last four to eight minutes. Occasionally the conversations demand 90 minutes or so of tiring rigor and the tolerance of discomfort.

Theirs is a terrific idea and a faithful practice. It’s like having the termite inspector visit weekly. It’s like having garlic and holy water hanging by the front door in readiness for the occasional vampire. It’s like a weekly reconnaissance through the rose garden to see if your roses are happy and thriving. To check for aphids.

Marriage requires us to live consciously. Intentionally. Out loud in words. We must stay awake.

The bond of love is a living, organic creature. Which means it is also mortal. It can die.

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Mixed emotion

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My modern Jesus  —  towering intellectual & spiritual figure —   philosopher and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr   —

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/07/reinhold-niebuhr-religion_n_7019384.html?utm_hp_ref=religion
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The Library of America has published Reinhold Niebuhr: Major Works on Religion and Politics, which gathers four of his books, along with writings on contemporary events from the 1920s to the 1960s, a selection of prayers, and sermons and lectures on faith and belief. The volume is edited by Niebuhr’s daughter Elisabeth Sifton, an editor and book publisher for forty years and the author of The Serenity Prayer: Faith and Politics in Times of Peace and War.

The Library of America recently interviewed Sifton on why Niebuhr’s writings continue to fascinate and challenge today’s readers. This interview is published with permission.

What’s the aim of this collection, what sorts of pleasures, discoveries, and insights do you hope readers will find?

Reinhold Niebuhr was a writer and thinker who engaged fully in his times—from 1914 and World War I, through the heady 1920s, into the Great Depression, then World War II, the “nuclear age” and the Cold War. This book shows how he wrestled with the spiritual and political issues of those times: many of them are with us still, and some are with us always. In America—where he was born and raised, his very German name notwithstanding—he worked for better working conditions for people caught up in the rush of industrialization, he called for social justice in all our communities, and he strove for better relations between races. In international affairs, he ceaselessly advocated policies that would lessen the risk of war, and he argued that a rich and newly powerful nation like the US should learn better how to conduct itself vis-à-vis other nations. I hope readers will find wisdom here that deepens their understanding of our world today.

Why Reinhold Niebuhr in The Library of America? How would you characterize his contribution/legacy? His influence?

Niebuhr has been described as the most important American theologian of the twentieth century and as an especially influential American progressive. He knew how hard it was to alter entrenched power structures, but he combined his tough-minded political realism with a sympathetic understanding of society’s injustices and cruelties. Both his secular work and his theology became famous thanks to his memorable gifts as a public speaker, his huge productivity as a writer and teacher, and his frequent participation in national political discussions. In all these activities he never stopped being a pastor, which is how he started (he thought of himself more as a pastor than a theologian).

How would you characterize Niebuhr’s contribution as a public intellectual during the years covered by this volume?

He tried to wake people up to the inequities and failures in American society. He thought it deplorable that Americans were by and large so self-confidently certain of their basic goodness—meanwhile ignoring not only their own inadequacies (sins?) but also the threats and dangers to American democracy and to the world—whether human (in the form of fascist dictators) or material (nuclear weapons). His sermons and speeches were famous for the clarity and urgent force he gave to his exploration of these themes. One key opinion that infused both his theological and secular work was that possessing superior power or force does not make a person or a state wiser or braver, but it does heighten the danger of sinful hubris.

As a religious thinker?

I’m not qualified to answer this, but perhaps we can say that he sharpened and deepened the discourse about Christian ethics, Christian interpretations of the Gospels and Epistles, Christian understanding of secular society. He was a radical critic of much of American religious life, well known for the vigor with which he made his unclouded assessments. Again, he feared and decried the hubris of so many secular and religious leaders.

Did his thinking and writing fundamentally evolve over the years charted by the works in this collection?

Yes, it did. When he wrote Moral Man and Immoral Society (1932) he considered himself a social-democratic Marxist, but the traumas and dangers of the Depression led him to rethink his Marxist presuppositions and reformulate his ideas on the dynamics of social change and betterment. And, as he writes in “An End to Illusions,” included in the volume, he resigned from the Socialist Party in 1940 because he couldn’t go along with its isolationist refusal to take action against the fascists threatening Europe. Thereafter one sees a deepening and refinement of his positions. He insisted always on the important distinction to be made between Communism and socialism.

The fame and influence of The Irony of American History (1952) have made Niebuhr’s contribution to an understanding of American foreign policy well known, but can his thought also be brought to bear on domestic political considerations—such as inequality in America?

Yes, certainly. Indeed, Niebuhr believed that domestic and foreign policies were, and should be, related to each other; only despots or would-be despots separated them. As this book shows, America’s social-political-economic life, and the disparities separating rich and poor, were major concerns for Niebuhr from the very start of his ministry until his death a half-century later.

How might Niebuhr have responded to the widening gap between rich and poor that we see today?

I can’t “channel” my father, but it’s clear in everything he wrote and did that he considered social and economic inequities as unethical, immoral, even sinful. And he denounced the self-delusions and proud deceits that people invoke to preserve them. One prayer, included in this volume, reads in part: “We confess the indifference and callousness with which we treat the sufferings and the insecurity of the poor, and the pettiness which mars the relations between us. May we with contrite hearts seek once more to purify our spirits, and to clarify our reason so that a fairer temple for the human spirit may be built in human society.”

How might Niebuhr have responded to the new sorts of religious extremism we see with al Qaeda and now ISIS?

He frequently inveighed against religious fanaticism and against theocrats, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or secular (as in the Soviet Union under Stalin). Al Qaeda and ISIS are new for us, but the history of violence-prone religious extremism is, tragically, as old as that of civilization itself. He could not have supported a foreign policy that requires America to battle jihadism around the globe while ignoring the social and spiritual strife that gives rise to it in the first place.

The LOA collection opens with Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic (1929), a very personal and accessible book. How would you characterize its importance?

Niebuhr in his old age would shake his head over the popularity of his first book. But it’s never gone out of print for good reason: these pages from the diary he kept at Bethel Church in Detroit in the 1920s are disarmingly honest about the emotional, psychological, and spiritual dilemmas faced by inexperienced young pastors, and ever since it first appeared almost ninety years ago, inexperienced young pastors, priests, and teachers have found its counsels wise and its candor refreshing.

What does it tell us about Niebuhr’s only pastorate, and about his experiences in an ascendant Detroit?

Well, Detroit wasn’t quite his only pastorate: when his pastor father died in 1913, he left divinity school and returned to Lincoln, Illinois, to fill in there for a time. But to answer the question, the book shows you his first encounters with brutal capitalism at full throttle, which is what Detroit was experiencing in the 1920s in the new automobile factories. He witnessed at first hand the spiritual crises that people face when unstable social and economic conditions encourage divisive politics. And it deeply affected him.

How did you decide which of the uncollected pieces to include?

Few of the previous (and partial) collections of his writings included his copious journalism about national and international events as they occurred. We had hundreds of short articles to choose from, articles that were probably read by as many people as read his books or heard his sermons. I wanted to show them in chronological order, so that one could observe the speed and precision with which he addressed himself to crises in the headlines.

What’s the most interesting discovery you made in the course of putting the volume together?

When I put the journalism together with the sermons and lectures, I began to see how he often approached a given theme or issue: first, maybe writing an essay about it or preaching on a Biblical text he thought relevant to it, then exploring it further in a lecture, writing about it some more, perhaps, and praying about it. This kind of recycling pattern allowed him to finish an incredible number of assignments in any given week, but also gave him a way to re-examine and deepen his initial ideas.

What’s the most important thing you learned as a writer and thinker from your father’s example?

To be unafraid of prevailing, stifling orthodoxies.

Did he offer you practical advice?

Not really, but the Serenity Prayer is the best possible form of daily instruction.

President Obama has expressed his great admiration for Niebuhr as a thinker. Would Niebuhr have returned the compliment?

I am sure he’d have been happy to see such an intelligent, principled, brave black man in the White House—and a Democrat from Illinois, the state where he grew up, no less!

Do you have a favorite piece in the collection?

My father preached more than once on the mysterious Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, so one version of such a sermon is included; it’s a great example of his theological and moral subtlety about human life. And my favorite paragraph in his writing comes from chapter 3 of The Irony of American History:

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.

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http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/g/georgeelio402277.html
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It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them.

George Eliot

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Loneliness is a public health crisis

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/21/science-loneliness_n_6864066.html?utm_hp_ref=science
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Our time has been called the “age of loneliness.” It’s estimated that one in five Americans suffers from persistent loneliness, and while we’re more connected than ever before, social media may actually be exacerbating the problem.

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There are ways to break the cycle of isolation.

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Here are ways to combat chronic feelings of loneliness and isolation:

Here are three main types of treatment for loneliness: group therapy, individual treatments (working with a therapist to improve befriending skills or to minimize negative beliefs that might contribute to loneliness) and community interventions (events focused on reaching out to lonely people).

Examining a body of existing literature on the subject, the researchers concluded that the most promising line of treatment for loneliness is individual therapy that addresses the thought patterns and beliefs — such as low self-esteem or shame — that prevent a person from connecting with others. With further research, they say, this treatment could be combined with pharmaceutical treatments, such as short-term courses of oxytocin, a hormone known to promote pro-social behavior.

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The study noted that the U.K. government has developed several initiatives to improve quality of life for those suffering from chronic loneliness and to raise awareness about the issue. The authors also point to efforts to help people t find more connections in their daily interactions.

Over a given period, people who have strong ties to family, friends, or coworkers have a 50 percent greater chance of outliving those with fewer social connections.    If our relationships can have such an effect on our overall health, why don’t we prioritize spending time with the people around us as much as we do exercising and eating right?

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Spirit nullifies pride (man’s puffed up overpride)

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Overlay on spirit-killing pride and our mob mentality    —

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Betty Nelson and Rosella Nelson view the body of John Dillinger while in bathing suits at the Cook County Morgue, located at Polk and Wood Streets, in Chicago. In the days after Dillinger was killed on July 22, 1934, massive crowds lined up outside the morgue to get a glimpse of the notorious public enemy.

dill
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Ex-reputed State crime syndicate mob boss Henry Huihui was my client nearly 40 yrs. ago .   Great wordsmith/author Jason Ryan chronicles spirit-killing pride and our mob mentality,

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both in law  (Charles & son Chuckers Marsland)

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and out law  —

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pride pulls into the abyss of hell the human journey in virtually any form or circumstance.

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Pride’s killing power hits home — my neighbor Leilani Castro Alconera Kim was murdered  at a posh Kona resort 4 decades ago, allegedly by her hubby (Wildcat Kim’s brother).

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https://books.google.com/books?id=Iq6DBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA191&lpg=PA191&dq=josiah+lii&source=bl&ots=npXhag5rge&sig=uws-WeMHvi-zNWcWcRGqwDe4jbU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ZWf7VNDNAcKyoQTCz4H4Dg&ved=0CCEQ6AEwATgU#v=onepage&q=josiah%20lii&f=false

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Harold Biggie Chan’s friend Joe Ng was a low key cool fella a la Meyer Lansky, a positive projection .    Like Ng,  an older Alema Leota disdained attention-getting mob meltdowns.

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PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Hell-Bent: One Man’s Crusade to Crush the Hawaiian Mob

Jason Ryan, Author

Jason Ryan. Globe Pequot/Lyons, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7627-9303-7

Reviewed on: 12/01/2014   (book release 3 wks. before)
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Journalist and author Ryan recounts the story of Honolulu prosecutor Charles Marsland, a man on a mission to find justice for his son’s murder and take down the Honolulu crime syndicate believed to be responsible.

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The sordid saga begins in 1975 with the shooting death of Chuckers Marsland amid a plague of violence and corruption in Hawaii with gangsters shaking down gambling operations, killing rivals, and partying with Don Ho.

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Amid those suspected of the murder are Eric Naone, a violent bodyguard, Ronnie Ching, “thief, pimp, drug dealer, and professional killer,” and Raymond Scanlan, a corrupt ex-cop with a missing service weapon.

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Enter “abrasive, aggressive, tough-talking” Charles Marsland, grieving father and civil attorney turned head city prosecutor, who is intent on speaking out about the legal system’s “incompetence, cronyism, [and] outright corruption.”

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In addition to avenging his son’s death, Marsland seeks to prove that local businessman Larry Mehau is the shadowy godfather of the Hawaiian mafia.

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The book culminates in a trial against the major suspects after a confession by the notoriously deceptive Ching hoping to exchange information on Mehau’s criminal activity for a plea bargain.

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Ryan’s well-researched account expertly weaves historical fact into an engrossing true crime narrative to present a fascinating piece of Hawaiian history at odds with its idyllic image.

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Toward Christ

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Jacob’s Dream

by William Blake (c. 1805, British Museum, London)

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Christotelic  —  Telos is a Greek word meaning “end” or “goal.”  

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Toward Christ.

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The Old Testament does not  flow easily into the New Testament,

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nor do the Old Testament writers “predict” Jesus of Nazareth in any conventional sense of the word “predict.”

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The tendency toward “mystical”(i.e., midrashic ) readings of scripture in Judaism at that time is the hermeneutical (interpretive) backdrop for understanding our “Christotelic” hermeneutic (an instance of genre-calibration — interpret the New Testament alongside the other ancient analog Old Testament).

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This is why – as several Bible readers  know – New Testament writers, when quoting the Old Testament, typically “take it out of context,” meaning the context of the original utterance. The gospel includes creative re-framing of Israel’s story.

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adapted from

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/03/get-to-know-me-my-approach-to-interpreting-the-bible-in-5-words/
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And that is the goal of story: to make meaning out of a set of events  — into a collective narrative. 

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The right words 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, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

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

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Playing_with_words_is_fun_as_well_as_meaningful.html
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These, anyhow, are the price of admission, or as Luke intones,  the cost of discipleship .         

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Jesus lived without wealth, position, status, and even acceptance in that He was rejected by His own (John 1:11). Unlike the foxes that have their dens and the birds their nests, the Son of Man had no place to lay His head (Matt. 8:20).     

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What about us? Although rights, privileges, pleasures, possessions, expectations, and well-formed plans may not be wrong in and of themselves, are we willing to hold them just temporarily and  then let them go?

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Though nowhere near the caliber of Jesus,   contemporary social outsiders who expose to absurdity especially the manners of the upper gentry include Charles Dickens and W.M. Thackeray  —   thematically, we  all are flawed to a greater or lesser degree. 

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A riddle is a statement or question or phrase having a double or veiled meaning, put forth as a puzzle to be solved. Riddle enigmas are problems generally expressed in metaphorical or allegorical language that require ingenuity and careful thinking for their solution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riddle
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Hope   —

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The Thorn Birds book title obliquely refers to the mythical “thornbird” that searches for thorn trees from the day it is hatched. When it finds the perfect thorn, it impales itself, and sings the most beautiful song ever heard as it dies. It directly alludes, as should be obvious from the novel’s subject matter, to the Parable of the Sower in the Synoptic Gospels and chapter 9 of the Gospel of Thomas.

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Whether you are prepared to pay it or, whether it coincides or conflicts with your attitude on what is “nice” is something for you to decide.

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 F. Scott Fitzgerald on the Secret of Great Writing

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Irony entails endless reflection and violent reversals, and ensures incomprehensibility at the moment it compels speech.     Essentially, irony swallows its own stomach.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony#Irony_as_infinite.2C_absolute_negativity
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In this sense, the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) is unique to Matthew’s Gospel because it does not give us an explicit interpretation (unlike the parable of the sower in Matthew 13).
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 As a result, scholars have offered many interpretations, including the implication of justifying unfair or abusive labor practices by employers. 
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Does Jesus mean that we should be content when we or other workers are treated unfairly?
“The majority will rule”  (negative connotation is “mob rule”)  —   our creed   —  honest day’s wages for honest day’s work, not pay for non-performance, our majority rule/ethic  —
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is upended by God’s rule of follow me into my Kingdom  —

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Perhaps the parable is not really about work. The context is that Jesus is giving surprising examples of those who belong to God’s kingdom: for example, children (Matt. 19:14) who legally don’t even own themselves. He is clear that the kingdom does not belong to the rich, or at least not to very many of them (Matt. 19:23-26). It belongs to those who follow him, in particular if they suffer loss. “Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first” (Matt. 19:30). The present parable is followed immediately by another ending with the same words, “the first will be last, and the last will be first” (Matt. 20:16). This suggests that the story is a continuation of the discussion about those to whom the kingdom belongs. Entry into God’s kingdom is not gained by our work or action, but by the generosity of God.

http://www.theologyofwork.org/new-testament/matthew/living-in-the-new-kingdom-matthew-18-25/the-laborers-in-the-vineyard-matthew-201-16/
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Paradoxes are irresolvable truths, not contradictions, in which only one opposite is true (a contradiction).

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Irony and paradox as distinct and not convergent   —

 

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http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/english/2010/lesson_plans/reading/nonfiction/9-12/14_11-12_readingnonfiction_recognizing_ambiguity_contraction.pdf

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There is something compelling about people’s stories, something that taps into a deep human need for narrative. The pull of Pericopes and Parables can really be traced back to ancient story telling traditions, which exist in every world culture. We see parts of ourselves in both ancient and modern-day narratives, just as we construct stories about our own personal realities.

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Psychological scientists have in recent years begun to examine this deep human yearning for story — in particular our need to create a coherent narrative identity. They have been using narrative identity as both an indicator of psychological health and a possible tool for enhancing well-being.

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We all construct a coherent narrative identity, according to the emerging theory, from the accumulated particulars of our autobiographies as well as our envisioned goals. We internalize this story over time, and use it to convey to ourselves and others who we are, where we came from, and where we think we’re heading. Consider the example of redemption. McAdams and other scientists have been asking people to narrate scenes and extended stories from their past, and then they code the accounts for key ideas like redemption and self-determination and community. They have found that people who include themes of redemption in their stories — a marked transition from bad to good — are less focused on themselves and more focused on community and the future. They’re more mature emotionally.

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This is just one example of how people make narrative sense of the suffering in their lives. Others have studied how people narrate life challenges, such as a painful divorce or a child’s illness, and they have found that those who produce detailed accounts of loss are better adapted psychologically. Their narratives often strike themes of growth and learning and transformation. Importantly, the stories of the well-adapted have endings, positive resolutions of bad experiences.

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Psychotherapy is largely about personal narratives. Therapists help their clients to “re-story” their lives by finding more positive narratives for unhappy experiences. Indeed, when scientists asked former psychotherapy patients to describe how they remembered their therapeutic experience, the healthier ones told heroic stories, tales in which they bravely battled their symptoms and emerged victorious. This narrative theme of personal control was also and by far the best predictor of therapeutic success: As patients’ stories increasingly emphasized self-determination, these patients’ symptoms abated and their health improved. The stories themselves created an identity that was mature and well-adjusted.

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What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?”       ― Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes    

http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/3375915-nineteen-minutes
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Although I don’t drink alcohol, I accompanied my friend & Alcoholics Anonymous leader for our island to a community group therapy session.   I went in cynically with the 4-word notion of “practice what you preach” when alcoholics stay sober by urging others to stay sober (the so-called hypocrisy of not addressing self-restraint/responsibility).    Lo/behold, I came out with the amazing 3-word resolution of “man’s fallen nature”    — that you do whatever it takes to to keep you straight   — even if it means telling others to stay straight in order for you to stay straight  — I thereby accept man’s fallen nature & proceed accordingly  — instead of being haughty/puffed up/judgmental.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-arpinricci/the-vulnerable-faith-of-brene-brown_b_7021714.html?utm_hp_ref=books&ir=Books      adaptation below   —
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As with  the Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971 Serenity Prayer, we must  be willing to name our imperfections and accept what we cannot change.

This critical point is central to the book, Vulnerable Faith: Missional Living in the Radical Way of St. Patrick (Paraclete Press, 2015), where one draws  from the gritty truths of Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Steps. The steps take for their foundation an unqualified declaration that we are powerless alone to overcome our own hurts, hangups, and habits  — that we need something bigger than ourselves. Most of us hide from the difficult reality by embracing what I call “the other deadly sin” —  pretense.

“Pretense, like hypocrisy, is the act or appearance of being something that it is not. It is about giving the impression of something as being true that is, in fact, false.”

From the covering of our nakedness in Eden to the polite dishonesty of “putting on our Sunday best,” pretense is borne from our fear — fear of being separated, alienated and rejected. Yet it also becomes the prison that keeps us bound up. Vulnerability is a path to freedom from these chains, but a freedom purchased at a high price. It should not surprise us that we so often opt for pretense over vulnerability — after all, the latter is a call to a form of death, in part what Jesus means when He calls us to take up our crosses and follow Him. However, when we follow this path to the cross surrounded by the love and grace of God and trusted family and friends, the liberty frees us to be people we were truly meant to be. As Jean Vanier reminds us:

Coming to terms with life means embracing the essence of our humanity, which is vulnerable. Life implies death. Loving one another implies the possibility of humiliation or rejection. This is reality. But to live in fear is not to live at all. And so we must be vulnerable so that we are free from fear, free to love.

Far more than simply a self-help method of personal freedom, the liberty that comes with vulnerability frees us, as Vanier pointed out, to truly love others. The beauty of the saving work of Jesus Christ is that, as we embrace humble vulnerability, out of our weakness and brokenness emerges ministry. Despite the thinking of modern marketing, that suggests our faith will be most appealing to others when they see it as a glorious and flawless life, the wisdom of vulnerability demonstrates that people are more likely to be drawn to a community of mutually struggling, yet hopeful and gracious people. In other words, there is more hope in honest brokenness than in the pretense of false wholeness.

This is why I choose St. Patrick of Ireland as my patron saint of vulnerability. Patrick was born to privilege, power and wealth. Yet, it was when he was kidnapped and sold into slavery that he was forced to face the emptiness of the pretense in his life. Not only did that process bring him into a meaningful faith in God, but also produced in him a love that was truly selfless. After all, after his escape to freedom, that love led him back to the land of his captors as a servant missionary. His example is worth our consideration.

Thomas Merton once said, “We stumble and fall constantly even when we are most enlightened. But when we are in true spiritual darkness, we do not even know that we have fallen.” The work of Brené Brown invites us to shed light into that darkness and to face our imperfection with humility and hope, to embrace a the power of a vulnerable faith.

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Biblical Jonah typifies our broken fallen nature   — hailed as a prophet for going to Nineveh to proclaim Nineveh’s destruction (Nimrod’s city), Jonah’s overpride eventually spells Jonah’s doom.   Like Jonah, our lives go up and down like a pogo stick, eventually staying stuck in the abyss of self-pity.

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Christianity’s Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus are about love for one another, even if it means giving up one’s own life for another.    

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Unlike Asian faith/thought  (solitary escape-release from suffering  — Japan has among the highest suicide rates among industrialized nations), Christianity is about helping one another.

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Love is all about relationship   — to love one another  — and to be loved by one another.    

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Sunday morning Christians say relationship, not religion, but the truth and reality of Christian love are way deeper than boorish impetuous quick fix catch phrases.  
 

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I am reminded of David Foster Wallace, who in “This Is Water” urges us to imagine with generosity the lives we encounter: “I can choose,” he tells us, “to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket’s checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, but that some of these people probably have harder, more tedious and painful lives than me.”

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Christianity does not just “swallow its own stomach.”    Yes, the truth and reality of Lord Jesus  entail endless reflection and violent reversals, and ensure incomprehensibility at the moment they compel speech.  

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Yet, unlike especially Eastern religion mindless aimless tropes/cure-alls/riddles  (e.g. koans  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dan#Insight ) —  Christianity overcomes vexing despair, indifference, hopelessness, and tragedy — rampant in today’s global culture of instant gratification and gratuitous violence/pleasure.

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Jesus fulfills “patterns” not “predictions.”

In other words, rather than thinking “Here is where the Old Testament clearly predicts Jesus of Nazareth,” think, “Who Jesus was and what he did was described by these early Christian writers by calling upon Old Testament ‘patterns’ that they believed reached their fullest and final expressions in Jesus.”

So when Paul says that Jesus died and was raised “in accordance with the scriptures,” he is not suggesting we play Where’s Waldo with the Old Testament to look for some verses that speak of Jesus in a predictive way. He is saying “look for these patterns of God’s dealings with his people of old and then see what happens with them in Jesus.”

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The Joseph story is not a “prediction” of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection in any sense of the word. And to limit how we see the connection between this story and the gospel as “prediction” is really to under-read the “patterns” in the Bible.

From the point of view of the Old Testament writers, and in my opinion, these stories of Israel’s patriarchs were written from the point of view of Israel’s later experience of going into their own “pit/death”  of exile in Babylon–returning home was a kind of “national resurrection.”

In other words, Israel’s later realities were scripted into their ancient stories.

The gospel writers and Paul follow on this theme by portraying Jesus as returning his people from “exile,” thus being raised from the dead. Jesus’ own physical resurrection is an embodiment  and therefore fuller expression of the Old Testament nationalistic ideal.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/04/does-the-old-testament-predict-easter-no-actually-it-does-more/#ixzz3WkrJEa3q

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Writing as expression requires assimilation of the starkest realities and contradictions of our ephemeral nature and existence. Betrayal, violence, and death dangerously draw the expressor to the flame.

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One experiences rending of the veil.  Expression is the opposite of “play church” — expression here is spirituality without its man-God —  expression is spirituality with real God.  The expressor might even be Tolstoy’s Hermit in Three Questions, Cormac McCarthy’s Mennonite in Blood Meridian, a cosmically mind-blowing Prophet Fool.  The expressor manifests sublime vision that is matched only by still more ferocious irony.

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Evocation is genesis. Hatching a fully fleshed world, dense with character and narrative, from a single deed. Maybe from an ambivalent glimpse.

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Creation requires transgression, the obliteration of boundaries, and a vision beyond vision. The evoker does not choose one’s creation. The creation chooses the expressor —  the creation impregnates, violates, and inflames the expressor. To inhabit the worlds one births, both elevates and isolates the expressor.

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This creation is a subtraction of self, an absence, a loss one experiences and hopes to share.  Loneliness.  Few ever escape the afflictions of spiritual poverty, depression, illness, and addiction. Creation hurts. One fails anew each day.

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Loss suredly slips into failure. Creation is destruction. Of spouses. Of progeny. Of friends. Creation requires an audience, but never guarantees it. Without external validation, emptiness and nihilism can impinge upon this pilgrim. The scorn of one’s peers might buffet a writer, yet silence could unhinge one.

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No author creates without indwelling a marginal status — albeit immense imaginative horizons which self-reduction imbues. The expressor as loser, as outcast, as exile, as a point diminishing nearest to oblivion — acquires the option to create capaciously out of nothingness, which is infinity. The expressor as author serenely vanishes. We inherit everything left behind  — eternity.

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adapted from

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/modern-societys-devolution-and-self-absorption-we-need-symbols-which-participate-in-the-things-they-represent/

 

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I draw water from the well of my life’s work, and create stories.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-rubinstein/writing-process_b_2707747.html?utm_hp_ref=books
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http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Lite/LiteBred.htm

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Paradox and irony seem quite distinct.

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Paradox relies on the clarity and exactness of language; it shows that truth can be expressed by words alone.

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Irony uses words to point beyond language.

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Irony shows that there are some truths which, though they cannot be articulated in words,

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can none the less be expressed by means of words.

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Irony, like many other figures, is a way of transcending and ultimately extending the limited resources of everyday language,

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of ensuring that it does not disguise thought

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but is both the midwife and the medium of thought.

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Not everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly,

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but everything that can be thought at all can be put into words.

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E.g. –

In praise of mystic Christian Joanne: “I recognized that our seminaries could teach us how to think and even how to apply the truths of Scriptures to certain situations, but our seminaries did not have the ability nor the capacity to teach their young ministers how to feel. Only the Prompt of the Spirit could provide that.” — James H. Hill, Jr.

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E.g. –

Richard Hays’ Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul: Paul’s readings of Scripture are not constrained by a historical scrupulousness about the original meaning of the texts. Eschatological meaning subsumes original sense…. True interpretation depends neither on historical inquiry nor on erudite literary analysis but on attentiveness to the promptings of the Spirit, who reveals the gospel through Scripture in surprising ways. In such interpretations, there is an element of playfulness, but the freedom of intertextual play is grounded in a secure sense of the continuity of God’s grace: Paul trusts the same God who spoke through Moses to speak still in his own transformative reading. Just as my lectionary commentary invites Christians to read the Bible as Jesus read the ‘Bible’ in his day (with a hermeneutic of love), Hays’ work invites us to embrace the same freedom to interpret the Bible that Paul with other ancient commentators claimed. — sage Carl Gregg

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And yet,

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The Epicurean paradox “problem of evil” is a cosmic irony due to the sharp contrast/incongruity between reality and human ideals, or between human intentions and actual results. The resulting situation is poignantly contrary to what was expected or intended.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Paradoxes#Philosophy
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony#Cosmic_irony_.28Irony_of_fate.29
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-tener/writing-a-book-forget-formulatry-method-_b_7157396.html?utm_hp_ref=books&ir=Books
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Narrative can follow a deep psychological form, like Joseph Campbell’s work with The Hero with a Thousand Faces — but I don’t think we get to the heart of the stories we’re writing by filling out the boxes of what happens at 75 percent or 95 percent of the way through the narrative. I’ve tried that approach and it kills  creativity.

I think it’s far better to “pants” — write by the seat of your pants — and then use tools like the three tools of Book Architecture: the grid, the arc, and the target to ascertain what you’re working with and how to make your material come together on its own terms.

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As writers, we want to create something original, so we need to “pants” first and then find some tools to assess what we’ve done that will help us evolve our thinking over the next horizon…and then the next. This way we’re in a constant dance with our own unfolding imaginations. And that’s the best thing about writing that there is.

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Evangelicals (emotionalists) feel that effective evangelism cannot properly be exercised without the accompanying miraculous work.

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But this  distorts the Gospel  message from being one of salvation to  one of experiencing God’s blessings now.

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The one that surprised me the most was anointing of the sick. I used to think such a practice involved superstition and false hope,

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but that was before I learned the difference between curing and healing.

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We may not be able to cure what ails our friends and neighbors, but as Christians we are called to the work of healing —

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of entering into one another’s pain, anointing it as holy and sticking around no matter the outcome.

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An anointing is an acknowledgment.

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In a culture of cure-alls and quick fixes, the sacrament of anointing the suffering is a powerful, countercultural gift the church offers the world.

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Just about every denomination in the American church — including many evangelical denominations — is seeing a decline in numbers, so if it’s a competition, then we’re all losing, just at different rates. I felt drawn to the Logos/Word  because it offered some practices I felt were missing in my evangelical experience, like space for silence and reflection, a focus on Christ’s presence at the Communion table as the climax and center of every worship service.

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But I know plenty of folks who were raised as mainstream Protestants who have become Rhema/Spirit  evangelical, drawn by the exciting and energetic worship or the emphasis on personal testimony and connection to Scripture. It’s common in young adulthood to   seek out faith traditions that supplement the one in which you were raised. It’s not about rejecting your background, just about finding your own way. I don’t want to project my experience onto all young folks.


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Discipleship is not something we measure best in numbers. A church might produce thousands of attendees without producing any disciples.

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adapted from

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signs_and_Wonders#Critical_responses

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/10/rachel-held-evans-episcopalian-evangelical_n_6842872.html?cps=gravity_2677_-2081936676508168272

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/ambivalence-challenges-most-close-relationships

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An accepted bit of “wisdom” in our culture is that, in marriage, being “in love” and hot sex must, of necessity, “wear off.” The elders ask us to accept that.  But this bit of wisdom isn’t so wise.

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 In fact, it’s a sad excuse for lack of commitment to a most intimate spiritual togetherness.

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It is ambivalence that erodes love and sex. Nothing more. Nothing less. The human ego finds the experience of great vulnerability — great love — both compelling (approach-love)) and intolerable (avoid-hate). So we seek it, find it and then promptly begin to erode it, starve it (slow deprivation) and stonewall it (slow poison) so as to protect ourselves. This almost always is an unconscious process.   (slow deprivation/slow poison below)

In fact, that’s the rub: Ambivalence begins unconsciously. And we can’t manage it well unless we are willing to make it conscious. When ambivalence is made conscious, then we have choices for bearing it creatively, usefully, sometimes even playfully.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/acknowledging-ambivalence-best-way-cope

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Perpetrators of domestic violence are provoked to violence in two primary ways.

One is obvious: the perpetrator’s felt loss of control over the mate. But lesser known is the alternate route to the perpetrator’s rage: the mate got too close, emotionally speaking. The perpetrator experienced an intimacy and therefore a vulnerability.

Other people, while not committing/experiencing acts of physical violence in marriage, can and do exhibit another type of disturbing — not normal — ambivalence.

I’m referring to couples with frequent cycles of reactive hostility pingponging back to cosmic sex and breathless romance. “Frequent” here can mean two to five such highs and lows in a given week. The participants are beaten to an emotional pulp.

For some folks, these slingshot highs and lows are near addictive.

The cycles create powerful bonds. Just not healthy bonds. Certainly not happy bonds.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/bonds-untie-moment-barely-noticeable-moment

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The two most common enemies of marriage are the least obvious. And that’s a disturbing proposition, because we often don’t recognize the enemy as an enemy until it is too late.

It’s like termites. You don’t know you have termites until you come home to find your roof on the living room floor.

The most common enemies of marriage are treacherously subtle. Domestic violence, infidelity, addiction, vicious arguments — these enemies of marriage are obvious. But they are not the most common enemies. Just the most obvious.

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The two most common enemies of marriage are Slow Deprivation and Slow Poison.

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Slow Deprivation is what happens when your mate becomes slowly but surely inattentive to nurturing the bond. The connection. Your mate “falls asleep at the wheel,” so to speak. A little less present each day. Each week. Each month. But doesn’t know it. Doesn’t see it. And never had a conscious intention to do so.

It happens in subtle, mostly unnoticeable increments. It’s like feeding and watering your roses a little less … and less and less … and then being surprised to find that your roses are dying.

And the roses are duped, too. They don’t notice, either. Until their life is passed the point of no return.

Slow Deprivation is practiced by good people who are deeply in love and believe deeply in marriage.

How many times can you put your mate second in line, or fourth or ninth, even for all the “right” reasons (children, career, aging parents), before your mate decides he/she no longer particularly needs, wants or cares to be first in line?

How many times can you explain leaving the customaries of romance unattended by saying, “I’m just not very romantic,” as opposed to saying, “I should bloody well learn to be romantic”?

How many times can you decline great sex by saying, “I’m tired,” as opposed to saying, “I must be a better steward of my energy so that I can show up for great sex”?

How many times can you decline your mate’s eager invitations to join him/her in socializing, hobbies, recreations and interests before the invitations simply dry up? Stop.

It’s like eating one calorie less each day and then being sincerely shocked and surprised to find you’re starving to death.

If you are bent on teaching your mate not to need, want or desire you, then Slow Deprivation is the master teacher.

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Slow Poison is what happens when your mate slowly but surely acquires the habit of pushing negative energy into the marriage. Persistent complaining. Speaking in tones that are short, curt and sharp. Impatience. Mobilizing more warmth and eye contact to greet the dog than to greet you. Moving unconsciously across the line from playful teasing to sarcasm and belittling. Entitling oneself to chronic moodiness. Deciding that good manners no longer matter except in public. Forgetting to be grateful, appreciative, complimentary and encouraging.

These are slow-acting poisons. And they are deadly to marriage. Often these poisons are undiagnosed until the autopsy of divorce makes them plain.

I know this couple who devised a plan to help them stay alert to the enemies Slow Deprivation and Slow Poison. It’s absurdly simple: The Weekly Check In. Once each weekend (Saturday or Sunday depending on their schedule), they fix a time to talk.

Sometimes just sitting together. Depending on the weather, they might go for a Talk Walk. And they “check in.”

How are you? How are you feeling about our connection? Is there anything left over from (this or that conflict) we need to process or talk about? Are you getting what you need from me? Am I injecting poisons unawares? How goes your heart? Are you feeling loved?

Sometimes the conversations last four to eight minutes. Occasionally the conversations demand 90 minutes or so of tiring rigor and the tolerance of discomfort.

Theirs is a terrific idea and a faithful practice. It’s like having the termite inspector visit weekly. It’s like having garlic and holy water hanging by the front door in readiness for the occasional vampire. It’s like a weekly reconnaissance through the rose garden to see if your roses are happy and thriving. To check for aphids.

Marriage requires us to live consciously. Intentionally. Out loud in words. We must stay awake.

The bond of love is a living, organic creature. Which means it is also mortal. It can die.

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 Mixed emotion

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My modern Jesus  —  towering intellectual & spiritual figure —   philosopher and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr   —

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/07/reinhold-niebuhr-religion_n_7019384.html?utm_hp_ref=religion
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The Library of America has published Reinhold Niebuhr: Major Works on Religion and Politics, which gathers four of his books, along with writings on contemporary events from the 1920s to the 1960s, a selection of prayers, and sermons and lectures on faith and belief. The volume is edited by Niebuhr’s daughter Elisabeth Sifton, an editor and book publisher for forty years and the author of The Serenity Prayer: Faith and Politics in Times of Peace and War.

The Library of America recently interviewed Sifton on why Niebuhr’s writings continue to fascinate and challenge today’s readers. This interview is published with permission.

What’s the aim of this collection, what sorts of pleasures, discoveries, and insights do you hope readers will find?

Reinhold Niebuhr was a writer and thinker who engaged fully in his times—from 1914 and World War I, through the heady 1920s, into the Great Depression, then World War II, the “nuclear age” and the Cold War. This book shows how he wrestled with the spiritual and political issues of those times: many of them are with us still, and some are with us always. In America—where he was born and raised, his very German name notwithstanding—he worked for better working conditions for people caught up in the rush of industrialization, he called for social justice in all our communities, and he strove for better relations between races. In international affairs, he ceaselessly advocated policies that would lessen the risk of war, and he argued that a rich and newly powerful nation like the US should learn better how to conduct itself vis-à-vis other nations. I hope readers will find wisdom here that deepens their understanding of our world today.

Why Reinhold Niebuhr in The Library of America? How would you characterize his contribution/legacy? His influence?

Niebuhr has been described as the most important American theologian of the twentieth century and as an especially influential American progressive. He knew how hard it was to alter entrenched power structures, but he combined his tough-minded political realism with a sympathetic understanding of society’s injustices and cruelties. Both his secular work and his theology became famous thanks to his memorable gifts as a public speaker, his huge productivity as a writer and teacher, and his frequent participation in national political discussions. In all these activities he never stopped being a pastor, which is how he started (he thought of himself more as a pastor than a theologian).

How would you characterize Niebuhr’s contribution as a public intellectual during the years covered by this volume?

He tried to wake people up to the inequities and failures in American society. He thought it deplorable that Americans were by and large so self-confidently certain of their basic goodness—meanwhile ignoring not only their own inadequacies (sins?) but also the threats and dangers to American democracy and to the world—whether human (in the form of fascist dictators) or material (nuclear weapons). His sermons and speeches were famous for the clarity and urgent force he gave to his exploration of these themes. One key opinion that infused both his theological and secular work was that possessing superior power or force does not make a person or a state wiser or braver, but it does heighten the danger of sinful hubris.

As a religious thinker?

I’m not qualified to answer this, but perhaps we can say that he sharpened and deepened the discourse about Christian ethics, Christian interpretations of the Gospels and Epistles, Christian understanding of secular society. He was a radical critic of much of American religious life, well known for the vigor with which he made his unclouded assessments. Again, he feared and decried the hubris of so many secular and religious leaders.

Did his thinking and writing fundamentally evolve over the years charted by the works in this collection?

Yes, it did. When he wrote Moral Man and Immoral Society (1932) he considered himself a social-democratic Marxist, but the traumas and dangers of the Depression led him to rethink his Marxist presuppositions and reformulate his ideas on the dynamics of social change and betterment. And, as he writes in “An End to Illusions,” included in the volume, he resigned from the Socialist Party in 1940 because he couldn’t go along with its isolationist refusal to take action against the fascists threatening Europe. Thereafter one sees a deepening and refinement of his positions. He insisted always on the important distinction to be made between Communism and socialism.

The fame and influence of The Irony of American History (1952) have made Niebuhr’s contribution to an understanding of American foreign policy well known, but can his thought also be brought to bear on domestic political considerations—such as inequality in America?

Yes, certainly. Indeed, Niebuhr believed that domestic and foreign policies were, and should be, related to each other; only despots or would-be despots separated them. As this book shows, America’s social-political-economic life, and the disparities separating rich and poor, were major concerns for Niebuhr from the very start of his ministry until his death a half-century later.

How might Niebuhr have responded to the widening gap between rich and poor that we see today?

I can’t “channel” my father, but it’s clear in everything he wrote and did that he considered social and economic inequities as unethical, immoral, even sinful. And he denounced the self-delusions and proud deceits that people invoke to preserve them. One prayer, included in this volume, reads in part: “We confess the indifference and callousness with which we treat the sufferings and the insecurity of the poor, and the pettiness which mars the relations between us. May we with contrite hearts seek once more to purify our spirits, and to clarify our reason so that a fairer temple for the human spirit may be built in human society.”

How might Niebuhr have responded to the new sorts of religious extremism we see with al Qaeda and now ISIS?

He frequently inveighed against religious fanaticism and against theocrats, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or secular (as in the Soviet Union under Stalin). Al Qaeda and ISIS are new for us, but the history of violence-prone religious extremism is, tragically, as old as that of civilization itself. He could not have supported a foreign policy that requires America to battle jihadism around the globe while ignoring the social and spiritual strife that gives rise to it in the first place.

The LOA collection opens with Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic (1929), a very personal and accessible book. How would you characterize its importance?

Niebuhr in his old age would shake his head over the popularity of his first book. But it’s never gone out of print for good reason: these pages from the diary he kept at Bethel Church in Detroit in the 1920s are disarmingly honest about the emotional, psychological, and spiritual dilemmas faced by inexperienced young pastors, and ever since it first appeared almost ninety years ago, inexperienced young pastors, priests, and teachers have found its counsels wise and its candor refreshing.

What does it tell us about Niebuhr’s only pastorate, and about his experiences in an ascendant Detroit?

Well, Detroit wasn’t quite his only pastorate: when his pastor father died in 1913, he left divinity school and returned to Lincoln, Illinois, to fill in there for a time. But to answer the question, the book shows you his first encounters with brutal capitalism at full throttle, which is what Detroit was experiencing in the 1920s in the new automobile factories. He witnessed at first hand the spiritual crises that people face when unstable social and economic conditions encourage divisive politics. And it deeply affected him.

How did you decide which of the uncollected pieces to include?

Few of the previous (and partial) collections of his writings included his copious journalism about national and international events as they occurred. We had hundreds of short articles to choose from, articles that were probably read by as many people as read his books or heard his sermons. I wanted to show them in chronological order, so that one could observe the speed and precision with which he addressed himself to crises in the headlines.

What’s the most interesting discovery you made in the course of putting the volume together?

When I put the journalism together with the sermons and lectures, I began to see how he often approached a given theme or issue: first, maybe writing an essay about it or preaching on a Biblical text he thought relevant to it, then exploring it further in a lecture, writing about it some more, perhaps, and praying about it. This kind of recycling pattern allowed him to finish an incredible number of assignments in any given week, but also gave him a way to re-examine and deepen his initial ideas.

What’s the most important thing you learned as a writer and thinker from your father’s example?

To be unafraid of prevailing, stifling orthodoxies.

Did he offer you practical advice?

Not really, but the Serenity Prayer is the best possible form of daily instruction.

President Obama has expressed his great admiration for Niebuhr as a thinker. Would Niebuhr have returned the compliment?

I am sure he’d have been happy to see such an intelligent, principled, brave black man in the White House—and a Democrat from Illinois, the state where he grew up, no less!

Do you have a favorite piece in the collection?

My father preached more than once on the mysterious Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, so one version of such a sermon is included; it’s a great example of his theological and moral subtlety about human life. And my favorite paragraph in his writing comes from chapter 3 of The Irony of American History:

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.

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http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/g/georgeelio402277.html
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It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them.

George Eliot

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Loneliness is a public health crisis

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/21/science-loneliness_n_6864066.html?utm_hp_ref=science
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Our time has been called the “age of loneliness.” It’s estimated that one in five Americans suffers from persistent loneliness, and while we’re more connected than ever before, social media may actually be exacerbating the problem.

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There are ways to break the cycle of isolation.

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Here are ways to combat chronic feelings of loneliness and isolation:

Here are three main types of treatment for loneliness: group therapy, individual treatments (working with a therapist to improve befriending skills or to minimize negative beliefs that might contribute to loneliness) and community interventions (events focused on reaching out to lonely people).

Examining a body of existing literature on the subject, the researchers concluded that the most promising line of treatment for loneliness is individual therapy that addresses the thought patterns and beliefs — such as low self-esteem or shame — that prevent a person from connecting with others. With further research, they say, this treatment could be combined with pharmaceutical treatments, such as short-term courses of oxytocin, a hormone known to promote pro-social behavior.

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The study noted that the U.K. government has developed several initiatives to improve quality of life for those suffering from chronic loneliness and to raise awareness about the issue. The authors also point to efforts to help people t find more connections in their daily interactions.

Over a given period, people who have strong ties to family, friends, or coworkers have a 50 percent greater chance of outliving those with fewer social connections.    If our relationships can have such an effect on our overall health, why don’t we prioritize spending time with the people around us as much as we do exercising and eating right?

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Spirit nullifies pride (man’s puffed up overpride)

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Overlay on spirit-killing pride and our mob mentality    —

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Betty Nelson and Rosella Nelson view the body of John Dillinger while in bathing suits at the Cook County Morgue, located at Polk and Wood Streets, in Chicago. In the days after Dillinger was killed on July 22, 1934, massive crowds lined up outside the morgue to get a glimpse of the notorious public enemy.

dill
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Ex-reputed State crime syndicate mob boss Henry Huihui was my client nearly 40 yrs. ago .   Great wordsmith/author Jason Ryan chronicles spirit-killing pride and our mob mentality,

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both in law  (Charles & son Chuckers Marsland)

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and out law  —

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pride pulls into the abyss of hell the human journey in virtually any form or circumstance.

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Pride’s killing power hits home — my neighbor Leilani Castro Alconera Kim was murdered  at a posh Kona resort 4 decades ago, allegedly by her hubby (Wildcat Kim’s brother).

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https://books.google.com/books?id=Iq6DBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA191&lpg=PA191&dq=josiah+lii&source=bl&ots=npXhag5rge&sig=uws-WeMHvi-zNWcWcRGqwDe4jbU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ZWf7VNDNAcKyoQTCz4H4Dg&ved=0CCEQ6AEwATgU#v=onepage&q=josiah%20lii&f=false

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Harold Biggie Chan’s friend Joe Ng was a low key cool fella a la Meyer Lansky, a positive projection .    Like Ng,  an older Alema Leota disdained attention-getting mob meltdowns.

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PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Hell-Bent: One Man’s Crusade to Crush the Hawaiian Mob

Jason Ryan, Author

Jason Ryan. Globe Pequot/Lyons, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7627-9303-7

Reviewed on: 12/01/2014   (book release 3 wks. before)
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Journalist and author Ryan recounts the story of Honolulu prosecutor Charles Marsland, a man on a mission to find justice for his son’s murder and take down the Honolulu crime syndicate believed to be responsible.

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The sordid saga begins in 1975 with the shooting death of Chuckers Marsland amid a plague of violence and corruption in Hawaii with gangsters shaking down gambling operations, killing rivals, and partying with Don Ho.

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Amid those suspected of the murder are Eric Naone, a violent bodyguard, Ronnie Ching, “thief, pimp, drug dealer, and professional killer,” and Raymond Scanlan, a corrupt ex-cop with a missing service weapon.

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Enter “abrasive, aggressive, tough-talking” Charles Marsland, grieving father and civil attorney turned head city prosecutor, who is intent on speaking out about the legal system’s “incompetence, cronyism, [and] outright corruption.”

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In addition to avenging his son’s death, Marsland seeks to prove that local businessman Larry Mehau is the shadowy godfather of the Hawaiian mafia.

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The book culminates in a trial against the major suspects after a confession by the notoriously deceptive Ching hoping to exchange information on Mehau’s criminal activity for a plea bargain.

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Ryan’s well-researched account expertly weaves historical fact into an engrossing true crime narrative to present a fascinating piece of Hawaiian history at odds with its idyllic image.

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The Getty family has come to symbolize extreme wealth and repeated tragedy.  Getty himself seems to have done everything possible to earn his reputation as a mean, arrogant, cheapskate. As Forbes contributing editor and Getty biographer Robert Lenzner put it, the Getty family history would be a good place to start (mammon).

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Enjoy Resurrection Sunday    —
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Well-intentioned public sharing turns into monstrous public scorn   —

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http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/20150318_Is_there_any_recourse_for_victims_of_online_photo_memes.html?id=296759801

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Those pilfered, captioned and shared photos that make us either cringe, rage or laugh out loud are as old as the Internet itself, but in these wild online times, is there any recourse for their victims?

Memes, by definition viral little beasties, are everywhere, sometimes building over several years. And they have many heads — shaming wrongdoers, bullying innocents and poking fun at an awkward facial expression, twerk attempt, family portrait or school photo.

“When one of these mobs fixes on you it’s like a Lovecraftian horror,” said James Grimmelmann, a professor at the University of Maryland who specializes in Internet law. “Only madness awaits. It can be beyond the power of individuals to do a lot about it.”

Kyra Pringle knows that firsthand.

The South Carolina mother of a 2-year-old with a grim life expectancy from a rare genetic disorder happily posted a picture on Facebook from her daughter’s recent birthday, only to have the image rudely captioned and spread — sometimes gruesomely Photoshopped — thousands of times and her ill child compared to a monster, alien and leprechaun due to her unique facial features.

“This is bullying. This is not right. She’s fought for her life since she got here,” Pringle told NBC affiliate WCBD-TV near her Summerville home. “She’s not a monster. She’s not fake. She’s real. She’s here.”

Pringle’s mom, Linda Pringle, had equally strong words for those who memed her little granddaughter and do the same to the images of other unsuspecting strangers without context or backstory and with seemingly little thought beyond their own amusement and that of their friends and followers online. Some sites have since taken down memed images of the impaired toddler after word of her real-life story spread.

“If you’re out there and you’re doing these things, and you think that it’s funny, it’s not funny. This is actually a human being, this is a child, this is a baby,” Linda Pringle told the TV station.

Private companies that own social media streams and channels juggle a broad range of take-down demands and other content issues such as copyright infringement, high-stakes privacy invasion and online harassment. But it can be difficult to eradicate viral content like photo memes altogether.

“We don’t tolerate bullying or harassment on Facebook and Instagram, and remove content that appears to purposefully target people with the intention of degrading or shaming them,” the company said in an email when asked about memes.

While community standards and guidelines do exist on many sites, including newly spelled-out rules on Facebook, routine photo meming may not include outright threats, hate speech or behavior that draws the attention of those in charge, such as a pattern of stalking or harassment targeting individuals identified by name, location or through other revealing details or leaks of Social Security numbers, phone numbers and street addresses, some Internet watchers said.

“It’s not that there isn’t an ethical problem, and a real problem as a society we should wrestle with, but law just wouldn’t intervene and the First Amendment would say we don’t stop it,” said Danielle Keats Citron, a research professor of law at the University of Maryland and author of the book “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace,” out Sept. 22 from Harvard University Press.

But a movement in Europe has taken hold in defense of the so-called “right to be forgotten” that has free speech and privacy activists alike paying attention. The European Court of Justice appeared to support the legal concept for people who want to force the removal of old, irrelevant or false material determined to infringe on their right to privacy.

The court, the highest in the European Union, sided last year with a man in Spain who had asked Google to eliminate from its search index information about some long-paid debts. It ruled that Google can be compelled to take that step, but the company so far has limited removal in the specific case to its Spain service, leaving the material readily searchable worldwide.

The ruling has broad implications in the tightrope walk between online privacy and free speech across the EU and around the globe, particularly in the United States, where free speech protection is deeply ingrained.

“It’s very hard. We’ve had unauthorized use of photographs since we’ve had photographs. It’s much easier to go after somebody who uses pictures for clearly commercial purposes, but once you get outside of the commercial realm, when you’re talking about political or artistic expression, in this country we get a lot more reluctant to intervene,” Grimmelmann said.

Not all photo meming is tragic and not all sharers are evil-doers. Some subjects or initiators take it as good fun, embracing — or trying to, at least — their accidental Internet celebrity.

Nearly three years ago, Kasey Woods in Waldorf, Maryland, put up a photo of her smiley baby daughter in a pink top and huge afro wig that was left over from Halloween. Woods posted it first to Facebook, when her page was set to public, then put the same image on her public Instagram feed a year later.

Friends started alerting her last year that the photo was catching on. It continues to pop up at least two or three times a week somewhere, including one version with a caption that reads: “Have a Blacknificent Day.”

The image has been liked, shared and commented upon several thousand times. Some comments Woods has read have not been kind and she has since locked down her Facebook page.

“Some people are bashing me for being a bad mother because they think that’s her hair every day. It’s pretty intense with, ‘What kind of mother would put a child in a wig?’ and this and that,” she said. “I’m taking it well because her name wasn’t attached to it.”

Clarinet Boy, aka PTSD Clarinet Boy, was all grown up when he innocently enough submitted to Awkwardfamilyphotos.com an old school picture. He’s in a marching band uniform and there’s a double exposure, a full-body image of himself, projected onto the side of his head in the same uniform as he holds a clarinet.

That was 2009. It was titled “A Beautiful Mind” and the site encouraged readers to guess what he might have been thinking. So they did. The image of the redheaded boy made its way around the Internet and onto meme generator sites, including one that came up with stories in captions of Vietnam War vets suffering from post-traumatic stress, looking back on childhood.

“I left for Vietnam as a boy. I came back as a monster,” reads one.

No one knows exactly how many versions are out there, but it’s many thousands, as opposed to millions for other memes. Mike Bender, co-founder of Awkwardfamilyphotos, said he and his partner know the real Clarinet Boy.

“He’s a teacher in Texas,” Bender said. “His students think he’s a hero.”

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Renowned Rev. H.B. Nalimu 1835-1934

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Rev. Nalimu look-alikes   —

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Paradise of the Pacific magazine (the Time Magazine of Hawai’i)  February 1926  chronicles Rev. H.B. Nalimu (no online retrieval exists), who was the grandson of “I,” famous warrior/war canoe builder of Kamehameha the Great.   You, Leroy Allerton, descendant of Rev. Nalimu,  look exactly like Nalimu, whose ferocious photograph startles every viewer.   Nalimu was among the Hawaiian Islands’ greatest visionaries/chroniclers before the turn of the last century, and lived adjacent to Ke’elikolani, governess of Hawai’i Island.   I showed you where Nalimu lived along the ancient shoreline of Hilo bay (today’s Kamehameha Ave.).       Nalimu’s home is depicted on the 1891 map of Hilo (revised by Joseph I’ao in 1907).    Nalimu’s noble family member  Iokepa lived to the rear of Nalimu’s estate corridor (also depicted on the 1891 map).    Nalimu is an Iokepa and Iokepa might be the successor name to Kamehameha’s great warrior and tree provider for war canoes   –    “I”    (pronounced E in Hawaiian).    Nalimu/Iokepa trace back their genealogy 200 yrs. to 1619, and Nalimu/Iokepa might be kin to I’s compadre/hoa makamaka — Kamehameha I.
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http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/pambu/newsletters/PambuSeries1%20n12%2069Jul.pdf(Nalimu’s birth/death)

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http://www.ulukau.org/elib/cgi-bin/library?e=d-0maly1-000Sec–11haw-50-20-frameset-book–1-010escapewin&a=d&cl=&d=D0.5.24.1&toc=0&p=frameset&p2=book&l=en

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Reverend Henry B. Nalimu (born 1835) described ʻĪ-koʻa, the Koʻa ʻAhi of Hilo Bay:
I, ancestor of Rev. Nalimu’s…Ihalau, the great long house of I, was mauka of Waiakea, near Pooholua and mauka of that place. Rev. Nalimu has only heard of the place. He thinks that it is in the forest. When the occupants of Ihalau finished a meal they slammed the covers down onto their calabashes in unison so that the report could be heard at Ikoʻa, the fishing-grounds of I where he fished for ahi. The location of this koʻa was obtained by bringing into line the coconuts of Papaʻi and the Cape of Anapuka (ka lae o Anapuka) on the Puna side, and on the Hilo side, the coconuts of Kau Maui (near Keaukaha), and the cape of Kiha…[Kelsey notes, 1921; in collection of June Gutmanis]      [Curt’s note:  Ted Kelsey 1891-1987 was among Hawaii’s most prolific chroniclers  —  http://www.huapala.net/items/browse/tag/Theodore+Kelsey?output=omeka-xml
“Theodore Kelsey (1891-1987) was born in Seattle, Washington, but reared on the islands of Kauai and Hawaii. In the early 1900s, he ran a photographic studio in Hilo, selling albums of island views. At the same time, Kelsey was taking portraits of friends and research sources. Kelsey viewed his photography as a way to support his real work and love, collecting, documenting, and understanding the Hawaiian language and culture.”     Kelsey’s understudy was later great historian June Gutmanis 1925-1998   —  https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/dedicated-to-my-mentor-on-the-15th-annual-anniversary-in-memorium-june-gutmanis-1925-1998-sir-thomas-browne-like-i-wonder-what-a-leakey-200000-years-hence-quite-likely-on-present-trends-of-th/         June is my kumu/mentor.]
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Here are the mele and the explanations of the experts [loea] whose names are  …  James Anania Iokepa who was born in Honomu, Hawaii, and Rev. H. B. Nalimu who was born in Papaaloa [24 miles north of Hilo], Hawaii in 1835.  [the Great Mahele land distribution of 1848 had not yet occurred when Nalimu was born][Nalimu’s brother Iokepa 1836-1893 was born in Kihalani/Papa’aloa, and is not James Anania Iokepa   — Nalimu’s baby brother might be the name listed on the 1891 Hilo map]
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Mystic apostolic Elizabeth Nalimu Kekaualua Bishaw born March 1935

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Pastor Elizabeth Bishaw look-alike

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Rev. Nalimu’s grandniece Elizabeth Bishaw   has the mystery and revelation of God in her apostolic prophecy   — emotionally complex in the sense of  unceasing pressure and dread which make for absorbing and disturbing processing   — simply too powerful to ignore, a la dramatic presentation , irony, reversal, and frustration of expectations characteristic of Jesus (e.g. good Samaritan parable/Beatitudes).    Not to mention that Pastor Bishaw is among the most bountiful fruitful servants of the Great Commission (to win over the lost and the unbelievers to Jesus), having ordained at least 50 useful pastors for Lord Jesus throughout Pastor Elizabeth’s nearly half a century of ministering for Lord Jesus.

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The prophetic idea, of course, is that Pastor Liz is complicit in her own exposure, that she is the subject as much as those she visions.  It’s what makes her investigations so provocative, this sense of implication, that in exposing the lives of others, she is actually exposing herself.

Still, what is she exposing, really?

In this sense, Pastor Liz is less a work of appropriation than of the imagination, an expression of what we all do all the time. I am reminded of David Foster Wallace, who in “This Is Water” urges us to imagine with generosity the lives we encounter: “I can choose,” he tells us, “to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket’s checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, and that some of these people probably have harder, more tedious and painful lives than I do.”

This may seem a stretch, to frame Pastor Liz’ prophecy as gift more than surveillance, but this is the miracle of this edgy and disturbing and utterly intriguing person.   We can never truly know each other, Pastor Liz is saying, or for that matter ourselves, which means that we are always watching, always investigating, always looking for clues that are themselves less revealing than emblematic of how little there is to reveal  — except to give ourselves completely to Lord Jesus in His Sovereignty.

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http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-sophie-calle-suite-venitienne-20150324-story.html

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Upon consoling a fellow female pastor on the unimaginable tragedy of losing her 3rd adult child (all 3 died from different causes), Pastor Liz  prophesied that the 4th and remaining adult child also will pass on to God before his mother’s time (Pastor Liz was not told by Liz’ peer pastor/mother of a probable DNA anomaly that might afflict the sole living child) .

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Such tremblingly mind-numbing outrageous audacity!!!

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 “Three down, one to go.”

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Yet, Pastor Liz quoted Ezekiel 42 regarding the vision of the order and beauty of the restored kingdom ( Ezekiel 40:1-48:35  )

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http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/jamieson-fausset-brown/ezekiel/ezekiel-introduction.html

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— that all 4 children

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are called by God to restore God’s temple.

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After all,  this is God’s

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memorial unto all generations;

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the name by which God should be made mention of both by God and others, and by which God would be called to remembrance by God’s people, and what God had promised unto them, and done for them.      

http://biblehub.com/exodus/3-15.htm

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And that the children’s mother still has more to do for and with Lord Jesus here in this life.

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Its offerings rather discountenances the view of this vision being only symbolic, and not literal.   This vision is literal in its entirety.  The event alone can clear it up.   At all events it has not yet been fulfilled; it must be future.

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Ezekiel was the only prophet (in the strict sense) among the Jews at Babylon.

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Daniel was rather a seer than a prophet, for the spirit of prophecy was given him to qualify him, not for a spiritual office, but for disclosing future events. His position in a heathen king’s palace fitted him for revelations of the outward relations of God’s kingdom to the kingdoms of the world, so that his book is ranked by the Jews among the Hagiographa or “Sacred Writings,”

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not among the prophetical Scriptures.

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On the other hand, Ezekiel was distinctively a prophet,

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and one who had to do with the inward concerns of the divine kingdom.

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As a priest, when sent into exile, his service was but transferred from the visible temple at Jerusalem to the spiritual temple in Chaldea.

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Such mystical visions of Pastor Liz constitute an instance of the providential boldness by which Pastor Liz operates through the Holy Spirit.

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http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/the-pulse/49045-true-differences-between-apostolic-and-prophetic-function
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Apostolic leaders are prophetic because when being sent to lay a foundation and establish a beachhead for God in enemy territory, they must receive a word from God in regards to the timing, the geographic location, and the strategic spiritual warfare needed in order to be successful in their missions.

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Those functioning apostolically must have an acute sense of the leading of the Lord at all times. Hence, apostolic leaders have profound prophetic ability. It is simply that the primary focus of their ministries is on the managing, developing, and administration of leadership and the establishment of church government, whereas prophetic leaders have as their primary focus the renewal and continued movement towards hitting the mark in regards to corporate purpose and power.

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Israel today is reminiscent of Biblical Jonah (stuck in stubborn pride)

 

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Israeli liberals woke up after national elections with a demoralizing feeling: Most of the country, in a deep and possibly irreversible way, does not think like they do.

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There had been a sense of urgency among moderate Israelis, and even an ounce of hope, that widespread frustration with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s six straight years in office would lead voters to pull Israel away from what they perceive as its rightward march toward international isolation, economic inequality and a dead end for peace with the Palestinians.

But as the results trickled in on Wednesday, they showed Likud with a shocking lead that has all but guaranteed Netanyahu a third consecutive term. Netanyahu called it a victory “against all odds.” The liberals’ optimism has been replaced with despair — and an infuriating belief that the masses may never understand that logic shows the current path is suicidal.

“Drink cyanide, bloody Neanderthals. You won,” award-winning Israeli author and actress Alona Kimhi wrote on her Facebook page, before erasing it as her comments became the talk of the town. “Only death will save you from yourselves.”

Such rage rippled through liberal Israel this week. Social media was full of embittered Israelis accusing Netanyahu’s supporters of racism, and some vowed to stop donating charity to the underprivileged whom they perceived as being automatic supporters of the right.

The prime minister’s main rival denounced such attacks. “Attempts to divide, vilify and spread hate in Israeli society disgust me, and it doesn’t matter whether it comes from the right or the left,” wrote Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog on Facebook.

The anger was about far more than the election, reflecting a larger and more dramatic battle for the heart of the country.

Israel’s founding fathers were Jews of Ashkenazi, or eastern European, descent and the ideological predecessors of the Labor party, the main faction in the rebranded Zionist Union. The left led the country for its first three decades until Likud — heavily backed by working class Jews of Mizrahi, or Middle Eastern, descent — gained power in 1977.

The Labor Party returned to power in the 1990s, leading the first efforts at peace with the Palestinians. But the Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s saw the return of hawkish rule, which in one form or another has lasted until today.

The divisions between right and left largely revolve around the question of what do with territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war — and the millions of Palestinians who live there.

Parties on the left would trade the land for peace and allow the creation of a Palestinian state. They also argue that the lands are a liability, since incorporating the Palestinians as citizens would destroy Israel as a Jewish-majority state.

The right emphasizes the lands’ strategic value and biblical symbolism and pushes constantly for settling them with Jews. Its success in this endeavor has, paradoxically, put the country on a path toward being a place where Jews may no longer be a strong majority.

With more than 550,000 Israeli settlers now living in territories claimed by the Palestinians, Israeli liberals — along with the Palestinians — believe time is running out for the “two-state solution.” So compelling is this “demographic argument” that Netanyahu himself has adopted its language, claiming at various times since 2009 that he, too, wants to end the occupation; but his party opposes this and Netanyahu continues to support the settlements, leading opponents to believe he is bamboozling them and adding to the sense of urgency.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-state_solution     The two-state solution refers to a solution of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict currently under discussion, which calls for “two states for two peoples.” The two-state solution envisages an independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, west of the Jordan River.

 

Activists at the headquarters of V-15, an initiative that called to unseat Netanyahu, silently bundled dozens of banners on Thursday, and one activist asked a journalist to leave. A whole floor of the Zionist Union’s campaign headquarters was empty, and party leaders gazed up from crumpled posters next to a vacuum cleaner.

“It’s a big disappointment. There was a lot of energy for change here,” said Zev Laderman, an investor in start-up companies, sitting in a boulevard cafe. “I woke up this morning to realize that I’m a minority in this country.”

The center-left’s Zionist Union won 24 seats — somewhat higher than the combined previous total of the two parties that form it — but Likud won 30. Another 37 seats were captured by parties believed to be willing to support Likud for a solid majority in the 120-member parliament. And the left-wing Meretz party will now be the smallest party in the upcoming government.

The looming coalition likely will feature right-wing pro-settler and ultra-Orthodox Jewish religious parties. In fundamental ways, they represent the opposite of the defiantly secular Israeli liberals who are fed up with taxpayer money being pumped to West Bank Jewish settlements and ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities.

The prime minister’s sudden turnaround toward victory took place after an 11th-hour effort to appeal to nationalist Israelis by pledging not to support an independent Palestinian state, and by warning voters of Arab citizens being bused to the polls in “droves” by left-wing organizations — comments that drew rebukes from Israeli Arabs and the White House.

Netanyahu since has tried to contain the damage from his statements — saying he remains committed to Palestinian statehood if conditions throughout the region improve — and insisting he is not a racist. But it seems unlikely that peace negotiations with the Palestinians will be high on his agenda. And the Jewish settlement of the West Bank, which enrages liberal Israelis and cements the country’s entanglement there, likely will march on.

Liberal voters perceived this week’s defeat less as the result of a poorly fought campaign than as a reflection of demographic trends and genuine public opinion in the country of 8 million.

After years of failed peace efforts, including two Israeli offers for statehood that were rejected or ignored by the Palestinians, few think a deal is likely. Even the Zionist Union seemed to hide from the issue during the campaign, focusing instead on bread-and-butter issues like the country’s high cost of living.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of campaign (the left) ran,” political blogger Tal Schneider said. “There is a reality in the field. You can’t change it. It’s a nationalist public that is afraid of the Arabs.”

Sitting at a bustling cafe in a hipster neighborhood of Tel Aviv, a 26-year-old campaign activist for the Zionist Union broke down in tears about the party’s defeat.

“It’s devastating,” activist Lior Shalish said. She said the election results shouldn’t be a surprise, just months after left-wing Israelis were attacked on the streets of Tel Aviv by nationalists during Israel’s war against Hamas militants.

“You don’t get a left-wing government after that. Like, that doesn’t change so quickly,” Shalish said. “We were stupid to believe that it does.”

Some liberal Israelis said there were rays of light: A joint list unifying various Arab parties emerged as the country’s third-largest party, re-energizing a disaffected Israeli Arab minority, and the V-15 initiative claims it increased turnout by centrist and left-wing voters.

In the lead up to the election, the left’s momentum reached its peak at a major rally this month, when tens of thousands of Israelis packed a Tel Aviv square demanding a change of government.

The rally was seen as a victory. Many focused on the keynote speech by Meir Dagan, a former head of the Mossad intelligence agency, who issued an emotional appeal for change.

But in retrospect, it seems a tipping point in favor of Netanyahu occurred when artist Yair Garbuz took to the podium and railed against the “amulet kissers” who support Netanyahu.

His comments were perceived as a condescending swipe at the country’s conservative working class of religious Jews of Sephardi, or Middle Eastern, lineage who have longstanding gripes with the country’s European-descended Ashkenazi elite and lean heavily toward Likud.

The day after elections, columnist Ben Caspit wrote an article in the Maariv daily newspaper titled “Two States.” He was not referring to the left’s two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but to Israel’s own cultural divide.

“Israel is split — between left and right, between Bibi and anti-Bibi, between aspirations for normalcy and aspirations for territory,” Caspit wrote, using Netanyahu’s nickname. “Two states, two styles, two world views, split once again.”

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Physical reaction  —   parasympathetic, a wave of nausea, horror, disbelief,  fear.     And then guilt.   And then empathy.

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A reader writes to me, recounting a painfully awkward moment she witnesses at a family recreation center.

Two youngsters and their parent are staring at a teen whose face is startlingly different. The parent of the teen delivers a loud, indignant scolding to the gawking family. The offending parent cradles his two children, murmurs “sorry” and slinks away.

Later, my reader investigates. The teen’s face is disfigured by Treacher Collins syndrome, otherwise known as mandibulofacial dysostosis. It is a rare congenital disorder, found in about 1 in 50,000 births.

I know a published novelist. She is my friend. She is brilliant. A birth accident left her with cerebral palsy. Her speech is difficult to understand. Although she can ambulate, her gait is awkward. The motor skills of her arms and hands are functional, but impaired.

But, cognitively, she’s perfect. She is a perfectly normal human being trapped in a disabled body.

And over and over again, she tells me, she is mistaken for someone with severe developmental disabilities. Well-meaning but ignorant people patronize her, speaking to her in the slow, sing-song condescension used to address toddlers. People “baby” her. This drives my friend crazy. She really hates it.

Recently, I made the acquaintance of a bright and beautiful young woman who is absent one leg, just above the knee. As we are introduced, I notice that I notice this. How could I not notice? She is on crutches.

Now I notice that I am pretending not to notice. I’m “filing away” what my eyes find so distinct and apparent in favor of learned decorum.

In the first moments of our dialogue, and much to my relief, the young woman tells me she was born with a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis. Random tumors grow on nerves, threatening bone development and every organ system in the human body. NF cost the young woman her leg.

As I get to know this woman better, she begins to trust me with stories of strangers and passers-by who stare. Folks who blurt out, absent rapport or even segue (intro/prologue, “What happened to your leg?”

She tells me that, depending on her mood, she might answer in any number of ways, including “Shark attack,” or “I left it at home.”

Almost as a confessional, I find myself telling her about seeing the film “The Elephant Man” (1980).

I bought a ticket to the movie utterly ignorant of the plot. I did not know Joseph Merrick (1862-90) was an actual person. I had never heard of Proteus syndrome. I did not know the movie makers had painstakingly replicated Merrick’s shocking deformities from existing photographs and Merrick’s preserved skeleton which was donated to the Royal London Hospital.

When the camera first fell full on Merrick’s character, my reaction was physical.

Parasympathetic. A wave of nausea. Horror. Disbelief. Something akin to fear.

Then guilt. Then, as the film slowly helped me get to know the man, everything shifted to empathy. By the time Merrick confronts the ignorant mob with the movie’s signature line (“I am NOT an animal! I am a human being!”), I started to notice that I was not noticing Merrick’s disability.

I was relating to the man.

When I stack these stories side by side, I notice I feel not one but two pulls of empathy.

First, empathy for those with severe disabilities. The ones you can’t not notice. With all respect for the burden, the limitations and daily consequences of the disability itself, what must it be like to be so often reduced to a disability? To have to constantly defend oneself, to explain oneself against the onslaught of such a one-dimensional identity?

“I am MORE than my disability! I am a human being!”

But, also, empathy for otherwise loving and kind human beings who are suddenly shocked and startled by what they don’t understand. Our brains evolved to gaze upon and inquire after what we don’t understand until we can figure out what we are seeing.

And, for those of us with well-developed empathy, we WANT to understand precisely so that we can mobilize empathy and advocacy.

It’s an awkward tension. On the one hand, I am helped past the temptation to one-dimensional identifiers when I can understand what it is that I am seeing. On the other hand, I can hardly expect my new friend to wear a T-shirt that says, “You can stop staring now. It’s called neurofibromatosis.”

I understand how disabled people become embittered. And I’m therefore all the more admiring of disabled people who can muddle through the world’s ignorance and awkwardness with aplomb, patience and mercy.

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Proverbs 26:9 | A proverb in the mouth of a fool is like a thornbush brandished by a drunk.Storm Trooper Evil

The times I’ve seen people with good intentions use Scripture to unknowingly injure another human are some of my most disheartening in the church. I think Jesus said something similar about a plank and some sawdust. When people who aren’t self-aware and wise about the world try to throw out proverbs as advice they are turning plowshares into swords.

These proverbs are meant to be the tools to grow as God’s wise people — not to poke and skewer our brothers and sisters in our effort to feel safer about our Bible or about the path of our life. When we are in such desperate need to be in control of what is often the baffling realities of life we can hurt ourselves and those around us.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/03/is-tony-campolo-a-bad-parent-according-to-proverbs/#ixzz3VLKjBOQG

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Interpersonal consequences  —

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We live in a world absent shared symbols, ceremonies and rituals for rites of passage into manhood. In the premodern world, these rites were universal and effective. Every culture, every tribe made overt the vital and necessary steps from puberty to manhood. Today, this journey is left largely to the clinical observations of psychology.

Learned clinicians can describe it, but the average mother/father and child are left to make it up as they go along. Today the journey is mostly a set of unconscious (and largely ineffective) reactions to otherwise normal developmental needs.

What are those developmental needs? Chiefly, a child on one’s way to adulthood needs to leave one’s parent.  One needs to untether oneself from dependency on the parent.  One needs to step boldly into the office of adulthood, making one’s own choices and then facing all of the consequences of all those choices, even the consequences he neither expected nor intended.

Now, in a world absent effective rites of passage, the teenager only has one option left at  one’s disposal: scorn.

Between ages 10 and 15, teens begin to experiment with scorn. Ceremonial contempt for the parent. On the low end, one teases the parent, makes fun of the parent. It’s playful, perhaps, but it also has an edge, as if one is  testing the boundaries of respect.  The teenager wants more power, and will try to gather that power by robbing the parent of power.

The equation begins to gather momentum with scornful sighs, eye rolling and facial expressions that connote long-suffering tolerance of the parent.  The teenager might move with deliberate slowness as one takes out the trash or finally concedes to whatever direction the parent has given.

The stakes can rise to outright attacks.

“You’re  …  old … you’re fat … you’re stupid.”

I will never forget my best childhood friend speaking snarky on the phone to his mother. We were in high school. She said, “Don’t talk smart to me, young man!” And, total deadpan, he said, “You want me to talk dumb so you can understand?”

Needless to say, he had to go home.

The teenager will experiment with breaking rules. With lying. With sneaking and hiding.

Hmm … I wonder what happens if I simply don’t do my homework?

Such behavior is utterly normal, developmentally speaking. Your teenager  is trying to grow up.  The teenager’s  strategies, however, are ineffective.   Parent! During this window of development, your teenage  child has never needed you to be stronger than right now!

Since your teenage child  is trying to rob you of your power, it is crucial for you to retain your power.

The two ways modern parents give up power in relationship to their teenage children  are “in principle” and by “personalizing.” Let me explain.

Strident moral reactivity (principles) is an ineffective strategy for growing teens into adults. “I can’t believe you lied to me … stole from me!” … etc. Wailing at your teenage child for bad behavior from the ground of moralistic principle is a quick way to lose your power and advantage in this relationship.

Strident, personalized reactivity isn’t useful, either. “You hurt my feelings … you are so cruel to me … how can you talk to me this way?” … etc.

I’m not suggesting you abandon your principles. Nor am I suggesting it won’t hurt (be personalized) when your teenage child  speaks to you with contempt. What I’m saying is that your teenage child  needs you to have the strength not to react from these places of principle and personalization.

Nonreactivity is powerful.

The fundamental and most powerful disciplinary tool for 10- to 15-year-old teenagers is

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interpersonal

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consequences.

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For example, it sounds like this …

Boy: Can you drive me to the mall to meet my friends?

Mother: Nope.

Boy: How come?

Mother: Because I’m not highly motivated to do favors for people who call me stupid and ugly.

Kaboom. Yikes. That’s a strong, powerful mother. She’s not whining. Just setting healthy, respectful boundaries. For herself. There are consequences for treating people with contempt. And it’s high time for the boy to know that.

Boy: Can I go to my friend’s house?

Mother: Nope.

Boy: How come?

Mother: Because the last time you went, you lied to me about where you were. And since, now, I’m unsure whether, when and how you are telling the truth, the only way I can be sure of anything is to give you less freedom.

Kaboom. Yikes. End of conversation.

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Envy/wrath     —

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Salieri#Fictional_treatments

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Salieri’s life and especially his relationship with Mozart has been a subject of many stories. Within a few years of Salieri’s death in 1825, Alexander Pushkin wrote his “little tragedy” Mozart and Salieri (1831) as a dramatic study of the sin of envy.

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The silly tiff between 2 science heavy hitters   (Nye & Tyson)    —

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/15/bill-nye-neil-degrasse-tyson-twitter-burn_n_7072278.html?utm_hp_ref=science

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Enduring themes on man’s fallen nature   —

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https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/melissa-lane/the-birth-of-politics/

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The political ideas of the ancients still endure—and still propel us into debate and even more vigorous conflict.

Lane (Politics/Princeton Univ.) has written previously about the contemporary relevance of the ancients’ ideas in Eco-Republic: What the Ancients Can Teach Us about Ethics, Virtue, and Sustainable Living (2011). Here, she devotes a chapter to each of the eight ideas: justice, constitution, democracy, virtue, citizenship, cosmopolitanism, republic and sovereignty. In each chapter, she reminds us of the Greek and Roman history we have possibly forgotten since our days of Ancient Civilizations 101, then explores each idea in detail, suggesting how that idea continues to resonate today. (The Why They Matter portion of her subtitle could benefit from a bit more heft and development.) Along the way, Lane reacquaints us—sometimes in great detail—with some of the most notable names in political theory and ancient culture: Herodotus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Diogenes, Zeno, Cicero, Tacitus and Seneca are among the most prominent. Continually, we see how three forms of constitution (not the written documents but the more generic meaning of the word) have risen, fallen and combined: kingship, oligarchy and democracy. The author shows how each held sway in various eras (and in various places and combinations) and how the human desire for power and the persuasive enticements of corruption inevitably corrode and eventually destroy. Lane also explores the troubling contradictions at the cores of some democracies: the presence of slaves, the subservience and subjugation of women, the restrictions on the poor and otherwise disadvantaged. Here, the author’s parallels to the contemporary world are most evident and telling. To provide her readers with context, Lane offers a number of useful charts, chronologies and maps.

Although the diction (and thus the going) is sometimes a bit dense, the author successfully illuminates the political ideas that still perplex and divide us.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/14/don-draper-love-hate_n_7043490.html?utm_hp_ref=books

don draper

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What will become of Don Draper? As the final season of “Mad Men” continues, the debate surrounding our crestfallen hero’s fate grows more tense, and contentious, with each episode.

Will Don get a happy ending via self-acceptance? Or will he fizzle out, along with all that he represents: the self-made man made real and successful by representing, and deeply identifying with, the brands he touts? Throughout the show, he’s been a divisive character, lauded by some for his frankness, but disparaged by others for his selfish behavior. Still, Don drives the conversation around the show. Is it merely his bad boy charm that we find alluring — or is it something more?

In Season 7’s Part 1 finale, his ex-wife Betty said she was “starting to think of him as an old, bad boyfriend. Someone a teenage anthropologist would marry.” Senior partner Jim Cutler was no more forgiving: In his attempts to fire Don, he called him “a bully,” “a drunk” and “a football player in a suit.” Still, he managed to evade both personal and professional failures once again, and audiences seemed pleased.

If you’re among those rooting for Draper — charmed by his crisp ties and blunt manner in spite of his predictable prickishness — your allegiance may not represent a warped masochistic tendency. It may, in fact, be rooted in brain science, and the psychology of what we determine to be “cool.”

In Cool: How the Brain’s Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World, authors Steven Quartz and Anette Asp discuss how our personal values and identities are tied up in our consumption habits. This, they claim, isn’t as shallow as it sounds. To counter the prevailing notion that consumption occurs when advertisers instill false wants, the authors suggest instead that emulating high-status individuals is instinctual. Owning socially valuable products stimulates our Behavioral Activation System, which is responsible for sensations like elation. The book cites a plethora of studies showing how brands help us connect in the same way socializing does, thereby making it a sufficient replacement for other modes of identity-making. Showing off our connection with certain products provides a quick hit of the social value-amping good feelings we get when we’re praised by loved ones, complimented for our artistic tastes, praised for our bravery, or admired for our intelligence. This explains why Don, while shallow, is admired — even envied.

Quartz and Asp write off Rousseau’s concept of the “Noble Savage” — the poor citizen whose lack of aspirations leads to fulfillment — suggesting that because our instincts guide us towards acquisition-induced happiness, consumption is a more honest pursuit. To suggest that the biological reward of consumption makes it as valuable as deeper, more challenging forms of self-expression is a radical and limiting belief. But, it may explain why we default to admiring shameless brand trumpeters like Don when we’re feeling lazy.

Without much of a personal identity of his own — he actively severed ties with anyone related to his tumultuous upbringing — Don seems to truly live the messages he sells in meetings, making his pitches deeply emotive and effective. This may be precisely why viewers care about him, in spite of his nihilistic tendencies. Not only does he understand the easiest way to move people; Don himself is like a walking ad, evoking our most basic desires for status and connection.

We first witness the convergence of Don’s private self and his ability to sell products in Season 1, when he presents his idea for a campaign to sell Kodak’s “The Wheel,” a then-new piece of technology that projects photo slides. Don rejects the temptation to highlight the newness of the product, instead playing on pathos. “This device isn’t a spaceship. It’s a time machine,” he says. “It goes backwards. Forwards. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It lets us travel, around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know we are loved.”

Harry Crane rushes out of the room in tears, and former head of account services Duck Phillips quips to the future clients: “Good luck at your next meeting.” It’s an obvious sell. The reason, according to Don, is that the pitch taps into nostalgia. He says, “The public can be engaged on a level beyond flash. They have a sentimental bond with the product: […] nostalgia. It’s delicate, but potent. In Greek, nostalgia literally means ‘the main from an old wound.’ It’s a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone.”


This may sound like a mushy means of giving advertisers too much credit — doesn’t sex sell, too? — but Quartz and Asp cite recent research that backs up the emotional bond we form with brands. In a 2004 study conducted at Baylor College, participants were asked to take the famous Pepsi Challenge while under a brain scanner. It was discovered that the subjects’ brand loyalty was not linked to taste preferences; they may claim to prefer Coke but actually prefer Pepsi. When the subjects knew they were drinking the beverage they claimed to prefer, the areas of their brain connected with memory and emotion lit up, proving what Don Draper knew all along: nostalgia sells.

He wields this knowledge to achieve status, and that status seems to comprise his entire identity. Jim Cutler notes this in last year’s half-season finale, when he says he’s been “unimpressed” with Don, who he depicts as hollow: “The most eloquent I’ve ever heard you is when you were blubbering like a little girl about your impoverished childhood.”

Connecting with Don, then, is like connecting with a brand: his entire character plays on our deepest desires to climb the social ladder. But the sort of “cool” that he exemplifies — rich, powerful, and therefore free to act as he pleases — is no longer the only means of forming the sort of easily constructed identity we create when we define ourselves by the products we associate with.

In the late ’50s — the era captured in the early seasons of the show — a counter-culture surfaced. Jack Kerouac, James Dean, Thelonious Monk, and others who embody what author Peter Gay refers to as “the lure of heresy,” begin to shake up the notion of a single, desirable social status. The seemingly inexorable link between status and luxury was problematic for those who tried to emulate the trends of the wealthy — it created what Quartz and Asp call “a zero-sum game,” because once trends were adopted widely, those in power would scrap them. To break the cycle, rebelling against the norm was necessary.

Don dismisses the bohemian lifestyle of Greenwich Village proto-hippies in a definitive scene during the show’s first season. At a party that’s been busted by the cops, he accuses his lover’s friend of constructing his apparently rebellious lifestyle by, “buying some Tokaj wine and leaning up against a wall in Grand Central pretending [to be] a vagrant.” The beatnik retorts, “Look at you. Satisfied. Dreaming up jingles for soap flakes and spot remover. Telling yourself you’re free […] you make the lie. You invent want.”

Don scoffs, “I hate to break it to you, but there is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent,” and nods to the police on his way out the door. Here, his objectively valued status is clear.

What Quartz and Asp refer to as “oppositional status” rose steadily, arguably climaxing with the Summer of Love in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco. According to the authors’ logic, viewing this rebellion as a deeper alternative to Don and his consumerism would be reductive. It wasn’t long before counterculture was commodified, eventually leading revolutionaries such as Allen Ginsberg to actively promote less-bourgeois brands such as The Gap — for better or for worse. The lifestyle eschewed by Don infiltrated his domain: the ad world. Once myriad options for desirable social status arose, where did that leave our glistening, monolithic ideal of success?

Perhaps Matthew Weiner’s finale will let us know, but if the title of Season 7’s Part 2 premiere is any indicator, it just might be the end of an era.

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“Old Testament vs. New Testament”     —

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/04/jesus-and-the-delay-of-the-second-coming-maybe-he-doesnt-want-to-be-seen-with-us/

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A few months back I watched Simon Schama’s gripping 5-part video series The Story of the Jews, which takes us from the reign of David to contemporary Judaism. The series is highly acclaimed and I can’t recommend it enough.

Episode 2, “Among Believers,” covers Judaism in the medieval period and its difficulties with Christianity and Islam.

Schama recounts the famous debate, known as the “Barcelona Disputation,” which took place over three days beginning on July 20, 1263. The debate, organized by the the church, pitted the Jewish convert to Roman Catholicism, Pablo Christiani, against one of the towering intellectual figure of medieval Judaism, philosopher Rabbi Moses ben Nachman, better know as Nachmanides.

Christiani set out to show from the Torah and Talmud that Judaism’s own sacred texts predicted Jesus as the messiah who was to come. Nachmanides’s task–surrounded by ecclesiastical and royal power–was to show that this was not the case.

Schama, together with Leon Wieseltier, recount the debate, summarizing some of Nachmanides’s points and (it seems) elaborating a bit on those points themselves.

Christiani’s argument, they say, was unconvincing and has fallen on deaf Jewish ears ever since. They make two main points (you can get a fuller picture of the debate here), one I am very familiar with (having read Paul’s letters, especially Romans) and a second that I have not given nearly as much thought to.

First: If Jesus would have been the messiah, there would have been a mass Jewish following.

Of course, this is the very problem Paul addresses in Romans–I would even say “struggling with” in Roman. His own Jewish brothers and sisters are not following Israel’s messiah but Gentiles are. Paul reasons that the Gentile conversion will make Jews jealous, but that in time (very soon from Paul’s point of view), the time of the Gentiles would come to a close and Jews would stream in.

Instead, what happened is this Jewish movement of Jesus followers becomes a separate religion by the 2nd century and made up increasingly of Gentiles while Jews remained Jewish.

Second: The messiah of the Jews was to fulfill Old Testament/Jewish Bible prophecies of universal peace, but, as Nachmanides argued, the world was still full of war and injustice, most of it perpetuated by Christians.

As Schama and Wieseltier put it, the Jewish messianic problem is that they wait and wait and wait for the messiah but he doesn’t come. The Christian problem is that he came and it made no difference.

Of course, Christians will bristle at the thought that Jesus “made no difference,” and I certainly understand why–Jesus is raised and that conquers death and now all who believe on his name will be saved.

But Schama and Wieseltier’s second point still stands and I don’t think we should let it go too easily.

If Jesus is the messiah, why the 2000+ year delay after the inauguration of the “messianic age” (Christ’s first coming)? Why all this time of no peace, of warfare, suffering, and injustice, much of it by the followers of the Prince of Peace?

I understand that much of that suffering by Christians has been at the hands of various versions of the Christian “state” throughout history (which is one reason why I have no interest in seeing it resurrected by the American political hard Christian right), but that simply delays the question one step: why does God allow the corrupt Christian state to remain in power during after the messianic age has been inaugurated.

Does eschatological inauguration make so little difference–at least little enough that no one other than Christians notice and have to convince others of it?

For me, one of the intellectual challenges to Christianity is this delay of the parousia–the Greek term meaning “presence, arrival, visit,” i.e., Second Coming. I wonder whether Christians may not have something to learn from this Jewish critique.

Similar to how Jews in the 1st century were concerned that failure to remain faithful to the covenant not only caused the exile a half a millennium earlier but perpetuated the half-millennium delay of the messianic age, perhaps the parousia is delayed because Christians haven’t yet figured out how to be the body of Christ.

Just riffing here, but maybe the problem of the delay of the parousia isn’t simply a theological conundrum to be solved through closer exegesis or theological alchemy.

Maybe the “body of Christ” isn’t being the body of Christ. Maybe Jesus is too embarrassed to be seen with us.

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Jesse Shima, Jim Hagerty’s dearest friend   (Hagerty the most powerful press secretary to the U.S. President in history   — go to just before the middle of this transcript here    —   http://www.c-span.org/video/?325035-1/eisenhower-public-relations) & Harry Hopkins’ prodigy  (Hopkins arguably the most important person in FDR’s long tenure as U.S.. President   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Hopkins)   — is shan shan exemplified.      http://hawaiinewsdaily.com/2010/12/art-of-compromise/          https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2011/05/22/comfort-cushion-in-the-lore-of-ages-past/
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Jesse Shima’s benefactor was U.S. Sen. John Henderson of Missouri (famous Missouri Compromise to try to avert the Civil War 1861-1865).   Sen. Henderson eventually was a decorated Civil War hero/commander who authored the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which outlawed slavery forever, after Henderson’s friend — President Abraham Lincoln of Kentucky/Illinois — was killed by an assassin’s bullet in 1865.   Henderson later built a fortune in the gold mines/railroads as America headed westward to the Pacific Ocean.   Henderson’s opulent estate in D.C. is the site of today’s Meridian Park in the heart of D.C.  Jesse would’ve inherited all of Henderson’s super-rich holdings if Congress had outlawed discrimination against alien Japanese (sadly, INS did not recognize Issei naturalization until 1952, when Jesse, D.C. delegate from Hawai’i Joe Farrington, & Utah native Mike Masaoka promulgated our Issei immigration Act naturalizing Issei in America).
Yes, in response to Uchinanchu/Okinawan esteemed culture [humbling, not hubris], in war [as with warlocks Hirohito/Hito’s choice pick Tojo] the teeming masses are the ones who suffer the most, & no ethnic group suffered more among Native Nipponese than our Uchinanchu. Recount our current Hilo peers Steve Yamashiro’s dad [yes, former mayor Steve]/Pi’ihonua native Henry Shimabukuro’s uncle, Lyman Boarding School alumnus Shokan “Jesse” Shima[bukuro] 1901-2002, the greatest person of Japanese ancestry [“Nikkei”] who set foot on American soil [FDR’s closest advisor Harry Hopkins’ acolyte/protege][Ike’s closest advisor Jim Hagerty’s dear friend/associate][non-college man Truman wanted pragmatic non-professional vocation/field caseworker Hopkins, but WWII killed via stress FDR/Hopkins in quick order–Hopkins architect of WPA/CCC, created FDR’s Lend-Lease Act that gave us time to prepare for our entry into WWII European theater of operations/etc.][Ike’s sensible feedback man Hagerty only a high school grad like Truman — Hilo’s Shokan “Jesse” Shima(bukuro) no advanced schooling just as no advanced schooling for Hagerty/Supreme Ct. Justice-Nuremberg prosecutor Robert Jackson/Hilo provost marshal-later post-WWII Israel giant leader Mickey Marcus]. Uncle Jesse mitigated harsh AJA internment via collective enterprises for internees, then sprung earlier releases & integrated internees into mainstream commerce, Tony Masamitsu “Honda” sterling product of Jesse’s enablement, yes, as in Tony Honda dealerships, Jesse got War Dept. to integrate displaced Okinawans back into stable village life in decimated Okinawa, Jesse got war/post-war relief humanitarian aid to Jesse’s ancestral Okinawa along w/Hawai’i sponsors like Steve Yamashiro’s altruistic dad, Jesse kept Okinawa sovereign instead of being U.S. protectorate/colony, Jesse fine-tuned INS Act that legalized Japanese aliens/Issei to become U.S. citizens 1952 [whereas Kotonk-Utah native Mike Masaoka’s influence was chiefly in promulgating 1952 INS Act], Jesse was chief “embassy” liaison during Japan prime minister Shigeru Yoshida’s tenure, inasmuch Japan had no embassy in Jesse’s eventual D.C. domicile prior to 1952 — Jesse told taisho-proud Yoshida emissaries, “Hey, you lost the war! Stop acting like you got any power! Make up for your defeat! Be as accomodating as possible to our State Dept. & our President Truman!” Wow!! Uncle Jesse was livid about Tojo’s/Hirohito’s expansionism into Indonesia [oil for Japan war needs], surefire trigger to war vs. U.S. [Gen. Yamashita wanted co-existence w/U.S./only invaded Manchuria for iron/steel–China for coal/no oil in China-SE Asia, though SE Asia had rubber/undeniably, U.S. greatest empathizer was Admiral Nagano, sage/wise old man who wanted to cooperate w/U.S., not go to war vs. U.S., which Japan was destined to lose–no war resources/material to sustain victory– no, Nagano was Admiral Yamamoto’s senior commander, & testy younger Yamamoto, contrary to popular opinion, threatened to resign if Nagano would not okay Yamamoto’s attack on Pearl Harbor — to give Japan about 6 months to get Indonesia oil sources — Yamamoto told wiser Nagano it was do or die for Japan, via U.S. embargo vs. Japan — Nagano urged peaceful co-existence w/U.S. — Nagano was drowned out by strident Army warlock Tojo/”disoriented” Yamamoto. Nonetheless, Uncle Jesse was very saddened by Imperial Japan’s incomprehensible/unthinkable folly/jingoism. To Uncle Jesse, Imperial Japan had gotten too big for its britches, like a young hormonally impulsive teen [Japan’s war victories over hapless China/Russia 1895/1905][Japan’s accelerated industrialism/colonial expansionism during Meiji-Taisho-Showa Hito family reign 1868-1945]. Uncle Jesse’s mission was to show Japan how delusionally sick Japan got via its jingoism/militarism. Thence Uncle Jesse’s chastening vs. Japan emissaries. BTW, our other local heavie in D.C. was Castle/Cooke scion Bill Castle, who elected to leave isolated Hawai’i/C&C helm for D.C., where he was Hoover’s State Dept. head for far eastern Asian Affairs. But Tojo’s warlocks/militarist officers silenced Castle’s Japan emissaries, & by 1935 former diplomat Castle was of no use to FDR/Hopkins. Thence the ascension/rise of Uncle Jesse. By the time post-WWII Japan’s Shigeru Yoshida reduxed Castle’s contacts, Jesse was informal liaison b/n Yoshida’s crew & Truman’s outfit. Old man/senile Castle died 1963. Aloha, –Curt
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2014 note to chronicler Gloria Kobayashi  –
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Shokan “Jesse” Shimabukuro had immense drive/stamina to make something good of himself in society. Through luck/guile/guidance from the scion Hendersons of Wash. D.C. & thru Jesse’s 1st marriage to an African-American beauty/icon Baltimore nurse, Jesse sprung to prominence in the highest reaches of both African-American and White societies, brainstorming with our greatest ever Black & White leaders in American history. And yet, in quaint sleepy Hilo town, no one ever “dreampt” that our Lyman tutelage triggered Jesse’s self-esteem/confidence to stardom as America’s greatest-ever Japanese person. Jesse matriculated to egalitarian McKinley High on O’ahu, then shipped out to D.C.
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2014 note to chronicler Gloria Kobayashi  –
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Jesse was dearest friend of Mordecai Johnson, the “George Washington” of African American intellectual circles, and president of prestigious Howard University in D.C., the Harvard of African American colleges.    Mordecai’s prodigy/understudy Charles Hamilton Houston mentored Thurgood Marshall, the 1st African American U.S. Supreme Court justice.    Houston and Marshall steered thru the greatest case in U.S. Supreme Court history, Brown vs. Bd. of Education, which gave African Americans equal opportunity to public schooling.
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Jesse also helped Jesse’s fellow Nikkei, for example, the 1st highest state court supreme court justice in the U.S., Capt. Cook native Masaji Marumoto in 1957, who was appointed by President Eisenhower to our territorial supreme court at age 51 (Ike’s closest advisor Jim Hagerty was Jesse’s dearest friend).
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Modern society’s devolution and self-absorption — we need symbols which participate in the things they represent

 

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I stand incredulous before the sheer number of people reporting/experiencing symptoms of depression. I say again, I don’t believe our ancestors experienced the same proportion of depressive symptoms. Possible explanations for this phenomenon: Crisis of meaning, for example. An increasingly vacuous culture, with significant evidence of devolution. Or, perhaps depression/depressive episodes is in part provoked by the emotional self-absorption of moderns – the observable, inexplicable delay of real emotional conversance and maturity in modern people. — Steven Kalas

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“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.”

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All the worth we could ever need is found as we love and are loved.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/self-worth-comes-loving-being-loved

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Did people in the Middle Ages fret about their self-esteem (worth in the eyes of others)??

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(self-respect is the reality of worth, not self-esteem)

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Did they sit in taverns and wonder aloud to their friends why others didn’t  love them more? Did they work their farms while daydreaming about the hope of someday having more self-esteem?

See, I rather doubt it. I think obsessing about self-esteem is the calling card of this time, this place and this culture. I think our incessant pondering about self-esteem is the undesirable outcome of affluence and leisure. It’s the thing we’re left to do

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when we lack

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sufficient access to meaning.

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Self-respect, self-worth. How do human beings come to feel worthwhile?

Some people undertake the quest literally: material worth. He who dies with the most toys wins. They make money. Lots and lots of money. They are good at making money. They tell themselves they will feel worthy when they have a literal, measurable worth.

The chief problem with this worldview, of course, is that it is quite savagely exclusive. By this measure of worth, the poor would not be allowed to be worthy.

(By the way, I didn’t say it was wrong to be good at making lots and lots of money. I just said it was a dubious place to invest the idea of self-worth.)

The other great American notion of human worth is usefulness. I have self-worth if I am useful. For example, if I’m a passenger flying at 38,000 feet on a plane that suddenly loses an engine, it is very useful to have a competent pilot on board. Similarly, if you are suffering an acute bereavement, you will find that I’M very useful to have around.

Usefulness is closely related to competence. And these are common measures for a person’s felt sense of self-worth. Just listen to the chronically unemployed. The frustrations of the disabled. The vague air of depression that sometimes surrounds the newly retired. The alienation of the aging and elderly who can contribute less and less to a community, a neighborhood or a household. Ultimately not able to care for themselves.

So, in the end, usefulness is an important measure of self-worth, but still an incomplete measure. What’s more useless than a newborn? Yet, would we say the baby is worthless? Of course not.

We reach for merit. We hope to become meritorious of worth through the realization of virtue and character. We are generous. Philanthropic. Faithful. Hard-working. We endure. We are kind. We sacrifice. We are humble. We are honest. Etc.

Virtue is a good thing. And I, for one, hope to have more character rather than less. Yes, merit can be an important measure of self-worth, but still this path contains a built-in, obvious problem: Human beings have an irregular, variable grasp on merit. Human beings make mistakes. They screw up. Sometimes character fails.

I’m saying that, being a card-carrying sinner myself, I hope there is a human worth available in the absence of merit.

And so the philosophers speak of intrinsic worth. That there is something about merely being human that should rightly oblige me to respect myself and others. If I breathe, then I have worth. Even if I’m poor. Even if I’m unable to be useful. Even if I lack merit.

Can you consider your intrinsic worth? The idea that some people who love you actually do love you? Not for your money. Not because of your achievements. Not because you can fix the garbage disposal or iron a shirt. Not because you’re morally perfect. But because they love you.

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But even intrinsic worth is nigh impossible to realize and enjoy on our own. Do newborns have intrinsic worth? Absolutely. Do newborns know that? Absolutely not. Then how do newborns discover their own intrinsic worth?

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Someone has to love them. Touch them. Care for them. Or they will go crazy. Or die.

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“We love because we are first loved,” says the Christian Epistle of 1 John. Here a religious “truth” is identical to a psychological observation: Self-worth does not first belong to self. Worth is bestowed upon us by love. Our worth is conveyed.

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All the worth we could ever need is found as we love and are loved.

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To love and to be loved are our deepest desires a la Carl Jung’s archetypes (Jung’s forebearers are mystics Plato, Apostle Paul, & Augustine)(Jung is pronounced like “young”)

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Archetypal star-crossed lovers

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However, Jewish theologian Martin Buber says that Jung went outside Jung’s  psychoanalytic expertise into theology by Jung’s point that God does not exist independent of the psyches of human beings.

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Buber chastens that Jung was “mystically deifying the instincts instead of hallowing them in faith,”  which he called a “modern manifestation of Gnosis.” (the improper ascription to self-knowledge as the end-all, instead of God).   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jungian_interpretation_of_religion#Extensions_and_criticisms

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+to+love+and+be+loved&id=EACBCF9FA17727184C6B7DC4961D1E0CD101EC1F&FORM=IQFRBA#view=detail&id=EACBCF9FA17727184C6B7DC4961D1E0CD101EC1F&selectedIndex=0

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgLzsGmnogo

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Modern people are tragically separated from their symbols

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/symbol-participates-thing-it-represents

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A symbol “participates” in the thing it represents

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The difference between a sign and a symbol is something first felt, and only later comprehended.

This is the difference between a sign and a symbol.

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All kinds of symbols. Marriage is a symbol. Wedding rings are symbols. That collar around the neck of the priest is a symbol. Old Glory is a symbol. Hair can be a symbol (see Samson). Fire (see sweat lodges). The Alamo is a symbol. (I was in San Antonio on the day Ozzy Osbourne urinated on it. Texans reacted, well, badly. Dramatically, even.)

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Only in a culture as overly rationalized and material as this one could we …

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* wear the American flag as jockey shorts;

* refer to a wedding license as “just a piece of paper”;

* be absent collective rituals for grief;

* be absent collective rituals for rites of passage to adulthood;

* think it’s funny to try to make the guard at Buckingham Palace laugh;

* think potato chips and Pepsi could stand in for bread and wine;

* refer to a girl’s first menses as the arrival of “The Curse”;

* think a glowing light bulb is the same as a perpetual flame;

* ask them to mail your doctoral diploma to your house;

* dare to be impatient when stuck behind a funeral procession in traffic.

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Here’s my first question in premarital counseling: “What do you want to change in your relationship on (date)?” Wanna know the most common answer? The couple exchanges a befuddled glance. One of them sits taller. Proud of this answer, mind you. “Nothing,” he/she says quizzically, as if I’ve asked a very strange question.

If your goal was to change nothing, wouldn’t it make sense that you would do nothing?

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Modern people are tragically separated from their symbols.

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http://www.viewnews.com/2009/VIEW-Jan-06-Tue-2009/downtown/26019332.html

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What do you see in human experience?

C.G. Jung said that in Western civilization, the ancient office of tribal “ritual elder” was less and less occupied by clergy. Changes in modern institutional religion have turned parish clergy into administrators, teachers and fundraisers, and less and less available for the ancient symbolic functions of meaningful ritual and “testing the spirits” (discernment).

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Jung believed that modern therapists were largely the default recipient of the shamanic role. This has always intrigued me and made me nervous.

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Nonetheless …

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I want to extend an invitation to veteran therapist/counselor types — you modern elders — who might be in earshot of this column: What do you notice? Wrap your arms around the years of individuals, couples, kids, teens and families that moved through your practice. What themes do you see in the modern human experience, either positive or negative? Put all that into a two- to six-sentence paragraph, and send it to me.

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Here are a few things I notice:

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* People seek redemption. Yep, regardless of religion or no-religion, people long to convert banal human experience into redemptive meaning: birth, belonging, hope, vocation, sex, pride, humility, fear, joy, forgiveness, justice, evil, anger, values, moral failure, guilt, grief, love, meaning, child-rearing, aging, death. You can see how Jung arrived at his conclusion; the list of presenting issues in therapy is virtually synonymous with the needs and hungers of any pilgrim on a religious journey.

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* There is no escaping the paradox of The Individual and The Collective. Meaning, we cannot participate creatively in the wider human experience without possession of a healthy, separate self. Yet, the only way to grow a healthy, separate self is to participate in the collective.

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* People are designed for relationships. Seems funny how often I remind folks of this. I think “individualism” is a near cult in America. People are surprised, made anxious, threatened, even embarrassed by their yearning for deep friendships, kinship and a great love affair. We embrace insipid mantras — or sometimes hear them from therapists who mean to encourage — such as, “You’re fine alone.” You’ll never hear that from me. Instead you’ll hear, “You’re fine enough alone.”

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* Western civilization is a neurosis factory. Anxiety, self-consciousness, self-doubt. An overwhelming tendency to attach undue and largely negative meaning to self. So common is this outcome in human formation that consulting therapists will describe patients with a shrug, saying, “He’s a normal neurotic.” Meaning, he’s just like everybody else. Just like me, for that matter.

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* People have answers for most of their questions. In fact, it’s uncommon for patients to ask me an honest question; meaning, a question seeking actual information about which they are ignorant. Nope, the majority of questions are rhetorical. The patient poses the “great mystery/crisis/dilemma” inquiry as a segue, a stage. Give them some room, and they will usually answer their own questions.

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* Children need to be admired. They need to hear the “wow” in the voice of the mother, the father. They need to see the wonder in our eyes.

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* Children are absurdly forgiving and breathtakingly resilient.

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* We marginalize adolescents, yet reserve the right to complain about their despair.

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* The best thing I have to say about hitting children is that it is unnecessary.

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* The “nuclear family” is a ridiculous and historically unprecedented way to raise children.

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* Narcissistic parenting patterns dominate the current culture of child rearing.

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* As a group, we have sold ourselves a shameless bill of goods regarding marriage, divorce and remarriage. We’re personally affronted when we discover that our marriage has failed to sustain “in-lovedness” and happiness. We tell ourselves that divorce and remarriage is a terrific strategy for growth and personal development. No data supports this idea.

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* Modern people are tragically separated from their symbols. Said another way, materialism and rationalism rule the day, both at the cost of meaning.

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* It’s not abuse that makes children — and later, adults — feel or act crazy and destructively, it’s not being allowed to have any feelings about our abuse. To be separated from the reality of our emotional reality — that is crazy-making!

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We’ve come a long ways, but it remains today axiomatic: Men can’t cry, and women can’t get angry. I’m serious. Can’t tell you how many times individual therapy with a man includes helping him take grief and loss seriously. Can’t tell you how many times individual therapy with a woman includes helping her take anger and outrage seriously.

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Sage Paul Lutus: Most “educated” people cannot tell the difference between a fact and an idea, the most common confusion of symbol and thing. Most believe if they collect enough facts, this will compensate for their inability to grasp the ideas behind those facts. And, because of this “poverty of ideas,” most cannot work out the simplest conceptual questions, such as “why is the sky dark at night?”

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/euclid-reasoned-something-or-it-isn-t

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The reflexive property is hugely important. And, in modern times, this property is apparently not so apparent and obvious. If you turn your ear to listen, you will hear myriad observations, worldviews, and specious conclusions that come down to this: a = … (something that is not) a.

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And this bothers me. Because, deny, ignore or obfuscate whether a = a, and suddenly you can explain and justify just about anything. It might or might not be entirely a conscious process, but it is nonetheless deliberate. And lazy. And convenient. And creepy.

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I think about this when, several times each year, a patient will speak of a new courtship with … someone who is married. And the new interest gives my patient The Speech: “We’re not really married. We’ve been separated for (period of time), and the reason the divorce isn’t yet filed/final is (blah blah blah).”

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And my patient thinks this clears things right up.

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And I affect my very best neutral nod. But, inside, I always think the same thing: a = a. Only divorced people are divorced. Only married people are married people. Which means that married people aren’t divorced people.

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A = a. Only friends are friends. And only nouns are nouns. So, write this down: I will never “friend” you. Ever. Or “unfriend” you.

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I could go on and on. The reflexive property has never mattered more. Because we live in a time of confusing facsimile with reality. And that has consequences.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-twitter-really-americas-conscience/2015/02/24/8b9e04d6-bc67-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html

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Mindless social media (e.g. Twitter)

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Social media, especially Twitter, have appropriated the role of national conscience. When Tweety Bird is upset, the whole world is upset — or at least that portion of the world that pays attention to such things. As of 2014, only 23 percent of online adults (18 and older) use Twitter, according to the Pew Research Center.

The broader media, however, pay attention to and report on buzz as though these online snippets were the last word on public opinion. But buzz, like all gossip through time, is meaningless without contextual analysis. Buzz, in other words, doesn’t necessarily suggest a conclusion, such as Americans have lost their sense of humor, and we have become mind-numbingly politically correct .

This may be our future, heaven forbid. But meanwhile, we can find some comfort in the following: Many Americans couldn’t care less about the Oscars, what Penn said, or what Twitter buzzed about it. Only 36.6 million watched the Academy Awards this year, down 16 percent from last year, according to Nielsen ratings.

Context is, as always, everything. But we’ll see what Twitter has to say about that.

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I’ll concede that Sean Penn’s delivery at the Oscars had all the warmth of a basilisk’s gaze. Then again, what would one expect from Penn? He has mastered the expression of one who would rather be anywhere else. His default countenance is of a man trapped between existential angst and disgust — or rather like someone who knows what’s really going on.

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It’s all in the delivery.

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Human beings are created for relationship. Without you, there is no meaningful me. How I experience my life is, in the end, inseparable from how I experience you. Said yet another way, we’re here to love and be loved. — sage Steven Kalas

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/luck-of-the-draw-bad-or-good-forgive-yourself-for-what-is-not-in-your-power-to-do-steven-kalas/

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Sometimes the worst pain comes from feeling abandoned (estrangement) and unloved (alienation). That happened to me when my marriage of more than three decades ended. When my wife walked out on me, she took my sense of self-worth with her.

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Without her to validate me as a human being,

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I began to think I wasn’t worth anything at all.

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It is very hard to let go of your past. For years I held on to my old life, refusing to let go. I just couldn’t see any other life worth living. Letting go of your past is a long, hard process, and for me that process isn’t over yet. In some ways, it’s just beginning.

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But here is why it’s important that we put in that time and effort — because if we live in the past, we will never discover our destiny. Destiny, promise, potential, purpose — all of these are things that have to do with the future, not the past.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/antoinette-tuff/three-steps-to-turning-pain-purpose_b_4979660.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS%20for%20the%20Soul
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Yes, one who lives authentically and in the moment suffers persecution, taking a line from exemplar Christ.

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 http://biblehub.com/2_timothy/3-12.htm
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-davis-phd/saint-francis-and-pope-francis_b_4967289.html?utm_hp_ref=religion
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/17/life-advice_n_4979765.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS+for+the+Soul
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Life  celebration often is born of immense suffering.

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The willingness to stretch oneself into compelling vulnerability by loving and desiring to be loved draws from a psychic well so deep that is not without cost.

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Sometimes great cost.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/after-laughs-comedian-leaves-us-lesson
http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/trust-risk-taken-not-acquired-skill
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Once you have a meditative life you start to see that the world is really far different than what it appears to be,   e.g.

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob%27s_Ladder_(film)#Production

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/16/this-ancient-blueprint-fo_n_5312209.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS+for+the+Soul

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A person must have an “inner citadel” to which one can retreat.

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Living from this inner place of peace and equanimity —

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a place which no person or external event can penetrate —

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gives one the freedom to shape one’s life by responding to events from a rational, calm headspace.

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Find your inner citadel.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/one-man-s-definition-spirituality

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I once tried to craft a definition of spirituality that could be universalized. That is, the definition would not and could not be “owned” or dominated by any particular religion.

Purely objective. And utterly human.

For better or worse, I finally came up with this:  “Spirituality is the intentional disciplines we undertake to realize, respond and bring witness to essential relatedness.”

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Intentional disciplines

Significant spirituality presupposes some effort and intention on our part. We habituate ourselves to certain prescribed disciplines. Meditation, prayer, worship, sacrifice, piety, chanting, alms, fasting, study, mission, pilgrimage, ritual, marriage, music, art, dance, exercise — there are myriad forms of spiritual discipline. Only some are formal, “religious” activities.

But all spiritual disciplines attempt to express, strengthen and realize our fundamental relationships: self, others, cosmos, mystery. An authentic spiritual path is more than mere spontaneous enthusiasm or casual, intellectual observation.

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Let’s unpack the definition:

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To realize

A lot of things that are real are never realized. To realize is to bring to full expression. In authentic spirituality, we reach for what we believe to be real (our worldview) and we make it real in ourselves.

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To respond

Authentic spirituality compels us to respond. When we realize we are related, we find that we must respond to our relationships. We serve, we seek, we redeem, we account, we repair, we reconcile, we protect, we do battle, we make peace — action verbs.  We must answer the “voice” we have heard. We are obliged (from the Latin obligare = “tied to”).

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Bring witness

In word and deed we evidence our essential relatedness. We tell our story, yes, sometimes with words, but more often with deeds. The fast track of getting to know any human being is observing how that human being responds to his/her committed bonds of relationship.

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Essential relatedness

I was unable to coin a meaningful definition of spirituality without presupposing an article of faith. In the case of my definition, I’m presupposing that people and cosmos are essentially related. I can’t prove that. It’s part of my spiritual worldview (my cosmology) leaking into my definition.

I can’t apologize, though, because I do think we are essentially related. We do not choose to be related to the mystery, the cosmos, to ourselves and each other. We are related.

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All significant world religions and spiritual paths share common elements:

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A narrative

“In the beginning” … “Once upon a time” … “a child was born” …

Spirituality is contained in story. The story often includes a particular human life perceived to be unique and definitive of how life is and how life should be lived. For example, there is a life lived in history (Siddhartha) and then there is the collective response to that life lived (Buddhism).

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Sacred writings

The Bible, the Quran, the Deer Park Sermon, the Torah, Bhagavad Gita, petroglyphs — in sacred writings the stories and collective wisdom of spiritual paths are preserved and passed on.

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Moral code

The great world religions share basic concerns about violence, exploitation, dishonesty, theft and the breakdown of sexual boundaries. Religions postulate an “ideal” expression of our humanity and generally agree that we are incapable of realizing this ideal by the mere force of will. We sense what is good, but we cannot simply decide to be good.

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Festival, ritual and tradition

The great world religions contain potent rites of passage, rituals that realize and celebrate relatedness, and traditions that mark a rhythm for the ebb and flow of life.

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Sacrifice (alms)

The great world religions express a primary concern for the especially vulnerable members of society — the poor, the sick, the disabled, the very old and very young, etc. And so, authentic spirituality includes the regular, sometimes ritual sacrifice of time, talents, energy, goods, service and money for the aid and protection of the “especially vulnerable.”

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The thing I rather enjoy about my definition is that, even for people who swear they don’t have a religious bone in their body, well, there is still a very sense in which they can enjoy, nurture and grow an authentic inmost dimension to their lives.

If your spirituality/inmost-edness and/or your religion is not, at the end of the day, about tying you to fidelity in relationships, then I would wonder about its purpose and relevance.

Right relationships yield human wholeness.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-a-georgescu/the-last-shall-be-first_b_4683340.html
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The Last Shall be First — Jesus

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Devoting oneself to others is at the heart of all the world’s major faiths.

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If we are devoted to a higher purpose (e.g. hope in salvation), love and compassion become the whole point and our goals become more important than what we get in return for them.

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Who am I? A person who loves and desires to be loved in turn.

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Jodi Picoult: “People always say that, when you love someone, nothing in the world matters. But that’s not true, is it? You know, and I know, that when you love someone, everything in the world matters a little bit more.”

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http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/3764682-handle-with-care

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/not-who-am-i-but-whose-am-i-and-this-radicalgestalt-changes-everything-from-sage-steven-kalas-born-1957/

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It’s not “Who am I?” but “Whose am I?” And this radical/gestalt changes everything!! (e.g. I am a father/grandfather/elder role model to my progeny/etc.)

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOW4QiOD-oc

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_Runner#Interpretation

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These thematic elements provide an atmosphere of uncertainty for Blade Runner‘s central theme of examining humanity.

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In order to discover replicants, an empathy test is used, with a number of its questions focused on the treatment of animals—seemingly an essential indicator of someone’s “humanity.”

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The replicants appear to show compassion and concern for one another and are juxtaposed against human characters who lack empathy while the mass of humanity on the streets is cold and impersonal.

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The film goes so far as to put in doubt whether Deckard is human, and forces the audience to re-evaluate what it means to be human.

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Yes, the bad guy/unwanted huli’au actually might be the good guy.

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luck of the draw (bad or good) — forgive yourself for what is not in your power to do — Steven Kalas

 

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The blind will see and those who see will become blind. John 9:39-41 Those who become blind also will blind themselves as experts (ability to see). Thence those who become blind shall continue to remain ignorant. — Chiasmus

http://www.biblelimericks.com/?limerick=john-941-blind-seeing-seeing-blind

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/life/family/best-approach-help-some-addicts-step-away

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/steven-kalas/relationship-important-part-effective-therapy

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She tells her story, and it’s my job to listen to the telling. It’s an awful story. Betrayal, injustice, abuse of power, exploitation — it’s not easy to listen.

Listening trips alarm systems in my body. My brain begins dumping chemicals into my bloodstream, changing the way I breathe. There’s a pre-emptive readiness in my musculature that I experience as tension. I feel anger and sadness, both vying for center stage of my attention. Competing fantasies include weeping, stepping outside to scream, sending her perpetrator a letter bomb and pouring us both shots of expensive bourbon. Right here in the office. Right here in session.

The latter fantasy explains why I don’t keep expensive hooch in my office.

She finishes the ugly tale. I lean forward with my most sincere Father Flannigan face and say in soothing intonations, “Take the deepest breath you can.” She looks up, smiles a tender, peaceful, beautiful smile and says, “I’m really OK.” To which I — Steven Kalas, Caped Crusader, Action Counselor, Man of the Hour — respond spontaneously and without a moment’s thought, “You’re right, it’s me who needs to take a deep breath.”

In the next moment, we both erupt in gales of laughter, both buffeted by the physical force of the irony ricocheting off the walls. It’s a cleansing irony. She ceremoniously hands me the Kleenex box and says, in caricature, “Would you like to talk about it?” I shrug and say: “I don’t know. How much do you charge?” And we laugh some more.

It doesn’t get any more real and honest than that. When I’m old and long-retired, I will remember that moment in my career. I will never stop sharing that story with interns and practicum students whose desire it is to learn this craft called Talk Therapy.

News flash for aspiring therapists: The idea that quality therapy is delivered to people in sheer objectivity and muted detachment is … well … absolute crap. Blank slate? Yeah, right. Run away screaming from any therapist who tells you they have no opinions, no prejudices and who seems deliberately wooden and removed from the interaction. It is not my job to be free of bias (as if that were possible), rather, to know my biases to the end that my bias does not intrude, interfere, countermand or impede.

Quality therapy is delivered in the context of a therapeutic relationship! Key word: relationship! Therapeutic benefit emerges — literally — in and proceeding out of the relationship. It is not a relationship of unilateral trust, rather, of mutual trust. It is a deep-seated sense of partnership. Even very sick people bring strengths to the table that have seen them through rough times. I notice these things, admire them and even learn from them.

A veteran therapist friend tells a simple yet powerful story about working with a patient who’d been sexually abused by several males in her family:

“She wailed, ‘Why Me?!’ It was voiced as a demand. She wanted an answer. And, of course, she feared she did something to deserve it. I simply answered, ‘The luck of the draw.’ She stared at me a moment, then shrieked: ‘The luck of the draw? That’s your answer?’ I nodded and said: ‘Yup. You did nothing to deserve it and, as far as I know, God doesn’t get pissed off at little kids and decide to punish them by giving them evil relatives who abuse them. To me that means it’s just the luck of the draw.’

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After staring at me several seconds, she burst out laughing and I joined her. She left that session, smiling, shaking her head and marveling, ‘The luck of the draw.’ I might say that I’d come to this conclusion some time before about my own experiences.”

See, a therapist focused on textbooks and technique might have answered, all sincere and philosophical: “I don’t know. Why do you think this happened to you?” But patients deserve more than a Human Echo Chamber. They deserve more than nodding, staring and “Mmm.” They need human reparative interaction.

Another veteran therapist tells this story:

“I once treated a developmentally disabled teen, hospitalized for childhood schizophrenia. He did very, very well, and at the time we terminated therapy asked me, ‘You know why this worked so well, doctor?’ I said, ‘No, why?’ He smiled and said, ‘Because you respected me and I respected you.’ “

Well, yeah. Of course.

With all respect to the practitioner’s training and expertise, maybe the heartbeat of effective therapy is 50 minutes of acutely focused, directed, authentically present and respectful human relationship.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/1-peter-48-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/

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The points are to establish love and emotional support as our idyllic commands, in a tragic and indifferent world.

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Needless suffering is of this world, stuck in this tragic and indifferent life.

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Indeed, true love endures.

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It’s just that you need to close the gestalt of being in love with the person who no longer loves you

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and get past one’s own hurt, bitterness, disappointment and anger

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before what endures can be apprehended

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as the honored friend it is (self-respect)

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and not the cruel enemy

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it appears to be

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right after we’ve been dumped

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by the love of our life.

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True love endures. That’s a good thing.

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But true love is different from needless suffering for the rest of your life.

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At the end of the day, we have to grow a self-respect sufficient not to want someone who doesn’t want us.

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You need to forgive yourself

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for what was

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not

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in your power to do.

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http://www.lvrj.com/view/love-can-endure-if-people-work-through-lost-relationships-144330465.html

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Søren Kierkegaard says that life is full of absurdity, and one must make his and her own values in an indifferent world. One can live meaningfully (free of despair and anxiety) in an unconditional commitment to something finite, and devotes that meaningful life to the commitment, despite the vulnerability inherent to doing so. As sage Steven Kalas says, we’re here to love and be loved. That’s it. Dying people revel in who they became in meaningful relationships (soulmates)! Every other dimension of life — job, money, golf game, emptying the kitchen trash — is only important as it serves the end of how and why you are related to another soul.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/what-is-not-in-our-power-to-do/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/forgive-yourself-for-what-is-not-in-your-power-to-do-love-yourself-no-matter-the-external-rejection-from-others/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/limerence-falling-in-love-is-a-powerful-spontaneous-projection-of-self-the-experience-is-cosmic-and-powerfully-bonding-steven-kalas/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/im-here-to-love-and-be-loved/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/but-now-theres-nowhere-to-hide-since-you-pushed-my-love-aside-my-head-is-saying-fool-forget-her-my-heart-is-saying-dont-let-go-hold-on-to-the-end-thats-what-i-intend-to-do/

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http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/7128.Jodi_Picoult

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“Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.” ― Jodi Picoult

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“I’m lonely. Why do you think I had to learn to act so independent?” – ― Jodi Picoult

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“Love is not an equation, it is not a contract, and it is not a happy ending. Love is the slate under the chalk, the ground that buildings rise, and the oxygen in the air. It is the place you come back to, no matter where you’re headed.” ― Jodi Picoult

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“If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?” ― Jodi Picoult

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“A real friend isn’t capable of feeling sorry for you, [but instead feeling sorry for/loss of you by the other person.]” ― Jodi Picoult

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“I didn’t want to see her because it would make me feel better. I came because without her, it’s hard to remember who I am.” ― Jodi Picoult

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Preface to Susan Sarandon’s undying line below — the gumshoe/private eye says to Susan Sarandon’s character Beverly Clark (on tailing Bev’s hubby played by Richard Gere) that couples get married for passion, not protocol. Susan’s character Bev in turn responds via her eternal line below.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0358135/quotes

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We need a witness to our lives. There are billions of people on this planet…

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I mean, what does any one life really mean?

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But in a relationship,

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you’re promising to care about everything.

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The good things, the bad things, the mundane things…

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all of them, all the time.

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You’re saying

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‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it.

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Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdBATA_Ag5s

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(Sigh) … it could not have been said any deeper than this … with love timelessly, :-)–Curt

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Rose teasingly tells Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack in the 1997 blockbuster movie Titanic –

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Immortalize me, Jack!” (via Jack’s portrait sketching talent) Done, baby!!

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As sage Steven Kalas intones (Love’s Purple Heart is won) –

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/steven-kalas/what-hurts-most-may-bring-people-closest-together

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Once upon a time you stood before an altar

And you promised not to leave

You held each other’s hand and dreamed a sweet forever

Love brought angels to your knees

Oh, the days they do fly by

Count the tears that you have cried

Count the laughter and the lies

Count your love and times love died

And here you stand together, battle-scarred and torn

The locks of fairy tales have fallen, long since shorn

Love has chosen you, blessed you, crucified you

See what you’ve become

Love’s Purple Heart is won

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Once upon a time

You promised to believe

That wounded hearts though painful so

Are the only hearts that grow

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Infinity’s Loving Purple Heart has been won.

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http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/2010/02/15/dispatches-from-curt-%e2%80%94-john-hustons-the-battle-of-san-pietro-semper-fi-wounded-in-action-and-other-musings/#comment-25773

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For Greek philosophers Plato/Aristotle, glorious virtues start w/courage & end w/wisdom, a la Santini/Zulu/the British square/other renowned warriors.

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The 1st historian in the Western World, Herodotus, crusaded to “preserve the memory of great and marvelous deeds,”

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just as successor Thucydides’ mission was to record “important and instructive actions of human beings.”

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I tip my hat to my dearest daughter Staycie age 42 for finding the hero/heroine in us all, our very own Herodotus/Thucydides who exemplify Plato/Aristotle’s creeds that glorious virtues start with courage and end with wisdom, and for making us all the happier/wiser/deeper for these values.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/when-the-unconscious-is-ready-to-deliver-its-great-treasures-forged-timeless-in-the-depths-of-the-human-soul-well-who-would-want-to-interrupt-that-with-a-mere-mortal-agenda-steven-kal/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/its-a-virtual-cliche-for-modern-patients-in-therapy-to-self-diagnose-with-i-need-to-work-on-my-self-esteem-it-rarely-turns-out-to-be-a-correct-diagnosis-i-much-prefer-to-focus-on-self-respec/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/interesting-that-jesus-not-only-doesnt-feel-the-need-to-scour-the-countryside-in-search-of-people-to-condemn-for-fear-that-surely-someones-ruining-the-fabric-of-tradition/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/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/

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my little baby girl Staycie’s look-alike

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gps-for-the-soul/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/mind-blowing-jesus-stands-inexplicably-before-us-and-jesus-turns-common-sense-ideas-upside-down-confounding-us-all-dedicated-to-authentic-ri-in/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/in-tribute-to-my-leader-ri-in-honesty-speaks-to-the-heart-where-true-love-resides/

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+jesus+compassion&qpvt=images+jesus+compassion&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=2A816B1C192AAC0C9E68F14BC5D48134D09A283A&selectedIndex=25

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Right hearts, minds, and actions in sequential order

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New Testament external prompts correlate with the convergence of the human and holy spirit and the sacred items in the Ark of the Covenant

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christian-piatt/following-jesus-isnt-prim_b_6740148.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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Right thought or belief is generally called “orthodoxy,” [New Testament prompt of sipping wine-conscience/Old Testament Aaron’s Rod]

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while right action is called “orthopraxy.”  [New Testament prompt of breaking bread-fellowship/Old Testament manna]

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And sometimes we seem to assume that these are the only things to focus on, or even that one is somehow superior to the other.

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In studying the teachings and words of Jesus, however, I’m coming to embrace the sense that “orthopathy,” or right-heartedness [New Testament prompt of Lord’s table-intuition/Old Testament Torah Scroll], is a critical third leg [actually the first leg] of the proverbial stool.   This right-heartedness actually helps lead us to the path we’re seeking for the other two.

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Consider the Greatest Commandment, which Jesus claims is foundational to all other laws and commandments. He’s not saying that the Ten Commandments are irrelevant or that the 600-plus Jewish laws should be cast aside. Far from it, in fact. By focusing on loving God with all we are, loving all our neighbors (“all” really does mean all) and even loving ourselves in kind, everything else falls into its proper place.

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He doesn’t say that the Greatest Commandment is to claim a certain set of beliefs, get baptized or go to a certain church.

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He doesn’t say that the virtues of action to which we are called in the Beatitudes are paramount.

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But at the same time, he’s not diminishing or undermining these.

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Rather, he’s helping bring them into greater fullness (perfection) by focusing first and foremost on loving. Not just love as a claim or feeling but as a verb, a worldview, a lens through which we understand all of creation. When we are driven by such all-encompassing, consuming, perfect and sacrificial love [New Testament prompt of living water-convergence of the human & holy spirit/Old Testament Tablets of Stone], the beliefs and actions fall into place.

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In this way, the teachings of Jesus dovetail elegantly with the teachings of the Buddha:

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Right hearts lead to right minds, and right minds lead to right actions.

 

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Perhaps we focus on orthodoxy and orthopraxy more because, in many ways, they’re easier to measure. Also important is that they are easier to wield over others, in assessing whether or not they are worthy of salvation, inclusion, or (fill in the blank). But the act of living into perfect love is terrifying, partly because it is perpetually unfinished business.

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Also, it is radically subversive, because the rule of love (rather than the rule of law) cannot be used to consolidate and exert power over one another. 

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Whereas our application of the old laws — or orthodoxy or orthopraxy — can be used to control or conform,

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love inherently releases and liberates.

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And in the best ways possible, it subverts the very systems of power we have built to contain, control and even marginalize those without power and privilege.

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I know that for some this is a significant shift in understanding what is at the heart of following Jesus. It is shockingly simple but never, ever easy. It is accessible by all yet controlled by none.

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It is the way, the truth, the life. And it is so much bigger than any church, denomination or religion. To me, that is good news; that is gospel.

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Hope (as in salvation/inner joy-peace) beyond suffering is what moves us to suffer for the good of others.

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The spirit of fear (self-conscripted insecurity/ego defensiveness)(smallness ergo self-inflated importance to mask our insecurity) is selfishness, whereas as examples the fear (respect) of God & the Wrath of God have selfless-altruist outcomes.

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Which is why deepest thinker/soulful pilgrim Steven Kalas intones that authentic Christianity/Christian mysticism are incompatible with today’s “hip” New Age outcomes of narcissism/me-me-me mentality.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/new-age-spirituality-aka-integralevolutionarytransformational-not-to-be-confused-with-christianitys-i-am-exodus-314/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_mysticism#Biblical_influences

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_mysticism#Modern_era

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Age#Late_20th_century

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Do you know that theologian Martin Luther’s tabletalk (intimate heartfelt dialogues with others) helped inspire Luther’s deep comprehension of Scripture (selfless sacrifice for the good of others)?

 http://www.ccel.org/ccel/luther/tabletalk.html

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And that mysterious and mystical exemplar Christ’s tabletalk with diverse/divergent ones from atheists to believers — inspire our deepest connection with compassion for others??

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Platonism (the mystical) was considered authoritative in the Middle Ages, and many Platonic notions are now permanent elements of Christianity. Platonism also influenced both Eastern and Western mysticism.

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While Aristotle became more influential than Plato in the 13th century via Aquinas, St. Thomas Aquinas‘ philosophy was still in certain respects fundamentally Platonic (mystical).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonism#Christianity_and_Platonism

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Aquinas placed more emphasis on reason and argumentation, and was one of the first to use the new translation of Aristotle’s metaphysical and epistemological writing.

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This was a significant departure from the Neoplatonic and Augustinian thinking (the mystical) that had dominated much of early scholasticism (early church fathers).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scholasticism#High_Scholasticism

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/augustinian-mystic-martin-luther-aquinas-cognition-john-calvin-and-yet-bertrand-russell-apostle-john-are-augustinian-plato-logos-analytical-acolytes-huli-au-upside-down/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/augustine-acolyte-original-sin-john-wycliffe-1320-1384-was-the-impetus-to-luthers-protestant-reformation-a-century-later-for-this-reason-wycliffe-is-called-the-morning-star-of-the-reformatio/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/in-praise-of-pastors-calisto-violet-mateo-of-our-god-reigns-ministry-at-1289-kilauea-ave-hilo-suite-h-phone-808-961-6540/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/ouvre-nearly-half-a-century-of-deepest-passion-i-can-see-it-in-your-eyes-that-you-despise-the-same-old-lines-you-heard-the-night-before-and-though-its-just-a-line-to-you-for-me-its-true-a/

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlgregg/2014/03/the-life-tradition-versus-the-death-tradition-in-christianity/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/it-hurts-to-be-treated-as-a-means-to-an-end-the-hurt-is-a-sign-of-our-health-our-self-respect-not-a-sign-that-anything-about-us-needs-to-be-fixed-from-sage-steven-kalas/

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An overprideful person “swallows one’s own stomach.” Such nature entails endless self-aggrandizement and vanity, and ensures incomprehensibility at the moment it compels authenticity/truth.

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It is true, the strength behind the leader is the person who mystifies me, the so-called unspoken one, like baby brother Andrew was to Peter [Bible].

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God has no use for pride, such that the meekest of the meek went on to lead, like Moses/Gideon.

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Look at King David. Lowly Nathan chastened shell-shocked David. Look at Joshua/etc. All unheralded/unsung heroes. Tremendous symbolism of “never judge a book by its cover.”

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/grace-jisun-kim/jesus-and-the-cross-rejec_b_5143162.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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No one likes rejection.

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Jesus knew rejection through his life. The people of Nazareth, his own hometown, rejected him (Luke 4:26-30). Still others wondered about him because of that hometown. “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked (John 1:46). People rejected much of his teaching. Many questioned the origin of his teachings and do not accept him as he was born poor, the son of Joseph the carpenter. In Matthew 21:42, Jesus talks about the stone the builders rejected. The story is a revelation about Jesus, himself.

The Gospels say that Jesus travelled a lot and suggest he entered villages where he found no place to rest. Luke’s Gospel tells of one time Jesus was not welcomed in a Samaritan village (Luke 9:51-53). Jesus’ comment on the experience could imply this happened frequently (Luke 9:58).

Remember the last few hours of Jesus’ life before his crucifixion. Many people and groups rejected Jesus, including those closest to him. Judas betrayed Jesus and identified him in the Garden of Gethsemane for those who came to arrest him. The disciples all ran away in fear when Jesus was arrested. Peter, who said that he would never desert Jesus, ended up denying Jesus three times (John 18:15-27). The high priest, the chief priests, the elders and scribes rejected Jesus and wanted him put to death.

The religious leaders took Jesus to Pilate for a trial. Pilate did not want any trouble and since it was the governor’s custom to release one prisoner during Passover, he asked the crowd, “Which do you want me to release, Barabbas or Jesus?” (Matthew 27:17). The crowds chose Barabbas and rejected Jesus, leaving him to be crucified.

At the final moment of his life, Jesus felt the ultimate rejection. On the cross at the ninth hour Jesus cries out “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45). Jesus knows and understands rejection. Jesus exemplified rejection.

Tremendous pain comes with rejection. The experience can feel like one has been thrown into a spiraling emotional and spiritual black hole and lead one to wonder if there is hope of return to a normal life.

Rejection fills life.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/knowing-when-dream-when-let-dreams-go

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Not every dream comes true.

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Sometimes because our dreams overreach the miserable human condition (ideals of great love).

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Sometimes our dreams overreach immutable realities (my body simply wasn’t designed to fly like a bird).

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The good life, then, requires us to tightrope this paradox: We must never stop dreaming … yet also we must learn to say goodbye to some dreams.

If we stop dreaming, our lives become one-dimensional, static, not fully alive. If we don’t know how and when to say goodbye to a dream, we get stuck in embittered, nostalgic quicksand.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/limits-vs-limitless-freedom-choice-life

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James Kavanaugh publishes “Celebrate the Sun: A Love Story.” In it we meet protagonist Harry Langendorf Pelican. Like his seagull compatriot, Harry rejects the ordinary life of a pelican and reaches outward for his own potential. Like Jonathan, Harry falls into disfavor from family and friends. He considers his willingness to suffer the disfavor as a measure of his depth, commitment and bravery.

Then Harry’s mother dies. And Harry is confronted with limits. No amount of affirming our life’s potential or hurling ourselves boldly in that potential changes the fact that there is, in the end, no such thing as limitless freedom.

The most joyous human freedoms emerge, paradoxically, from surrender to limits.

Kavanaugh’s book critiques Bach’s book. And I knew I must choose. And I did, finally, choose. I decided. I know it sounds like a riddle, but I decided there is ever-so-much more potential for freedom in limits. I began to see the idea of limitlessness as … limiting.

Bach says, “You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self — here and now. And nothing can stand in your way.”

I concluded, “Oh, actually tons of things can stand in your way. That’s the wonder and joy of it: the journey of finding authentic selfhood when so many things are standing in the way.”

Bach says, “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they’re yours. If they don’t, they never were.”

I concluded, “If you love someone, choose them with your whole heart! Never stop having high expectations of him/her, or of yourself!”

Bach says, “If you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them.”

I concluded, “Yes, many limitations are in fact self-imposed. Rethink those, for sure. But other limitations are immutable. We’re mortal. We age, weaken and die. We suffer. We grieve. We cannot will our own goodness. We cannot, no matter what we achieve, ever be wiser or stronger than The Mystery. Life will continue to happen, independent of our striving to be the sole author of our fate.”

Humility is the doorway to all the greatest treasures of the human experience.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/i-write-to-live-authentically-having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-per-great-sage-viktor-frankl/

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I write to live authentically — “having been” is the surest kind of being, per great sage Viktor Frankl

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Usually, to be sure, man considers only the stubble field of transitoriness [the “now”]

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and

overlooks

the full granaries of the past [reflective lookback] –

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wherein he had salvaged once and for all his deeds, his joys

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and also his sufferings.

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Nothing can be undone, and nothing can be done away with.

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[for example, I dream of being loved & wanted in the most beautiful way, & even if this dream is not reality, such thought/”unction” comprises my strength & “positive/right” attitude, even in the starkest moment of despair/seemingly hopeless predicament/state of nonexistence-nonbeing closest to death itself, having been forsaken all the way around –

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which is why Jewish Viktor Frankl’s dream amid the Holocaust even when facing down the death chamber/firing squad was “the angels are in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.” Ohh, so true!!]

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I should say ”having been” is the surest kind of being.

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http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2782.Viktor_E_Frankl?page=2

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‘Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved –

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but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.’ “

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From “Logotherapy in a Nutshell”, an essay” Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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The reality of life is the luck or unluck of the draw [a crapshoot] —

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“fair” & “unfair” are nonexistent in life’s vocabulary —

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life “just is.”

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Thence, how I deal with setbacks is the key to existence, not the external factual triggers [to despair/hopelessness of predicament].

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/16/this-ancient-blueprint-fo_n_5312209.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS+for+the+Soul

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Find your ‘inner citadel.’

Marcus Aurelius, who faced a fair share of hardship and warfare in his life, and is thought to have written the Meditations from a tent in a Roman battle camp.

The Roman statesman wrote that in dire situations, man must have an “inner citadel” to which he can retreat. Living from this inner place of peace and equanimity — a place which no person or external event can penetrate — gives a man the freedom to shape his life by responding to events from a rational, calm headspace.

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We can choose to exercise power over our thoughts and attitudes in even the most dire of situations — Roman philosopher Cicero uses the example of torture to illustrate a man’s power to choose our own thoughts, which he says can never be taken away from him. In his Discussions at Tusculum, Cicero explains that when a man has been stripped of his dignity, he has not also been stripped of his potential for happiness.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/54285947.html

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In this gaping hole of despair & hopelessness of one’s predicament is a crushing emptiness and an aloneness that can make you lose your mind and a sadness that can make your heart question the wisdom and the relevance of continuing to beat — a sadness no person thinks one can bear alone.

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On some days, very much to wish it would stop beating.

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To die of unrequited love. Van Gogh didn’t shoot himself in the head. He shot himself in the heart. He saw reality so deeply and clearly, yet could not ultimately disconnect his heart [“be not of this world” — self-respect despite this indifferent and tragic sentient life] from this reality or the other people in it.

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Van Gogh died because, in the end, he could not differentiate himself [self-respect] from the Collective Unconscious [our indifferent & tragic lack of empathy/compassion in our broken/flawed sentient nature] into which he was compelled to wander.

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My own epiphany, but I always was a wanderlust, dreaming of beautiful landscapes and never-seen places. Last night I dreamed that my long ago deceased uncle from Kona [symbolizes the love which my ohana/kazuko progeny Minnie/Donna still have for me] showed me a breathtaking vista of a mountainscape ahead of us as we gazed from the seashore toward the distant horizon. This “awesome dream come true” despite my 3 other Hilo family members having ignored me yesterday at McDonald’s in Hilo. I could’ve unconsciously nightmared over forsaken-ness, but such did not manifest. Wow!

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/sharing-grief-puts-a-healing-distance-between-us-and-the-pain-this-is-why-storytelling-matters/

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sharing grief puts a healing distance between us and the pain — this is why storytelling matters

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Share the suffering. The opportunity to tell the story of our suffering to a compassionate and skillful listener is helpful beyond measure. Simply in the telling and retelling, we begin to shift perspective, to put a healing distance between us and the pain.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/because-in-the-end-great-journeys-of-integrity-are-walked-alone-sage-steven-kalas/

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/10174701.html

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Great journeys in emotional maturity are walked alone

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When another man’s life forces you to behold your own smallness, all you have to do is retro-narrate pathologized stories about him. Just like that, your world is a safer, happier place.

Your friends who are simply gone? You force me to behold, J.K., something I hate to think about:

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All great journeys in emotional maturity are ultimately walked alone.

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The archetypal picture here is probably Jesus, whose friends agreed to accompany him into the garden of Gethsemane that night to pray. Jesus is scared. Anxious. Asking God if there isn’t some other way. He looks to his friends for support and encouragement.

And they are sound asleep. And Jesus asks a rhetorical question into the silent night air: “Will no one stay awake with me?”

As a matter of fact, no. Tonight Jesus will suffer, and he will suffer alone.

How to maintain some sense of respect and optimism for humanity? I can only tell you what I do.

When I’m feeling low, when I’ve lost track of why I keep putting one foot in front of the other, when I am sick and tired of paying the price for living out values about which no one else appears to have much if any investment, when I can no longer argue with Protestant theologian John Calvin who used the word “depraved” to describe the essential nature of human beings …

… well, J.K., that’s when I think of people like you [who suffers alone in ennobled integrated fashion to care for his incapacitated wife].

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/9380491.html

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Mystery surrounds deep connections we make with others [making friends with “Alone”]

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An old friend writes from far away. Oh, not that old. She’s 48. I mean we’ve been friends a long, long time.

There’s this bond between us. A connection. I felt it the first time we spoke, which is funny because the first thing she ever communicated to me was disdain. I was 23, so I reached into my repertoire for managing repartee with beautiful women and selected “boyish cockiness” for my retort.

When you’re 23 and male, boyish cockiness is pretty much the extent of your repertoire.

But that was it for us — bonded. A connection that has survived time together, protracted times apart, even years of no communication whatsoever. The friendship has survived love affairs — not with each other — marriages and becoming parents. We’ve been drunk together. And sober. It occurs to me that I’ve never seen her cry.

She was 20 when I met her. Once, on a whim, she sent me a picture of herself at age 5. I smiled. Somewhere inside myself I knew her then, too. Recognized her. In some alternative past, she and I played together in a sandbox (until she made me cry because she was so bossy). Like the bond between us contains secret passages that defy time and space.

She writes to me: “I get you, Steven Kalas.”

Her words strike me like thunder. Truly awestruck, like the way you fall into a spectacular sunset, or the way you stop breathing when you’re standing in a barn at 2 a.m. watching the birth of a calf. I’m focused in a point of time, staring at my monitor. It’s like she’s right here. Right now. I have a friend who gets me. She sees me. I jumble a few words and she says, “Oh yeah.” She not only understands, but understands why and how things matter to me.

Amen.

Then I have this other friend. Or did. Or thought I did. Could’ve sworn we were friends. Soul mates. Years we were friends. Across passion and victory and folly and failure. Across celebration and loss. This friend knows me. And doesn’t know me at all.

We’re not connected anymore.

And I know as much about why we’re no longer connected as I do why I’m still connected to the other friend. Which is to say I don’t know anything at all. And I’ve been railing against the disconnection, like, if I protest loudly and long enough, my erstwhile friend will snap out of it and be connected to me again.

I’ve decided to stop railing. Sad, yes. Probably sad forever. But pounding on it serves all the purpose of pounding on a grave. Why would I look for the living among the dead?

See, both connections and disconnections deserve the same responses. Awe. Respect for the mystery. Even I, a man who believes his gifts and his calling to be teaching people how to be in relationship — well, I can’t tell you much of anything about why some connections happen and some connections don’t happen and still others disintegrate.

The most terrible thing my therapist ever said to me was also the most important: “Steven, we’re alone. No one has anyone.”

Yikes-oi. (Sorry. This sort of thing happens when a GoyBoy tries to express himself forcefully in Yiddish.)

I hated what she said. Railed against it. Argued with it. She had thrown existential sand into the gas tank of my fine-tuned DeLorean of delusion. And my pricey car would go not one mile farther.

My therapist was right. And, as with every other time when she is right, it’s time for me to grow up. We’re alone. No one has anyone.

Strangely, this new truth, while initially a scalpel slashed across my chest without anesthetic, did not burden and depress me for long. Surrender to separateness and aloneness quickly began to create a new space in me. A space for … for …

… relief. A kind of peace. And, most precious, gratitude and humility. Relationship is a grace. A kind of miracle. Human communion emerges as a gift. An unmerited joy. Yes, there are ways of living more conducive to forging and maintaining lasting relationships than other ways of living. I’m not saying there’s nothing we can do. Just that, in the end, I no longer think I have earned or deserved the people who stand in the inner circle of my life.

I just give thanks.

We’re alone. No one has anyone.

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Human beings cannot be possessed. They cannot be apprehended. They can only be respected and enjoyed. Or respected and bid farewell. Relationship is mystery.

Who really sees you? Who gets you? If you need more than one hand to count those people, you are rich beyond your dreams.

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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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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/idyllic-imperatives-in-this-tragic-and-indifferent-life/

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/appropriate-self-respect-can-lift-all-areas-of-life-118320899.html

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A warning: there’s a downside, a real tricky balance in the work of self-respect. I have learned to nurture a healthy suspicion when I become too strident, too righteous about that value.

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There’s a line between self-respect and self-important/arrogant pride.

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It’s a fine line. Easy to cross. Way too easy for me, anyway. And I cross it at my own peril.

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When the human ego conscripts the language, the work and the mantle of self-respect, you start to feel really good and right about discarding people from your life.

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And then you can know that you were right, because you don’t have any friends at all.

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Self-respect and self-importance — not the same at all. But they can feel the same.

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Why can’t I be like you or in sync with you? Because then there would be no need for a me, just you and you alone.

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You can become your  own refutation. When overpride/vanity/jealousy are your Stygian Triplets, you know you’ve passed into some parallel universe.

This is what fear masked as supreme confidence with emotional manipulation looks like in print.

Methinks thou doth protest too much.

Missing is the “Grace to You” part.

There is no crisis, folks. Really. There isn’t. Only the one you continue to fuel.

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/02/heres-something-new-genesis-is-in-crisis-and-if-you-dont-see-that-youre-syncretistic/#ixzz3SzNTPDXE

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/culture-s-approach-to-suffering-only-prolongs-pain-129608658.html

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And, for those kinds of sufferings/losses that can never be entirely healed, to bear it. To find meaning in it. To turn that suffering into some transformative work in the world.

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And the truth is this: The human journey includes suffering. No one comes to ask for help who isn’t suffering.

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But, here’s another truth: In any given time in your life, the number of people who actually, really, honestly want and

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are willing to grant you an engaged and healing audience for your suffering/loss is …

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small!! Or nonexistent!!

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Even people who sincerely love and adore you might find themselves ambivalent about really engaging and listening to the part of you that suffers. See, the people around us have egos, too. Their egos mobilize to protect them just like your ego does. “Cheer up … get over it … God has a plan … everybody is doing the best he or she can … don’t cry” — the felt motive for these messages is to help you.

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But each of these messages also contains the anxiety of the messenger:

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Please stop bothering and disturbing me by suffering.

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And that’s what most modern people do. They try to stop suffering. They “get over it.” They build layer upon layer of pretense and persona over their wounds, because it’s, well, the sociable thing to do. Most of us, then, suffer unconsciously. Because that’s the way we’ve been taught to suffer.

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/9146411.html

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Lots of people don’t want to be present to sadness — their own or anyone else’s.

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Other people would like to be present to their bereaved friends and family, but don’t know how.

We live in a culture where grief is treated as a disease to be “cured,” or a weakness cursed of shame or self-loathing.

Contrarily, grief is the holiest of human journeys.

One of my favorite Friedrich Nietzsche quotes is, “Everything holy requires a veil.” Now, modern Americans might think he means that we should keep things covered up because those things are shameful. Nope. He means that some things are so beautiful, so huge, so powerful, so naked, so intimate, that to gaze casually upon them would be injurious to their meaning and value. Injurious ultimately to us.

Grief is such a thing.

I concur with your observation that people around us are largely inept at befriending us in grief. Yet I also encourage people like you to remember to veil (protect and value) their grief. Keep the circle of confidants small. Pick two and no more than five people who will hear the depths of your pain.

There are two ways to read your question at the end. Literally you ask how you might numb the heartache. But I’m guessing you aren’t being literal. In fact, it’s not a question at all, is it? It reads more like an indignation. Like, how dare anyone ask you to numb the heartache! How dare the medical community suggest drugging your bereavement!

See, J.R., you know how precious your sadness is. A breathless, crushing burden, yes. But precious.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/alienation-i-dont-belong-and-estrangement-getting-dumped-because-i-dont-belong/

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alienation [I don’t belong] and estrangement [getting dumped because I don’t belong]

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Alienation & estrangement – the results of Loss [e.g. getting dumped] by your beloved [lifemate/soulmate]

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

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Question: What do all people seeking release from personal despair have in common?

Answer: They are suffering some combination of alienation and estrangement.

Alienation means a crisis of belonging. We are alien. We don’t belong.

Estrangement means the painful disruption of the bonds of relationship. Interpersonal injuries and injustices. To become estranged is to become a stranger to the one we love and by whom we are loved.

I’m saying your use of the word “misfit” sounds like a crisis of alienation and estrangement.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/western-religion-breeding-ground-neurosis

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When it comes to the question of the usefulness of guilt in shaping and inspiring a thriving human identity, I would say Western religion is, at once, beautiful, nutty and (potentially) pathological. Healthy religion knows these dangers. And psychologically healthy pilgrims embrace what is beautiful while keeping a keen watch on what is nutty or pathological.

Guilt is beautiful, holy, vital and important when it is healthy guilt. And healthy guilt is nothing more or less than the name of the grief we feel when we abandon our own values.

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The grief of alienation and estrangement.

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Healthy guilt, however miserable it feels, contains within itself a holy longing for reconciliation. (One prayer during the rosary, for example, is asking God to “give me a contrite heart.” Meaning, “Please give me the courage to let my heart break over the ways I have hurt others, etc.”) Catholicism — its rites, rituals and symbols — bears much beauty into the world to facilitate the blessings of healthy guilt, healthy shame.

The nutty or potentially pathological side of guilt happens when people, families or institutions (especially the church) peddle guilt to us with darker, perhaps unconscious motives. If you, for example, are threatened by another’s genius, gifts and “light” (envy!), then one way to dodge the threat is to instill in that person a grave, crippling self-doubt. An anxious, paralyzing self-consciousness forcing a default posture of apology to the world for daring to be him/herself.

Or, people/institutions instill guilt because they are projecting sadism. That is, they are reveling in the humiliation of sinners. Yes, some of our accusers are having a grand time!

Control, humiliation, hierarchy, authority, power — when discussions of guilt bear these darker motives, run away quick!

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Brené Brown studies fear, shame, and vulnerability

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In Brene Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, she writes about collecting huge amounts of data about how human lives are shaped by the “struggle with shame and the fear of not being enough” as well as “the power of embracing imperfection and vulnerability.” She then began analyzing the data for common characteristics of people who were resilient in the face of adversity and who were living wholehearted life: “living and loving with their whole hearts.” Emerging out of that huge data set were some clear patterns:

The Do column was brimming with words like worthiness, rest, play, trust, faith, intuition, hope, authenticity, love, belonging, joy, gratitude, and creativity. The Don’t column was dripping with words like perfection, numbing, certainty, exhaustion, self-sufficiency, being cool, fitting in, judgment, and scarcity. (x)

Now, I don’t know what your reaction is to that “Do” and “Don’t” list. But Brown confesses that her initial reaction was horror. She says, “I thought I’d find that Wholehearted people were just like me…: working hard, following the rules, doing it until I got it right, always trying to know myself better, raising my kids exactly by the books…” (xi). But Brown was horrified by the revelation that as a successful professional, she had been formed and rewarded for living almost exclusively by the list of how not to live a wholehearted life, by the list of how to increase the likelihood of reaching the end of your life with many regrets: “perfection, numbing, certainty, exhaustion, self-sufficiency, being cool, fitting in, judgment, and scarcity.” So, she packed up her research and hid it under her bed for a year-and-a-half (xii)!

When you pause and take a step back, you can often see that daily life is a constant reminder of our imperfections and limitations. We are constantly being invited to “let go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embrace who we are,” but often we’re like Brown and shove those invitations under the rug as quickly as possible. In Brown’s words, “The universe is not short on wake-up calls. We’re just quick to hit the snooze button” (xiii).

The UU First Principle affirms, “The inherent worth and dignity of every person.” But often it can be easier for many of us to fight for the rights and recognition of a marginalized group than to fully embrace the inherent worth and dignity of all those hidden parts of our own self: all those imperfect parts that we hope we are hiding from others. As the old saying goes, “Too often we compare our insides to others’ outsides, and we feel inadequate.”

Brown writes, “The greatest challenge for most of us is believing that we are worthy now, right this minute.”

Not I’ll be worthy when I lose twenty pounds, if I can get pregnant, or stay sober. Not I’ll be worthy if everyone thinks I’m a good parent, when I can make a living selling my art, if I can hold my marriage together, when I make partner, when my parents finally approve, if he [or she] calls back…, or when I can do it all and look like I’m not even trying. (24)

On the other side of a lot a research and some important work in therapy during that year-and-a-half in which she had hidden her research under the bed, Brown says that she’s come to be “a recovering perfectionist and an aspiring good-enoughist.” That doesn’t mean that we should stop pursuing excellence. But when you embrace your inherent worth and dignity, then your motivation changes in a vital way. Brown puts it this way, “Healthy striving is self-focused — How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused — What will they think? (56). The middle way is perhaps neither the narcissism of exclusive self-interest nor the self-deprecation of acting only for others, but instead knowing your limits and seeking the next best step for both yourself and others.

Leonard Cohen, in the chorus of his song “Anthem,” says that all any of us can ultimately do is “Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in. That’s how the light gets in. That’s how the light gets in.”

Where are the cracks and imperfections in your life?

How might those places of seeming weakness paradoxically be the most powerful invitations you will ever have in this life to “let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are,” to let go of our culture’s addiction to certainty and the myth of permanent satisfaction — and instead to savor and celebrate the gifts of the life that already have: right here and now.

I will conclude by offering you this blessing from one of my favorite liturgists Jan Richardson. In this life, we all have our different struggles, gifts, and graces:

May you have the vision to recognize the door that is yours,

the Courage to open it,

and the wisdom to walk through. (47)

May it be so, and blessed be.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bad_Sleep_Well

 

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/jesus-death-becomes-even-more-powerful-when-this-particular-messiah-also-carries-your-personal-projections-that-is-the-celebritys-life-mirrors-important-pieces-of-your-own-psychic-journey-your/

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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 his transparency. His naive nakedness. He was the first “icon” to recognize egotistic “discernment” as insanity, to rightly despise it, and to distance himself from it. Unlike Jesus, celebrities of the flesh like John Lennon, Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, & Judy Garland couldn’t stop seeking it. If one says that a weeping fan’s grief is “unrealistic (and therefore annoying) at a time when so many are struggling with foreclosures, debt, disappearing jobs and other miseries,” I would say quite the opposite — that the sting of this grief is made more acute during these hard times, because we will miss the beauty, the passion, the inspiration and hope that pour through these artists and into our lives especially during times of social misery. Celebrities, and especially artists, provide us a deep mirror into the celebration of being human. Some celebrities become iconic. That is, the mirror they wield reaches into the collective human experience of a culture and sometimes across cultures (such as Waikiki’s Bruno Mars). And the death of an icon is felt painfully and powerfully in a human psyche. The loss is real and meaningful. And so is the grief. 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, fame in Latin meaning “rumor/gossip.” Celebrity is a calling. Fame is simply nuts. In the end fame killed him. If anybody needs forgiveness here, it’s us. Just as fame killed Lennon, we killed Jesus (mob hysteria after Jesus cleansed the temple of the mammon money changers). For then are when we need our leaders most.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/but-these-reactions-are-not-really-about-batman-theyre-about-us-and-our-relationship-with-narratives-stories-and-mythology-the-primary-way-we-encounter-and-make-sense-of-the-world-is-through-sto/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/shakespeares-great-prodigyera-peer-john-miltons-poem-paradise-lost-is-about-the-fall-of-man-the-temptation-of-adam-and-eve-by-the-fallen-angel-satan-and-their-expulsion-from-the-garden-of-eden/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/to-be-or-not-to-be-real-dear-hamlet-tis-the-question-in-praise-of-grace-mercy-full-of-redemptions-greatest-emotional-therapist-shakespeare-who-incredulously-not-to-christians-whence/

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French-Swiss John Calvin reacted against Martin Luther in more conservative terrains far south of Frankfurt’s latitude. John Calvin was 26 years younger than Martin Luther, and for the most part Calvin was the “yang” to Luther’s “yin,” so to speak.

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Shakespeare actually is a product of Martin Luther’s Reformation, with Grace & Mercy “full of redemption” replete thruout Shakespeare’s Morality Plays.

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Word out, so to speak, Shakespeare plagiarized Scripture thru and thru, Daddy-O! No Scripture, No Shakespeare!

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Remember that just 30 yrs. before Shakespeare was born, Latin to English Bible translator William Tyndale was

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burned at the stake by the Papacy for making the Bible readable

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by the English commoners.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tyndale

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No matter the rather undeserved propping up of Shakespeare on the backs of our Gospel Authors. Kudos to Shakespeare for Shakespeare’s own search for the mystery and the Truth of Jesus!

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Which, by the way, says a lot about shunned predestination pariah John Calvin, who is Shakespeare’s total opposite on salvation.

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Looking at the frayed Calvin proselyting about Man’s venality & depravity amid predecessor reformer Martin Luther’s Reformation in the north latitudes, one easily accepts Calvin’s admonition about the evil of Ego/overpride as our worst affliction/contagion.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/the-take-away-which-is-a-huge-lesson-to-learn-from-some-contemporary-evangelicals-is-that-calvin-did-not-impose-onto-the-gospels-a-view-of-how-the-bible-ought-to-work-as-gods-word-rather/

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Calvin correctly says that the best Man can hope for is a release from Hell’s Iniquity by choosing Jesus as our Lord & Savior.

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Has anything changed from early Church father Augustine to intellectual Aquinas (Summa Theologica) 800 years after Augustine, to us today 800 years after Aquinas??? 1200 AD Aquinas is equidistant by 800 yrs. after Augustine & 800 yrs. before us today — yet nothing has changed in our depraved nature from 400 AD Augustine to us today, not to mention from Jesus’ crucifixion to Augustine 400 yrs. later.

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No, not in our own mental/intellectual gymnastics/tortuous rationalizations on predestination vs. free will.

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And certainly not in our innate venal toxic nature.

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We are as detestable today as we were when we crucified Jesus in the mob hysteria of those 6 days 2000 years ago.

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Imagine, we sing Hosanna, even the stones shout Hosanna, as Jesus marches into Jerusalem sideway on a donkey’s colt.

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And no later than you can bat an eyelash, we crucify Jesus because

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Jesus cleans out the temple of everything evil about us.

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No, we are no better today than that week when Jesus died for our sins. Like I say, John Calvin has something here, baby!! ;-)

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Augustine and Luther came to Christ thru Romans and Galatians.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistle_to_the_Romans

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Epistle to the Romans is the 6th Book in the new Testament, and is the longest of the Pauline epistles. It is considered Paul’s most important theological legacy.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_epistles

Salvation is offered thru the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Especially where there are multitudes of sin, there is more Grace — so that the former baleful sinner/wretched man/filthy rag such as Saul nka Paul now missions supernaturally for Jesus’ Word.

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Justification has 2 meanings in Greek: 1) Propitiation which is subjective forgiveness for each sin as if one had never sinned; 2) transformative righteousness which is objective deliverance from continuous sin. Or, as great disciple Watchman Nee suffused, Jesus’ blood on the cross is the subjective mercy of God for our numerous sins (plural), whereas the body of Christ is the overall objective deliverance from continuous sin (singular).

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/in-praise-of-china-christian-capstones-yu-cidu-dora-yu-1873-1931-margaret-emma-barber-1966-1930-their-acolyte-ni-to-sheng-watchman-nee-1903-1972/

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http://orthodoxwiki.org/Justification#Western_v._Eastern_concepts_-_Implications

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Legal/juridical concepts of mercy/propitiation & acquittal/substitutionary atonement

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substitutionary_atonement#Ransom_and_Christus_Victor_theory

were clarified by Augustine.

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Anselm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anselm_of_Canterbury#Influence

developed these ideas 600 years later,

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and Luther built on the work of Anselm 500 years after Anselm.

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To the early correctly rooted Christian, theology is not something that improves with age—it is something to be internalized, and it can best be understood by journeying as close to the roots of our faith as possible. Reason and logic ergo the Enlightenment cannot guarantee a better understanding of God, his Son or our faith.

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Justification is seen by Protestants as being the theological fault line that divided Catholic from Protestant during the Protestant Reformation – Catholics emphasize works/rituals of righteous deliverance, whereas Protestants emphasize transformative faith, that faith is entirely distinct from works.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justification_(theology)

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Protestants emphasize that law/ritualized righteousness is not to make us righteous, but to let us know we’re sinners/to convict us.

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Unlike Catholics, Protestants emphasize that our of-the-flesh sinful nature distorts righteousness by ritualizing works.

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In this sense, Christ has no value to me if I’m delusionally self-righteous (such as by Catholic ritualized works).

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On the other hand, if I’m open and honest about myself, I will fail, which is what Christ’s atoning sacrifice/faith-obedience are all about.

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After all, Romans 8:7 speaks of mankind’s natural/flesh enmity vs. God.

http://biblehub.com/romans/8-7.htm

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Revelation via deliverance from continuous sin gives us a new heart, and we become a new creation.

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Like Paul, both Augustine and Luther made great efforts to refute the notion that our works could serve as the proper basis for justification & eventual sanctification.

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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 grandsons Silas & Ashley are 50 years younger than me. Uncle Masaaki is a century older than Silas & Ashley. My life experiences span a century between Uncle Masaaki and my grandsons Silas & Ashley. Gatz! Defy Father Time??

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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 just turned age 61, 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 »

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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Of course, last year’s 60th year Diamond Jubilee with majestic Queen Elizabeth had the most amazing aerial displays –
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but let’s also remember lusty [yes, con todo mi alma y corazon] Victoria‘s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 [my grandparents were hormonal teens bent on pioneering East to the Hawaiian islands of silk & honey][Victoria is current Queen Elizabeth’s great great grandmother][our greatest modern Hawaiian statesperson Pi’ehu Iaukea 1855-1940 pilgrimaged to England for this tremendous occasion — Pi’ehu was preceded in great diplomacy & leadership by Kamehameha III Kauikeaouli 1813-1854]

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Thence, my immigrant grandparents’ odyssey East transcended both Victoria’s & current Queen Elizabeth’s reigns – my ojisans/obasans [tutus] experienced both divine queens in all their soulful reigns – 115 years [Victoria in 1897 & Elizabeth’s 2012 jubilee] spanning 3 centuries [1800s to 2000s]!!! Wow!!

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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 grandsons were 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 17 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 17 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 old enough to know them.

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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 Staycie who is at middle age at 42 — 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 & to me!!].

Always my little baby Staycie girl

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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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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/in-praise-of-the-46th-anniversary-of-mccartneys-tune-i-will/

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Music is my whole life, and I dedicate these happy links to my Dad Toshi 1913-1998, who was born to sing & play his ubiquitous Martin ‘ukulele, and who sang & played in the mango tree astride my grandparents’ Wainaku mill camp home as a young boy. Dad’s mom Tome 1881-1954 sang & picked at her samisen Japanese fiddle/string board. Dad got his music from his mom Tome. Dad is a baritone, my baby brother Lloyd & Dad’s youngest sibling Charley & Dad’s 2nd youngest sibling Yukio’s son Don are fine tenors. Dad had gone thru hell as a combat soldier witnessing death all around him — thence Dad appreciated every single day of a new dawn of continued life on this earth. Which is why I’m inspired by Dad’s composure/calm countenance in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds/trials/tribulations. Repugnant manipulation/deceit/overpride/anger/hostility/selfishness — are such ordinary behaviors “of the flesh” – which are why Dad’s serenity and joy of spirit for me are “to behold for alltime sake.” 🙂

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My Mom Teruko “Ruth” (maiden name Hanato of Kona) never sang. I think our musical DNA is from my Dad’s side of the family. My Mom was a good athlete [basketball capt. soph. yr. 1932 Hawai’i Island prep titlist —
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Mom spawned all the Kona Hanato girl hoopsters you see today, incl. female coach Bobbie Hanato Awa & Bobbie’s NCAA1 daughter Dawnyelle, though imperious Bobbie Awa has no clue about Mom’s hoopster genesis behind Awa].  

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Mom’s legacy is Mom’s grandniece Bobbie Hanato Awa’s winningest high school program in the whole State and among the winningest nationally.

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Actually, Mom’s father’s [otosan] & mother’s [okasan] legacy abides in their genesis of what is today’s historically significant Kona’s Honalo Buddhist Jodo Daifukuji church

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Mom’s great-grand niece Dawnyelle –

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http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=dawnyelle+awa+videos&qpvt=dawnyelle+awa+videos&FORM=VDRE#view=detail&mid=8D292407068405377FB58D292407068405377FB5

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http://www.hawaiibookblog.com/articles/japanese-buddhist-temples-in-hawaii-an-illustrated-guide-book-review/

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http://www.daifukuji.org/history.html.

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No, the Hanato legacy is not in Mom’s athletic prowess, nor in the Hanato business acumen [e.g. Mom’s sister 106 yr. old centenarian Shizue “Mary” Hanato Teshima’s world-renowned Teshima Restaurant — Shizue 1907-2013]. Dad was a great athlete [incl. bootleg boxer pre-legalization], as is my baby brother [State prep baseball all-star]. Dad’s legacy is as WWII 442nd combat infantry soldier in the all-Japanese American Unit — Dad as Silver Star awardee for rescuing Dad’s mortally wounded CO & fellow PFC after Dad’s squad was ambushed by German infantry soldiers.

* https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/yushin-charley-narimatsu-1920-2013-died-age-93-my-nisei-2nd-generation-uncle-the-last-of-his-generation-in-my-kazokufamily/

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my Dad Toshi 1913-1998 (Dad was longtime State 442 prexy Willy Okino Thompson’s hanai older brother) stepping up in convoy with left leg raised & left hand on side rail (National Archives have actual film/movie of this convoy)

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Even into Dad’s final years, Dad would sing among our backyard pals, Dad’s Martin ‘ukulele always in his arms. My daughter Staycie age 42 is half Hawaiian, & my dearest little baby girl Staycie has instilled in her children the spirit of the islands — aloha — welcome/accomodation/tenderness/humbleness/kindness/generosity — her children Maya age 4/Emily age 8/Silas & Ashley both age 13/Shay age 23. Beautiful aloha. My mo’opuna keiki all.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/tribute-to-my-musical-dad-toshi-1913-1998-george-trices-passion-personality-analog-my-dad/

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Hana hou (one more time — reprise)!!

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D-SgA_NJwk

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVCwe_Jewl8

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As a child just after Statehood 56 yrs. ago, I was enthralled by the theme song to CBS local affiliate’s Saturday Island matinee playhouse. I still have not pinned down its title, but I remember it sounding a little like Glen Miller’s Moonlight Serenade. Music aficionados “in the know” are long dead & gone [the great George Camarillo/Gloriana Adap/etc.], so I’ll have to sleuth a little more to find out the melodic magic of half a century ago. Nonetheless, I present to you favorites of mine over the years. Enjoy ;-)

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Beautiful Pachelbel’s Canon, lost to history for centuries

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Af372EQLck

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Of course, Mozart is the greatest solace/emotional therapist –

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi8vJ_lMxQI

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from https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/susanne-mentzer-the-mozart-effect-beautiful/

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Brain Memory

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The cost of discipleship

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/life/family/radical-commitment-and-nothing-less-makes-marriage-thrive

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Hope for credibility with  “I’m not religious!”  readers. Sometimes I like to retell a religious story and then apply it to a broader but still important human matter.

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In the Christian Gospel, there is told a brief exchange that Jesus has with three people. The chapter heading in my Bible titles it, “The cost of discipleship.” Each of these three people begins the conversation with an expressed desire to be one of Jesus’ followers. And to each, Jesus responds with the cost entailed in such a commitment.

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Whenever I read this, I think of people who have dared to consider a lifelong commitment to growing love and fidelity with another human being in the bonds of life partnership.

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The first guy says to Jesus, “I will follow you!” And Jesus fires back, “He who puts his hand on the plow and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”   Luke 9:62

http://biblehub.com/luke/9-62.htm

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Well, of course. Either decide to plow the field or decide not to plow the field. But if you decide to plow the field, then put your hand on the plow and keep your eyes forward. Pay attention. If you say “giddyup” to the mule, and then keep eyeballing over your shoulder, fantasizing and wondering about fields you might or should have plowed instead, the mule is going to get the idea that plowing is not very important. You won’t be plowing straight lines. The mule might even get a mind of its own and wander over to someone else’s field, making the owner of that field very unhappy. You’ll also likely get some very critical questions from the co-owner of your field – the field you made a commitment to plow.

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Lifelong togetherness calls for an unequivocal, radical commitment. It’s normal over the course of 40 to 50 years occasionally to indulge the fantasy of what might have happened had you not made this commitment. What might have happened if you made the commitment to someone else or something else. But the fact is, you made this commitment. Not that one. So, hand on the plow. Eyes forward. You are in charge of the mule, not the mule in charge of you.

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So, decide. Unequivocally. Radically. With your whole heart.

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The second guy says to Jesus, “I will follow you.” And Jesus says, cryptically, “Foxes have dens, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”  Matthew 8:20

http://www.realteachingsofjesus.com/2009/06/foxes-have-holes-and-birds-of-air-have.html

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Well, of course. Radical commitments require the regular sacrifice of belonging. If I say I belong “here,” then by definition, I will not belong to other places and people the way I once might have belonged. If I belong “here,” then there will be some places and people to whom I cannot ever belong again. Radical commitment demands that we “rewire” belonging.

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If we make a lifelong commitment, then we cannot belong to our vocation the same way. We cannot belong to our mother and father the same way. Nor to our friends. To make someone or something primary in your life means other relationships will now have different orbits in the constellation of our attention and energy.

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I say this often, especially to blended families. Divorced parents meet and fall in love. But they often underestimate, make naive assumptions about or even try to dodge the work of rewiring children into the new union. But if you want your new union to be the success that your first marriage was not, then there is no alternative to having the rigorous conversations with the new mate and with your children about the new constellation of belongingness.

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The third guy says to Jesus, “I will follow you, but first let me bury my father.” And Jesus says: “Let the dead bury the dead. You follow me now.” Ouch.    Luke 9:60

http://biblehub.com/luke/9-60.htm

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Jesus might sound insensitive, but his point is well-taken. There are and will always be reasons to put off radical commitment. Commitment requires us to recognize the illusion of our hesitation. We keep telling ourselves, “When circumstances X, Y and Z are resolved, then I will make a commitment.” But all great unions sojourn in a land of constantly changing circumstances and problems to solve. Make the commitment. Decide. Then turn together – as We – to face and do battle with those swirling, ever-changing circumstances.

We don’t say, “If/when (the problems/circumstances), then my union  …” We say, “What shall We do about the problems and the circumstances?”

Only a radical commitment is a radical commitment.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/writing-and-eventually-dying-a-good-death-expressing-sharing-love-to-the-end/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/i-write-to-live-authentically-having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-per-great-sage-viktor-frankl/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/sharing-grief-puts-a-healing-distance-between-us-and-the-pain-this-is-why-storytelling-matters/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/ambivalence-killed-jesus-the-people-waved-palm-branches-on-sunday-singing-hosanna-hey-come-friday-they-shouted-to-free-barabbas-same-crowd-when-you-stand-too-close-to-beautiful/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/acknowledging-ambivalence-is-best-way-to-cope-sage-steven-kalas/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/i-will-die-a-good-death/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/because-in-the-end-great-journeys-of-integrity-are-walked-alone-sage-steven-kalas/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/does-your-life-have-purpose/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/randy-pausch-steven-kalas-living-meaningfully/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/harriet-beecher-stowes-prophetic-engine-sage-joan-d-hedrick/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/theodicy-suffering-in-the-world-and-the-problem-of-evil-an-afterlife-is-a-cop-out/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/if-were-going-to-write-it-is-because-we-have-a-desire-to-express-ourselves-even-if-we-dont-quite-understand-what-we-wish-to-say-it-might-just-be-an-inner-yearning-but-by-making-t/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/dont-you-just-love-a-cogent-argument/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/whats-the-lesson-in-your-narrative-kare-anderson/

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inspired by wordsmith Steven Kalas’ reasons for writing –

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

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Art is expression of self shared with the world

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How did I learn to write? Great teachers along the way, including but not limited to the Hayakawas & Nishiharas of my formative teen years.

Why do I write? Some people keep a diary. Some people write in a journal. Some people keep meticulous photo albums, chronicling important moments, times, places and people.

I write about my observations and experiences.

If it moves me deeply, it will show up in my written words. If it opens my heart, it will show up in a written format. If it compels me in paradox, if it makes me tremble with humility and gratitude, if it mobilizes outrage or contempt, it will become a written composition. If I fall in love with you, if I despise you, if you bless me, if you hurt me badly enough, don’t be surprised if you end up in a written verse.

If it makes me hope, makes me ache, makes me cry, then I hand it to heaven, where it ricochets off eternity and pours itself into my Jung archetype named Shadow. Then it pours back out into the world.

Shadow has more than once saved my sanity. Maybe even my life.

I write to know myself better.

Here’s a paradox: Real art is, for the true artist, an act of the purest selfishness, which, because it is pure selfishness, moves out into the world as extravagant generosity.

Selfishness? Yes. A true artist is never first a performer. He/she doesn’t do it for us. The artist is lost in self. For self. Obedient to a voice that cannot be ignored or denied. Art is near hedonism. A naked reveling. It includes suffering, yes, but even the agony is more a masochistic pleasure.

Generosity? Yes. The artist’s brazen and shameless desire to dig so deeply into self produces art that forces us to dig more deeply. To see ourselves more transparently. Art is a cosmic mirror.

Deciding to listen to my Shadow is deciding to see me naked. Though you won’t know that while you’re listening. If my art moves you, then you will see yourself naked. And that’s always a good thing. People come to an artist’s art as a voyeur. But what they spy on, in the end, is themselves.

Does that make me an exhibitionist? I can live with that. It’s a fair cop.

I’ve written much before which never made the trek into our current internet era. The first one was about nostalgia of love lost. The last one is this composition here. But, as sage Steven Kalas says about his songwriting, it’s Steven’s song No. 92 that probably would tell you the most about why I write for myself to share with you, the world.

My heroes have always been naked/ Warm in the clothes of their transparent identity/ Maybe we all should be naked/ With nothing to hide there’s no need to pretend not to see

But shame is the name of the master who must be obeyed/ And after a while we learn to like being a slave

The naked man/ He takes a stand/ He lets the people see/ We point and laugh/ We’re taken back/ But freedom lives in authenticity.

Like a lot of songs, it works on several levels at once. On the most personal level, it’s about my passion to live authentically. I don’t always get there, but I respect myself when I try.

On another level, it’s about my admiration of people who do live “nakedly.” Was John Lennon a card-carrying narcissist? Well of course. But I get why he posed naked with Yoko on the album cover of “Two Virgins.” He was trying to crawl out from under the deadly weight of Beatlemania, a fame he sought, created and then rightly abhorred.

And later, I was surprised to discover it’s a song about my spirituality. In Steven’s case, it’s a song about Jesus.

My heroes are those who live naked/ The man that you meet still the man who is there when you leave/ But brave are the ones who live naked/ Most people are hiding and naked is their enemy

Naked is a mirror in which there is no choice but to see/ So we break the mirror and then blame it for making us bleed

The naked man/ He takes a stand/ He lets the people see/ His naked fate/ Humiliate/ What people hate is authenticity.

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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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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/a-writers-life-list-listen-more-than-you-speak-engage-with-the-world-thats-where-ideas-come-from-ohh-so-true-these-are-where-ideas-manifest-beautifully-lori-nelson-spielman/

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A writer’s life list: Listen more than you speak. Engage with the world. That’s where ideas come from. Ohh, so true, these are where ideas manifest beautifully. — Lori Nelson Spielman

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Writing Life List

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-nelson-spielman/a-writers-life-list_b_3676417.html?utm_hp_ref=books

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The inspiration for my novel was found in an old cedar box. Tucked alongside my first bankbook and my grandmother’s rosary, I discovered a yellowed piece of notebook paper folded into a tidy little square. In my flowery, 14-year-old cursive, I’d written Lori’s List across the top, along with 27 goals I thought would make for a good life. I also included a sidebar called, Ways To Be, which included such pearls as, Don’t be stuck-up. Don’t talk about ANYONE.

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Never expect to be taken seriously. People, even friends, can be insensitive. They don’t realize how important your craft is to you. Don’t fault them for it.

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Learn to describe your project du jour in one succinct sentence, and do so if, and only if, someone inquires. And never, ever ask your friends to read your unpublished manuscript. Find a writer’s group for that.

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Don’t complain to non-writers. They don’t want to hear it.

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Write with joy and abandon. Use your creative gift in a way that would please its benefactor.

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http://www.pccs.va/index.php/en/news2/attualita/item/787-suspense-novelist-writes-about-people-finding-hope-redemption

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Koontz acknowledges he has “a very low boredom threshold” and wants to be entertained by what he writes. He says he’s been asked, “I want you to write a book that’s very dark and very noir and everybody dies in the end and there’s no meaning to anything.” To which he replies, “You don’t need me to do that. It’s everywhere.”

“That’s not what I do,” Koontz said. “I write about people trying to find hope and redemption in their lives from suspense.”

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/i-will-die-a-good-death/

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I will die a good death — as my greatest hero Viktor Frankl said, “having been” is the surest kind of being, though it cannot inspire envy [life is full of suffering].

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I love and am loved. I want to love and want to be loved. I am true to my heart and I lead with my heart. I will die a good death. No one but me decides my attitude when I die.

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Like basketball/football, I process my life in 4 quarters of 20 years each. The first quarter was schooling in preparation for the workplace. The second quarter was raising a family. The third quarter was paying down the sundry bills which came with a life full of activity. My final & fourth quarter consists of retirement & emotional preparation of inevitable death. I will die a good death.

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I always have an immutable enduring image of Wainaku Pua Lane’s Albert Pacheco Sr. as he rested his head in his lap while sitting on the shoreline boulder by our Wailuku river “singing bridge” astride our ubiquitous lighthouse — contemplating his own death of terminal cancer while still in his middle ages. Ohhh so sad. For the first 3 quarters of my frenetic “frantic” life — I never “got” [captured] the feel of mortality that coursed thru Albert’s soul as he engaged the end of his life. Now I “get it.” I will die a good death. I am at peace with myself. Albert is my hero. Albert’s example is my example. Die a good death. No one owns my attitude with my death. Life’s journey in deepest selfhood always in the end is walked alone.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/because-in-the-end-great-journeys-of-integrity-are-walked-alone-sage-steven-kalas/

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Albert walked wondrously to his inner peace. Albert was the greatest husband, father, & friend. And the humblest! Albert is my hero.

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Hope Kiko Nakamura of downtown Hilo’s Kino’ole St. also is my hero. A native of Japan, she is Amaterasu, my sun goddess who is kindness personified. Nihonjin are very bigoted because of our racial homogeneity [master race psychomania], so to speak. Not Hope Maki, who is the most loving person around — to people of all colors, social classes, manners, ages. Also, I have never seen an older woman any unthinkably prettier than Hope Maki — yet she is our humblest person, singularly divine like Albert Pacheco. Hope Maki and Albert Pacheco are my immortal heroes — forever inspiring — every generation should observe, study, and learn from these 2 sublime archetypes [greatness beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation][like Jesus & like Scripture’s Pericopes/Parables, my dynamic duo above exemplifies such confounding deepest Truths/frustration-reversal of conventional expectations — huli’au/upside down outcomes but the righteous results, so to speak]. Their interior contemplative humblest nature undyingly are for the ages, and they inspire me to no end.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/in-praise-of-gautam-mukundas-extraordinary-study-indispensable-when-leaders-really-matter/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/sublime/

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An interior contemplative “soul” is valued a la Albert, Hope Kiko [& young Kepola Lee in my article on the greatest of leaders –https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/in-praise-of-gautam-mukundas-extraordinary-study-indispensable-when-leaders-really-matter/], and of course, a la Jesus [or ascetic Buddha or Allah, for that matter] –

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my mythic hero Frankie Starlight [Alan Pentony] dares to reach for the stars

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TV1EYBnPMEY

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Alan Pentony [with Anne Parillaud]

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankie_Starlight

Plot

Frank Bois writes a successful first novel and finds himself looking back over his life. His mother Bernadette (Parillaud) was a French woman who, after the death of her friends and family in World War II, hid herself aboard an Allied war ship heading to Ireland, where she exchanged sexual favors for silence among the soldiers who found her on board. A nice customs agent, Jack Kelly (Byrne), allowed Bernadette to enter Ireland illegally, and they soon became a couple lovers, even though she was already pregnant from one of the soldiers from the ship.

Bernadette soon gave birth to young Frankie (Pentony), who suffers from dwarfism. As he grew older, Frankie develops romantic feelings for Jack’s daughter Emma (Cates), who does not share his feelings, while Jack teaches astronomy to Frankie. Eventually, Bernadette meets Terry Klout (Dillon), an American soldier she had met on the war ship, who offers to marry her. Bernadette and Frankie go with Terry to his home in Texas, but both mother and son feel like they don’t belong there, so they return to the Irish home they loved. An older Bernadette eventually committed suicide, and Frank used his life as source material for his writing.

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Empathy means literally “to enter the pathos.”

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To enter the pathos is to surrender to all that is tragic, absurd, lost, despairing, meaningless. The word “pathos” is not a derision; it’s an observation.

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Compassion means literally “to suffer with.”

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We bandy these words about too easily. It’s not all that frequently we find people who will really do what are implied in those words. I cherish the people I do find.

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I no longer lift bread and wine. I lift broken, poured out people. Folks like myself. My meaning in life is to help others find their meaning.

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/culture-s-approach-to-suffering-only-prolongs-pain-129608658.html

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-watt/why-we-write_b_2411000.html

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Why We Write

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By approaching our writing from this perspective we take our thumb off the scale, and in doing so make conscious what was previously unconscious.

And that is the goal of story: to make meaning out of a set of events.

Growth is painful. To make a choice involves discomfort, because it demands that we take responsibility. But it also means that we get to live in reality. To create from a place of fantasy, of groundlessness, is an escape — which is different than losing ourselves in our work by shedding our ego for a deeper connection to our humanity.

Why we write is more important than what we write because our reason for writing influences the content of our work. It is important to remember that we don’t have to do this. The world is not in a rush for more books. There are more great works of fiction, poetry, memoir, history and pumpkin soup recipes than we will ever have time to consume.

If we’re going to write, it is because we have a desire to express ourselves, even if we don’t quite understand what we wish to say. It might just be an inner yearning, but by making the choice to engage in the process rather than the result, our work has a chance to live. In expressing ourselves, we make what we write essential, if only to ourselves, and by beginning from this place, it has a chance to affect the world.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-goeman/faitheist-social-change-through-storytelling_b_2382772.html

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‘Faitheist’: Social Change Through Storytelling

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America is diverse. However, this diversity occurs in safe, isolated pockets that are stagnant and unengaged with one another. Diana Eck, religious scholar and founder of The Pluralism Project at Harvard University, notes that diversity is nothing to be proud of. Diversity is the description of a community, like Tufts or America, where people of different beliefs or backgrounds happen to be in the same location. Pluralism, rather, is the “active seeking of understanding across lines of difference.” It is this engagement that breaks down barriers and guards against prejudice. If we want to make pluralism, rather than diversity, a descriptive fact of our community, we need emissaries to navigate cultural boundaries.

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We need to invite others inside our communities and show them what we value. And we need storytellers.

“Faitheist” works to end this ideological segregation. Chris humanizes atheism by sharing his life and his values –

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Chris aims to end the cycle of isolation and tribalism by encouraging others to contribute their own story to our collective narrative.

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The more we get to know each other, the more our prejudices will dissolve.

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Toward the end of the book, he notes: “The moment I shared my story as a secularist, others felt more comfortable sharing their own.”

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“Faitheist” isn’t just a memoir; it’s a continuation of the biographical heritage established by “Roots”, “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “Hiroshima” —

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the books that informed Chris about the radical depths of human suffering and inspired his dedication to justice —

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but it is also the predecessor to a new generation of compassionate voices articulating their beliefs while serving humanity.

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Chris’ model of interfaith engagement and storytelling will, I believe, make my university and my country better places —

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places where diversity actually means something.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wray-herbert/who-am-i-the-heroes-of-ou_b_2497839.html

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Who Am I? The Heroes of Our Minds

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One of my guilty pleasures is the TV show Ice Road Truckers, which tells the stories of the heavy haulers who deliver vital supplies to remote Arctic territories of Alaska and Canada. In just two months each year, these truckers make more than 10,000 runs over hundreds of miles of frozen lakes, known as ice roads. We get to share in the treacherous drives — and just as important, the personal travails — of the veteran Hugh “The Polar Bear” Rowland, the brash tattooed Rick Yemm, the cold-hating rookie T.J. Wilcox, and former school bus driver and motocross champ Lisa Kelly, one of the rare women to break into this man’s world.

I’m not alone in this fascination. Millions of viewers have tuned into every episode of Ice Road Truckers since its premiere in 2007. And if hazardous driving is not your cup of Joe, how about Ax Men or Dance Moms, Chef School or Bikini Barbershop, Sister Wives or Biggest Loser? Reality TV dominates small-screen viewing these days. Viewers have literally hundreds of choices in vicarious viewing every day, 24 hours a day. And so what if they’re not exactly real.

What explains this trend? Well, it’s in part simple economics. These shows are cheap to make. But it’s more than that. There is something compelling about people’s stories, something that taps into a deep human need for narrative. The pull of Deadliest Catch and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo can really be traced back to ancient story telling traditions, which exist in every world culture. We see parts of ourselves in these modern-day folk tales, just as we construct stories about our own personal realities.

Psychological scientists have in recent years begun to examine this deep human yearning for story — in particular our need to create a coherent narrative identity. They have been using narrative identity as both an indicator of psychological health and a possible tool for enhancing well-being. Much of this work has been done by Northwestern University’s Dan McAdams and Western Washington University’s Kate McLean, who describe their and others’ research in a forthcoming issue of the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science.

We all construct a coherent narrative identity, according to the emerging theory, from the accumulated particulars of our autobiographies as well as our envisioned goals. We internalize this story over time, and use it to convey to ourselves and others who we are, where we came from, and where we think we’re heading. Consider the example of redemption. McAdams and other scientists have been asking people to narrate scenes and extended stories from their past, and then they code the accounts for key ideas like redemption and self-determination and community. They have found that people who include themes of redemption in their stories — a marked transition from bad to good — are less focused on themselves and more focused on community and the future. They’re more mature emotionally.

This is just one example of how people make narrative sense of the suffering in their lives. Others have studied how people narrate life challenges, such as a painful divorce or a child’s illness, and they have found that those who produce detailed accounts of loss are better adapted psychologically. Their narratives often strike themes of growth and learning and transformation. Importantly, the stories of the well-adapted have endings, positive resolutions of bad experiences.

Psychotherapy is largely about personal narratives. Therapists help their clients to “re-story” their lives by finding more positive narratives for unhappy experiences. Indeed, when scientists asked former psychotherapy patients to describe how they remembered their therapeutic experience, the healthier ones told heroic stories, tales in which they bravely battled their symptoms and emerged victorious. This narrative theme of personal control was also and by far the best predictor of therapeutic success: As patients’ stories increasingly emphasized self-determination, these patients’ symptoms abated and their health improved. The stories themselves created an identity that was mature and well-adjusted.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/if-were-going-to-write-it-is-because-we-have-a-desire-to-express-ourselves-even-if-we-dont-quite-understand-what-we-wish-to-say-it-might-just-be-an-inner-yearning-but-by-making-t/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/dont-you-just-love-a-cogent-argument/

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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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http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/01/08/f-scott-fitzgerld-on-writing/

F. Scott Fitzgerald on the Secret of Great Writing

by

What is the secret of great writing? For David Foster Wallace, it was about fun. For Henry Miller, about discovery. Susan Sontag saw it as self-exploration. Many literary greats anchored it to their daily routines. And yet, the answer remains elusive and ever-changing.

In the fall of 1938, Radcliffe College sophomore Frances Turnbull sent her latest short story to family friend F. Scott Fitzgerald. His response, found in F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters (UK; public library) — the same volume that gave us Fitzgerald’s heartwarming fatherly advice and his brilliantly acerbic response to hate mail — echoes Anaïs Nin’s insistence upon the importance of emotional investment in writing and offers some uncompromisingly honest advice on essence of great writing:

November 9, 1938

Dear Frances:

I’ve read the story carefully and, Frances, I’m afraid the price for doing professional work is a good deal higher than you are prepared to pay at present. You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner. This is especially true when you begin to write, when you have not yet developed the tricks of interesting people on paper, when you have none of the technique which it takes time to learn. When, in short, you have only your emotions to sell.

This is the experience of all writers. It was necessary for Dickens to put into Oliver Twist the child’s passionate resentment at being abused and starved that had haunted his whole childhood. Ernest Hemingway’s first stories ‘In Our Time’ went right down to the bottom of all that he had ever felt and known. In ‘This Side of Paradise’ I wrote about a love affair that was still bleeding as fresh as the skin wound on a haemophile.

The amateur, seeing how the professional having learned all that he’ll ever learn about writing can take a trivial thing such as the most superficial reactions of three uncharacterized girls and make it witty and charming — the amateur thinks he or she can do the same. But the amateur can only realize his ability to transfer his emotions to another person by some such desperate and radical expedient as tearing your first tragic love story out of your heart and putting it on pages for people to see.

That, anyhow, is the price of admission. Whether you are prepared to pay it or, whether it coincides or conflicts with your attitude on what is ‘nice’ is something for you to decide. But literature, even light literature, will accept nothing less from the neophyte. It is one of those professions that wants the ‘works.’ You wouldn’t be interested in a soldier who was only a little brave.

In the light of this, it doesn’t seem worth while to analyze why this story isn’t saleable but I am too fond of you to kid you along about it, as one tends to do at my age. If you ever decide to tell your stories, no one would be more interested than,

Your old friend,

F. Scott Fitzgerald

P.S. I might say that the writing is smooth and agreeable and some of the pages very apt and charming. You have talent — which is the equivalent of a soldier having the right physical qualifications for entering West Point.

Two years prior, in another letter to his fifteen-year-old daughter Scottie upon her enrollment in high school, Fitzgerald offered more wisdom on the promise and perils of writing:

Grove Park Inn Asheville, N.C. October 20, 1936

Dearest Scottina:

[…]

Don’t be a bit discouraged about your story not being tops. At the same time, I am not going to encourage you about it, because, after all, if you want to get into the big time, you have to have your own fences to jump and learn from experience. Nobody ever became a writer just by wanting to be one. If you have anything to say, anything you feel nobody has ever said before, you have got to feel it so desperately that you will find some way to say it that nobody has ever found before, so that the thing you have to say and the way of saying it blend as one matter—as indissolubly as if they were conceived together.

Let me preach again for one moment: I mean that what you have felt and thought will by itself invent a new style so that when people talk about style they are always a little astonished at the newness of it, because they think that is only style that they are talking about, when what they are talking about is the attempt to express a new idea with such force that it will have the originality of the thought. It is an awfully lonesome business, and as you know, I never wanted you to go into it, but if you are going into it at all I want you to go into it knowing the sort of things that took me years to learn.

[…]

Nothing any good isn’t hard, and you know you have never been brought up soft, or are you quitting on me suddenly? Darling, you know I love you, and I expect you to live up absolutely to what I laid out for you in the beginning.

Scott

For more wisdom on the writing life, see Zadie Smith’s 10 rules of writing, Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 guidelines for a great story, David Ogilvy’s 10 no-bullshit tips, Henry Miller’s 11 commandments, Jack Kerouac’s 30 beliefs and techniques, John Steinbeck’s 6 pointers, Neil Gaiman’s 8 rules, Margaret Atwood’s 10 practical tips, and Susan Sontag’s synthesized learnings.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/i-write-to-live-authentically-having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-per-great-sage-viktor-frankl/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/christina-patterson-the-novice-poet-will-try-and-express-feelings-they-already-know-they-have-but-an-experienced-poet-is-one-who-knows-that-a-poem-is-only-a-true-poem-if-it-reveals-what-you-didn/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/no-one-can-take-away-ones-own-attitude-to-live-authentically-passionately-in-praise-of-roberto-benignis-15th-anniversary-movie-life-is-beautiful/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/getting-over-having-been-dumped-by-the-one-you-want-is-a-long-difficult-process-getting-dumped-does-not-dump-your-self-respect-attitude/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/reconciliation-formula-sage-steven-kalas/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/an-ennobling-sufferance-living-life-to-the-fullest/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/true-faith-is-a-context-for-suffering-sage-steven-kalas/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/the-choice-is-not-whether-to-have-or-not-have-a-worldview-in-which-you-place-faith-the-only-choice-is-whether-we-are-willing-to-choose-with-intention-clarity-commitment-sage-steven-kala/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-extraordinary-sage-viktor-frankl-only-then-through-the-power-of-using-the-past-for-living-and-making-history-out-of-what-has-happened-does-a-pe/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/in-some-ways-suffering-ceases-to-be-suffering-at-the-moment-it-finds-a-meaning-such-as-the-meaning-of-a-sacrifice-life-is-never-made-unbearable-by-circumstances-but-only-by-lack-of-meaning-and-pur/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/surrender-yes-what-is-demanded-of-man-is-not-as-some-existential-philosophers-teach-to-endure-the-meaninglessness-of-life-but-rather-to-bear-rationally-his-incapacity-to-grasp-its/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/society-blurs-the-decisive-difference-between-being-valuable-in-the-sense-of-dignity-and-being-valuable-in-the-sense-of-usefulness-sage-viktor-frankl/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/dostoevski-said-once-there-is-only-one-thing-i-dread-not-to-be-worthy-of-my-sufferings-sage-viktor-frankl/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/what-is-to-give-light-must-endure-burning-sage-viktor-frankl-in-tribute-to-connie-francis/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/the-paradox-of-authenticity-a-conscious-commitment-to-your-peace-whether-its-i-or-not-i/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/faith-is-consequential-but-it-is-not-about-immortality-faith-is-about-finding-peace-within-oneself/

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-rubinstein/writing-process_b_2707747.html?utm_hp_ref=books

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For me, writing begins with an almost dreamlike process. It’s as though my mind goes through some semi-conscious period where things from the past and present seem to coalesce and begin building upon themselves. Sometimes a thought fragment forms, only to fade the way some dreams dissolve as you’re awakening. At other times, an idea imbeds itself and develops with a clear forward trajectory.

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The novel’s story incorporates other aspects of my own and others’ experiences, coupled with large doses of imagination and fantasy. Like all fiction writers, I draw from the things I know well, and borrow heavily from life around me.

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I draw water from the well of my life’s work, and create stories.

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A writer is someone who always has an eye open and an ear cocked. I am no exception.

Drawing from life is at the heart of my novels, although each one begins in its unique way.

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 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patrick-hess/mentors-we-dont-realize-exist-_b_6726214.html?utm_hp_ref=religion
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A valuable principle I learned in my Christian ministerial studies was a mentoring metaphor that has never left me. It was idly called the Paul Principle.

Paul was the apostle that came after Jesus had already ascended into heaven. Paul was the adopted step-child of the disciples. He was mentored by Barnabas, was in jail with a peer named Silas, and wrote letters of teaching to a student called Timothy.

The principle was this…

Every man in life should always have a Barnabas, Silas and Timothy if he is to be a complete man.

Always identify your Barnabas, the one who is mentoring and teaching you.

Discover your Silas. The peer who is in the trenches with you and learning life at the same time.

And never forget to pass the torch to a Timothy in your life. The wise saying goes “If you can’t teach it, you really don’t understand it.”

We all have many Barnabas’ along our journey. We all have many Silas’ too. But to avoid complete selfishness, we need to take the wisdom we’ve acquired and impart it to ones like our children, their peers, and anyone else God allows us to come to know in our lifetime.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/irony-can-include-paradox-and-paradox-can-include-irony/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/jesus-makes-clear-that-to-forgive-is-to-forget-propitiation-and-their-sins-and-iniquities-i-will-remember-no-more-hebrews-1017/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/topic-irony/

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony#Irony_as_infinite.2C_absolute_negativity

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Irony as paradox [subtitled as negativity]

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Where much of philosophy attempts to reconcile opposites into a larger positive project, Kierkegaard and others insist that irony—whether expressed in complex games of authorship or simple litotes—must, in Kierkegaard’s words, “swallow its own stomach.”

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Irony entails endless reflection and violent reversals, and ensures incomprehensibility at the moment it compels speech.

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Similarly, among other literary critics, writer David Foster Wallace viewed the pervasiveness of ironic and other postmodern tropes as the cause of “great despair and stasis in U.S. culture, and that for aspiring fictionists [ironies] pose terrifically vexing problems.”

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Sincerity

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In response to the hegemony of metafictional and self-conscious irony in contemporary fiction, writer David Foster Wallace predicted, in his 1993 essay “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction,” a new literary movement which would espouse something like the New Sincerity ethos:

“The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “Oh how banal.” To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law. Who knows.”

In his essay “David Foster Wallace and the New Sincerity in American Fiction,” Adam Kelly argues that Wallace’s fiction, and that of his generation, is marked by a revival and theoretical reconception of sincerity, challenging the emphasis on authenticity that dominated twentieth-century literature and conceptions of the self.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/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-s/

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-irony

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox#Paradox_in_philosophy

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Paradoxes are irresolvable truths, not contradictions, in which only one opposite is true [a contradiction]

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http://www.academia.edu/2541288/Towards_an_Ethics_of_Irony_The_Paradox_of_Love_in_the_Symposium_

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“In Critical Fragment 48 Schlegel remarks that, ‘Irony is the form of paradox. Paradox is everything simultaneously good and great.’ This is the best articulation of the concept of irony in the German Romantic tradition: in contrast to the classical trajectory of irony embodied in the figure of Socrates who rhetorically dissembles his own knowledge, Schlegel’s fragment is emblematic of an irony that is a condition of possibility of objects, literary or otherwise, occurring in time and space.

The form of paradox becomes the horizon of potential that, for instance, allows good works to be read, un-read and re-read in countless interpretations hence becoming the great works of history. Or, in Kierkegaardian terms, which themselves are spectralized reproductions of Aristotelian terminology, irony allows one literary actuality to be superseded by the potentiality located in the literary actuality itself. As thus envisaged, hermeneutic progress itself hinges upon this ironic potential.

But what about ‘progress’ and ‘potential’ thought of in terms of political hope? Can irony, this condition of possibility, inform an ethics?

Ironically, perhaps an answer is to be found not in the German Romantic tradition, but in the very classical tradition that has been consistently distinguished from it. In sticking with the idea of irony as a condition of possibility and without defining it tout court, I shall argue that Socrates’s exploration of the concept of love in the Symposium not only pre-dates the structure of irony normally attributed to the German Romantic movement, but also compliments it as a relevant form of ethics for contemporary times. It would be ironic indeed if irony itself, normally a suspect trope in the field of ethics, allowed all ethical questions to occur in the first place.

To me, Socrates simply called this condition love— this paper seeks to further elaborate this thought.”

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http://books.google.com/books?id=6EAw-H8zvDkC&pg=PA115&lpg=PA115&dq=Critical+Fragment+48+Schlegel+irony+is+paradox&source=bl&ots=0vE_ZSo4_8&sig=S-Wj3HJJlCszh7DtMNhS5rdSxAU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MXuNUe2_FKOtigLE8IAw&sqi=2&ved=0CFIQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=Critical%20Fragment%2048%20Schlegel%20irony%20is%20paradox&f=false

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http://www.bachelorandmaster.com/criticaltheories/friedrich-schlegel.html

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Irony and paradox as distinct and not convergent –

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http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/english/2010/lesson_plans/reading/nonfiction/9-12/14_11-12_readingnonfiction_recognizing_ambiguity_contraction.pdf

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http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Lite/LiteBred.htm

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Paradox and irony seem quite distinct.

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Paradox relies on the clarity and exactness of language; it shows that truth can be expressed by words alone.

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Irony uses words to point beyond language.

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Irony shows that there are some truths which, though they cannot be articulated in words,

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can none the less be expressed by means of words.

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Irony, like many other figures, is a way of transcending and ultimately extending the limited resources of everyday language,

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of ensuring that it does not disguise thought

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but is both the midwife and the medium of thought.

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Not everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly,

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but everything that can be thought at all can be put into words.

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E.g. – seminaries could teach us how to think and even how to apply the truths of Scriptures to certain situations, but our seminaries did not have the ability nor the capacity to teach their young ministers how to feel. Only the Prompt of the Spirit could provide that.” — James H. Hill, Jr.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/in-praise-of-mystic-christian-jo-anne-silva-i-recognized-that-our-seminaries-could-teach-us-how-to-think-and-even-how-to-apply-the-truths-of-scriptures-to-certain-situations-but-our-seminaries-did/

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E.g. –

Richard Hays’ Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul: Paul’s readings of Scripture are not constrained by a historical scrupulousness about the original meaning of the texts. Eschatological meaning subsumes original sense…. True interpretation depends neither on historical inquiry nor on erudite literary analysis but on attentiveness to the promptings of the Spirit, who reveals the gospel through Scripture in surprising ways. In such interpretations, there is an element of playfulness, but the freedom of intertextual play is grounded in a secure sense of the continuity of God’s grace: Paul trusts the same God who spoke through Moses to speak still in his own transformative reading. Just as my lectionary commentary invites Christians to read the Bible as Jesus read the ‘Bible’ in his day (with a hermeneutic of love), Hays’ work invites us to embrace the same freedom to interpret the Bible that Paul with other ancient commentators claimed. — sage Carl Gregg

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And yet,

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The Epicurean paradox “problem of evil” is a cosmic irony due to the sharp contrast/incongruity between reality and human ideals, or between human intentions and actual results. The resulting situation is poignantly contrary to what was expected or intended.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Paradoxes#Philosophy

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony#Cosmic_irony_.28Irony_of_fate.29

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Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Typology — representation of Jesus in the Old Testament

 

Brain Memory

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The Bible blows me away for the Bible’s reversal of expectation (inside-out/outside-in)   — “swallowing one’s own stomach,” so to speak.    Incomprehensibility outcomes as authenticity/truth.

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/03/get-to-know-me-my-approach-to-interpreting-the-bible-in-5-words/
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Genre-calibration — The Bible, like anything that has ever been written, can be classified according to genre—many genres, in fact (letters, laws, wisdom, apocalyptic, prophecy, story, parable, etc.). Recognizing what genre you are in is key to sound biblical interpretation (i.e., don’t expect a parable to relay historical information; don’t read proverbs as if they were laws).

Recognizing the various ancient genres of our ancient Bible is greatly aided by our ability to compare and contrast the Bible with similar writings from the ancient world, i.e., by “calibrating” the Bible against ancient analogs and thus learning to adopt ancient expectations for interpreting biblical literature rather than imposing alien, modern conventions of reading.

So, Genesis 1-11 is best understood when compared to other ancient origins texts rather than expecting something along the lines of modern science; the Gospels are best understood alongside of ancient Greco-Roman “biographies” rather than contemporary biographies.

ChristotelicTelos is a Greek word meaning “end” or “goal.”

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The Old Testament does not so much flow easily into the New Testament,

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nor do the Old Testament writers “predict” Jesus of Nazareth in any conventional sense of the word “predict.”

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Rather, after the resurrection, New Testament writers read their scripture (the Christian Old Testament) in light of—in taking into account—the surprise ending of a crucified and risen messiah.

The faith of the New Testament writers is that Christ is deeply connected to Israel’s story while at the same time grappling with this surprise, counterintuitive development of the gospel. This led the New Testament writers (especially Paul and the Gospel writers) to cite the Old Testament well over 300 times (connecting the gospel to Israel’s story) and in doing so significantly re-read, i.e., transpose, Israel’s story to account for the surprise ending.

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The tendency toward “creative”(i.e., midrashic) readings of scripture in Judaism in general at the time is the proper hermeneutical backdrop for understanding this “Christotelic” hermeneutic (another instance of genre-calibration).

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This is why–as many Bible readers already know–New Testament writers, when quoting the Old Testament, typically “take it out of context,” meaning the context of the original utterance. The gospel requires creative re-framing of Israel’s story.

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http://www.jesus.org/is-jesus-god/old-testament-prophecies/is-jesus-in-every-book-of-the-old-testament.html

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As you read through God’s Word, see how it points you to Jesus.

  • Christ is the Seed of woman and in Genesis 3:15 we are told He will one day crush Satan.
  • In Exodus we find the story of the Passover Lamb, and Christ is the sacrificial Lamb given for us.
  • In Leviticus we read of the high priests making sacrifices for the people, and Christ has become our High Priest, making the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins.
  • In Deuteronomy Moses prophesied of a prophet who would come that would be greater than Himself. Jesus is that Great Prophet.
  • In the book of Joshua, Joshua met the Captain of the Lord’s host. That man is Jesus Christ.
  • In Judges, the leaders were judges who delivered God’s people, each of them typifying the Lord Jesus.
  • Boaz, the kinsman who redeemed Ruth’s inheritance, is a picture of Christ.
  • David, the anointed one, pictures Jesus and Jesus is described as being the Son of David.
  • In 2 Samuel when the king is being enthroned, the entire scene is descriptive of the Lord Jesus.
  • The books of Kings speak of the glory of God filling the temple and the Chronicles describe the glorious coming king, both referring to Jesus, the King of Kings.
  • Ezra depicts Jesus as the Lord of our fathers.
  • Job says clearly that the Redeemer is coming!
  • Esther offers a picture of Christ interceding for His people.
  • Christ appears time after time in the Psalms, including when David describes Him as “the Shepherd.”
  • Isaiah details His glorious birth.
  • Jeremiah reveals that He will be acquainted with sorrows.
  • Joel describes Him as the Hope of His people.
  • Amos tells us that Jesus is the judge of all nations.
  • Obadiah warns of the coming eternal kingdom.
  • Jonah offers a picture of Jesus being dead for three days, then coming back to life to preach repentance.
  • Zephaniah says that He will be the king over Israel.
  • Zachariah is the prophet who speaks of Jesus riding on a colt.
  • Malachi is the one who calls Him the Son of Righteousness.

The entire Old Testament points toward Jesus as Savior, and if you miss that, you’ve missed the entire point of the Scriptures. Jesus is the Messiah and the fulfillment of prophecy.

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The Old Testament prepares the way for the New Testament, and all of God’s promises find their “yes” and “amen” in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). The exodus from Egypt, though a real, historical event, prefigures the saving work of Christ for His people. What God did through Moses was to provide physical salvation from physical slavery. What God does through Christ is provide spiritual salvation from a spiritual slavery. However, our slavery isn’t like that of the Israelites in Egypt. The Israelites were slaves in Egypt, but we are all slaves to sin. As Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34, 36).

The passing through the Red Sea is symbolic of the believer’s identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul says, “For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:1–4). Paul is giving the exodus from Egypt a Christological reading; he is making the connection between the exodus from Egypt and salvation in Christ. Notice how Paul says “all were baptized into Moses.” Just as the Israelites were “baptized into Moses,” so too are Christians baptized into Christ: “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

So the parting of the Red Sea not only finalized God’s redemption of His people from slavery in Egypt, but it also prefigured the greater spiritual reality of God’s redemption of His people from slavery to sin through the work of Christ.

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/parting-Red-Sea.html#ixzz3Ml5z2EcU

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Lukewarm is worse than cold, so to speak, just as the good portion of the tree of knowledge also is self-deception (contaminated by self/Satan)  –

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“I wish that you were cold or hot” (Revelation 3:15–16)

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“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.”

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Interpreting Scripture requires an understanding of spiritual language, the hidden truth that lies just beneath its surface.

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Dramatic presentation , irony, reversal, and frustration of expectations are characteristic of Jesus (e.g. good Samaritan parable/Beatitudes).    Does a pericope/concise passage illustrate opposites or impossibilities?   Yes, Jesus teaches us all.

 

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/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-i/

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Jesus knew what lay in the dark corners of men’s hearts.

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Through the use of questions He exposed the motivations of the hearers—not to shame but to heal them.

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Through the use of the poignant question, Jesus gently uncovered the realties of our inward life, the life seen by no one.

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But Jesus sees it.

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He knows what is in the heart of man because He has traveled the corridors of every man’s heart.

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In fact, as many of us have discovered, sometimes to our chagrin, He sees our hearts better than we do.

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By the power of the query He turns the light on our inward parts.

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The questions of religious men are crafted that they might expose for the purpose of judging and condemning. In contrast, the questions of Jesus were specifically designed to reveal for the purpose of healing.

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Rejection fills life.

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“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” John 5:44 “But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5:47

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Questions such as these test our ability to look deeply at spiritual reality while they also force us to peer beneath the surface of life.

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They will also unlock the door to the ancient language.

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Our attempts to look for the answers to the questions and the struggle to express those answers open new pathways of personal and spiritual reality.

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If we allow the question to do its job, it will search us and reveal the hidden, broken places in our hearts that it may accomplish what Jesus intended.

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The New Testament prompts not only correlate with the Old Testament tablets of stone (e.g.  first prompt of baptism & the coming of Jesus) and the convergence of the human and holy spirit   –

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the prompts also correspond with the other three items in the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Spirit –

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the Lord’s table  juxtaposes with the Torah Scroll and intuition;

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the  breaking of the bread  juxtaposes with manna and fellowship;

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and the sipping of the wine juxtaposes with Aaron’s rod and conscience.

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Understandably, our spiritual intuition, fellowship, & conscience are inseparable, just as the convergence of our human & holy spirit consists as fluid in one broth, so to speak.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/the-bible-just-blows-me-away-baby/

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/embrace-rebirth-epiphany
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Praying down heaven
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 is outside-in.
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You zero in on a frequency.
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“I’ve had an epiphany,” you say. And then, “I’m not exactly sure what’s happening to me.”
You got that right. Something is happening to you. That is, this is nothing you’re doing, nothing you’re deciding. This is outside-in.
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Incredulity is the right response to an epiphany. Incredulity is the wonderful, delicious (and awkward, frightening and uncomfortable) moment when everything you think you know and think you believe slams into a Deeper Reality. A Deeper Truth. And there, suddenly, you “get” that you don’t know anything much at all.
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An epiphany is an in-breaking. No one knows why or how they happen. Or why they don’t. Or maybe epiphanies are always happening, always around us. In which case no one knows why or how they are suddenly recognized and acted upon. Or recognized and refused. Or never recognized.
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Epiphany experiences are and will remain a mystery. Which is part of why epiphanies are so utterly cool when they happen to you. Or when, like me today in this office, you get to be an audience to an epiphany rippling through someone else.
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For Christians, Epiphany is a liturgical feast day (Jan. 6, although the date varies in some churches), recalling and retelling the story of a star beckoning three astrologers (the Magi) to the birth of Jesus. This epiphany was a cosmic in-breaking, recognized and acted upon by “Three Wise Men.” They followed the star. They were obedient to the signs and energies inviting them forward into a new life. A new understanding of themselves and the world.
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Epiphany experiences are about birth all right — our birth! And rebirth! Again and again life presents the invitation to burn down our limiting, inauthentic, not-so-useful, not-so-lovely and sometimes really unhappy, unpleasant or even destructive ways of being in exchange for a new vision of self and the world.
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A better vision.
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I tell the man he reminds me of Ebenezer Scrooge who, after an epiphany of three dreams, is standing in his pajamas on a snow- crusted balcony, tossing money over into the street, giggling and dumbstruck, like a man bailing water out of a foundering boat.
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Like an innocent child.
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Incredulity is the first response to epiphany. Gratitude should be the next. Thirdly, action! Go. Do. Redeem your past self now with every breath, word and deed.
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It’s time to see the star again.
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And like the older spiritually mature Biblical Jacob  —    Pastors Wilfredo Agngaray, Cathy Poai Simmons, & Robert/Donna Mae Gomes  –

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1)  shake off the dust (do not react in the flesh or of the self) of “the world,” so to speak,

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2) and empathize with adversaries, if there by any, by praying  for their imperviousness to afflictions.

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Jacob’s ladder

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is the human soul and the angels are God’s logoi (messengers),

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1)  pulling up the soul in distress (release from suffering)  — “shake off the dust”  — don’t overreact –

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2)  and descending in compassion (empathize/pray for adversaries).

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#2 above is characterized as “praying down heaven” to earth.   Smith Wigglesworth was a man who knew how to “pray down” heaven. He understood the powers available from above and knew how to bring those powers into this realm.   Pastor Cathy Poai Simmons especially is inspired by Smith Wigglesworth.    Angel Dust  Pastor Cathy imbued us all in “Martin Luther tabletalk” (Pastor Cathy’s ministry) with “praying down heaven.”

http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/praying-heaven-down-dan-anderson-sermon-on-prayer-adoration-96978.asp

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This thought comes from the Lords Prayer. When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, He responded, “May your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” [Matthew 6:10] Or basically, we are to pray in faith: As it is in heaven, may it be that way now – on earth!      

http://www.pastorericdykstra.com/eric_offstage/2013/05/praying-heaven-down-pastor-eric-dykstra-the-crossing-church-elk-river-mn.html

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If only You would tear the heavens open [and] come down, so that mountains would quake at Your presence…”     Isaiah 64:1-3

http://mountain-top-musings.blogspot.com/2012/07/praying-heaven-down.html

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob%27s_Ladder#Judaism

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Jacob’s Dream by William Blake (c. 1805, British Museum, London)

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Segment above is in my article here      –

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/luck-of-the-draw-bad-or-good-forgive-yourself-for-what-is-not-in-your-power-to-do-steven-kalas/    (in praise of Pastor Cathy Poai Simmons)

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The earthly tabernacle was patterned after the one in heaven (Exodus 25:9, 40; 26:30; 27:8; Numbers 8:4; Acts 7:44; Hebrews 8:1-5; 9:11-12)

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Spiritual gifts, including the miraculous, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 12:27-31, Romans 12:3-8, Ephesians 4:7-16 — impress (via the holy spirit) today.    Pastor Cathy Poai Simmons’ fruit of the Spirit (transformation & sanctification) manifests her spiritual character of love, not of her  as a gifted (purified/holy) disciple, but of the glorious building up of the collective body of Christ. 

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http://www.abideinchrist.com/messages/ex25v22.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deliverance_ministry

http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/when-a-seat-of-mercy-becomes-a-throne-of-grace-everett-mccoy-sermon-on-grace-124553.asp?Page=2

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God interfaces sinful man with Jesus at the Tabernacle’s Mercy Seat.    The Shekinah glory shows God’s presence between the cherubim over the cover of the Mercy Seat.    Sin separates man from God. A holy God shuts out sinful man from the Mercy Seat by walls and the veils. Our sins shut out us from the presence of a thrice holy God.   When the sinner could not go to heaven because of his coming short of the glory of God, God in the person of His Son came from heaven to earth “that He might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18)  God issues an invitation for each of us eventually to “draw near with confidence to the Throne of Grace,” so that we may complete via mercy (Mercy Seat) from Jesus and grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)   Let’s “keep on drawing near(er)” with confidence to the places and times where God meets us in Christ.    We come now to the Mercy Seat (for eventual salvation), to draw nearer to Jesus’ Throne of Grace.   

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Essentially, Jesus’ Mercy Seat for us and Jesus’ Throne of Grace contrast God’s relationship with man in the Old and New Covenants. When God set up residence on earth, He called His throne the Mercy Seat (for us all).   After Calvary Jesus prompted man via the Holy Spirit to Jesus’ Throne of Grace.  

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The Old Testament was the preparation for the coming of Christ.   And Christ fulfilled Old Testament prophecy.

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In the ark we saw the person of Christ, but in the Mercy Seat we see the work of Christ.   In the Throne of Grace we see the fulfillment of Christ in us.

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God has revealed His heart to us by the name of His throne.  Man comes frighteningly to the Judgment Seat, and finds the Mercy Seat, though Judgment eventually awaits us all.

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Jesus’ Mercy Seat is a place we go to and not be condemned. And this is wonderful. Yet God has so much more for us. By way of Jesus, God’s throne is now called the Throne of Grace.  Not only will He forgive (Mercy), or not give you what you do deserve (destruction)  —  His intent is to bless, or give you what you do not deserve (Grace)!

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Segment above is in articles here    –

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/luck-of-the-draw-bad-or-good-forgive-yourself-for-what-is-not-in-your-power-to-do-steven-kalas/ (in praise of Pastor Cathy Poai Simmons)

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/1-peter-48-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/    (tribute to Pastor Wilfredo Agngaray)

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/in-praise-of-christian-missioner-kolina-ana/   (testimonial to Pastors Robert & Donna Mae Gomes)

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As erudite Pastor Cathy Poai Simmons intones, we are made in God’s image to be more than  indwelled with the Word of God (Scripture)  — that is, to pour out beyond in the Spirit of God by way of God’s holy spirit in us.   The significance of the Ark of the Covenant is not just to break us out of bondage,  but more so to enjoy Jesus’ throne of grace via Jesus’ mercy seat for us (our seat of grace)    — as we are touched deepest by the throne of the kingdom of God.        According to traditional teachings of Judaism in the Talmud, the tablets of stone (tablets of testimony)  were made of blue sapphire stone as a reminder of  God’s throne.

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Prophecy (Coming) of Jesus by way of Old Testament  –
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typology_(theology)#Development_of_typology
Origin of the theory
Christian typology begins in the New Testament itself, with Paul in Romans 5.14 calling Adam “a type [τύπος] of the one who was to come”, i.e. a type of Christ. He contrasts Adam and Christ both in Romans 5 and in 1 Corinthians 15.
The early Christians, in considering the Old Testament, needed to decide what its role and purpose was for them, given that Christian revelation and the New Covenant might be considered to have superseded it, and many specific Old Testament rules and requirements in books such as Leviticus dealing with Expounding of the Law were no longer being followed.  One purpose of the Old Testament for Christians was to demonstrate that the Ministry of Jesus and Christ’s first coming had been prophesied and foreseen, and the Gospels indeed were seen to contain many quotations from the Old Testament which explicitly and implicitly link Jesus to Old Testament prophecies. Typology greatly extended the number of these links by adding to Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Christ others based on the mere similarity of Old Testament actions or situations to an aspect of Christ.
Typology is also a theory of history, seeing the whole story of the Jewish and Christian peoples as shaped by God, with events within the story acting as symbols for later events – in this role God is often compared to a writer, using actual events instead of fiction to shape his narrative.
Development of typology
The system of Medieval allegory began in the Early Church as a method for synthesizing the seeming discontinuities between the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament. While the Church studied both testaments and saw each as equally inspired by God, the Old Testament contained discontinuities for Christians, for example, the Jewish kosher laws and the requirement for male circumcision. This therefore encouraged seeing at least parts of the Old Testament not as a literal account, but as an allegory, or foreshadowing, of the events of the New Testament, and in particular examining how the events of the Old Testament related to the events of Christ’s life. Most theorists believed in the literal truth of the Old Testament accounts, but regarded the events described as shaped by God to provide types foreshadowing Christ. Others regarded some parts of the Bible as essentially allegorical; however the typological relationships remain the same whichever view is taken. Paul states the doctrine in Colossians 2:16-17 – “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” The idea also finds expression in the Letter to the Hebrews.
The development of this systematic view of the Hebrew Bible was influenced by the thought of the Hellenistic Jewish world centered in Alexandria, where the Jewish philosopher Philo (c. 20 BCE – c. 50 CE) and others viewed Scripture in philosophical terms (contemporary Greek literary theory highlighted foreshadowing as a literary device), as essentially an allegory – using Hellenistic Platonic concepts. Origen (184/185 – 253/254) Christianised the system, and figures including Hilary of Poitiers (c. 300 – c. 368) and Ambrose (c. 340 – 397) spread it. Saint Augustine (345-530) recalled often hearing Ambrose say that “the letter kills but the spirit gives life”, and Augustine in turn became a hugely influential proponent of the system, though also insisting on the literal historical truth of the Bible. Isidore of Seville (ca. 560-636) and Rabanus Maurus (ca. 780-856) became influential as summarizers and compilers of works setting out standardized interpretations of correspondences and their meanings.
Jewish typological thought continued to develop in Rabbinic literature, including the Kabbalah, with concepts like the Pardes – the four approaches to a Biblical text.

Jacob’s Ladder from a Speculum Humanae Salvationis ca. 1430, pre-figuring the Ascension above

Typology frequently emerged in art; many typological pairings appear in sculpture on cathedrals and churches, and in other media. Popular illustrated works expounding typological couplings were among the commonest books of the late Middle Ages, as illuminated manuscripts, blockbooks, and incunabula (early printed books). The Speculum Humanae Salvationis and the Biblia pauperum became the two most successful compilations.
Example of Jonah
The story of Jonah and the fish in the Old Testament offers an example of typology. In the Old Testament Book of Jonah, Jonah told his shipmates to sacrifice him by throwing him overboard. Jonah explained that due to his own death, God’s wrath would pass and that the sea would become calm. Subsequently Jonah then spent three days and three nights in the belly of a great fish before it spat him up onto dry land.
Typological interpretation of this story holds that it prefigures Christ’s burial, the stomach of the fish representing Christ’s tomb: as Jonah exited from the fish after three days and three nights, so did Christ rise from His tomb on the third day. In the New Testament, Jesus invokes Jonah in the manner of a type: “As the crowds increased, Jesus said, ‘This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.’” Luke 11:29–32 (see also Matthew 12:38–42, 16:1–4). Jonah called the belly of the fish “She’ol“, the land of the dead (translated as “the grave” in the NIV Bible).
Thus whenever one finds an allusion to Jonah in Medieval art or in Medieval literature, it usually represents an allegory for the burial and resurrection of Christ. Other common typological allegories entail the four major Old Testament prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel prefiguring the four Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; or the twelve tribes of Israel foreshadowing the twelve apostles. Commentators could find countless numbers of analogies between stories of the Old Testament and the New; modern typologists prefer to limit themselves to considering typological relationships that they find sanctioned in the New Testament itself, as in the example of Jonah above.
Other Old Testament examples

Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant.  In the Sermon on the Mount he commented on the Law. Some scholars consider this to be an antitype of the proclamation of the Ten Commandments or Mosaic Covenant by Moses from mount Sinai.

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Sacrifice of Isaac
Genesis Chapter 22 brings us the story of the preempted sacrifice of Isaac. God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac to Him, cited as foreshadowing the crucifixion of Jesus. When a suspicious Isaac asks his father “where is the lamb for the burnt offering” Abraham prophesied “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And indeed a ram caught by its horns awaited them, which is also seen as a type for Christ, the lamb that God provides for sacrifice crowned by thorns.
Joseph
Genesis Chapters 37-50 has the story of Joseph in Egypt. Joseph is commonly cited as a Christ type in the story.  Joseph is a very special son to his father. From his father’s perspective Joseph dies and then comes back to life as the ruler of Egypt. Actually Joseph’s brothers deceive their father by dipping his coat in the blood of a sacrificed animal. Later Joseph’s father finds that not only is Joseph alive but he also is the ruler of Egypt that saves the world of his day from a great famine. Other parallels between Joseph and Jesus include, both are rejected by their own people, both became servants, both are betrayed for silver, both are falsely accused and face false witnesses. Additionally, both attain stations at the “right hand” of the respective thrones (Joseph at Pharaoh’s throne and Christ at the throne of God), and both provided for the salvation of gentiles (Joseph a physical salvation in preparing for the famine, while Christ provided the deeper spiritual salvation). Finally, Joseph married an Egyptian wife, bringing her into the Abrahamic lineage, whereas Christ’s relationship with the church is also described in marriage terms in the New Testament.
Moses
Moses, like Joseph and Jonah, undergoes a symbolic death and resurrection. Moses is placed in a basket and floated down the Nile river, and then is drawn out of the Nile to be adopted as a prince (floating the body down the Nile river was also part of an Egyptian funerary ritual for royalty).
While in the wilderness, Moses put a brazen serpent on a pole which would heal anyone bitten by a snake who looked at it (Numbers 21:8). Jesus proclaimed that the serpent was a type of Himself, since “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14) and “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2Co 5:21)
In a battle with the Amalekites, Exodus 17:11 states that “as long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.” Commentators interpret Moses’ raised hands as a type of Jesus’ raised hands upon the Cross, for when Jesus’ hands were raised as He died, a figurative battle with sin was waged, the end result being victory – that “all will be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:22)
Inanimate types
Other types were found in aspects of the Old Testament less tied to specific events. The Jewish holidays also have typological fulfillment in the life of Christ. The Last Supper was a Passover meal. Furthermore, many people see the Spring Feasts as types of what Christ will accomplish in his first advent and the Fall Feasts as types of what Christ will accomplish in his second advent.
The Jewish Tabernacle is commonly seen as a series of complex types of Jesus Christ: for example, Jesus describes himself as “the door”,[ and the only “way” to God,[13] represented in the single, wide gate to the tabernacle court; the various layers of coverings over the tabernacle represent Christ’s godliness (in the intricately woven inner covering) and his humanity (in the dull colouring of the outside covering) The Showbread prepared in the Temple of Jerusalem is also seen as a type for Christ.
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As Cliff Livermore’s great editor intones,  –
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Like both the accusers and the woman caught in adultery, none of us has righteousness apart from Christ based on our own terms.
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We are dealing with a holy God and must be dressed in HIS holiness to enter into the Holy of Holies.
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We are all sinners,
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but we get to choose whether we fall upon the Rock
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or whether the Rock falls upon us.
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Either way, we get a Rock.
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Prophecy (Coming) of Jesus by way of Old Testament  –
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amana_(Bible)
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Christological (study of Christ) inferences in the context of chapter four of the Song of Solomon suggest a kenotic (‘self-emptying’ of one’s own will and becoming entirely receptive to God’s divine will) significance to Amana (perennial or as site of mountain ergo heaven). The husband (Christ) declares His love for His bride (the Church) throughout chapter four. He (Christ) sees no imperfection in His bride.
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This is only possible through the descent from heaven through the incarnation and the propitionary death on Calvary, establishing a typology with the Gospels.
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Amana and the other mountains are allegorical to heaven. The bride’s presence at the summit is possible through the acceptance of Christ resulting in as Paul later expressed it in Ephesians 2:6 being simultaneously “seated in the heavenlies” (figuratively) while walking in the world prior to glorification. The descent from Amana is through the dens of lions which are allegorical to the present dangers of the world and suggesting a typology with Christ’s Passion. The descent from Amana safely through the world (and by implication back to heaven [Amana]) is hand in hand with Christ.
Charles Spurgeon refers to Amana in his famous Morning and Evening devotional for September 18: “To the top of Amana, to the dens of lions, or to the hills of leopards, we will follow our Beloved.”
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenosis#New_Testament_usage
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The New Testament does not use the actual noun kenosis,  but the verb form kenóō occurs five times (Ro.4:14, 1Co.1:17, 9:15, 2Co.9:3, Phil.2:7). Of these five times it is Phil 2:7, in which Jesus is said to have “emptied himself,” which is the starting point of Christian ideas of kenosis.
John the Baptist displayed the attitude when he said of Jesus, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (Jn 3:30).
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The kenotic ethic is the ethic of Jesus, considered as the ethic of sacrifice. The Philippians passage urges believers to imitate Christ’s self-emptying. In this interpretation, Paul was not primarily putting forth a theory about God in this passage, rather he was using God’s humility exhibited in the incarnation event as a call for Christians to be similarly subservient to others.
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In Christian theology, kenosis is the concept of the ‘self-emptying’ of one’s own will and becoming entirely receptive to God and the divine will. It is used both as an explanation of the Incarnation, and an indication of the nature of God’s activity and will. Mystical theologianJohn of the Cross‘ (1542-1591) work “Dark Night of the Soul” is a particularly lucid explanation of God’s process of transforming the believer into the icon or “likeness of Christ.”
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Another perspective is the idea that God is self-emptying. He poured out himself to create the cosmos and the universe, and everything within it. Therefore, it is our duty to pour out ourselves. (This is similar to C.S. Lewis’ statement in Mere Christianity, that a painter pours his ideas out in his work, and yet remains quite a distinct being from his painting)
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ego_death
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_mysticism#Gospels
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Gospels
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Transfiguration of Jesus with Moses & Elijah
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The Christian scriptures, insofar as they are the founding narrative of the Christian church, provide many key stories and concepts that become important for Christian mystics in all later generations: practices such as the Eucharist, baptism and the Lord’s Prayer all become activities that take on importance for both their ritual and symbolic values. Other scriptural narratives present scenes that become the focus of meditation: the Crucifixion of Jesus and his appearances after his Resurrection are two of the most central to Christian theology; but Jesus’ conception, in which the Holy Spirit overshadows Mary, and his Transfiguration, in which he is briefly revealed in his heavenly glory, also become important images for meditation. Moreover, many of the Christian texts build on Jewish spiritual foundations, such as chokhmah, shekhinah.
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To say, as haughty belligerent J.R Larson exclaims, that the Resurrection outdoes the Crucifixion, is to say that an airplane can fly on one wing (Resurrection) instead of the necessary two wings (including the Crucifixion) for completion/balance.    Christian mystic Pastor Robert Gomes totally transfixed into a pillar of salt J.R. face to face at Pastor Gomes’ ministry off Lanikaula St. in Hilo.
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But different writers present different images and ideas. The Synoptic Gospels (in spite of their many differences) introduce several important ideas, two of which are related to Greco-Judaic notions of knowledge/gnosis by virtue of being mental acts: purity of heart, in which we will to see in God’s light; and repentance, which involves allowing God to judge and then transform us. Another key idea presented by the Synoptics is the desert, which is used as a metaphor for the place where we meet God in the poverty of our spirit.
The Gospel of John focuses on God’s glory in his use of light imagery and in his presentation of the Cross as a moment of exaltation; he also sees the Cross as the example of agape love, a love which is not so much an emotion as a willingness to serve and care for others. But in stressing love, John shifts the goal of spiritual growth away from knowledge/gnosis, which he presents more in terms of Stoic ideas about the role of reason as being the underlying principle of the universe and as the spiritual principle within all people. Although John does not follow up on the Stoic notion that this principle makes union with the divine possible for humanity, it is an idea that later Christian writers develop. Later generations will also shift back and forth between whether to follow the Synoptics in stressing knowledge or John in stressing love.
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In his letters, Paul also focuses on mental activities, but not in the same way as the Synoptics, which equate renewing the mind with repentance. Instead, Paul sees the renewal of our minds as happening as we contemplate what Jesus did on the Cross, which then opens us to grace and to the movement of the Holy Spirit into our hearts. Like John, Paul is less interested in knowledge, preferring to emphasize the hiddenness, the “mystery” of God’s plan as revealed through Christ. But Paul’s discussion of the Cross differs from John’s in being less about how it reveals God’s glory and more about how it becomes the stumbling block that turns our minds back to God. Paul also describes the Christian life as that of an athlete, demanding practice and training for the sake of the prize; later writers will see in this image a call to ascetical practices.
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Within theistic mysticism two broad tendencies can be identified. One is a tendency to understand God by asserting what He is not and the other by asserting what He is. The former leads to what is called apophatic theology and the latter to cataphatic theology.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_mysticism#Types_of_meditation
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_mysticism#The_mystical_teachings_of_Paul
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Even for doubters (agnostics) and especially for nonbelievers (atheists)  –

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it simply is astonishing and mind-blowing that hypothetically  –

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we can devise an ethic –

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a super conscience –

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to keep us in check –

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and balance  –

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to ensure our survival as a species among nature’s creations

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(ecosystem equilibrium akin to hydrostatic equilibrium  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_equilibrium#Fluids  ).

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/22/atheist-ten-commandments_n_6198734.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular
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The 10 “non-commandments” — the atheist’s irreducible statements of atheist and humanist belief  –
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I. The world is real, and our desire to understand the world is the basis for belief.
II. We can perceive the world only through our human senses.
III. We use rational thought and language as tools for understanding the world.
IV. All truth is proportional to the evidence.
V. There is no God.
VI. We all strive to live a happy life. We pursue things that make us happy and avoid things that do not.
VII. There is no universal moral truth. Our experiences and preferences shape our sense of how to behave.
VIII. We act morally when the happiness of others makes us happy.
IX. We benefit from living in, and supporting, an ethical society.
X. All our beliefs are subject to change in the face of new evidence, including these.
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Cry if you have to  –
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Let it out. It’s not normal to get an infection from a paper cut or celebrate a holiday alone.
I make peace with  loneliness by acknowledging the absurdity of it.
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jessica-gimeno/4-tips-on-celebrating-a-h_b_6222380.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS%20for%20the%20Soul
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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/pondering-mysteries-time-new-year-looms
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We have yesterday, today and tomorrow. Otherwise known as past, present and future.
I have been reminded, over the course of my life, to learn from the past, to be prepared for the future, while simultaneously staying alive to the present. It seems quite the juggling act.
Or maybe not. Maybe, as Einstein said, it’s all happening at once. Time coinheres (exists simultaneously).
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Though he was ever the troubled sarcastic soul, John Lennon was right: “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
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Understanding time means knowing that today is the day to say “I love you.” To say, “I forgive you,” or, “I ask for your forgiveness.” Right now would be a good time to tell him/her how you feel. What you want. For what your heart longs.
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Life contains injustice, tragedy and suffering. We can take these experiences and forge bitterness, denial, despair, addiction and other victimhoods. Or we can empathize. We can forge something meaningful, noble and beautiful, which we can then give back to the world.
 http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/raising-kids-emotional-security-alchemy-empathy
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The resurgence of Reformed theology in American evangelicalism and fundamentalism–commonly referred to as the Neo-Reformed movement–is a belligerent movement. This is why it exists–to correct others, not to turn the spotlight inward.  So don’t be shocked, Tullian Tchividjian [& self-deceived fanatic “acolyte” of  erudite theologian Witness Lee — sad Joe Daubenmire (Any surprise?  DNA?
http://www.talk2action.org/story/2006/10/29/163433/89
)] , if it happens to you. Yesterday’s heroes can quickly become tomorrow’s vanquished foes.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2014/12/my-5-best-blogs-of-2014-that-as-far-as-we-know-whos-to-say-really-will-likely-change-the-world/#ixzz3NQK4uprN
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Understandably, here is new ager pantheist Chopra’s ‘sure’ list  –
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/why-god-makes-more-sense-_b_6212042.html?utm_hp_ref=books&ir=Books
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/how-richard-dawkins-lost-_b_6172040.html?utm_hp_ref=books&ir=Books
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wray-herbert/hard-to-think-straight-pr_b_6200306.html?utm_hp_ref=science
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/22/pan-american-health-organ_n_6029402.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS%20for%20the%20Soul
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  1. Science isn’t by definition anti-religious.
  2. Atheists have a point when they accuse organized religion of a litany of gross failings, including crusades, jihads, and the Inquisition. But religions are human institutions prone to every human failing. Religious history is about us, not about whether God exists.
  3. God can be approached without resorting to the cultural mythology of a humanized Father and Mother watching over us from Heaven. Atheists largely attack this myth, but smashing a myth doesn’t mean you’ve smashed reality.
  4. There is a rich tradition, both East and West, of an impersonal God. This God is the source of consciousness and all that we associate with consciousness: self-awareness, intelligence, creativity, evolution, etc.
  5. The experience of God is found inside our own consciousness, not “out there” in a supernatural realm.
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  1. If all experience is subjective, going inward is a valid means of exploring reality.
  2. In this exploration, new levels of consciousness reveal themselves.
  3. At deeper levels of consciousness, perception changes radically.
  4. As perception changes, so does reality itself, since nothing is real for us beyond what we can perceive in some way.
  5. The conjunction of the individual mind with the source of consciousness is where God lives.
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Profound and inexplicable that we “first mold” (archetype typology) instinctively (internal drive)

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for some paradigm (pattern/creation)

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greater than the self

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as the only real (sane — fulfilling) path

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for finding a whole complete self.

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Jungian scholars posit that inside every human heart is a personal picture of the divine, be it a personal God or an uninvolved pantheistic entity.

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Agnostics/atheists posit that Jews have imago dei (image of God), whereas Christians have imago Christo (image of Christ).

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Symbols are the language of dreams. A symbol can invoke a feeling or an idea and often has a much more profound and deeper meaning than any one word can convey.

http://www.dreammoods.com/dreamdictionary/

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Symbols (other persons/things)  often “mask” the actual person/thing  (of one’s deepest secrets and hidden feelings –

unresolved conflicts discoverable via transference, as an example

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoanalytic_dream_interpretation#Contemporary_psychoanalytic_approach

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transference

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Displacement_(psychology)    )

 –

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inasmuch the real person/thing emblematic of  immense suffering stretches oneself (e.g. the dreamer) into the vortex of vulnerability –

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a psychic well so deep that is not without grave cost    –

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perhaps in the extreme instance  –   to die as one lived –  as a person of self-determination and self-worth.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/02/brittany-maynard-death_n_6077482.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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Yet, in the depths of despair, absurdity, and indifference of life,

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one finds the deepest connectedness, the deepest continuity,

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with the primary humanity which defines you  –

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 the piety of being who you are because someone loved you.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathleen-anderson/why-cornel-west-loves-jan_b_6140744.html?utm_hp_ref=books

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Similarly   –

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_in_Christianity#Parables

the parables of Jesus represent a major component of his teachings in the gospels, the approximately thirty parables forming about one third of his recorded teachings.   The parables may appear within longer sermons, as well as other places within the narrative.

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Jesus’ parables are seemingly simple and memorable stories, often with imagery, and each conveys a teaching which usually

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relates the physical world to the spiritual world.

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In the 19th century, Lisco and Fairbairn stated that in the parables of Jesus, “the image borrowed from the visible world is accompanied by a truth from the invisible

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(spiritual)  world,”

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and that the parables of Jesus are not “mere similitudes which serve the purpose of illustration, but are internal analogies where nature becomes a witness for the spiritual world.”   Similarly, in the 20th century, calling a parable “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning,”  William Barclay states that the parables of Jesus use familiar examples to lead others’ minds towards heavenly concepts. He suggests that Jesus did not form his parables merely as analogies but based on an “inward affinity between the natural and the spiritual order.”

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For literary observers   — the reversal of expectations typical of Jesus is a mind-blowing experience.   The parables (which consist of a third of all of Jesus’ teachings) speak in symbols, not by direct reference to us — for we in the flesh/of this physical world reject outright any direct condemnation vs. us.    The parables, like slave Aesop’s fables, expose our unloveliest nature in order for us to choose good over evil.    The story of Jesus is a therapeutic/spiritual  completion of our physical stuckness, whereas Aesop’s snippets are snapshot segments about man’s wretchedness.

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Michele Mckeag Larsen

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Joshua’s trek toward the land of milk and honey (no shortage of faith), unlike Moses’ early failed quest (shortage of faith)   — is a representation of Jesus cometh.    In this sense Joshua’s parable gave ample opportunities for the “chosen ones” to indwell with Christ, and to pour out beyond in the spirit of the Holy.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/neal-samudre/6-reasons-spiritual-leade_b_6575080.html

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6 Reasons Spiritual Leaders Are More Successful in Life

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1. They know they can distance themselves from the noise.
Warren Buffett is known for saying, “The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” Basically, the successful person is comfortable saying no to the matters that don’t contribute to their mission. They know how to filter through the noise. Yet, the unsuccessful person is someone who can’t filter the noise, and as a result, say yes to everything.

A spiritual leader knows they don’t have to contribute to everything. They are content with the silence. In fact, most spiritual practices incorporate a practice of being content to offer nothing to the noise. Silence is how spiritual leaders spend time with more important matters.

2. They incorporate intentional practices of slowing down.
A spiritual leader is concerned with finding peace throughout the day. This is why many leaders wake up early and do devotionals in the morning. They are concerned with sharpening themselves to face the day. An unspiritual leader might wake up early but get right into the rush of work, while the spiritual leader knows that their most optimal performance only comes after establishing peace.

3. They don’t feel the need to showcase their accomplishment.
Humility is a large part of spiritual practices, but it isn’t treasured in many cases outside spirituality. However, it should be valued in all cases, because many of us waste our time, attention, and energy trying to get others to notice our work rather than doing better with our work. Humility and secrecy is how we break free of the addiction to showcase our accomplishments, and focus on creating better victories instead.

4. They focus on the wellbeing of their employees, not just their output.
A benefit of cultivating one’s own spirituality is that they know how important it is for others to do the same. They know the health it brings to someone’s entire life. Because of this, they foster habits and practices that encourage not only output from their workers, but transformation. They are more inclined to care about their worker’s overall wellbeing, which in turn improves their workers commitment to the mission.

5. They measure success with internal features more than external ones.
Many of us measure success with numbers and statistics. Yet, the true success is not only an external matter. Most successes spill out from internal reservoirs, such as our belief in the project or our personal achievement in it.

The irony is, when we care more about the internal aspects of a success, we create better success than we would if we cared more for an external feature. For instance, when we are passionate for a project, we work harder for its success than we would if we were just putting it out there for the numbers or response from others. Spirituality, by discipline, teaches us that it is the heart that matters in many cases–not how people respond to what we do. Because of this, we create better success by first pouring all of ourselves into the project–not by catering it to fit mass popularity.

6. They understand life is not all about their work.
People with spirituality often have a bigger scope to life. They realize that life is much larger than their work, though it comes as a high priority in one’s life. Their scope typically includes how they respond to God in their daily dealings. Because of this larger scope, they allow for more grace and margin for errors in their life. They understand there is more to life than work when they commit a mistake at work. Giving themselves grace because of this scope keeps them healthy and guilt-free–the conditions necessary for making a difference.

While it’s true that anyone can be successful in life, letting your beliefs inform all aspects of your life helps establish the balance necessary for finding a deeper success–one that’s not defined by how much you do or have, but rather by the meaning you feel resonate in your life.

Beliefs add meaning to life. It’s time to apply those beliefs into our work so we can feel a deeper meaning there as well.

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http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-233/What-is-Sin

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Psychologists reject sin because they want to exalt man, and they want to eliminate God.  So, because they reject sin, they have no explanation for why man is the way he is.  They misdiagnose him totally, so they offer really no help.  And what do we do?  We try to come up with harsher penalties, the, what is it, the three-strike law: three felonies in a row and you go to jail and they throw the key away.  We bring back the death penalty.  But nothing can end the reign of terror; nothing can end the reign of corruption.  You can’t do it with counseling.  You can’t do it with psychotherapy.  You can’t do it with Prozac.  You can’t do it, because the issue is sin.  The issue is: we’ve all inherited a corrupted nature.

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Dig out your root of bitterness    (tribute to Christian mystic Pastor Wilfredo Agngaray)    –

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http://www.greatbiblestudy.com/bitterness.php

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Bitterness is a root!

Hebrews 12:15, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”

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Bitterness is hidden under the soil or surface. The same is true with bitterness in a person’s soul. It is a hidden element that lies under the surface, and out of it sprouts up anger and other negative emotions against others and against the circumstances around us. People who have a root of bitterness find it easy to get upset over things that others are doing around them. It’s like a volcano that lies beneath the surface, waiting to explode onto the surface.

Bitterness is a root, thereby making it harder to identify and expose than many surface issues, but none the less it’s a deadly poison that needs to be released.

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“Why do you drink a poison brewed from the root of bitterness — in order to foment a curse on your adversary??”  rhetorically asks erudite sage Wilfredo Agngaray.

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My life has been a Griffin Dunne character in After Hours    

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Paul Hackett (Dunne) experiences a series of misadventures as he tries to make his way home  (mishaps produce laughter via cynicism, skepticism, & the irony of incurring wrath thru one’s desire of pleasure).

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This film is on the list of “Great Movies,” and it combines comedy, satire, and irony (irreducible truth) with unrelenting pressure and a sense of all-pervading paranoia/destruction.

Hopscotch to oblivion’, Barcelona, Spain

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtPI9jIx1kU

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_Hours_(film)

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-schwartz/losing-the-soul-of-a-writer_b_6785530.html?utm_hp_ref=books&ir=Books

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The creation of art requires assimilation of the starkest realities and contradictions of our uncertain nature and existence. Betrayal, violence, and death dangerously draw the artist to the flame. The artist travels where others will not tread. She rends the veil. Great art is religion without God. The artist is Tolstoy’s Hermit in Three Questions, Cormac McCarthy’s Mennonite in Blood Meridian, a Prophet Fool.

Art is genesis. Hatching a fully fleshed world, dense with character and narrative, from a single deed. A passing glance.

However, creation requires transgression, the obliteration of boundaries, and vision beyond vision. The artist does not choose her creation. The creation chooses the artist, impregnates the artist, violates the artist, and inflames the artist. This requirement, to inhabit the worlds one births, both elevates and isolates the artist. The art is a subtraction of the self, an absence, a loss one can experience but never share. Hence the loneliness. And it should not surprise us, therefore, that few of the authors mentioned in this essay escaped the afflictions of postpartum poverty, depression, illness, and addiction. Creation hurts. The artist falls anew each day.

Loss too easily slips into failure. Creation can require destruction. Of spouses. Of progeny. Of friends. Creation also requires an audience, but cannot guarantee it. Without an audience, without external validation, emptiness and nihilism can impinge upon the artist. The scorn of one’s peers will buffet a writer, but silence will utterly unhinge her.

And yet no writer can create without claiming and embracing a marginal status, without the immense artistic horizons self-reduction offers. The artist as loser, as outcast, as exile, as a point diminishing to near oblivion, acquires the freedom to create capaciously out of nothingness, which is the same as infinity. The artist vanishes. We inherit everything left behind.

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What others meant for evil, God meant for good   — the epiphany of Josephine A. Roche  — she loved to no end her dad — but also empathized with the forsaken of society  —

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In 1925, Roche returned to Colorado due to her father’s failing health, and in 1927 inherited his holdings in the Rocky Mountain Fuel Company, a coal mining company which he had founded.   By 1929, she had purchased a majority interest in the company and become president. She then proceeded to enact a variety of pro-labor policies, including an invitation for the United Mine Workers of America to return to Colorado and unionize her mines, 15 years after her father and other coal mine owners had broken the unions in the aftermath of the Ludlow Massacre of 1914.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephine_Roche

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludlow_Massacre

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Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church 

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My mother used to tell me that we weren’t the type of people to air out our dirty laundry. What she meant was good Southern girls didn’t go around talking about their troubles or divulging their secrets. (I can only assume it was by some divine corrective that their daughter turned out to be a blogger.)

But this is a cultural idiom, not a Christian one.

We Christian don’t get to send our lives through the rinse cycle before showing up to church. We come as we are–no hiding, no acting, no fear.

We come with our materialism, our pride, our petty grievances against our neighbors, our hypocritical disdain for those judgmental people in the church next door.

We come with our fear of death, our desperation to be loved, our troubled marriages, our persistent doubts, our preoccupation with status and image.

We come with our addictions–to substances, to work, to affirmation, to control, to food.

We come with our differnces, be they political, theological, racial, or socioeconomic. We come in search of sanctuary, a safe place to shed the masks and exhale.

We come to air our dirty laundry before God and everybody because when we do it together we don’t have to be afraid. (pp. 70-71)

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I can tell you what I hear a lot: church is fake, and if church is fake, God is fake, and life is too short for fake, so no thanks.

People  need to hear that they are understood, and to watch someone model the very path they are on and yet still talk about church in a hopeful way. I’m glad this book exists.

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Rachel is able to speak to people like that because she went through that process herself–not to mention she is a great writer, with a healthy tone of self-deprication and humility in all of it. She sees herself in this list; I see myself, too.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/05/a-brief-word-on-rachel-held-evans-her-dirty-laundry-and-her-new-book/
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Old Covenant’s theocracy has its progeny in today’s political dead works  –

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from my astute fellow politico analyst    –

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Hi Curtis,

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Yes, clearly, one gets what one invests (acumen/money/time).

Please continue to ponder this issue (Hawai’i changing demographic impact on voting) and provide any additional insights and comments as they come to mind.  I do appreciate your thoughts as you are a student, unlike any other, of the history and relationships that run Hawaii politics.     Yours truly,   — Tom   Dec. 14, 2114

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Run as democrat.  No sense get elected and then be rendered totally ineffective by the majority.

In 2008 none of the candidates, Kim, Fujiyama, Nakashima, Nakkim had much of a campaign.  None understood the concept of grass roots organizing, or chose not to use it as the campaign basis.  All based the campaigns on media.  Media cannot overpower grassroots organization (witness Abercrombie vs Ige at 10:1 $$ advantage, but Ige won).  People who do not understand campaigning feel they only can win with $$$ for media, and concentrate only on that aspect (so they lose).  Roth was outspent by Ashida, but had (in the end) better grass roots effort so he won.  Very few people understand how to win local campaigns.  Lingle, during her first gubernatorial campaign, did not have much money.  She relied on grassroots and won all islands except for a tiny area in Aiea (or thereabouts) by 1000 votes (total was 2000, but divide by 1/2) because they did not rely enough on grassroots (my brother was involved there so he saw what was going on).  Later, when she fell under the influence of big name campaign consultants from the mainland, she relied on media and money.  Got smashed.

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I’ve been a member of the republican party and know the gang.  I know how they think and how the campaign.  I keep telling them to wise up, but they don’t get it.  They always resort to issues, reasoning, and money for media.  They totally miss the most important point:  People vote based on emotions.

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Yes, how to win local grassroot campaigns (voters personally invest their hearts/emotions) as opposed to “global” (money/media) campaigns is where candidates “trip up.”

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The glitz & glam of going bigtime sadly entice even the most impervious of candidates.

Scrub Tanaka’s (1915-2006)  “ohana” (“family” in Hawaiian) outreach & “inflow” of ground support are eternal keys to victory.   The point is to distinguish one’s plan/platform and execution from the incumbent.   And then win the hearts of every existing and potential voter.

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Why does Hawai’i have just about the worst voter turnout in the nation?    The answers to this question are the keys to victory.

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Answers:   Isolated island archipelago’s traditional laid-back culture (we don’t identify as voters, we identify as so-and-so family members)  — combined with Hawai’i being a humdrum boring one-party State with no high drama   — Democrats generically agree on most social issues,  so the intra-party popularity contest takes precedence over crucial fiscal (tax/revenue/debt) matters.   It’s no mistake why Scrub Tanaka coined our age-old populist methodology as “ohana” (appeal to family)!

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from Angel on our shoulders Heather –

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Heather look-alike Catherine Deneuve

Hey Curtis,

Interesting insight.

For one answer to your question: why do we have the worst voter turnout?

Because among voters in elections, we have NO VOICE even if we DO vote.   (Tom above says when you vote for the wrong candidate, you need to

The poly-tics choose to run on empty but glamorous promises (if and when they do tackle real issues) — then do nothing while in office. And when they AREN’T doing that in the ads, they are merely attacking the opponents’ character.

We aren’t stupid. We can tell whether a person is of poor character. Well, some can. The rest are stupid, to everyone’s ruin (ex. A: Barrack H. Obama and family).

Anyway, when the people that run actually start working for the people who vote for them, and it becomes apparent by an overall improvement in the lives the American voters, then I will play their Game.

Other than that, the Game is rigged in favor of career politicians that merely suck the life out of the people and extort and prey upon their hard work. If “we” the people can even find work, that is.

My many cats have given me more opportunities for “shovel ready” jobs than our fraud-in-chief has even come close to offering.

Blessings,

Angel (Heather)

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The value of the Old Testament includes not just the representation of Jesus  — but also the expectation of long suffering  (perseverance of the saints)     –

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2014/12/well-at-least-the-old-testament-has-one-thing-going-for-it/
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Their experiences are very much like ours today: life is hard, and life of faith does not automatically make it easier. It may actually make it harder at times.
Spiritual struggles are normal for Christians. They are not to be sought after, but they are normal. They are not to be romanticized, but they are normal. They are not to be shown off and bragged over, but they are normal.
To speak otherwise is to ignore the counter testimony. The Bible tells me so–and I’m glad it does.

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In praise of Pastor Doreen Ah Nee Keaukaha born 1939   —

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Pastor Doreen look-alike

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Doreen’s body of work is Faith, which, by its very nature, begins and ends in the realm of the unseen.   It is conviction supported by evidence concerning things we do not know by experience. By faith we accept that the invisible things of God are behind the visible universe (Heb. 11:3). By faith we hope for a home in heaven, though we have never seen that paradise (2 Cor. 4:18).          “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

http://www.christistheway.com/2001/a01a07aa.html

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The word “substance” is rendered “assurance” by the American Standard Version. The word literally means “a standing under, support” (W.E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, vol. 1, p. 85). “Faith,” in relation to hope, is assurance. It stands under and supports our hope. Thus, one’s hope is only as secure as his faith is strong.

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Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.     “substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen”

 http://biblehub.com/hebrews/11-1.htm
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We are made in God’s image to be more than  indwelled with the Word of God (Scripture)  — that is, to pour out beyond in the Spirit of God by way of God’s holy spirit in us.

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Dedicated to shepherds Wilfredo Agngaray, Cathy Poai Simmons, & Bob/Donna Gomes  (the greatest commandment is to love)
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This year marks the 95th anniversary of the National Football League.   In the singular instance of dispensation at one’s death, longtime Boston quarterback Steve Grogan could not muster the words to bid adieu to 61 yr. old Jack Tatum when Tatum died 5 yrs. ago, after Tatum had crippled Grogan’s wide receiver Darryl Stingley 37 yrs. ago, and Stingley succumbed to the effects of his quadriplegia and died 8 yrs. ago, 3 yrs. before Tatum after Tatum amputated both legs from diabetes and circulatory problems.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Tatum#Health_issues_and_death
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That Tatum lived his final years with no legs after the previous 25 yrs. not having made up with Stingley — was tragically poetic/fitting to some, like Grogan.   Till Tatum’s dying day, Tatum never consoled Stingley, who died at age 55.
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“I’m sorry because there was a life lost today,” said Darryl Stingley’s son, Derek, who was 7 when his father stopped walking. “Jack Tatum had a family. He was somebody’s father, somebody’s brother, somebody’s cousin or uncle. I truly am sad because of that.”
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“He had close to 30 years to apologize,” Derek Stingley said. “There were plenty of opportunities.””This is a reminder to put things to the side and let bygones be bygones. I wish they had that opportunity to close that chapter in their lives, but it never happened.”
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Tatum’s legacy was forever tainted by his callousness. ESPN’s John Clayton wrote a remembrance of Tatum and noted the behavior toward Darryl Stingley likely prevented Tatum from garnering consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.    Tatum’s style was outlawed in this new age of football.
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To its discredit, the NFL Network ranked Tatum at the top among the most fearsome tacklers in history, but the program never mentioned his hit on Darryl Stingley.
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Tatum never spoke to Darryl Stingley after the injury — although he did suggest a televised reconciliation to coincide with the release of a book. Tatum wrote three of them: “They Call Me Assassin” in 1979, “They Still Call Me Assassin” in 1989 and “Final Confessions of NFL Assassin Jack Tatum” in 1996.”
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When something like that happens and you don’t apologize for it, and then go out and write a book to make money and try to get famous off the incident, that’s just not right,” Grogan said. “I felt Jack  handled it very poorly.”
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In a 2003 Boston Globe story, Darryl Stingley said he still would welcome a visit or a call from Tatum — without a commercial agenda.”If he called me today, I’d answer,” Darryl Stingley said. “If he came to my house, I’d open my door to him. All I ever wanted was for him to acknowledge me as a human being. I just wanted to hear from him if he felt sorry or not. It’s not like I’m unreachable. But it’s not a phone call I’ll be waiting for anymore.”
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Darryl Stingley also claimed he harbored no hatred for Tatum.”It’s hard to articulate,” Darryl Stingley said. “It was a test of my faith. The entire story. In my heart and in my mind I forgave Jack Tatum a long time ago.  I take no pleasure in what has happened to him since then. How can anyone feel pleasure in another man’s pain?”
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In 2003 Stingley recalled of the day he learned that the man who paralyzed him 25 yrs.  before was now losing his own legs. “The newspaper was folded so I’d see the bottom of the story first. It said something about how in 1978 Jack Tatum paralyzed me with a hit during an exhibition game. When I flipped over the paper, I saw the headline. `Fund raiser for fallen Buckeye.’ That’s when I first learned what happened.”
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For the man Tatum put in a wheelchair but never spoke to since, there was only one human thing to say.
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Typical of Darryl Stingley, he didn’t say it.
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The human thing was to say what some of Stingley’s friends and former teammates said: “What goes around comes around.” The human thing was to say, “He finally got what he deserved.”
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What Stingley said was different because he’s different. Or at least he chooses to be different.
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“You can’t, as a human being, feel happy about something like that happening to another human being,” Stingley said from his condominium overlooking Lake Michigan in Chicago. “Maybe the natural reaction is to think he got what was coming to him but I don’t accept human nature as our real nature. Human nature teaches us to hate. God teaches us to love.”
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“I feel for him in that situation. I lived it with my father. I know what he and his family are going through. When I first read it, I was shocked momentarily. Then I began to think about my own father. He was also diabetic and I remember how first he lost a few toes. Then a leg. Eventually we lost him. My thoughts quickly left me and Tatum and went to my father and how I missed him. I wondered if he was proud of me. I wondered if he thought I’d handled well the things I had to handle . Was I right in his eyes? That’s where my thoughts went to.”
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“The irony of Tatum losing his legs hit me. It was like the situation between us coming full circle. I know how that will change his life forever. I’d never wish that on anyone after I saw it with my own father.”
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Open the heart of “The Assassin” Tatum? Open the heart of a man who never once visited Stingley in all these years? Never once picked up the phone? Never once made a move toward reconciliation for the life-altering event they shared that night in 1978?
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“I’m one of God’s children. Jack Tatum is one of God’s children, too. We both have crosses to bear. For each of us there’s always a battle between the good side and the bad side. Sometimes the bad side wins. Sometimes the good. It’s up to us to make the choice. I choose to believe in God.”
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deja vu  (America’s greatest military sniper  —  160 confirmed enemy kills  — gets killed by a friendly  bullet )   —
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You live by the bullet, you die by it?
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The great Soviet romantic father of ice hockey, Tarasov, vs. cynical (die by the bullet  — Lake Placid’s “miracle on ice” epic event)  Tikhonov    —
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Great role model Tarasov

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http://www.staradvertiser.com/features/20150306_Film_explores_paradox_of_superb_Soviet_hockey_team.html
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Fetisov  compared Tikhonov, his old coach, to Stalin, saying: “Coach with no heart, can he teach us to play? No. He give us drills, discipline. He wants to see us still as puppets, dancing to his whistle for the rest of our lives. That’s dictatorship.”

The style of hockey they played was not Tikhonov’s invention, he pointed out, but rather that of the beloved Anatoly Tarasov, who turns up in some archival footage in the movie, looking like a cheerful, potbellied Russian bear.

“Tikhonov never played this style himself,” Fetisov went on. “All he needed to do was let us play. At age 22, 23, we became the No. 1 line in hockey. For us, it was fun, a challenge: inside the most unfree system, to create a beautiful game.”

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Sugar master Tom Spencer’s great-grandson on people, places, & power    —

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From late 19th century land baron Capt. Tom Spencer’s great-grandson Scotty Brewster  —

My good friend Curt,

this is very interesting.

I am a semi-professional umpire in Sacramento, working college and high school baseball.

Yours,

Scotty Brewster

 http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/2015/11/26/hawaii-news-captain-thomas-spencer-and-makaleka-kiiwaiopualani-kaaloimaka-robinson-family-seeks-reunion-dec-5/

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Capt. Tom Spencer look-alike

Capt. Tom Spencer married Makaleka Robinson (daughter of shipbuilder Robinson & Luika Kawaipua).   For us Hilo folks, Tom Spencer owned a hilltop palisade (Niolopa) which became the eventual Hilo Hotel (Tom was King Kalakaua’s dear friend) overlooking Hilo bay.  Tom also owned under a thousand acres in Amau’ulu where he cultivated some 4,000 acres in sugar cane (which eventually transitioned into Wainaku’s Hilo Sugar Co. after Tom died in 1884).  Tom also had his own ocean landing/pier at what is today’s Isles Landing by Lili’uokalani Park & the Nihon Restaurant.  Tom’s 1861 landing site morphed into the 1900-1918 Railroad Wharf with its 800 ft. long 100 ft. wide pier in the lee of Moku’ola (island) (today’s Coconut Island leisure park).  Tom’s wheelhouse power contemporary William Reed built Reed’s own landing at the same time just a stone’s throw away at Kalauokukui Point (the later Government wharf 1900-1906), where today’s “jetty” outcrop is with its picnic benches and walkways.   Reed’s landing was not as ship friendly because of its shoreline exposure to high surf.

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from Scotty Brewster   —

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Robinson

                                                                     

1)      11/14/1848 Robert Robinson was awarded Hawaiian Naturalization (note: I have source documents for everything disclosed).

2)      1850 Island of Hawai’i: Hamakua…Ahupuaa: Keahua 1,2…Feature: ahupua’a…”the entire ahupuaa, Keahua-akahi, was awarded to Robert Robinson as LCAw 231 (TMK 4404,4406).     (cf.   http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/ef/hawaii/documents/CulturalAssessmentLAU.pdf   )

3)      1855 Session,  Robert Robinson elected as Representative of Hamakua.

4)      Makaleka K Robinson owned two or three whaleboats.

                                                          

                                                            Spencer

 

1)      1890 – 1892 Charles Nicholas Spencer, Minister Of The Interior. Charles Spencer was merely reappointed by Queen Liliuokalani, to the position he held in the preceding cabinet 1888, with King Kalakaua

2)      Charles and Captain Thomas Spencer, were loved by the King and Queen. They were true to the monarchy to the very end. I am familiar with the treason and conspiracy within the Queens own ministry,

how and who warned her ahead of time.

3)      1868  Mark Twain lived in the previous home of Charles N. Spencer, located in Waiohinu, Kau, Hawaii (I have pictures of this property).  

4)      1877 Charles Spencer and Hutchinson Suger Plantation were partners in a new sugar enterprize at Hilea, where a new mill was built and put in operation the following year.

 

1)      1874 – 1884 Captain Thomas Spencer U.S Consulate for Hilo

2)      1859 Captain Thomas Spencer owned multiple whaleships, two of them commanded by his brothers Captain R. G. Spencer and Obediah Spencer,

3)      1860 Captain Thomas Spencer purchases the Ewo Plantation along with B. Pitman’s land.

4)      1861 Captain Thomas Spencer , an American expatriate living in Hilo, Hawaii, raised and drilled a company of Infantry thru “Scott’s Infantry tactics”,  composed mostly of Native Hawaiians.

The self-described “Spencer’s Invincibles” offered their services to President Lincoln.

5)      7/24/1869, 7/28/1869, & 8/07/1869, Captain Thomas Spencer welcomed His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh to his home as the Duke’s lodging place of his choice. They built a very strong friendship.

6)      When King Kalakaua visited Hilo, he would stay at Captain Thomas Spencer home. Many state secrets were entrusted to him. He stoutly assisted in the elevation of Kalakaua to the Throne. They built a very strong friendship.

7)      7/24/1856 Captain Thomas Spencer moved his only wife Lydia and children to Honolulu.

8)      11/1847 Captain Thomas Spencer first arrived in the Hawaiian Islands at Maui as Captain of the Whaleship Triton. Three weeks later they made sale to Honolulu, and the island Kauai. On the 8th of January, they set sail for Sydenham Island (big mistake, see Narrative “Events Attending The Massacre of part of the crew belonging to the WHALESHIP TRITON, OF NEW-BEDFORD by the natives of SYDENHAM’S ISLAND)

WRITTEN BY THOMAS SPENCER, MASTER

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The Hilo Hotel/former Spencer home site is at the top of the junction of Kino’ole & Kalakaua Streets in downtown Hilo.     Kalakaua St. is the former King St.

Good to know of your interest in your turning point family (transition from Polynesian to Western society).     Aloha!!

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from newspaper article provided by Scotty Brewster

Thomas

Spencer.

Captain Thomas Spencer, who died in

Honolulu nine or ten years ago, was one

if-.he most enthusiastic and uncompromising

Americans that ever maintained with

voice and muscle the prowess nnd dignity

of the great republic in a foreign land.

And he possessed an abundance of both,

lor he was a man of grand proportions,

with tin! strength of an ox and lungs of a

lion. In disposition he was eminently

jovial, kind and peaceful; but any word

in his hearing of intentional disparagement

of the land of bis birth promptly

aroused his wrath, and a fight oran apology

was the inevitable satisfaction demanded.

His patriotism was boundless and unconditional,

and extended not alone to a defense

of the institutions of the republic,

but to its prominent leaders as well, no

nintter to which of the political parties

they belonged. Of course, such a man

could not always be rt-!»«onnb!e in a cbampioiifliii)

bo broad ami ucequlrocal, but his

hobby was understood and tolerated by his

friends of other nationalities, nut only because

of his mauy good qualities, but for

the further reason that he seldom spoke

disrespectfully of other nations, or denied

i, their citizens patriotic instincts as intense

as his own.

Kor was •”Uncle Tom Spencer,” as he

was familiarly called, more notPd for his

sturdy loyalty to the land of hi* birth than

for ins reckless generosity and almost

limitless hospitality. As the captain of a

wrecked whaler from Cape Cod, where ho

was born and reared, Ibelieve, he landed

en the Hawaiian islands more than forty

yoars ago. The conditions pleased him,

and lie sent for his family and remained

there up to tin- time of his death. He took

delight in noting the wonderful growth of

the republic from bis far-off home in the

Paciti .and liis love of country seemed to

increase in full measure with the added

ypnrs of his absence from it, until the sentiment

in the end look the form of a blind

and satisfied idolatry.

galling in a mercantile business Honolulu, hi lie goon amassed a comfortable

fortune, which lipinvested in canefields on

the island of Hawaii. his plantation*

were near Ililo,and he erected a large and

commodious residence in that village,

which he occupied during the remainder of

his life and where be dispensed a hospitality

so lavish and general as to render the

Spencer mansion famous. But, for some

reason, tin; captain did not meet with success

as a sugar-maker. He lost the most

of his money invested in the business and

found it necessary to resume the occupation

of a merchant, which he did In a

small wav at Hilo.

He spoke the Hawaiian language fluently

nnd was a creat favorite with the

native.”. He was held in esteem by the

rulers, and his advice was frequently invited

p.Bd followed by them. Whenever

lie visited Honolulu a room was placed »t

his disposal in the royal palace, and in private lie always addressed the sovereigns

by their individual names. Many state

secrets were entrusted to him, ami he was

the last person who held in his hand the

heart if Kaniehamelia HIbefore, it was

thrown into the crater of Kiinu.a as an

offering to IY1«. He stoutly assisted in the

elevation of K&lakaua to the throne, declaring

that lie was a man i • Ibrains, and

by far ;ic most eligible candidate of royal

bloid on the islands ;infact, as lie casually

mentioned to the Knglish resident Commissioner,

he was “almost good enough to

be an American I”

Probably the most gratifying event In

the longlife of Uncle Tom Speaeer was

Ms appointment as United Slates Vice-

Consul at Hilo, a position from which

death alone removed him. The emolnmeuts

of t tie place were inconsiderable;

Inn that was of no consequence to Captain

‘Join. The appointment made him an

acknowledged representative of the great

republic, the laud of his love,and he asked

fur nothing more. Be had elaborate signs

painted both for his residence and place of

business, ami from the tallest staff on ail

tlie ten Hawaiian Islands threw to the

breeze the stars and stripes. He also procured

a bronze eagle, about twelve inches

in height, mounted on a pedestal, which lie

always carried with bun in his travels and

placed on the table before him while taking

liis meals. This, on one occasion, he

politely reauested the American Minister

to allow him to do whiln dining with him

at the lloval Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu.

Ttie latter would have avoided the display

of course, but Captain Tom regarded ithas

perfectly proper, and the eagle was a silent

witness of the repast.

As before Intimated, the shelter of his

rnof and a seat at his table were freely

offered to all who crossed bis threshold,

and distinguished tourists landing at Hilo

were made bis guests without regard to

their nationality and entertained with a

display and prodigality Mccording to their

character and deserts. The officers of all

war vessels dropping anchor in the harbor

of ililu were Invited to his table and received

ai his door with a welcome so hearty

and a suavity so unique that they could

never forget the circumstance.

The visitto Hilo of the Duke of Kdinbiirgh

while he was making a tour of the

world ana learn navigation, many

years ago, was a notable event in the life

of Captain Tom. He promptly placed his

house and all itcontained at the service of

the young Duke and bit friends so long as.

they remained ashore, and they gladly

availed themselves of the hospitable

tender. They made the house a pandemonium

for a few days, and the captain

substantially assisted in the uproar. They

bad evidently learned something of the

character of their host, and the style in

which they were received at his doorsatlst.

e’i ‘iiithat they had made no mistake

ivaccepting his hospitality.

Taking the Duke by the hand the captain

bowed courteously and said: “Duke,

1greet and welcome you and your friends

to this huniblo habitation. Aloha nuil It

is yours as ling as you choose to honor it

with your presence. You will be safe

under its roof, foe it is protected by the Hag of the greatest nation on earth. Iwill

add the English flag if you will provide me with one. Do what. you please with

the bouse and its contents. Ionly ask that you will not set them on lire, unless you find it difficult to enjoy yourselves iv any otbet way, O.e of your great uncles Unite, lured a lot of Hessians to annoy some (I my ancestors a while back. But that has been forgiven long ago. Walk rißlit inand I’ll show you your quarters.”

«thm,\u25a0′”‘.'”.

,lmisampliog the captain’s stimulants two or three times, which put luJl\ J” a rollickl»« B^od Domor.Uw

a,nd”n”. ,VV?ne«s?’«orctecil rotoromugohn thtneegrhoouunsed floor contain!ng a sunken stone reservoir

the fr(tenth SQUare filled with water to of 6or 8 feet, which was kent f”rroVl>ltcf01 bY V” coi-sUntTai^e through itcf a rivolut of water inverted ‘»« « mounuin stream. T, B weather was hot and Bultry nud the great basin of cool water looked inviting ol .ba”thG’nfittlefmoreaDk.”inBg.aidHthise thcaeptaoinnly”here is the house that 1 piace in an. n«t asli^i, /of” ‘”

Lovely! exclaimed the Duke with en thusin.su,. “As it Is sometimes the < us-mn of hosts to first drink from a vessel b*r« offering It to their guests, ns a guarauten against poison.it would not be out of Mace, captain, for you to take the firs’ plunge. Then placing his hand on the huge shoulder of Ms host and turning to bis comrades, ho continued: “Ipropose lad*, that we all unite In givinghim a Brit’ tish baptism.”

The proposal was received with rollick- ing satisfaction, and four or live of the party advanced as if to seize and pitch the captain . Into the reservoir. The latter smiled grimly and politely said:

“Certainly, boys, ifit will amuse you in

the least, pick me right up and throw me

Inif you can. But as there would be no

fun in it.unless 1made a Hula friendly re- sistance, you had better include in tinscuffle

the 200 or 300 marines and sailor*

you’ve got aboard to make tbe game somewhat

nearer even.”

lioars of laughter followed and young

Beresford seized one of the captain’s arm*’

with the cry of, “Catch-as-you-can, lads.”

“Hold on a minute, boys,” exclaimed Captain Tom, witha twinkle In liis eve.

“1intend to throw you allin,one after an- other, and as I’ve always wanted to duck one of Vie’s boys I’ll commence with this

one. In the name of the great American

eagle, here goes!” with which he seized

ihe Duke under the arms am! flung him

into the reservoir. lie then started for tto others, but they laughingly scattered and

the frolic ended.

Trie Duke tout his involuntary plunge

in the utmost good humor, ami he and

Captain Tom become the joliiest of

friends. Nor did the Duke forget him

after leaving the island. lie sent him a

magnificent watch and other valuable

keei’Mikes from the nearest port at which they could be obtained, and in return received

a photograph of the bath in which

he hail been baptized in the name of the

.American eagle.

The following circumstance was related

to me by Captain Spencer himself, and is

therefore substantially correct. It occurred

immediately after the news of the

fall of VicksDnrg had reached the island?,

and when his heart was rent with crief at

an internal strife which threatened the

very life of the republic. He was on his

way from Honolulu to Ililo. Among

the passengers of the little steamer were

two Australian tourists. In the midst of

others on deck they talked of the rebellion

in the United States, nnd agreed in the

opinion that General Grant was a drunkard

who knew but little or nothing of

military strategy, and thnt whatever successes

he bad achieved were mainly ‘tun

to the cowardice of his opponents. The

conversation was carried on ina loud tone,

and Captain Tom could not. help but hear

the most of it as he walked the deck.

Unable to control himself he finally

stopped in front of the unending critics,

and politely said:

“Gentlemen, you have just been speakingof

General Grant in mi insultingmanner,

and Icould not help but overhear

yo;ir conversation.”

The persons addressed stared at the

speaker without replying, and the captain

continued:

“Yon have referred to General Grunt as

a military fraud and drunkard, and to the

people of a certain section of Hip American

republic as cowards. General Grant is \u25a0

countryman of. mine, and you must apologize.”

“And what ifwe refuse?” Inquired one

of them, defiantly. . “ilien Ishall throw both of you overboard,”

was the captain’s blunt reply;anrl,

draw ing out his watch, be added : “1will

give yon just fiveminutes to do it in.”

The tourists Pegan to crow uneasy.

There was something about the captain’s

bulk and demeanor that suggested trouble.

One of them stepped briskly to he purser’s

window, and, pointing to Captain

Tom, told him of the threat aeainst his

life, and inquired what kind of a man he

wan.

“He is Captain Tom Spencer,” was the reply, “and if he says he’ll throw you overboard

Iguess he’ll do it.”

“But is there no protection for passengers

on board?”

“Generally, res,” returned the purser,

who seemed to enjoy the discomfiture of

the tourist, “but rarely against the patriotic

freaks of Captain Spencer, He’s a

hard man to handle, and would set lire to

the steamer ifhe was interfered with. On

the last trip down he threw a man over- board, and hewed off the ears of two

others.” ”

1no tourist returned In trepidation to

Ins companion. There were a few whis- pered words between them, when captain

Tom announced that just mu> minute remained.

Watching the dill for•few seconds

longer, tip replaced the watch in his

  • “, lu,;=cnei! his shirt-collar and began

to remove bia coat.

“See here, stranger.” said the bolder of

the two, rising and throwing nis arm

around a deck pillar,”wedon’t want tohave

any difficulty with you, and since you

seem to bo so sensitive on ‘.lie subject, we are willing to admit that we spoke hastily

of General Grant, and that we belie v« tiln.

to b« ,111 «blo anil trustworthy leader.”

“And that there is no such thing as

cowardice on either side of Mason and

Dixon’a line?” ail.led the captain, reliev- ing himself still further of his coat. “Yes; we are even Trilling to admit that also, was the hasty response.

“‘Sow, one thing more,” concluded the captain, “if1 hear of either of you mentioning

the name of General Grant wiiiln on board this steamer without taking off

his hat I’llfeed yon both to the sharks!”

1 lie tourists were on their way to the

volcano of Kilanea, but learning that Captain

Tom resided at Ililo they ‘left the

steamer at Lalmina.

An account of the affair cot into the newspapers through some means, ami a

very friendly letter from General Grant

made Captain Tom the proudest man in

the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Thoroughly acquainted with his peculiarities,

his friends were in the habit of dropping remark- especially designed to

draw him out. Sitting on the veranda of.

the Royal -Hawaiian Hotel onn evening

with a party of friends, the subject of the

Southern rebellion was adroitly Intro- duced and the question asked :

‘”Uncle Tom, how large an army of European soldiers do you thing itwould

have taken to whip the 70,0f*men who

marched to the sea with Sherman?”

“That is not an intelligent question,” re- plied the captain, “for you ought to know

as well iiiido that Sherman’s army could

not have been whipped. IRave given the

subject some thought, however, and am

satisfied that itwould have taken all the

standing armies in Europe a week to kill

that 70,000 men in a pitched bailie. Ihave Cgure’l the thing down, and don’t believe there is any mistake in the calculation.”

i’auueefort. thy actor, mado the ac- quaintance of Captain Tom wlii visiting

the islands as a lecturer on Knglish authors.

He started with Dickens.

“Hold or!”roared the captain, who was a listener. “Not another wind about that

scoundrel who abused forty millions or God’s people!” and Dickens was skipped.

Atthe age of about 70 the captain was brought to Honolulu with the final and alinostonly illness of His life, and cared

for inone of the Hawaiian Hotel cottages.

Circulation ceasnd Inhis lower limbs and

could not be restored. lie win visited by

his old friends, including the members of

the royal family, and to the last was full

of quaint conceits and good humor. On a

stand at Ms bedside perched his bronze

eagle, and a small American flaghum; over

his door. The United States Minister

called frequently, very greatly to the captain

satisfaction, and a few hours before

his death asked him it h« hart any special

requests to make. He said he had but one,

and that was that his body might bo Wrapped In an American flag, with another

around the casket, when he was laid

away.

Ho was assured that his request would

be complied with to the letter, and that he

should bu sicken of as he deserved in the

announcement of his death to the fctate Department,

“God bless you!” aaid the captain, with emotion, extending bis great hand to the «*lnl*ter;

i.Dll,, “‘”\u25a0lag! d bless our country and Ishall now die happy.” thre^’L’n1? V,At””rican fl»K:t. with ‘WO or

breast t? X .y, li<‘

=°rnlions upon the

ceded by th. .’ V °,f £a»t» Tom. pre- lii'”I

yal UaWßili”> band and

life did not observe all ibe Cbristfan com ”

tbe religion of Cat.uin To , b ei\e” r v

tons’ .I’.iir it., dorotne.

\u25a0Holms M. IJAOOKTT.

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Scotty Brewster look-alike (if Scotty had been around in the late 1800s)
On Jan 13, 2015, at 7:54 PM, Curt wrote:
Hi Nelson Okino:    Thanks for your great editing.    Proximity (neighborhoods/workplaces) and relationships are the age-old denominators in everything, including sports & politics.    Our American Dream/upward mobility incentives trigger socioeconomic stratification in places/proximity & people/relationships.
Baseball is a keyhole to places/people.   In this sense, baseball as a game means nothing to me.   Just a portal to the reality of our past/present/future.   Capitalism is the ignition to our history.
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No  relation  to  Scotty’s
 Makaleka Robinson  —
Mikahala Robinson Foster, messiah to the Japanese immigrants in the Hawaiian Islands  — thanks to her along with racially inclusive White men like Charles N. Spencer (former cabinet leader in Hawaiian monarchy), we Japanese in Hawai’i enabled the defeated Imperial Japanese after WWII to trust the U.S. & become the U.S.’ greatest power player in Asia.    Scotty Brewster above is the great-grandson of sugar master and economic wheelhouse Tom Spencer, who was the mentor to baby brother Charles N. Spencer.    Beneficent power leaders all.    My dad was a Silver Star recipient rifleman with the all-Japanese famed 442nd “Go For Broke” regiment WWII.    I love my deceased dad, and I love the forebearers who made it possible for my dad and mom to be proud Americans.
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http://archives.starbulletin.com/2006/09/22/features/story06.html

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http://www.pressreader.com/

 

https://plus.google.com/+PeterTYoung/posts/R74nviiDQ4E

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foster_Botanical_Garden

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Strom Thurmond as Solomon’s great progeny    —

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From Scotty Brewster ( Tom Spencer’s great-grandson)   —

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Curtis,

Your knowledge and wisdom means so much to my research. I am blessed to have found you! I know some day we will be blessed to meet and share in good times. Thank you

Your Friend,

Scott Brewster

01 team Brewster

Scotty Brewster

From: Curtis

Sent: Friday, May 01, 2015 5:48 PM
To: Scotty Brewster
Subject: Hawaiian curse

Per Hawaiian mythology, “theft” of luakini (human sacrifice) altar/temple (heiau) items is hewa (death curse) upon the “thief.”    Human sacrifice was the norm before Ka’ahumanu outlawed “pagan” rituals upon Kamehameha’s death in 1819.     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapu#.CA.BBAi_Kapu

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Hawaiian revisionists redux ancient curses to counter cultural genocide.     So what is worse, killing people (Makaoku heiau  http://ulukau.org/cgi-bin/hpn?e=d-0mahele–00-0-0–010—4—-dtx–0-0l–1en-Zz-1—20-intro-%22LCAw+803%22–00031-00010escapewin-00&cl=CL2.10&d=HASH016ed6e59551e8d373b8f1bf&x=1      —-         ——-    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luakini    )       or “stealing” stones? 

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Obviously, killing people (heaiu purpose) is worse.     


From: Scotty Brewster

To: Curtis

Sent: Friday, May 1, 2015 10:07 AM

Hi Curtis,

Hope my letter is finding you well. Captain Thomas Spencer’s boat landing was built partially with stones from an old heiau. I am finding that in the old Hawaiian way of thinking, that could have been the cause of many later misfortunes.

Can you elaborate on this at all, please.

Scotty B

(my daughter rear center and best friend of 47 years — my wife,  next to me)

01 team Brewster

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Being loved (authentic bliss) vs. being used (conscripted to be someone’s slave)

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/managing-relationships-sometimes-necessary

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I can be in a relationship with you. Or I can manage a relationship with you.

I much prefer to be in relationships. I enjoy relationships of many kinds — each with its own orbit, velocity and valence number. Some collegial. Some for pastimes. Some profound. Some airy, amusing and most entertaining. Some seen rarely. Some seen often.

A few in my inner circle. And only one one-and-only.

I like being in relationships. Forging, nurturing and growing trust, regard, advocacy, listening and sharing, loyalty, respect, and of course love. I like the teetering paradox of knowing and being known, yet also acknowledging the mystery of self and other which will always elude the “knowing.” No human being can ever be fully possessed by another’s head or heart.

For what other reason were we created than to be in relationship? Enjoying and respecting the intimacies, the delights, the dangers, the costs and benefits of being connected authentically to others!

I can be in a relationship with you. Or I can manage a relationship with you. I prefer to be in the relationship. But, if, over time, evidence suggests it unwise to be in relationship with you, and if our work, social circles or blood lines require us to sometimes or regularly be related (or at least in the same room) … then I will manage the relationship.

With a vengeance. I’m really good at it.

Now, let’s admit that, even in thriving, healthy, happy relationships, each of us learns over time some “management techniques.” Some artful politic that helps deflect, de-escalate, catch and redirect or duck and ignore that draining, maddening, never-gonna-change idiosyncrasy of your friend, relative or mate. I think of this as part of the work of love.

But, in some cases, we might have to consider the either/or. We might be faced with enough history of betrayal, inexplicable antipathy, ingratitude, selfishness, passive-aggression, disloyalty, envy, spite, etc., that we can no longer dodge the conclusion: This person isn’t my friend. Isn’t good for me. Messes with my serenity. Uses me. Belittles me.

You have a lot in common with Casper/ You both are really well-drawn cartoons/ Your animation is complete illusion/ Each frame is still, you only seem to move/ Neither of you is content with graveyards/ You both insist on always haunting me/ But one thing does distinguish you from Casper/ The difference is that Casper is friendly.

But we can’t just walk away. This person is a colleague. A boss. A relative. A co-worker. A member of your religious community. What to do?

We learn to manage the relationship, rather than be in the relationship. It’s merciful. To both parties. Quality relationship management shapes an insulating layer between you and your antagonist.

First, we surrender the expectation of thriving, mutual, reciprocal, respectful warm relationship. We lower the bar. We give up. We surrender. But we never announce this to the other party.

Second, we practice impeccable manners with this person. We initiate. We make eye contact. We make artful, inquiring small talk. Always take the high road.

Next, we greatly reduce or categorically stop revealing or sharing anything that really matters to us. We become opaque, but draped in such a well-mannered professionalism that we are experienced as warm, solicitous and engaging. But we stop asking for what we need, interpersonally speaking. We don’t initiate grievance procedures or reconciling dialogues.

We have learned that trying to talk about the difficulties in this relationship actually provoke those same difficulties.

Said another way, we have learned that “being authentic” in this relationship is contraindicated; it just makes it worse. So we shift our focus to being “authentically inauthentic.” Makes things more peaceful.

And, honestly, it helps me to ventilate my sadness. My resentment. When I have to manage a relationship, it always feels like a loss.

“But … but … that would make me phony! I’ve got to be honest in those relationships,” some might protest or insist.

Go ahead. Knock yourself out. But at least admit there is a cost/benefit equation here. What exactly do you expect to “make right” in the universe by confronting a doofwad with the fact that he/she is a doofwad? One of the diagnostic criterion for “doofwad” is “doesn’t take kindly to feedback about doofwadedness.”

Never use power you don’t have. Initiate difficult grievances and reconciling efforts only in relationships that you judge to have real potential, depth.

In other words, relationships that are really worth the effort.

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Valentine’s Day    —

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/martyred-bishop-randy-birds-and-valentine-s-day

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So, you’re a third-century bishop in Italy. Your name is Valentinus. You are an ardent Christian apologist and proselytizer. By hook, crook or persuasion, you comfort and free Roman citizens imprisoned for “being Christians.” You even convert some of your jailers. Legend has it that, after healing the blind daughter of one of those jailers, you leave the joyful parent a note signed, “Your Valentinus.”

Later you decide it’s a good idea to proselytize Emperor Claudius who, not surprisingly, says “no, thank you” to your invitation that he become a Christian. Well, he doesn’t so much say “no, thank you” as he does order your head to be cut off. You are martyred on Feb. 14, 269.

More than 1,000 years later, English poet and author Geoffrey Chaucer (famous for untoward satire and cheeky horn-doggedness) wrote a poem about two hot-to-trot love birds, saying: For this was on St. Valentine’s Day/ When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.

Meanwhile, back in Rome, there was observed on Feb. 13-15 a spring cleansing ritual called Lupercalia, believed to bring health and fertility. Lupercalia had subsumed an even more ancient festival called Februa (from whence we named the month of February). Februa included Pan, this goat-boy creature associated with erotic powers. When Pan played the flute … well, hubba hubba!

So, let’s review: Third-century Christian bishop gets his head cut off on 2/14. Geoffrey Chaucer writes a poem about randy birds who get it on, by sheer coincidence, on the day the Roman Catholic Church remembers the headless bishop. In 18th-century England (ah, now we’re talking my ancestors), the martyred bishop and the liturgical feast day and the shameless birds somehow evolve into the tradition of lovers exchanging flowers, confection and greeting cards called “Valentine’s.”

From a dead bishop to the celebration of sex and romance — that is one circuitous journey!

But, however unlikely, that’s how we got Hallmark cards. And white chocolate. And Victoria’s Secret. And chick flicks. St. Valentine holds the distinction for being the only venerated saint whose liturgical legacy has absolutely nothing to do with his cultural legacy.

Romance. Courtly love. Noble love. Erotic love. The chalice (anima) meets the blade (animus). No matter how adamantly, how desperately we pretend to be cynical, bitter and “too enlightened” for such things, the human heart continues to seek them, long for them, and to find sublime delight and ecstasy when they are found.

Ecstasy, say, like this …

The radio says that it’s time to rise/ Says we both have things to do/ But we tell ourselves in each other’s arms/ That we’ll lie here a moment or two/ Perhaps we should kiss just once or twice/ Is there time for a gentle caress/ Then I look at you, and you look at me/ And we both know what happens next.

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We’re gonna be late for work/ We’re gonna be careless with time/ I see that smile, see that look in your eye/ Let the morning wait impatient by the window.

So off you go, put your feet on the floor/ We simply must start our day/ Let the shower warm, I will break my fast/ Bring you coffee if I may/ In a happy glow, I come to you/ With a cup of morning zest/ Some soft words pass and I tarry there/ Even though we try our best.

We’re gonna be late for work.

This is just crazy/ Why can’t we let go/ The bills must be paid/ And the bank doesn’t care if I love you so.

Have you ever lived those lyrics? If so, that’s a good thing. You are rich beyond measure. Guard the treasure of this memory. And never become “so cool” as to think this energy couldn’t or shouldn’t regularly re-emerge, orbiting gladly through the journey of great love.

It’s simply not true that romance and great sex must “wear off.” That’s a convenient lie protecting and justifying a peculiar form of spiritual and emotional laziness and cowardice otherwise known as “cynicism.” Cynicism passes itself as intellectual. But don’t be fooled.

Is Valentine’s Day a great day for everybody? Not even close. There are four things that can happen on Valentine’s Day, and three of them are bad. Either you’re recently heartbroken, or you’re alone and wish you weren’t, or you’re in an empty marriage … or, yesterday, you were celebrating. With joy and gladness.

I invite you to be glad for the lucky folks who were celebrating. To be inspired by them. To listen carefully to your heart’s longing for love.

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In praise of Pastor Mark Kaili    —

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Pastor Mark Kaili look-alike

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Pastor Mark Kaili demonstrates the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding which Jesus indwells in rare overcomers (of the world/flesh) like Pastor Mark.    Pastor Mark is the reality and the truth of Jesus, unlike the Elmer Gantry false prophets of the world.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmer_Gantry

Elmer Gantry is a novel written by Sinclair Lewis in 1926 that satirically represents aspects of the religious activity of America within fundamentalist and evangelistic circles and the attitudes of the public toward it. This ferocious satire by Sinclair deals with fanatical religiosity and hypocrisy in the United States by presenting a skeevy preacher (the Reverend Dr. Elmer Gantry) as a protagonist who prefers easy money, booze, and “enticing young girls” over saving souls, all while converting a traveling tent revival crusade into a hugely profitable and permanent evangelical church and radio empire for his employers.

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http://biblehub.com/matthew/7-23.htm

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (false prophets).

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signs_and_Wonders

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Pastor Mark’s fullness of faith in his sanctified state reminds us all that the law actually brings us to Jesus   — or more precisely, our inherent Adam-sin nature’s violation of God’s covenant (for us to obey God in the Old Testament) — brings us to Jesus    — that we are to love God completely and to love one another completely, as revealed to us in the New Testament.

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More specifically, as apostle Paul said, to obey Mosaic law is to fall from grace.   Rom. 6:14; 7:1-14; Gal. 3:10-13, 24-25; 4:21; 5:1, 13; 2 Cor. 3:7-18
Sadly, the fusion of law and grace brings a “confusion” which results in sterile legalism.     In Romans 6:14, Paul gives us a fundamental principle as it relates to the Christian’s understanding and the place of the Law in a believer’s life. “For sin will have no mastery over you, because you are not under law but under grace.” (emphasis mine).            https://bible.org/article/mosaic-law-its-function-and-purpose-new-testament
In reference to    “How Is Man Responsible?”            http://www.churchinmarlboro.org/christdigest/Classical%20Writings/history_content.html

How Is Man Responsible?

But where, it may be asked, and in what way does man’s responsibility come in? Surely man is responsible to own that God is true, and to accept as just, however humiliating, His judgment of his nature and character. “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater.” Take up the dark picture which God has drawn of man, and say, That is myself, that is what I have done and what I am. Salvation is by faith; not by willing, choosing, doing, but by believing. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved…. And this is the condemnation that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:16-19.)
Who can fail to see that a responsibility is created by this display of divine goodness in Christ, and that of the most obvious, solemn, and weighty character? So much so indeed, that the evidence is decisive and final, and the unbeliever judged before God. It is not a question, observe, of their not finding forgiveness, but of their preferring darkness to light, that they may continue in sin. This is what God lays to their charge, and could there be a more just or reasonable ground of condemnation? Impossible. May it be the happy lot of all who read these pages to bow to the humiliating sentence of scripture upon our nature, and to take the ground of lost sinners in the sight of God. So shall an all-merciful and gracious God meet us in the greatness of His love, and bless us with all that is due to Christ as the Savior of mankind.

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Yes, we have the freedom to choose between good and evil   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desiderius_Erasmus#Free_will      –let’s just not play God  — but instead simply speak Truth, as Jesus intones.    Anything more complicated than the choice between light and darkness confuses us to become disembodied beings perfect for Satan’s picking   — Satan is the consummate grave robber who loves death over life (in Jesus).     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothman

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As Pastor Mark says, The root of psychological and biological disease is spiritual.     http://www.henrywwright.com/henry-wright.html

http://www.c-f-p.com/category_s/1820.htm

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Many a time has Jesus shown Pastor Mark the path of Salvation    — such as when Pastor Mark fell off a cliff in North Kohala and Jesus cupped Pastor Mark in Jesus’ hand and put Pastor Mark back onto the cliff for a safe exit   — and such as when Pastor Mark ran off the roadway and incredulously was spared death  — and such as when precocious prodigious Pastor Mark chose Jesus over damnation after Pastor Mark lost everything Pastor Mark ever had.      Matthew 6:19
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”

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Pastor Mark Kaili’s forebearer, scholar Desiderius Erasmus

Erasmus by Holbein

Desiderius Erasmus (1469–1536) in a 1523 portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger.

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Charles H Spurgeon

Exposition of Psalm 23 from The Treasury of David.

Verse 6

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“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” This is a fact as indisputable as it is encouraging, and therefore a heavenly verily, or “surely” is set as a seal upon it. This sentence may be read, “only goodness and mercy,” for there shall be unmingled mercy in our history.
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These twin guardian angels will always be with me at my back and my beck. Just as when great princes go abroad they must not go unattended, so it is with the believer.

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Carl (wife Jane) Evans of upper Puna, Hawai’i posits the 3rd coming of Jesus  to gain center stage.    Is Carl on the money/accurate about the 3rd coming?

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All prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70 in the day of God’s wrath, just as Jesus said it would be. Any ideas of a” third coming” are truly speculation and have no shred of biblical backing. There is only one parousia talked about in the New Testament. That is the parousia that took place in the fall of Jerusalem. The parousia that brought about the fulfillment of all of the promises that God made to the fathers of Israel.

Where does the New Testament differentiate between two comings? Where is the New Testament passage that states that the AD 70 event is but a type of something yet to come? Why is there needed yet a future coming to bring about an end to something which was designed by God to be eternal (Hebrews 13:20-21)?

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Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

The Bible just blows me away, baby! Example: It’s no accident that Jesus, as the lamb of God, was born in a manger

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+fantastic+bible&qpvt=images+fantastic+bible&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=D9AA2045D644BF954A35E0FDFF03B6E64FC722C4&selectedIndex=33

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Thank you, prescient mystical Pastor Wilfredo Agngaray, for the providential correlation of the manger to both a lamb and Jesus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamb_of_God#Christology

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And in the analogy that the blood of the Lamb of God (and the water from the side of Jesus) shed at the crucifixion was a cleansing like baptismal water   —  the water shows (physiologically) that Jesus died from rupturing of the heart (water separated from blood after Jesus’ heart stopped).   The manger setting with water is baptism, the Cross setting with water is redemption.
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Revelation 21:14 says the “lamb slain but standing” is the only one worthy of handling the scroll (i.e. the book) containing the names of those who are to be saved.
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The Bible blows me away for the Bible’s reversal of expectation (inside-out/outside-in)   — “swallowing one’s own stomach,” so to speak.    Incomprehensibility outcomes as authenticity/truth.    Especially Jesus turns common-sense ideas upside down, confounding us all with spiritual reality  (e.g. “Heaven’s imperial rule” is present but unseen)(e.g. Jesus evokes not simply an apocalyptic eschatology/end-time, but more critically a sapiential eschatology, which encourages all of God’s children to repair the world now).

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Dramatic presentation , irony, reversal, and frustration of expectations are characteristic of Jesus (e.g. good Samaritan parable/Beatitudes).    Does a pericope/concise passage illustrate opposites or impossibilities?   Yes, Jesus teaches us all.   Thank you, intuitive pastors Robert and Donna Mae Gomes.

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/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-i/

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The aphorisms and parables of Jesus function in a particular way: they are invitational forms of speech.

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Jesus used them to invite his hearers to see something they might not otherwise see.

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As evocative forms of speech, they tease the imagination into activity, suggest more than they say, and invite a transformation in perception.

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Drawing pictures from their own familiar world, He arrested their minds, captured their imaginations, and opened them ever so gently to the stirrings of the ancient language deep within them.

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Jesus liked to put His listeners in almost everything He told,

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and by the way, you and I were there as well—

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the least, the last, the little and the lost.

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These were the objects of His loving attention in those stories He told. –

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“But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.”

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Lukewarm is worse than cold, so to speak, just as the good portion of the tree of knowledge also is self-deception (contaminated by self/Satan)  –

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“I wish that you were cold or hot” (Revelation 3:15–16)

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“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.”

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Interpreting Scripture requires an understanding of spiritual language, the hidden truth that lies just beneath its surface.

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The Penetrating Questions of Jesus manifested a profound ability to ask the right question at the right time.

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Jesus knew what lay in the dark corners of men’s hearts.

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Through the use of questions He exposed the motivations of the hearers—not to shame but to heal them.

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Through the use of the poignant question, Jesus gently uncovered the realties of our inward life, the life seen by no one.

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But Jesus sees it.

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He knows what is in the heart of man because He has traveled the corridors of every man’s heart.

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In fact, as many of us have discovered, sometimes to our chagrin, He sees our hearts better than we do.

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By the power of the query He turns the light on our inward parts.

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The questions of religious men are crafted that they might expose for the purpose of judging and condemning. In contrast, the questions of Jesus were specifically designed to reveal for the purpose of healing.
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Rejection fills life.
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“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” John 5:44 “But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5:47
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Questions such as these test our ability to look deeply at spiritual reality while they also force us to peer beneath the surface of life.

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They will also unlock the door to the ancient language.

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Our attempts to look for the answers to the questions and the struggle to express those answers open new pathways of personal and spiritual reality.

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If we allow the question to do its job, it will search us and reveal the hidden, broken places in our hearts that it may accomplish what Jesus intended.

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At the soup kitchen for the homeless, a paranoid guy rants and rages with the food servers. Angelic gorgeous patron Pauline soothingly and fluidly comes up to the servers and says, “Please forgive my ex-husband for acting up like this.” And just like that, presto/voila, the whole world is a changed place — for the better!!

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Of course, the servers suspect that Pauline is jiving, which she really is (jiving). And the paranoid fella simply falls “beside himself,” & backs off in a daze that he just got one-upped by this angel of mercy Pauline. He slides away in a totally confounding fog.

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The servers relievingly chuckle and smile like you never saw anyone so relieved smile before!! Yes, in one fell swoop, Pauline pulled off a Jesus moment!! Wow!! How humbling can be the thought of a Jesus moment!! Wow!

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The New Testament prompts not only correlate with the Old Testament tablets of stone (e.g.  first prompt of baptism & the coming of Jesus) and the convergence of the human and holy spirit   —
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the prompts also correspond with the other three items in the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Spirit –

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the Lord’s table  juxtaposes with the Torah Scroll and intuition;

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the  breaking of the bread  juxtaposes with manna and fellowship;

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and the sipping of the wine juxtaposes with Aaron’s rod and conscience.

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Understandably, our spiritual intuition, fellowship, & conscience are inseparable, just as the convergence of our human & holy spirit consists as fluid in one broth, so to speak.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/new-testament-external-prompts-correlate-with-the-convergence-of-the-human-and-holy-spirit/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/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-hadnt-gotten-to-make-his-mark-and-he-had-this-conversation-with-t/

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/embrace-rebirth-epiphany
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Praying down heaven

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 is outside-in.

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You zero in on a frequency.
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“I’ve had an epiphany,” you say. And then, “I’m not exactly sure what’s happening to me.”
You got that right. Something is happening to you. That is, this is nothing you’re doing, nothing you’re deciding. This is outside-in.
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Incredulity is the right response to an epiphany. Incredulity is the wonderful, delicious (and awkward, frightening and uncomfortable) moment when everything you think you know and think you believe slams into a Deeper Reality. A Deeper Truth. And there, suddenly, you “get” that you don’t know anything much at all.
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An epiphany is an in-breaking. No one knows why or how they happen. Or why they don’t. Or maybe epiphanies are always happening, always around us. In which case no one knows why or how they are suddenly recognized and acted upon. Or recognized and refused. Or never recognized.
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Epiphany experiences are and will remain a mystery. Which is part of why epiphanies are so utterly cool when they happen to you. Or when, like me today in this office, you get to be an audience to an epiphany rippling through someone else.
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For Christians, Epiphany is a liturgical feast day (Jan. 6, although the date varies in some churches), recalling and retelling the story of a star beckoning three astrologers (the Magi) to the birth of Jesus. This epiphany was a cosmic in-breaking, recognized and acted upon by “Three Wise Men.” They followed the star. They were obedient to the signs and energies inviting them forward into a new life. A new understanding of themselves and the world.
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Epiphany experiences are about birth all right — our birth! And rebirth! Again and again life presents the invitation to burn down our limiting, inauthentic, not-so-useful, not-so-lovely and sometimes really unhappy, unpleasant or even destructive ways of being in exchange for a new vision of self and the world.
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A better vision.
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I tell the man he reminds me of Ebenezer Scrooge who, after an epiphany of three dreams, is standing in his pajamas on a snow- crusted balcony, tossing money over into the street, giggling and dumbstruck, like a man bailing water out of a foundering boat.
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Like an innocent child.
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Incredulity is the first response to epiphany. Gratitude should be the next. Thirdly, action! Go. Do. Redeem your past self now with every breath, word and deed.
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It’s time to see the star again.
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The value of the Old Testament includes not just the representation of Jesus  — but also the expectation of long suffering  (perseverance of the saints)     –

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2014/12/well-at-least-the-old-testament-has-one-thing-going-for-it/
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Their experiences are very much like ours today: life is hard, and life of faith does not automatically make it easier. It may actually make it harder at times.
Spiritual struggles are normal for Christians. They are not to be sought after, but they are normal. They are not to be romanticized, but they are normal. They are not to be shown off and bragged over, but they are normal.
To speak otherwise is to ignore the counter testimony. The Bible tells me so–and I’m glad it does.

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Dig out your root of bitterness    (tribute to Christian mystic Pastor Wilfredo Agngaray)    –

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Bitterness is a root!

Hebrews 12:15, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”

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“Why do you drink a poison brewed from the root of bitterness — in order to foment a curse on your adversary??”  rhetorically asks erudite sage Wilfredo Agngaray.

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Amen!!
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From revelator Kolina Ana    —

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Thank you for this online article too!

I enjoy this e-mail and the various site resources.   Thank you for your roles in sharing .different speakers and topics.

Have a joyous and blessed CHRISTmas for you are a King’s son and HE LOVES you with an everlasting LOVE based on

who HE is and HIS faithfulness.    Have a blessed day in the LORD, our creator of Heaven & Earth and our very being.

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New Testament external prompts correlate with the convergence of the human and holy spirit and the sacred items in the Ark of the Covenant

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Overall integration of New Testament prompts

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and coalescence via human and holy spirit

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and prefiguration (predict the coming of Jesus) in the Ark of the Covenant

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New Testament “external” impressions consist of 4  prompts:   1) baptism  2)  Lord’s table  3)  breaking bread at the Lord’s table  4) sipping wine at the Lord’s table.

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Not “cutting genealogy” (breaking generational curses) as several ethnic Hawaiian pastors exhort, nor sealing via Revelation 7:3  (“Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God”).

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The New Testament prompts not only correlate with the Old Testament tablets of stone (e.g.  first prompt of baptism & the coming of Jesus)   —  the New Testament prompts also correspond with the convergence of the human and holy spirit.

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Our regenerated spirit (our human and holy spirit are inseparable & fluid)  has 1)  intuition, 2) fellowship, and 3) conscience.    

http://www.ministrysamples.org/excerpts/THE-THREE-PARTS-OF-THE-SPIRIT-CONSCIENCE-FELLOWSHIP-AND-INTUITION.HTML

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Just as Jesus ended for us the self/soul (soul consists of mind/will/emotion) at Gethsemane — “not my will, but Thy Will (God’s Will) be done”  — and just as Jesus ended for us the flesh (carnal lust for sex/fame/fortune) the next day at Calvary (Crucifixion),  so does the Lord’s table exemplify our spirit’s commitment to Christ via our spiritual intuition.

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And so does the breaking of the bread exemplify our collective spiritual fellowship in the body of Christ in one accord (a new life in Christ).

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And so does the sipping of the wine exemplify our spiritual conscience in choosing good over evil, no matter the cost of discipleship (crucify our sinful ways to be born in the spirit of Christ).

http://www.ministrysamples.org/excerpts/DENYING-THE-SELF-BY-DENYING-THE-NATURAL-MIND-EMOTION-AND-WILL.HTML
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucharist
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And just as the Mercy seat during Yom Kippur was a prefiguration (prophecy) of the Passion of Christ  — a greater atonement — the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:3-15) —   a shadow of things to come (Hebrews 10:1)  — predicting th