In many cases, you can strip away the fictions surrounding a legendary figure, and discover the historical original.
For example, there probably was a King Arthur.
Troy was a real place, and the Trojan War a real event. Achilles, Odysseus and Agamemnon were probably real people.
What about the Jesus of the Bible?
Circumstantial evidence exists to suggest there probably was such a person. Textual evidences are available to suggest what he may have been like. He may or may not have been as Christianity presents.
Continue reading Was there a Jesus? If so, what was he like?
Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
I saw it any number of times while teaching: give a child a musical instrument, or the discovery of any other talent, whether art, or sports, or some special interest; and it just transforms that life. The vision of the excellence he or she can achieve, the beauty she or he can create, unlocks vast positive energies. The mediocre-at-best student comes to excel in every subject. The child who was awkward and socially withdrawn begins to shine.
Continue reading Unlocking the vision
Pray for yourself first.
When you pray for someone, you become a channel through which the Holy Spirit (or “Life Force”) flows to address that person’s needs. (See Mark 5:30.) You may or may not perceive this flow as it happens.
The Spirit must first address any deficiencies in the channel itself, before it can optimally address the other person. In particular, the Spirit must address any emotional imbalances that may exist in the person who intends to pray. Without this adjustment, at best the Spirit’s flow will be constricted; at worst, the channel may project his or her own needs (e.g. anxieties, aches and pains) onto the patient.
Continue reading Un[b]locking the spirit
I recently came across the web page for The New Life Clinic. This appears to be new. It’s modest, but says enough.
The New Life Clinic
The New Life Clinic happens at Mt. Washington United Methodist Church, 5800 Cottonworth Av., Baltimore, MD at noon every Thursday. The service lasts about an hour, and includes individual prayer with the laying on of hands.
I’d encourage anyone in Baltimore to go.
They’ve always kept a very low profile. In 2013, not sure whether the New Life Clinic was still in operation, I phoned the church office. The pre-recorded message didn’t mention it. Yet the services I’ve attended were all standing-room-only with people who’d come from all over the world; many of them also patients at one of Baltimore’s world-class hospitals.
I seek to model my practice on theirs.
(Originally posted 06/30/14.)
“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.”
— Psalm 46:1
I am aging much faster than I’d like. Continue reading Scary
Another link from Brian Williard:
Growing up, all the word “Stoic” meant to me was keeping a stiff upper lip in the face of adversity.
Not until 1989, when I was taking the Synoptics course at St. Mary’s Seminary, did I learn — from Sean Freyne’s The World of the New Testament, which I highly recommend for many reasons — that there is a great deal more to it, including much to like.
Stoicism is a life of ordered joy.
As you read this article, please note the many similarities between the approach to life described there, and the things I have said here about presence.
Carolyn Gregoire also wrote the first article I mentioned about emotional intelligence, “How emotionally intelligent are you?”
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And yet another link from Brian Williard:
Google’s ‘Jolly Good Fellow’ On The Power Of Emotional Intelligence
Looks like links to Carolyn Gregoire are becoming pretty common on this blog.
Don’t scoff at the headline. From the gentleman in question here, Chade-Meng Tan, comes another ringing endorsement of meditation and presence as I have discussed them. I note that the first exercise described in the article is tantamount to what I call prayer, and practically the same as I proposed in “You don’t need an invitation to love people.”
(Originally posted 2014-06-21.)
(Originally posted 07/28/12 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reblogged 05/14/14.)
It’s been a long time since I last considered this; maybe because, for some months, there haven’t been that many jerks among us at the shelter. Whether the “spirit” I breathe out has anything to do with that, I don’t know. But I was in the shower 07/01/12 and overheard that they’d run out of wash cloths, and that brought this to mind.
Just being a nice guy earns me concrete, practical rewards.
A number of mainstream people help me financially who definitely would not help a jerk.
If we’re in the smoke pit and I need to bum one, I’m far more likely to get one than would a jerk.
Last summer, there was a shortage of wash cloths, for reason that people were stealing them. At first, if you weren’t one of the first 40 to shower, you wouldn’t get one. Then it became 30. Then 20. Several guys, it turns out, actually donated wash cloths. I donated 15. They all disappeared.
Some guys come to the clothes window and every day, it’s:
Continue reading Practical advantages of being a nice guy
(Originally published 06/05/13 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reblogged 06/04/14.)
It’s difficult to start this post, as the story’s prone to leave one speechless.
What sort of karma would impel a child to be born into that context?
At the shelter, we’re compelled to attend chapel every night. A different preacher comes each night, in a monthly rotation. These generally disappoint me in their utter failure to speak to the sort of situation in question here. About 40% of the presenters are preoccupied wholly with what will become of your soul when you die; whether you’ll go to heaven or hell; and your need to “believe in Jesus” as the key to salvation. It’s all about a cognitive assent, saying “yes” to a certain set of ideas. There is no presentation of Christianity as a lifestyle, nor any discussion of the role of discipline in following Jesus.
Another 40% of the presenters are preoccupied wholly with obtaining “blessings,” principally by the means of praise: “When the praises go up, the blessings come down.” A “blessing” here is always a material, for example monetary, advantage that one has done nothing to earn. It is as if God were some cosmic King Lear jealous for flattery.
Neither group mentions the call to repent, in terms of any need to change one’s ways.
The only hell that concerns me is the living hell that folk create in this life, here and now, for themselves and their community.
Continue reading Carter Scott, Karma and Chaos
I can’t believe what I’m experiencing.