Monday, May 31, 2010

Concerning 'our' Losses

CNN did a great job of putting together this interactive list of casualties in Iraq & Afghanistan. It is rather impressive and is a great way to 'remember'. Yet when i clicked on the link i was expecting to see civilian casualties as well, and was looking forward (in a relational way) to seeing the faces, hearing the stories, and remembering these too.

Unfortunately it was one sided. This bothered me because it reminded me of our 'me' mentality. We know that the greatest number of casualties, by far, have been those caught in the crossfire. Those are the people we say we're trying to protect. Why don't we desire to hear their stories and to consider their loss?

We've got to get beyond this "us vs them" mentality. The loss of the 'other' needs to become our loss as well. Until then, this circle of self-advancement and untold atrocity will continue.

If we can't care about them, then to hell with us.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Four Addictions that Destroy Your Dreams

The Four Addictions by Tom Ferry

I've discovered four addictions we all have that destroy more dreams, more hopes and more lives than alcohol, drugs, food, gambling or sex combined. When I refer to addictions, I am not focused on any of these. To me, those are habitual symptoms or effects brought on by four much larger causes that are the root cause of those symptoms.

They are:

1) The Addiction to opinions of other people. As a society, we're addicted to what others think about us and how others' views of the world affect us.

2) The Addiction to drama. Some people are drawn to and consumed by any event or situation that occupies their thoughts and fills their mind with negativity, which often brings attention to them in unproductive ways.

3) The Addiction to the past. These people have an unhealthy attachment to events or situations that have occurred in the past. They're stuck in how things used to be.

4) The Addiction to worry. This addiction is comprised of all the negative and self-defeating thoughts that make us anxious, disturbed, upset and stressed, that hold us back in life.

Tom Ferry's Sure Signs of Four Addictions -- these are merely ideas to help you identify how each addiction could be showing up in your life. Do not reject the addiction if you don't relate to the six examples in each category. Think about situations in your life that might be more relevant to you.

The Addiction to the Opinions of Others

1. You Are Concerned About What Others Are Saying or Think About You.

2. You Have Good Ideas and Intentions But Find Yourself Afraid to Act on Them.

3. You Over Leveraged Yourself Financially in the Last Decade With Cars, Clothes, Homes, Jewelry and More.

4. You Are Constantly Seeking Other People's Approval or Avoiding Their Disapproval.

5. You're Afraid to Speak in Public.

6. You're Afraid to Speak Your Mind.


The Addiction to Drama

1. You Love To Gossip.

2. You Are Always In The Middle of a Crisis.

3. You're Glued to the News, Magazines and Stories About X Y & Z.

4. You Have a Tendency Toward Over Reacting Versus Rational Behavior.

5. Everything Is a Bigger Deal Than It Actually Is.

6. You're a Pot Stirrer.


The Addiction to the Past

1. You Constantly Talk About the Past and the Way Things Used to Be.

2. You Resist Change.

3. You Continually Fail to Plan for a Better Future.

4. You Argue for the Past That Things Used to be Better.

5. You've Allowed Relationships to Become Stale, Uninteresting and Without Passion.

6. You have Physically or Mentally Peaked.


The Addiction to Worry

1. You're Depressed, Concerned and Fearful about Everything.

2. You Spend Time with Other Worriers.

3. You Turn to TV and Movies as a Way to Escape the Thoughts in Your Head.

4. You Continuously Wake Up at Night from Your Mind Chatter.

5. You Continuously Go to the Worst-Case Scenario First.

6. You Use Food, Alcohol or Drugs to Control Your Moods and Feelings.

If you were to take away only one message from me, I want you to free yourself from the four addictions. Your life will become instantly and infinitely better.

Live Life by design, not by default.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Happiness

It is a great happiness to have what you desire; but it is an even greater happiness not to want more than you already have.

--Menedemus

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

No "Favored Nation" Status with God

Below are some links to journal articles and essays that deal with the issue of Christian Zionism, or the recent theology which has emerged as a political movement which supports the complete return of Palestine to Israel.

This theology is very recently developed, spreading mainly through a study bible called the "Scofield Reference Bible" in the early 20th century. This is not commonly known and many who ho ld to the theology believe it to be a historically held position among Christians. It is actually a deviation from the historical stance.

While we are called to love all people, there is some serious theological confusion, blurring the Old Covenant with the New Covenant in Christ, found in this new theology and political stance toward Israel. In fact, it goes against the very clear teachings of Christ who established his Church made of "every tribe, tongue, and language", and the strong declaration that "There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female". In Christ, we become one, not based on the blood which runs through our veins, but the blood which flowed down the cross.

“Why I’m Not a Christian Zionist, Academically Speaking” by Gary M. Burge, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament Wheaton College & Graduate School

Jerusalem in the New Testament by N. T. Wright, Bishop of Durham & professor of New Testament St. Andrews University, Scotland.

For those absolutely sold on the idea that God must fulfill the land promise of the Old Covenant in a literal fashion, despite the New Covenant, here is a study on who would actually be legally entitled to the inheritance (Palestinian Arabs included):

"Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem" by Robert Leon Mendelson