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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dreamer

In struggling with a desire to write and a lack of insight upon what to write on, I have decided to listen and be moved by the holy spirit of internet, Google. What would the almighty Google have to say today? So, I asked it and it answered back with a quote of the day, and this is what it said:


Keep true to the dreams of your youth. 
- Friedrich Schiller 
The dreams of my youth...? I don't really know if I can think back and recall, exactly, what those dreams may have been. You see, I have an extremely difficult time with past memory. I don't necessarily know why this is, but my past seems but a morning mist settling in on the prairies for a brief rest prior to departing before the Sun's midday embrace.

If I really try, I can come up with a few dreams that I may have had when I was young.

In my early youth my dream was to be a professional hockey player. I would play in the NHL and be one of the greats: Wayne Gretzky,  Lanny McDonald, and Mario Lemieux. My brother and I would play street hockey day in and day out, night and day. We even paid honour to our country by singing it's national anthem prior to our game(I was the Calgary Flames, my brother, the Edmonton Oilers). I watched hockey religiously, weeping when my team was eliminated out of the playoffs. I would be one of them some day. However, time and finances of my family, were an unremovable obstacle on the path to this dream. This was not to be.

Even in my youth I had a deep and strong desire for the divine, for the mysterious other. My parents helped to instill some of this within me and guided me while I grew. There came a time when I sought from the divine whether I should become a hockey player or a missionary. I felt a strongly at that moment to seek the latter rather then the former. My parents were well pleased with their young one's decision. From this point on I began a journey toward work within the ministry, whether it be a missionary, pastor or an evangelist. I recall my father reading to the family, when I was 14 or 15 years of age, at devotional time the biography of Billy Graham. I would be the next Billy Graham I declared. I desired to lead as many people to God as Billy Graham did.

As I grew I became more and more involved in the church and youth programs. I became a youth leader very young. Adult leaders admired my maturity and passion for God. I was often given words of affirmation from these leaders, pastors, my parents and the parents of my peers. These words gave me great comfort and fuelled within me a desire to do more and, sub-consciously, to hear more. I would become a pastor, a leader of the flock. When I graduated from high school I entered into my first year  of bible college in a Bachelor of Pastoral Ministry program. However, as time progressed and big life changes occurred I withdrew from the program in order to make a living.

Through these experiences I have learned many things, but one lesson, the deepest underlying current, of all that I dreamt was this: In all that I have dreamt and pursued to become, all have one thing in common, each one provides a great amount of attention, popularity, and affirmation. All things of which I most greatly desired and still often do.

I guess, if I am honest with myself, the dreams of my youth were to always be: admired, well known, loved and given words of affirmation. I am better discovering this as I grow and seek to understand myself.

But, what does one do with these dreams? Dreams that are not so easily narrowed down to one career,  hobby or belief. Are they wrong or perhaps misguided dreams? I'm I just a dreamer of dreams?

One thing is for certain, these dreams, the dreams of our youth and present, hold a great influence, for good or for bad, but they remain vital to our existence.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” 
- Proverbs 29:18 

Thanks Google, for the inspiration!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thanksgiving!


Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grows.  
 Henry Ward Beecher

Thank you for everything that comes my way and for the things that do not. Thank you for the hardships and the joys of life. Though, while I struggle through the hardships, I am much better off for them. For the joys, well, they are the icing on the cake. 

Thank you for the gift of relationships and all that comes with them. Thanks for the arrival of great and long-time friends of whom I have just met face to face. Thanks to a friend who's dedication is unsurpassable, a friend, though far away, resides still close within my heart, mind and soul. 

Thank you for a wonderful and inspiring wife who takes me for all my flaws and strengths. A wife who daily inspires me to be more that what I am, all the while, embracing that of which I am. A woman   with whom my dreams know no boundaries. She guides, encourages and bestows wisdom on my walk of life, illuminating a path before my feet. 

Thank you for my children, whom bring such joy and strife. For their ability to metaphorically and  literally keep me alive without even knowing it, I give them thanks. For wrestles and tickles, laughter and sobs, love and hate, patience and humility, I give them thanks. The abilities they have to mould in me a desire to become better. Like little mirrors they reflect, into my very being, the child within, the hurts, the joys, the longings and more. I want so bad to be a child alongside them. I want so bad to play with the lost child within. 

Thank for who I am, though I know not entirely who that may be. Though, I feel that who I am, is my worst enemy. Give me strength, in order that I may make peace with me in grace, love and honesty.

Thank you for all that I have. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!


Be thankful for the bad things that happen in life. For they open your eyes to the good things you weren't paying attention to before. 
author unknown

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ten Years of Falling Even More in Love With You!


Wow! We did it! There were those who said we wouldn't, those who doubted and those who criticized. Yet, here we are today, 10 years later still married and still madly in love.

 It was 11 years ago, (Two weeks from the first time I ever met you.), that I held your hand and confessed that, "I was falling even more in love with you. (Life house)".

For my wife and I, our relationship and life together has been that of the great love songs. It is not only a relationship of two people, but a great story of love, hate, joy, heartache, courage and fear. Ours is a relationship that inspired the stories of the Greeks, ignited the passions of the Renaissance and the stirred the strength of the Barbarians.

The last ten years have been intensely magical and I wouldn't change it for the world!

Thanks to you, my love, for putting up with a guy like me for ten years. We have come a long way and still have even more wonderful years to come. We have learned so many things about one another. Discovering  why we do the things we do and why we are who we are, it has not always been easy, but well worth it. From discovering Aspergers to discovering how Awesome I really am (We still haven't reached the bottom of that great mystery.). I'm a Real Good Man (Tim McGraw)

I love how you live your life through song. Every occasion has one. Every person represents one.
I love that about you. You are my life song.

So as we celebrate our ten years lets Remember when (Alan Jackson) and then Party for two (Shania Twain). 


Your my inspiration(Chicago) and She's Everything (Brad Paisley). After all these years, I have got to  just let you know what it is that wont let me go, It's Your Love (Tim McGraw) and your My Best Friend (Tim McGraw).


I will forever Stand Inside Your Love (Smashing Pumpkins)always be Living For You (Boston) and when things get hard and others try to drag us down, I will fight for us Until I Collapse(Eminem).


Happy Ten Years, My Gorgeous Wife !!!



Song Choice: The Woman I love- Jason Mraz

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Be Yourself

 “Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

Be yourself! No, I mean it. Don't be anything else but yourself. Cultures, media, employers, co-workers, friends and families may want you to be something or someone else, but do not falter, don't give in. As Steve Jobs reminds us "Your time is limited, don't waste it living someone else's life."

We are continually bombarded with an entourage of guilt trips, sermons, lectures and reprimands on how we should be something that we may or may not be:

  • Nicer/Meaner
  • Gentler/Tougher
  • Quicker/Slower
  • Spiritual/Down to earth
  • Passionate/Placid
  • Serious/Lighthearted
  • Feminine/Manly 
  • Brave/Fearful
  • Sporadic/Cautious
The list is endless. We don't all face the same circumstances in life, but we all face these personality altering suggestions. 

While it is often others whom are guilty of putting these expectations upon us, the greatest perpetrator of all, more often then not, is our very own-selves.

We have all heard the saying, "I am my own worst enemy.". This concept is the closest thing to truth that I know.  Many opportunities have slipped me by, due to this personal enemy. It seems as though a constant battle is evoked within me. A battle between what seems to be myself and another. One whom would, perhaps, seek to destroy me or at most hinder me. Spies of all parties traverse the landscapes of my heart, mind and soul, adding their influence from without.

I must seek to understand this conflict. I must look back, review and analyze this thing called my life.

And so a brief intro, to a longer analyses, is in order.

I have been conditioned, as I believe we all are to some extent or another, from the day I was born for good and bad, intentionally and unintentionally. One of the most dangerous conditionings that I can recall is a practice that I myself, and I'm sure there are others, derived from the "christian" culture. A culture that I was deeply immersed in, particularly that of Evangelicalism. The condition? The denial of the self. I was taught, trained and moulded to continually deny the self. While I believe that there are very important aspects to the practice of this, I also believe that within this there contains a great and mighty harm. I must, however, give appreciation and grace to the hearts of those whom held such influence over me, as they were doing only that of which they felt was the right of way and what they themselves have been conditioned to do also. To them, I give thanks for their concern, no matter how miss guided it may have been (Please note, unless someone mistake me for the condoning of misled actions, I do not thank them for what they did, but rather, only for whatever pure motives that may have driven them to do so.).

The war has been ongoing for as long as I can remember and I am afraid I have lost memory of it's commencement and reasons for it. [The more I think about it the more I understand why I'm in counselling and the blessing of it.] I don't even know why I am fighting any more and if I am even on the "right" side. 

 One could say that I am a recovering Evangelical, and may always be so.

However, hope remains.


“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – 
George Eliot

To be continued...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Called To Question


There is no doubt that we live in a community that has a large religious populace. Of this, I have no problem, however, a problem arises, at least for me and I am sure that there are others, when members of this populace feel the need to convert everyone to his or her own personal beliefs and/or dogmas. These well meaning peoples, at times, stop at nothing, for this is their “calling”. Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that everyone is guilty of this, in one way or another, religious or not.

This practice has occurred through door-to-door visits, tracks left on windshields to face-to-face encounters on our streets, homes and work places. There is then the ever-popular question, “Where do you go to church?” [That of which I have come to understand as really being, “Are you saved?”].

It has been said that, the loudest voice is most often heard; we have had our fair share of lurid voices. The loud voice of one will mute that of the other. And thus, I am left wondering, what of the muted voices? Where might they be heard? Where are the perspectives of the others? Allow me, if you will, to be a voice on behalf of the voiceless, though I know all to well that this is no easy position to take. However, it must be done. I shall out stretch my neck and speak, no longer idly standing by, allowing this community to be bombarded with the entourage of “Religious” dogmas without the presentation of other perspectives, without the voices of the muted being heard.


It is for this reason that I have started a once a month event entitled, “Called To Question”. Called To Question invites a variety of guest speakers to share their own perspectives, philosophies and views on differing topics. Atheism-theism, evolution-creation, faith-reason, war-peace, chauvinism-feminism, love- hate and the list goes on as to what issues are covered. The evenings are an opportunity for members of the community to share in on and take part of authentic dialogue. It is a chance to question ones own beliefs, regardless of what they are. Too see that there are more ways to think, believe and have faith in, then what may most popularly be presented to us.

Most of us, if not all, have grown up in a culture of answers. The modern era was one of exactly that, answers, and with it came rules. Rules and answers are not to be questioned and if questioned, only allowed to go so far. Obedience was, and is, of the upmost importance. To question is a sign of disobedience, defiance and weak faith. ‘Keep the rule and the rule will keep you’, it has been said. Authority figures, parents, police, clergy and political leaders with everything they represent are the last word. Societies, religious establishments, institutes and families that have all the answers and are void of questions, are also void of possibility.

Within the last century, modernity, with all its answers, has had to face some very difficult questions that have arisen along side of and with post-modernism. The answers we were once given have lost their merit. The unquestionable is now questioned more then ever.

“If there is one thing that we have all been taught to fear, it is surely questions. There are some things, we learn early, that are never to be challenged. They simply are. They are absolute. They come out of a fountain of eternal truth. And they are true because someone else said they are true. So we live with someone else’s answers for a long time. Until the answers run dry.”  -        Joan Chittister

Possibility is a freeing concept. Instead of giving answers, I want to provide an opportunity to ask questions and broaden the mind’s horizon. If you are interested in having a topic presented or attending an event, please contact Philip at calledtoquestion@gmail.com. Look for ads of upcoming events at local retail stores or checkout calledtoquestion.blogspot.com for details pertaining to the next event.



Philip E
Founder and Director of Called To Question

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

We Were Not Built In A Day: Wisdom From Nietzsche Continued

He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying- Friedrich Nietzsche


It is hard to wait for what we want to do, accomplish or become. Patience is a virtue not easily come by. It often seems that the harder you try the further the goal seems to become.

I once heard a tale of a young man longing for enlightenment who went to a wise monk and asked the monk to teach him the path to it. The monk told the young man that he would teach him, "Starting tomorrow you will wash my dishes." The young man happily agreed and did so with great vigour, longing for his desired goal. Day after day, month after month he did so, until a year passed and with great frustration he asked the monk, "Why, after all this time have you not taught me the path to enlightenment!?" To this the wise monk replied, "I have, each and everyday you have had the opportunity to enlightenment." 

On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow. - Friedrich Nietzsche 

If you grasp for yourself, you will lose yourself. Lose yourself, and you will grasp yourself.  Our identity does not necessarily lie in a status, figure, or thought, but rather in the being, without any driving motivation to become something that you already are not. If we are not content with who we are now, then we will shall never be so, even when we have reached our desired goal. It is in understanding this that we become free to begin our process. It is in this that we become enlightened, for now we have allowed ourselves to, actually, be transformed. We have given ourselves over, relinquished our driving desires to be other then what we are, and now we begin. We must start with first things first.

 Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me shall save it. - Jesus bar-Joseph

Let me be clear, to lose oneself is not a denial of ones own identity or personality. Jesus does not call us to be likened unto a cult that desires for all to act, sound and think the same. No, we can not deny our identities, nor our personalities...nor our hearts. Nietzsche reminds us of this when he says,
One ought to hold onto one's heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too. - Friedrich Nietzsche
It is a call to deny our own self-will. A self-will that is often naive, destructive and often makes us ineffective. Doing so does not come easily, as we daily fight within ourselves. We are masters at fooling our own thoughts and feelings. Our guilts, angers, fears, disappointments and, perhaps most vicious, our low self-esteems will always challenge us not to give up those driving forces and to not think of ourselves as good enough as we are. We must be-rid ourselves of this menacing self-will. A self-will that hinders ourselves from being ourselves. 

Doing so, is not a one time thing, but a daily occurrence. The journey may seem long, daunting and exhausting, but it seems to me, that all things worth while... always are. 
When one does away with oneself one does the most estimable thing possible: one thereby almost deserves to live. - Friedrich Nietzsche 
 Cheers,

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Crucified Question

cartoon drawn by David Hayward @ nakedpastor click link to see other great drawings.

This is the time of year that many reflect on the later days of Christ and his ministry. A jewish carpenter who, in his thirties, left his trade and travelled the countryside, villages, and cities with a message of hope. Healing few, impressing many, challenging and impacting all. When Jesus encountered others, whether they hated him or loved him, they were amazed. This is what Peter Kreeft refers to as the "Jesus Shock".  None were bored with Jesus. 

We tend to view Jesus as an answer, someone who came to earth to provide an absolute. While this is most definitely true, I wonder if we have forgotten a very important aspect of the Christ.

When the Christ was in presence of the people and when he is in the presence of us, he raises the question. We can not help but question when we stand beside him. We question all that has been, all that is present and all that shall be. We question our hearts, desires and motives.

To question is uncomfortable, uneasy and difficult. For most of us we are afraid of what we shall find, or perhaps, even more frightening, what we will shall not find.

I believe this is why we crucified the Christ... why we crucified the question.



Sunday, April 1, 2012

Is God Dead?



Nietzsche courageously stood up, out and against, amongst most. He not only challenged the common thoughts of Christianity but that of all mankind. Friedrich launches out an attack on the history of Western thought, in particular, the concepts of the following:
  • The concept that there is even a "Man" or "Human Nature" to begin with.
  • The concept that there is a "God", "Divine" or "Supernatural".
  • The concepts that we have about morality and/or ethics. 

First off, let us try to understand what Nietzsche means and where he is coming from when he makes such a bold claim that "God is Dead!".


It is important to note that Nietzsche didn't believe, to begin with, that there was even a God to be killed, but it was rather the concepts of a "God" in our minds and morals that has been disposed of and made non-existant.


Friedrich, throughout his life and observations of history with all it's influential thinkers and figures observes the greatest travesty of all, the denial of this life for the sake of another. He observed from the minds of Plato, Augustine, Kant and many others that there was and is an overbearing sense of denial of this reality for a "true reality". That this world is only an illusion, an end to a means, if you will. To Nietzsche, these thinkers have gravely influenced the minds of many, particularly that of Christianity, emerging what could and can be called an escapism mentality, in-turn creating, what is to him, the greatest blaspheme of all, the denial of life. What was once the greatest blaspheme, to deny God, has now become, the denial of life, the here and now.


While it is of upmost importance to live in the here and now, one cannot and necessarily must not, deny the possibility that there may, in-fact, exist a reality out side of our very own. Perhaps, however, this other reality, this "True Reality", still remains in the here and now, and is but an awakening of our senses in their purest forms (Whatever that may be?)?

Is man one of God's blunders? Or is God one of man's blunders?  -Friedrich Nietzsche

When Nietzsche says, "God is Dead." I believe he is correct in so far as what he experienced and witnessed to be "God". Nietzsche is quite right to challenge the thought of what was Christianity and what is Christianity today. Thus, I shall risk, I shall repeat in like mind and tongue... the God of Christianity, (At least in its' majority and/or its' stereotypes) is Dead!



Obviously, there will be those who disagree, as I hope that there would be, however I must continue further more. 




God is dead! and we are all the perpetrators of this murder. Most guilty, however, is that, ironically, of those who hold claim to be followers of God. The blood of God is most predominant on the hands, bibles, churches and tongues of these. Why is this so?  In their attempts to draw ever nearer to God and/or truth, they have so constructed an image of God that no longer carries, perhaps, God's greatest features, Mystery and Weakness. So, in creating God they have also murdered and dismembered God. This is not to say that God is actually dead or non-existant, but the ideas of morality and of the divine that have so been created throughout history have in-turn destroyed "God" for many. 


The God of the evangelicals, conservatives, fundamentalists, liberals, charismatics, pentecostals and/or catholics, is not my God. In fact it was due to many of these that, in their attempts to help and enable me, they actually contributed to the killing of God within my own life. God died and I was left with nothing but an inkling, a shadow of hope and a faint passing of light. This was where I met the divine and the divine met I. With nothing of hinderance to distract. No word, no sound and no feeling to draw me away from the unadulterated emptiness. I was me and it was It.



Once spirit was God, then it became man, and now it is even becoming mob. - Friedrich Nietzsche


While I do not claim to know everything that Friedrich means when he states, "God is Dead", I have made an attempt to understand and share what that is to you and others. I may be incorrect in my understandings, however, I know my understandings are just that... understandings, and thus, being correct.


The question remains, within myself at least, did Nietzsche know the Christ that I do? Yes, it is very well to make claim that the God of Christians, and that there of others, is dead, but what about the divine that may very well exist in the here and now. The divine that does not desire for us to long after another life, but rather the present. The divine that did not come in order that we may have life in another reality, but came in order that we may have life and have it to the fullest in this reality!


What would Nietzsche think of the ever present "God" of today. In an American and Canadian culture where it seems that for the majority "God" is dead, but where amongst these, movements of fundamentalism are growing and strengthening in their resolve to put "God" back in "his" rightful spot, whatever it takes.


In this manner, I fear, "God" is not dead, although... I rather he was.



Cheers,



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Friedrich Nietzsche: A Great Mind...Moustache too!


“There are no beautiful surfaces without a terrible depth.” 

Friedrich Nietzsche has to be one of my favourite philosophers of all time. He is brilliant, poetic and, in my opinion, very courageous. Now, while I do not claim to know everything there is to know about Nietzsche, I do know that He is worth knowing!

Friedrich was born in Germany, 1844. Living a short life, He died in 1900. Though His life was short, His thoughts, teachings and desire for wisdom remains ever present.   


I have gathered together thoughts (quite a few) that He has shared for us to partake in; to hear, ponder and act there upon. I will not share them all in this one post, for His words are far to great to have them suppressed in one mere reading. No, that would only quench the flame, suffocate the breath, and diminish the value of these precious treasures.

“One ought to hold on to one's heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.” 

You may have heard of Him before. In fact, I would wager that, what you have heard of Him was the re-ittering of what was and possibly is the most misunderstood statements that Nietzsche ever made. You probably had someone tell you that this man made the claim, the audacious claim, that, "God is dead.". Perhaps you have even seen those bumper stickers on passing or parked vehicles that say,

'God is dead.'-  Nietzsche,
'Nietzsche is dead.' - God

While Friedrich did say it, most of us misunderstand it.

If you have heard of Him, do not be to quick to judge Him. If you have not, then I ask that you open your ears to hear and your eyes to see, prepare your heart, mind and soul for the wisdom of Friedrich Nietzsche.

I look forward to sharing more with you as well as learning with you, as we traverse this rich and dangerous landscape.



"All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down."

Cheers,



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Alice In Wonderland


Today my wife and I watched, for the first time, the new, Alice In Wonderland, movie. I loved the fantastical fantasy of it all. What magic, what imagination and what a story. I'll be honest I have never seen or even read the entire story before. So, aside from seeing pieces of it here and there, this was my first real introduction to it. I had been mentioning it to my wife for the last week that we watch this movie. So, when a friend of ours shared with us, a couple of nights ago, that she had watched it and really enjoyed it, that was all we needed. We rented the movie, lay back in our living room and enjoyed the metamorphosis from this reality to a whole new one. 

There were some points of personal interest within the story that I would like to make note of. These may, or may not, be rather precarious points. I do not know if these were noted by few or maybe noticed by all, however, I will state them none-the-less.


1. Am I odd that I saw more beauty in the Red Queen's fortress and was not attracted, what so ever, to that of the White Queens?
2. I was sorely disappointed that all the company in the Red Queens court had faked their so called "abnormalities". I enjoyed the character that they all carried, not knowing what to expect, I was upset at the lose of those traits.
3. I really liked the Red Queen. I found her funny and intriguing. She had much more character then that of the White Queen.
4. I really enjoyed the moment when opposing armies dropped their weapons, fed up with fighting and longing for peace.
5. The point that, just because your different then most doesn't mean your less then anyone else. In fact those of whom we deem as different or odd are often 'much more muchier' then we ever expected and ourselves will ever be. I'll admit, I often feel different and/or like the odd one, perhaps, like the hatter, even Mad. 
The Hatter asks Alice, 
"Have I gone mad?"
 To which Alice replies, 
"I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But, I'll tell you a secret, 
all the best people are." 
This is not meant to sound like bragging, however, it is an honest feeling that I have within myself.


6. I love what the Hatter said to Alice,

 "You're not the same as you were before You were much more..."muchier" You've lost your "muchness"."


One thing that I am most often afraid of is losing my muchness, if I haven't lost it already. In fact, the truth is, I don't even know what that muchness is.

What is muchness? Have we lost it? Can we lose it? If we have, then where might we find it? 
These questions are oddly familiar to me.

Overall, a great movie. I recommend a watch if you have not seen this already or even a re-watch.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: What We Do & Do Not Know

“There is meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler.” 
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Tonight is CALLED TO QUESTION: Dietrich Bonhoeffer: What We Do & Do Not Know. Our guest speaker is Anthony Siegrist. He is a friend of mine, professor at a local college and a great admirer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Currently he is in the works of writing a book with others, on Dietrich, that contains some rather controversial content about this man and his life. Anthony will be presenting some of these very things tonight.

Over the last month I have made an assumption. The assumption?, that most people would know who this man was and the life and times of which he lived. I was wrong. It is not bad that they don't, but I live in a rather overtly religious town and I would have thought that Dietrich would have been a presence known here. So, for anyone who does not know and would like to know a little bit more, here it is....

4 February 1906 - 9 April 1945

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a theologian, martyr, a spiritual writer, a musician, a pastor, and an author of poetry and fiction. The integrity of his Christian faith and life, and the international appeal of his writings, have received broad recognition and admiration, all of which has led to a consensus that he is one of the theologians of his time whose theological reflections might lead future generations of Christians into creating a new more spiritual and responsible millennium. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian famous for his stand against Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. His beliefs and convictions ultimately cost him his life in a Nazi concentration camp. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the most famous theologians and martyrs of the 20th century.

So with this information, it is my hopes that you will attend tonights event and partake in the authentic dialogue. Begins @ 7:30pm Saturday, Feb 25th, 2012 

“In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t find fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts…” 
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

See You There
Cheers,


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Just Another Turn In The Road!



I know of no greater demobilizer to mankind, no thief so surreptitiousness as to snatch away the dreams of the young and old, then that of the fear of failure. 
I feel as though this is something that we all already know, however, this is a reminder well worth relaying here, now and on many more occasions. 

"However early you get up, you cannot hasten the dawn."

It is never an easy thing to live through a failure. In fact, it is down right gruesome. It hurts, it's lonely and humiliating. Even though there may be others to surround us with comfort and support, we still feel alone in our failures. In fact it is, as it often is, not until a later point that we can even fully comprehend that others were even a presence. And yet, we continue on somewhere, somehow, someway we persevere.? Miraculously, we manage to proceed in our daily proceedings. 


"We must learn to recognize, to value, to prize all the endless attempts it takes to do what we want to do, but which, for us, is still undoable."
Joan Chittister

It is only through the experience of failure that we learn to deal with them. In order to grow we must fail. A fruit tree will not bare the fruit that it was meant to, unless it is pruned, cut down and thinned out.  Once this ravaging has occurred, then and only then will the tree fully produce fruit, two fold it's previous. Liken onto that of a fruit tree, so we also must be thinned out, cut down and have the extra and unnecessary growths removed from our lives. It hurts us as we look and feel vulnerable, but we are all, the better for it.  

Living this life is a risk, one that is bound to bare some failures. What could we really enjoy in this life if we never had those moments of hardships. Those moments that, in-turn, magnify the good. 
Life is a risk. One we can not have truly lived, if not for that of our failures.



"Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again." 

- Joan Chittister



Cheers,



Sunday, February 19, 2012

Check Your Perspective At The Door: No Man Is Purely Evil, No Man Purely Good.

*This post in no way justifies the dismal and wicked things that were committed under the ruling and/or orders of these and other men. It is an offering for us to, at least, check our own personal perspectives and come at these characters as fellow humans rather then purely figures of our educational, governmental and societal systems and biases.*
When recalling the tyrants of the past and looking upon those of the present, it is easy for us to immediately define them as evil, wicked men who have, perhaps, even lost their souls. While their is no doubt that these men have committed terrible atrocities, it is vital to remember that outside of their hate these men also loved as well. I feel a vital importance, in that, caution must be taken when scrutinizing these characters. In our observing, we tend to compliment the observed by referring to them in such a way that they become risen above man to god-like status. We lose focus of what and who they really were... human just like you and I. Perhaps, this is why we do it, for fear that we too have the potential to be as such.


We all love no matter who we are, or what we do. We may, perhaps, be the wickedest person alive, but that means not, that we do not love. Wether it be another person, possessions and/or just plainly our own selves.


I came across an article on C.N.N. today that described a few love letters from famous tyrants of our past to their beloveds. I feel that these letters help to give us an insight into the minds and hearts of these characters, one that might not otherwise be noted. 


First off the great Joseph Stalin, Soviet leader, writes to his Nadya Stalin, who's family had previously sheltered Joseph Stalin after one of his escapes from Siberian exile during 1911, and the two reconnected later when she worked as a clerk in Vladimir Lenin's office. Their romance began when she was a teenager. When they married in 1919, he was 41. They had a boy, Vasily, and a girl, Svetlana.
He wrote to his wife, using his pet name for her, while she was away having her headaches treated in Germany.

"I miss you so much Tatochka. ... I'm as lonely as a horned owl."

In June 1930, Stalin was busy revamping the Soviet Union's economy, which led to millions of people being deported and exiled and a catastrophic famine. His plans would later lead to the slaughter of millions.

Then, the great French Commander Napoleon Bonaparte of the later 1700's. 

In typical stereotype fashion this frenchman was most likely the more romantic of tyrants. He was passionate, vibrant and descriptive. Not only in his relation with his wife but with that of his soldiers, armies and fellow countrymen. 

Napoleon wrote often to his wife, sometimes more then once a day, portraying a very emotional and sensitive man. 

"I have your letters of the 16th and 21st. There are many days when you don't write. What do you do, then? No, my darling, I am not jealous, but sometimes worried. Come soon; I warn you, if you delay, you will find me ill. Fatigue and your absence are too much."


No doubt this Frenchman was a sensual man all the while exhibiting this in some of the letters to his wife,

"But you are coming, aren't you? You are going to be here beside me, in my arms, on my breast, on my mouth? Take wing and come, come! A kiss on your heart, and one much lower down, much lower!"

and,

"I am going to bed with my heart full of your adorable image. ... I cannot wait to give you proofs of my ardent love," he writes in November 1796. "... How happy I would be if I could assist you at your undressing, the little firm white breast, the adorable face, the hair tied up in a scarf a la creole. You know that I will never forget the little visits, you know, the little black forest. ... I kiss it a thousand times and wait impatiently for the moment I will be in it. To live within Josephine is to live in the Elysian fields. Kisses on your mouth, your eyes, your breast, everywhere, everywhere."

Wow! Is it just me or is it getting hot in here? 

Sadly, as it is in most cases, tragedy befalls all... the conquerer and the conquered. Life plays no favourites, nor does Death. All things must come to an end. It was in and during his exile when Napoleon discovered through the reading of the local newspaper that the love of his life had died from a common cold. A dismal way to discover the death of your love.


These are just a few of the examples of historical figures that committed many atrocities and yet still held, within their lives, love that ran deep and was enveloped in passion. 


When I read these, I can not help but somehow be sitting within the individual, experiencing their hopes and dreams, passions and fears, successes and failures.  This type of reflection on any individual is a healthy and positive practice. It does not negate the wrongs one commits, but rather diminishes the potential, of examined, from becoming more and/or less then what they truly are. Practicing the presence of the other.


Let us not forget that it is not only our friends and families that love, weep, laugh and take joy in the beauty of the sunrise and sunset, but also our enemies. Those of whom we are so quick to claim we are nothing alike, yet all the while being closer in similarity then we ourselves can even comprehend. 


“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” 







Cheers,


Song: Nothing Else Matters- Metallica