Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving -
It is good that there is one special day a year for giving thanks. For although, it may be better to give thanks everyday, and several times a day - it's easy to forget, to rush, to expect things to be as they are, if not better.
So we are given one day a year for thanksgiving. Some people spend the time on getting together with family and friends, to eat, to watch parades and football games. Nothing wrong with that. To be in the joyful company of loved ones is a wonderful way to spend a day. To watch folks having fun is also a way to help us have fun.
But you can also be thankful when you're alone or not having fun. Fun is not a prerequisite to being thankful - just ask those folks with sinks of dirty dishes. Being alone does not necessarily mean being unwanted.
Sometimes we have to look ahead, to see the opportunities awaiting us. Sometimes we have to look behind, to see our accomplishments. The majority of us will never be rich or famous, but we will have things to be thankful for.

The question is never "Why me?", it's "Why not me?"
be thankful.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dear Ann and Abby:

Dear Ann and Abby:
I used to read your mother's advice columns in the paper when I was growing up, and now, I sometimes read y'all today. Growing up I felt that the column was quaint and old fashioned, and nowadays I don't know what to think: unrealistic and out of touch?
Of course with all these years gone, I may be the one who is quaint and out of touch.
I certainly am led to understand that the values I grew up with such as "fairness", "honesty", "empathy" and "generosity" are indeed quaint and out of step - but that's a different rant.
The other day I picked up the paper and snorted about the bad advice given. Today, my snort wasn't as bad or as long - indeed I mostly agreed, but thought the key thought was not given.

A woman wrote in, saying that she divorced her emotionally abusive husband 7 years earlier, he remarried first, she just recently. Her adult children blame her for the breakup, and she is concerned that she will miss opportunities to see her grandchildren, because of this conflict. Abby says to concentrate on her own life. Good advice as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough... because what's missing is the truth that you can't make somebody love you.

"You can't make somebody love you." is important enough that I'm staring a new paragraph for it. You can encourage people to love you, by doing various things to be loveable. You can most definitely do things that would make someone not love you; but you can't make someone love you. And after the years have gone by, it's even harder to do the various things to make one loveable. Debating with your children, spouse, parents, family, church, neighbors will not make them love you.

Aren't our children supposed to love us? Aren't our parents required to love us? How about our spouses - didn't they promise to love forever?

If we love someone hard enough, why can't they love us in return? What if we break our backs working morning to night, trying to win their love? What if we do all the things that we know they want us to do? What if we change ourselves so completely as to be a new person? What if we walk the straight and narrow?

If I had that woman in my office, I would ask her what's she done over the past 7 years to show her children that she still loves them. While we can't force someone to love us, we can show them that irregardless we still love them. Little notes, doing things, remembering holidays, birthdays, special occasions - not asking anything in return.

By the way, this doesn't apply to EXs. While I'm sure some EXs would appreciate you coming over to do chores, give them money, hop in the sack, mop the kitchen floor, etc.; as a general rule, this is not a good idea. A betting person would find it an easy bet that it would end bad. Don't do it.

As for our children and parents, we have to get our minds used to the idea that they might not love us, they might never love us, irregardless of what we do or have done. If the past post-trauma seven years of our showing them our love hasn't worked - then bluntly not much else will. We extend the olive branch, mean it, and we go on with our lives.

Friday, May 27, 2011

From Fun to Study (my spirtual disiple plan- part a)

I gave my talk on D. B. Clayton at this years Universalist Convocation, showing them my 4 inch thick binder of material. Five days later, I find out more "important" information: he gave a talk at a local gathering of the Greenback Party. Now his son was active in the party (and it looks like everyone listed moved over to the Independent Republican Party), but does this mean that Father Clayton was a Greenback too? And of course, how much charisma did he have? Will I ever come to an conclusion on exactly who was Clayton? Probably not... but that's part of the fun.

I haven't been doing a systematic study of Clayton, just whenever it strikes my fancy. After the convocation, it began to become clear to me that I haven't done that work (or others) with much

Listening to folks at the Convocation, I heard the word "spiritual discipline" and "spiritual study". Disciple? Study? Isn't this taking the fun out of it?

Are study and discipline bad words? I've been blessed with the hereditary gift of reasoning and memory, but cursed with the hereditary gift of poor attention-span; so I really dunno. I read books in bits and pieces, and always have. I often have 5-6 books at a time, that I am reading.... not including magazines, newspapers, cereal boxes, etc.
I certainly find this an interesting mosaic of thoughts and ideas. But does it lead to clear thinking on one issue? It does mean that it may take me months to read one short book.
(Novels are excluded). I've spent 50 years reading this way - can I muster up the discipline to change? I've gained 30 pounds in 2 years - one would hardly think I could even spell discipline.
So I'm going to try - both to lose weight (which won't be focused on here) and to study.

Now, I'm still going to be reading too many books at the same time (some things take time to change), but I'm going to pick deliberately two books to focus on. And yes, they're religious books.

One will be scripture or ancient wisdom. Pre-1500, so this copy of Declaratio doesn't count, nor does Swedenborg - at least not yet.
One will be Unitarian, Universaist, or Unitarian Universalist Association related.

I will be traveling a lot this month, so I will start with separate travel books A Calfiornia Pilgrimage (1915- Frederick A. Bisbee), and The Cotton Patch Version of Paul's Epistles (1968 - Clarence Jordan). At home, it will be the Harper Collins Study Bible, New Revivised Stardard Version (c1989) and the Biography of Hosea Ballou ( 1853-M.M. Ballou). I plan to read about a chapter of each a day. Ballou should take 16 days (minus the days i'm on the road).

The temptation is to say what I'll read next: the Lotus Sutra? George Rogers Commentary on Romans? But that might cause me to be distracted, so I won't say what's next.

I note this is part A; part B is always how we implement what we read.