Monday, February 22, 2010

Parachutes, Pole-Vaults and Parasols

From My Perspective - - -

Nancy Pelosi gave a statement of determination near the end of January regarding Health Care when she said: “We’ll go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, we’ll go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole-vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in.” Determination can be a very good thing when it comes to promoting what is right and good, but it can become a means where the wrong and bad occur when it promotes a cause that could easily bankrupt the government, businesses and the citizenry. Determination is an interesting word. It means: “the act of making or arriving at a decision; firmness of purpose; resolve; a fixed intention or resolution; the decision or settlement arrived at or pronounced…” A critique, that is a bit caustic of this bold statement, was expressed by The American Voice: “Wow! - did not know she possessed athletic prowess. Talk about hyperbole!! Nancy, you mean like you did this last year? Will this event be televised on CSPAN? Or, is this a private event behind closed doors of the White House?”

It makes one think of Mary Poppins when Julie Andrews came floating in with her Parasol in hand. The Mary Poppins film focuses on children who need a Nanny to provide them with strict care. “The latest nanny, Katie Nanna, quits out of exasperation after the children, Jane and Michael run off in pursuit of a wayward kite. The children are reported missing. A policeman arrives with the children, who asks their father to help repair their damaged kite. The father dismisses them and advertises for an authoritarian nanny-replacement. The children draft their own advertisement asking for a fun, kind-hearted and caring person, but their father tears up the paper and throws it in the fireplace. Unnoticed, the note's remains float up the chimney. The next day there is a queue of old and disagreeable nanny candidates waiting at the door. However, a strong gust of wind literally blows the queue away, and Mary Poppins floats down with her umbrella in hand to apply. The father is stunned to see that this calmly defiant new nanny has responded to the children's ad despite the fact he destroyed it. As he puzzles, Mary Poppins employs herself and begins work. The children face surprises of their own: Mary possesses a bottomless carpetbag, and makes contents of the children's nursery come to life and tidy themselves by snapping her fingers…”

Perhaps Nanny Nancy considers herself to be calmly defiant - a reincarnation of Mary Poppins who can float over the wall of opposition with her umbrella in hand – along with her Health Care Proposal - snap her fingers and make inanimate things become animate. Nanny Nancy may prevail with her minions believing that the citizenry wants what they have repeatedly said they don’t want. The clue for Nanny Nancy is that the citizenry wants “Reform” – not – “Replacement”! They want “Cost Containment” – not – “Cost Escalation”! The People want “Tort Reform” – not – Tort Revisionism”! There are not enough “Parachutes, Poles for Vaulting or Parasols” to get the citizenry to float over the wall with Nanny Nancy.

People have often referred to the statement by Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for all good men to do nothing.” However, the acceptable Biblical concept is: When good men do nothing, they get nothing good done. Two places in particular state the Christian Principle and Profile for doing good in this world and culture - Galatians 6:9-10, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers..” And Titus 2:11-14 (selected), “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say – No! - to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives…while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” We don’t need Parachutes, Pole Vaults or Parasols – just consistency and faithfulness in doing what Jesus Christ modeled and taught. There is no discrimination when one loves his neighbor as himself; and loves his enemy and does good to those who misuse and abuse him. It’s a radical approach to life but it is also a Biblical lesson that must be learned and demonstrated. Consider these things with me!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Finessing A Blunder

From My Perspective - - -

A person skilled in the English Language can speak in such a way that no clear, precise or definitive discourse occurs. Such is the case of Finessing A Blunder or other situations. Finesse means: “Refinement and delicacy of performance, execution…Skillful, subtle handling of a situation; tactful, diplomatic maneuvering…To handle with a deceptive or evasive strategy…” Much political speech performs in this capacity. Rarely does one hear a precise answer to a specific question or interrogatory. The other approach is to control who will be involved in posing a question. This will prevent anything confrontational or deliberative from transpiring.

An illustration of the control in a story of some interest is described today by The Associated Press: “Out of sight for almost three months, Tiger Woods will be back for a day. After that — who knows. Golf's biggest star is to make his first public appearance Friday since he ran his SUV over a fire hydrant and into a tree outside his Florida home on November 27, setting off a shocking and sordid sex scandal. The setting for his return is decidedly friendly. It may be hard to remember the planet is watching. Woods will speak to a small group of ‘friends, colleagues and close associates’ in the Sunset Room on the second floor of the TPC Sawgrass, home of the PGA Tour. Just one video camera will broadcast the event and there will be no questions. Once he's done, Woods apparently won't be sticking around much longer. He is to return to therapy after he speaks about his infidelity and his future plans, according to a letter from PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem obtained by The Associated Press.” It has been suggested that someone else has crafted the remarks that will be given.

It would be beneficial for any therapy if there was just a simple and plain statement of admission. Why not say: “I made some foolish and selfish choices that has affected and hurt those who are the closest to me – my wife and children. I have tried to cover up my affairs and accident but I want to state plainly that I have been wrong for doing the things I have done. I don’t deserve understanding or forgiveness but I hope that my wife and children can find the mercy and compassion to forgive me for my grievous behavior. The many people who have followed my career and been so helpful to me – I hope that they too will find it possible to grant me a second chance. I wish there was a way for me to adequately make amends – I will try my best to be more responsible and honorable in the future…” This is the best one could hope for from a secular-oriented sports professional and business man.

Innately, everyone has a tendency to avoid and/or sugarcoat the truth. The Garden of Eden is a classic example of an act of disobedience – and – two individuals thinking they could hide their act and themselves from Almighty God. Adam and Eve set in motion this process of Finessing A Blunder/Sin. A classic Biblical example is when David allowed himself to lust for Bathsheba. II Samuel 11-12 tells the sad story of King David and his adultery with Bathsheba. A complication develops when Bathsheba becomes pregnant. In his attempt to cover-up his sinful behavior, King David tries to manipulate Uriah – the husband of Bathsheba by bringing him home for a brief furlough from a battle. When this fails, King David continues in his Finessing A Blunder/Sin by ordering that Uriah be allowed to be killed in Battle. This takes place and King David believes his cover-up worked effectively and efficiently.

One thing King David allowed himself to forget – – God! When he remembers God, all Finessing Of A Blunder/Sin comes to a screeching halt. David writes: Psalm 32:1-5, “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven …When I kept silent (about my sin), my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long…I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord-- and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” Psalm 51:1-4, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…” Do you try to Finesse your Blunders/Sins? Acknowledge them and know God’s cleaning and forgiveness. Don’t Delay – Do It Today! Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wanted - Effective Leaders

From My Perspective - - -

Aspiring to be a Leader is a noble goal – becoming one takes time, effort, sound core values, commitment to principles and a willingness to stand alone rather than compromise that which is right! Thomas Paine (English born American Writer whose 'Common Sense' and 'Crisis' papers were important influences on the American Revolution,1737-1809) wrote: (1) Personal - “Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.” (2) Political - “Those who want to reap the benefits of this great nation must bear the fatigue of supporting it.” (3) General Principle - “'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” Another thought he shared is that one must - "Lead, follow, or get out of the way." Someone else noted: "Being a leader is like being a lady, if you have to go around telling people you are one, you aren't."

John Maxwell, an international Speaker and Teacher on the Subject of Leadership, tells how he was influenced early on by one who asked him: “Do You Have A Personal Plan For Growth?” As he began to reply with his work and travel schedule, he states that it became obvious – he did not have A Plan – nor did he have a clue either. John Maxwell writes: “Growth does not happen by chance. If you want to be sure to grow, you need a plan—something strategic, specific, and scheduled. Motivational speaker Earl Nightingale said, “If a person will spend one hour a day on the same subject for five years, that person will be an expert on that subject.” Isn’t that incredible? It shows how far we are able to go when we have the discipline to make growth our daily practice. So if you want to follow a plan, I recommend that you start by identifying an area or two in which you desire to grow, such as Leadership. Then start gathering useful resources – in print, online, on video, etc. Now your goal is to schedule learning time EVERY DAY. Here’s the rule of thumb I’ve used for years: read one book a month and digest one article/pod-cast per week…The average American adult watches close to 30 hours of television per week, with little positive return. What do you think would happen if you devoted just five of those hours to personal growth?”

Lee Iacocca has written a book: The Nine C’s of Leadership. USA Today (Reporter: James R. Healey) conducted an interview and summarized these principles: (1) Curiosity - Listen to people outside the "Yes, sir" crowd. Read voraciously. (2) Creative - Go out on a limb. Leadership is all about managing change. (3) Communicate - You should be talking to everybody, even your enemies. (4) Character - Having the guts to do the right thing. If you don't make it on character, the rest won't amount to much. (5) Courage - a commitment to sit down at the negotiation table and talk. If you're a politician, courage means taking a position even when you know it will cost you votes. (6) Conviction - Fire in your belly. You've got to really want to get something done. (7) Charisma - The ability to inspire. People follow a leader because they trust him or her. (8) Competent - Surround yourself with people who know what they're doing. Be a problem solver. (9) Common Sense - Your ability to reason.” The interview and summary concludes with this thought: “The biggest C is Crisis. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It's easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory, or send someone else's kids off to war when you've never seen a battlefield yourself.” How does one lead during crisis times? Many flounder! Some emerge as strong leaders!

When Jesus Christ began His earthly ministry, he immediately sought out men to Train for Leadership. He used a simple formula in Matthew 4:19, "Come, follow me…and I will make you fishers of men." His method was (a) He would Teach Them in terms of Sound Principles, and (b) He would Model for them what a Leader must be (John 13, where Jesus takes the role of a servant and washes the disciples’ feet is an illustration of this). The Model factor indicates that Leadership and Disciple Ministry is “more caught than taught.” There were obvious truths they needed to learn but there were necessary behaviors and ministry they needed to observe. Some display what seems like innate Leadership Skills, but anyone who finds himself/herself in a Leadership role must have those innate skills harnessed and honed. Are you a Leader? Who or What are you following? Do their core values mesh with yours? Consider these things with me!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Moxie and Pithiness

From My Perspective - - -

How can one chart a course through troubled waters and difficult times? It is always good to find someone who is gifted and skilled and can make suggestions for life that contain some humor and that are simply stated. These statements are called “Pithy Comments”. Pithy means: “precisely meaningful; forceful; brief.” An added bonus is if one can demonstrate “Moxie” while making the “Pithy Comment”! Moxie means: The ability to face life with spirit and courage; aggressive energy; initiative; skill; know-how.”

The following are Pithy and Poignant Comments by Tweety
Anger is a condition where the tongue works faster than the mind…
You can’t change the past but you can ruin the present by worrying over the future…
God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him…
A Hug is a great gift – one size fits all. It can be given for any occasion and it’s easy to exchange…
If anyone speaks badly of you, live so that none will believe it…
Do what you can, for who you can with what you have and where you are…

And then – Tweety’s Prayer - - -
Dear Lord, so far today I am doing alright.
I have not gossiped, lost my temper, been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or self-indulgent.
I have not whined, complained, cursed, or eaten any chocolate.
I have charged nothing on my Credit Card.
But I will be getting out of bed in a minute, and I think I will really need your help then. Amen.

The initial premise of this blog is: “charting a course through troubled waters and difficult times.”
What are a few of the Basic Biblical Guidelines for life?
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
Psalm 37:4-7 (Selected: NKJV)
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass…Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…”
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NKJV)
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”
John 13:34-35 (NKJV)
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
How Is One To Love Another? What Is Biblical Love?
I Corinthians 13:4-8, 13 (NKJV)
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever…There are three things that will endure – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love…”

Valentine’s Day is observed in two days. Expressions of Love will be exchanged and gifts given. Let us give expression of thanks for God’s Love for us, and reciprocate by sharing expressions of our Love for God! We do well to remember – Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Consider these things with me!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hopeless, Helpless and Homeless

From My Perspective - - -

A focus upon and an appeal in behalf of Haiti rightfully continues. World Magazine for February 13th states the following bleak estimates:– "200,000 people dead; 194,000 injured; 1 million homeless; 800,000 living in squalor and make-shift camps; 2 million needing food aid; structures destroyed – 70% in the Capitol, and 90% in towns close to the epicenter."

March is the normal rainy season and that will compound the plight of the helpless, hopeless and homeless. So far, the resilient people of Haiti have managed to endure and survive their many changes of government over the past 53 years.
World Magazine has this Footer in their latest publication - Traumatic history:
1957: Voodoo physician Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier seizes power in military coup. After his death in 1971, his son Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" takes over.
1986: Mounting protests force Baby Doc to seek exile in France.
1988: Leslie Manigat wins presidential election, but is soon ousted by military coup.
1990: Former Roman Catholic priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide becomes Haiti's first freely elected president.
1991: Aristide is ousted in a military coup that triggers a mass exodus of Haitians.
1993: UN Security Council approves and deploys peacekeeping mission to Haiti.
1994: U.S. intervention spurs the military regime to relinquish power and Aristide returns.
1996: René Préval becomes president.
1998: Hurricane Georges claims the lives of more than 400 people and wipes out 80 percent of Haiti's crops.
2000: Aristide wins a second presidential term.
2003: Voodoo becomes an official religion in Haiti.
2004: Violent uprisings in February sparked by allegations of election fraud force Aristide into exile; an interim rebel government takes control. In May, flooding in the south leaves more than 2,000 dead or missing.
2006: Préval returns as president.
2008: Soaring food prices incite riots in April, spurring the government to cut rice prices in an emergency move to halt unrest. Hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike strike Haiti in August-September, killing nearly 800 people and wiping out 70 percent of the country's crops. In November, faulty construction causes a Petionville school to collapse, killing nearly 100 children and adults.
2010: A 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocks Haiti on Jan. 12, toppling buildings and burying thousands of people in the rubble. Estimates are that more than 200,000 people may have perished.

Many appeals are made for financial assistance and one must exercise great care in how one contributes financial assistance. The two organizations that are most consistent in delivering aide and assistance in a fair and timely manner are The Salvation Army and Samaritan’s Purse. A safe way to contribute is to determine whether or not the organization appealing for your funds has an ECFA Seal (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). One should check to determine how much of your contribution is absorbed by Administrative Costs before any is used for the designated need.

How should you approach giving to such needs? Just two thoughts and suggestions: Luke 6:38 (NLT), “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving – large or small – it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” In II Corinthians 8:1-4, “Now I want to tell you…what God in his kindness has done for the needy. Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, their wonderful joy and deep poverty have overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us…for the gracious privilege of sharing in the gift…” Most of us could sacrifice from our plenty - Money, Soft Drinks, Chips, Meals or Desserts for those who have nothing! Consider these things with me!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Chutzpah and The Ugly American

From My Perspective - - -

Chutzpah is a Yiddish Word meaning: “unbelievable gall; insolence; audacity.” Some of the synonyms are: “insolence, impertinence, impudence - the trait of being rude and impertinent; inclined to take liberties.” This idea is encapsulated in the novel – THE UGLY AMERICAN. “The 1958 novel, takes place in a fictional nation called Sarkhan (an imaginary country in Southeast Asia that somewhat resembles Burma or Thailand, but which is meant to allude to Vietnam) as its setting and includes several real people, most of whose names have been changed. The book describes the United States losing struggle against Communism because of innate arrogance and the failure to understand the local culture.”

Innate Arrogance can be seen currently as a side-issue in the Health Care Provisions. It cannot be called a debate inasmuch as some people are prevented from the discussions about this major legislation. Even though most people working on this legislation have not read the 2,000 page proposal, it appears that the Senior Citizen is observed as being the major cost factor in Health Care Disbursements. Someone responded to the Senior Citizen Generation in the following: ”Senior Citizens are constantly being criticized for every conceivable deficiency of the modern world, real or imaginary. We know we take responsibility for all we have done and do not blame others. However, upon reflection, we would like to point out that it was NOT the senior citizens who took: The MELODY out of music; The PRIDE out of appearance; The COURTESY out of driving; The ROMANCE out of love; The COMMITMENT out of marriage; The RESPONSIBILITY out of parenthood; The TOGETHERNESS out of the family; The LEARNING out of education; The SERVICE out of patriotism; The GOLDEN RULE from rulers; The NATIVITY SCENE out of cities; The CIVILITY out of behavior; The REFINEMENT out of language; The DEDICATION out of employment; The PRUDENCE out of spending; The AMBITION out of achievement; or GOD out of government and school. We certainly are NOT the ones who eliminated PATIENCE AND TOLERANCE from personal relationships and interactions with others!! We do understand THE MEANING OF PATRIOTISM, and remember those who have fought and died for our country.

In the novel, THE UGLY AMERICAN, an observation is made: “…a Burmese journalist says: For some reason, the [American] people I meet in my country are not the same as the ones I knew in the United States. A mysterious change seems to come over Americans when they go to a foreign land. They isolate themselves socially. They live pretentiously. They're loud and ostentatious. Ultimately, the phrase ugly Americans comes to be applied to Americans behaving in this manner…” It’s interesting how pretentious (claiming or demanding a position of distinction or merit, especially when unjustified) and unprincipled behavior surfaces when an individual enters another culture or context.

It will also be interesting to see how the plight of 10 Baptist Missionaries will unfold in Haiti. MSNBC reported yesterday: “Ten U.S. missionaries in Haiti were charged Thursday with child kidnapping and criminal association for allegedly trying to take children illegally out of the earthquake-hit country. After announcing the charges, Haitian Deputy Prosecutor Jean Ferge Joseph told the 10 their case was being sent to an investigative judge. That judge can free you but he can also continue to hold you for further proceedings, the deputy prosecutor told the five men and five women in a hearing…” The statement by the 10 is: “We didn't know what we were doing was illegal. We did not have any intention to violate the law. But now we understand it's a crime…” Romans 13:1-7 includes these words to all followers of Christ in all cultures: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad…” One has a responsibility to ascertain what the applicable laws are in a country or culture before an action is taken. This is not debatable nor are alternative behaviors acceptable. I Peter 2:13-20 is also a reminder to be submissive to governing authorities. Consider these things with me!