The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

9/11 – 19 Years Later

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19 years ago America revered its police officers, firefighters, and other first responders as they watched so many of them rush into the inferno to save people they didn’t know, had never met, and would likely never see again.

We seemed to understand and appreciate how the vast majority of them were honorable, selfless, good, and caring people and we admired them for it. That was the case for as long as I can remember prior to this year and the incredible 180 degree turn that has pit so many Americans against those same people.

So what changed in two decades to completely reverse those sentiments of admiration and respect among seemingly so many Americans today who call for the organizational abolishment and removal of our police from society?

Is it the police officers, as a whole, that became more violent, abusive, and lawless in their actions toward the people and communities they are sworn to serve and protect?

Is it the American people, as a whole, who became more violent, abusive, and lawless in their behaviors and actions in general?

Or is it possible that neither of those scenarios hold the answer to where we find our nation in the year 2020?

I submit that it isn’t a seismic shift in how people in law enforcement see those they swore an oath to serve and protect, nor is it a massive American migration toward criminality, but rather subtle, incremental shifts, in the values, morals, and ideologies of the society we all belong to.

A society that has grown to love itself more than others. A society that too often first looks outward to place blame rather than inward to consider personal behavior, attitudes, or culpabilities. A society that is quick to judge and condemn, but so slow to forgive. A society that demands complex issues be explained in simple platitudes.

How can a society that has lost its faith in the divine, ignores the lessons of history, and admires wealth, power, and status over the basic principles of life, liberty, and happiness, expect to see and experience anything but a degradation of societal norms that leads to the kind of upheaval and chaos we are now experiencing in so many places in America?

I believe the answer is a simple one. We have to learn to forgive. Unconditional forgiveness requires humility. Humility opens our hearts to love. And love for one another is the healing balm this nation needs.

And one other thing. We need to invite God back into our country. His absence has a lot to do with the changes we’ve seen in the past 19 years…

Written by DCL

September 11, 2020 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Faith, Family

Tagged with ,

The Divine Strength of Womanhood

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This is a repost of a blog by Dustin Phelps at happiness-seekers.com

Dustin’s blog is currently on leave while he writes a book. 

I was deeply moved by this article and whether you’re a believer or not, I think you too will appreciate this perspective and example of how we should all view the women in this world.

It deeply pains me that over the course of history, some people have insisted not only that women are inferior to men, but that God agrees. ~ Doug Long – TheLongVersion.com

 

I have been disheartened to learn how many women feel conflicted about their place in God’s plan and whether He really sees His daughters as being equal to His sons.

So today I want to share the most powerful evidence I have ever come across that God—despite the cultural views of some of His children—has always held a grander view of womanhood than any of us could conceive on our own.

This article deals with one of the most widely known scriptures about Mother Eve. The verse in question has been used by some as an excuse to marginalize women, but, as you will see, it actually contains an extraordinary tribute to Eve and all women.

This discovery has fundamentally deepened my respect for womanhood and led me to believe that we are only beginning to understand the breathtaking vision God has for the role of women in the Church and in Society.

However, before I dive in, I have to explain something.

This discovery will be much more fascinating with some essential context. So, I’m asking you to trust me. People who read my articles know that I occasionally ask readers to 1) read more carefully than normal and 2) read until the end. 

This is such an article. 

Let’s get started.

When Brittney was pregnant with our first child—per the norm—everyone would always ask what we were going to name him. When they learned that our son’s middle name was going to be Ebenezer, we’d get all sorts of surprised looks.

“You mean like Ebenezer Scrooge?!” They couldn’t believe it. Some friends and family members would joke about how they were going to call him “Scrooge” when he got older. 

But the truth is that we didn’t choose the name Ebenezer on a whim nor out of a fascination with the literary accomplishments of Charles Dickens.

As it turns out, Eben-Ezer, a Hebrew term from the Bible, has special spiritual significance.

There was a time recorded in the Old Testament when an enormous Philistine army was invading Israel. The force that stood against Israel was completely overwhelming. Things got so bad that the people realized that they were doomed to destruction if the Lord did not intervene. 

Realizing this, the people went to the Prophet Samuel and begged him to plead with the Lord to spare their lives. Samuel did so and the Lord intervened. 

With the Lord’s help, the outnumbered Israelite soldiers were miraculously able to defeat the Philistine armies. 

On the battlefield, while the victory was still fresh in the minds of the people, Samuel erected a monument and called it “Eben-Ezer” (which means “Stone of Help”). And then he declared the significance of the monument:

“Hitherto has the Lord helped us.”

You see, Samuel was concerned that the people would forget how they had won. He was worried that they might take credit for the victory. The Prophet wanted the people to never forget that they had only defeated their enemies because of the Lord’s help. And if they were to hope for His blessings and protection in the future, they needed to continue relying on Him.

Incidentally, if you’ve ever heard the beloved hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, you may have wondered what the author meant when he wrote: ”Here I raise my Ebenezer. Hither by Thy help I’m come.”

Well, now you know.

Anyway, with all that in mind, we can now approach the discovery. 

About a year ago I was asked to speak at a relief society function. The topic was “The Divine Role of Womanhood.” As a man, I felt pretty unqualified and uncomfortable speaking on such a grand topic…especially to a group of women.

I was humbled and a little mortified at the task that lay before me.

As I prepared my remarks, I reflected on Mother Eve, the progenitor of all women.

A couple of years previous, I had written an article about ways in which centuries of cultural misunderstanding have distorted the message of Genesis 2:18 which reads:

“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; [so] I will make him an help meet for him.”

As I reflected on the article I had previously written and then pondered further the words of Genesis 2:18, I decided to see if the Hebrew from which the words were translated could provide any additional insight.

I was specifically interested in the Hebrew word that had been translated into “meet” because it has complex meaning and is pivotal to the verse.

But as I turned to the original Hebrew rendition, something else in the verse caught my eye:

“Ezer”

I noticed that when God says that Eve will be a “help” to Adam, the original Hebrew usage translated into “help” is…”Ezer”.

Wait? Ezer…as in Eben-Ezer? It was the same word.

If it weren’t for the significance of Eben-Ezer, I wouldn’t have thought anything of it. But I was suddenly intrigued.

I looked up the definition and etymology of the word and learned that some scholars trace the Hebrew word “Ezer” to a combination of two source words, one which means strength and another which refers to rescuing, saving, and defending (source).

I searched “Ezer” in the Hebrew text and found that it is used two dozen times in the Old Testament.

Remarkably, “Ezer” is always used in a military context (except when referring to Eve) and almost every time it is used to describe God as the Divine Helper and Protector of Israel.

It is this same word that is used to describe Eve.

Many women have written to me and expressed how they have always felt marginalized by this verse; it makes them feel as if God’s vision of woman was that of some second-class “helper”.

But here was the ultimate evidence that society had projected their own ignorance onto the verse.

Eve is described with a word that everywhere else in the Old Testament is only used for virtually two purposes 1) to describe God when he is coming to stand with Israel against its enemies or 2) when other nations come to march with the soldiers of Israel as they face their foes (list of “ezer” usages found here).

So, “Ezer”, the word used to describe Mother Eve as a “help” to Adam, has nothing to do with the role of an inferior or domestic servant. 

The word that is used to describe the Creator of the Universe as a savior, source of strength, and “the Helper of Israel” cannot have a demeaning implication. God blesses His people, He loves and cares for His people, and He stands with His people…but He is not subservient to them. 

In the Old Testament, the Lord is described as an “Ezer” when Israel is too weak to face its enemies alone. Other nations are described as an “Ezer” to Israel, when Israel’s strength is insufficient to defeat its enemies.

And so it is with Eve. Eve is referred to as an “Ezer” when God sees that Adam cannot do it alone.  Eve is referred to as an “ezer” because she was Adam’s first ally and friend, his partner in doing battle with evil and bringing about the purposes of God upon the Earth.

So, the very verse that has been used to marginalize women, was really God’s own tribute to His daughters.

It is high time that we reclaimed and embraced God’s vision of women.

Exciting things are on the horizon. Women in every quarter of the world are rising up and the women of the Church must rise to lead and influence them.

So, the next time you read Genesis 2:18 and you are tempted to imagine a submissive housekeeper, instead think of a warrior with a drawn sword. Think of a change maker. Think of a leader. Think of an aunt, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a mother, a wife, a young women’s leader, or Sunday school teacher.

Your influence has changed me; it has changed the people around you. Thank you for being an “ezer”. Thank you for your service, for your voice, for your leadership, for your courage, and for your sacrifices.

We cannot do this without you.

Written by DCL

March 9, 2020 at 9:14 pm

Posted in Faith, Family, Good News

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Is a Second Reformation Unfolding in Front of Our Eyes?

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[Image Credit: Ferdinand Pauwels, Public Domain]

Republished by permission

November 1st is traditionally known as “All Saints’ Day” in the Western Christian calendar–a day to remember all of the faithful departed. The day (eve) before All Saints’ Day was “All Hallows’ (an older word for “saint) Eve.” Later, in a series of twists and turns (more reminiscent of the latest TV sitcom, rather than “normal” history) this Christian holiday devolved into our contemporary Halloween.

What is less known about this day is that it marks the moment an obscure German monk and college professor presented a list of religious concerns for a formal debate, unwittingly sparking one of the most momentous events in Western history–the Reformation.

Many in the conservative Protestant tradition resonate with Martin Luther’s bold stand to proclaim the truths of the Bible, and to resist the authoritarian forces of control. But what they forget are the true aims of Luther and the first generation of reformers.

Martin Luther did not mean to start the Reformation. As a “doctor” of theology, he was trying to start an academic discussion about common church practices, such as “indulgence preachers,” who were basically selling get-out-of-Purgatory-free cards. He initially had no intention of breaking ties with the Roman Catholic church.

Many factors led to what we now call the “Reformation.” The first was the rediscovery of Biblical Greek and Hebrew. Most of the Reformers were serious students of these languages, and the insights they gained from this Scriptural engagement fueled the momentous changes that many celebrate on Oct. 31.

The second factor was the cultural movement we call the “Renaissance.” At its most basic level, the Renaissance looked back to the artistic and literary achievements of ancient Greece and Rome. Cultural life blossomed, spawning artists such as da Vinci and Michelangelo, composers such as Palestrina, and authors such as Dante Alighieri. In northern Europe, the Renaissance took a more “bookish” turn. Sparked by Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the movable-type printing press, northern Europeans could suddenly produce and exchange ideas quickly through the printed word. Towns like Basel in Switzerland became centers of scholarship and book-production. Erasmus of Rotterdam led this movement through his scholarship and his wit. With biting satire and vast learning, Erasmus criticized the many moral and spiritual failings of the Catholic Church.

However, in the ensuing conflict, Erasmus remained loyal to the Roman church, unlike many of his protégés. Johannes Oecolampadius worked closely with Erasmus in Basel, putting together the first printed edition of the Greek New Testament, as well as new editions of classic Christian thinkers and pastors like Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, and Basil of Caesarea. As Oecolampadius dove deeper into the original Greek and Hebrew of the Bible, he joined the ranks of the Reformers. Eventually, their devotion to God’s Word led them into sustained conflict with Roman church officials, and finally into a full-fledged “Reformation.”

These Reformers shared the goal of returning the church to a purity and fervency that they read about in the New Testament (in the original Greek) and in the church fathers (many of whom wrote in Greek). They did not want to reject all of previous church history—they saw themselves as truly “catholic,” in one sense of the original Latin word. Catholicus means “universal,” and the early Reformers tried to reform Christian worship and church practices according to what Christians had “universally” believed and practiced.

The Reformation began roughly 500 years ago. What many don’t realize, however, is that a similar reformation is occurring today, only not in the churches, but in the schools. Classical Christian schools, to be more specific.

Like the original Reformers, educators in the classical Christian school movement seek to train and equip the next generation of leaders who will boldly stand for the truth in their culture, churches, and homes. They seek to inspire students who will bravely challenge the status quo, motivated by what they see in Scripture. And they hope that students’ brief exposure to the Great Books, the Great Thinkers, and the classical languages like Latin and Greek will enable them to gain the wisdom and eloquence to lead a new Reformation.

Is it possible that by teaching students to stand on the shoulders of these intellectual giants, they, like the Reformers before them, will be able to steer the world down a completely different path than the one it is currently on?

For Further Reading

Getting the Reformation Wrong: Correcting Some Misunderstandings – James R. Payton, Jr.

Church History (vol. 2): From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day – John D. Woodbridge & Frank A. James III

An Introduction to Classical Education: A Guide for Parents – Dr. Christopher Perrin

Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning – Robert Littlejohn & Charles T. Evans

The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education – Ravi Jain & Kevin Clark

This post: Is a Second Reformation Unfolding in Front of Our Eyes? was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Gregory Soderberg.

Our System Works Even In Its Current Fragile State

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us constitution

All my life I have had a fascination with the founders of this nation and the Constitution of the United States of America they penned.

It is my beacon. It is my guide to formulate and articulate my political positions. Everything begins there for me.

The US Constitution is a blueprint for what I believe is the best form of government ever created in known history. It is based on the eternal principle of agency. Freedom to choose for ourselves our destiny without force or coercion. It’s strength comes from the principles entwined in its language. As with any blueprint its up to the builders to make sure the plans are followed correctly so the end result can be realized.

If followed, the principles enshrined within will lead the nation to prosperity, security, and liberty for for all citizens. What we do with that liberty and freedom is up to us. We are free to choose. Few nations on earth lay claim to anything close.

The United States Constitution is not perfect. No work of human hands is, or ever can be. But as a charter of government, and as a tool for protecting the natural rights of its citizens, no other charter of government is in the same league.

I believe with all my heart and soul it was divinely inspired. I know, not everyone does. But I believe God never forces His will on His children. He will however, inspire them to do things that will facilitate His will to be known. We then, through our agency, choose whether to accept and follow or not.

This election, in my mind, proves the wisdom of the founders and the stability of that 228 year-old document. It still works, and even though the outcome of each election may not be what we want, it gives every citizen a voice and every state an opportunity to select the next president.

I wasn’t happy with the choices the two major parties gave us. That’s no secret to anyone who knows me or follows me on social media, but just like every other prior election I acknowledge the victor and give Mr. Trump the same opportunity I gave Mr. Obama. The opportunity to show me you really want to heal the nation and bring people together. Don’t shower me with platitudes and promises. Your actions will mean so much more than your words. Show me you’re sincere and I will support you in every way I can where we agree.

Ignore your promises from day one like Mr. Obama has done and I will oppose you and work to bring about your defeat should you run again in 2020.

I want you to succeed, but you can’t succeed if you don’t have a majority of the people on your side. It’s your job to win them over. Your supporters smell blood in the water. Are you going to turn them loose or is reconciliation and healing going to be your mantra?

A majority of Americans are watching and hoping.

Written by DCL

November 10, 2016 at 10:59 am

Posted in Faith, Good News, Politics

Are You a Builder or a Wrecker in this Election Season?

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Years ago, when the internet was beginning to blossom for businesses around the world, I traveled the world teaching people how to take their businesses to the web.

One of my colleagues had a poem he liked to quote at the end of his presentation and it has stuck with me since.

It’s words are cause for self-examination.  A personal inventory of our character to help determine the kind of people we really are.

As I watch the candidates, their campaigns, their staff, and zealous followers in this presidential race of 2016, the words to this poem become even more compelling and acute.

I watched them tearing a building down, photo 3-1
A gang of men in a busy town.

With a ho-heave-ho and lusty yell,
They swung a beam and a sidewall fell.

I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled,
As the men you’d hire if you had to build?”

He gave me a laugh and said, “No indeed!
Just common labor is all I need.

I can easily wreck in a day or two
What builders have taken a year to do.”

And I tho’t to myself as I went my way,
Which of these two roles have I tried to play?

Am I a builder who works with care,
Measuring life by the rule and square?

Am I shaping my deeds by a well-made plan,
Patiently doing the best I can?

Or am I a wrecker who walks the town,
Content with the labor of tearing down?

~ Charles Benvegar

What are you? What is your preferred candidate?

Which category do your words, actions, and interactions on social media or in person place you in?

I know I have some work to do.

 

 

When Agenda Driven Journalism Blows Up in Your Face

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On Christmas day a Houston mosque was set on fire. The predictable and immediate judgement reports by media on the Left came fast and furious.

But when 37 year-old Gary Moore was arrested on Wednesday and taken into custody the Leftist media narrative took a massive uppercut. Gary Moore was a regular attendee at the mosque and a Muslim.

Suddenly the narrative that had been building steam at left-wing media sites like Salon, where one can imagine cheering, hugs, and the verbal expression of hope that a crazed fundamentalist southern Christian would surely be the culprit, was dashed.  Salon immediately deleted the entire article.  Later, after other media noticed the missing article and began writing about it, Salon reposted the article with the new information.

Twitter post about Salon article

Salon writer Ben Norton, author of the article, prematurely insinuated the fire was a result of Islamophobia. Even in his revised version Norton did his best to maintain the “America (especially Texas) hates Muslims” theme embedded throughout his story.  Norton called the new information that a Muslim and member of the mosque in question actually started the fire a “twist” and then continued to insinuate that Texans and Americans in general hated Muslims and anti-Muslim rhetoric from “right-wing politicians” was gaining steam.

Poor Ben Norton. I hope someone was with him to provide first aid and comfort when his “twist” on a legitimate news story blew up in his face.

This is why journalism in this country is gasping for breath.  It is all but dead.

Written by DCL

December 31, 2015 at 1:49 pm

Posted in Faith, News, News Media

A Mother’s Prayer

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A Mother’s Day story dedicated to my amazing wife and mother of our four children and to my mom, a woman my feeble words cannot adequately describe.  I love them both more than words can express.

A Mother's Prayer

You came into this world in a rush amid a chaotic scramble to usher in your first breath.  The heart monitor was strapped around your mother’s stomach.  We watched blips on a screen and listened to the rhythm of the beats, but that was the cause of our concern.  There wasn’t any rhythm to it. “No heart beat… there’s no heartbeat,” the words sent doctors and nurses scrambling, taking your mother with them they quickly disappeared from view.  Unlike your other siblings, your father wouldn’t witness this delivery nor would your mother for this time she would be sedated to allow the scalpel to do its necessarily swift job.  Minutes passed but felt like days. Finally, a smiling nurse and doctor appeared.  All is well.  You are here, healthy, and in the arms of a groggy, but smiling, mom.

This Sunday started out like any other. A mother works to get her six little ducklings ready for church.  The weekly process consists of a combination of skirmishes and diplomacy but eventually all eight are in route to the meeting-house.  You are still little, the youngest of the brood, and today you are very fussy.  Not like you.  As the worship service progresses you become ever more agitated and increasingly warm. Your mother feels impressed to take you home leaving the rest of the family at church. By the time you get home you are burning with fever. 100, 101, 102 and climbing.  A telephone call to the doctor results in another trip, this time to the local children’s hospital.  When you arrive your temperature is over 104 and pushing 105.  The nurses immediately take you and wrap you in cool wet towels to try to bring the fever down.  The doctor can find no other symptoms of illness, only the high fever. He requests a procedure known as a spinal tap and your mom is asked to leave the room. In anguish, she tearfully obeys. — Spinal meningitis. The words fall heavy from the doctors lips onto the ears of a distraught and panicking mother.  A deadly disease in 1971.  If death did not occur in the first few days the patient was sure to have severe complications, from blindness and deafness to mental disabilities. The doctor’s prognosis left hope dangling by a thread, seemingly out of reach, but not all hope.  You spent a number of days in a hospital room under the watchful eye of your mother, each day showing signs of improvement.  You made it past those initial, crucial stages with your life.  Your continued improvement encouraged doctors to allow your parents to take you home, but it would be weeks, even months, before anyone would know the toll the prolonged fever would take.  Six months later, you were pronounced healthy with no ill effects.

Another night at football practice. The nightly scrimmage was like any other. Repetitions. Lots of repetitions. You run each play over and over until assignments and execution become second nature. The play was a pass play. You took the snap from center and dropped back, eyes darting about the field for an open receiver.  You never saw it coming.  The blitzing linebacker from your blind-side. He lunged at your legs, the crown of his helmet striking just above the ankle.  Your mom was there in an instant hearing your screams of pain, rushing to your side trying to calm you and provide comfort, when someone said, “ankles aren’t supposed to bend that way.”  She never left your side. There was no separating you. She was there assuring you that everything would be alright.

And for the most part, things have been alright.

Oh you’ve made some poor choices, dealing with the consequences, suffering more pain along the way, physical, emotional, and spiritual.  And every hurt, every heartache, every painful experience has been shared by your mother and will continue to be for as long as her life is connected with yours.  Because the bond between mother and child is unlike any other relationship human beings are blessed to experience in this life — for a mother’s arms encircle a child both literally and figuratively throughout his or her life with tender restraint, security, and love. There to protect against fear, harm, and evil.

Motherhood is the highest, holiest service assumed by humankind. It’s the definition of selfless service. It’s both a daunting responsibility and a glorious opportunity.  The divine role of motherhood is a gift from God, and key to His plan of happiness for all His children.

When she heard the words, “there is no heartbeat”, a mother prayed.

When she heard the diagnosis of spinal meningitis, a mother prayed.

When she heard the agonizing cries of her son in pain, a mother prayed.

A man of great knowledge and wisdom once said, “There are few things more powerful than the prayers of a righteous mother.”  I believe motherhood is a divine and appointed calling enabling them to receive help from above in times of need.  Through sleepless nights, dark days, and seemingly impossible and difficult circumstances, the prayers of mothers have been a source of unparalleled divine power in homes, communities, and nations.

That power has been exercised in your behalf countless times through your life.  Do you know what the truly amazing thing is?  She asks nothing in return.  She just wants you to be happy.

On this Mother’s Day and any day you get the chance, tell your mom how happy you are because she is your mom.

It will be an answer to a mother’s prayer.

 

Written by DCL

May 9, 2015 at 9:42 pm

There is a Spirit of Christmas

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Nothing expresses the Spirit of Christmas like music.  Music can deliver a message with deep emotion, feeling, and power.

For believer and non-believer, this time of year is truly one of “Good Will Toward Men” if we but choose to make it so.

Enjoy this wonderful rendition of Angels We Have Heard on High, by the Piano Guys, Peter Hollins, and David Archuleta.

Let the Spirit of Christmas wash over you and touch your heart.

The Wisdom of the Aged

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James K. Flanagan passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack on September 3, 2012. But he left behind the wisdom he gleaned from the 72 years of his life in a letter to his five grandchildren.

It is wisdom that will benefit us all if we will but take heed.

 

James K FlanaganDear Ryan, Conor, Brendan, Charlie, and Mary Catherine,

My wise and thoughtful daughter Rachel urged me to write down some advice for you, the important things that I have learned about life. I am beginning this on 8 April 2012, the eve of my 72nd birthday.

1. Each one of you is a wonderful gift of God both to your family and to all the world. Remember it always, especially when the cold winds of doubt and discouragement fall upon your life.

2. Be not afraid . . . of anyone or of anything when it comes to living your life most fully. Pursue your hopes and your dreams no matter how difficult or “different” they may seem to others. Far too many people don’t do what they want or should do because of what they imagine others may think or say. Remember, if they don’t bring you chicken soup when you’re sick or stand by you when you’re in trouble, they don’t matter. Avoid those sour-souled pessimists who listen to your dreams then say, “Yeah, but what if . . .” The heck with “what if. . .” Do it! The worst thing in life is to look back and say: “I would have; I could have; I should have.” Take risks, make mistakes.

3. Everyone in the world is just an ordinary person. Some people may wear fancy hats or have big titles or (temporarily) have power and want you to think they are above the rest. Don’t believe them. They have the same doubts, fears, and hopes; they eat, drink, sleep, and fart like everyone else. Question authority always but be wise and careful about the way you do it.

4. Make a Life List of all those things you want to do: travel to places; learn a skill; master a language; meet someone special. Make it long and do some things from it every year. Don’t say “I’ll do it tomorrow” (or next month or next year). That is the surest way to fail to do something. There is no tomorrow, and there is no “right” time to begin something except now.

5. Practice the Irish proverb: Moi an olge agus tiocfaidh si “Praise the child and she will flourish.”

6. Be kind and go out of your way to help people — especially the weak, the fearful, and children. Everyone is carrying a special sorrow, and they need our compassion.

7. Don’t join the military or any organization that trains you to kill. War is evil. All wars are started by old men who force or fool young men to hate and to kill each other. The old men survive, and, just as they started the war with pen and paper, they end it the same way. So many good and innocent people die. If wars are so good and noble, why aren’t those leaders who start wars right up there fighting?

8. Read books, as many as you can. They are a wonderful source of delight, wisdom, and inspiration. They need no batteries or connections, and they can go anywhere.

9. Be truthful.

10. Travel: always but especially when you are young. Don’t wait until you have “enough” money or until everything is “just right.” That never happens. Get your passport today.

11. Pick your job or profession because you love to do it. Sure, there will be some things hard about it, but a job must be a joy. Beware of taking a job for money alone — it will cripple your soul.

12. Don’t yell. It never works, and it hurts both yourself and others. Every time I have yelled, I have failed.

13. Always keep promises to children. Don’t say “we’ll see” when you mean “no.” Children expect the truth; give it to them with love and kindness.

14. Never tell anyone you love them when you don’t.

15. Live in harmony with Nature: go into the outdoors, woods, mountains, sea, desert. It’s important for your soul.

16. Visit Ireland. It’s where the soul of our family was born — especially the West: Roscommon, Clare, and Kerry.

17. Hug people you love. Tell them how much they mean to you now; don’t wait until it’s too late.

18. Be grateful. There is an Irish saying: “This is a day in our lives, and it will not come again.” Live every day with this in mind.

As was written in his obituary, James K. Flanagan “was proudly liberal and fought unyieldingly for the underdog. He was an accomplished author, poet, and seanchai — Irish storyteller; he reveled in recounting the joy of growing up Catholic in Jersey City and his adventures in the Adirondack Mountains and on the Western coast of Ireland. His greatest love was spending time with his family, most of all his five grandchildren” Ryan (11); Conor (10); Brendan (9); Charles (8); and Mary Catherine (5).”

*Previously published in the San Francisco Globe.

Written by DCL

March 29, 2014 at 11:40 am

The Miley and Robin Letters

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MTV stands for Music Television.  But this past week MTV became Miley Television.

402631-miley-cyrus-grabs-crotchMiley Cyrus, the once cute and lovable Hanna Montana on the Disney channel, displayed her disturbing and sexually overt persona transformation into a tongue wagging, butt slapping, twerking spectacle at the VMA’s and and in that instant became a polarizing pop culture figure.

I’m not going to discuss the disgusting details of Cyrus’ performance or failure depending upon your perspective.  What I want to share are the lessons that can and should be learned by every person who watched or has read about the now infamous awards show.

The lessons have been eloquently penned by two bloggers in the form of letters to their sons and daughters.

Some will read this and be changed by it.  Others will scoff, mock, and dismiss as an over-reaction or old-fashioned thinking.

You have your agency to choose how you react, but at least choose to read and consider.

 

Penned by Blogger Kim Keller at Roadkillgoldfish.com

Dear daughter, let Miley Cyrus be a lesson to you.

Yes, this is what happens when you constantly hear everything you do is awesome. This is what happens when people fawn over your every Tweet and Instagram photo. This is what happens when no responsible adult has ever said the word “no,” made you change your clothes before leaving the house, or never spanked your butt for deliberate defiance.

If you ever even consider doing something like that, I promise you that I will run up and twerk so you will see how ridiculous twerking looks. I will duct tape your mouth shut so your tongue doesn’t hang out like an overheated hound dog. I will smack any male whom you decide to smash against his pelvis – after I first knock you on your butt for forgetting how a lady acts in public.

Why would I do that? Because I love you and I want you to respect yourself. Miley Cyrus is not edgy or cool or sexy. She’s a desperate girl screaming for attention: Notice me. Tell me I’m pretty. See how hot I am. I know all the guys want me. All the girls want to be me.

You probably know girls who will emulate this behavior at the next school dance. Don’t do it with them. You are far too valuable to sell yourself so cheaply. Walk away. Let the boys gawk and know in your heart that they see only a body that can be used for their pleasure and then forgotten.

I’m sorry if you’ve ever felt sad because I haven’t gushed over everything you’ve done. My role is to praise when praise is due, but also to offer constructive criticism and correction when it is needed as well. I’m sorry if you’ve ever felt demoralized because your Instagram following isn’t in the thousands, and I’m sorry those “selfies” can never capture how amazingly beautiful you truly are. I’m sorry if you’ve ever wished you had a friend instead of a mom, and I promise you that I will probably get worse when you hit high school.

Dear daughter, I am going to fight or die trying to keep you from becoming like the Miley Cyruses of the world.

You can thank me later.

**********************

Penned by Blogger and Radio Show host Matt Walsh at The Matt Walsh Blog

Dear son,

Don’t let Robin Thicke be a lesson to you.

Don’t let any of these pigs and perverts you see on TV be a lesson to you. They treat women like garbage; they possess no chivalry, no self control; they are disloyal and dishonest; they spend all day pursuing pleasure at the expense of others, and they encourage you to do the same. You might be tempted to follow suit. In fact, you WILL be tempted. These male pop stars and celebrities, look at them, you’ll think. They take advantage of emotionally broken, self loathing, confused young women, and they are rewarded handsomely for it. Look at their nice clothes and their nice cars. Look how they are admired and loved. Look, they treat women like trash and other women fawn all over them because of it. This must be how real men behave, you’ll think.

And you’ll be wrong. You’ll be wrong about a lot of things in life — this is what it means to be human — but never will you be more wrong than when you feel the temptation to buy the lies that pop culture sells about the nature of true masculinity. Son, there is nothing glamorous or fun about being a man of low character and no integrity. What you see on TV is a facade. It’s a sales pitch. It’s poison. You see the bright lights and the sexy women, but you don’t see what happens when the cameras are off and these pop culture gods return to their lives as mere mortals. You don’t see them in their big, empty, lonely houses. You don’t see the emptiness in the pit of their souls. You don’t see all the alcohol and drugs they have to use to dull the pain of living a life devoid of real, committed relationships. You don’t see the hatred they have for themselves and for humanity. You don’t see the jealousy they have towards normal, decent men.

Your dad is no celebrity. He’s just an average, boring guy. But he’s got something that every famous and non-famous womanizer envies: He’s got the love and commitment of ONE beautiful, smart, faithful woman. He’s got your mom, and he’ll only have your mom until the day he dies. He ought to be waking up every day shouting praises to the Lord because of that.

Listen, son, don’t let the world tell you how to be a man. They don’t know anything about the subject.

Men are loyal. Men are honest. Men respect and honor women. A man goes out and finds one woman, and he vows to protect and love her for the rest of his life. A man would never betray that vow. Even the weakest and most cowardly man — if he is a man at all — would die for the woman he loves. Your dad is no hero, but let someone try to hurt your mom and watch him suddenly turn into Superman (or Batman, whichever you prefer).

See, son, you don’t have to be big and strong to be a man, although I think you will be one day. You don’t have to be “cool” or athletic. You don’t have to play guitar or fix cars. These are all fine things, but they don’t define a man. A man is defined by how he treats women, by how he keeps his promises, and by how he protects and serves the ones he loves. That’s what makes a man a man. My dad taught me that, he taught it by example. I pray I can do the same for you.

Oh, and by the way, if I ever catch you disrespecting women, I will sit you down and talk to you about it. But first I’ll kick your butt up and down the street. That’s a promise.

Love,

Your old man

Written by DCL

August 30, 2013 at 1:52 pm