This book is amazing

I am about a third of the way through an incredible book called “What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything” written by Rob Bell. The book is a treatment of the Bible that I’ve never read before. The author turns the book over and over and throughout every story, poem and letter he points out how the books through line is hope, love, redemption and reconciliation. If you are reading a story, poem, letter or song in this book and do not experience hope, love ore redemption than you are missing the point.

When you read a story letter or poem with the purpose of finding this through line of love and redemption you experience hope. If you read a story without this perspective it can be dark and abysmal and make you feel hopeless. The bible can be violent and give you nightmares if you are not approaching it with that filter. The author explains why the filter is rightfully applied, mostly because of history context and culture.

One of the worst things we can do in life is lose hope. Lost hope can result in a cynical apathic life and may even lead to depression. How can we in the face of so much bad news find hope? Through education and learning the “whole story”. Often we only hear the headlines and nothing else but stories are layered and nuanced and one viewpoint of a much larger thing called life. Next time you feel like throwing in the towel I encourage you to dig deeper learn more and find hope. Hope was at the bottom of pandoras box,

“Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.”

Eleanor Roosevelt
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It is all bad isn’t it

The other day I let my wife know that I listened to the news on the smart speaker in the house and the car radio. She asked me why. I let her know that I wanted to be informed. Things were and are happening all over the world and I wanted to know what those things were. She replied that all the things happening seemed awful. Sunday I heard a news story about a shooting in a shopping mall and I realized that my wife was spot on. The news does seem to be pretty bad. I am at a sort of cross roads.

“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

Eleanor Roosevelt
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I can continue to listen to the news shake my head and comment on how bad everything is, stop listening, or I can get involved and try to make a difference.

I was in a cave on a tour in Alabama, part of the tour involved turning off the lights in the cave and experiencing complete and total darkness. I got to say complete and total darkness is an odd experience. In complete and total darkness even the tiniest of light makes a huge difference. The worse the news gets the more potent your actions will be (as long as they are good.)

It’s like being in the grocery store

My favorite time to visit the grocery store is in the morning. Everything and everybody in the grocery store in the morning hours before the rush of traffic is new and fresh and exciting. In the morning it almost feels like someone has hit a reset button and we all get to experience a new day.

“With the new day comes new strength.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Today is a new day. Yesterday is over and we can never get it back again but today right now is new and you can make a huge difference. This is good to keep in mind for big and small problems. Face today the way it was meant to be faced like the grocery store in the morning, full of hope, clean and excited.

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Darkness is funny that way …5lbs

In most western religious texts, folklore and fairy tales darkness equals evil. Evil that surrounds and infiltrates.

I was a father at a young age (at least I thought it was young). I watched my kids grow up and while growing up I saw them face obstacles, in school, at work, within their friend circles. The obstacles were in form of rocky relationships, steep learning curves, and physical ailments.

The kids and myself were quick within rocky relationships to label people good or evil but that is reductive thinking that I tried to avoid. My dad told me that the most important thing and only thing I could do to make a difference was to do the right thing.

We cannot make someone do good or bad. People have freewill and autonomy. All that we can do is steer our own ships. When we begin to try and influence others through deeds that are not good we risk allowing the darkness to fill us. Darkness is funny that way. We can do bad things in pursuit of good outcomes and then we are the darkness we were attempting to drive out.

In the Christian bible text John 8:12 we are taught that only light or good can drive out darkness. I think a lot about war when I think about light and dark. In war we use harm and force to try and drive out darkness. It seems foolish to assume that war would create good or an end to darkness.

The written book “Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies” is thought by scholars to be, part of our civilizations knowledge base. It is a very important book that seems to have guided our society and in it the author says “Only the dead are safe; only the dead have seen the end of war.” — George Santayana

When we work and use darkness we only get pain and death. Darkness is funny that way it does not heal, mend, build, or give any life. Lets make a promise to ourselves today, lets promise that we will not use darkness even if it seems like darkness is the right way. Lets promise to only use light only do good.