Friday, April 13, 2018


"All stress is caused by wanting this moment to be something it is not."

Oprah Winfrey

Tuesday, April 10, 2018



Nine-tenths of education is encouragement.
Anatole France

It does no harm once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn’t in flames, that there are people in this country besides politicians, entertainers and criminals.
Charles Kuralt

Those who are lifting the world upward and onward
are those who encourage more than criticize.
Elizabeth Harrison

Let us stop thinking so much about punishing, criticizing and improving others. Instead, let us rather raise ourselves that much higher. Let us color our own example with ever more vividness.
Friedrich Nietzsche

The meanest, most contemptible kind of praise is that which first speaks well of a man,
and then qualifies it with a ‘but.’
Henry Ward Beecher

You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.
Jim Stoval

Judicious praise is to children what the sun is to flowers.


We grow gray in spirit long before we grow gray in our hair.
Charles Lamb

Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art.
Garson Kanin

Old age is like flying through a storm.
Once you’re aboard, there’s nothing you can do.
Golda Meir

Age is opportunity no less than youth itself,
though in another dress.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.
John Barrymore

At 20 we worry about what others think of us; at 40 we don’t care about what others think of us; 
at 60 we discover they haven’t been thinking about us at all.
Malcolm Forbes

Age is an issue of mind over matter.
If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
Mark Twain


If you don’t think every day is a good day,
just try missing one.
Cavett Robert

Happiness is an inside job.
Dr. Bernie Siegel

Believe that you will succeed … believe it firmly and
you will do what is necessary to bring it to success.
Dale Carnegie

People with goals succeed because they know where
they are going … it’s as simple as that.
Earl Nightingale

Men are not prisoners of fate,
but only prisoners of their own minds.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Those who think they can and those
who think they can’t are both right.
Henry Ford

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, 
but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.
Hugh Downs

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
John Lubbock

If you keep saying things are going to be bad,
you have a good chance of becoming a prophet.
Isaac Bashevis Singer

By believing passionately in that which does not exist, we create it. 
That which is nonexistent has not been sufficiently desired.
Nikos Kazantzakis

You hear people complaining about this present day and age because things were so much better in former times. I wonder what would happen if they could be taken back to the days of their ancestors — would we not still hear them complaining? You may think past ages were good, but it is only because you are not living in them.
St. Augustine

I cannot change the direction of the wind,
but I can adjust my sails.

It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to!
W. C. Fields

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a
human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.
William James


All things that resist change are changed by that resistance
in ways undesired and undesirable.
Garry Willis

The most fatal illusion is the settled point of view.
Brooks Atkinson

To get what you want, stop doing what isn’t working.
Dennis Weaver

When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change.
Dr. Wayne Dyer

The only constant in life is change.
Francois de la Rochefoucald

The interval between the decay of the old and the formation and establishment of the new constitutes a period of transaction which must always necessarily be one of uncertainty, confusion, error, and wild and fierce fanaticism.
John C. Calhoun - VP under John Quincy Adams

... on facing transitions in one’s life...

It’s like being between trapezes. It’s like Linus when
his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hang onto.”
Marilyn Ferguson

You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel
when you come into contact with a new idea.
Pearl Buck

Tradition is creative. Always original, it always opens out to new horizons for an old journey. Those who are not humble hate their past and push it out of sight, just as they cut down the growing and green things that spring up inexhaustibly even in the present.
Thomas Merton

My life changed once things changed in me.
Tyler Perry

Nothing gets better by leaving it alone.
Winston Churchill


God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.
John Wayne

For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment; sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid; ambition called me, but I dreaded the chance. Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life. And now I know that we must lift the sail and catch the winds of destiny wherever they drive the boat. To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness, but life without meaning is the torture of restlessness and vague desire — it is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.
Edgar Lee Masters - from George Gray

People in mourning have to come to grips with death before they can live again. Mourning can go on for years and years. It doesn’t end after a year; that’s a false fantasy. It usually ends when people realize that they can live again, that they can concentrate their energies on their lives as a whole, and not on their hurt, and guilt and pain.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil
is for enough good people to do nothing.
Edmund Burke

Christianity has not been tried and found wanting;
it has been found difficult and not tried.
G. K. Chesterton

Only those who risk going too far
can possibly find out how far they can go.
T.S. Eliot

Faint not nor fear, but go out to the storm and the action, 
trusting in God whose commandment you faithfully follow; 
freedom, exultant, will welcome your spirit with joy.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
German Lutheran pastor, theologian, dissident anti-Nazi

The bravest thing you can do when you are not brave
is to profess courage and act accordingly.
Cora Harris

May you not forget the infinite possibilities
that are born of faith.
Mother Teresa

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood: who strives valiantly, who errs, and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage to say no to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger yes burning inside you.
Steven Covey


I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians.
Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary!
St. Francis of Assisi

It’s time Christians were judged more by their
likeness to Christ than their notions of Christ.
William Penn

We think if we can dispense adequate information, people will be convinced that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and turn to him. Those methods don’t work anymore. I’m not sure they ever did. People aren’t looking for information about God. They want to experience God himself. Information leaves them bored, uninterested. Experience, especially the ultimate experience any human being can ever have, leaves them breathless. And that is what we have to offer.
Mark Tabb


It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.
Bilbo - to Frodo in Fellowship of the Rings

It seems the necessary thing to do is not to fear mistakes, to plunge in, to do the best that one can, hoping to learn enough from blunders to correct them eventually.
Abraham Maslow

The greatest mistake we make is living in
constant fear that we will make one.
John C. Maxwell

A fear of the unknown keeps a lot of people
from leaving bad situations.
Kathie Lee Gifford

A boo is louder than a cheer. If you have ten people cheering and one person booing, all you hear is the booing.
Lance Armstrong

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
Marianne Williamson


When deep injury is done us,
we never recover until we forgive.
Alan Paton

Without forgiveness, there is no future.
Desmond Tutu

People can be deeply hurt for life by a casual, flippant wisecrack or 
inspired forever by a genuine gesture of compassion and kindness.
Bishop Richard Sklba

The weak can never forgive.
Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

People shouldn’t worry about their status before God at the moment of death. 
I don’t think God judges us at our weakest moments, but at our strongest moment.
J. Moltmann

Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.
Suzanne Somers

If you look closely enough, you will realize
that he is doing the best he can.
Kathryn Hepburn to her daughter played by Jane Fonda
in On Golden Pond, when she was terribly frustrated
with her aggravating, old father.

Taking offense is just as destructive as giving offense.
Ken Keyes

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and
discover that the prisoner was you.
Lewis B. Smedes

I dreamed Death came the other night and Heaven’s gate swung wide.
With kindly grace an angel ushered me inside.
And there to my astonishment stood folks I’d known on earth,
Some I’d judged and labeled “unfit” of little worth.
Indignant words rose to my lips, but were never set free,
For every face showed stunned surprise, no one expected ME.
From the poem, "Surprise"

Forgiveness does not change the past,
but it does enlarge the future.
Paul Boese

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.
Catherine Ponder


Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.
Abraham Lincoln

Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.
Albert Camus

Liberty will not descend to a people; a people must raise themselves to liberty; 
it is a blessing that must be earned before it can be enjoyed.
Charles Caleb Colton

Whenever a separation is made between
liberty and justice, neither is safe.
Edmund Burke

So far as a person thinks, they are free.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A country cannot subsist without liberty
nor liberty without virtue.
Jean Jacques Rousseau

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor;
it must be demanded by the oppressed.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it 
is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too.
Somerset Maugham

The last of the human freedoms is the ability to
choose one’s response to any given situation.
Victor Frankl - a prisoner of war held by the Nazis

True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. 
People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
Franklin D. Roosevelt


The more we express our gratitude to God for our blessings, the more he will bring 
to our minds other blessings. The more we are aware of to be 
grateful for, the happier we become.
Ezra Taft Benson

We can only be said to be alive in those moments
when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
Thornton Wilder

Let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds iron, 
so it will find in every hour, some heavenly blessings.
Henry Ward Beecher

How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens doors. It changes a child’s personality. A child is resentful, negative or thankful. Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people.
Sir John Templeton

If you have nothing to be grateful for, check your pulse.

When we were children we were grateful for those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. 
Why are we not then grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?
G. K. Chesterton

Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world: it is not he who prays most or fasts most. It is not he who gives the most alms or is most eminent for temperance, chastity or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who receives everything as an instance of God’s goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it.
William Law

You’re not going to make me have a bad day. 
If there’s oxygen on earth and I’m breathing, it’s going to be a good day.
Cotton Fitzsimmons

Silent gratitude isn’t much good to anyone.
Gladys Browyn Stern

We would all like a reputation for generosity,
and we’d all like to buy it cheap.
Mignon McLaughlin


[The Jonah Complex is]... the evasion of one’s own growth, the setting of low levels of aspiration, the fear of doing what one is capable of doing, voluntary self-crippling, pseudo-stupidity, mock humility.”
Abraham Maslow - describing the Jonah Complex

Oh my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that counts. 
It’s what you do with what you have left.
Hubert Humphrey

With each passage of human growth, we must shed a protective structure (like a hardy crustacean). We are left exposed and vulnerable — but also yeasty and embryonic again, capable of stretching in ways we hadn’t known before.
Gail Sheehy

One can have no smaller or greater mastery
than mastery of oneself.
Leonardo da Vinci

As a searching investigator of the integrity of your own conduct, submit your life to a daily examination. Consider carefully what progress you have made or what ground you have lost. Strive to know yourself. Place all your faults before your eyes. Come face to face with yourself.
Saint Bernard

So what if you make mistakes?
Pope Francis

If I were to wish for anything... it would be for the passionate sense of what can be, 
for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible.
Soren Kierkegaard

Many people’s tombstones should read,
“Died at 30. Buried at 60.”
Nicholas Murray Butler

For the first half of your life, people tell you what you should do; 
for the second half, they tell you what you should have done.
Richard Needham

We should every night call ourselves to an account. What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abort themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.
Seneca, Roman Philosopher

There is no clock, no matter how good it may be, that doesn’t need resetting and rewinding twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. In addition, at least once a year it must be taken apart to remove the dirt clogging it, straighten out its bent parts, and repair those worn out. In like manner, every morning and evening a man who really takes care of his heart must rewind it for God’s service.
St. Francis de Sales

Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible,
and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
St. Francis of Assisi

Anyone who stops learning is old,
whether this happens at twenty or at eighty.
Henry Ford


Tears have a wisdom of their own. They are the natural bleeding of an emotional wound, 
carrying the poison out of the system. Here lies the road to recovery.
F. Alexander Magoun

All I know from my experience is that the more loss we feel, the more grateful we should be for whatever it was we had to lose. It means that we had something worth grieving for. The ones I’m feeling sorry for are the ones that go through life without knowing what grief is.
Frank O’Connor

When one has not had a good father, one must create one.
Friedrich Nietzche

Grief is itself a medicine.
William Cowper


A man does not have to be an angel to be a saint.
Albert Schweitzer

They are not all saints who use holy water.
English Proverb

Holiness is not something that comes from doing good; we do good because we are holy. Holiness is not something we acquire by avoiding evil: we avoid evil because we are holy. Holiness is not something that follows from prayer: we pray because we are holy. Holiness is not the result of kindness: we are kind because we are holy. Holiness is not something that blossoms when we are courageous: we are courageous because we are holy. Holiness is not the result of character building: we build character because we are holy. Holiness is not a gift we obtain after a lifetime of service; we give service because we are holy.
Fr. John Catoir

Sanctity is not a matter of being less human, but more human than other men. This implies a greater capacity for concern, for suffering, for understanding, for sympathy, and also for humor, for joy, for appreciation of the good and beautiful things of life.
Thomas Merton - on “sanctity”


Anyone can give up; it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together 
when everyone else would understand if you fell apart — that’s true strength.

It’s often the last key on the ring which opens the door.

Impossible things just take a little longer.
Philo T. Farnsworth

What you spend years building, someone could de-stroy overnight: build anyway! If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous: be happy anyway! The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow: do good anyway! Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough: give the world the best you’ve got anyway! You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God – it was never between you and them anyway!
Mother Teresa

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which,
in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.

Through all the tumult and the strife,
I hear the music ringing.
It sounds and echoes in my soul;
how can I keep from singing?
What though the tempest ’round me roar,
I hear the truth it liveth.
What though the darkness round me close,
songs in the night it giveth.
Quaker Hymn - How Can I Keep From Singing

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. 
Age may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.
Samuel Ullman

Every parent is at some time the father of the unreturned prodigal, 
with nothing to do but keep his house open to hope.
John Ciardi

Do not look forward in fear; rather look forward with full hope. God, whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things, and when you cannot stand it any longer, he will carry you in his arms. Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same good God who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day of your life. He will either shield you from suffering or will give you the unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, and put aside all your anxious thoughts and imaginations.
St. Francis de Sales

That which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
Friedrich Nietzsche


An archeologist is the best husband a woman can have. 
The older she gets the more interested he is in her.
Agatha Christie

First you forget names, then you forget faces.
Next you forget to pull your zipper up and finally,
you forget to pull it down.
George Burns

I can take reality in small doses,
but as a way of life I find it much too confining.
Lily Tomlin as her character, “Trudy”

Always tell the truth.
That way, you don’t have to remember what you said.
Mark Twain

Be nice to your children,
for they will choose your rest home.”
Phyllis Diller

Housework can’t kill you, but why take the chance?
Phyllis Diller

It is useless to hold a person to anything he says
while he’s in love, drunk or running for office.
Shirley MacLaine

God is a comedian, playing to an audience
too afraid to laugh.

The years between 50 and 70 are the hardest. You are always being asked to do more, 
and you are not yet decrepit enough to turn them down.
T. S. Eliot

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed
to sell your parrot to the town gossip.
Will Rogers


A hypocrite is a man who murders both his parents and then pleads for mercy 
on the grounds that he is an orphan.
Abraham Lincoln

The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive
his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.
Andre Gide

Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.
H. G. Wells

A great deal of what passes for current Christianity
consists in denouncing other people’s vices and faults.
Henry H. James

Loud indignation against vice often stands for
virtue in the eyes of bigots.
J. Petit-Senn

Most of us are aware of and pretend to detest the barefaced instances of hypocrisy by which men deceive others, but few of us are on our guard or see that more fatal hypocrisy by which we deceive and over-reach our own hearts.
Laurence Stern

One should examine oneself for a very long time
before thinking of condemning others.


One can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, 
insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in a small way.
Edith Wharton

Be a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, 
complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
George Bernard Shaw

For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.

I have studied many times the marble which was chiseled for me — a boat with a furled sail at rest in the harbor. In truth it pictures not my destination but my life. For love was offered me, and I shrank from its disillusionment; sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid; ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances. Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life. And now I know I must lift the sail and catch the winds of destiny wherever they drive the boat. To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness, but life without meaning is the torture of restlessness and vague desire — it is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.
Edgar Lee Masters in George Gray

The indispensable first step to getting the things you
want out of life is this: Decide what you want.
Ben Stein

He not busy being born is busy dying.
Bob Dylan

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; 
the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap.
George Bernard Shaw

Our culture has become most sophisticated in the avoid- ance of pain, not only our physical pain but our mental and emotional pain as well... We have become so used to this state of anesthesia that we panic when there is nothing or nobody to distract us.
Henri Nouwen

I have heard it said that heroism can be redefined for our age as the ability to tolerate paradox, to embrace seemingly opposing forces without rejecting one or the other just for the sheer relief of it, and to understand that life is the game played between two paradoxical goalposts: winning is good and so is losing; freedom is good and so is authority; having and giving; action and passivity; sex and celibacy; income and outgo; courage and fear. Both are true. They may sit on opposite sides of the table, but underneath it their legs are entwined.
Gregg Levoy in "Callings"

Keep your mind on the things you want and
off the things you don’t want.
Hannah Whithall Smith

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and
go to their graves with the song still in them.
Henry David Thoreau

The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions:
could have, might have and should have!
Louis E. Boone

The change in emphasis in our relationships and our society from “me” to “we” will not erode individual rights, ability, achievement, freedom of expression or ownership in any way. Nor will it require that we relinquish our hard-earned cash or possessions, repudiate our economic system or overturn our democratic way of life. The only thing we will give up is the need to strive for individual achievement at another’s expense.
Lynne Taggart

The most important thing a father can do for
his children is to love their mother.
Henry Ward Beecher

By running away from our loneliness and by trying to distract ourselves with people and special experiences, we are in danger of becoming unhappy people suffering from many unsatisfied cravings and tortured by desires and expectations that never can be fulfilled.
Henri Nouwen

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around us. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
Marianne Williamson

Opportunity is missed by most because it is
dressed in overalls and looks like work.
Thomas A. Edison

The first half of life consists of the capacity to
enjoy without the chance; the last half consists
of the chance without the capacity.
Mark Twain

Death is not the greatest loss in life.
The greatest loss is what dies within us while we live.
Norman Cousins

One must attend carefully to everything. If you apply yourself carefully to what you do, 
great springs of strength and truth are realized in you.
Thomas Merton

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the nobler art of leaving things undone. 
The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.
Lin Yutang


Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, 
kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.
Albert Schweitzer

Correction does much, but encouragement does more.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe

It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict,
God’s job to judge and my job to love.
Billy Graham

I’d rather have sticks and stones and broken bones than the words you say to me, 
cause I know bruises heal and cuts will seal but your words beat the life from me.
Dave Barnes in his song, Sticks and Stones

Kindness has converted more sinners
than zeal, eloquence or learning.
F. W. Faber

One word or a pleasing smile is often enough to
raise up a saddened and wounded soul.
Saint Teresa of Lisieux

The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.
Thomas Merton

Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and useless as when he is well and can be of service to him, and blessed is he who loves his brother as well when he is afar off as when he is by his side and who would say nothing behind his back he might not, in love, say before his face.
St. Francis of Assisi

It is much easier to become a father than be one.
Kent Nerburn

Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents, and then later on in our life when we are oppressed by sickness and become old, we are again dependent on the kindness of others. Since at the beginning and the end of our lives we are so dependent on others’ kindness, how can it be in the middle that we would neglect kindness toward others?
Dalai Lama

Rest, Renewal & Peace

There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that 
deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of 
fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.


The truth is often a terrible weapon of aggression.
It is possible to lie, and even murder, with the truth.
Alfred Adler

Believe those who are seeking the truth;
doubt those who find it.
Andre Gide

When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, 
the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.
Dresden James

During times of universal deceit,
telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
George Orwell

One truth out of context can prove very dangerous.
Gregory Phillips

The truth will set you free,
but first it will make you miserable.
James A. Garfield

The enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest, 
but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.
John F. Kennedy

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. 
This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous
than sincere ignorance and conscious stupidity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The truth is ‘hate speech’ only to those
who have something to hide.
Michael Rivero

It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked
by honesty and how few by deceit.
Noel Coward

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.
Oscar Wilde

The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
Oscar Wilde

Sometimes the majority only means that
all the fools are on the same side.

From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth;
from laziness that is content with half-truths;
from the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth —
O God of Truth deliver us!

If a thousand old beliefs were ruined in our march to truth
we must still march on.
Tom Waits

The news and the truth are not the same thing.
Walter Lippmann

Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders
than the arguments of its opposers.
William Penn


I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.
Helen Keller

Work while you have the light. You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you.
Henri F. Amiel

The secret of joy in work is contained in one word –
excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.
Pearl Buck

Sunday, April 8, 2018


The community of believers were of one heart and one mind.
Acts of the Apostles 2

The family picture album is a very important part of remembering and sharing the history of the family: births, baptisms, first communions, confirmations, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, going off to college or the military, Thanksgivings, Christmases, Halloween parties, beach vacations and proms. Smile! Look this way! Stand up straight! Say cheese!

As wonderful as a family picture album is, it never tells the whole story, does it? Unless you were really weird, you never got the camera out to get a shot of Mom the moment she was diagnosed with cancer, you probably didn’t get a shot of Granddad taking his last breath or Grandma in her coffin, you didn’t get a shot of dad in a drunken rage, uncles and aunts not speaking to each other or old girls friends that didn’t work out, you probably didn’t get a shot of Dad when he lost his job or the response on your parents face when they found out that your unmarried sister was pregnant. 

In Acts we have an album of snapshot of the early church. We have that beautiful passages about everybody meeting for prayer and the breaking of bread, sharing everything in common and attracting members every day. But Acts, unlike most family albums, is disarmingly honest and includes some not so beautiful snapshots of the early church.

Not everything was sweetness and light. Keep reading and you will see another side of the very early church.  (1) We read that people sold their property and possessions and divided them according to each one’s need, but we also read that the Greek speaking widows complained that the Hebrew speaking widows were getting a disproportionate share of that division.  One of the couples, Ananias and Sapphira,  made a pledge to sell their property and give it to the church, actually held back some of the proceeds and later lied about it. They both dropped dead for lying. (2) Even Paul, before his conversion, we are told, was out rounding up Christians and having them jailed for heresy, even holding the coats of those who stoned St. Stephen to death. A new convert by the name of Simon, we are told, was so amazed that the Holy Spirit was being conferred by the laying on of hands, seeing a gold mine of opportunity, offered to pay money for that kind of power. These are a few of the not-so-flattering snapshots of the church, even at its beginning, that Scripture has the courage to include. (3) Paul calls Peter twp-faced for acting one way around Jews and other around Gentiles.

We read in another place about Saul and Barnabas running all over that known world proclaiming the word of God, taking John Mark with them. If you read that passage without reading the rest, you would miss the fact that John Mark quit and came home. On the next trip out, Barnabas wanted to forgive him and try him again. Paul refused. They had a few strong words, and behold, the first team ministry ended in a fight. Unable to resolve their disagreement, they had to split up.

If we imagine the church was perfect in its infancy, we can actually get a distorted picture of the church in its reality at its beginning. When we idealize our history and make it sound so perfect, we erroneously conclude that the church today has wandered so far as to be nothing like it “should” be, and because it is not as it should be, it is OK to leave it!   If you do not know of the other early church snapshots, you might be tempted to be critical and even bitter about the weaknesses of the church today.  I believe those who leave the church because it is “not like it used to be” simply do not know how the church “used to be!”


I remember talking to a man one day who wanted to tell me that he did not go to church any more because it had so many problems. He went down the list of all that was wrong with the church, as if I didn't already know. When he finished, I went down my list of all that was right with the church. Finally, knowing that I was not persuading him and nothing but a perfect church would please him, I said to him, "Well, if the church were ever to become perfect, we wouldn't want you back any way because if you came back, the church would cease being perfect again! (I think he got the point, finally.)