Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Small group bible study members don't always agree

I know I've written here before how much I love my small group bible study.  I do.  I love them all.

I can say I love them all, 'cause I really do love them, but does loving them mean I have to agree with them all the time?  'Cause I don't.  There is one guy in the group that likes to "push back" at me.  I can see we come at many things from opposite ends of the playing field.  A couple weeks ago we had a tiny "back and forth."  I'm not going to call it an argument, but it was kind of like the old schoolyard argument, "Can so," "Can not," "Can so," "Can not," "Can so," "Can not."  Seriously?

The topic of the debate was one of the "hot buttons" debate topics; Are homosexuals born homosexual or is it a preference?  I said that if there was a homosexual gene, we'd have heard about it by now.  There is a lot of scientists looking for it.  No one has found it.  That being said, homosexuality must be a preference.  Of course, this sounds harsh.  We all know people who are unhappy with their sexual orientation and say they wouldn't "choose" this if they, indeed, had a choice.  We all know of the identification, at a young age, of a gay person.  We can say, "Oh yeah, I knew he (or she) was gay when they were little."  I asked this guy's reasoning for saying that homosexuality was genetic and that a person was "born that way."  His answer was, "because."  (the unfortunate "back and forth" came because, in the worst form of my ISTJ personality type, "because" is not an answer)  The true answer was, of course, because someone this gentleman loves is gay.  And he does not want to believe that his friend or relative is "choosing" to be gay.  He wants to believe his friend or relative was born gay, and therefore, God created him this way.  Thus, his friend is not sinning while engaging in the homosexual lifestyle.  I completely understand this.  I do not have a "happy answer" for my bible study friend.  The only answer I have it that there is a spirit of homosexuality.  It's an evil spirit and it is not the spirit of the person it inhabits, but a separate spirit altogether.  Maybe some day I'll write an entire blog post on this concept, but for now I'm just going to leave it at this.

I felt just horrible about this conflict.  My desire is to get along with everyone in the group and not have any disagreement.  I know this is impossible, but there you have it.  When my bible study friend did not show up the following Monday I felt so guilty.  I was convincing myself that I was the cause of his absence.  (and, yes, I do realize that is quite arrogant of me)  However, he did show up last Monday.  I was so glad to see him.  I promised myself I would agree with everything he said.  I wouldn't have a dissenting opinion on anything that came up in conversation this evening.

Oh well, you know what they say about our plan's... I'm sure God had a good laugh at my expense.

The bible study on this Monday evening was Jehovah Rapha, the LORD that heals.  I was doing pretty well at keeping my thoughts to myself, but... then I said this.  I believe that depression is a luxury of the leisure class.  I believe it's a fairly recent malady of our generation.  I believe that in my grandparents generation people couldn't afford to be depressed, they had to work hard to make a living.  My generation and the subsequent generations have enough leisure time to afford their depression.  Now, of course, I wasn't saying there was no such thing as mental illness.  I wasn't saying that there was no such thing as depression.  All I was saying was that it is much more prevalent because we don't work (physically work) hard enough anymore.  We are depressed because we're fat or we're don't have enough money, or our house isn't big enough, etc.  Anyway, my bible study friend took offense at my statement.  He argued that depression was real and what I said had no truth in it.  I did not argue.  I asked him why he thought this.  He said a relative of his had committed suicide because of depression.  There was no way I was going to argue with that.  Of course, not all people complaining of depression commit suicide, but this guy could be right.  Who am I to say anything different. 

Evidently this gentleman makes all his decisions about the world around him by his personal experiences and those of his relative and close friends.  I'm certain I am not a blood relative of this man and the chance of me becoming a close friend is becoming slimmer with each encounter.  I will never be an influence on this guy's world-view.  I'm good with that.

284.  Going out for dinner with a good friend
285.  Getting flowers from my boss on Administrative Assistant's Day
286.  Azaleas beginning to bloom
287.  Dogwood trees in their full glory
288.  My small group bible study members (all of them)
289.  Smiles

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What the TWEET?

Somebody hacked The @AP Twitter account (The Associated Press) and posted a bogus tweet saying the White House had been attacked and Obama had been injured.

Pic of AP tweet from the Wall Street Journal

The stock-market's knee-jerk reaction to the tweet was spectacular.

Screen shot of my iPhone stock market app.
The Dow, which had been at 14698 points (up about a 130 points for the day), fell 127 points into the red within two minutes, and then bounced back just as quickly as it became obvious that the news was false, and a prank. The @AP account has been shut down until they find out who hacked the account and sent the tweet. 

The Wall Street Journal may be calling this a prank, but some of us could call this terrorism.  People lost money.  If you had had a stop-loss in place on a call during this "so called" prank, you would have sold your calls for no financial reason whatsoever.

Unfortunately we place too much importance on social media and we allow social media to have too much influence on our lives.  Network news programs use tweets as news items.
What is this world coming to?  I wonder if this event will even make the network news shows?  Maybe it will... if the Kardashians are having a slow day.

278.  Feeling like writing again
279.  Struggling with finding my voice and being ok with that
280.  Struggling with my job and whether or not to stay and being ok with that
281.  Watching my son succeed in his independence
282.  Ten days until my vacation
283.  Doing some soul searching and being ok with what I'm finding.  Even if it's something I have to change

Monday, April 22, 2013

The irony of not believing in right or wrong

I came across this meme on my facebook news feed.  I did the tiniest bit of research on Harry Palmer and the Avatar Path, (this means I checked him out in Wikipedia). 

Harry Palmer, a follower of Scientology, may claim that no one is right because of what they believe, but if they lie about their credentials and then take a critic to court and sue them for copyright and trademark infringement, you are certainly behaving as if you believe you are right.

From Wikipedia (which I know cannot be used as a credible source)
From a 1991 issue of the Avatar Journal, company literature and associated websites started portraying Harry Palmer (born April 3, 1944) as an Educational Psychologist, including claims that he received a Masters in Educational Psychology from Elmira College.  The Florida Department of Health investigated the academic credentials of Harry Palmer in 2005/2006. The Department found that he used the term "psychologist" illegally and made him sign a cease-and-desist agreement.

In 2000 Harry Palmer sued Eldon Braun, a former Avatar licensee and Palmer critic, for copyright and trademark infringement, unfair competition, breach of contract, intentional interference with a business relationship, and libel. In 2005, the court awarded Palmer $36,000 in damages for copyright infringement, $20,000 for libel damages, and $364,527.68 in attorney’s fees, with all other claims dropped or dismissed.

Oh yeah, and he was sued by the church of Scientology for trademark infringement.  It seems as if he spent a great deal of believing he was right, when he was not.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

The importance of a name

What's in a name?  I just started a study of the names of God.  I was asked to consider how a name defines a person.  I have an old name.  My name is a very uncommon name these days.  If you ever hear someone with my name, chances are they are over 50.  Yep, names come in and out of fashion.  The first of the many names of God that I'm going to look at is the name Jehovah.

YHWH / YAHWEH / JEHOVAH: “LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4; Daniel 9:14) – strictly speaking, the only proper name for God. Translated in English Bibles “LORD” (all capitals) to distinguish it from Adonai, “Lord.” The revelation of the name is first given to Moses “I Am who I Am” (Exodus 3:14). This name specifies an immediacy, a presence. Yahweh is present, accessible, near to those who call on Him for deliverance (Psalm 107:13), forgiveness (Psalm 25:11) and guidance (Psalm 31:3).

(I found the above definition here.

I learned a lot of, what may be considered, trivial stuff about this name for God.  First, the name YHWH was so holy it was not spoken aloud.  Secondly, when scribes were copying the bible and they got to this name, YHWH, they stopped writing.  They took a bath.  They got a new pen.  They wrote the name.  Then they threw the pen away.  This is how holy the name of God was to them.  Btw, this name of God, YHWH, is in the bible just under 7,000 times.  (that is a lot of baths and pens)

Hearing about the reverence there used to be (and maybe in some circles, still is) is inspiring to me.  I have to admit, I use the Lord's name in vain more than I like to say.  Can you believe that many of us use this holy name as an expression?  We say it when we are surprised.  Shame on us.  There was a time (way back in the olden days, when I was in my 20s) that the name of God could not be used as an expletive or a word of surprise or swearing on t.v.  Seriously.  I'm not kidding.  It used to be considered improper television content.  With more than half of the shows on t.v. being "reality" shows, we hear the lord's name used in vain constantly.  AND, the writers on scripted television have no qualms about writing the lord's name, to be used in vain, into the script.

I am going to stop it.  I may not learn a whole lot from this study (although I hope I do), but I am going to let this study stop the way I speak.  After all, you don't hear anyone on t.v. or in the movies say, "Oh my Allah!" or "Buddah, damn it!"  AND, I'll bet you would get kind of sick of hearing your boss use your name as an expletive all day long.  ("What?  You weren't calling me?")  Why is the name of the God I serve any less precious?

I'd like to share this meditation about this name of God, I Am who I Am.  I know it's gotten me through some difficult times.  These difficult times were often when I was regretting the past and fearing the future. 

My name is "I AM" He paused, I waited, He continued:
'When you live in the past with its mistakes and regrets, It is hard.
I am not there. My name is not I was.
When you live in the future with its problems and fears, It is hard.
I am not there. My name is not I will be.
When you live in this moment, It is not hard,
I am here. My name is "I AM."

271.  My husband and his birthday
272.  The color yellow (it just screams SPRING)
273.  Bumblebees (they just shouldn't be able to fly)
274.  Coming into work an hour late (wink, wink)
275.  Getting caught up on my work
276.  Learning more about myself and starting to like myself more because of it
277.  My name, Judy  (I knew you wanted to know it)

Monday, April 1, 2013

How I'm changing the world

My first Happiness Challenge update.

Remember that post I wrote about My happiness challenge?  You know, the one I'm doing for 21 days?  Well, here is the first update on the challenge and my happiness.

One of the first things in the challenge is to write an appreciative email to someone in your support group.  Someone like a family member, a co-worker, a teacher, a friend, an employee, you know, someone like that.  On the second morning of the challenge I wrote an email to my son.  Remember, these emails are short and positive.  There is no need to write a novella to brighten someone's day.  My email went something like this:

Good morning (my son's name). This is just a quick note to let you know that I am proud of you and proud of the way you've taken responsibility for your house, your classwork, your job, and your future. Remember when you said that thing a while back about me not thinking much of you and I said you just hadn't done anything to be proud of yet, but you hadn't done anything you couldn't return from either. Well, now you know what accomplishment feels like. I am very proud of you and I hope you are proud of yourself, too. 

My husband and son had lunch together today.  (we're home from our vacation and my son needed to use my husband's truck to take his trash to the dump.  we like to help him out, sometimes.)  My son told my husband that the email came to him at just the right time.  He was having trouble with a problem for a class he's taking and he felt like giving up.  This email gave him the confidence he needed to continue to work on the problem and he solved it.  BooYah! 

I've got to tell you, yesterday I didn't work the challenge.  I was traveling home from vacation and I just didn't work the entire challenge.  I did do the smiling and saying "hi" in the airport and I was friendly on the plane, but I didn't do any of the email or journaling.  But you know what?  I'm ok with that.  Today I'm journaling my one positive thing to you, dear readers, in this blog post.  Even though my son may never tell me to my face that my email made his day, I know it did and that makes my day.

Here is my encouragement to any of you out there in the blogosphere wondering how you can change the world.  Write one positive email each day to someone you know.  I think we can change the world and make it a happier place, one email at a time.

259.  A day in the mid-Atlantic that could almost be called spring-like
260.  April Fool's day  (it's just a fun day, isn't it)
261.  The airline lost my luggage, but then the airline found my luggage and they will send it to me tomorrow and I didn't get upset about it
262.  Daffodils EVERYWHERE!
263.  Sleeping in my own bed (why is it better, even if you need a new mattress?)
264.  Being home