Saturday, November 30, 2013

What if you had the perfect Visitor

This had been sitting in my unfinished que since this summer. After editing my piece on addiction and the importance of education I found this.  Can we educate ourselves to heaven? Hm.... since my family has brought a long line of teachers, I have always thought education and learning was the key. But this has changed in this moment. Read this story and then decide.

We had a visiting priest last weekend and his homily is one that will stay with me for a long time.  This can be considered by anyone, a Christian, an atheist, a Moslem, a Jew, a Hindu or anyone. I am taking some editorial leeway and stretching his message to include my friends and others who are not Christian.  But I want to bring home his point.  Consider for a moment that there does exist an entity that actually created the world.  This entity has the power to create or destroy any and all things that anyone can think of. This entity created you, your friends, your parents, your brothers or sisters and any and all people in the world today back through to the beginning of time and in the future to the end of time.  This entity created all the plants, bugs, dogs, cats and cows.  Everything that is came from this entity. No name for now just dream a little let the hopeful part of you feel this reality.  Now the wonderful thing is that this entity can present as a human with the ability to talk, listen and empathize.  For the purposes of this story this entity does present as a human.  This human decides that you have earned 1 hour of their time to do what you will.  How will you spend the hour?  What will you say. 
The priest went on say that a common person might collect all the books, and research about the beginning of the earth, the secrets of the universe and the secrets to happiness.  When the entity arrived, this individual might then ask all those questions trying to learn the keys to life. 

After 55 minutes of being drilled by this person the entity finally said

"STOP, are you sure you want to use the whole hour to learn more? Does not learning just create more questions? Where is the certainty in that?  Why not just sit by me and have a cup of coffee, or tea or a soda?  Lets just visit. I want to get to know  you. Tell me about your dreams, your hopes." 

This individual stopped asking questions. A slight tears appeared and a big smile came upon this persons face.
"You mean I can just be in your presence and visit? I don't have to be ambitious and thrive to perfect myself"
" Yes, that is all I want. I want you to know that I Love you and that all your mistakes are forgiven. I want you to be peaceful, happy and calm.   Just sit and visit with me for the last 5 minutes and tell me what you did today. "

This person then brought some drinks and spent the last 3 minutes of the hour just visiting. Then the appointment was over.  With only 30 seconds left the person asked one final question.

"What should I do now, I have made so many mistakes?"

I created you perfect as you are right now. I want you to Love and serve your fellow humans. 


Friday, August 30, 2013

Addictions, teaching learning.  This short two and a half minute video is one of the best shorts about addiction I have seen.  It comes at a very important time in our society when addiction is eating our society alive.  Deepak Chopra is a very good teacher.  He is not a god, or a guru or an evil secularist.  He is a MD, who studied meditation and believes in a broader definition of Creation.  He is not an enemy of Christians or of any faith based group who believe in monotheist peaceful coexistence.  

 As a devout Christian and Maronite Catholic I can understand how some would be turned off by his teaching. At times he speaks of Christ head, or oneness or mindfulness which sounds much like Buddhist teaching. This language and concepts can be found in Eastern Christian Theology.   But remember, just like when you sat in Math class or Art or History and learned somethings, decided other things were not worth learning and daydreamed without listening.   Information is present for us to learn. Then we give it to our Creator, the Trinity who dwells within and amongst us. We then discern it as truth or false teaching. When it is truth it helps us deal better with the world. We have the freedom in America to take it or leave it. Nothing more, nothing less.  As Christians we also have the freedom to seek and ask questions. Learning, teaching is still one of the most important activities of our society. With all education we must be aware of false teachers. That is the danger of giving our full attention to worldly spiritual teachers. Some are false teacher seeking your attention, wanting to sell you something or even leading you to destructive paths.   Learn what you can but do not forget....  none of what you hear is ever a replacement for a loving relationship with Jesus Christ that is nurtured and made whole by prayer, forgiveness, and regular participation in the Eucharist celebration that occurs weekly at the Diving Liturgy.

subdeacon stephen

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Right or Wrong? from God or Man?

I am amazed by what has transpired.  I continue to let God lead my life and although at times the direction seems to be gray... or not absolutely direct from God, but, when I pray and let go, it becomes much more clear.  There is a right and wrong in our daily life. My liberal view of the past seems to have been more about fear of conflict and disagreement.  I just did not want to fight with people about who I am or what I think.  This stems from my Dad, who I could never say no to, but that is another story.  Now, when I stay true to my beliefs, I find that it usually it is accepted and there is no conflict or at least the conflict is more about my lack of trust in my message or discernment of God's plan.  The more I trust the more clear the message is.

I can't help but think that this may in fact be a function of my mind simply discerning what I want with God as a standard.  That may in fact be the same process.  Thinking about my actions or daily activity and comparing my decisions to God's standard of perfection, Love, compassion and faith appears to be the same as letting God lead my life. How do I know it is God?  I know through my prayer, worship and contemplative practices.

This is a very interesting discernment because I recently started reading a novel called The Babylonian Codex.  Kind of a take off from  It is a novel about American government and an alleged rightwing Bible toting conspiracy that is directly connected to the theft of all the antiquities in Iraq.   The novels premise is fiction, yet it had an amazing amount of similarity to our secular vs God culture. Yet it painted the God inspired as a truly satanic force because it focused on demons, war and killing non believers.  Kind of like an an underground led force similar to Al Qaida. They told a story of how the military led by these rogue crazies destroyed an ancient antiquities site outside Babylon with bulldozers and the like completely disregarding the historical significance of the site.  Did this happen? I can't go there. Sadam Hussein was a very bad man. He did not protect the antiquities either.  Some day the truth will be told.

This morning I was reading the novel again.  It is coming to the final battle between the good guys and bad guys.  I do love it when the good guys win.   I decided to Google the Babylonian Codex which let me to the novel first AND then the Hammurabi Code.  The link referenced an article in the Jewish Quarterly which opined that: " with the enactment and acceptance of the Hammurabi code  man began to emerge from the complete dependence on God as the source of all law." Since God up to this point had been interpreted by religious leaders, laws were issued from the perspective of a few. Thus we had tyrannical society or submissive society or somewhere in between depending who was in charge or at least considered in charge because of money or an army or other political power.  But was their rule always right and true?  That is what is debatable.  Do humans define what is right or wrong or does God.  Some might answer this question by saying humans define what is right or wrong with inspiration from God.  The secularists say humans determine what is right and wrong through rational thinking and each persons conscious.  That actually is the teaching of the Catholic catechism. (see my earlier blog) Unfortunately, human rational thinking and conscious can be incorrectly formed and influenced by social and intellectual pressure.  So how do we know if we are right or wrong?   We don't know we only can believe and have faith that our conscious discernment is well formed and in-keeping with God. Through prayer without ceasing and mindful choices if we can honestly say we do that daily, as much as possible, we are on the right track.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mindfulness is a good thing for all.

Some time ago I became aware of being mindful.  I had heard the term, mostly from Buddhists and other secular stress management consultants as a way to bring excellence and calm to ones life.  I recently heard a Catholic teacher that I greatly respected attribute mindfulness to those other people, you know the non-Catholics who lead us away from Christ.   I must say I was very disappointed by that attitude.  Mindfulness IS NOT just for Buddhists. Being mindful is being present in the moment. Aware of your choice from the multitude of impulsive possibilities in your daily life.  If you have learned some self discipline you may not consider this as you may already have utilized it.  Your parents may have taught you at a very early age and over time and through the maturing process you have incorporated mindfulness into your daily life.  Mindfulness is a skill that can be applied to Christianity, or work or eating or exercise.  It is a skill like listening.   I am mindful of Christ in my life.  I try to be mindful of my prayers and contemplative practices.  Most of all I am trying to learn to be mindful of what I eat each day.  It is remarkable to consider all the bad habits a man can develop over the course of 60 years of life. (almost 61)  It is being present to my self and my soul that finally saved my life. Being present to Jesus in my life and the choices I make daily that keep my body temple healthy.  That is what changed my life. Being present to the LORD each and every moment of every day. Even as I work I am mindful of his presence. #PBTGA.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What Jesus Taught and on Silence

My recent discernment started after my recent attendance at a political event (see Politics and Faith) led me to go back to the beginning.  I did some research.  What did Jesus really teach?  Fr. Richard Rohr tells the truth about what Jesus really taught .  I discovered Fr. Richard Rohr and started getting his daily meditation blog via email.  His web referenced his talk at the Festival of Faith at Louisville Kentucky in March on Silence.

Silence is the phenomenon that brings our culture together as one.  .

Friday, May 31, 2013

Politics and Faith

Recently, I attended a reception for the congressional representative for the 1st District in Maine. I had been a party faithful for many years. I was amongst many friends and like minded people. I had been the municipal the Chair of the party, an elected city council person and a school board member. For many years I thought I could keep my faith and moral beliefs separate from my political thought. They did not have to be reconciled. That has changed for me. I have decided I must reconcile my faith with how I vote and who and what issues I support. I struggle with the realization that Constitution appears to not require morality, but favors freedom. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness, does not include, necessarily morality. So many have rationalized their political decisions and support with this in mind. I must support issues that reflect truth. According to Pope John Paul II Truth cannot Contradict Truth.
So for sake of conversation AND, to be honest, I wanted see the reaction I might get if I made a comment to a few friends that I was moving to the right. I was becoming more conservative. A few agreed but did not engage.  One very intelligent friend suggested I read a book called God's Politics by Tom Wallis. I looked at the book and the reviews and it seemed to present a very liberal view of how God might or should impact our political thought and actions. I still will read the book, but with caution and prayer. I also had a conversation with a person I have liked and respected for many years. She quoted me the Boston Catechism about conscience. I could not counter her statement that generally if your conscience is different with what the Church teaches than you are OK to vote or make worldly decisions with your conscience as the guide. Conscience trumps the teaching of religious leaders?  I wondered. Was the Pope wrong? Was the magisterium wrong? I had some discerning to do.  I left the meeting thinking, I may be in the wrong political party.  Maybe I should just become an unenrolled independent citizen and vote my conscience. I will think about this some.

I reviewed my Year of the faith email today. I have been participating in a Year of Faith program that facilitates the reading of the Catholic Catechism in one year. I was pleasantly surprised to see todays topic the exact challenge that I was struggling with. Day 227 How to Form and Follow Your Conscience Seems the holy Spirit decided to assist with my discernment. Praise God.  I believe that coincidences are usually for a reason and many times are the holy Spirit intervening. Not always, but in this case it seemed to be clear.  The caveat to my friends comments was that the conscience can be poorly formed. It can be based on erroneous information.  How do you decide.  As a practitioner of contemplative prayer now for more than 20 years, I usually give it to God in prayer, and I reach a very confident conclusion in most cases.  I have been reading the magisterium as well which I think is important to be sure your conscience is formed in communion with the Truth.

  Additionally, an exceptional blogger Robert Sylvester wrote related blog today. Church-Secular-or-Mystical?

So my plan going forward it to NOT join any one-sided party platforms or activists groups.  I really like the idea of a bipartisan effort, that I wrote about in my last blog. 
Enough for today.  OnWard

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Citizens For Political Reform

I joined Citizens for Political Reform today. I am so tired of extreme partisan politics in government. This group was founded by some great people from both sides of the isle. Check them out at: The Bipartisan Policy Center

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Undivided Self

Taking sides in a conflict has its risks. 

Margaret Thatcher said "Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by traffic from both sides”.

If both sides are extreme and unwilling to compromise the only reasonable place to be is in the middle.  Right?  I am not sure.   Political research says most Americans, yes a majority,  are in the moderate middle when it comes to social and political positions.  We all know or have a family member who is far right or far left in their thinking. They are many times the minority at a family gathering, taking hard positions on this or that topic often times raising minute issues that in the end represent extreme positions.  When our Democratic process provides only extremes to vote for what are we to do?  Vote independent?  Not vote? Get involved.


ADHD is not that simple 

This article is a good article that argues that non-medicine intervention is the best course for treatment of ADHD.  But I believe the comentary about the French culture and the suggestion that ADHD is ONLY a behavorial issue is eroneous. There are many well behaved ADHD diagnosed children and adults who have great difficulty in focusing, sitting still or staying on task, but to suggest a whole ethnic approach is better seems very prejudice. Remember our American values, stemming from the Constitution provide for freedom and expect self-discipline in deciding where the line of freedom ends and responsibility begins.  That makes treatment of ADHD more of a challenge in American society.  How much freedom do you give to children? Any? Too much discipline can bring ACE (adverse childhood experiences) and border on abuse. Too little then you have the spoiled brat syndrome.  This simplistic solution simply hammers our American values and only serves to further erode public truth about how people develop.   This is POP psychology at its worst.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

In confidence....

When you tell a person something in confidence without stating it such  and it becomes an public declaration it presents a difficult situation. Although it should not have been shared, if you forget to say "please hold in confidence", there is a human flaw that wants to share.  Sometimes it is to make a political point or to "get back" at someone.  Unfortuntely, people are hurt. 

I have served as a counselor, a member of a number of boards and as a parent.  What I hear from loved ones, or friends remains in my head and becomes the subject of my prayers for others. Just between me and God. period.  A gossip goes about telling secrets, but one who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a confidence. Proverbs 11:13

The only exception to this is where a there appears to be an indication of harm to a child or others. Like many professionals I am a mandatory reporter.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Networking and Internet Radio & Work

I have started networking to find opportunities where my expertise can be used AND I can earn money to take care of my family.   I met Dan on line. He operates a website called After getting to know each other a little.   He asked if I would be a guest on a show he was producing about Work as Treatment. We recorded the show on Thursday, March 28, 2013.  I was interviewed in the second part of the show, podcast #11.  I enjoyed talking about recovery, transformation and rehabilitation.  I realized how passionate I am about this field. 

I fully agree with the theory that to give some one meaningful work is one of the most therapeutic things you can do.  Or, for someone to loose their job for reasons that do not seem fair.   Why is our country struggling?   There is not enough work that our workforce can do.  Companies are holding their dollars and scrutinizing  new hires for high technical skills that many of our workforce simply do not have, nor do they have the means or opportunity to obtain those needed skills.

So I just keep putting one foot in front of another. Making contacts, requesting opportunities, praying, meditating, walking, cooking dinner and ..... being mindful of our Creator as I understand OUR Creator to be.  One Day at a time.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Moving Forward with Grace

Having a good day. I have been following up on some job leads, moving forward with a homeless youth project AND getting some exercise.  The new advent daily email posted a link to a superbowl commercial sponsored by Dodge Ram that brings to light the divine work of farmers.  Makes me want to buy a Dodge. LOL. more importantly it reminds me the importance of the work that farmers do. Sure we can get into a political argument about corporate farmers vs local farmers and organic farmers Vs thosed that use chemical fertilizer.  But that is the destroyer dividing us.  We are evolving our farming strategies and should not destroy the gains we have made in commercial farming. Yes we need to move towards more sustainable farming. But for now I just want to thank the farmers.


Friday, February 1, 2013

A wonderful video....

Former Employer posted losses

I was not surprised today when my google alert provided the following story. .  I believe Aetna will continue to have difficulties due to claim practices both in their health insurance and disability benefit markets.  When claims facts are on the fence they seem to always rule in favor of their pocket book, rather than to do the right thing and dig deeper into the facts of the claim. These quick decisions in a highly intense production environment bring significant errors.  This class action suit is one, but their LTD/STD market may see other similiar action as Employers and Employees begin to see their innovative claims practices at work. Fast is NOT always better.  I really tried to tell them but they decided my opinion was not a fit for their culture.  I understand employment at will but I believe they were misguided in their decision to terminate me. They may have violated the ADA with a wrongful termination. I have submitted this for review by the EEOC, we shall see.   I believe eventually there will be consequences for this innovation and it will show up in their profits and large employee turnover. The future of Aetna may be on shakey ground. But then what do I know.
If God is with me, who can be against me.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Employment Prayer

I lost my job on January 8, 2013. I have been networking and contacting potential employers, posted my resume on Indeed and Monster, AND applied for 16 jobs.  I have had a few very encouraging contacts and hope to firm up some consulting work in the very near future. 

With the time on my hands I have been participating in the 9:00 communion service at our church most days.  I discovered a wonderful prayer today. 

Employment Prayer

Mary, our Lady of the Miraculous Medal,
you once experienced 
hardships and difficulties.
Look kindly on me now
as I face the same difficulties.
Help me to find suitable employment.
Through my work,
I want to meet my physical needs,
and grow spiritually.
Help me to find a job
that lets me provide for myself
and for those who depend on me.
I trust you, Immaculate Mother, 
to hear my prayers and intercede for me.
I will share you goodness with others 
that they may know your power with God
and give Him honor and glory.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sadly, I lost my job today working at home for Aetna.  You know what they say when God closes one door he opens another.  I am just sad I could not find a place with my previous employer.  They were innovative and doing some great things.  It just was not a good fit.  So, I start my networking for another opportunity. Pray for me, as I will continue to pray for others.  Things will work out in time.  #pbtga