Wisdom Day 11 December 2016: Skin-Deep Stuff

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
    is a beautiful face on an empty head. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 11, Verse 22, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Which brings to mind:

 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (The Good News of Matthew, Chapter 7, Verse 6, New International Version, BibleGateway.com)

Have you ever shared some intimate, personal thoughts with an attractive face, only to suffer humiliation and a sense of betrayal when your words are fired back at you in an argument, possibly publicly? I have. Noooo fun.

Is physical beauty a guaranty of any virtue at all? Are there just plain ugly personalities that take any virtue or beauty of character as an affront that merits retaliation?

Is there some face, some attire you find attractive, exceptionally attractive? Is it possible to chart what’s behind the face and the threads from a safe distance, to get a sense of the true dimensions of the persona before getting within grappling range of demons, either in business or in bed? Fighting demons? It’s like wrestling pigs: Everyone gets filthy, but pigs enjoy it.

 

Wisdom Day 7 April 2016: R-Rated T-Shirt

Hey, guys, collecting T-shirts can be great. There is one to stay away from though if you value your life. It is inscribed “I slept with Loosey Lucy!”

Loosey Lucy will take you down. You think it will be fun going down with Loosey? Think again. You are not the first. You will not be the last. But like all, you will pay the price. Loosey’s soul is linked to all the others who came before you. Your soul becomes linked through hers to theirs. She will have many after you. And for every one, a little of the best of your soul gives way to a little bit of the worst of the collective soul of a growing throng of  partners. And you will have no control over the choice of your new soul mates, just as you had no say in the choice of the ones who were before you. But they will gain more and more control over you if you choose this path. So what’s the take away? Paul of Tarsus puts it plainly:

16-20 There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.(Paul of Tarsus, 1 Corinthians 6:18, The Message, biblegateway.com)

And whether you believe in God or not, at least honor yourself. Honor your body, mind, and emotions. Don’t go with Loosey. As I’ve heard, “Sin takes you further than you mean to go, keeps you longer than you mean to stay, and costs you more than you mean to pay.” Ever had that experience? Or maybe you don’t believe in sin? If not, at least consider that STD’s are real, regardless of your beliefs.

There is hope though. There is a way out and a way back.

13 No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. (Paul of Tarsus, 1 Corinthians 10:13, The Message, biblegateway.com)

And the way back? Admit you were wrong. Determine that you want to change direction. Realize you can’t do it by yourself. Ask for for help. And whom do you ask? I asked Jesus.

How to ask? Some people call it prayer. If you don’t believe in prayer, than just address your request to “Whom it may concern.” When I first got started with prayer, it was conditional: “If you are real, I want to know. I need help.”

Even stoics sometimes end up with problems their philosophy can’t solve. I did have to set aside some pride, but at that point my intense need to really be good was greater than my desire to appear good.

So happy hunting in your quest for good. Better and great are better and great, but good is not bad for starters. It surely beats bad. If, though, you happen to believe that good and bad are irrelevant or all the same, I can’t help you there, unless of course you ask.

Meanwhile here are some good resources on the path to good, better, and best:

Hardcover
Takeaways
Audio
Kindle
Slimline
Study
Paperback
Hardcover
Kindle
Audio

 

Because They Live

If their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men. (Acts 5:38-39, New International Version)

When I woke up this morning, I finally understood. It’s right there in the dedication to Extreme Ownership:

Dedicated to Marc Lee, Mike Monsoor, and Ryan Job— three courageous warriors, SEAL teammates, and friends— who valiantly wielded their big machine guns on the mean streets of Ramadi and laid down their lives so that others might live.

This is the source of everything that Leif Babin and Jocko Willink are doing with Echelon Front and all their Extreme Ownership activities. Because they live, they have debts to these dead brothers in arms. These are debts they can never pay back. They are paying them forward. This is what drives them. They will never hang up their Colts.

They are not bragging about this. It is easy to miss, or at least it was for me. I read the dedication and thought something like, “That’s nice!” Feeble words like “nice” have nothing to do with the motivation that drives these guys. At every step, maybe every breath, their dead friends walk with them. Not only that, they are part of a living brotherhood that is part of a family that is part of a community.

So my take on this is that Echelon Front is not just another startup driven by bright ideas and ambition. It is something else all together. Invest your money, your time, your life.

Hardcover

Audio

Kindle

 

Self Centered

38 A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”

41 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied,“how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” (Luke 9:38-41)

I have always wondered why Jesus came down so hard on this dad. This morning, listening to this passage in Spanish, it came to me. The dad’s words reveal his motive: “for he is my only child.” He could have said first off something about how much the child was suffering. He did not. His primary concern was about himself, his position in society, the continuation of his family line, and all the things which in that society were associated with having a son. Since the boy was an only child, he was his dad’s only hope for all these things.

I think Jesus was angry because this dad was thinking of his son as an item of property, a possession. His core motive was not love and compassion for another human being, his own son, in such distress. The son was an important possession, and the dad wanted him fixed, wanted him to function properly, behave properly, fit in with the dad’s plans, goals and societal aspirations. I think that is why Jesus said what he said.

The take away for me? I’d better be darn careful about my own  motives when I ask God’s blessing. Am I so focused on my needs that I disregard the sacred humanity of another person for whom Christ lived and died and lives today?