Transparent Truth

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christians, Christianity, Truth, Fire, redefine, reflect, Ultimate,   In our present era there seem to be all kinds of truths; convenient truth, relative truth, truth, Truth, your truth, my truth…, & the list goes on. What’s true for you may not be true for me. In the realms of personal preference, in fashion, and politics, this is all well and good.  But…

What about the issue of Ultimate Truth? The conclusion of many people is that there is no such thing. Truth is determined between the interplay of truth, the experience of the moment, and the individual; thus, relegating Truth, true-Truth, any truth, to the realm of relativity.

This leaves us on quite unstable ground; for there is no common understanding about what we are talking about, no shared definition of what we mean by what is trueSo, what is true? Who’s to say? Truth becomes whatever is convenient for us at the moment. Liberators or invading forces? Comforter or manipulator? Scientific breakthrough or stating the obvious? A matter of perspective.

Truth, for the most part, should be obvious— staring us in the face. Maybe not so much at a cellular or galactic level; we might need some help delving into those mysteries. But TRUTH should be part of the basic human condition, existing within us, observable around us.

Truth should be, and is, transparent to the keen eye.

            So how/when did we start redefining truth in our own terms? Why did we feel the need to do so? Is it simply a matter of divergent philosophies, divergent religions? Or merely personal preferences; Truth that suits my agenda, my priorities. Then is it Truth at all? Truth, just for you?

            I would challenge you to examine the way you determine what is true. What is true scientifically? What is true about the origin of the universe? [The newest theory is that the universe “created” itself.] What is true about yourself? What describes you to others? What is true about God? Is there one? Can we adequately describe everything without him? Hummm.

            Oddly, some of these questions will take in depth study and personal reflection; a few deep conversations over a dram of Single Malt might also help elucidate things.

            Truth can arise to become more and more transparent as we seek it. It is not as clear-cut anymore to simply grasp it where it is. Over time, Truth’s transparency will become more obvious.

            What do you think?

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

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Why my heart aches

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christianity, NEEDinc, heart, ache, heartache

There have been too many times in life where my heart has been crushed by the suffering of others. Their experiences and anguish were hard to hear. I can’t imagine how they lived through those times. Some had gathered the fortitude and faith to persevere; others, not so much.

What the human spirit, heart, and body can endure always amazes me. I remember a woman, a teacher, once came to me with grey hair. The day before her hair had been auburn. The beating she had endured the previous night had been so terrifying that it turned her hair grey in a matter of minutes. Her husband is now in jail. How did she endure such terror?

Another person I know has almost lost her mind and any will to live because of a brutal rape. Another woman came to me after her 6th abortion. Sixth! She wasn’t sure who she was anymore; she wasn’t sure she could ever have children.

Other friends have lived through “less” traumatic experiences— the suicide of a husband, the loss of a job, living on the grace of others after months of unemployment, the loss of their child. My heart aches for these people.

Over the years, I have been able to move from sympathetic to empathetic, allowing me some distance to garner wisdom and perspective on their horror. It is hard to help another when we are in the thick of it with them. When there, we can offer comfort; but little else. We have not the strength.

On a grander scale, my heart aches for this world— the natural catastrophes, the fires, floods, and earthquakes; but also the human devastations— genocides, regional wars, terrorists attacks, the manipulation of the balance of trade, the prices of oil and grains, and forced poverty and human sex trafficking. The injustices I read online every hour. All of this weighs on me heavily.

How should I, should we, respond to this mess?

My first thought is to become a part of the solution. To make a difference! To be one-of-many who count the cost and throw themselves into the fracas. Who, instead of protecting our own interests, look to the needs and well-being of those truly in need.

Sure, my heart still aches. But at least I am doing something. How about you?

‘Nough said,

Gary

a lion shorn

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christianity, NEEDinc, new, year, aslan, Narnia, resolve, resolutions, help, strength, setback, despairFacing a new year always brings hope for new beginnings, fresh starts, and a revived spirit. We make resolutions to change things, to do the right thing, to gain in character and lose in poundage. This is right and good. The real test comes at the first setback, the first impediment to our efforts; that alarm clock, the snow storm, the pain that doesn’t seem to work its magic on the gain (weight, that is).

We start off as a great lion, ready to defend our pride, ready to battle the aggressor, ready to provide and persevere. We roar; ready to take on all who might thwart us in our dreams. Though the hunters be many, we will avoid their assaults and elude their snares. Our hearts are steeled on what lies ahead!

Nonetheless, within the next 12 months something will come upon you that will crush your strength, undermine your resolve, and quench your spirit. Your roar will be quelled to a pathetic meow and you will cower in a corner somewhere, trying to escape or slink into anonymity. You will be tempted to give up and call it quits.

But that is not what you were designed for.

Remember Aslan of the C.S. Lewis NARNIA books. A lion, shorn of his mane, emptied of his strength, bound and lying powerless on the ancient table of sacrifice. Then…, slain. But he did not stay there. He rose up, greater than before. Ready to do battle. Ready to protect his own. Full of power and might. THIS is what we are made for! Not whimpering, nor cowering. Rather, for overcoming and conquering, in strength and with great graciousness.

So, this year, when the conflicts come, when the confusion overwhelms, and entering a cloister seems the only sensible thing to do, remember Aslan, who eschewed retreat, and reentered the fray. You may despair and believe you are a lion shorn of his mane and strength. But you can arise from the ancient alter and once again rise to greatness. You may need a little help doing it; but that is true for all of us.

For what it’s worth,

Gary

in your face

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christianity, NEEDinc, confrontationPeople who get in your face don’t give you much room. You are certainly not allowed to interrupt. Horrors! In no uncertain terms, any thought of actually contradicting them is totally out of the question. Even a simple interjection is too much for them to handle.

So, they talk. And talk. And talk. If you dare interrupt, they simply talk louder, and/or faster. Why? They have to stay in control; they have to take the dominant position and hang on to it tenaciously. You do not matter; you have nothing to say which interests them. They have all the information they need; they are right; and when they want your opinion they will tell you what it is.

You’re being “preached-at,” scolded, berated, and cornered. I see this most in husband/wife relationships, and between insecure bosses and their employees.

Throughout life there will be those who cross our paths who must dominate, control, assume authority, and come at us, for no more apparent reason other than they believe they are smarter and more right, than we are. In fact, they never truly discover who we are: they just don’t care about it.

How do we handle such people? Unless we really have to go to the bathroom, we truly just stand there as they browbeat us. My best advice? Humility. Let them unload whatever it is on their mind. We recently had a repairman in our home that was passionate about his Christian faith. He may have been excited, but we were left no room to respond. It was a one way conversation.

I hate being preached at. Whether it is some Christian trying to convert me to his point of view, a philosopher-type endeavoring to drive home a universal point of “Meaning,” or a Telemarketing call, I hate it! I am a person with a studied mind, a passionate heart, and a few opinions of my own. What would give me the right to pound my point of view into someone else with no consideration for their thoughts?

Might I suggest that conversations, healthy ones, at least, need to remain give-‘n-take, maintaining dialog more than monolog. Might I suggest graciousness in listening to someone else’s point of view, tempered with wisdom?

Could it be possible that people who are so assertive must preserve that stance because, deep within, they are not really that certain? Give them some room, and some time: everyone deserves a chance to learn, to amend their ways. Still, no one has a right to be in your face…, even me.

Cordially,

Gary

I like my closet

I like my closetSome days you just don’t feel like getting out of bed. We’ve all been there. The pressures of life weigh in on us so heavily that we lose the strength to face another day. This is especially true around the holidays— gifts to be bought and wrapped, meals to be prepared for the imminent arrival of guests & family. Added demands upon our already frantic lives.

Some of us, yea verily even extroverts, oft seek sanctuary in our closet, whether figuratively or literally. We retreat to a place of momentary safety, a hiding place, where no one can find us. We seek silence, solitude, serenity— commodities sorely lacking in our present pace of life. [Buddhism has a lot to teach us on this subject.] Large companies are scheduling team-building retreats for their managers and department heads; Christians have been going on spiritual retreats for years; Muslims fulfill one of their Five Pillars by making at least one journey to Mecca during their life-time.

There are at least two kinds of closets. The first kind is within us, holding things private, things which are best kept to ourselves. The other one holds us. It is a place for us to gain perspective and strength, to find solace for our soul. It may be a literal closet, or a place of safety—a friend’s home, a favorite bar, a winter hike through snow, a time of reflection, a rich conversation with a confidant over a wee dram of Glenmorangie. [Note: a roaring fire often aids in melting our resistance to search within.]

So as our lives continue to accelerate, make sure you go into your closet often, to your place of escape, to remind yourself who you really are. To be properly equipped to grapple with the daily barrage of activity and information that assaults us, we all need those times of retreat, wherein our focus must be on refurbishing our spirit, building our character, and finding rest for our soul. And may God bless and honor those who have created a closet for me. I’m ready to go in…, how about you?

Closing the door now,

Gary

nah nah – nah nah nah!

nah nah taunting girl Dr Gary DavisThis children’s taunt, is a wonderful reminder that some of us have to be better than somebody else. AND that we have to remind them of it. So there! I’m-better-than-you-are! [Tongue out, thumbs in ears, fingers wiggling.]

At a recent meeting of our Board of Directors one of its members quipped- If you’re not Dutch, you’re not much. Yes, he was of Dutch decent. He was making a point—namely, that it always seems necessary to put someone else down so we can lift up ourselves, our sexual orientation, or our nationality, or pedigree, or race, or team, or whatever. Then we taunt those who are “not like us.” Brilliant!

In our current setting we term this treatment Bullying. It is a problem our school systems and professional sports teams face on a daily basis; of course, it rises up in the home as “sibling rivalry.” Through all attempts to level the playing field, our life-long desire for supremacy infests the spirit of too many of us. On a global scale that usually means other people die. At least in the NFL people aren’t killed. Yet.

Might I suggest we cease taunting each other, putting each other down, and, individually, corporately, even in the global arena, and start encouraging each other in practical, functional ways. Remember the words of Jesus as he started his ministry—

Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be known as sons of God.   (Matthew 5:9)

Not a bad descriptor for anyone, Christian or otherwise.

And please put your tongue back in your mouth before someone pounds your jaw and you bite it off.

For what it’s worth,

Gary