preemptive positioning

Dr, Gary, Davis, restitution, reconciliation, Clueless, Christianity, NEEDinc, posturing, positioningIn time of war a preemptive strike is meant to give “first strike advantage.” Strike first, surprise the enemy, and win the day. The same is true in much of the world economy, interpersonal relationships, and politics. It’s all about positioning. [I wonder if we even play this game with God.]  Humans tend to want the higher ground in all creation. We need to win, to be right, to dominate in business, in interpersonal relationships, and in our general mindset that—

I am always right!

            We hold and assert preemptive presuppositions on just about everything.

“There is NO God!”  “There is only One God!” 

“God is on our side!”

“Killing anything, anyone, ever, is wrong!”

“War is always wrong!”  “Peace at all costs!”

“All men are pigs!”  “All women are manipulative!”

“Eating meat is wrong.” “Vegetarians are stupid.”

You get the picture. We position ourselves as judges over other peoples’ life-choices so we can pontificate for our position. In so doing we dismiss their thinking with little comprehension, let alone compassion, for what they value and hold dear. THAT is what makes such positioning both presumptive and preemptive. We drift naturally toward winning the debate more than considering the person or society so different from our own.

            Is this what we want out of life? To be on top? To control? To win at any cost? Granted, there are many things worth fighting for; some worth dying for. But to start with a preemptive strike, and continuing to annihilate your adversary’s position, and/or life, does not add much to human dignity, let alone reconciliation and restitution.

            May I proffer that a preemptive strike may win the day, but hardly the war. For a peoples’ values and beliefs run deep; defeating your enemy may give birth to generations of aggressors against you. I’ve always found Jesus’ words to be of some value— “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Probably something we should all work at a little more. For it calls on the greater power, be it a nation or individual, to create a path of peace. This is hardly our world’s operating procedure today. Contrary to Vince Lombardi’s, Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing, maybe it is the peacemakers who are the ones who truly win.


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,



     It is a commonly accepted fact that most of us need a place of safety; usually, our homes, or a vacation spot, or just a phone call with a trusted friend. It has been my personal experience that I need a place of safety, a person of safety, and an activity of safety.
My places of safety have varied over the years. First, my bedroom; then, my first car (a ’57 Volvo, PV544, in bright red), followed, surprisingly, by my mind. In recent years it has been the Galbraith Lakehouse in New Hampshire; now the Bravo Boathouse, or the Harraseeket Inn in Maine.
Safe people also come and go. They are people with whom we are totally at ease, with no fear of a broken confidence or betrayal, with a complete openness and trust to share everything. I will not name my people of safety here because they would be embarrassed, at first— then they would kill me.
Safe activities diverge greatly for each of us. For some, it is reading a good book in front of a cozy fire. For others, it is test driving a Jaguar at 125 mph down the Interstate. I used to feel completely safe clipped into a safety line at 13,500’ on the side of a rock face on a mountain. Not so much now.
If you do not have a safe place, person, or activity, you need to get one, or more, fast. They are your safety-net amidst the fires and storms of daily life. Who might be a safe person for you? Living without a deep relationship with at least one other human being is dangerous, especially to your soul. It could slowly isolate you to death.
Having a safe place is just as important. Be it a special place in your home, in your car, or just hiking across a wheat field, recently dusted with fresh snow, you need somewhere to hide yourself away to be with yourself—alone. And, maybe with your God; whether you want him there or not.
Finally, in what real-life activities do you feel most comfortable? Is it the book & fireplace, or the speeding Jaguar? Maybe somewhere in between? Bull riding comes to mind; so does hospital recuperation.

Be safe, my friend.

For what it’s worth,


             Be it Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or Instagram, most of us are following what someone else is doing on the Internet. We want to know what’s “trending.” Which topics are relevant, current, and significant; what do I need to know to be in-the-know, savvy, with-it? Who’s hot; who’s not? Who’s IN: who’s OUT? What’s the latest trend? What’s going on? [Pigs Fly! Now trending on GEICO.]

It used to be that we could get all-the-news-that’s-fit-to-print from a newspaper, or from “The Evening News.” Now, there is more information available than we could ever access. So we follow trends. We turn to the Internet for up-to-date news about what happened anywhere in the world just minutes ago. Or, we tune into what’s happening in a streaming live-feed from Vladivostok directly to our cell phones.

The question is, Why?

There is a hazardous repercussion from trending. We are so immersed in what other groups or individuals are doing that we forget that we have things to do ourselves— namely, to be creative and ingenious, or to invent or design new innovations ourselves. Sure, the Web can spark ideas as we browse through its pages; but to settle on following 5-6, or 15-20, or more, trends has the debilitating effect of encumbering us with an over-load of too much information. TMI. Some useful; some, not so much.

Do not let all the vast amounts of information available consume you to the point of stifling your own imagination! Be, not only what you learn, but also what you create. Start your own trend and let others follow you. ‘Nough said.

For what it’s worth,


Test yourself, Change your future

Test Yourself, Change Your Future!

During one WEBrowsing obsession I came across TEST YOURSELF, CHANGE YOUR FUTURE, by Richard Stephenson. ( ). Some of the qualities he admonished us to cultivate were those such as achievement, aesthetics, deeper affiliations with people, balance in work & family, challenge, compassion, creativity, hearing diverse perspectives, nurturing a rich family life, maintaining good physical health and mental/emotional well-being, a genuine spirituality, tempered wisdom. Richard’s full list is far more extensive than this offering, and it would be worth your while to read the whole article.

In fact, his list was so insightful that I am here passing its observations on for your perusal and pondering. As you go through this list of life values and motivators check off which ones describe you as a person. Then ask someone else to concur…, or not. Great fun.

My deepest thanks and appreciation to Richard Stephenson for creating such a comprehensive list.

For what it’s worth,



Yes, the title of this article is intentionally misspelled. Why? Because it forced you to think about it; to wonder if the writer knows how to use Spell Check, or to conclude he is just stupid or lazy.

One of the easily observable facts of our time is that the average American finds thinking too tedious. The most difficult question we often face is— Large or small fries with that? Part of this situation is due to our 8th grade reading level being supplanted by sound-bytes on television. Thinking about issues is just too much work; just observe and absorb.

Thus do we leave thinking to the experts— science says, logically speaking, whatever the pastor says, leave it to the government to figure it out (well, except maybe during this present shutdown, or the next one), trust your doctor. Really?!? Have we actually entered a time when trusting the specialist, the expert, precludes our entrance into the conversation!?!

Our passive compliance to leave the thinking to others yields a dangerous dilemma. First, we tend to leave the resolution of complex issues in the hands of our elected officials, the scholars, the MDs & PhDs, or the religious elite of our era. Secondly, over time, we actually lose our ability to think. We simply listen and numbly respond, “Well, that sounds OK. Right?” and we never consider the other side of the debate.

This becomes distinctly evident in a person’s search for life-meaning, or life philosophy. Or should I say, the lack thereof. Considering the possibility of meaning, a meta-narrative, a life-purpose, has become, yes, too much work. Leave the difficult questions to the elite, the intellectuals, the government (well… ).

One of the primary reasons people do not want to consider Christianity is that it is just too much work. They are not against the Christian faith; it just seems superfluous to think about it, or any belief system, for that matter. In the grand scheme of things, I’m fine!

When we cease pondering the deeper questions of life, we will become a nation of neurological numb-nuts, blindly accepting whatever truth is handed down to us by the intellectual aristocracy as Truth. Investigation of Truth will be lost to the few who decide for us what it is. Brilliant!

[Note: To the genuinely Christian among us— get your brains in gear.]

For what it’s worth,



Since we’re on the topic..

I was talking with a friend, and we got on the subject of life’s baggage.  We both remarked at the amount of “life baggage” we can build and have to drag along with us year after year. He was acutely aware of how his own baggage had recently affected his life and those he loved. He wished so much had been different. I understood.

A lot of us, as we accumulate our own little pile of life-baggage, get to a point when we just want to dump it all. So we quit: we quit our jobs, we quit our relationships, we move, re “re-make” ourselves.  We think we have jettisoned our past, our baggage; but it’s still there, weighing us down. I spoke with a writer today, just a casual conversation on the streets of Northampton, who had so much to give, so much creativity, so much life left. But at 50 years old (or so) there seemed to be Gordian knots all intertwined within, binding him in his own frustration.

Baggage, left unchecked, gets heavier as time passes.

For my friend, he felt like his whole past was dragging him down, holding him back, weighing on him. How about you? Do you feel like your life’s baggage is piling up—on top of you?

In some ways, I think our baggage is just other people unwilling to forgive us: then again, it may also be us, unwilling to forgive ourselves. We can be dumb that way, always beating ourselves up and then acting surprised that we have bruises. Duh.

But, more realistically, a lot of our life-baggage are the mistakes, the screw-ups, the devastation, the unresolved relationships we have left behind us that haunt us. And there is nobody to blame but ourselves. WE are the ones who packed our own bags with all that crap. Admit it—you’re not as perfect as you would like to think you are, or what you want others to think you are. Neither am I.

But frankly, sometimes, as the saying goes, “shit-happens.” You get the point. You feel like the whole world just comes down on you and you’ve done nothing to deserve “this.”

At other times people whom we believed to be true friends, have betrayed us, used us, or abandoned us in our hour of need. This is one of the most devastating scenarios in the world. It hurts deeply. But we have to deal with it. We have to! It’s a heavy piece of luggage.

So, here is a little “Baggage-Check” for you.

1)     Make sure it’s YOUR baggage. If you’re got to drag around life-baggage, at least make sure it’s really yours—your mess-ups, your wrecked relationships, your lies, and not someone else’s.

2)     Own up to your past. If you have made a mess of things in the past admit it. If you’re not sure you made a mess of things—ask. You could be carrying around someone else’s bags.

3)     Forgive yourself—finally. You cannot correct the past. You can seek forgiveness; you can offer reparation, make amends, etc, but you cannot change what was done.

4)     It could be that some things have happened in the past, a tragic experience, a loss of a loved one, an accident, something, that you need to move beyond. You may want to seek some professional help for that. At least start to pray about it. God does listen; you may not like his advice, but he listens like a friend.

5)     Similarly, some things may have been done to you in the past that turned you bitter, resentful, or just defeated you in general. They’re hard to let go of, aren’t they? Many people seek revenge for the rest of their lives; or they just cut off all communication with the offending party. I guess I would ask, “Why?” Carrying this kind of baggage will not only weaken your right arm, it will eventually cripple you, and kill you. Aren’t you more of a person than that? I think so.  Ask yourself, “Can I forgive this person, deep down? Even if they never know it?” Or maybe they do need to know it. Healing is a wonderful thing.

6)     You CAN change the future, and yourself. What is it, exactly, that you want to change? How are you going to do it? Do you need a friend who can help you out?  Friends are cool. [Remember, a friend will help you move. But a true friend will help you move a body.]

7)     Let it go. I think some people let their past gnaw away at them, eating away at their souls. Don’t let the dumb things you’ve done in your past drag you down and eat you up.

Dump the baggage. You need to move on to whatever it is God has designed you for next.

By the way, LL Bean makes a nice set of Ballistic Luggage; really sturdy stuff that can take a lot of beating. Great for future travels.


Everybody has crap, and guess what?! It needs to come out! Its holding you back. Come join us in learning how to get rid of our baggage, and other people’s baggage we may be carrying…