Why are Christians sooooo boring?

It’s no wonder none of us go to church. It’s just plain boring, and irrelevant, and a time warp into a different century. What the hell are they talking about anyway? It’s not as bad if you attend one of the more contemporary church services: at least they are more upbeat and encouraging.

But I’m talking about the real Christians, the ones you chance upon every now & then amidst the countless jerks4Jesus who claim to be genuine Followers of Christ who don’t have a clue about what’s going on in our world today. Some of them don’t even watch the news, unless it’s FOX News. Why do these people choose to be out of touch with the rest of the world? It’s a mystery.

What I’ve found is that we need Christians; well, not all of them, but some of them really get it, and want to build bridges, come to our parties, drink our beer, and hang out with us. They are the kind we need. They keep us on our toes instead of stepping on them. Some of them are even kind-of fun. A little. But, for the most part, they need our help. They need to get out more. Live life more! And definitely drink more single-malt.

OR, it could be that WE are the problem. We put them off somehow; we scare them; or maybe their radar picks up our secret that we just don’t want them around; which, given their judgmental history is quite understandable. Come to think about it, they probably see us as judgmental of them. Hmmm.

Like John Legend’s ALL OF ME, maybe it’s time we’re both showing hearts. Cards on the table.

Christians may be mostly boring…, but some of us are a little weird too…, and boring, too.

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

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Sustainability

Sustainable, Sustainability, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Growth,             The possibility of sustainable energy is within the realm of fulfillment. Solar energy for homes, wind energies for cities and agriculture, and long life battery storage for vehicles are all now attainable. Imagine your home powered by the sun & wind, storing up enough electrical energy to power not only your house & its appliances, but also your car! You would never have to pay for fuel, or power, again. Then again, repair costs could be astronomical; but, hey, there you go… .

Let’s shift a bit. Let’s switch over to your life, your body. It is fairly obvious what it takes to maintain a sustainable body— food, exercise, rest, community, dance & music (some would add sports):  but what about a sustainable life? What does it take to keep on keeping on? Here’s my list. Please feel free to amend it, change it, or challenge it. I know there must be a more expansive list.

1.      A Sense of Well-Being— That intrinsic sense that all-is-well-with-the-world. Well, at least your world. It’s that sense of achievement that you’ve done a good job; you’ve finished that project, that you have completed a major undertaking and are now at another level in your life.

2.      A Great Expectation— No, not the book; but your own expectation. Something you’ve looked forward to all your life. Your wedding, that first child, a promotion, a new job, travel to Scotland, a championship. It brightens your morning, your day, week, and life!

3.      Passion— Something, or someone, who grabs the very depths of your spirit and draws you to join in. Name it your mission, your calling, a drive; call it what you will, it gets you out of bed in the morning and doesn’t let you go. It is that thing that motivates you to come alive and Go-for-It! I know my passion:  it sustains and excites me every day. What’s your passion? Have one? NO?!? Hummm.

4.      A Will to Live— For some of us it is simply a determination to get through another day. Life has been hard, even cruel, for us. Facing each new day is a challenge, [Note- If you are between 13-18, you have no idea what I am talking about, so, stay in bed.] Facing your week seems like an insurmountable obligation. You hate your job, you’ve had it with your living situation, your kids never give you a break. You’re more tired than most people realize. I’ve been there often. It’s not easy; but you can press through the pain, the exhaustion, the depression. Learn to fortify your soul. AND…, create breaks in each day.

5.      Set Impossibly Attainable Goals— Yes, you read that right. Impossibly attainable. If you set goals that are attainable, you will accomplish them. Try setting goals that are a tad above your reach that will stretch you and keep you on your toes. Note- Your feet don’t necessarily need to be on the floor.

6.      Enjoy Friendships— Good friends are hard to come by— and to sustain. Celebrate with them often. Sometimes I celebrate Tuesday with friends, or Thursdays. Why? Why not!?! It’s the reason God invented the weekend and parties and football; and definitely single-malt Scotch.

7.      Refuel— Go out on the town; eat quality food in a nice restaurant. Dress up! Enjoy the comradery & the conversation of friends. That is, if you’re an external processor. If you are an internal processor, curl up with a good book next to a fire, take a silent walk through the woods, escape the hubbub of the city, flee the tumult of your life. You need time to be alone and have your spirit recreated. Personally, I find refreshment in art museums & galleries; and walks through the woods.

One more thing— Having been a raving extrovert most of my life, I find it odd that I now seek solitude and renovation in prayer and meditation. Maybe others of my kind also need this kind of refreshment for their busy lives. For those more serene in life, well, you’ve got it made. (

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Vermicompost

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Worms, Compost, Vermicompost                 Vermicompost is the product or process of composting using various worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast. Vermicast, commonly known as worm poop, is the end product (pun intended) of the breakdown of organic material by an earthworm. -Wikipedia

We had a cute little depressing nursery rhyme when I grew up— “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me; I’m gonna go eat worms.” ‘Turns out that might not be a bad idea. Worms seem to have a way of turning organic materials into a super-rich fertilizer. Eventually, they will even turn you and me into fertilizer. Doesn’t that just make your day!?! So the next time you feel like $#*%, enjoy it! You’re finally on your way to making a difference in this world. Worm poop at last!

You can find a ray of hope in everything. In pain, in prison; in terrible poverty or in facing death, there is always a hope that beams within us just below the surface of what everyone else sees. Why is that? Where does it come from? I believe it is a remnant of the glory of creation, where the entire Universe came into Being. Birds have it, I know dogs do, and children…, they have it. WE have it too; it’s just that we’ve allowed it to be buried deep within the dark void of our souls, unable to break through to the surface.

I’ve had my share of pain and horror in life, betrayal and judgment: somehow I’ve always been able to feel that glowing ember of hope, burning deep within, underneath the anguish of the moment, or month, or year. I truly believe that it was placed there by our Creator; it’s there to remind us that we are not alone. That leftover spark from the first millisecond of time is what still connects us to the Universe and to the God who made us. If I did not believe that, I would be no more than a speck of dust— a compilation of atoms that even the worms wouldn’t want. That connection is the real “god-particle.”

So the next time you feel like worm-poop, try to feel that tiny glowing spark of Creation still glowing with you. It’s there. Go digging. [Note- You might have to dig through a lot of worm poop to get to it.]

For what it’s worth, poopy-head,

  Gary

Getting Lost

Lost, Thoreau, Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, risk, reflectionMost of us, at some time or another, will get lost. It may be as simple as getting lost on back roads or forgetting where your glasses are; or, more seriously, getting lost in life; that is, losing your sense of direction, purpose, and/or identity. In short, you no longer know where you are, who you are, or where you are heading.

A dead stop.

In the midst of that empty confusion certain questions start to arise—

How did I get here? What could I have done differently? How do I start to dig out of this mess? More importantly— How do I find myself again? Who am I now? What do I do next?

Anxiety starts to immobilize your spirit; you cannot take any action for fear of further failure. But you have to do something. Anything! Here are some of the things I’ve done when I’ve gotten lost.

1. I start taking small steps. What are the little things you can definitely accomplish that will bring some semblance of stability or order to your life? Do that. Then do another one.

2. Keep in mind that when you are lost everything is a risk. Things you used to do as a simple matter have now morphed into insurmountable monsters. Nonetheless, you must face those monsters to overcome them. I had to. And I corralled a cadre of friends to stand by me as I faced them.

3. Don’t ask God to do for you what you must do yourself. He is definitely in charge. But we are not mindless robots. He expects us to act responsibly with the time He has given us.

4. God can’t direct a parked car. Start moving. If it’s in the wrong direction, He’ll redirect you.

5. Establish NEW points of reference for your journey. The former points of reference are gone; you’ve already passed them. If you want to find your way again, you’ll need to discover a whole new set of reference points to guide you. I find I need to cut back on my activities to give my mind, and heart, time to process the mental & emotional shift. What will most likely be the next sign along your path that you are getting back on track?

With all the variables we have to juggle these days it’s easy to get lost along the way. You have to work hard to get back on track. So get to it. Drive! You will not stay lost for long. [Proverbs 16:3.]

Honor God, honor people…, make a path,

Gary

Groundhog Insurrection

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christians, Groundhog, holiday, snow, winter, Phil                  After this past week of weather catastrophes it seemed a propitious time for a little fun. So let’s start with this odd question— What kind of culture could ever choose a Ground-hog’s emergence from his burrow and turn it into a national event?!? I mean, really!?!

Well…, that would be the United States. No other nation would use free-speech so frivolously. Nonetheless, in the northern hemisphere, it is the dead of winter. It’s dreary. It’s Sno-maggedon. Depressing. SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, blankets every city, county, and state. It’s a wonder we get through it at all. But we do have our skiing, snow-boarding, winter camping…, and warm fires, and hot chocolate, not to mention hot-tubs in the snow; 12+” more today. AND, Punxsutawney Phil, or Pete, or whoever it is now. Patricia? NAH! Real men would never stand for it.

First celebrated in Morgantown, PA (1841) on Candlemas Day, Groundhog Day was the forecaster of a second bout of winter or the heralding of an early Spring, depending on whether the little rodent saw his shadow. But earlier forms of GhD have been noted in both Germany & Scotland, two countries which definitely need an early Spring.

In my winters, getting out of bed in the dark just seems wrong. The cold, I can take. The snow, I love! But early mornings…, in the dark of winter! Not so much. What does get my warm feet on the cold floor is the thought that, today, I may just make a difference in someone else’s life. Right before the blizzard hit last week I handed a $20 bill to a homeless person. She looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said, “Thank you. I’m going to go get something to eat, now.

Maybe we can’t change the weather with our actions, but we can most definitely change other things. Might I suggest we start with ourselves— then move on to help others grow. Small acts are sometimes quite significant in the lives of others.

                  What can you do today to improve another person’s life?  Not to feel good about yourself, or for some kind of recognition; simply do something for someone else because it’s the right thing to do.

So venture forth, Punxsutawney Phil, it’s a new day! You work on Spring: We’ll work on today, and tomorrow, and the day after that. Stay calm; and dig out…, again.

 

Honor God, honor people…, make a difference,

  Gary

Mostly Pure

Clueless, Pure, Garrison, Keilor, Mostly, Pure, Christian, Dr, Gary, Davis, NeedincIf you’ve ever driven ‘cross country on Saturday night you might have tuned-in to PBS’s PRAIRE HOME COMPANION, a weekly broadcast of Garrison Keilor, onetime resident of the ill-fitted Lake Wobegone, and modern satirical comedian.

The show is “sponsored” by the fictitious product “Powdermilk Biscuits,” whose slogan is “Made from whole wheat raised in the rich bottomlands of the Lake Wobegon river valley by Norwegian bachelor farmers; so you know they’re not only good for you, but pure … mostly,” which “give shy people the strength to get up and do what needs to be done. Heavens they’re tasty and expeditious.” Powdermilk Biscuits has its own theme song, sung by Keillor every week. And NO, I’m not going to sing it for you.

It has always been fascinating to me how something can be “mostly pure.” I question this every time I read the ingredients listed on our food products. “Mostly pure?!?”  I think. What does that mean? I also think of it at funerals when people speak of the deceased as “a good man.” It’s the reflection in their voice that gives me pause— like they’re trying to convince themselves of it.

Defining anything as mostly pure causes me to wonder if we even know what pure actually is anymore. A girl who is a virgin is defined as pure as she approaches marital status. “Pure 100% Virgin Olive Oil” makes me curious about what the other olive oils are. Are they like Dove Soap— “99.99% pure. It’s almost as if being described as pure is derogatory, especially if you are a young lass. I mean, who wants to marry someone who is still a virgin!?! Really.

Our culture doesn’t seem concerned with being pure in any way whatsoever, whether it be sexually, morally, politically, or in family and business priorities and commitments. Why is that?

Here are just four causes for our loss of concern for purity

1.      We’ve become jaded. Thanks to modern media we can learn everything about anybody. It’s on the Internet, in the Tabloids, and on Headline News. We’ve grown accustomed to our public figures, be they politicians, athletes, or celebrities, being “dirty” in some way. And we simply accept it.

2.      It’s all about winning. UCLA Bruins football coach Henry Russell (“Red”) Sanders has said “Winning isn’t everything: it’s the ONLY thing!” (1950) Win at all costs, by skill, cheating, trickery…, whatever. Just win!

3.      Our base concern is the Bottom-Line. Making money is the only thing that matters. Screw anybody, just to make a buck. Remember the Wall Street broker’s answer to the question?  “How much money is enough?”  “More! That’s why lawyers are brought in to arbitrate an agreement. It is assumed that both parties will write the contract in their favor exclusively. Purity and fairness never come into the equation.

4.      A total abnegation of personal and corporate (not to mention governmental) Integrity. We no longer have a problem with disguising a lie as a truth, or with omitting certain data to make ourselves look better. Pragmatism has supplanted personal integrity in unfathomable ways.

To change this cultural-life pattern is no simple task. But we must start (yes, again) to correct our ways before God and our fellow men & women. Might I suggest we start with our own lives and relationships, and then press on to demand some degree of personal integrity and purity from our cultural leaders? 99.99% is sounding pretty good. Mostly pure!

 

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

New Year’s Warnings

New Years 2015. Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Warnings, Consider this LIST…

            Now that our world’s financial situation is more secure, given the amount of consumer spending that took place at Christmas/Chanukah, we must rush to plan our New Year’s Eve celebrations in less than a week. And, frankly, I love the way we have come to say good-bye to the last year and WELCOME! to the new year.

The celebrations set forth the expectations of hope and accomplishment in the weeks & months to come; with the exception, of course, of weight-loss. Let’s not get the New Year off on a bad foot.

In keeping with this theme, allow me to offer some of the life-long-learning precepts I’ve stumbled upon along the way.

1.      Plan for your summer family vacation within the first two weeks of January.

2.      Take a New Year’s Day hike somewhere…, anywhere; except over fields of landmines.

3.      Look at next year’s financial picture while you watch football. IT mixes the serious with the sublime. You can decide which is which.

4.      If you are married, ask your wife/husband how you can love them MORE next year.

5.      Set personal goals for your work-performance. It is not about getting that promotion: it is about making a difference in your workplace and in the lives of your fellow employees.

6.      Plan to give $$$ away this coming year—lots of it. You will have more $$$ if you do. Don’t ask me how this works; it simply does. Trust me on this.

7.      Eat out at a nice place once a month. It will remind you of your aspirations; and oh, tip big.

8.      Avoid death, but take some scary risks in the New Year. You need to remind yourself how precious yet fragile life really is.

9.      Face some of the BIG questions. “Where did all this stuff come from?” “Do I have a place in the grand scheme of things?” “What is it?” “How do I show love?” “How do I receive love?” “Am I ready to face my Maker?” “Who will win the Superbowl?” “Describe “God.”

10.  Remember to breathe. You know what I mean.

There…, that should give you some things to think about during commercials. Forget making New Year’s Resolutions…, just DO this list.

Happy New Year!

  Gary

Thanks-giving

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Turkey, Thanks, Thanksgiving, Thankful Once a year in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving; a time to remember to be thankful for all that we have. Friends and family gather together to give thanks over a bountiful meal, with turkey & mashed potatoes & gravy, yams, green beans with slivered almonds, coleslaw, cranberry sauce, fresh rolls from the oven…, and pie! Apple pie (a la mode), pumpkin pie, blueberry pie, even rhubarb pie. Kinda gets your mouth watering.

And football. LOTS of football! This year, depending on the number of channels you pay for, there are 3 NFL games from which to choose; but that’s just the NFL. Did I mention there’s more food! Hot crab dip, onion dip, spicy habanero salsa, and even Tzatziki. Blown your diet yet?

Then think of the next 3 weeks + of turkey & cranberry sauce sandwiches. Maybe not.

Oddly, one of the things missing in all this celebration and comradery is— remembering to give thanks.  In most American families not even a prayer of thanks is offered before the meal anymore. Who are we supposed to thank? What’s the history of Thanksgiving? Google it.

Here are some suggestions on how to instill an aspect of thanks-giving into your Thanksgiving.

1.      Whether you are the chef, invited guest, or family, gather your wits about you to celebrate with an attitude of how can I serve rather than serve me.

2.      If you are a guest, bring something. Anything. It’s historical.

3.      DO NOT make football the god-of-the-day.

4.      If you believe in God, DO start with a prayer of thanks-giving.

5.      If you do not believe in God, at the beginning of the meal, thank the chef! Profusely.

6.      Toward the end of the meal, go ‘round the table asking each one there to offer at least one thing for which they are thankful. Kids included.

7.      Offer to help with the dishes! If others don’t offer, conscript them. Note- the chef is not allowed to participate in kitchen clean-up.

8.      If you are a guest, do not linger about forever. Unless invited to stay, leave after you do the dishes.

9.      If you are the host, be gracious, but sit down. Stop!

10.  NOW you can sit and watch more football. [After you go for a hike to shed the excess bulk.]

From our family to yours, we wish you the best season of thanks-giving ever. Gobble gobble.

 

Happy Thanksgiving,

  Gary

Restless

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christians, restless, sea, stormy, strength, harbor            Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, and yesterday, I thrashed about in the waves of restlessness that would not release me. Sure, I had things to be done; plans, goals, objectives. I knew how to measure my progress toward fulfilling those goals. I had personal goals, professional goals. So how did I wind up thrashing about so frantically, trying to stay afloat?

Restless in body, soul, and spirit, I tried to press on to the next phase in my plans. But I felt lost, adrift. I had the skills to accomplish my objectives; yet, I wasn’t sure that accomplishing them would make any difference. Anywhere.

Restless.

What do you do while turning your dreams into realities and find yourself simply cold to the things you are doing? What do you do when you find your passion has flat-lined?

Well, you NEVER, never ever give up! Do you fight to stay the course amidst the storms of disorder and desperation? Do you step back and reevaluate whether this is what you should be doing? Have your resources to get it done changed? Has there been a paradigm shift in the world that affects your goals and/or final product?

Adapt. Adjust. Reposition. Rebrand.

Do not clutch your goals or dreams so tightly that you are unable to let things go, modify the process, product, or personnel. Keep up with the times and seasons of your culture, with the strengths of your own resources, with the seasonal phases of your own life. Maybe you need to back-off for a time to gain perspective.

Out of a restless spirit can come a depletion of purpose and energy, or, any drive to change-up some things. Is it time to ask those age-old evaluative queries—  Is what I am doing essential in making a difference in this world? Am I cut out for this? What would I rather be doing? The worst feeling in the world is that I am not making a difference; that I am merely taking up space.

Is it time to step up the helm and redirect the ship? Whether that ship be your company, your family, or yourself. The very deep resources of your soul are there for you to draw upon. Are you?

Or is it that you’d rather remain restless & unsettled, immobilized in your direction and stagnant in your spirit. Come on, now! Grab the helm; redirect your ship in the midst of the storms.

“A ship is safe within the harbor; but, of course, that’s not what ships are made for.” J.A. Shedd

 

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

troubled

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Troubled, Crisis, Troubles, despairWhat troubles you? Money? Family? Relatives? Competition at Work? Feelings of failure? Emptiness? Mistrust? The list goes on. There are so many things that can get under our skin and irritate us without let-up. Some of us live our entire lives in frustration, crisis mode, turmoil. Nothing is ever settled. Nothing ever seems to work out. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) put it best—

Double, double toil and trouble;

 Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

~Macbeth

            In life, troubles will come; that’s a given. The issue is how we face them when they do come. Some people ignore their troubles, believing if they don’t address them they will go away. They won’t. Others put their troubles out of their mind, pretending they don’t exist. They do. Still others face their problems but have little hope of overcoming them alone. Yet they push on, commiserating with no one.

Most of us are troubled about something-or-another most of the time. Something is always troubling us. So please forgive me if I offer this sound, if risky, advice.

1.      Start with a thoroughly gut reaction! Cry, yell, sulk, hit something (not someone). If your emotions are raw, let them be raw. When something is eating away at your core you need to address it first at a primal level of gut reaction. Then, walk away. Get over it! After some time has passed, even within the same day, regain your composure and start to think clearly, peacefully. Address the issue head on. A true friend may be needed to give you honest advice..

2.      If you are an external processor, talk with a trusted friend who has some wisdom. If you are an internal processor, get alone for an extended time period; ruminate. Drink tea & remain calm.

3.      DO SOMETHING. What should be done first to solve this problem? What RESOURCES can be drawn upon to help you?

4.      Evaluate if your actions made a difference. To what degree did they help toward a solution to these troubles?

5.      What’s next?

6.      Pray for God’s wisdom and insight. You are not in this alone. If you do not believe in God or prayer, do it anyway. There might be a big surprise in the light at the end of the tunnel. (NO, not a train.)

7.      Learn to ask the questions that need to be asked; even if it turns out that YOU are the problem.

There are very few troubles that come our way that do not have a solution. Whether it comes from private pondering or picking the brains of our friends, or turning to God, these are always ways to face our fears and our foes, and to overcome them. DO NOT give up!

For what it’s worth,

  Gary