Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Purpose Driven Life Is Better Than Good

... and vice versa.

I love to read self-improvement books. As I watered the garden yesterday, listening to Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven* Life, I realized that I should have been reviewing them here and keeping a page with a ranked list. Oh well. One more thing to do.

I like Pastor Warren's book. I think he's got a lot of good things to say and I agree with much of it. I don't think I'd recommend it over some others, though. For example, Zig Ziglar's Better Than Good has a nearly identical message and I think it's much better. Unlike some of his other Audible titles, Zig reads this one instead of performing it live in front of an audience, so you miss out on his greatest charm, his wild enthusiasm, but the content is still excellent.

I've long pondered starting a Catholic podcast and/or writing a book. I recently changed the tagline for this blog to "Love. Forgive. Party." which summarizes the theme I would use. I've tried a bunch of Catholic podcasts and, like Rick Warren's book, they are too serious, too ponderous. Jesus came to teach shepherds and fishermen. Have you ever hung out with farm workers or deck hands? They are too smart for clever philosophy. They know that the important things in life are pretty simple, hence Christ's teachings are simple. Love. Forgive. Party.

Rick has all the right ideas. Without a purpose, you drift. Without God and the Bible, you struggle to derive a purpose from first principles. He then takes you through the process of finding your purpose, illuminating the steps with passages from the Bible.

I'd prefer passages from Van Halen songs.

For the love of Pete, where is it written that the Bible needs to be the beginning and the end of our learning? This is one of the reasons Zig Ziglar is so much more effective. Zig acknowledges the Bible as the ultimate root of our purpose, but he quotes from it sparingly. Instead, he illustrates his points with stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It's accessible and full of enthusiasm. Like any good Protestant, Rick Warren knows his Bible, but he doesn't recognize its limitations. Read the thing, absorb the message and get on with living life directed by it. Emphasis on living life. Stop beating me to death with it!

There. That's all I've got for today. I need to get back to some web development work now. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday or whatever day it is you read this.

Update: Looking for a video to use as the insert on this blog post, I came across this one. It's excellent. Enjoy!

* - The actual title of Rick's book is The Purpose Driven Life without the hyphen. That is grammatically incorrect and we don't do that kind of thing here.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Ripples Of Love In A Pond

About a week ago, I blogged this bit about my elderly mother breaking her neck.
I've heard people question the existence of God because there is evil and suffering in the world, but this makes no sense to me. If our lives were nothing but painless joy, how would we love? It's in moments like this that we can show tenderness and compassion. Without suffering, there is no chance to love.
Last night, we went to Cursillo* team school where we prepare for the next retreat weekend. 40 people must have come up to me and asked how my mom was doing and let me know they were praying for her. They had mentioned her in their prayer groups and all of them showed a lot of love for her through me. It was wonderful.

Thinking about it this morning, I saw an analogy of a stone thrown into a still pond where the ripples go out to the edge. My love for my mom may have been the biggest and first, but theirs were present as well. The accident gave them the opportunity to show us just how deep their love for us was.

Opportunities to love one another through suffering are all around us.
* - Cursillo is a life-changing movement within the Catholic Church designed to make us better Christians.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Guns Are The Problem

For the most part, I stayed off of social media yesterday as the conversations were all choreographed long ago. Like an old waltz, after the school shooting in Florida, the pundits and activists took their places and danced. No one was honest, no one was sincere. Everyone just yelled the same, boring cliches.

We're not having a serious conversation and we're not trying to understand each other. It's simply yelling. Guns are the problem and the 2A folks need to be able to admit it. If we didn't have several hundred million guns, if private citizens were forced to go to extreme measures to own even a single gun, these mass murders of children would become very rare. You can't drive a van into a school to run over the kids. Vans don't fit through the hallways.

I'm not in favor of reducing the number of guns.

I don't trust the government, not for a second. The most recent revelation from the farcical Russian collusion story is that the FBI honcho whose wife worked for GPS Fusion, the creeps who created the rubbish intel on which the illegitimate FBI spying on Trump was based, did not declare his wife's income source to the department. If he had, he should have been instantly removed from the case.

It's called an OGE 450. By law, he has to file one. Look it up.

The FBI lied to everyone in order to spy on a political enemy. President Obama ran the most corrupt administration in history. He used government enforcement agencies as his own, private Gestapo. If there was a way to oppress his political foes, of which I was one, he did it. Imagine what he would have done against an unarmed populace.

So I want guns in the hands of private citizens. Lots of them. I don't want the government having any more control over them than it has right now. In exchange for that, I know that this will lead to school shootings by lunatics who somehow manage to get their hands on guns. That's the honest tradeoff. Take away the guns and people like Barack Obama will have practically no limits on their behavior. Allow us to keep guns and we'll sometimes have school shootings. It's a shame we can't be honest with each other.

I'm with Chuck on this one, but I acknowledge there's a serious downside.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

When You Think You've Got It Rough

... you find someone who really has it rough.

My mother, 88 years old, recently broke her neck in a fall, was moved from the hospital to a nursing home to recover. We felt pretty bad about her pain and how she has been hit with so many problems lately, especially losing my dad 5 weeks earlier.

She was put into a room in the nursing home with an elderly woman who was clearly deranged, writhing and crying out in her bed. The woman's husband was there, patiently sitting with her, giving what love he could. It was a sure bet that this had been his lot for a long time.

We got my mom moved to a quieter room, but it was pretty sobering to see how that old man was coping with a horrific situation. It put our problems in perspective.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

This Is Kind Of Creepy

Today is both Valentine's Day and National Organ Donor Day.

It gives the phrase, "I gave you my heart" a whole, new meaning.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Love Is Fun

... but getting to it isn't.

I've been spending a lot of time with my mom in the hospital. To recap, she's 88 and fell and broke her neck a week ago. My dad died on January 1, so she was already hurting before this catastrophe. She's healing and should leave the hospital for a rehab nursing home tomorrow.

As I was saying, love is fun. When I get there to sit and hold her hand, it feels wonderful. It's what I'm supposed to be doing and it makes her feel good. Driving there is another story. That's when I'm grousing about having to do it, what a hassle it is and how I have so many things I'm not getting done. When I leave, I have such a sense of happiness. I've made someone's day brighter. It's lovely.

What's the deal with the dread of going? Some of my Cursillo friends would argue that it's Sparky trying to get me to not go. I dunno, I think it's more like some kind of separation pain from my normal, daily routine.

It's weird.

Monday, February 12, 2018

My Favorite Clip Of The North Korean Cheer Squad

... would be this one.

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, but the progs in the media have been drooling all over the North Koreans at the Olympics. CNN, Reuters, the New York Times, NBC, they're all in love with the Nork "Charm Offensive."

They're slaves. The North Koreans are slaves. The media is cheering slaves singing and dancing for the entertainment and profit of their masters. It's beyond surreal, it's utter madness, driven by their deranged hatred of Trump. If you haven't seen it, dig this tiny selection of the progs' sick gloating.

Shorter version of the lefty infatuation with the Norks: "Why, just listen to the music and look at the dancing as they pick the cotton cheer for their team. How can you see that and say they are oppressed or unhappy?"