From: William Gibbons Jr
Sent: Friday, July 3, 2020 12:10 PM
To: 'william's email list 2018'
Subject: Thanksgiving 2019 to Independence Day 2020
"Christianity is a lifestyle
— a way of being in the world that is simple, non-violent, shared,
and loving. However, we made it into an established 'religion'
(and all that goes with that) and avoided actually changing lives.
One could be warlike, greedy, racist, selfish, and vain in most
of Christian history and still believe that Jesus is 'personal
Lord and Savior.' The world has no time for such silliness anymore.
The suffering on Earth is too great."
— Richard Rohr
" . . . . if I believe something, I live it.
Otherwise it would be perfectly meaningless."
— Peace Pilgrim
"We have been the recipients
of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these
many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers,
wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have
forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved
us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and
we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that
all these things were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue
of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become
too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving
grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."
— Abraham Lincoln
Greetings to each of you,
Happy Independence Day to every one of you. May you
choose to exercise your freedom wisely. A reminder to those who have
chosen to join the journey with us at the Teaching & Sharing Centers.
July 4th is the annual renewal date for all memberships (except lifetime,
of course). If you have not already done so, please renew as soon as
possible. Consecutive years of membership carry with them additional
benefits. Independence Day was chosen right from the start because it
is a symbol of freedom. Jesus said the truth will set you free. Everything
we do at, or through, the Teaching & Sharing Centers is focused
on "seeking truth." Be well. Enjoy.
Freedom follows truth on a list
of priorities I created on a desktop background about a decade ago.
We have clearly seen recently how it feels when the government limits
our freedoms, even if it is for a good reason. And, we have also been
given a taste of how freedom could work against us in a pandemic, quickly
spreading illness, and costing lives. Freedom has always been a delicate
thing to balance. Unbridled freedom will open the gate to anarchy. Socialism
and totalitarianism stand ready to accept the surrender of freedom at
the altar of fear if we are not diligent.
God grants freedom right from the start, but it is no small task to
retain it. That our forefathers gave us a great foundation of freedom
to build upon is definitely something to give thanks for on this Independence
Day, and every day. May God guide us to keep it.
This newsletter was originally meant to be done by
Thanksgiving (last year), which is right up there with Independence
Day (July 4th), and Saint Patrick's Day, as one of my top three favorite
holidays. When I gather up a bunch of my notes, those are often the
days I will set as a deadline to put them together as a newsletter.
But alas, it did not happen like I originally intended. Giving thanks
should be a daily practice however, not just once a year, so I am keeping
the opening graphic I chose, regardless of when this actually gets to
When I did not get it done in 2019, my next realistic
goal was Independence Day 2020, although Saint Patrick's Day 2020 was
given consideration. So, in spite of altering the email subject several
times from "Thanksgiving & A Whole Lot More" to "Thanks Giving & A Whole
Lot More," then just the basic "Happy Independence Day," I am
dubbing this my Thanksgiving 2019 to Independence Day 2020 (TIP for
short) newsletter. The "P" in TIP is to include St. Patrick's Day even
though I did send an email this year when Covid19 started ramping up
its impact on our lives about then. Putting this together has been a
long process, and it is my desire for it to be my last newsletter. I
will talk a little more about the confession I made about not liking
writing (April 10th in my Good Friday communication) after you click
on the link below.
I have been telling people for some months now that
one of our T&SC branches has the most important mission statement in
our entire country, maybe even the world. I will explain later in this
newsletter why I believe that to be true.
In light of the above claim, I woke up one morning,
and in my quiet time I envisioned us (the T&SC) offering churches a
small group program. The In His Steps groups were mentioned to
you in an email I sent to the T&SC Board May 11th. You received a carbon
copy (Cc) of that email showing a brief outline of the program. That
too will be expanded upon in the main body of this newsletter.
And, as the original subject line implied, there is
a whole lot more.
As is now my practice, in order to avoid lengthy
emails in your inbox, and to save me the time necessary to do two separate
layouts, first as an email, then as a webpage, I am doing the content
primarily as a webpage. This email is your introduction to the newsletter
online. If you want to continue, all you have to do is click . . .
I usually do not like putting
live external links into my site pages except for on the specific links
pages themselves. However, this newsletter is a "color outside the lines"
kind of communication. So, since this should be getting to you for Independence
Day, I am including the below link about our national anthem.
Star Spangled Banner As You've Never Heard It
"I know that the Lord is always
on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that
I and this nation should be on the Lord's side."
— Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln quotes click here.
My life is simple. I want whatever
God wants. Yet, as I have said many times, simple and easy are not the
same. Discerning what God wants is indeed not always easy. But, I did
not create myself. Plus, I am completely incapable of creating a universe.
In fact, to my mind, it is not logical that anything exists. Here we
are however. Not only do we exist, we are aware that we exist. Even
past that, we can ponder the why and how of our existence. We can live,
and love. Which is far beyond just existing. We tend to take all this
for granted. As if it were no big deal. Some even think it can easily
be explained in purely scientific terms. Nothing could be farther from
the truth. In general, science is a good thing. I believe it is a gift
from God. But, solely scientific thinking often leads to a false bravado
of believing we are somehow in control. In reality, we have virtually
no control over anything that is truly important in life, except how
we choose to relate to God, and to one another. The arrogance of playing
God, or even imagining we could step in and take over, has always led
to dire consequences. We are getting very good at that in our culture.
One need not look very far to see there is no shortage of events proving
out the concept. Additionally, a walk through history is littered with
the ruins or remnants of cultures, and even empires, who got too full
of themselves. We should take heed of the lessons they pass down through
the ages before we too become a footnote in some future history book
as yet another people who deluded themselves into believing they had
the ultimate control, and were not humbled by the fact they exist at
"There are those who know and do not do. This is
very sad. In this materialistic age we have such a false criterion by
which to measure success. We measure it in terms of dollars, in terms
of material things. But happiness and inner peace do not lie in that
direction. If you know but do not do, you are a very unhappy
— Peace Pilgrim
I am trying something a little
different this time. I originally had an article "Don’t Let Your Misses
Define You," by Jason Cruise placed just after the "Blessed is the nation
. . . " graphic. But then, I decided to do an addendum page. It is a
place for someone's full text, or additional graphics, or quotes, rather
than trying to squeeze everything into this document. Jason's article
grabbed my attention because what people would think of me has had far
too much influence on my life choices than I would care to admit. Starting
with hunting as an analogy, Jason moves on to citing Peter as "living
proof that God’s grace can take a coward and turn him into a world changer."
We grow, change our minds, see things in a new light, or discover things
were not as we previously saw them, all throughout our lives. Yet, even
Peace Pilgrim had trouble letting go of the stuff she deemed as her
failures. The key is not letting them hold you back, especially when
it relates to what other people might think, when a new perspective
gains the status of truth for you. Emotionally, I have always had trouble
dealing with criticism, perceived failures, and moments I experienced
as humiliating. For me, they do not just go away. Still, I have learned
not to give in to them, and to keep on moving forward in spite of whatever
might be haunting me. If you would like to read Jason's take (five short
paragraphs) on it all, just click here on
"You begin to do your part in
the Life Pattern by doing all of the good things you feel motivated
toward, even though they are just little good things at first. You give
these priority in your life over all the superficial things that customarily
clutter human lives."
— Peace Pilgrim
Average email open rate = 20%
Average text message open rate = 98%
(September 20, 2019 email
from Network for Good)
I have been rather unsuccessfully trying to detach
from many of the electronic tentacles which entangle our lives. Unfortunately,
writing puts me in front of a computer screen for longer periods than
I wish, so it has been on the chopping block wish list for a while.
I toyed with the idea of just stopping cold turkey with emails, and
newsletters. Some of you may remember in 2017 I dabbled with the possibility.
But, since using a flip phone makes text messaging a nightmare, plus
I have thus far managed to stay away from Facebook, Twitter, and the
like, some level of emailing seems to be the likely option of keeping
me from becoming a hermit in the midst of an electronic soup which often
feels like chaos, with everybody talking at the same time. I was told
the other day that nobody reads long sections of text anymore (like
this), they just flitter from one graphic to another until something
grabs their attention for a brief moment. I will speak a little bit
more about this in the william's works section. For now, this
newsletter comes to you courtesy of the last person who requested being
added to my mailing list indicating she liked my writing, and a dear
friend who hinted in an email that I might want to consider writing
more than I do. I have his permission to share the email
here, if you care to see
it, along with my reply.
Do not get me wrong. I like having the Internet available. Especially,
to get input on questions I would be hard pressed to even know where
to ask them without the Internet. I just do not wish my life to be consumed
If you would like to see what tech giants
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates
had to say about all this electronic technology and their kids, click
on their names.
|Most of the graphics
shared in the newsletter before the william's works header, are
not my work. I am sure you could tell that, but by my guidelines I needed
to acknowledge it.
This (image at left) is the first of some quote graphics I received
in an email from our card group under the subject title "truth." I have
not checked to verify the accuracy of the quotes, or when the image
seems to indicate the source. Some were amusing, others just cute, and
a few I found thought provoking. Somewhere along the line I decided
I would use them to break up the large amount of text set aside for
this newsletter. They, as stated above, are not my personal work
– nor meant to be a scholarly work with footnotes
– just sharing what was sent to me.
If we saw people making things but denied the intelligent
work of the people and studied only the things, others would think us
— Tomorrow's World (March-April
2020, page 20)
I have never met a true atheist.
Most of the people I know who claim there is no God are too intelligent
to authentically be atheists. To validly hold in your heart, and brain,
that there is no Creator, you would need to accept on blind faith that
everything came from nothing, which would be considered scientifically
impossible. Since science is what most avowed atheists I know use as
their foundation, they would need to reject science also. Where would
that leave them? Well, I have found most of the people claiming to be
atheists have generally fallen into two categories. One is those who
are angry with God, or with a person, or group, who professes belief
in God. Declaring God does not exist, out of anger, might make someone
feel better, but it does not answer why we exist. Not at all. The other
category is the people who automatically equate God with religion, and
think admitting a belief in God would mandate them giving up a particular
lifestyle, everything they think is right, or especially fun. All you
have to do is look at God's creation to know that He (and I only use
the male pronoun out of Biblical tradition) is a God of diversity, not
monotony. The Creator of all that is seen, and unseen, cannot be placed
into anyone's nice little religious box.
Our God has gifted us with both the ability to remember,
and to look ahead. It is amazing when you consider the only moment we
truly have to live in is what we call "now." Can you imagine what life
would be like if you woke up every day not knowing something as basic
as what a fork is, or especially who those other people around you are?
Let alone such complex subjects as freedom. Those abilities are essential,
yet we mostly just take it all for granted, without giving thanks for
Of course, they also come with
their down sides. Our hurts, angers, prejudices, plus a whole host of
other emotions, traits, and difficulties can become lifelong companions.
That is what attracted me to Jesus. He embodied forgiveness, acceptance,
grace, and so much more, contrary to any typical human, and even beyond
great spiritual leaders like Lao Tzu, or Peace Pilgrim in our time.
"Seven Deadly Social Sins, according
to Mahatma Gandhi: Politics without principle - Wealth without work
- Commerce without morality - Pleasure without conscience - Education
without character - Science without humanity - Worship without sacrifice.
His grandson Arun Gandhi added an eighth: Rights without responsibility."
Whenever Gandhi was asked what he thought about Christianity,
he responded with some variation of "I like your Christ, but am not
much impressed by your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ."
He was apparently drawn to Christianity as a young man, but was rejected
because of the color of his skin at a church he visited.
|"It is common, as William Sloan
Coffin notes, that we are prone to use the Bible as a drunk uses a lamppost
— for support rather than illumination."
This brings me to why I have
been saying our christian life programs branch has the most important
mission statement in our entire country, maybe even the world. "To
help Christians live what they say they believe." That is it. The
whole mission is in that one sentence. Not to tell them what to believe.
Not to challenge what they believe. Simply to help them live what they
profess to believe as Christians. Especially as it pertains to Jesus.
Even within each Christian's own parameters, if they were living their
words, what a difference it would make.
For example. Almost every church
service I have been in at some point recites the Lord's Prayer. If you
pay attention to the words, which include "forgive us our trespasses,
AS WE FORGIVE those who trespass against us," WE are asking God to judge
us the way we judge others, treat us the way we treat others, especially
when it comes to forgiveness. I took those words very seriously
when I began my journey, and still do. I have often said my absolute
commitment to forgiving others is a self-centered decision. I wish to
be judged by God from a perspective of forgiveness, so I had better
be extending that forgiveness to others.
And that brings me to the new
In His Steps groups program, where the goal is to get into the
habit of asking "what would Jesus have me do?" Not just once in a while,
or on Sunday, but every day, in every circumstance, with every decision.
A woman at work made a mistake. A big mistake.
A costly mistake. Then, her boss went to his boss and basically took
the blame for her mistake. He said he didn’t train her right,
he didn’t follow up as he should have, etc. He put his
job on the line. He lost credibility, he lost social capital so
to speak. The woman afterwards, pressed him to tell her why he would
do that. She said, “I’ve had people blame me before, even when
it wasn’t my fault, but I’ve never had someone take the blame
for me.” After pressing him some more, he responded, “OK, I’m
only going to say this once. I’m a Christian. My whole life
is based on a man who took the blame for me.” The woman immediately
responded, “Where do you go to church?”
That story was part of a column in the July newsletter
from Donna's church. To see the whole article by
Jeanie BD, just click
on her name. I found it interesting that it arrived at our house the
week before I intended to announce the IHS program. It tells me that
ours is not an isolated thing that God is doing. Speaking of which .
On Saturday June 27, the T&SC Board of Trustees decided
I should continue the development of the program as a part of my missionary
endeavors under the william's works branch for now, rather than
moving the program into the christian life programs
branch. This will give time for reorganizing efforts after the
influx of new board members, resulting from some key long time trustees
reaching their term limits in the last two years.
As has been the case since the
beginning of this 26 year journey, william's works stocks a paperback
size of the Peace Pilgrim and In His Steps books, along
with Bibles, offered free to anyone who seriously wishes to journey
beyond the shallow waters of materialism, and political games, in this
life. Here, when I use the term political games, it refers to the private
sector, and religious institutions, as well as the obvious public arena.
A basic supply of support materials for the IHS groups have already
been obtained. Plus, a time availability form, which doubles as a sign
up and explanation sheet, has been designed and printed.
I am not going to try to "sell"
anyone on this program. God is going to need to call people to it through
the Holy Spirit. I can make it known, and provide the structure. But,
this is something a person needs to be ready for in their spiritual
growth journey. Although, the structure does allow various levels to
begin at, and growing through the program. Your level of proficiency
with Scripture, and your level of commitment to Jesus, would guide you
which level is best for you. If you do not think Jesus is relevant,
that is your choice. But, just about everything I have read, or heard,
about the Christian Church in America, whether it was a secular or religious
source, has said the culture influences the church more than the church
has influenced the culture. It seems to me we are due for a change.
IHS groups could help make that happen.
I would like to emphasize that I, the Teaching &
Sharing Centers, and this program are available as a servant, not as
a promoter. I am happy to speak with anyone who has interest. Or, even
to a group of people who have questions about the 26 years of my journey
after having read the In His Steps book written by Charles Sheldon in
the late 1800s. It is up to you, who are nudged by the Holy Spirit,
to make others aware of the existence of this program available to serve
them at no cost.
"To this you were called, because Christ suffered
leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps."
— 1 Peter 2:21 NIV
I do not see abortion as just
one issue among many. I see it as the issue. Everything else
relates to how we treat life from the start. Much like certain animals
are regarded as keystones to a healthy eco system, I see the right
to life as a keystone to a healthy culture. Lack of respect for
life at its beginning, will ultimately translate into abuse and disrespect
in many varied forms. But being pro-life does not mean I am simply against
abortion. It influences my attitude toward the death penalty, end of
life issues, and war. I believe it pertains to how we treat people who
are in a crisis pregnancy. Including how we help them provide for their
baby with a healthy support system, or guide them through adoption if
it is their choice. Being judgmental accomplishes nothing. Showing acceptance,
love, and being supportive offers hope for everyone involved. That is
followed by how we treat, and develop safety nets for, children in general.
Especially those in circumstances with little means. Yet, it all starts
with that first choice. Much like IHS groups, because of its importance,
I am creating a separate set of pages regarding choosing life. Click
below to access them.
"No wonder the subject of judging
is fraught with challenges. On the one hand
are the judgmental folks, quick to condemn and short on mercy;
on the other hand are the 'live and let live folks,'
who act as if nothing much matters to God."
— Erwin W Lutzig
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one
comes to the Father except through me."
— John 14:6
I would be more than happy to have all paths lead
to the ultimate Truth. But, that is not what the Bible says Jesus said.
If you want to take the chance He was lying, did not actually say that,
or that what He said was not written down accurately, you are free to
do so. But, Jesus' perspectives were different enough from all the typical
human ways of seeing things to convince me He was who He said He was
— the Son of God. I am not willing to take the chance He did not say
exactly that. In my experience, people respond negatively not so much
to Jesus, but more to historical Christianity, or specific contemporary
Christians that they deem judgmental, and hypocritical. Jesus was not
overly fond of those types of people either in His incarnated days on
earth. It is true, Christianity has no shortage of appalling times throughout
its history. Still, we have hospitals, orphanages, food and clothing
banks, plus all sorts of help organizations mostly because of Christians,
and Christianity. Some, like the Salvation Army, the YMCA, and more
recently Habitat for Humanity, have become such household names many
people do not even realize they are Christian organizations. Others,
while they might not identify themselves as Christian, were either started
by Christians, or heavily influenced by Christianity. I have to remind
myself of that frequently, when I see how unlike Jesus we "Christians"
respond in so many circumstances.
"We completely ignore God's instructions (even commands) on how to navigate
in this world as if we were not inviting disaster. Then we take God to task,
or say He must not exist, because of all the horrible things
that happen. Interesting logic."
"Democracy is found in the strength of its people,
not the strength, or lack thereof, in its leaders."
courtesy of prayerandpolitiks.org
I shared the above graphic in
my St. Patrick's Day 2019 newsletter. But, I believe it bears repeating
as we continue our journey with a new president (this section was added November 2020).
During the last election, and throughout the election results news coverage,
I cannot begin to tell you how many times I heard someone say the country
has never been more divided. Or, simply used divisiveness as the descriptive
word of our times. But, that is not true. Bigotry, deep seated anger,
hatred, and a host of other things touted as evidence, simply do not
happen overnight, or even develop in a few short years. As a culture,
and as individuals, when our lives are running along on cruise control,
it is easy to fall into believing all is well. However, when something,
or someone, comes along and shakes things up, we discover there was
always much that needed to be worked on that we simply ignored in our
A basic review of our history will remind you
this is nothing new. Starting right at the beginning with the
Revolutionary War. Americans were vehemently divided between those
who wished to remain loyal to the King of England, and those who
felt it was time to give birth to a new nation, the United States of
America. The Declaration of Independence was not a document of
unity, but of discord. And, speaking of a new country, we need look
less than a century later, when some of those united states broke
away, and formed the Confederate States of America. I most certainly
do not believe we are more divided today than in our Civil War.
I was in college during the
Vietnam War. I can personally remember how enormously divided we
were during that era. There were protests all over the place, taking
on a variety of forms, including college students being shot and
killed by the National Guard at Kent State University. Add in half a
dozen other wars, where disagreement flourished, in our first two
hundred years, and it can make you wonder when the "united" part of
our name actually applied. Plus, it did not take a war for us to
disagree. Things like prohibition, and sanctioned segregation in the
south, filled the gaps between wars. I was a teenager living in
Downriver Detroit during the riots of the 1960s. If you truly
studied our history, except for some key moments in time, we have
mostly been a divided people. Often with great violence, and
turmoil, bubbling out of that divisiveness. Yet, we still consider
diversity as a hallmark, and strength, of our nation. That is
because united and homogenous are not synonyms. We ignore our
history at our own peril. A healthy perspective requires honest
What has changed in the era
of modern communication, and now social media, is how much that
diversity, and divisiveness, is staring us in the face on a daily
basis. You no longer need to be in the right place at the right time
to see firsthand how much injustice, racism, and other prejudices,
even atrocities we decry, have played out regularly in our history.
Plus, add to those some of the Biblical caveats we have actually
embraced historically, and still do, like greed. We are not more
divided than ever. We are more aware. It was much easier in times
past to hide our own flaws, and ignore those who saw things
dramatically differently. Back in early America, you might not even
hear about trouble for weeks. Most of our lives were localized. That
is not the case anymore. The mobility of our culture started some
big changes. Change has not slowed. It has skyrocketed.
"The first step in any solution is the simple
acknowledgment there is a problem."
Although, we can still hide
our heads in the sand of our personal circles, and pretend ours is
the only valid viewpoint on anything, it is hard to ignore the truth
for long these days. That is why I like the above graphic so much.
No finger pointing. No wringing our hands at how horrible we think
things have become. Compared to when? Just owning up to what has
been a part of our national personality for basically our entire
history is a good start. That national personality grows out of our
individual personalities. Can we change for the better? Of course we
can. But, the goal is not to become homogenous. Perhaps, the first
goal should be to develop some real humility, as we try to find the
Truth in, and of, our lives as individuals, groups, a nation, a
world, and God's creation. It would help. Of course, humility is not
particularly seen as an American virtue. One can always hope. In the
meantime we are still the United States of America. That matter was
settled in 1865. We have that great time of divisiveness behind us.
Today we simply continue with the rest of the work. For regardless
of the prefix you put in front of it, we all end up as — Americans.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust
in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own
eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck
out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then
you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."
— Matthew 7:3-5
I was hoping this newsletter
would be like the finale of a display of fireworks. A whole lot of everything
all at once, but then it is done. Well, I did not make my deadline.
As it turns out, the work on this last newsletter is going to last a
lot longer than than I had hoped. I keep running across items I had
set aside, both digitally, and in old fashioned regular file drawer
folders. I decided to get what I had done to you because of the significance
of Independence Day in our lives, and the importance of getting the
ball rolling on the In His Steps groups offering.
I am most likely going to leave this
text, graphic, and list, in place permanently to
acknowledge the progression which took place in the development of the
newsletter. The list might change as things are added, and may be replaced
by FINALLY DONE, or something similar when completed.
What's ahead? Here
is a look at some things already set aside . . .
The additional articles,
Richard Rohr, more quotes,
Al-Anon, more graphics, a little humor, list is no longer designated
for this newsletter. You may click below for where I have decided to
now place them . . . .
In addition to the
Lincoln Quotes, and
other items previously noted above throughout the text, the
following items still in the addendum page for this newsletter are
More From Pastor Chuck
Praying All The Way To The Bank (Yancey)
You Cannot Be Christian (Michael
ending intended for this newsletter.
Last year, a friend visited the Center for the first time. After giving
him a tour, he said it was still not clear to him what our goal was.
I explained that my personal goal for the past twenty-six years has
been to do whatever God asked me to do. But, I am now just one voice
in a servant organization God is building. Later, I felt led to send
him a note which read . . .
"If your big picture goal were to change an entire
culture from a 'compete and compare' model of living to a 'teaching
and sharing' practical application based philosophy of life, what would
you establish as your immediate tangible goals?"
If that question intrigues you, elicits a good challenge
response within you, simply brings some things to mind, or just sounds
like something that needs to be done, I would suggest it might be time
for you to get involved here with the process God has already begun.
This is the third Independence Day newsletter the
below image and poem has graced. I was not going to keep it in this
one, but the poem, complimented by the photo, is so iconic to what I
believe, and have written here, I am leaving it in.
"If you have something worthwhile to say, you can
Otherwise, why in the world would you want to be speaking?"
— Peace Pilgrim
The above quote needs to be read in context. It is
from a time when Peace Pilgrim was first being asked to speak publicly
to groups. Many people do not realize they have something worthwhile
to say. When I was participating in the Al-Anon program in the late
1980s, I remarked how a less than gifted speaker would often give me
something more beneficial by telling the simple truth from a heart of
pain, than any eloquent orator offering up knowledge found only in their
I saw for the first time the other day what my website
looks like on a smart phone. Some new friends were trying to encourage
me to enter the 21st century, by expanding my electronic horizons. When
you take something designed on a twelve inch wide screen, then view
it on a four inch screen, it was depressing to see the result. I am
well aware I often use a lot of words to explain something very basic,
but when that tiny screen scrunches everything together it really looks
like nothing but a constant stream of text. They were explaining it
did not have enough attention grabbing content to keep the electronic
generations on the site. In the "olden days" the marketing people might
have termed it as not being sexy enough. If I need to start trying to
please a crowd that cannot pause long enough to read an entire paragraph,
my website becomes too much work for too little pleasure. And, of course,
why write if people cannot be bothered to read anything not written
in the newest version of shorthand (messages on a phone where you guess
what word a letter stands for in text abbreviations), with adequate
emoticons for added visual stimulus. It is not my place to judge those
addicted to social media, or who seem to have a cell phone permanently
pasted to their head. But, neither do I need to cater to them. I do
not see any of this making people happier, more at peace, or satisfied.
To be honest, I would rather go release some stress chopping wood than
enter the game with the fast and furious. I have always liked things
that last, rather than rushing to get the newest whatever. Even as a
person who is easily distracted, and likes to move between tasks to
cut the tedium. But, each person gets to choose for themselves. The
image that came to mind as I wrote those words was the old knight in
the Indiana Jones Last Crusade movie admonishing to choose wisely.
God grants each of us the right to choose. But choices always have consequences;
some very good; some really disastrous. May we indeed choose wisely.
A friend asked me the other day why I was pointing
out more my continuing independent status as a domestic missionary working
under the william's works branch? The answer is I have felt like,
for some time now, I have been living more of a Martha life than
a Mary life (If you do not know the details of the Scripture passage
click here to see it. More
commentary will be added later).
Also the third Independence
Day newsletter the below image and poem has graced, I was not going
to keep this one either. But, with everything that has been going on
in our country lately, and the great amount of content I have written
in this newsletter, I am leaving them as a reminder that I do not see
myself as a person of answers. God has the answers. I am still trying
to find my way.
As you can see, I wrote the
poem Full Circle in 1989. Its admonitions tend to show up quickly
these days. When things start going wrong, in words directed at God,
I might think or say, I take it I have been being judgmental, unforgiving,
or started down some other negative path. I want to know, and be able
to correct these. I believe everything is connected. So, our physical
ailments, our mental or emotional issues, and our spiritual growth,
or lack thereof, are all intertwined in where we find ourselves at any
given moment, and especially in whatever challenges we might be facing.
If all we do is go through life treating symptoms, little will improve.
I am thankful for the gift of free will, and the
ability to change my choices. I give thanks for how wonderfully our
bodies are made. We are not entitled to good health. Our bodies are
amazingly durable with healing capabilities, and yet quite vulnerable
on a number of levels. In spite of chronic tinnitus, coronary artery
disease, and the standard fare of perpetual aches and pains, you will
not hear me speak about my health much. Focusing on the negative only
perpetuates it. So I have the toward better health pages on my
website, natural products promoting good health in the Trade Center,
and a section of health and herbal books in the Center's Reference Libraries.
I must participate if I wish to keep, or improve, the good health I
have remaining. I cannot be a bystander in my own life. My choices and
efforts make a great deal of difference in the possibility of good health.
And, it is not just physical choices like eating, exercise, and sleep.
Mental and spiritual choices have immense impact.
I have been primarily an introvert all of my life.
You were not likely to see me on the dance floor at a high school dance.
I would have been off to the side. I have always felt uncomfortable
in social gatherings. If the game was on the line, I would just as soon
not be the one who was in the position to be the deciding factor. I
have joked later in life that of all the things I have lost, I miss
confidence the most. But rather than confidence, I have had the sheer
tenacity to keep trying throughout life if I thought something was potentially
important, or sometimes just desirable. Whatever activities others might
see these days as being extrovert is not self-confidence. It is God
confidence. Given with a dose of plain old-fashioned perseverance.
"To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising
— Will Durant
I did actually revamp my opening
home page with a link to an alternative. I did not like the way the site looked on a cell phone screen.
So, images and links are all in the middle of the page in the less
text home page version.
Less Text Home Page Option
"It is a natural progression that we must grow older.
Nonetheless, we are not required to become old."
I have been telling people those words, using a variety
of paraphrasing, probably since I turned fifty, or even before. Quite a
number of years ago I was sent an email with some very clever, and
interesting, graphics. Among them was the below image which I put into my
exercise slide show folders under the title Shadow Dancer. It has always
been one of my favorites since the day I received it. I think it is the
very best simple illustration I have ever seen of the above quote in
visual form. I thought it would be a nice thing to share with you, as I
close out this "last newsletter."