Random Acts of Kindness… And Truthfulness

12311328_1694579984162048_8782211737330115429_nRemember a few days ago I asked for you to help me find ways to accomplish Random Acts of Kindness with our elected officials, those who believe differently than we do and in the words and actions we share with those around us. I am like you, all the stuff going around: accusations, denials, lies, half truths, fake news and alternative facts… if we are really honest with ourselves we don’t know what to believe. This latest press conference with the President was very troublesome because of the wild unreality of Trump blaming everyone else for the problems going on in today’s Washington.

I know we want to be involved in things that lift us up and at the same time we want to accomplish that while honoring our own honesty and integrity. I want to help Washington heal, the country heal, while seeing the world being lived out around me through the eyes of truth. It does no one any good if we shower others with random acts of kindness while holding on to a lie, hiding the truth, and being dishonest with those around us.

Yes, I want to be part of the solution and not part of the Washington problem. To help get us all to a better place I plan to seek to offer random acts of kindness in truth to my elected officials, those who read my blogs, and others who know me. We must all seek to deal in truth not in that which is false, shady or half-truth. So I will require of me and of you that we tell and recognize the truth in all our dealings with each other. The reason for that is because I don’t think we can lift others or our own spirits on a lie. So I will tell you the truth. If you find that something I write is not truthful, I expect you to write me and share with me cited references about where I failed. I will search it out and seek to explain where I was coming from and how it could possibly be wrong.

I will also continue to hold the President, his cabinet, the Democrats and Republicans to the truth test… because if we do not start with the truth there is no way any of us can make the trip to the healing waters of grace.

In the process I will offer us some suggestions of random acts of kindness we may offer. Let me know how you feel about dealing with truth and kindness in this way.


ACT OF KINDNESS

We want kindness to be a win/win situation… where all benefit and are brought to a better understanding, deeper faith, and a way for all people to grow in their calling to be a people of peace.

Kindness is contagious!

And it’s a truly win/win situation – the person you are being kind to benefits through your help while you feel good for having helped someone. Ultimately, the world will become a better place through your kindness.

Send someone (perhaps an elected official or someone for whom this election has been tough) a hand written note of thanks for something good they have brought to the surface in your life.

Please apply this RAK in your life today – and let me know how you get on with your random acts of kindness. 

What goes around is sure to come around

Happy Helping

Happy Truthing


Hope you find some random acts of kindness in my books on line…

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Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

confused-babyToday, as I was thinking about what I was going to write tonight, this 1940’s song kept running through my head. I have been up and down and in and out on this roller coaster ride. I have been critical of Mr. Trump for his actions, language and betrayal of the American spirit. Some of you – even some of my own family members – have criticized me for the tone of my blogs. So I tried a different approach in speaking about the President – using grace where at all possible. A couple of days ago I even asked for help in how to enact this grace as random daily acts of kindness. So far… out of the 514 people who follow me – not one soul has responded to my call for help in grace… but you are not as sheepish when I speak about Trump in words that call his lack of honesty into question… or talk about his lack of character or leadership. And so this song describes how I feel today: “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” by people who say they want to help, we should all be on the same side and that I should be more fair in speaking about Mr. Trump. Come to find out perhaps you are like the Linda I spoke of several days ago… disappointed in me when my words hit home, but the very next day when I try to be more reconciling she calls all Democrats… especially me… cry babies.

Recently General Flynn resigned after being fired by the president. Trump, even though he has known for 14 days that Flynn lied to the VP, lied about that, did not tell the VP himself, and blamed the press for being unfair to Flynn for leaking when a few months ago… he just “Loved WikiLeaks .” I guess he likes it when it helps him… but used against him he says it is illegal and unfair. Double standard!!!

Now he has spoken about national security issues at the dinner table around a bunch of people – including the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe – from his so-called Summer White House. Discussing items of national security in public is against the law, Mr. President.  The full weight of the National Security apparatus – who will find out what was said on both ends of phone calls, emails and memos – are getting ready to bring forth its powerful investigative talents toward finding out about Trump, the Trump team and Russia. And as one of the old time national security people said: “Now is the time for all the people involved to lawyer up – because they will find out the truth… and the truth will not be pretty… people will go to prison. Here is where the American people need to make sure there is a full and open investigation into this matter… if not, Sessions may just do a private investigation and the American people will never find out the truth. We need to know the truth. The president should want the American people to know the truth.

I have said all along that I hope Trump does well because it will mean that America does well. However, as each day goes by I see more and more the ranting and ravings of and 8 year old and less and less maturity. Each day brings me more fear of what he might do and less and less sense of safety and security for our country.

Perhaps now Mr. Trump will do as he promised and release his taxes so that the America people will know the truth about his financial holdings… especially when Donald, Jr. says: “that the majority of their holdings are in Russia…” and bring about transparency in the search for truth.

Perhaps you are not answering my call for help with offering the Donald grace through random acts of kindness because you are just as bewitched, bothered and bewildered as I am. I will continue to pray for our country, our president and the successful outcome of legislation that will bring greater care and compassion for all people. And I will pray for the truth to be revealed, believed and acted upon.

Grace and Peace

Steve


I hope that you will give a look see and find grace in my on line books….

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Thrive Tribe Step Two


10418846_10152630208560797_4156375463449326414_nOur first step into finding a place where we can thrive in becoming the person God wants us to become is believe, thinking, speaking and acting in a positive manner… that no mater what the issue we are to act in such a manner that after the conversation is over we remain brothers and sisters who have come to a deeper appreciation for each other’s point of view.

The second step is probably going to bring us greater fulfillment and a deeper sense of purpose: “It is we change the world through one act of random kindness at a time.” In my church life – my role as a pastor in the United Methodist Church I have sought out and accomplished the sharing of this grace. I must admit that it uplifts the giver and the receiver if we walk humbly in this role. However, if you walk into this seeking to use it as some sort of religious trick it may just backfire… and blow everybody to pieces.

With my past experience I was looking forward to using this as a tool to bring about peace and reconciliation. However, it seems that this has already backfired. I must admit up front that I was doing ok until this past Sunday when the Trump people sent this Stephen Miller guy out to blast all the talk shows with this statement: “The President’s powers here are beyond question.” That is so 1939 Germany… right in the middle of the night of the long knives… that I found it very difficult, almost impossible to speak a word of grace… not that I am above it or better… just that it seems that these people are making it almost impossible for grace to thrive.

So, my friends, I really do need your help. Republicans and Democrats alike need to send me ideas on how we all can come together in grace, live in grace and move forward in grace. How can we offer up random acts of kindness when we are being shot at before we even get to the church? How do we speak the gracious word when another lie is being discovered as part of the fabric of the Trump political cloth? So let’s join together to develop a plan to be kind, forgiving, honest and healing.

Thank you for making this journey with me.


Over the years I have written about the grace of God many times. God’s grace has seen me through some mighty tough spots… giving me strength in my weakest moments. In face, grace has been my theme. The majority of my writings has been about grace… the free and unmerited love of God which blesses us in our faith journey. I invite you to search out grace in my works on line:

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Steps Into Thrive Tribe

img_6421Perhaps you are feeling a bit like me lately… kinda overwhelmed and under-fortified? I have sought for over forty years as a pastor, four years as a Marine, and other growing up and into life years to be fair, kind, positive and forgiving. I learned early on in life from my parents that my being forgiven is tied to how I forgive. If I refuse to forgive… harbor ill will toward others… and keep sores recorded I will find that I am not hurting the other guy. I am ultimately hurting myself and stunting my own spiritual growth.

It hasn’t been easy to always forgive or to be positive even when the other guys is spewing out his venom. I have been hurt deeply by people I deeply cared about. I have even apologized in front of the church for something I did that was not wrong… the apology was given just to keep peace in the family. I have swallowed a lot of pride, dined on crow way to often, and had my teeth loosened from turning the cheek so much. I must admit there have been times when the Marine part of me wanted to take over and let the pastor in me sit this one out… times when I wanted to take that someone out behind the woodshed and have a good old fashioned “come to Jesus” meeting.

Over the 2016 election cycle I have found myself less and less forgiving and more and more angry. My world has grown darker as the days have gone by. I am not proud of who I have been becoming… for that person is not positive, uplifting or forgiving. I feel that I have become so angry because people have refused to see the darkness in the heart of Donald Trump… forgiven him of all the unacceptable things he has said and done while crucifying Hillary for emails. I simply could not believe that he got a pass on behavior that for anyone else of any other party in any other year would have found themselves totally unacceptable to people like Jerry Falwell Jr., Franklin Graham or the entire Republican Party. My anger grew and grew while I spoke more harshly to friends and family about their blindness to all things Donald.

After the election, in my shock, I was afraid that our new president would have us in WWIII before long. I think I formed a “defend the constitution party” of one… and I sought to make sure that Mr. Trump’s feet were held to the fire. I still believe he should be held accountable for his words and actions… but perhaps with a more gracious spirit.

So my first step in finding a thrive tribe… a place where I can thrive and become the person I have always sought to become… a peacemaker… is to be positive, speak in a positive manner… think in a positive manner. I simply cannot lose my own soul in the process of speaking the truth. I stand with those who believe that God is in control and in the end good will win over evil. However, I do believe that faith requires participation. Our prayers for goodness sake should have legs… knee pads and strong running shoes. Faith is not just right and wrong but many shades of grey. A debate can’t be just points scored… but compassion and understanding revealed. We must find a way to speak compassionately to those with whom we disagree so that after the conversation we have a better understanding of where we both are coming from and still remain brothers and sisters.

So the first step in becoming and remaining positive is to go to where Jesus is, speak the words Jesus would speak, and act in the way Jesus would act.

Grace and Peace

Steve


Peacemaker… I have been labeled that over 40 years in ministry… because I have sought to live that way. You will find something of that peacemaker attitude in my writings found on line:

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Taken To The Woodshed

norman-rockwell-ftrWell, I thought I was doing so well… speaking the truth, revealing that which has been hidden, bringing light on that which has been so dark and mysterious. Some people agree with my findings while others think that I have wandered down wrong and forbidden paths.

Many of you accept my writings for what they are… a struggle in the darkness seeking to find light for the world, the community, but especially for myself. To that end a couple of people, Linda and Mike, took me to the woodshed this week… over the writing about Elizabeth Warren being told to sit down and shut up. I tried to explain that I was so frustrated with the outcome of the election that I wanted to just quit involvement in all things political. There are some of us who were just giddy with excitement about Mr. Trump winning while others, like my wife, spent the entire day after election in tears of mourning and disappointment. Mike seemed to be speaking from a Republican heart while Linda was disappointed in me not seeing that the world needed to come together on one side… not divided as we have become more and move violently over the last twenty years. I agree there should only be one side and that should be God’s side… but who of us is qualified to define the right and the wrong?

Today the sermon James preached took me even deeper into the woodshed… so deep the only light I could see was the light of Jesus Christ. I admit that I am allowing my eyes to see the wrong things and my hands to be hard at work accomplishing that which is not of peace and harmony. I try to do that which is right but end up lusting after that which is not of God. Yes, my hands need to be cut off and my eyes poked out… because they lead me to that which blocks my vision of God and the Godly things of this world… and put me hard at work doing that which keeps God from more fully living in my heart and life.

James, you are right… I need more of Jesus in my life… day by day and moment by moment. Come and walk with me Lord Jesus. Guide me along your paths of reconciliation and peace. Mike and Linda, and all the other Mikes and Lindas out there need to include me in your prayers… that I may be a person of peace and  brotherhood… who looks for the ways of forgiveness and restoration.


Yes, I know there are many examples of peace and harmony in my books which I often times seem to forget. Sometimes we all forget how to be peacemakers… perhaps I need a refresher course from my own writings. You will find these examples on line:

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GOVERNMENTS

governments-of-the-worldMy grandson gave me a list of the governments of the world, what they mean and how they act. This may help us all as we look at our own government.


DEMOCRACY:

You have two cows and your neighbor decides who gets the milk.


REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY:

You have two cows. You select someone with the best Television face to tell you how to take care of your cows.


BEREAUCRACY:

You have two cows. The Government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them, then pays you not to. Then it takes both cows, shoots one, milks the other dry and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out stacks of forms accounting for the missing cows.


CAPITALISM:

You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.


COMMUNISM:

You have two cows. Your neighbor helps you care for your cows and everyone shares in the milk.


RUSSIAN COMMUNISM:

You have two cows. You have to take care of them, then the government takes all the milk.


FASCISM:

You have two cows. The government takes bow of them and shoots you.


FEUDALISM:

You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.


BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM:

You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. They are cared for by chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took away from the chicken farmers.


SOCIALISM:

You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows, then gives you as much milk as it thinks you need.


How are your cows doing? Do you decide anything about them – how they are milked, how often, who gets the milk and how much? There is no mention of our cows kicking over the bucket of milk, swatting you in the face with her tail and even kicking you off the stool… all of which has happened to any dairy farmer. A word of advice may be to care for the cows as best you can, share as best you can with those who need the milk, and be as efficient as you can in continuing to care for this cow and all the other who may come your way.


I hope you enjoy my books which deal with faith and devotion.

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