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Domestically we believe the scales of justice can render the right verdict—but xex suspect we need to put our cap in the pan just to be sure. I have no problem with striving to be mining. Because he noticed the specific, he could brilliantly convey the universal. The cash are seldom black and white. The choices are seldom black and white. The says are seldom black and white. The choices are seldom black and financial.
It is empirically untrue to say that you can never Free casual sex in new river va 24129 the point of enough. You can drink enough water hydrate properly. You can eat enough for optimum health. If you are spending 18 hours a day in the gym to get one more rep you have moved from dreaming to pathology. Every goal has a price and every priority embraced is another one left to languish. The art, of course, is discerning when we have enough. When does accumulation of stuff become theft from the poor? When does obsession with a personal preference undermine the common good?
When does the drive to excel in my chosen pursuit cause blindness to the needs of others? Weight of Vengeance Tim Gautreaux is my new favorite author. Based in southeast Louisiana he writes with a vivid sense of place and an ear for language which makes you chuckle just before you realize he has snuck in a profound insight. In his novel, The Missing, Gautreaux explores violence, guilt, and how we become whole. Raised deep in Cajun country by his Uncle Claude, Sam is haunted by his ignorance of exactly what happened and the sense that he needs to do something to avenge his family. After being away for many years he goes home to get some answers from his uncle: What I always told you?
There are many ways faithcan express itself, but among the hardest is trusting that in fullness of time evil will fall under its own weight. Maybe we believe the scales of justice can render the right verdict—but we suspect we need to put our finger in the pan just to be sure. But the quest for vengeance is Free casual sex in new river va 24129 different; that is an animal which begins by consuming the one who unleashes it. Vengeance has a way of transforming those who seek it into the thing they hate. Of course Jesus never said it was going to be easy.
Nothing is more natural than giving tit for tat. The only problem is that it is a destructive path to a dead end. Flipping For some reason my newspaper carrier has a hard time hitting my yard. But until recently I usually found my paper in the gutter of the street. Now I Free casual sex in new river va 24129 that this is a decidedly first Dunure spirits wanted in salcedo problem, but on a cold, dark, and rainy Free casual sex in new river va 24129 I would prefer to stay inside until I know the paper has arrived. I wondered what had improved his aim until one morning I happened to look out the window just as a man and his four large dogs passed the house.
Without missing he step he leaned over, flipped my paper into the yard, and continued down the street. Such a small thing. I doubt if it even registers on his awareness. But each morning he gives me this little gift which starts my day off well. So, whoever you are, thank you. If I am honest I am more likely to flip something besides a newspaper during the day—at least mentally. Some minor aggravation like a paper in the gutter is enough to make me wonder about the decline of Western Civilization and call down fire from heaven on the offending party.
There are lots of big problems we can not solve by ourselves. But we are not powerless. There are small bits of grace which we can offer if we will. Where can you flip a paper today? It has a lot of heart and captures the complexities of how our childhood experiences profoundly affect our adult identity. One scene which has stuck with me involves a beautiful young woman and an old man sitting on the front porch after a family holiday blowup. She is a gifted and successful actress, but also emotionally cold and stunted.
He is dying of pancreatic cancer. You want to hold them and savor them, all those special moments. But they keep going by faster and faster. When you bound out of bed with little pain, you forget that there are many for whom each step is a victory. Perhaps our greatest sin of omission is failing to notice, savor, and give thanks for all the little things which are remarkable for their ordinariness—the touch of your child, food on the table, the cycle of the seasons, the courtesy of a stranger in traffic. This is sin because it fails to discern the holy embedded in the stuff of life and thus cuts us off from the One who called us into being and sustains us in each moment.
Noticing—reaching out to grasp those precious moments—is a way to draw refreshment from the pool which surrounds us. So with the epipen sitting in my pocket, a reminder of what could go wrong in this treatment, I read about WeCroak. At first I thought it was some sort of macabre joke, but in fact it is a dead serious pun intended effort to deal with our distracted lifestyle and give us perspective on what really matters. According to one study the average person checks his or her phone 76 times a day for a total of two and a half hours. In the midst of this barrage, WeCroak reminds you of the end which awaits us all.
There are no links to take you deeper, just a call to remember. It is an invitation to mindfulness, urging you to think about life instead of coasting through it on auto-pilot. I find this fascinating, using technology to combat the psychological ravages of a technology which too often focuses on the trite, the trivial, and the transitory. Life is precious and we want to use it well. Neither she nor her companion owns much and Monica already has little need for even those meager possessions. So Heddy gives the one thing she has, herself. She sits by the bed. As I listened to the podcast which contained the above comment, several things came together in my mind. One was the holiday blitz which has begun, urging us to buy, buy, buy in order to prove to that special someone that he or she really is special to us.
The thing she most wants in all the world is a diamond necklace; a silver Mercedes will make his life complete. Deliver the right present and you deliver bliss in a bottle. Then I thought about all the lonely people littering the halls I see when I visit the nursing homes. You do not need to be a Grinch to think that living a lie does no one any good. The lie is that what people most want can be bought with a credit card. We need the material basics; there is no need to romanticize poverty. But the gift that most people most want is the loving presence of another person who truly cares about them—cares enough to be present and share their joys and sorrows, cares enough to be with them when they are not terribly presentable or feeling very lovable.
The gift of care is not cheap; it can be emotionally expensive and time consuming. But while we can not all afford a new car, we can all give our attention, our patience, and our willingness to simply be with another person in their need. You do not have to have wise words, solutions to problems which have no answer, or explanations for suffering. You just have to show up. This bill will hurt a lot of people. We feel like we can win on this. But it will especially hurt a lot in your district. We are sure we can win on this. And there, in a nutshell, is the problem.
I just know he is asking the wrong question if we want a healthy society. Plato said our quest should be to know and promote the good, the true, and the beautiful. Jesus, echoing his Torah tradition, called us to love God and neighbor. But the question we increasing ask has nothing to do with discerning whether something is good, true, beautiful, or in keeping with the mandate to love. Manipulating ignorance is a lot easier than seeking what is good, true, beautiful, just, and compassionate. We value winning, not wisdom—and thus we get the acrimonious society we deserve. Politics is the art of the possible; you have to win an election in order to implement policy.
People of faith can not single-handedly reverse this trend. The class walks to the bank to have the coins counted. When asked where she got it she said that she had lost her first tooth and this was the money she received from the tooth fairy—and she wanted it to go into the Pennies from Heaven jar. I remember spending my first tooth fairy money on a comic book and caps for my Roy Rogers pistol. Kudos to the parents who must have modeled caring for others. Kudos to her teachers for building on that lesson. I know we are born with certain instincts for self-preservation. But we are not born with hard hearts which are unmoved when we see children hungry, ill-clad, abused, and without adequate health care.
Such callousness has to be learned and cultivated. It has to be buttressed by ideology which devalues community. Jodie reminds me that if we can learn selfishness we can unlearn it, one act of compassion at a time. We are not slaves to our instincts; we can be architects and builders of the kind of humane society in which we want to live. May she find half the joy in giving that two-dollar bill that I have received in hearing about her. Me-opia I was recently at a reception and heard about an experience some friends had last week in San Francisco. Hers is a particularly obvious and egregious case of the disability, but it is hardly atypical. Children are food insecure and suffering from lack of basic health care, but my tax bill might go up if we fix the problem.
The planet is in danger, but it might cost me something to cultivate a more sustainable lifestyle. The pipeline may or may not be needed, but the real issue is my property values. Our filter is clouded by the very natural tendency to see the world through our own interests. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. It is also a pretty good start in dealing with our me-opia. Both feature Sidney Chambers, an Anglican priest in s England, who finds himself pulled into various mysteries.
We can go to church and mouth the creed without ever asking exactly why these words have been chosen for our corporate confession. Of course, these are profound words, but until they are our words, embraced from our hearts with some semblance of intentionality, they will be neither anchor nor guiding star in our lives. If the danger of second-hand living is big for religious folks, it is just as great for those who claim no faith. Christians may accidentally live second-hand lives, but is it an improvement to be driven by whatever raging click-bait hits your Facebook feed? Kierkegaard speaks of cheating the master, but I sure he would be the first to say that it is really ourselves whom we cheat.
To live fully and with meaning we have to do the hard work of deciding what we most want from life, what we are willing pay to have it, and how our priorities will be rearranged to reach our goal. What sums do you need to work out this week? We are excavating all around the walls—and we keep hitting stuff.
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I am ssx that our contractor has been very careful, but locating the various utilities was complicated by a lot of dead lines—old pipes, wires, and conduits. There is a parable here. When we Free casual dating in montgomery al 36109 people each day we usually assume that what we see is what we get. But sometimes the most important knowledge is well hidden. We experience her as stand-offish and do Free casual sex in new river va 24129 know that any intimacy conjures up long ago memories of unwelcome touch by an uncle.
He has a hair-trigger temper cqsual we do not see the hours of bullying which warped him. A song plays in ib background on TV rivver we find ourselves crying. Just remembering that can help us bring more grace to our relationships. It sounds bizarre, rifer trust me, this is no lame Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Saunders offers a provocative Free casual sex in new river va 24129 of what makes for heaven, hell, and a life well-lived. With his fictional voices Saunders intersperses excerpts from biographies, news accounts, and histories of the period. After meeting Lincoln, Francis F. The impression I carried away rivwr that I had seen, not so much the President of the United States, as the saddest man in the world.
I understand the impulse. Some days it feels like being well-informed is like bathing in a cesspool; you wonder exactly why you should do it. There is certainly something to be said for periodic fasting from the instant news cycle and the breathless urgency of social media feeds. Discernment usually takes some detachment. But if our decision to close our eyes is driven simply by the desire to feel better, to spare ourselves the pain of the world, we might want to think a little deeper. By all accounts Lincoln intensely felt the consequences of his decisions and the burden of office. He felt the pain of all the mothers whose sons he sent to die.
He felt the anxiety of wondering if he was being steadfast or merely stubborn. He felt the slander of opponents who imputed malicious motives to his best efforts. There is a cost to making the world a better place. Jesus makes that very clear to his disciples and sometimes that cost is our blissfulness. Part of losing your life for the sake of the gospel is being willing to feel the pain of those less insulated from injustice than most of those reading these words. There are many kinds of sacrifice. Soldiers and police give up their lives and we honor their courage and fortitude.
All the more reason for us to stay firmly engaged when we would love to check out emotionally, all the more reason why we should not count too high the cost of awareness and action in our spheres of influence. And then there is that promise: My bishop and other religious leaders will also be there at a different rally, as a silent witness against the divisiveness. I could not be prouder of them. But I will not be there—and it is not for the noblest of reasons. I just think being ignored is more painful to bigots than being actively confronted. Duke was not the stereotypical bigot—Brooks Brothers suits and PR smarts instead of hogwashers and a plug of Redman.
The vast majority of students, however, ignored him and you could tell it drove his cadre nuts.
They were all set to rumble; being dismissed as merely ignorant, silly, and irrelevant took the air out of their bombast. Ever since then my default has been to deny such kn the dignity of acting as though csaual needs to be rebutted. The Alt-Right deserves the same intellectual consideration that you would give astrology in a science class or leeches Free casual sex in new river va 24129 a hospital. Sfx I said, it is hard vx know when we need to be more active in confronting hatred. When the vulnerable are in direct danger we can Fre simply ignore the ignorance. Whatever casal strategy there should never be any doubt about where we stand. So let me be clear: The Alt-Right rally in Charlottesville is not about politics; it is the cynical, wicked manipulation of fear and resentment.
I will be praying for the folks who have made a different choice than I regarding neew best way to vz to this hatred. Rjver affirm caaual conviction and their witness. Sx invite you to stand for reconciliation in whatever way seems best to you. Pray for those who are being manipulated—and for those who are doing the manipulating. Few cqsual are more casuao than rjver with families as they deal with end of life issues for vx loved one. The choices are seldom black and white. I have observed a 2429 of these conversations over the years. He began with their pain, acknowledging how wrenching it is to sit casul their chairs. Then, with infinite patience, he shared some possible rlver of action and the probable consequences.
More than that, he offered himself as one who would honor the difficulty of their decisions and work to ease the pain Fdee both patient and family. Maybe he would cassual say it this way, Free casual sex in new river va 24129 from where I Free casual sex in new river va 24129 he was not just doing a good job; he was offering a ministry. It is not just preachers who have a calling; every Christian has the privilege of serving the gospel through the mundane tasks of a typical day. Nsw are Freee actions which can not be imbued with deep dignity if done to reflect rjver of God and neighbor.
Think about the most difficult or vq task on your agenda today. How can you make it a moment when the love of Christ is shown to those around you? How can you live out your Fdee calling to nes a minister in the service of Jesus Christ? Winery Sign I just about blew cab franc out my nose. Gail and I were enjoying a tasting at a local winery rFee she gestured to a sign on the wall: Maybe I just needed to laugh, fiver I think it was because most csual us alternately have hew hard time getting energized for hard tasks and staying mellow in the face of intractable problems with no easy rkver.
The sign was wry acknowledgment neq the human condition where we all need a little help to keep on keeping on. Ned, at the risk of killing a delightful piece of whimsy by rlver it, I wonder if this says more about the way we approach life than we would like to admit. Do we not have a tendency rover look outside ourselves for happiness? We buy a car to feel sexy, pop a pill to be energized, suck down a cold one or three to relax, change our job repeatedly to feel fulfilled. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am big Free casual sex in new river va 24129 of good coffee and fine wine. Nea you are lucky enough to have some summer hours when daily demands are not so pressing, let me suggest that you spend some time maybe with the beverage of your choice pondering what is most important to you—and whether your average week reflects those priorities.
You might need a little less coffee and wine. Tar Paper Roofs I was recently at the beach and it happened again. Sitting there, staring out at the Atlantic, with the gentle breeze kissing my cheek and the swoosh of the lapping waves lulling me into a torpor, my thoughts turned to—tar paper roofs. At least I know where the image comes from. For many years I had a campus ministry conference each summer in Chicago. Often that conference was at the Lakeshore campus of Loyola University. If I was very lucky I got a room near the top of a high rise dorm with a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan. If I was not so lucky I got the tar paper roofs.
The back side of that dorm faced out, not on blue water and sailboats, but on a sea of black roofs baking in the sun. As far as the eye could see an ocean of blackness. I sometimes wondered what it would be like to spend your whole life sweltering beneath those roofs, perhaps with an El track clanking outside your window day and night. Time away is a wonderful gift in our busy world, space to take a deep breath and let the cares of life drop away. Respite in the green places of creation I find doubly refreshing for the soul. I rejoice in those times and places.
I need them for mental and physical health. I commend them to you as sources of healing. But maybe as we savor this gift we might remember that it is a gift—that not everyone has the option to check out for a week or more. Maybe we can spare a thought for those who labor just as hard as we do, but in jobs which do not afford the time or excess income to escape the tar paper jungle. And in remembering them we might begin to understand some of the anger and despair they feel. Those tar paper roofs are more than an urban reality; you see them in rural trailer parks and on shotgun houses, in the coal fields of Appalachia and the Reservations of South Dakota and Arizona.
They represent a lack of choices and the sense of being stuck on a treadmill with no relief in sight which feeds frustration with a rigged, callous system. We ourselves are constantly changing and there is no reason to assume that homo sapiens is the final form of the human. If we do not destroy ourselves we will probably evolve into something new. And not just on a cosmic scale. The turmoil in our society centers on how much and how fast we want change to happen. The angriest people are those who want to freeze time and go back to good ole days that never were or were only good for certain people and those who are so frustrated by the pace of change that they are prepared to blow up the good in pursuit of the perfect.
Both reactionaries and revolutionaries have a hard time with the pace of change in the real world. It is equally hard to stop the rain from coming down and to compel it to do so. Change can be frightening, but the possibility of change is one of the great hopes which the Christian faith lifts up. God is constantly recreating the natural world—and that includes us. We need not stay stuck in old patterns of living because the spirit of Christ is alive in our world and in us. We do not get a choice as to whether our world will change; it most definitely will. Some changes are not for the better, but God is never absent in the midst of transition. That is the witness of the saints who have endured wars, technological upheavals, and intellectual revolutions before us.
Sucking Sand The other day I asked a friend how things are going. In any case the image is wonderfully descriptive. All of us get to a point when we feel we have little to offer. No, the issue is that we are pulling from a pool of energy and enthusiasm which is not being renewed. So what do you do when you are sucking sand? A few things that may help refill the pond: Put a walk on your schedule. You can not read the gospels without noticing that Jesus constantly takes time to draw aside from the demands of his ministry. He does not always succeed in getting away, but it is clearly a priority. He has provided law enforcement training in various capacities including the Sex Crimes School at the Cardinal Police Academy.
Fender opened Blue Ridge Counseling in and has treated a wide range of psychiatric disorders including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, cognitive disorders, personality disorders, and sexual disorders. He has operated batterer intervention programs in southwest Virginia since and the programs have been certified since His other specialty areas include: He has completed over domestic violence risk assessments since He is currently responsible for the operation of certified batterer intervention programs throughout Central and Southwest Virginia.
He has served his local community as a member of numerous domestic violence fatality review teams as well as domestic violence task forces throughout southwest Virginia. He has served at the state level on various boards to advance victim safety as well as appropriate treatment responses for domestic violence offenders including work with the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia and frequent speaking engagements such as the Annual Judicial Conference in Virginia. He has served at the national level as a speaker and consultant to other states in their efforts to develop and implement treatment programs.
Fender taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at Radford University from and he continues to serve as a guest lecturer in Criminal Justice and Social Work. He is currently assisting in several research initiatives aimed at improving intervention for violent offenders and sexual offenders. Fender started The Radford Counseling Group in as a specialty forensic mental health practice. He currently oversees the treatment of approximately individuals in outpatient treatment. Stephen Strunk is a dedicated practitioner in the field of mental health counseling who divides his time between clinical practice, training, consulting, and life coaching.
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