Everyone has problems; always have, always will.
But some problems are better (more desirable) than others.
I have some of the best problems in the world. Everyone should have such problems. They’d be so much better off.
For example, this man shows up every time I look in the mirror, and I’m absolutely hating on him. He’s so good-looking, I can’t stand it. I’m jealous.
1As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.”
The disciples want to place blame. Their posture can be referred to as fault-finding, judgment and condemnation. Jesus calls attention to the opportunity to heal, to do good, to make a beginning.
Continue reading * A place to begin →
I don’t like Elder Conrad.
At the shelter, they compel us to attend chapel every night. A different group presents each night, following a monthly rotation. Elder Conrad and his group come the second Sunday of each month. In nigh on four years, he’s never said a single thing I felt merited attention.
There is one exception.
Continue reading * “Son” →
Here is a short list of things I can be grateful for.
||A clean sheet every night*
||A clean pillow case every night*
||A blanket every night*
||A pillow every night*
||A hot shower every night
||Clean clothes available every day
||A good supper every night
||Financial resources: At this time, anything I want, I can get.
(Anything I can’t get, I don’t want.)
||Moral support from my family, my friends and my church. A ton of people are pulling for me, hoping for my prosperity.
||The best problems in the world. (See next Wednesday’s post.)
*(To my knowledge, no other shelter in Baltimore City provides these things. If you don’t bring your own, you sleep on a bare mat. A change in that situation is something to earnestly hope for.)
Sooner or later, it had to happen.
Sunday, about 14:00, I had just bought my second coffee at McDonald’s. I put it on my table and, as they require me to do, took all my things with me to go out and smoke.
Related: Does McDonald’s discriminate against the homeless?
Outside, I took one more shot at trying to understand how evil — negativity, conflict — happens.
There are those who say that evil is necessary because without it, humans would never be able to appreciate joy. I have never found this believable.
Continue reading * The inevitability of evil →
On Tuesday 12/02, my therapist asked for a thumbnail summary of my overall situation.
I said, “I have goals, I’m taking concrete steps toward those goals, and I have a ton of hope.”
I know no way to account for this but the exact scenario I set forth in “Chaos overwhelms the poor:” I pay attention only to the concrete here-and-how, and to what I myself can do. (Related: Here – Now – Can.) From the farthest reach of my right fingertip to my right, to the farthest reach of my left fingertip to my left: within that range lies all my responsibility, everything that I can control. Here, the world appears orderly. Here, I can order and manage my affairs. Here I have power. I can act effectively. I can easily find hope.
A ton of hope.
Continue reading * Status report: A snapshot of my life right now →
I originally wrote this as an introductory passage for “What the New Testament means to me.” I wound up leaving it out as I didn’t think Ezekah would care for a whole lot of abstraction.
As I view the world right now, I see three elements: (1) What Is, including the material (seen) world, the spiritual (unseen) world, and all possibilities of events that can possibly occur. I may as well call this “God.” (2) A single set of principles that govern existence and all events that can occur. What we call the laws of physics are an example of these principles. I may as well call this “God’s will.”
(3) Human activity. It may be that there are no commandments, and no such thing as sin. Rather, God’s will is inviolable; and it is how we interact with What Is, inevitably in accordance with those principles, that brings weal or woe. If we act this way, we can have a world of harmony, beauty and joy. If we act that way, we’ll have a world of poverty, violence and bloodshed.
So far, there is neither need nor room for teachings of John and Paul that deviate from Jesus’ teachings in the Synoptics: no need nor room for a Son of God, perfect sacrifice, “belief in” Jesus, or heaven or hell — aside from the heaven or hell we create for ourselves in this life, here and now.
“What the New Testament means to me” points to ways to create, in effect, heaven on earth. The opposite path is described in “A living hell.”