The Ride of a Lifetime Monday, Dec 26 2011 


I Wish I Could Be a Brother Like That

by Doug Nichols

Years ago in the Philippines, I heard a story of a man who parked his car in his office complex in downtown Manila. There was a street boy nearby and to pick up some money, he asked if he could watch (guard) the man’s car while he was in the office.

Several hours later, when the man came back to get his nice Mercedes, he paid the boy some loose change and, as he was getting in his car, the little street boy said, “Mister, you sure have a nice car.” The man was quite surprised that this boy had even spoken to him and said, “Well, thank you.” Then the little boy said, “Where did you get your car? Did somebody give it to you?” The man replied, “Well yes, somebody did give it to me. My brother gave it to me.”

As he continued to get in the car, he expected the boy to say something like, “Oh, I wish I had a brother who would give me a nice car.” Instead, he heard the little boy say, “Your brother gave it to you? I wish I could be a brother like that.”

The man was so amazed at the statement of the little boy, he asked, “Have you ever been in a nice car like this?” The little boy said, “No.” The man replied, “Well, get in. Let me give you a ride.” The boy jumped up in the front seat and as they drove down the road, the man had to roll down the windows because the little boy was so smelly.

The boy was so joyful and in awe that he said, “Sir, could we go get my little brother and give him a ride too?” The man said, “Tell me about your brother. Where is he?” The boy pointed at a poor slum area of Manila called Tondo. They drove there and parked and the man said, “Go get your brother and we will give him a ride.”

The little boy ran down a filthy alleyway and a few minutes later came back with his little brother on his back, as he was crippled! The man said, “So this is your little brother; what’s wrong with him?” as they put him up in the front seat. The little boy said, “He had an accident. He’s crippled and can’t walk.”

As they drove and talked, the man found out that the brother had a crippling accident and because his family was so poor, they could not get him the medical care he needed.

The businessman said, “Well, my brother is a doctor. Why don’t we go see him and find out what he can do for your little brother.” After the examination they found that after a simple operation, the boy would be able to walk again. The operation was performed and the little boy who could not walk, but had a brother who loved him, was able to walk again.

Why did all this happen? Simply because of the unselfishness of someone caring for someone else, rather than for himself. So, might we have the words on our lips, “I wish I could be a brother (or mother, father, sister, fellow worker) like that.”

In the words of the missionary, the Apostle Paul, …regard one another as more important than themselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others(Philippines 2:3-4, nasb).

Yes, “I wish I could be a brother like that.”

The Sound of Silence Thursday, Dec 22 2011 

Silence is the relative or total lack of audible sound. By analogy, the word silence may also refer to any absence of communication, even in media other than speech. Silence is also used as total communication, in reference to non verbal communication and spiritual connection. Silence is also referred to no sounds uttered by anybody in a room and or area. Silence is a very important factor in many cultural spectacles, as in rituals.

In discourse analysis, brief absences of speech mark the boundaries of prosodic units used by speakers. Silence in speech can be the result of hesitation, stutters, self-correction, or the deliberate slowing of speech for the purpose of clarification or processing of ideas. These are short silences. Longer pauses in language occur in interactive roles, reactive tokens, or turn-taking.

According to cultural norms, silence can be interpreted as positive or negative. For example, in a Christian Methodist faith organization silence and reflection during the sermons might be appreciated by the congregation, while in a Southern Baptist church, silence might mean disagreement with what is being said, or perhaps disconnectedness from the congregated community.

Deaf people function in a completely silent culture.

Placing the index finger in front of closed lips is the most widely recognized gesture of silence. The gesture can be used to demand silence without raising one’s own voice. The rose, sometimes depicted clasped by or on top of closed lips, is another well-recognized symbol of silence stemming from various mythologies.

In Western cultures, it is sometimes difficult to interpret the message being sent by a person being silent (i.e. not speaking). It can mean anger, hostility, disinterest, or any number of other emotions. Because of this, people in Western cultures feel uneasy when one party is silent and will usually try their best to fill up the silence with small talk.

Music inherently depends on silence in some form or another to distinguish other periods of sound and allow dynamics, melodies and rhythms to have greater impact. For example, most music scores feature rests denoting periods of silence.

Argumentative silence is the rhetorical practice of saying nothing when an opponent in a debate would expect something to be said. Poorly executed, it can be very offensive, like refusing to answer a direct question. However, well-timed silence can completely throw an opponent and give the debater the upper hand.

An argument from silence (Latin: argumentum ex silentio) is an argument based on the assumption that someone’s silence on a matter suggests (“proves” when a logical fallacy) that person’s ignorance of the matter. In general, ex silentio refers to the claim that the absence of something demonstrates the proof of a proposition.

The right to silence is a legal protection enjoyed by people undergoing police interrogation or trial in certain countries. The law is either explicit or recognized in many legal systems. Violation of the right to quiet enjoyment is a common law tort.

Joseph Jordania suggested that in social animals (including humans) silence can be a sign of danger. Many social animals produce seemingly haphazard sounds are known as contact calls. These are a mixture of various sounds, accompanying the group’s everyday business (for example, foraging, feeding), and they are used to maintain audio contact with the members of the group. Some social animal species communicate the signal of potential danger by stopping contact calls and freezing, without the use of alarm calls, through silence.

Many religious traditions imply the importance of being quiet and still in mind and spirit. In Christianity, there is the silence of meditation

Perkey Avot, the Jewish Sages guide for living, states that “Tradition is a safety fence to Torah, tithing a safety fence to wealth, vows a safety fence for abstinence; a safety fence for wisdom….. is silence.”

In some traditions of Quakerism, silence is an actual part of worship services and a time to allow the divine to speak in the heart and mind. Eckhart Tolle says that silence can be seen either as the absence of noise, or as the space in which sound exists, just as inner stillness can be seen as the absence of thought, or the space in which thoughts are perceived.

A common way to remember a tragic incident and to remember the victims or casualties of such an event is a commemorative moment of silence. This usually means one or more minutes of silence, in which one is supposed to not speak, but instead remember and reflect on the event. A commemorative silence may be held at a workplace, a school, and similar institutions. Sometimes a government will advertise a commemorative silence for a specific period at a specific time, which everybody is encouraged (but not forced) to honor. One such example is after the events of 9/11, and on its anniversary several years afterward, when many governments around the world announced 3*minutes of silence in respect of the victims of the event.

Thanks for reading today!

Can you Knit? Tuesday, Dec 6 2011 

1 Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with-even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.
2 – 4 For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume he should only be a vegetarian and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ’s table, wouldn’t it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn’t eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God’s welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.
5 Or, say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.
6 – 9 What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to-all the way from life to death and everything in between-not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.
10 – 12 So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I’d say it leaves you looking pretty silly-or worse. Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going to improve your position there one bit. Read it for yourself in Scripture: 

  “As I live and breathe,” God says, 
    “every knee will bow before me; 
  Every tongue will tell the honest truth 
    that I and only I am God.” 
So tend to your knitting. You’ve got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God.

Romans 14.1-12 Message Version