Posts in On Our Mind

Wonderful news!

July 16th, 2018 Posted by On Our Mind 2 comments

A few weeks ago, we asked you to pray for the infant grandson of dear friends of ours. We are thrilled to share that Lion Huch, son of Pastors Luke and Jennifer Huch and grandson of Pastors Larry and Tiz Huch has been discharged from the hospital and is cancer-free. Here is Pastor Luke’s announcement:

“INFANT LEUKEMIA SURVIVOR Baby Lion Update: Special announcement from Pastor @lukehuch! Thank you so much for your continued prayers! We have the victory!!! Lion is healed, Lion will live, and Lion will thrive! Repost and share with others so they can hear the good news!!!”

Please keep praying as Lion is scheduled for further treatment to ensure that the cancer doesn’t come back. This is truly a miracle and we are rejoicing.

Please Don’t Tout Independence Day

July 9th, 2018 Posted by On Our Mind No Comment yet

How fortunate we are that the celebration of the United States’ founding became best known as the Fourth of July rather than Independence Day. That name has kept the holiday from being moved to a convenient Monday such as has happened to President’s Day which morphed from George Washington’s birthday partially so that it could not be tied to a specific date.

At a time when the founding principles of this country are largely forgotten and/or under assault, it is a soothing balm that the Fourth of July still reigns rather than being a day off (largely for government employees) positioned to make it most convenient for vacationing rather than for honoring.

Wishing us all a wonderful 4th of July

July 3rd, 2018 Posted by On Our Mind No Comment yet

Here are two presidential quotes to enjoy during this week of the Fourth of July:

“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”
Abraham Lincoln

“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

First Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress is attacked by Jewish journalist quoting his rabbi

June 21st, 2018 Posted by On Our Mind 5 comments

Pastor Robert Jeffress displays what I believe to be admirable courage in resisting the invidious idea that Judeo-Christian, Bible-based faith must to be stuffed out of sight where it can inflict no influence on American culture. He and his church, Dallas’ First Baptist erected a bill-board advertising the church’s commitment to faith and freedom and mentioned the name of Pastor Jeffress’ sermon for this coming Sunday-America is a Christian Nation.
This triggered macro-aggressions in Jewish journalist Robert Wilonsky who wrote an angry polemic slamming Pastor Jeffress in the Dallas News. Why do I mention the Jewish faith of this journalist? Only because he himself drew attention to it right near the beginning of his furious tirade against Pastor Jeffress. “My rabbi warned me there would be days like this.” Well, I have no idea of who his rabbi is, but I am deeply distressed that again, secularized Americans of Jewish ancestry should play conspicuous roles in the attempt to create a post-Christian America.
I have written extensively elsewhere and spoken many times explaining why Jews and other non-Christian minorities should be grateful that this is indeed a Christian nation so I won’t go into that again here. Politics is really nothing more than the practical application of our most deeply held values and the crusade to make sure that all values have a place at the political table other than Christian is dangerous. I support Pastor Jeffress’ work in bringing Judeo Christian Bible based values to greater relevance and prominence in the culture.
Whether one agrees with Pastor Robert Jeffress’ politics and theology or one does not, anyone passionate about freedom and open debate in America has to be troubled by the attempts to silence the good pastor which resulted in the removal of the billboard for which he paid. Even if it is only his opinion that America is a Christian nation, that opinion needs to be censored?
This rabbi finds that development deeply disturbing.

Flag Day

June 14th, 2018 Posted by On Our Mind No Comment yet

A number of rulings that have to do with the American flag have been handed down by the Supreme Court on June 14th, Flag Day, in different years. Wouldn’t it be interesting to re-read the arguments and imagine if certain Justices would rule differently were they to have seen down the road? Would those who dissented from the majority opinion wish they had agreed and vice-versa? Wishing you a respectful Flag Day.

Adding Our Prayers

June 5th, 2018 Posted by On Our Mind 2 comments

Two people we admire tremendously, and are honored to call friends, are Pastors Larry and Tiz Huch. Their family is battling now for the health of their precious grandson, Lion. We are keeping Lion, his parents and his whole family in our prayers and ask you to do the same.

LION UPDATE:

First and foremost. We will be victorious.
There is no easy way to say this, but our 7 month old baby boy Lion, has been diagnosed with Leukemia. He will begin treatment today. This will be a 2 year treatment process. Though leukemia is seen amongst older children, it is an incredibly rare disease in infants. Only 150 infants a year total are diagnosed with leukemia who are under the age of 1 year old. As you could try to imagine, this news has shaken our world to the core but we have great faith. We are and will remain steadfast. Being that Lion is so young, treatment comes with challenges. So we are going to fight this. Lion is going to fight. Jennifer is going to fight. I am going to fight and we are going to beat this. We know we are not alone in this journey and battle. We know God is with us and so are all of you. Your positive thoughts, words, prayers, emails, Facebook posts, Instagram posts, text messages, phone calls, voice mails, prayer meetings, meals and support mean the world to us so please keep them coming. How or why something like this would happen to a baby boy as sweet as Lion is a complete mystery to us. He is our whole world. But we know, for certain, Lion is going to make a full recovery. He is as strong as they come and then some and God has a divine plan and destiny for his life and our family and we will fulfill it together. We will see this through, from the valley to our victory. Our hearts, minds and body’s are with our baby son. Our eyes are fixed on his healing and our hope rests in God. Lion will Live! He will do great through his treatment! Mommy, Daddy and Baby will be strong! Our family will be whole! Pray and speak only positive words! We love you all!
Luke, Jennifer, Lion.
#LionStrong #ValleyToVictory #PrayForLion

Memorial Day

May 28th, 2018 Posted by On Our Mind 3 comments

Our daughter shared the following quote from a book she is reading that is written by a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor, who served on the USS Arizona.

“We were ordinary men. What was extraordinary was the country we loved. We loved who she was, what she stood for. We loved her for what she meant to us, even in those meager times. We all did – more than the states we left behind, our homes, the careers we gave up. As too many would prove, we loved her more than our very lives.”

Mitt Romney Supremely Unqualified for Public Office

May 15th, 2018 Posted by On Our Mind 5 comments

One vital characteristic for leadership is knowing how the world REALLY works. By this sure standard, Mitt Romney is supremely unqualified for public office. He labeled the pastor of First Baptist in Dallas, Robert Jeffress a bigot for professing normative Christian doctrine. How shocking! A Christian leader believes in Christianity. Every morning I awaken grateful to be living among millions of devout Christians, many of whom aren’t sure whether I am destined for heaven or hell but who do absolutely nothing to hasten my arrival at either destination. America has been a place where we have traditionally accorded others the freedom of belief along with the freedom to speak what they believe. Now, Mitt Romney and the New York Times wish to abrogate those freedoms for Christians but grant them only to Moslems and atheists. Every group that stands for anything defines itself exclusively. That is how the world REALLY works.

Where are the children?

May 7th, 2018 Posted by On Our Mind 3 comments

After I wrote a Susan’s Musing about China’s failure to undo its disastrous ‘one-child-only policy, I found out that Japanese attempts to increase that country’s birthrate are also failing. It turns out that when countries realize the economic and social disasters awaiting them from not having enough children, it isn’t so easy to turn things around. Amazingly, (and yes, my tongue is in my cheek) cash incentives and a government “go for it” aren’t enough to encourage people to have children.

While concerns about money do, indeed, cause people to hesitate to have children, giving money or benefits like free childcare as an incentive doesn’t lead responsible, married couples to have larger families. It seems that once you convince women that children are an impediment to achievement and detrimental to a fulfilling life rather than a blessing and gateway to a fulfilling life, it is hard to demand such a sacrifice from them.

Perhaps there should be a warning  label attached to social engineering: Unintended consequences may be hazardous to your health.

Finding The Off Switch: Four Reasons I Observe Shabbat

April 10th, 2018 Posted by On Our Mind 1 comment

This terrific piece by Peter Himmelman appeared in Forbes. Peter is a musician and businessman and also the son-in-law of Bob Dylan the musical icon of the 60s:

“With the pace of technology and its demand for our attention increasing month-to-month, comes the challenge of occasionally leaving it behind. I’ve found some answers in my over thirty-year observance of Shabbat, (the Jewish Sabbath), a time when the use of technology is prohibited. While I don’t believe that the strict tenets of this observance are appropriate for all people, I am strongly convinced that many of its ideas would be helpful if they were incorporated on some level.

Technically speaking, there are thirty-nine types of labor that are prohibited on Shabbat. They include things like using money, making fire, planting, carrying things from a public to a private domain, sewing, cooking, fastening two things together, and writing. Over time, each of the thirty-nine prohibitions was extrapolated on to prohibit the use of things that weren’t in existence at the time these laws were instituted. Some examples include driving a car, which runs on a combustion engine and is a violation of the prohibition against the use of fire; and using electronics of any sort, which demands a completed circuit and is a violation of the principle of joining two things together. This last prohibition effectively renders all cell phones, computers, and televisions completely off-limits during the twenty-five hours of Shabbat.

I was recently involved in a creativity symposium in San Francisco. Among the speakers was a former senior editor at a well-known technology publication with whom I had a chance to speak about the idea of stepping back from technology, and how the rituals of Shabbat echoed a very important, if often missing, dimension of technology: our ability to shut it off. Not just to shut it off once a year, or for a few moments throughout a day, but by a regular, systematized means. He observed that the ritual of Shabbat seemed to point not to some ancient and irrelevant past, but to a decidedly postmodern view of our integration with technology.

When people talk about some thing or some idea they feel is outmoded I’ll frequently hear them say, “Seriously, it’s 2018…” (Or whatever year it happens to be.) It’s often assumed that we live in a “modern age” and that things that are not modern, such as a 3,300 year-old Jewish ritual like Shabbat observance, should be discarded, or worse, placed in the same hermetically sealed box one puts all things anachronistic; things worthy of occasional review as cultural curiosities, but certainly not as something to take seriously. Even as a kid I never could help feeling there was a flaw in this kind of thinking. Sure, technology has sped up the pace of our lives, but in terms of real change, there’s been no difference made at all in everyday human experience, in spite of all our so-called advances.

Take the delivery systems of music for example. First, there was the piano roll, then the clunky 78 played on the old Victrola, followed by the 33 and a third LP, the 45 single, the eight track, the cassette, the CD, the DAT, and most recently, digital streaming services like Spotify and Pandora. Interestingly, none of these music delivery systems, no matter how sophisticated, has changed the visceral effect of music on the human spirit. At no time did any technology ever feel old-fashioned either. We never laughed at the eight-track when it came out; it wasn’t quaint, it was cutting edge. The idea of having your own music in your car at the touch of a button was revolutionary.

People also felt they were living in the modern age in 1716, and in 1116, and also in 116 BCE. They felt this way because nothing has fundamentally changed. Fathers love their daughters the same today as they did in the past, the sun was bright back in 1916 too, and it burned your eyes if you stared at it too long. The touch of a loving hand on the skin of a person in 1416 felt identical to the way it feels on your skin in 2018. The worried face of the moon still looks the same, and a cold November wind on your neck feels just like it did since time immemorial.

To say that something as central as the regulated cessation of creative effort —which is in essence, what Shabbat is about—so that one can focus on what has already been achieved, is somehow old fashion, is to miss the point. Shabbat is by nature, timeless. It cuts to the essence of what so many of us lack: a regularly recurring time of reflection.

Any good composer or painter knows that as important as it is to be immersed in the sound of the symphony he or she is working on, or to be engrossed in the images he or she is setting down on canvas, it is equally important to step away from one’s creative work and to observe with clarity and renewed objectivity just what it is that has been created. Shabbat brings with it an opportunity to step away and better see life, not as a series of compartmentalized actions, but as a unified whole. Here are a few ways the tenants of Shabbat can help you in your life.

Improve creative thinking

It’s an axiom, of physics that two things cannot occupy the same space. And just as this applies to things, it also applies to ideas. To be at our creative best we need to make an empty space through the cessation of our creative endeavors. Only by stopping our constant output can new inspirations take hold.

Slow down life’s hectic pace

As we learn to breathe more slowly in the practice of meditation, adopting the rhythms of Shabbat-time into our lives has the same beneficial tendency. To many people the world feels chaotic, out of control. Too often it seems, we are guided by demands and situations, rather than by our own volition. Shabbat is the bedrock in time that cannot be moved aside for anything other than life-threatening situations.

Improve relationships

When I got my first recording contract in 1986, I decided I would work to protect my most valuable resource. It wasn’t artistic control over what songs to record, or the power to decide what my record jackets would look like —my most valuable resource was my time.

I made it known that I would not perform on Shabbat no matter what the reason. It wasn’t as if my convictions weren’t tested. There were slots on The Tonight Show that I turned down, opportunities to be the opening act for top artists like Sting, that I waived away —all because these prospects, while good for my career, would have violated my observance of Shabbat, and as a consequence my understanding of time as something precious, something that belonged to me (and later, to my family) alone.

Shabbat is time away from iPhones and computers and errands and shopping and every conceivable distraction. We humans hunger to be heard, to be seen, and to be known, but we suffer from a paucity of attention-giving and attention-getting. Just as it’s impossible to make music without an instrument, it is impossible to create thriving relationships without making space and time for them to flourish.

Gain a more mature life perspective

As children we couldn’t help but be burdened by our unfulfilled desires. We wanted the things we wanted —immediately. Waiting for any length of time just wouldn’t do. Our immature minds were not yet sophisticated enough to realize that staving off a momentary pleasure for a longer-term gain would, in the end, bring us far more pleasure. Shabbat is about honing our sense of gratitude.

Most of us work to make a living and strive to achieve the things we desire, but we also need to feel as if we’ve come home again, come back to some midpoint. By regularly postponing our manic ascent up an assumed ladder of success, we come to see life from a broader, richer perspective.

By first finding, and then being brave enough to use the “off-switch,” we gain the sweet, and all too rare sense, of having finally arrived at our destination.”

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