Know What You Stand For
... and start living life to the fullest
every philosophy agrees that the real secret to success to life is living life
to the fullest, now, while at the same time:
holding tight to our moral
cherishing those we love
reaching out to those who need our
help and understanding.
So, ... how can we as individuals,
best live to our
fullest potential in this world of love/hate,
openness/deceit, and despair/hope?
How do we reconcile such apparent inconsistencies ..
our personal life
our family life
our business life...our career, our job
our life as a child of God, especially when we are admonished to "love
your neighbor as yourself" ?
This question is one I believe
everyone of us must ask ourselves, the sooner the better.
each of us had a set of values -
or principles - that we believed in so strongly that we would die before we
gave them up or compromised them, that would certainly go a long way to helping
us over the rough spots wouldn't it?
who wants to go that far? Well, that's probably what it takes, if you're
really serious about what your values are.
many of us haven't taken the time to set ourselves down in a corner, alone, and
wrestle with these issues. We haven't been willing to face ourselves and our
fears and our uncertainties and our hopes - and our courage - and then face up
to what the world might toss at us. But we do need to do this and liberate
ourselves. Otherwise we'll live forever as timid cowards.
very bright student in one of my online classes showed a remarkable insight
today on facing one’s personal values vs. the values of the organization one
works for: “Sometimes it is not always
that a person is not right for the company, but rather that the company is
not right for the person”.
is not to say you're casting your future forever in stone. We're all on a
journey so you can change. But only if YOU choose.
There isn't just one set of values that works best for everyone. We are all
different! But we do need to understand our unique and individual values.
is a wide array of many valid resources out there that can help us best
understand ourselves and our potential for growth and transformation. A useful
first step is to search out and identify those particular resources that appear
useful and appropriate for us to use as individuals. Then we need to acquire
those resources and apply them to our own situations, keeping in mind the
ancient admonishment that we are not alone in this world, that we should
"love our neighbors as ourselves".
of the resources below are sources of instruction and inspiration that have
enabled me to keep striving to grow (a continuing process, to be sure!).
Some of them may help you in your continuing journey. But you need to carefully
develop your own list of resources and then apply them! The
important thing is to put things in motion!
You must decide to
move yourself off dead center and start taking action. You, yourself, hold the
keys to success in your life, nobody
else. So get started and best wishes!
One of the first issues for me is coming to grips with
the issue of the threat to
basic world-wide values, and the thousands of innocent people killed on
Tuesday, September 11, 2001.Â Â Â It is certainly an ongoing struggle for
moderate Muslims who do not subscribe to the extremist views of the
Jihadist terrorists but who are working to counteract those views and bring
Islam into the modern world. I do believe we need to support these pious
Muslims in this effort.
staunch friend, the Rev. Frank Toia (my former pastor from Pennsylvania and
working missionary in Guatemala, on occasion) recommended I subscribe to Sojourners Magazine. Thanks, Frank!
Sojourners, edited by Jim Wallis, has pricked my conscience and helped awaken
me to the harsh realities of what is really going on in our world. It
sounds an altar call for issues such as the war on hunger, the great disparity
in global incomes (probably one of the leading cause of world-wide terrorism),
and the long overdue need for cessation of violence in Israel. These are issues
we tend to thrust completely away from our thinking. These issues will not
go away, however. Like it or not, your personal value system has to take a
stand on these issues.
personally have found that the American Friends Service Commitee is
completely honest in telling it like it is about our national participation in
wars. This is a small Quaker organization fundamentally committed to peace and
justice. It is not a political organization. The values they express resonate
with my conscience when they state "..the time has come to pull our
nation back from dissembling and violence."
a similar vein, I have followed the Peace web site of my cousin Charles Jenks
and his partner Sunny Miller for some years now: Traprockpeace . It's well worth your
time exploring in some depth. It's honest, disturbing, completely
thought-provoking, and I recommend it for the same reasons I believe we all
need some jolting out of our comfortable existence. It's in transition now, but
go take a look at some thoughtful and in-depth examinations of our
utter humanity of that great individual, Abraham
Lincoln, a man for all time, with his basic moral values continues to set a
leadership example for our country today. One of his truths I have found
helpful to me, personally: "In order to win a man to your cause, you must
first reach his heart, the great high road to his reason".
you really want to read a tough-minded, thoroughly readable, and highly
insightful commentary on the state of our world today, I heartily recommend
Fareed Zakaria's "The Future of Freedom". His history of human
liberty, his remarks on illiberal democracy, and especially, his notes on
"The Islamic Exception" make this book one of the very best I've read
in recent years. It's available in paperback from Amazon or Barnes & Noble,
and I recommend it to you without hesitation.
of the more difficult issues I've confronted in my value system has been that
of gay and lesbian orientation. An openly gay priest in a long-standing
committed relationship was ordained a bishop in the Diocese of New Hampshire a
few years ago. That resulted in an enormous reaction at all levels of our church
(I'm an Episcopalian). It was at the parish level that I saw it really strike
home. I'm not gay, but I have many gay friends, in committed relationships,
that are fine examples of loving, mutually supportive individuals. So, the
issue of a gay bishop did not resonate with me. But many friends left St.
Mark's in anger, frustration, and disappointment over this issue. It has been a
disruptive issue to say the least, including over much of the rest of our
Anglican Communion across the globe.
This global communion does not gladly welcome non-traditional actions
(including the election of Katharine Jefferts Schorri, our Presiding Bishop of
the Episcopal Church in the US). Katharine became the first-ever female primate
in the Anglican Communion when she was consecrated on November 4, 2006!
Katharine, your first sermon was great! You reached out to all. I was very
conscious of the phrase during that service: "We are prisoners of
hope." Indeed we are. You made your first very welcome visit to our Diocese
on April 15, 2008!
Our Diocesan Bishop Leo Frade installed our then new St. Mark's Rector, Jim
Cook, well over five years ago. Wow! We are so very glad you've been with us
since then, Jim, sharing your consistent message that God loves us all! I
thanked Leo at the time for his vote in the Episcopal House of Bishops
rejecting the narrow line of the Anglican primates of the "Global
South" who appear to reject Christ's love for those who don't tread their
narrow ways. He grinned and said "Thank you".
would believe it? Hidden in the boring genealogies of Chronicles is the
remarkable Jabez' Prayer: easy to memorize and easy to substitute instead of
"me" the name of someone for whom you really want intercession. "Lord, bless me indeed and expand
my territory. That Your hand would always be with me and that You would keep me
from evil." I've prayed Jabez' prayer daily for many years now
and I can assure you it's moved mountains in my spiritual life. You may want to
try it. There's a very helpful book available which you can order from Amazon:
"The Prayer of Jabez" by Bruce Wilkinson (ISBN 1-57673-733-0). My
men's study group at St. Mark's church read through this book sentence by
sentence. We found it powerful.
course, my favorite viking, Hagar the Horrible, has his own take on living life
to the fullest. Here it is, with the kind permission of King Features
King Features Syndicate
remember reading Rudyard Kipling's If
and telling my Dad how impressed I was with Kipling's set of values. I'll never
regret taking my Dad's advice on friendship that you should always go that extra step in trusting your friends. (If
you click on that link, don't forget to click "back" to return
are two excellent resources for helping you continuing on your journey as a child
of God. You can order them on line from either Barnes and Noble or Amazon. One
is Scott Peck's "The
Road Less Traveled". Another is Philip Yancey's "What's
So Amazing About Grace?" Enjoy!
is probably the best "how to" reference I've ever come across if you
want to know yourself better in preparation for a career change. It's Richard
Nelson Bolles' "What
Color Is Your Parachute?". Lots of useful exercises here.
you have to do something you're driven to do. Much of my former corporate
experience was focused on strategic planning. So I went ahead and wrote "Go For It !", a
strategy workbook for the time-pressured entrepreneur and small business
manager. This practical guide was written to enable managers to use their
hard-won experience and judgment in picking their "best fit"
strategy. Click here if you'd
like to see more information. I am working now on writing a follow on workbook
on personal life planning which should be published, hopefully, at the end of
also learned that when someone asks me who I am, the best answer is a
straight-forward answer, one that gives basic information. You have to decide
for yourself of course, but for me, being open and transparent is part of my
value system. "Here is who I am."
And here's a picture of me with
Ginny, my love. I am indeed a fortunate man.
send an Email with your comments on
this site. I would welcome them.
you for visiting. Come again!