Know What You Stand For

... and start living life to the fullest



Almost 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 principles

         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 ..

  in our personal life

  in our family life

  in our business life...our career, our job

  in 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.

If 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?


But who wants to go that far? Well, that's probably what it takes, if you're really serious about what your values are.

Description: Description: Description: Description: earthris.gif - 6343 Bytes

Too 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.

A very bright student in one of my online classes showed a remarkable insight today on facing ones 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.

This 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.

There 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".

Some 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!

Description: Description: Description: Description: C:\temp\bear33.gif

  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. 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.

  My 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.

Description: Description: Description: Description: terre.gif - 32748 Bytes

  I 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."


  In 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 "sacred-cow" systems.

  The 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".

  If 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.

  One 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".

  Who 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.

  Of 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 Syndicate!

Description: Description: Description: Description: C:\temp\Hagar_The_Horrible.gif

© King Features Syndicate

  I 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 here.)

  Here 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!

  This 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.

  Sometimes 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 this year.

  I've 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.


Description: Description: Description: Description: C:\temp\stmkphot.GIF


Please send an Email with your comments on this site. I would welcome them.


Thank you for visiting. Come again!