Friday, January 29, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 1/29/16
“Don’t confuse being ‘soft’ with seeing the other guy’s point of view.”  (George H.W. Bush)  How quickly times change.  H.W. would have it tough getting a presidential nomination today by saying that he’d try to see the other side’s point of view.  Some of us have grown up in a time when “education” meant looking at different points of view and realizing that truth has more than one face.  I learned that in the study of history, philosophy and religion.    ;-)  Jack

FROM DR JUDY:  Brilliant!!! (You and the president.)====JACK:  The artist teaches us the value of perspective; so does the historian.  ...and the philosopher, too.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Science and Math can also teach that...built on hypotheses and assumptions...always open to change and addition.====JACK:  Science and Math were not my strong suits,  so I'll take your word for it.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Last  night was the first debate I’ve watched as I refuse to waste any time on Trump. It was interesting.  Thought Rubio came off like a petulant child.  Ha!  The fun of getting older.====JACK:  I wonder how the audience and the moderators would have reacted if one of the "debaters" had said to another, "You've got a real point there, and I guess I've never thought of it that way before."====BB:  Wouldn’t that have been fabulous, and, “gentlemanly”.  I feel like the art of debate/discourse is lost on them and it’s sad that every small concession is dissected rather than appreciated.====JACK:  It would have made HEADLINES!

FROM TARMART REV:  It sure helps getting along with other brethren of faith in our communities. ====JACK:  I'm usually turned off by someone who seems to have all of the answers.====REV:  They seem to always dominate the discussion . . . I'm reminded often of those folks who missed Christ's first coming because he seemingly didn't fit the false assumptions they were counting on.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  colleges are doing their part to limit education... what a useless bunch they are turning out these days.====JACK:  I have three grandchildren who recently graduated from universities.  I have a difficult time seeing them and the education that they have received as being useless.  I'm sure that you have another point in mind.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  There have been too many times in my life when I've disagreed with, or disliked persons or ideas so much, that I refused to consider them seriously.  Later, like an epiphany, something cleared my mind of my own bias, enough for me to take another look, and I came to realize the validity of an idea or another other person's point of view that I had previously disregarded.  It's important sometimes to "take the path less traveled."====JACK:  As a child I used to sing, "The B-I-B-L-E, that's good enough for me."  In college and seminary I learned to ask (and not be afraid to ask), "What do these words in the Bible mean, and how do they relate to me and the world today?"

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Certainly in Politics, seeing the other guy's point of view is a lost art, much to the detriment of our government and the governed!  Yes George H.W. would be considered a traitor to the party to talk at all to the "other side"!  I think one has to be very strong not to be threatened by listening to others' opposite point of view, and maybe even change one's mind! Not for wimps!  Or the egotistical!====JACK:  Let's say that a Christian is in conversation with someone of another faith, and that person asks, "What did Jesus mean when he said that no one comes to the Father except through me?"====OAKS:  RIGHT...THAT IS A STICKLER WHEN YOU MEET PROFOUND AND GOOD PEOPLE WHO ARE DEVOUT IN THEIR FAITH. I SAY I BELIEVE IN A MERCIFUL, LOVING, COMPASSIONATE GOD, WHICH JESUS SHOWED ME THROUGH HIS TEACHINGS, AND I AM WILLING TO LEAVE THE JUDGMENT UP TO HIM, AS I AM CERTAINLY NOT WISE ENOUGH TO KNOW EVERYTHING!!====JACK:  In this world around us which is becoming more and more diverse, it's becoming harder and harder to be "literalists" with regard to Bible interpretation.  Your answer shows compassion.====OAKS:  When you realize all the history of getting the Bible written down (passed on orally for years and years) and how it had to be copied by hand, etc etc. I can't imagine everything that Jesus said is "literally" the exact words he used, and even the Gospels differ in detail with the same stories, so I am not a literalist !! As I understand it. the only original piece of the NT is a credit card sized bit of papyrus with a couple of verses from John on it. (From a course I took on the history of making the scriptures we have today....)  So imagine we get the gist of what was said and done, but that's about it! Certainly very few details given ,,,:-(

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I don't know anyway who has a point of view which was set in stone forever-politically.  It is good to keep on learning new things.  The OLLI courses at USF this year are very interesting -Impressionism and the Irish Uprising of 1916.m.  The Impressionist professor is from the University of Chicago and a great teacher.  By the way, this is Gasparilla weekend, and that has definitely changed. In the 60s and 70s we would go down to Bayshore with our chairs and enjoy the pirates' parade.  200.000 are expected for the parade tomorrow.====JACK:  We have to remember that all of our views were implanted in us by sources outside of ourselves.  I like the name of your USF program...Life-Long Learning (or something like that).

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I have started taking a Bible study at Transfiguration Catholic Church--right next to our house--and the person who is teaching it is a man who studied for the Priesthood, changed course and got married and so forth but spends time teaching.  He taught at Wayne State.  The reason I'm typing about this class is because your WW today has something in common with Terry's teaching materials.  We are studying people of the Bible and he has studied along the way a lot of Jewish Midrash.  Evidently the Jewish Rabbis, down through the centuries, have wrestled and wrestled with scripture and, for example, now we are looking at Adam and Eve.  The two stories in Genesis.  It turns out that the Midrash posits a theory that Adam had two wives or maybe three, one was name Lilith and just a whole lot of stuff that none of the (mostly older women) in our class had ever heard of before but we are all enjoying the lively minds of the Rabbis and how they have all disputed with each other in trying to make sense of the passages in scripture which don't seem to agree with each other.  Simultaneously, in Bible study at Emmanuel on Monday nights, we are looking at a video produced by a Methodist Pastor in which he looks at people either seeing black and white or gray--for example he talks about knowing people who are ardently against abortion or homosexual behavior or any number of things--religious strictly on the issue and the Methodist Pastor models for us, his viewers, a position wherein he says he's not so strict but that he is thankful that the fundamentalists have raised the issue from their perspective and they are helping him to think more deeply about all sides of the issue.  It does occur to me that maybe God has deliberately introduced these puzzling diversions of scripture so that all of us, His kids, would learn to see--even from His Word/Scripture/Book that we all need to try to get along with each other thinking through stuff in different ways because even Scripture is like a bunch of us trying to see things from each other's perspective.  Does this idea bring scripture too much down to our human level when mostly I guess we believe it transcends us?  Also, Rabbi Wein's reflection this past week had to do with competition and rivalry and seems to tie in too to the problem of people having discourse with each other and being able to live with differences.  With regards to all of these debates and the campaigning, I just hope the language all the candidates are using to get elected doesn't get too ingrained into the social domain so that, when the various people are elected, they can stop being so different and turn instead to their commonality of goals and intentions.  Now I wonder, do the two stories in Genesis posit commonality of goals and intentions that would prevail over the differences?  So far, Terry has only shared with us the Midrash which speculates on numerous Eves but not one single Midrash which speculates on any Adam being more than one single person.  Having fun with all of these Bible studies--religion is enjoyable.  I enjoyed your WW today too.====JACK:  We expand our knowledge when we dare to explore new ways of thinking.  God gave us a brain for a reason other than to take up space in our head.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  And then we wonder why Congress has a 9% approval rating.  We need more thinkers like George H.W.  Also saw where the Pope celebrated communion with Lutherans. There may be help for the world after all.  Seems to me some guy named Jesus was pretty inclusive as well and didn't reject many (except for a few non-repenting pharisees).====JACK:  Trying to see the other person's point of view, while trying to clarify my own has pretty much been the design for my ministry from the beginning...and continues with Winning Words.

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