Forgive Them . . .

Good for the Soul

Monday, Monday . . .

What can we say today … something good … something positive! Even while things around us may be going astray, we don’t have to, you dig?!

Over the years, I have always learned to live with gratitude when remembering that the good things in my life far outweigh the more challenging things. I mean, we often forget that when something disappointing happens, or, things don’t quite go “our way.” That approach to life relieves me of the anxiety that accompanies that feeling of “I didn’t get what I wanted!” Not only is selfishness “not cool,” it also keeps ones happiness “inside the box,” so to speak. Enough cliches, let’s get to the bottom of this.

After still another shooting, referring to the second one in 5 years at Fort Hood, the POTUS has decided to deliver yet another address to families and friends of the victims of Ivan Lopez. How many speeches of this nature has he given? It is almost like a minister (we’ll get to that later) who has to do funerals and meet and console the families of those whose lives have expired. How do we handle such feelings? Can we simply ignore them? Unfortunately, the grieving families have more to deal with than many of us … if any. This is something that I am sure cannot be ignored by them!!! Good luck, Mr. President, in delivering yet another “talk” to grieving family members of those innocent victims involved in that senseless killing at Fort Hood last week.

Forgiving is hard . . . I have been there many times. The ingredient that MUST be challenged in forgiving someone who may have done something wrong is the ego. This is a thing that keeps the negative energy going in our lives, feeling that someone has done something wrong . . . worse yet, that someone has done “me” wrong! “How could they?” We may ask ourselves that question over and over until we feel that we have to retaliate. Why not let it go? Do we have to get back at people? Do we have to have a hostile energy “held up” inside of us to feel better about a situation? Do we have the right to punish someone? Will our egos be bruised? Are WE perfect?! These are just a few of the questions that we might want to ask ourselves before getting all puffed up and annoyed at someone else’s shortcomings while allowing that negative energy to erode away our peaceful inner selves!!

Just yesterday, as I watched the news, I learned that Pastor Bob Coy, one of my favorite speakers that I’ve had the pleasure of listening to, has resigned from Calvary Chapel, Ft. Lauderdale. Here is a man who changed his life as a manager for show girls in Vegas and all the “necessary evils” that go along with that to a church going husband and father, and, after more than 25 years with Calvary Chapel has resigned. His reasons were not specified. Only that, according to the new pastor who spoke at services yesterday reading a letter prepared by Pastor Bob, that he had done something “immoral” and felt the need to resign. How difficult must that be? I mean, for those who may know Bob, he has built Calvary Chapel into a “mega church” and implemented incredible measures to grow the congregation, reach out to the community, baptising hundreds of people each month and even had his own television show. There were times when he had delivered a sermon and I disagreed with his approach. I even stopped going to services for a while … stopped streaming the services, too! Now those who know me also know that I am NOT a “holy roller” and have no business judging anyone else. What about you?

With Easter celebrations on the horizon, it may be hard for many in Calvary’s congregation to forgive Pastor Bob. Yet, here is a man trying to reconcile his own soul with the Creator. May we allow him to do that? He is the person who spoke (may not have always acted apparently) about God’s forgiving us of our sins. May we find it in our hearts, at least those who hold him dear, to forgive him? We need to remove our egos and take off our “hater hats” in order to accomplish this. In my own experiences, I have found a deeper more precious peace . . . when I learned to forgive others.

Have a great week, y’all. Thanks so very very much for reading.

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Nature vs. Nurture

Nature vs Nurture

Happy Friday, All!

And as if you didn’t already know . . . T.G.I.F.!!! Quite an interesting week for me as I continue to build a client base for the tutoring component of Educational Excellence. Yet, I also count my blessings even as things get tight and challenging from time to time. I try to be grateful for whatever comes my way and that “serves me” rather than hampers my personal growth and spiritual progress. At this stage of the game, I know no other way . . . and wish that I knew sooner. Yet, everything has its time and place.

Back in the days of studying Sociology at Princeton, I recall having a question posed which still comes up in the social sciences, including philosophy. The question is: “What shapes a human being more, the forces of nature or … the forces of nurture?” After much discussion, disagreement and still more hypotheses, most serious social scientists agree that the forces of BOTH influence the shaping of the human character or person. Many times, I have contemplated suggesting that perhaps our “advancement” is not as great in the socio-spiritual realm as it is in science and technology. Could we be experiencing an imbalance in being progressive and advancing in BOTH areas?

How might anyone explain the earthquake there in Chile? I know, we can utilize some scientific jargon about the plates below the surface rubbing for what also happened just days ago in California. But does it make sense, folks? Have you ever contemplated that maybe we drilled in too many places for oil and diamonds and coal … Have you ever thought about why there are so many natural phenomenon that are occurring seemingly more frequently? If so, now is not the time to think about ALL the other things we’ve done to the Earth’s surface, crust and as deep as we can go and as high as we can build!!!

What about the second shooting at Ft. Hood there in Texas in 5 years? Here is another military person who had been getting treatment and help and had been diagnosed with some mental challenges after he left Afghanistan after serving just 4 months? Is this coincidental, too??! I think we all know that it is NOT coincidence that so much violence and killing of innocent people is becoming more and more prevalent. Do you think it could be because society itself is letting folks “fall through the cracks,” so to speak? It is clear that people of different groups and walks of life (socio-economic groups) are struggling to deal with all of the drama of a tight economy, a lack of concern for human rights and values in many circles, and the erosion of social fabric (ie. family structure and function as well as major institutions of society). The thing that surprises me is how much we can find out AFTER the deed is done, someone is killed and families are destroyed!!!

These things also give me a grand reason to be kind, thoughtful, helpful when possible and positive so that I can personally nourish myself and the relationships I am grateful to be a part of today! I mean, to live and to learn, to gain wisdom and still be ignorant is a waste of “life!” Well, whatever you do this weekend, enjoy yourselves, be good to each other and … appreciate the good things and folks that come your way!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

So, What Do You Think of That?!

Do the thing E Roosevelt

Happy Hump Day, y’all!

Quiet as kept (we used to always say that growing up), there are things that happen in our lives that we’ve no control over. What do you think? Not everything, of course, but there are some things that we could talk about for ever and a day and it would never happen. For example, hitting the state lotto! I don’t mean for a few bucks but something life changing, perhaps. How much would you need that to be?!

Other times in our lives, we may have talked about something, maybe meeting up somewhere with someone, or just doing something you’ve never done in your life before . . . preferably . . . something really good! Where am I going with this? Well, I will keep it short, sweet and somewhat private though there are no secrets. Yet, I come from the “old school” where we learned not to tell everybody everything . . . in hopes that the privacy would allow it to come to full blown fruition, if you will. Maybe like the 17 year old teen aged boy from New York City who got into all EIGHT of the Ivy League Universities!!?? He even said, “Well, I applied to them “all” in hopes of getting into one or two!” Yet, he got accepted into all EIGHT!! Bravo, young buck!

Well, I had been talking with a friend from another part of the world but who had attended college here and even works for that university now. Of course, when friendships bud, there is a lot of excitement usually followed by a dose of reality as each party learns more about the other. Social network friendships have become popular, some of them even characterized by a good friend’s sons’ television production called “Catfish.” Kudos, Nev and Ariel Schulman! Sometimes the one you meet in cyberspace is someone you never guessed it would be. This weekend, I have the chance to actually “catch up” with such a friend in my recent life. Oftentimes, cyber or social network friendships can be shaky, but I am anticipating something really special this weekend . . . especially since we both are remarkable people. Sit comfortable in yourselves, folks, for the journey often has great surprises. Be ready to smile a while when the opportunity comes your way! So, what do you think of that?!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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