Friday, August 15, 2014

Tryst for Destiny


On this day, August 15th, India became an independent nation. Let us pay homage to those leaders who began the struggle for independence in 1857, fought for India's freedom and ultimately tasted victory in 1947.

With the clock striking the midnight hour on 14-15th August, 1947, India was 'to awake to freedom'. On that occasion, Jawaharlal Nehru gave the famous 'Tryst for Destiny' speech. He called upon the members to take a solemn pledge to serve India and her people. In an effort to look back, let's examine few items he addressed on that night:

Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.

At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her successes, and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future ?

Freedom and power bring responsibility. The responsibility rests upon this Assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom, we have endured all the pains of labor and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now. That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we might fulfill the pledges we have so often taken and the One we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over.

And so we have to labor and to work and work hard to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for anyone of them to imagine that it can live apart.

Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disaster in this one world that can no longer be split into isolated fragments. To the people of India, whose representatives we are, we appeal to join us' with faith and confidence in this great adventure. This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill-will or blaming others. We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell.

Looking back into history, where does India stand today?




The business of living


Real is the person who does not define happiness as an absence of problems. Surviving this business of living is a difficult ordeal at times. How can we retain a healthy sense of humor and experience a sense of balance in our lives? How can we realistically and yet with a sense of wonder live fully and not just survive? How can we maybe even celebrate this business of living? To answer some of these questions we will focus on seven points.

Life Isn't Fair
No matter how good we get at this business of living, none of us gets out of it alive. Frustrating, isn't it! Life doesn't always deal us a good hand and doing our best doesn't always pay off with a positive.

Suffering
Growth is seldom easy and pain is an integral part of our human condition. Everybody hurts. It's just that some of us are better actors in hiding the pain we feel. Seldom if ever ... are all of our ducks in a row.

Loneliness and Alikeness
Dr. Albert Schweitzer said, "We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness." We have all known moments of apartness and empty loneliness. Embracing that reality is essential if we are to cope effectively.

Personal Responsibility
We each have a choice to be either a death-peddler or a life-giver. We are responsible for the choices we make. We can become most of what we wish to be if we are willing to change and pay the price.

Self Worth
A poster reads, "God don't make junk." People are special and each is, "Beautiful in his/her own way." We are more than our accomplishments!

People Need People
Life is not meant to be lived in isolation. All of life occurs within relationships. We need to know we are needed and so do those we need.

Mystery
Life is not just one big problem to be solved. Rather, it is a mystery to be experienced, all the more meaningful and beautiful when it is shared and celebrated with other persons who are committed to "growing deep, not just tall!"



Credits: Karen Kaiser Clark

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Little children


When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my yard.
My kids see flowers for Mom and blowing white fluff you can wish on.

When I look at a homeless person and he smiles at me, I see a smelly, dirty person who probably wants money, and I look away.
My kids see someone smiling at them and they smile back.

When I hear music I love, I know I can't carry a tune and don't have much rhythm, so I sit self-consciously and listen.
My kids feel the beat and move to it. They sing out the words. If they don't know them, they make up their own.

When I feel wind on my face, I brace myself against it. I feel it messing up my hair and pulling me back when I walk.
My kids close their eyes, spread their arms and fly with it, until they fall to the ground laughing.

When I pray, I say thee and thou and grant me this, give me that.
My kids say, "Hi God! Thanks for my toys and my friends. Please keep the bad dreams away tonight. Sorry, I don't want to go to Heaven yet. I would miss my Mommy and Daddy."

When I see a mud puddle, I step around it. I see muddy shoes and clothes and dirty carpets.
My kids sit in it. They see dams to build, rivers to cross and worms to play with.

Sometimes I wonder if we are given kids to teach . . . or to learn from.
No wonder Jesus loves the little children!



Promise yourself every morning



Promise yourself every morning...

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind;
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet;
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them;
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true;
To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best;
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own;
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future;

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile;
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others;
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear; and too happy to permit the presence of trouble;
To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds;

To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.




Credits: C.D.Larson

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Christian Test

I study my Bible like I gather apples. First, I shake the whole tree that the ripest may fall. Then I shake each limb, and when I have shaken each limb, I shake each branch and every twig. Then I look under every leaf. I search the Bible as a whole like shaking the whole tree. Then I shake every limb--study book after book. Then I shake every branch, giving attention to the chapters. Then I shake every twig, or a careful study of the paragraphs and sentences and words and their meanings. - Martin Luther.

Here is a small test. There is no pass/fail grade, just a self evaluation test.

A. Answer “true” or “false.” If possible, justify your answer in one or two sentences.

1. ___ Jesus Christ founded a spiritual movement, not an institutional church.

2. ___ After the last apostle died, the Christian Church fell away from the truth.

3. ___ It was a good thing when Christianity became the Roman Empire’s official faith.

4. ___ It is unspiritual to recite prayers written in a book.

5. ___ America’s Founding Fathers were Christians founding a Christian nation.

6. ___ Most of the world’s Christians live in Europe and North America.

7. ___ Christianity is a religion of peace.

8. ___ Christian leaders have always agreed that Jesus is God.

9. ___ There is really only one true Church.

10. ___ Until they confess faith in Christ themselves, children are less than full members of the Church.

11. ___ The first major split among Christians was the Protestant Reformation.

12. ___ Belonging to the Church is unimportant to salvation.

13. ___ No one spoke in tongues between the first century and the twentieth century.

14. ___ For Catholics to commemorate a saint on a particular day (e.g., St. Patrick’s Day on March 17) is superstitious.

15. ___ Protestants initiated the revival of world missions after the Middle Ages.

16. ___ God offers saving grace through “sacraments” such as baptism and communion.

17. ___ Both Catholics and Protestants believe this.

18. ___ Christianity is really just a set of ideas about God and the world.

19. ___ Martin Luther wanted to remain in the Roman Catholic Church.

20. ___ Church leaders took the Bible very seriously before the Reformation.

21. ___ Mormons are Christians.

22. ___ Children of Christians should be allowed to choose whether they too become Christians.

23. ___ Christianity was spiritually and intellectually vital during the Dark Ages.

24. ___ A church with immoral leaders is no longer a true church.

25. ___ Protestants have always agreed which books belong in the Bible.

26. ___ The Enlightenment in modern Europe rejected traditional Christianity.

27. ___ It is good that Protestants and Catholics split in the Reformation.

28. ___ Predestination first became an issue in the Church with the rise of Calvinism.

29. ___ Early Christians changed biblical texts so they would match the teachings of the Catholic Church.

30. ___ John Wesley urged Methodists to split from the Anglican (Episcopal) Church.

31. ___ Most Christians believe that after the Rapture and the second coming of Jesus, there will be one thousand years of peace on earth, then the last judgment.

32. ___ Holidays like Christmas and Easter are pagan festivals that only became “Christian” after the Roman Empire embraced Christianity.

33. ___ The world’s religions basically teach the same basic truth.

34. ___ The world’s religions basically offer the same spiritual experience.

35. ___ A civil governments and the Christian Church should work together to make society orderly and faithful.

B. Choose the best answer and briefly explain why it is the best.

36. ___ The best measure of a church’s integrity is:

A. How its members feel about Jesus.
B. Its dedication to evangelism.
C. Its involvement in helping the wider society.
D. How biblical its preaching is.
E. Whether it has bishops.
F. Whether it obeys the Pope.
G. Whether the Holy Spirit is working powerfully there.
H. Whether it has specific creeds or statements of faith.
I. Whether its people are Christlike.
J. The moral integrity of its leaders.
K. Something else: ________________________________________________.
L. Some combination of these: ______________________________________.

C. Briefly answer as many of the following questions as you like.

37. Name one event that occurred between 100 AD and 500 AD with important consequences for Christians.

38. Name one event that occurred between 501 AD and 1500 AD with important consequences for Christians.

39. Name one event that occurred between 1501 AD and 1900 AD with important consequences for Christians.

40. Name two events that occurred since 1900 AD with important consequences for Christians.

41. Name a historical teaching of the Christian tradition that you consider unimportant, and explain why.

42. Name a historical teaching of the Christian tradition that you consider wrong, and explain why.

43. If you had to describe the history of Christianity in only one paragraph, what would you say?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Do you like cheese?

Few years ago, Dr. Spencer Johnson used to narrate a story "Who moved my Cheese" to Ken Blanchard. After hearing it several times, Mr. Blanchard encouraged Dr. Johnson to publish it in the form of a book. When Dr. Johnson published his work after few years, it became an instant success. During the occasion of Amazon.com’s tenth Anniversary, this book was named the #1 bestselling book title in Amazon’s history.

For those who do not have the time and patience to read the original book, here is a short 11 minute video.

When you settled down and have 11 minutes to spare, I highly encourage you to watch this, whether you like cheese or not - you could store some nuggets for life.

Launching a space shuttle

Bringing up children is no rocket science. However educating them is somewhat similar to a shuttle launch sequence.

Parents have a prominent role in bringing up children. A child needs both father and mother in order to have a healthy childhood. Most often, it is not the child who is worried, rather it is the parent. One of the tough changes we go through as a family is when our kids leave us. We may get to see them only once in few months. Coping with change during the time of separation is not easy. One way to handle that emotional separation is to anticipate it coming. Talking to others with those who share similar experiences can be a soothing relief.

Let's look at those various stages during a space shuttle launch. The first one shows when a child is still at home, under the care of parents. Notice the space shuttle having two white rocket boosters and a large brown external tank.


Once the youngster completes school, it is time for parents to let him/her to be on their own. They will still be attached to the external tank - in our case, the house. The role of parents is to act like booster rockets and take them as high as possible. At that right altitude, both parents back off. If, for some reason one decides to stay on, the trajectory of the shuttle will start deviating - hence the necessity to drop off at that designated time.


In the next stage, the youngster finds a secure job and decides to move out of the house. This is the stage of ET separation. Though the external tank was a vital component of the Space Shuttle which that contained liquid hydrogen fuel and liquid oxygen oxidizer, the shuttle has to get rid of that in order to get higher.


At a certain point, the shuttle is on its own. This is the time when it is performing it's mission - the very mission it was built for.


Have a wonderful trip and safe landing!