Monday, February 22, 2010

Breaking Chains to Free the Mind and Heart

The title of this post refers to comments by to a blog post written on the topic, "Discussing Race With Love," by Cynthia Legette Davis. 

The reader who wrote this comment was referring to the effect that constructive dialogue on the issue of race will have on the hearts and minds of people whose heritage includes racism and its effects.  "Thank you for having the courage to breach this rather difficult subject," said another reader.   

Rather than offering platitudes that racism is "bad," Ms. Legette Davis suggests three specific, positive steps we can do every day, by ourselves to help stop the effects of racism.  Ms. Legette Davis alludes to both an inner dialogue and an outer dialogue. 

What was it that Ms. Legette Davis said to merit such enthusiastic comments?   What are her three, specific suggestions you can apply daily?  Well, read for yourself!  Her blog post can be found HERE.  Enjoy! 



Ms. Legette Davis

Ms. Legette Davis has also written books which may be viewed HERE. Notably, on this topic she has written a book and workbook for individuals and groups entitled, Peace Be Still: Inner Healing for Racial Harmony

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Speaking With Love

In honor of Valentine's Day: How to express negative feelings to our loved ones in ways that open rather than shut down communication.



Nonviolent communication, or NVC, is a method of communicating which was pioneered by Marshall Rosenberg, who founded the Center For Nonviolent Communication.  (This video was produced by Bay Area Nonviolent Communication (@BayNVC on Twitter).) 

The concepts of NVC are easy to grasp, and I encourage everyone to become familiar with them.   For me personally, putting the concepts of communication into practice is the larger challenge.  It requires that we abandon old, negative ways of relating and that we adopt new ways of communicating that are more positive. 

If you want to learn more, I highly recommend the book, Nonviolent Communication, which can be purchased from through the link below. 



Saturday, February 13, 2010

William McDonough on Sustainability

When you hear the word "William McDonough", what comes to mind?  Well, first of all, he's a famous architect, educated at Yale University.  A biographical sketch of McDonough states:

McDonough is a world-renowned architect and designer and winner of three U.S. presidential awards: the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development (1996), the National Design Award (2004), and the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2003). Time magazine recognized him as a "Hero for the Planet" in 1999, stating that "his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world."


mcdon 901CherryOffices
901 Cherry Offices, Gap Corp, San Bruno CA

(All photographs used in this blog entry are from portfolio pages found on Mr. McDonough's web site HERE)

So, when my girlfriend asked me if I'd like to attend his lecture at the University of South Carolina one evening last Fall, I thought his lecture would be like some others I've attended -- a showcase of neat architectural designs. 


mcdon greenhouse

Greenhouse Factory, Holland MI

McDonough's ideas on sustainability go so much further than bricks and mortar! 

If you are interested in sustainability, you would do well to familiarize yourself with this man's ideas and proposals! 


mcdon rooftop farming

Rooftop farming, Guanxi Province, China

Fortunately, the University of South Carolina has left open a link to the streaming video of his lecture.  It is so-well-worth your time to watch this video! 

The link to view the one hour lecture is at the bottom of the following page:  CLICK HERE

McDonough presents a paradigm for sustainability that we should all bear in mind as we think about what it means to live in this world, how to work toward sustainability for all people.  This is about SO MUCH MORE than just design of living space! 


mcdon houseliketree
Design for house that functions like a tree uses sunlight to generate energy, cleans water, sequesters carbon, provides natural habitats, and produces oxygen and food

Yes, architecture is part of William McDonough's work, and part of his vision, and part of this lecture.  There are some neat slides.  But that's only the beginning of what he has to convey.   

This link is not a cheap flick showing pretty pictures of houses.  It is a one hour lecture about sustainability that will change your thoughts about sustainable Design.  That's Design with a capital D.  The big picture includes a tessalation (and I'll leave it to you to learn what that is all about): 

  • What is required for a design to be sustainable, in our living and working environment?  
  • How can design be ecologically, socially, and economically intelligent?  
  • What are criteria for a Cradle to cradle design protocol? 
  • How can we make designs sustainable for the long haul, not just for one or two generations but for thousands of years?  

Think about this for a moment.  What does it take for a design to be sustainable?  If you were to start from scratch, how would you redesign your world so that it were ecologically sustainable, socially sustainable, and economically sustainable? 

  • Social:  Sustainability means something that we enjoy.  If something gives us no gratification, if we get nothing rewarding from it, why would we want to do it? 
  • Economic:  Sustainability means that something must be economically viable.  If an idea or project has no economic viability, it's not going to sustain itself over a long period of time.
  • Ecological:  Sustainability means that something needs to be sustainable over a period of thousands of years.  At the moment, our society is frittering away resources in ways that will make those resources unavailable to our children's grandchildren.  What can we do differently to fix that? 

These are just a few ideas meant to entice you to consider devoting an hour to watching this lecture. 

mcdon bernheim

Visitor Center, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

The actual architectural designs you will see in this lecture are, indeed, interesting and beautiful.  But it's the underlying theory that's critically important. 

McDonough's vision is creative, cutting edge and represents a new paradigm for thinking about design of our environment as well as what is important to society about design.  Namely, our society needs to change its mindset from being a throwaway-use-em-up culture to being a culture built around wise utilization of resources and sustainability.  To be sustainable, the design must be beautiful.  To be sustainable, the design must be economically viable.  To be sustainable, the design must be environmentally sustainable. 

One of my personal favorite lines from this lecture, is McDonough's assertion (rejecting the throwaway culture) that he disapproves of the use of the term "consumers" when referring to people.  People have value as people.  It warps our imagination and our consciousness to view people as merely "consumers" of throwaway products. 

Another thought:  When you throw something away, WHERE DOES IT GO? 

Just keep thinking, the ideas are provocative!  I hope you will watch it! 

In this lecture, you will find hundreds of ideas that just make sense.  McDonough's creative genius is that he puts common sense themes together into a comprehensive vision.  Perhaps our policy makers may not get all the way there, perhaps society won't 100% adopt his vision.   But even if we get halfway there, we'll be a lot better off than we are right now, a lot more sustainable than this present policy direction we are moving in.  

The link to view the one hour lecture is at the

bottom of the following page:




Yes, one hour is a long time in our sound bite society.  I urge you to take the time; it's well worth the investment. 

I hope very much that the University of South Carolina will leave this streaming lecture online for a very long time. 

Additionally, HERE is a link to his TED talk.  I am not embedding the video because I personally prefer the U of SC lecture.  The U of SC lecture gives more detail about the design process and goals. 

To learn more, you can also read McDonough's book, Cradle to Cradle

Friday, February 12, 2010

Trauma Healing: The Snail Model

Talking about forgiveness ....

My blog post a few days ago was about the intellectual concept of forgiveness.  But there's much more to forgiveness than merely what we "think" about or "decide" to do.  When bad things happen to us, our whole being, including our body, is affected.  This, in turn, affects how we relate to ourselves and to each other.  It's not my goal to beat people over the head and be judgmental about telling people they should "forgive" or "just move on".  That is not helpful.  My goal is to help people reach an authentic state of peace.  For a person who has been the victim of trauma, this can be challenging. 

Cutting edge research shows that people who are victimized by violence need treatment for more than their physical wounds.  They need help in rewriting the story of their lives in a way that gives coherence and meaning.   

The following video illustrates the "Snail Model" of trauma healing.  This is basically a roadmap for people who have experienced painful events in their lives to see a process by which they may be healed, not just physically but mentally and spiritually.  A printable illustration by Olga Botcharova can be found HERE

If you are suffering from the effects of violence, or if you know someone who is, I encourage you to print this and share it with the person who is affected. 

Sometimes even just seeing a model like this will result in an "aha" moment.  The person will see where they are on the cycle and gain insight that will help them heal.  Not everyone needs (or has the luxury of engaging in) therapy with a caring and trusted counselor.  But regardless of whether the mental and spiritual wounds from trauma is small or large, it can help a person just to know that what they are experiencing is normal, that they are not alone. 

Panic, anger, sleeplessness, fantasies of revenge -- these are not signs of insanity, they are normal.  And there IS a path to healing.  It may be slow, it may be challenging.  But a person who has been victimized by crime, by war, by a terrible auto accident, can walk that path to healing.  No matter what the physical wounds, a person who has experienced trauma can can achieve spiritual and mental peace so that they can sleep at night and feel right with the world.   

No matter what your circumstances, I want to assure you, there IS HOPE for peace. 

This is a particular issue not just with veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, but also for anyone who has been affected by crime or violence.  Even, perhaps, in our own families.   Whether this model may apply to you, or to someone you know, please be aware of it and be ready to share the hope, and the help, when the time comes.     

I hope you find this video helpful.  If you do, please leave a comment to share how it helped you. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Righteous Indignation, The Christian Believer, and Mediation


For Christians who are experiencing conflict with each other, mediation doesn't just offer hope for a settlement.  It can do more, offering a chance at authentic reconciliation. 

"The problem with that idea is," I was once told by an experienced lawyer, "when people are mad enough to sue each other, they just ain't feelin' very Christian!" 

Well, that's right.  The process of Bible-based, Christian reconciliation is pretty strong stuff.  Most likely, if you are in a dispute -- especially if you have been sued or are thinking of suing someone -- you ain't feeling very Christian right now.  This is not a blog post for the ordinary person.  It is only for a committed Believer.  If you don't fall in that category, why should you want to even consider Christian conciliation?  On the other hand, if you are a committed Believer, my question to you is, are you willing to try the Biblical way? 

For the Christian Believer, the first step in Christian reconciliation -- your first decision -- is to investigate the concept of Christian reconciliation and what makes it different from other forms of conflict resolution.  You are reading this.  That's a big step. Thanks for being here!  Now for the hard part ... the spiritual part.

The offer of hope for reconciliation doesn't mean that parties to a conflict are expected just act like nothing every happened.  Acting like everything is okay, when it's not really, is to "fake peace" rather than "make peace".  I'm afraid this is the sin I personally am most prone to. 

When I was a young child growing up, Sunday School was a place for hats and white gloves.  The appearance on Sunday morning was that everything was perfect: in order, perfectly coiffed, unruffled.  In real life, Christianity where the tire meets the road is a bit more messy than this.  In real life, there are days when one's hair is ruffled.  Indeed, in real life there are days when one's friend commits suicide, when one's spouse is diagnosed with a terminal illness, when one's boss gives a pink slip, when the bill collector is calling and there is no way to pay the bill.  So, nothing is perfect.  It's only when we acknowledge that -- when we acknowledge our own brokenness or the brokenness of our relationship with another person -- that we can begin to take positive steps to address the causes of that brokenness and to heal it.  

So, the first step is to acknowledge that things are not really okay. 

There's another, important part of our requirement to acknowledge when things are not okay.  We must be on the alert to whether we have done something that causes another person to not be okay:  Our natural inclination is to be "on the lookout" for times when someone has wronged us.  It's less natural, but just as important, for us to be aware of (and be sensitive to) ways in which we have offended others. 

The second step is to do our part.  If I have offended someone, it is my duty to make restitution.  These are subjects for a different day.

What I want to write about today is actually the part that comes next:  If I am the one who has been offended, the Bible commands me to forgive. 

This is something I've personally struggled with.  What does it mean to forgive?  What if it seems impossible?  What if the other person has not even acknowledged that they've done something wrong?  What if they haven't even acknowledged that they need forgiveness?  So, I'd like to dwell on this a bit. 

Authentic reconciliation requires more than just "saying sorry" and then acting as if nothing ever happened.  Nor does it mean that there are no consequences.  We can't change the past, we can only change the future.  I suggest that when a person seems focused on the past, it means they are not quite ready to move forward to forgiveness.  Do you find yourself focusing mentally on wrongs from the past, on how evil someone was?  Are you having trouble "letting bygones be bygones"?    

What reconciliation means, is that we are offered an opportunity to change that path.  We can't change the past, but we can deliberately change the shape of the way we move forward in the future.  Changing this path, adopting the path of reconciliation, is not easy.  But if we seize the opportunity for reconciliation, what we are seizing is an opportunity to move beyond the brokenness of a wounded world, to give and to experience forgiveness.  If we address conflict at its emotional root, by giving and accepting redemption and reconciliation, then the wound can heal.  This frees us to move on emotionally from a conflict.  When we move on emotionally, we are then freed to experience genuine peace.  

Imagine the experience of peace!   Breathe deeply, sigh, let go of tension.  Imagine a peace that passes all understanding.  Imagine the restfulness of that.  Does it sound too good to be true?  That's the vision. 

Perhaps all this "forgiveness" stuff sounds complicated and theoretical.  How do we put it into action?  What steps do we take to get there?  How can we capture that vision and make it reality?

I suggest that the first step is to pray.  Begin by praying about your conflict. 

Prayer opens doors to new ways of perceiving conflict

Read scripture.  Think on what it really means to "forgive ... as we have been forgiven".  (Matt 6:12)  Indeed, the entire possibility of reconciliation of one with another begins with God's ultimate gift to us of redemption and reconciliation with HIMSELF.  Jesus provides the model of what to do in response to sin. 

Wow, that's a tough one.  The Bible doesn't say for us to forgive if the other side meets us halfway.  Nope.  It's pretty straightforward: 

You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Jesus had done nothing wrong, yet he just stood there and took it.  He was a man who, though blameless, willingly gave his life in order to reconcile God with Man.   We in turn -- who have been forgiven so much -- have an obligation to extend that same, sacrificial level of forgiveness to others.  As I said, this is a difficult thing to wrap our minds around.  It's not only hard to read about and to understand on an intellectual level.  It's even harder to apply in our own lives.  Nevertheless, through reading and understanding the principles, we can begin to believe in the possibility of forgiveness.  Now time for more prayer.  Take time to plow deep furrows in the field of our own willingness to be changed. 

Jesus as a model for how to respond to a wrong?  The guy allowed himself to be crucified for a crime he didn't commit!  Does this mean I have to be a martyr?!! 

Step three is simply this:  to give it time.  For right now, the idea of forgiveness may seem to be an impossible fantasy.  I think it's perfectly natural to feel as if a wrong is so evil that it can't be forgiven.  The easiest case to visualize is those few-and-far-between cases where a parent forgives the person on death row who murdered their child. 

Prayer invites the Holy Spirit to work miracles

"How," we ask, "could a parent actually forgive the person who murdered their child?"  It is only through a miraculous act of Grace.  And moreover, it is not my place to judge you for what you can or cannot forgive.  Who could judge someone if they feel they could not forgive their child's murderer?  I surely will not cast the first stone on that one!  All I can say is, the teachings of the Bible say what they say, and there is nothing easy about them.  If we are able to forgive, surely it is through the miraculous workings of God's grace.  So, that's why I say the first step is prayer.  And the second step is prayer.  And prayerful reading of scripture.  At least, that's the way it is with me. 

In terms of pursuing the activity of mediation, there's also the issue of, what if the other person is not willing to even talk or consider a mediation?  I recently was reading a statistic that of every ten cases referred to mediation, only five people are interested in mediating.  The other five just want to proceed to a lawsuit.  And then, of those five cases where the person is interested, only about 20% of the time is the other party also willing to mediate.  What does it take to bring the other side to the table?  Well, that is a discussion for another day.   The key for discussion here, today, is whether I have a duty to "go it alone" on this forgiveness thing even if the other side won't even come to the table.  And also, what exactly does that mean?  How can I forgive something if the other side doesn't even acknowledge he's done something wrong? 

I don't have the answers.  All I can say is that, one can have great faith, even in the face of grave doubt.  If you have doubt, you are also in good company.  One man who doubted, spoke candidly to Jesus about his doubt.  The man had approached Jesus and asked him to heal his son.  But he didn't say it just that way. Instead, what the man said to Jesus was put this way:  please heal my child "if you [Jesus] can". 

Jesus exclaimed to him, "If you can!?"   I can almost hear the outrage in his voice.  Jesus doesn't seem to have much patience for this man's doubt.  But he answered the man, "Everything is possible for him who believes!" 

The man replied, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:23-24) 

Prayer opens doors to possibility

When we have doubt, the next step on the journey is to pray for God to help us overcoming our unbelief.  Perhaps, with God's help, forgiveness might be possible. 

Over time, with God helping our unbelief, we may find ourselves beginning to imagine a world where forgiveness might be possible not just in theory, somewhere else, but in this case.  Here.  Now. Me

How to pray about this? 

Well, first look at this picture, then put it aside and read on.  This is an exercise and I'll come back to the picture after "talking" some more: 

picture gestalt dalmation

“Forgiveness is the final form of love.”
Reinhold Niebuhr



Prayer enables us to imagine a better future

In your prayer journey, be imaginative.  Imagine what a world would look like, and feel like, in which you have forgiven.  Imagine a world in which you have peace, individually, whether or not the other person does.  Imagine a world where your children were free to be friends with the children of the person who had wronged you -- a world where even the kernel of bitterness was gone.  Is that a nice thought?  Perhaps it would take a miracle.  Imagine that miraculous grace. 

Now, suppose the person who wronged you is willing to talk.  If you are preparing for a mediation, ask yourself, "What exactly would it take for me to be open to the idea of forgiving this person?  What do I need to hear from this person -- or see them do -- that would remove obstacles to my forgiving them?"  Sometimes, it will be impossible to come to terms with another person.  But it sure makes forgiving easier when the other person meets us halfway.  Or maybe even all the way.  Gee, in my own life, sometimes even a baby step is a help. 

This is where the mediator can play a role.  The mediator can discuss issues with each person, together, separately, and can literally be a "go between" when things are just too hard to talk about.  The mediator can also provide some feedback, assessment, and other tools that just might shake the tree enough to help parties get beyond entrenched positions.  (See for example, Breaking Impasse in Mediation, HERE .) 

Bear in mind also, that this process -- discussion, communication, forgiveness -- does not mean either party is expected to become buddy buddy or to just kiss and make up and act as if there has never been a grievance.  Sometimes there are consequences of actions that cannot be undone. 

The mediator's role is to help parties reach a peace, a place where they feel right with each other and with God.  A place where the party can pray, honestly, "Forgive me my many debts, Lord, in the same manner as I have also forgiven the one who owes me."  What that means is a matter between the parties and God. 

On our own, this type of forgiveness might seem impossible.  But it is something God asks us to do, and therefore, it is not impossible.  As Christians we walk by faith and not by sight.  No matter who we are, or what we have done, or what may have been done to us, there is a path to forgiveness.  It may not be easy, but with time and prayer we can find it. 

Prayer illuminates the steps on the path to peace

It's also a path that goes two ways, back and forth.  In our prayer journey, each of us needs to also ask ourselves, "What do I need to ask this person to forgive me for?"  The path to peace involves not only bestowing forgiveness, but also acceptance of and appreciation of the gracious act of being forgiven.  Sorry, but it's a Biblical mandate:  "Confess your faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed."  (James 5:16).  Rarely is hurt purely one sided. 

Prayer heals wounds

Life wounds us.  We need healing.  Failure to forgive results in bitterness.  Bitterness festers.  It's as if a knife remained embedded in the wound.  No matter how many bandages we put on the wound, the wound will not heal until the knife of unforgiveness and bitterness has been removed.   Unfortunately, I'm afraid, many of us know people who have lived their lives this way.  Bitterness eats at them like a cancer and robs their days of joy. 

Luke 17:3-4 says, "Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.  And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him." 

This requirement of forgiveness prohibits us from holding grudges; it prohibits us from even having bad feelings toward our fellows.  Matthew 5:21-24 says:

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Our society also seems to put great weight on the principle of "righteous indignation".  Sorry, but there's no such thing. Romans 3:10 says, "There is no one righteous, no, not one."  This cuts both ways.  It reinforces that your feelings are normal.  None of us are perfect.  As we also know from Romans 3:23, all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.  Yet also, this passages reminds us that there is no such thing as "righteous indignation".  We are all under an active obligation to forgive, as we have been forgiven. 

Prayer reminds us to have compassion

Still got indignation?  Pray about it.  If you're having trouble letting go of a wrong that someone has done to you, I suggest that over a period of time, you meditate for a few minutes per day over the following story, and how it might be applied in your own life: 

Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'  But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.

As this passage shows, what's really at stake is our reconciliation with God.  We are given a commandment to forgive "as" we forgive others.  This is incredibly difficult.  But ultimately, it also holds out the promise that we can achieve an authentic peace not just with each other, but with God. 

This brings me back to the picture I included above.  This is a famous drawing designed to illustrate the concept of "gestalt".  When we see it for the first time, we only see a group of random dots.  Over time, however, the picture changes.  Our mind brings order to the dots and we see a scene of something else.  This is similar to what I am suggesting prayer can do.  Applied over time, using scripture as a reference, prayer can actually change us in miraculous ways.  We begin to see things in ways we never would have thought possible.  We become able to do things we perhaps never would have thought possible.  We may even be able to relate to another person in a way that ... previously we never would have thought possible.  Perhaps, miraculously, we become able to forgive. 

I conclude with Colossians 3:12-17:

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Peace to you!

Balance of Power in Mediation

"A cornerstone of the mediation process is the protection of self-determination. If a party cannot self-determine their own future, then little difference exists between mediation and a judge or hearing officer deciding their fate for them. Empowering someone to determine for themselves the outcome of their conflict is part of the design of the mediation process and the skill set of talented mediators."  Managing an Imbalance of Power by Rick Voyles, (accessed October 16, 2009).


Specific items which raise red flags in power imbalance are, among other things, verbal bullying and other means of control, and hoarding of information. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Biblical passages relating to Restorative Justice

Galatians 6:1-2 provides,

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.


What does “restoring gently” mean?  Martin Luther interpreted thusly

If you see a brother despondent over a sin he has committed, run up to him, reach out your hand to him, comfort him with the Gospel and embrace him like a mother. When . . .  [a person] has been overtaken by a sin and is sorry . . . [h]e must be dealt with in the spirit of meekness and not in the spirit of severity. A repentant sinner is not to be given gall and vinegar to drink.

Luther also writes: 

The Law of Christ is the Law of love. Christ gave us no other law than this law of mutual love: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another." To love means to bear another's burdens. Christians must have strong shoulders to bear the burdens of their fellow Christians. . . . [W]e ought to overlook the shortcomings of others in accordance with the words, "Bear ye one another's burdens."  Those who fail to do so expose their lack of understanding of the law of Christ. Love, according to Paul, "believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

Monday, February 1, 2010


It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passion, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace.
      -- Andre Gide (1869-1951)