Food for Thought-The Ingredients for a Successful Country Song Circa 2015

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1. Talk about the small town you live in, the wholesome values embodied by this town’s economic decline, and how people who live elsewhere are morally lacking when compared to your town

2. Talk about how you work a typical blue-collar job at a “plant”. Make references to “clocking out” and how at the end of a hard week’s work you feel entitled to a weekend of alcohol consumption and bad decision making

3. Talk about your woman, how she’s hot, wears skimpy clothes for you and enjoys going to a river with you to engage in vaguely implied carnal activity.

4. Talk about how you go to church and belief in God is important to you and how this is the logical extension of your weekend of drinking and vague carnal activity with your scantily clad “honey” down by the river

5. Repeat the four previous points in rapid succession behind an array guitar riffs and background vocals

Food for Thought-Why Watching Paint Dry Can Be Fun!

Richard’s Reasons Why Watching Paint Dry Can Be Fun!
1) Paint verses of the Bible or Shakespeare on your wall. As they dry, memorize them!
2) Use the drying time to spend quality time with interesting and nice people.
3) Decide, as the paint dries, whether or not you are truly color blind.
4) Use your staring time to pick or change your favorite color.

Food for Thought-JFK 2:48 pm

Arrived from Dublin,

tired and wasted,

broke but not down,

accents strange on the ground,

sharing an outlet with a rabbinical brother,

God’s power flows all around,

witnesses to mercy abound,

making this bench,

Holy Land,

for a moment,

while we pray,

for this sweaty day,

people needing rides,

to their lives,

points in between,

flying machines,

holiday dreams,

and overwhelming fatigue.

–Richard Bryant

Food for Thought-Gratitude on the Last Tuesday in April

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I have much to be grateful for today.  Why is that different from any other day?  It isn’t really.  It is remarkable in that I witnessed an incredible act of mercy.  This mercy was not for me but for someone else.  Someone from my congregation received a miraculous reprieve and was not sent to prison.  I am grateful for her, for the sake of her family, her infant son, and her partner that today turned out differently than once anticipated.  Though a sense of ending  has finally come; questions remain in the hearts of many people.  How does one make sense of this and things like it?

We impose an unrealistic sense of order upon the chaos we inherit to create a sense of meaning (for ourselves) on the world around us.  It does not make the world any less chaotic, more sensible, orderly, or just.  Instead, it makes our world easier for us to deal with and accept when the distortions of our well-ordered unreality unravel as they inevitably will.  When we can begin to take apart, piece by piece, (either in our own time or through external events that force us to do so) our unrealistic sense of order, it is easier to create a new sense of being that doesn’t try to understand chaos and rationalize the unthinkable.  Instead of wasting our time and energy to understand it, we can move beyond it.

Food for Thought-3 Leadership Lessons from Jerry Seinfeld

imagesJerry Seinfeld is one of the greatest stand-up comedians of his generation.  One might argue, he brought Kierkegaard and Sartre to America’s television screens for nine seasons by making an existential show about nothing funny.  What can we learn from Jerry?

1.  Don’t be afraid to question the ridiculous things that surround you.  In other words, if you see something that’s absurd, such as your local post office closing at 4:30 on April 15th (the day Americans file their income taxes), you should use Jerry’s patented brand of observational humor and ask (as my friend John did this week when this happened to him), “what’s the deal with that?”  Not only is it a good question but it illustrates how things in our world don’t make sense and we need time to laugh at that stupidity.

2.  Jerry worked hard.  On Seinfeld, Jerry was always on the road doing his stand-up shows.  He was and still is one of the hardest working people in the entertainment industry.  He was either coming or going from a gig in distant cities all over the country. In many episodes of Seinfeld, we saw him writing out his jokes, with pencil and paper in hand working on his material.  If something came available and a space for him opened on a bill, he would change his schedule to do a show.  He was always ready to work and to practice his craft.  Work ethic matters.

3.  Find your Kramer.  Everyone needs a Kramer in their lives.  We all need a kooky, eccentric who lives among us and who helps keep us grounded and give us perspective.  Our Kramer is named Jordan, she is 15, and is our daughter.