The New Rules for Summer 2018

1. Jesus turning over the tables in the temple isn’t a catch-all excuse for Christian rudeness or violence. Stop blaming your mental health issues on the writers of the New Testament. Get help with your anger.

2. Engage the world. It’s easy to build our own utopias, ignore suffering, avoid evil, and live in our well manicured bubbles. That is not living; it’s existing. Life is found in engaging reality, authentically, one moment at a time.

3. If we keep track of the sins of others, we’ve made a serious decision to take life in an unhealthy direction. Emotionally, physically, and psychologically this will eventually ruin everything we cherish.  Keep track of good things.

4.  What does it mean to live a good life?  Ask hard questions that push your beyond your comfort zone.

5. Remember, you don’t know what other people are going through.  Cut people some slack.  There’s probably more going on in their lives than you realize.

6. Before writing or speaking , ask, “Will any good come from this?” If we can’t say “yes”, something is wrong.  Don’t be that person.  

7. Can the world see behind our sunglasses? Have we carefully constructed an image (not with clothing, cars, houses, or boats), emotionally speaking, to tell the world who we are? Do we deploy that image selectively? Are we able to be ourselves, all day, every day? What stops us?  Be authentic.

8. Everyone falls behind at some point. Because we’re disciples of Jesus, we can’t be selective about who we help. Christians don’t have the luxury of choosing who to assist, raise funds for, and who is deserving of God’s blessings.  Be generous.  

9. Fill up your tank with gas. You never know you when might need to take a trip to the hospital.

10. Don’t limit yourself to 280 characters. Spoken language is also an effective means of communication. Talk (with real words) to (real) people more often, even those with whom you disagree.  

Richard Bryant

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Food for Thought-This I Believe

This I Believe
1. Dogs like the TV left on when they are alone
2. It is bad to start your day by walking into a spider web
3. The ends of the pillow cases should all face outward, toward the edge of the bed
4. Q-tip brand ear cleaning products are superior to generic brands
5. One should not sleep with stuffed owls.

Food for Thought-Friday Morning’s Idea List

1. If you practice an act of charity today, try thanking the person who blesses you by giving you the opportunity to give something away.

2. Today is a new day, what are you excited about doing today? What’s on your list?

3. Find some good in everyone you meet today.

4.  Who can you help today?  A neighbor, friend, stranger?

Food for Thought-Better Decision Making by Stepping Outside

When is the last time you stopped what you were doing and went outside? I’m not talking about putting on hiking boots, grabbing a backpack, and water bottle to hit the trail. Instead, I want to propose a much simpler and easier idea. When is the last time you turned off the laptop, computer, electronic device, television, lights, and went outside from where you are at the this moment. To be clear, I don’t mean when you came into your home or office from the outside. Have you in the past two hours or so, stood up and found yourself in the company of trees, fresh air, clouds, sunshine, rain, sky, stars, the sun, or even the moon? If not, why not give it a try? There’s something powerful in disconnecting from the world we create for ourselves in order to reconnect to the world that was created for us. We need to be reminded how much bigger, grander, and vaster the sky is than we can possibly imagine. It helps our own sense of perspective to have our hope rekindled by the delicate sounds the birds or rustling leaves. Five minutes of breathing fresh air reminds us of the life that flows through each one of us and those who share our common spaces.  All it takes is a few minutes. Look around, breathe, and listen. Remember you are alive. Restart your day from this moment on. Make the choices and decisions which mark the remainder of this day be those that come from a place of imagination and new possibilities; such as those that exist just beyond your window.

Until later on, have a blessed day.

Food for Thought-Death on a Wednesday Afternoon

Death on a Wednesday Afternoon

I am always struck by the likelihood of death on a Wednesday afternoon.
On Tuesdays or Thursdays do I have greater luck; are my chances any less of
being untimely struck?
So it would seem, for each Wednesday at three, my neighbor receives an
important delivery,
his weekly consignment of natural gas; to heat our homes till winter has past,
the road is blocked, traffic is stopped,
one by one, each tank is unloaded,
workers hopping here and there; for we all know it,
until the truck is bare an hour from now,
we’re the only target in town.
When someone sings that strange old tune,
of a perfect world in early June,
remember Strabane on Wednesday afternoons.

–Richard Bryant