Have You Tried This?

1. Establish a daily routine. Manage your life by managing your time. What is it you do each day? What comes first every morning? Make your schedule standard, beyond an ad-hoc assortment of tasks and ideas. Claim the time and space around you. In moments of chaos and change, you know how to give and take because you understand the nature of your routine.

2. Look and listen. Experience the world around you. Feel the fresh air, warm breeze, and see the textures of the blue sky. Listen to the birds or the wind. What are the sounds living beyond the noises created by humanity? Do these sounds speak to each other? Do they talk to you?

3. Feel. The texture of an old growth tree, the stonework of an old building; what does time feel like? Do you sense the years of storms, growth, wind, and rain flowing beneath your hand? Who touched this same tree? Do we walk in their footsteps?

4. Say thank you more often than you need. What do we take for granted? Do we underestimate how often we should and to whom we should say, “Thank you”? What if we went further with gratitude than we ever thought possible?

5. Speak out of love. Words delivered out of love transcend the boundaries of faith, mystery, and knowledge. We can speak of love and live loveless lives. The unqualified love which holds our tongues and gifts us eloquence is not a love we can measure. Yet without this love, we lack certain defining features which makes people human: patience and kindness. Without this kind of love, we are more likely to be boastful, arrogant, and rude. We need this “spoken” love to define us as individuals and as a community.

6.  How can listening to others,  expressing gratitude in new ways, and loving without adjectives help you to better tell your story?

Richard Lowell Bryant

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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

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