July 29, 2012

JoePa Quotes

With apologies to Parable readers who are on Penn State University football overload, I recently found a web page of Joe Paterno quotes which I read with new insight.

How prophetic! JoePa, the football icon, who is quoted as saying, “The minute you think you got it made, disaster is just around the corner,” will forever be remembered as the man who did not foresee the catastrophe resulting from his failure to run interference for a ten year old boy who was raped in a shower.

How incomprehensible! Paterno, who said, “You have to play with extreme confidence,” allowed his own self assurance to become arrogance __ arrogance that prompted him to conceal a crime that would ultimately condemn a friend, his players and the University he served so passionately.

What irony! the Legend of Happy Valley, an American Football Idol, who preached “Publicity is like poison; it doesn’t hurt unless you swallow it,” gulped down a huge dose of himself to hush up child abuse of the most hideous kind.

May the tragedy at Penn State remind us of our human frailties and prompt us to remember a quote from a different source, Psalm 118: It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”

NOTE: Those who follow Contemporary Parables can now leave comments at the email address below. I am particularly interested in hearing from readers in Russia and the Ukraine.   Parables@mail.com 

July 20, 2012

Remaking Yourself

 In October of 2009, an early Parable asked this question:
“If you could take yourself apart like a giant Leggo construction, what character flaws would you leave out when you put yourself back together?”
Arrogance, vanity, jealousy, lust, greed, indifference, anger and bitterness are pollutants of the soul that thoughtful people would obviously eliminate during reconstruction.

But suppose you had an opportunity to add three personal characteristics that were previously missing, what would you include?

One choice for me would be self restraint. At one time, I thought my tombstone should read, “He did nothing in moderation."

My second option would be political tolerance. As I begin my eighth decade of life, I find myself increasingly narrow minded when considering political views and affairs of state.

My third choice for a personal characteristic that has been missing throughout my life is patience. Unfortunately, if I had to wait in line to add patience to my new personality, I might just say “forget it."

Among those characteristics I would certainly put back during reassembly would be my enduring love and appreciation for my family and my firm and unwavering faith in my Lord Jesus Christ.

July 15, 2012

Are YouToxic?

The word “toxic” is sometimes used to describe the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe and our environment in general. But have you ever heard the word “toxic” used to describe a person?

I have not, but as soon as I heard someone called “toxic,” I realized it is a perfect label to depict some people I have known.

To put it bluntly, “toxic” people aren’t very nice to be around. You rarely, if ever, get a smile, a compliment or word of appreciation from “toxic” people.  You are more likely to be insulted, belittled or criticized.

Karl Albrecht a management consultant, executive advisor and author of twenty books, describes “toxic” people as:
“ . . .those who consistently behave in ways that make others feel devalued, inadequate, angry, frustrated or guilty.”
According to Albrecht, the opposite of a toxic person is a nourishing person, someone who:
“ . . . makes others feel valued, capable, loved, respected and appreciated."
So where are you on the toxic-nourishing scale, and is it where you want to be? Here’s a link to a brief quiz by Albrecht which may help you determine, and perhaps improve, the quality of your interaction with others: 

The command to “love one another” appears thirteen times in the New Testament, so it cannot be dismissed.  Loving someone who is nourishing is so effortless. On the other hand, loving the toxic . . . now that is a challenge! 

July 8, 2012

God Bless the U.S.A.

Our Founding Fathers would be pleased with the 4th of July celebrations in New York City, Boston and Washington D.C. In each case, God Bless America was sung with enthusiasm and conviction by those attending the festivities.

And the "separation of church and state," a phrase created by Justice Hugo Black in a Supreme Court decision of 1947, was certainly not evident in the public's spirited rendition of Lee Greenwood's Proud to Be an American which ends “God Bless the U.S.A."

The celebrations in Boston and New York were privately sponsored, but the program in Washington was supported, in part, by the National Park Service and the U. S. Army. Those without faith will undoubtedly sue to prevent their participation in 2013.

John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, commenting on our Nation's birth, said:
"Let us humbly commit our righteous cause to the Great Lord of The Universe."
 After the Revolution, Thomas Jefferson said:
"God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed a conviction these liberties are a gift from God?" 
Since 1947, numerous decisions by the Supreme Court have censored many expressions of faith in public life, but on July 4th, 2012, thousands of patriots from across the country asked God to "bless America from the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam."

God is still relevant in these United States, and God is still guiding this great country founded on what George Washington called the "pillars of morality and religion."