Archive for December, 2013

Blaming the victim

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Our natural human tendency is to blame the victim. When Calvinism dominated the Western World, predestination helped those who considered themselves Chosen gloat over what was often good luck. They could easily look down on those who were not so fortunate, even believing that they were not Chosen, hadn’t received the special grace necessary to Salvation. Too easily that spilled over into the notion that they were lazy and undeserving.

Nowadays, with the influx of various brands of eastern and New Age religions the notion has come back, but in another form than the one most of us in the Western world rejected long ago. People are ill or experience bad fortune because of some karmic debt from past lives. That might be true. Certainly failure to use good sense and be cautious does lead to misfortune and ill health. But it might not the case. I firmly believe that accidents happen. Even Jesus indicated that someone’s sickness was not necessarily the fault of his sins or those of his family.

We need to be careful in assessing others’ situations. We play God when we do so. I think it’s better to say, “There but for the grace of God go I”–and try to figure out what we might do to help them. Because we too might well need someone’s help before long. And the help we require may be far more extensive than what we are asked to give now.

You’ve Been Taking Breaks All Wrong

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Next time you’re plowing through a days-long pile of work, barely looking up from your computer, consider this: Breaks are scientifically-proven to boost focus and productivity.

A 2008 University of Illinois study found that the brain’s attentional resources drop after a long period of focusing on a single task, decreasing our focus and hindering performance. But even brief diversions, the study found, could significantly increase one’s ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods of time.

“Like time, energy is finite; but unlike time, it is renewable,” Energy Project CEO Tony Schwartz wrote in the New York Times. “Taking more time off is counterintuitive for most of us. The idea is also at odds with the prevailing work ethic in most companies, where downtime is typically viewed as time wasted.”

More.

Finding the center again

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

I’ve witnessed the “Me and Jesus” mentality that has taken over so many evangelicals. God wants us all rich has become their very unbiblical mantra–along with, when we take Jesus as Savior all we have to do is believe, and we’re going to Heaven. There’s little attention to the old and very solid idea that conversion is a process.

We don’t automatically become holy and do the right thing. We have to go through the process, examining ourselves, our motives, our actions and try to live a good life, helping to bring light out of darkness in every arena of life. That does not happen by being self-centered. Or self-righteous. Those traits have always been identified with the fallen. We can sing “Just As I Am” over and over again. But we must continue to learn and grow and do right.

That’s why Jesus never condemned those who were humble, no matter how fallen, no matter where they came from, or even what they might have believed or professed. He was kind to them and loving, saying sometimes that their illness wasn’t caused by their sins or those of their parents, as many then, and now, would like to say. He also didn’t hesitate tell some, who kept doing wrong but were humble about it, that they should go and sin no more. However, Jesus was very confrontational toward the self-righteous holier than thous, who thought they knew everything they needed to know about God and his ways–and were only too willing to tell everyone else what to do. Such people forget that they too live in glass houses. We have no right to condemn others for taking a path other than our own.

We don’t want to get caught playing God. None of us does that well.

At this time of year

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

The three religions of the Book, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, affirm the importance of Creation, for all three believe that God purposefully brought everything that is into Being. Because of that we are called to value creation and protect it. Christianity goes even further with the central Doctrine of the Incarnation, the notion that God has become Human in Christ. So we sing the old Latin hymn, “O Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel,” to celebrate the meaning embodied in the name, Emmanuel, that is, “God with us.” For the Christian, God has sewn himself into the tapestry of life. We are all part of the web of life.

While there have always been those who accidentally and willingly try to rip out parts of the tapestry and mar it, we must act to correct those misdeeds, even weaving them into something more beautiful and stronger than before.

Lucy, Heroic Dog, Ignores Her Own Injuries To Get Help For Wounded Owner After Both Were Hit By A Car (VIDEO)

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

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Kindle Countdown deals on two of my books

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Kindle just started a super countdown deal on Baltho for $3.99 as well as The Necessity of Symbols for $1.99. Prices go up in 3 days to $6.99 and $2.99–and then back to their regular price on Dec. 26 at 11.00 p.m PT.

http://www.amazon.com/Necessity-Symbols-Thomas-Ramey-Watson-ebook/dp/B00GEFIA1Q/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1384552795

http://www.amazon.com/Baltho-Dog-Who-Owned-Man-ebook/dp/B00A7OKCJS/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

What Is Depression?

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Let This Animation With A Dog Shed Light On It.

Watch.

Red Fox Diving For Food (video)

Monday, December 16th, 2013

A video by the Discovery Channel highlights how the red fox uses its acute sense of smell and innate compass to unexpectedly pounce on prey.

With complete concentration, these cute carnivores perk up their ears and listen for the slight patter of field mice under snow blanketing South Dakotas’ Black Hills. When they detect the “faintest scamper,” the red fox leaps as if jumping on a pogo stick, dives headfirst and then… ambush! Using their homing abilities (scientists believe red foxes are able to detect the Earth’s magnetic field), foxes have a 75 percent snatch-success rate if they leap facing toward the North Pole.

Watch.

Why Do Sore Muscles Feel Worse On The Second Day?

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Why do I sometimes feel more sore, or sore in different muscles, two days after a workout, as opposed to the day right after?

There’s a name for this type of delayed onset muscle soreness, and — surprise! — it’s delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS).

More.

6 Myths About Creativity

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

A lot of people have misconceptions about what “being creative” means, which makes it hard for them to tap into their full potential. Here are six major myths about what creativity is — and how to bust them to let your imagination break free.

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Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.

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