Friday, June 29, 2012

Race Relations

By Dale Brown

The world will only function properly when we show true love and respect to one another and eliminate all forms of prejudice.

Mankind has never advanced a centimeter by hating or showing prejudice towards each other.  The only notable advancement we have ever made in the history of the world is when we have been brothers and sisters at labor towards a common goal.

Prejudice is a great time saver; it enables one to form opinions without bothering to get the facts.

To live by relying on one another implies a risk, but without some trust in humanity, life would be unlivable.  One of our greatest leaders, Abraham Lincoln said, “If you trust, you will be disappointed occasionally, but if you mistrust, you will be miserable all of the time.”

Naturally, we all have traits that aggravate one another, but we should work hard on liking each other and overcoming our own bad traits.  The more you grow as a person, the less shocked you become about people who are different from yourself.  When a person is wrapped up in himself, the package is usually pretty small.

It is a law of life, as certain as gravity, that to live fully, we must learn to use things and love people–not love things and use people.

Nineteen of twenty-one notable civilizations did not recognize that and died from within and not by conquest from without.  The world must learn to work together or finally, it will not work at all.  Kipling tells us:

“Now this is the Law of the Jungle–as old and as true as the sky; And the wolf
that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.  For
the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”

One of the greatest dynasties in the history of sports was the Boston Celtics.
 What was their secret?

Once a year, the Boston Red Sox held a fellowship breakfast at Fenway Park.
Rabbis, priests, ministers, and civic leaders gathered in ecumenical fashion, to
extol the virtues of brotherhood.  At one, such conclave some years ago, Red Sox
GM Dick O’Connell addressed the group.  “You are sitting in a sports building
talking about brotherhood.  May I suggest that the best example is right down
the street from here.  There’s a team over there in the Boston Garden, made up
of whites, blacks, Catholics, and Protestants, coached by a Jew, and they’ve
been world champions for a long time now.  Everyone’s running around looking for
theories and searching into history for explanations.  If you want a perfect
example of what we have been talking about, just look at the Celtics.”  The
harmony O’Connell alluded to was one of the beauties and mysteries of the
Celtics Empire.

Unity involves a devotion and dedication to a cause which puts everyone closer
together.  When an individual loses oneself in something they think is bigger
than they are, they instantly find peace, love, happiness and success.

Martin Luther King, Jr., told us, “All people in this world are tied into a
single garment of destiny.  Whatever affects one directly, affects all
indirectly.  We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure
of reality.  It was a tragedy of history that the children of darkness were
often more determined and forceful than the children of light.”

God says that if we build the kind of relationships with each other where we
enter into a covenant to belong to each other and be involved with each other in
pursing our goals together–that we are unstoppable.

The most important thing in the mind of God is our relationship with one
another.  God made us in such a way that everybody needs somebody, and God’s
idea for success is a community, a group of people who will become committed to
each other.

Communities and nations will be transformed when mankind returns to God and his
purposes for them.

The relationship we have with each other is what creates a relationship with
God.  If we are not capable of getting along with each other, then we are not
capable of having a relationship with God.

So the question in our journey of life is not whether God can bring peace into
the world.  The question is: Can we?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The True Measure of A Man

By:  Richard E. Simmons III

Here is what I hear from men all the time:  They struggle with feelings of 1) insecurity, 2) inadequacy, 3) isolation, 4) loneliness, and 5) fear washed in anxiety.  Why?  They have the wrong set of dreams—all wrong—and they don’t know who they are.

It is heartbreaking to see men waste their entire lives trying to convince other people that they are someone they are not.  This is why men’s souls do not grow mighty in spirit and courage.  They spend their existence covering up and living in fear they will one day be discovered as a fraud.  There is a voice inside them that keeps telling them that in spite of all the ornaments they collect in life, they are still not OK.  The results are a lifelong tension with guilt, shame, and anxiety.  Jerry Leachman, Chaplain of the Washington Redskins

There is one question we men are always asking ourselves.  It often seems to be the central question that must finally be answered before we will make certain decisions or take a definitive course of action.  It is a question, I believe, that haunts many a man’s life:  What will people think about me?

Men so often define themselves by what they do, who they know, or what they own.  And when they do so, they unwittingly set themselves up for a great confusion and failure in their personal lives.

When we equate our worth as human beings with our individual performances, we
put our identities at grave risk.  Any type of perceived failure from the
perspective of an ego built on such a shaky foundation can easily lead us to
conclude that our lives are not worth very much.

Many men are no longer concerned with lives of excellence.  Instead, no matter
how much a man accomplishes, he does not believe he is successful unless others
know about it.  We now regard success as achievement plus proper recognition of
our achievement.  The recognition is what makes us feel worthwhile and that we
measure up as men.  Christopher Lasch, author of The Culture of Narcissism, has
perhaps said it best:  [Men] would rather be envied for their material success
than respected for their character.

When all is said and done, we must accept that we have a radically unstable,
temporal foundation on which we have anchored our identity and that something is
fundamentally wrong with this approach to life.

What would happen if we let the person who determines our worth be God?

Fear and shame are a primary cause of depression in men during times of
trouble.  Too few men know how to share with others their fears, the pain in
their lives, and their struggles, particularly if it makes them look weak or
like a failure.  So men naturally clam up and silently carry the load on their
backs.  In the process they withdraw from others and live very lonely, isolated

This withdrawal, of course, has a significant impact on our relationships with
other men because what we really fear is how our failure will appear in the eyes
of our peers and especially those we consider our friends.  This explains why we
always try to maintain the appearance that our lives are flourishing and that we
really have it together but have no lifelong deep relationships.  If all I can
offer you is a superficial image of my true self, why should I expect to end up
with anything but superficial relationships that have no real depth?  Fear of
failure and our inability to deal with that fear create shallow personal

The great lesson of human history is that people are always looking for
something else, anything else, to give them significance and security.  For so
many men in the world of business and commerce, God is not an option.

What too many good men fail to realize is that this approach to life is utter
foolishness.  The ball field, the bedroom, and the wallet are merely outward
experiences that fail to translate into permanent inner fulfillment and
contentment.  Furthermore, as time goes by, the ball field, the bedroom, and the
wallet are never able to convince us in our innermost being that we truly
measure up as men.

Character, wisdom, and love make up the essence of what it means to be an
authentic man.

When we think of manhood and masculinity, we should recognize that character,
wisdom, and our ability to love others are at the heart of being a man.

I believe at times we all find ourselves subject to the pull of comparison, the
yearning for admiration and fame.  After all, these are the measurements of
worldly success.  Arrogance and pride, however, unlike true and humble
contentment for a job well done in the service of others, lead us down a
slippery and destructive path as we try to impress others.  They often cause us
to inflate and embellish our successes and accomplishments in the process.

Have you ever thought about how much different your life would be if you did not
fear and worry about what others thought of you, if you never had to impress

If we cannot be transparent with ourselves and also cannot be transparent with
others, then who are we?

 * All of us, without God’s help, live lives of illusion.  We spend almost all
of our lives trying to prove to other people and ourselves that we are something
other than what we really are.

Humility comes powerfully into our lives when God becomes the audience we
perform for.  When this happens, human opinion becomes less and less important
to us.

One of the main reasons we are so discontent with our lives is because we are
always comparing ourselves with others.  We measure how well we are doing in
comparison with others.  We make mistakes and we feel inferior; we experience
success and we feel superior.  As we have seen, our emotions and our confidence
moves with the market and flows with the opinion of others.

Helen Keller, a woman born deaf and blind, knew and understood that the only
thing in life worse than being blind was not to have a vision for your life.

A vision for life truly changes a man and his response to the world around him;
it changes him dramatically.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Some Positive Thoughts For You To Ponder

By:  Fareed Zakaria

Ever since 9/11, we have lived in an age of terror, and our lives remain altered by the fears of future attacks and a future of new threats and dangers.  Then there are larger concerns that you hear about:  The Earth is warming; we’re running out of water and other vital resources; we have a billion people on the globe trapped in terrible poverty.

So, I want to sketch out for you, perhaps with a little bit of historical context, the world as I see it.

The world we live in is, first of all, at peace—profoundly at peace.  The richest countries of the world are not in geopolitical competition with one another, fighting wars, proxy wars, or even engaging in arms races or “cold wars.”

This is a historical rarity.  You would have to go back hundreds of years to find a similar period of great power peace.  I know that you watch a bomb going off in Afghanistan or hear of a terror plot in this country and think we live in dangerous times.  But here is the data.  The number of people who have died as a result of war, civil war, and, yes, terrorism, is down 50 percent this decade from the 1990s.  It is down 75 percent from the preceding five decades, the decades of the Cold War, and it is, of course, down 99 percent from the decade before that, which is World War II.  Harvard professor Steven Pinker says that we are living in the most peaceful times in human history.

The political stability we have experienced has allowed the creation of a single global economic system, in which countries around the world are participating and flourishing.  In 1980, the number of countries that were growing at 4 percent a year – robust growth – was around 60.  By 2007, it had doubled.  Even now, after the financial crisis, that number is more than 80.  Even in the current period of slow growth, keep in mind that the global economy as a whole will grow 10 to 20 percent faster this decade than it did a decade ago, 60 percent faster than it did two decades ago, and five times as fast as it did three decades ago.

The result:  The United Nations estimates that poverty has been reduced more in the past 50 years than in the previous 500 years.  And much of that reduction has taken place in the last 20 years.  The average Chinese person is 10 times richer than he or she was 50 years ago – and lives for 25 years longer.  Life expectancy across the world has risen dramatically.  We gain five hours of life expectancy every day.  A third of all the babies born in the developed world this year will live to be 100.  All this is because of rising standards of living, hygiene, and, of course, medicine.

To understand the astonishing age of progress we are living in, just look at the cellphones in your pockets.  Your cellphones have more computing power than the Apollo space capsule.  That capsule couldn’t even Tweet!  So just imagine the opportunities that lie ahead.  Moore’s Law – that computing power doubles every
18 months while costs halve – may be slowing down in the world of computers, but it is accelerating in other fields.  The human genome is being sequenced at a pace faster than Moore’s Law.   A “Third Industrial Revolution,” involving material science and customization of manufacturing, is yet in its infancy.  And all these fields are beginning to intersect and produce new opportunities that we cannot really foresee.

The good news goes on.  Look at the number of college graduates globally.  It has risen fourfold in the last four decades for men, but it has risen sevenfold for women.  I believe that the empowerment of women, whether in a village in Africa or a boardroom in America, is good for the world.

Now you might say, “This is all wonderful for the world at large, but what does this mean for America?”  Well, for America and for most places, peace and broader prosperity – “the rise of the rest” – means more opportunities.  I remind you that this is a country that still has the largest and most dynamic economy in the world, that dominates the age of technology, that hosts hundreds of the world’s greatest companies, that houses its largest, deepest capital markets, and that has almost all of the world’s greatest universities.  There is no equivalent of Harvard in China or India, nor will there be one for decades, perhaps longer.

The United States is also a vital society.  It is the only country in the industrialized world that is demographically vibrant.  We add 3,000,000 people to the country every year.  That itself is a powerful life force, and it is made stronger by the fact that so many of these people are immigrants.  They – I should say we – come to this country with aspirations, with hunger, with drive, with determination, and with a fierce love for America.  By 2050, America will have a better demographic profile than China.  This country has its problems, but I would rather have America’s problems than most any other place in the world.

When I tell you that we live in an age of progress, I am not urging complacency – far from it.  We have had daunting challenges over the last 100 years:  a depression, two world wars, a Cold War, 9/11 and global economic crisis.  But we have overcome them by our response.  Human action and human achievement have managed to tackle terrible problems.

We forget our successes.  In 2009, the H1N1 virus broke out in Mexico.  Now, if you look back at the trajectory of these kinds of viruses, it is quite conceivable this one would have spread like the Asian flue in 1957 or 1968, in which 4,000,000 people died.  But this time, the Mexican health authorities identified the problem early, shared the information with the World Health Organization, learned best practices fast, tracked down where the outbreak began, quarantined people and vaccinated others.  The virus was contained, to the point where, three months later, people wondered what the big fuss was and asked if we had all overacted.  We didn’t overreact; we reacted, we responded, and we solved the problem.

There are other examples.  In the 12 months following the economic peak in 2008, industrial production fell by as much as it did in the first year of the depression.  Equity prices and global trade fell more.  Yet this time, no Great Depression followed.  Why?  Because of the coordinated actions of governments around the world.  9/11 did not usher in an age of terrorism, with al-Qaeda going from strength to strength.  Why?  Because countries cooperated in fighting them and other terror groups, with considerable success.  When we can come together, when we cooperate, when we put aside petty differences, the results are astounding.

So, when we look at the problems we face – economic crises, terrorism, climate change, resource scarcity – keep in mind that these problems are real, but also that the human reaction and response to them will also be real.  We can more easily map out the big problem than the thousands of individual actions governments, firms, organizations, and people will take that will constitute the solution.

I do know that human beings will reward and honor those talents of heart and mind they have always honored for thousands of years:  intelligence, hard work, discipline, courage, loyalty and, perhaps above all, love and a generosity of spirit.  Those are the qualities that, at the end of the day, make you live a great life, one that is rewarded by the outside world, and a good live, one that is rewarded only by those who know you best.  These are the virtues that people honor, that they built statues for 5,000 years ago.  Well, nobody builds statues anymore.  They build weird, modernist sculptures with strange pieces of metal falling off of them, but you get my idea.  Trust yourself; you know what you should do.  You know the kind of life you should live.  You don’t need an ethics course to know what you shouldn’t do.  Just trust in your instincts, be true to them, and you will make for yourself a great and a good life.  And, in doing so, you will change the world.

Friday, June 15, 2012


By:  Dale Brown

After a major disappointment or failure to be sad and fearful is not a weakness but you must remember that there is only one power greater than fear and that is faith.  The boldness of faith is so powerful that nothing can stop it.  Stand firm and persevere.  Have courage and wait patiently, and comfort will come when you most need it because God will not abandon you.  It has been said that it is only after some painful struggle that one usually finds the deepest peace. Suffering is and always will be a mystery.  You don’t explain a mystery; you respect it and trust God with it.  If you let adversity whip you it’s because you allowed it.  My friend Coach Don Meyer who has suffered unbelievable sickness and injury said, “Peace is not the absence of trouble, trial, and torment but calm in the midst of them.”  History is punctuated with instances where people became strongest at their weakest point.  Famous historian Arnold Toynbee believed that all people react in one of four ways under the most difficult circumstances:

1.                Retreat into the past.
2.                Daydream about the future.
3.                Retreat within and wait for someone to rescue them.

The greatest power in the world is our power to choose.  You have special talents that God has given you, now let God give you peace and hope.

Adversity only visits the strong but stays forever with the weak. Stay Strong and Whip Adversity!