Sunday, January 17, 2010
Several years ago, I was sipping my grande coffee and contemplating a difficult situation at work when I noticed three words on the back of my cup: "The humble improve" - Wynton Marsalis. Wow! Three words that sum up why humility is key to success.
I'm not a brain surgeon, but I can remember three words. Jazz fan or not you're probably familiar with Pulitzer Prize-winning trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis. In his book, "To a Young Jazz Musician: Letters from the Road," Marsalis mentors a young musician named Anthony through a series of letters.
In one letter, Marsalis writes about the "The Humble Self": "You can tell when someone is truly humble, because they consistently observe and listen, the humble improve. They don't assume, 'I know the way.' Humility engenders learning because it beats back the arrogance that puts blinders on. It leaves you open for truths to reveal themselves."
"Forbidden Planet" (1956) by MGM
Long before actor Leslie Nielsen became famous for his comedy movies such as Airplane and The Naked Gun, he played the commander of a space ship in the classic science fiction movie, Forbidden Planet. Sent to investigate the fate of a previous expedition to the planet, Nielsen and his crew find only two survivors of the previous expedition, Dr. Morbius and his daughter Altaira. Dr. Morbius discovered the planet had once been inhabited by the Krell, a super-intelligent race. The Krell had developed a vast machine that could provide anything that an individual Krell could desire. It was controlled by the thoughts of the person. Dr. Morbius was able to learn how to utilize the machine to some extent. But what Dr. Morbius and the Krell did not take into consideration was the subconscious: What Dr. Morbius called the “mindless primitive”. It was the base elements of the subconscious such as envy, greed, and hate that brought about the destruction of the Krell civilization and eventually Dr. Morbius. Towards the end of the movie, Dr. Morbius realizes that it was his own subconscious mind that was controlling the “monster” that had been attacking the crew of the spaceship and was now threatening Leslie Nielsen’s character and Morbius’ daughter Altaira. He speaks the following line:
“Dr. Edward Morbius: Guilty! Guilty! My evil self is at that door, and I have no power to stop it!”
We would probably call the “mindless primitive” our sin nature. Morbius realized that no matter how intelligent or how technologically advanced; people still have the basic nature to sin. To paraphrase the apostle Paul, sin makes us do what we don’t want to do and not do what we want to do. Like Morbius, we are not able to control or stop our sin nature by our own power. We can only accomplish some measure of control by the grace and power of Jesus Christ working thought the Holy Spirit. It’s not until we are in Heaven that we will be totally sin-free.
As the movie comes to a close, the planet is destroyed by the explosion of the Krell machine as the crew of the spaceship and Altaira watch. Leslie Nielsen’s character sums it all up with this statement to Altaira:
“Commander John J. Adams: Alta, about a million years from now the human race will have crawled up to where the Krell stood in their great moment of triumph and tragedy. And your father's name will shine again like a beacon in the galaxy. It's true, it will remind us that we are, after all, not God.”
"Bridge to Terebitha" 55:52- 56:46
Jess Aarons struggles to fit in at school. He is a talented artist but school bullies, his home situation, and other concerns cause him to keep his gifts to himself. Everything changes when Jess meets Leslie Burke, the new girl. Leslie is a gifted storyteller and challenges Jess to see a more colorful world beyond the dull tones of day- to-day existence. Together they create an imaginary world where they rule and successfully battle the Dark master and his creatures. Leslie challenges Jess’s small view of God.
She encourages him to use the eyes of faith to see beyond a God waiting to punish disobedient sinners, and instead by faith see a Loving Creator who has given people a wonderful world in which to live, and enjoy a relationship with Himself and others.
Jess, Leslie and Jess’s sister Maybelle are riding home from church in the back of a pickup. Leslie looks at Jess and says, “I’m really glad I came. That whole Jesus thing, it’s really interesting isn’t it?” As Jess reflects on the question, Maybelle says, “It’s not interesting, it’s scary! It’s nailing holes through your hands.” Then Maybelle adds, “It’s cause we’re all vile sinners. God made Jesus die.” Leslie looks at Jess who looks more confused and asks, “Do you really think that’s true?” Jess ponders her question and offers, “It’s in the Bible isn’t it?”
Leslie questions Jess’s assumptions stating, “You have to believe it and you HATE it.
I don’t have to believe it, and I think it’s beautiful.” Maybelle tells Leslie, “You’ve got to believe in the Bible. If you don’t God will damn you to hell when you die.”
With a slight smile Leslie asks, “How? Where did you hear that?” Maybelle turns to Jess for support and asks, “That’s right huh, Jess. God damns you to hell if you don’t believe in the Bible.” Jess sounds less sure of himself, but responds, “I think so.” Leslie says, “Well I don’t think so. I seriously do no think God goes around damning people to hell. He’s too busy running all this!” she exclaims spreading her arms wide.
A young man shopping in a supermarket noticed a little old lady following him around. If he stopped, she stopped. Furthermore she kept staring at him.
She finally overtook him at the checkout, And she turned to him and said, "I hope I haven't made you feel ill at ease; it's just that you look so much like my late son."
He answered, "That's okay."
"I know it's silly, but if you'd call out "Goodbye, Mom" as I leave the store, It would make me feel so happy."
She then went through the checkout, And as she was on her way out of the store, The man called out, "Goodbye, Mom."
The little old lady waved, and smiled back at him.
Pleased that he had brought a little sunshine Into someone's day, he went to pay for his groceries.
"That comes to $121.85," said the clerk.
"How come so much ... I only bought 5 items.."
The clerk replied, "Yeah, but your Mother said that you'd be paying for her things, too."
Friday, January 15, 2010
Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, told The New York Times that he of all people celebrates Christmas. "I detest Jingle Bells, White Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and the obscene spending bonanza that nowadays seems to occupy not just December, but November and much of October, too," he said. Even so, he added, "so divorced has Christmas become from religion that I find no necessity to bother with euphemisms such as, 'Happy holiday season.' "
The following was erroneously attributed to Charles Schultz, but the sentiment is right on.
Take the following quiz:
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade ' s worth of World Series winners.
How did you do?
The point is , none of us remember the headliners of yesterday.
These are no second-rate achievers.
They are the best in their fields.
But the applause dies..
Achievements are forgotten.
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
Here ' s another quiz.
See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special!!
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
The people who make a difference in your life
are not the ones with the most credentials..
the most money...or the most awards.
They simply are the ones who care the most.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Keyword: rules, discipline, covenant
"The Mafia's Ten Commandments have been found after police arrested a top Godfather in Sicily.
Under the secret Cosa Nostra code of conduct, the so-called "men of honour" must avoid bars, other gangsters' wives and girlfriends and be on time.
The list of rules emerged from documents seized after the arrest of Salvatore Lo Piccolo, 65, at a secret mob meeting in Palermo, along with his son Sandro, 32, and two other godfathers.