Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Uh Oh!

Posted: January 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

I was sitting down working on the computer while my granddaughter was in the room.  She was getting into just about everything she could see and get her hands on. She would even try to climb up to things she couldn’t reach. I was continually redirecting her as things came down, were turned on, were handed to me or found resting on her head or around her neck.

Ever so often, I would hear her say “uh oh.” I would look over and see a new mess. I began to think how this is the story of some people’s life. Uh oh is a phrase used to express alarm, dismay or realization of a difficulty. This is one of the first expressions that a child learns. It’s a good thing to have a curious and exploring spirit throughout our lives but as we mature we should have fewer uh oh’s as we learn to think before we act.

If uh oh is the story of your life, maybe it’s time to grow up a bit. Be willing to be corrected and learn from your mistakes. Have fun, be adventurous, be willing to make mistakes; but to whatever extent possible, prepare, count the cost, and consider the impact of your actions on yourself and others. It makes life a lot easier for you and those around you.

Have a blessed day. I’m going help someone clean up their mess.

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Misunderstanding the Word “As”

Posted: November 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

Guest Post by Bob Kuhn (Positive Impact Board Member)

Several years ago, I was preparing a sermon on a verse found in Matthew 22: 39, “… Love your neighbor as yourself.” This was the second part of Jesus’ response to a question about the greatest commandment of Jewish law. He claimed that the command to love your neighbor as yourself is only second to, and in many ways equal to, the command to love God. Being one of the two commands that Jesus ranked above all others, I knew that loving one’s neighbor as oneself was not to be taken lightly. In fact, I understood it to be at the very foundation of Christianity. Although I grasped its importance, my research soon made me realize that I missed its impact. It seems that the word “as” was being misunderstood.

My online search for commentaries on the all important commandment led me to a sermon by Methodist Bishop F. Gerald Ensley titled, “On Loving One’s Neighbor As One’s Self.” This was a keynote address delivered at the Second Methodist Conference on Human Relations held in Chicago during the high-point of the civil rights movement in the early 1960s. In his sermon, Bishop Ensley points out that the “separate-but-equal” philosophy, which was prevalent during that time, was not in accord with the type of love described by the commandment Jesus quoted. The Bishop explains that the type of love we are called to observe is more of a qualitative love than quantitative love. Quantitative love would mean that we love our neighbors “as-much-as” we love ourselves. In other words, we desire as much good for him or her as we do for ourselves, thus justifying the separate-but-equal idea of segregation. Qualitative love goes a step beyond. Loving your neighbor as yourself, according to the Bishop, is loving “not as much as yourself but as though he were yourself. It means tying my sensibilities to my neighbor’s nerve-endings so that I feel things as he does.” (Ensley)

Considering our neighbor to be our equal can be different from considering our neighbor to be one with us. Bishop Ensley feels that equal in quantity is a good concept for a mathematical formula, but when speaking of equality among human beings, we need to take a different approach. In fact, qualitative love totally avoids the question of equality. Although there are differences, the concept of equality should not be applied to human qualities since none are intrinsically superior to any other. (Ensley)

While we no longer face the same issues of the early 1960s, such as separate-but-equal laws, we still struggle with attitudes similar to those common at that time. Even our language betrays our attitudes towards others. We often speak of Christian “outreach” instead of Christian embrace. We sometimes find it easier to condescendingly “give” what we think others should have, rather than try to find out what they want. To again quote Bishop Ensley, “Christian love … means tuning in on the other man’s aspirations.” (Ensley) This would mean that instead of treating others the way we think they should be treated, we show them the same type of dignity we would want to be shown.

I am far from being able to say that I truly love my neighbor “as” myself, but I am praying that I come closer daily to obeying the heart of that command. It is my hope that you would pray for the same.

Work Cited

Ensley, Bishop F. Gerald. “On Loving One’s Neighbor As One’s Self.” The Florida Methodist,

ed.Jack Detweiler, Editorial Director O.B. Fanning, Volume 23, No.4, (Sept. 15 1963): p. 5. From digitized document of The Florida Methodist, Volume 23, July 1963 – June 1965, p. 58. Digitizing sponsor: University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries. Digitized by The Internet Archive 2016. Web. 23 November 2017. <https://archive.org/stream/floridamethodist2319flor#page/n57/mode/2up>

Dogs Included

Posted: November 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

PuppyI’ve begun working with a group of about 10 students on the development of a service learning project. It appears that this semester’s  identified cause will revolve around animal protection and care. This was not my selection but I thought, “Hey, it’s not about me.”  I was hoping they would choose a project around Peace, as the previous group had done. The world needs Peace (Inner peace, Non-violence, Equality, and Freedom). My attitude was that we don’t have time to focus on animals when people are hurting, dying on the streets, being treated unfairly and bound with all sorts of addictions. Once again I had to remind myself that it wasn’t about me.

Knowing that animal protection was not my specialty, I contacted the Louisiana SPCA and one of their community outreach coordinators came out and make a presentation. By the end of the presentation, I received a better appreciation for the importance of their work and my attitude about this project began to shift. Maybe our community could benefit from a little more attention to the needs of our four-legged friends.

I’ll leave it up to the students to develop their plan to make a difference in the plight of animal endangerment but I have to share one heart-wrenching statistic. Over 400 dogs are dropped off at the shelter in Algiers EVERY MONTH. Over a fourth of them don’t make it out.  If they could speak, they would have their own stories to share. The things that they witnessed and the human interactions they encountered are varied but they all find themselves in the same predicament.

It has been said that dogs are a man’s best friend. Would they say that about man. I believe the way a society treats animals is another reflection of the condition of its humanity. Dog’s can be a blessing to man when they are properly cared for. Let us all become more aware of the state of animal care and safety in our community. Maybe in doing so, we would notice a difference in our care for one another as well.

I will keep you informed of the development of the service project. Your help might be called upon in some way. Working together we can all make a difference in the symbiotic relationship between man and the rest of God’s creation. [Dogs included]

Staypeaceful

During last semester’s service learning project, the students identified peace as the theme they wanted to target. Community members who attended the Peace Fest that the young people organized were introduced to the following 4 categories of peace: Freedom, Inner Peace, Nonviolence and Equality. While this year’s cohort of service learners may identify a totally different theme to target their efforts on, I want last year’s work to continue.

During upcoming months I will delve deeper into each category. I’m not sure where or how long this exploration will take me but I invite you to join me and provide your feedback, as I post on this important topic of peace. I pray that we each would be encouraged to seek peace in our world as we focus on the areas of Freedom, Inner Peace, Nonviolence and Equality.

Before I present my own ideas, I want you to mark each of these categories in your mind to prepare yourself for this journey. Invite others to join us as we use this time to have a positive impact on ourselves and our community.

If you have not already done so, enter your email address to follow Positive Impact and receive notifications of new post by email.

Stay Peaceful.

by Alan Delery

peace-sign

Several weeks ago, I began the service learning process, with a group of high school students, to develop a youth-led community service initiative. The first step was to brainstorm and plan a project around their interest. After exploring a wide range of themes, ranging from the environment to hunger and homelessness, Peace was identified as their top area of interest.  The following are their ideas around peace that we will use as a foundation for our planning and implementation. Today, I  am simply asking you to read and reflect on the meaning of peace,  in their own words.

  • Peace is calm and content without violence It’s being happy with what’s going on around you and within yourself.
  • To me, peace means solving conflicts without violence or wars or negative things. Peace is when you can come to an understanding with others and trust others.
  • Peace is everyone living together in non-violence despite differences.
  • My definition of peace is freedom living with no anxiety and I can do whatever I need to do without limits.
  • Calm, no drama, no fighting, just chilling!
  • Equality (Racial, gender). Less violence and lack of judgment.
  • When you’re calm and relaxed.
  • The absence of harm or stress.
  • Fair opportunity and treatment.
  • Everything the United States of America owes us, as well as a peaceful soul, mind, body, etc.

We will keep you updated on their next steps and reflections as they embark on a journey of civic engagement. Your skills and talents may also be called upon as they put their thoughts into action. 

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

Stay Peaceful

Year End Resolution

Posted: December 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

Before you make plans for your new year resolutions, I’d like you to close out with some success. You might not even remember your 2016 resolutions much less fulfilled them but as you know it’s not the end of the world. It’s just the end of the year.

I’d like for you to try something a little different as you close out the year. Make a New Day Resolution.

At the end of today think about what you would like tomorrow to look like. Are you going to be lazy and squander your day or commit to something. Resolve to start tomorrow with a prayer and commit the day to God. Create a daily To Do List. Keep it simple and celebrate your life at the end of the day.

See if you could do this each day until Christmas then make that a part of your Christmas celebration. As you celebrate the birth of your savior, remember that you are imperfect and need a savior. Then let His grace empower you to live the miracle of each new day.

As I close remember Lamentations 3:22-23

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[a]
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

I’ve been talking about the Beatitudes for the purpose living life as a peacemaker. The Message translation says, “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s Family.” (Matthew 5:9) My life has been dedicated to this cause and I have considered myself blessed for it. That does not mean that I do not face situations that challenge my beliefs. It is not always easy to pursue peace with all men especially when you have been triggered by someone or simply find yourself in a situation where you unintentionally trigger someone with your words or actions.

A couple of weeks ago, I was driving down the road when another driver started to sway into my lane. I noticed he was talking on his cell phone and I quickly decided to tap my horn. I was thinking it might be safe to get his attention. Little did I know that my actions would become his trigger. My impression of his response was that he lost his mind. He yelled at me, swerved his car as if he was going to side swipe me then sped up to get in front of me and hit his breaks. I quickly got into the next lane over to avoid him. It’s difficult to explain the remaining sequence of events but due to traffic, I managed to get into a slower lane and avoid further interaction with him.The maneuvering lasted for another mile and I had ample time to think of how I wanted to handle things.

If necessary, I prepared myself to ram him if he got out of the car. I considered what weapons I had at my disposal. Would I keep my windows rolled up or would I try to calm him down if he caught me at a red light. I have to tell you, the adrenaline began to rush as I considered my response. Would I fight, flight or freeze?

I decided it wasn’t worth the possible consequences of a face to face standoff so I hit a left turn to go into a neighborhood to avoid further interaction. As he was still in front of me, I did not know if the driver would hit a turn at the next block to search me out as he was definitely trying to engage with me further.

As I drove my new route to get to my destination, I continued to be on guard, considering my next steps. Fortunately I never saw him again but I was still shaken up and thought of what I needed to do to keep myself safe. I even thought, I should have had a gun on me.

I’ve shared my thoughts because I find it interesting that even a person like me, who seeks peace and have a career teaching people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight, could find myself in a situation where I would have considered using a gun if it was at my disposal. I thought how quickly things escalate to violence. While I’m still not convinced that I would not own a gun for protection, I’m overwhelmed with sadness to think how fast life can be lost and the ultimate effect of it on society.

While I’m sure a conversation could go many ways, I want to go back to Jesus’ teaching where the King James translation says, “Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.” I don’t think any translation says, “Blessed are the Safe”.

While I’ve spent my life trying to develop safe communities, we have not been promised that. We live in a violent world and we have to be prepared to meet our maker at any time. I’m believing for long life but more importantly, I want to live a life of obedience to my creator. All of the Beatitudes  are about living according to God’s Kingdom which does not operate according to the ways of this world.

As I close, I want you to consider Jesus’s words that came immediately before He instructed us to be peacemakers. He said, “You’re blessed when you get your inside world — your mind and heart– put right . Then you can see God in the outside world.” (The Message)

Sometimes our commitment to God’s way does not coincide with the “Safe way” and we must draw on His strength to pursue peace with all men. (Meditate on that and let those words take you where they will.)

Peace,

Alan (Little Rock) Delery