Saturday, September 10, 2011

You don't has to

Milton Erickson tells the following story:

One Sunday my wife Betty and I were reading the newspaper. Our daughter Kristi walked up to her mother, grabbed the newspaper, and threw it on the floor.

Her mother said, "Kristi, that wasn't very nice. Pick up the paper and give it back to Mommy. Tell her you're sorry."

"I don't has to," Kristi said.

Every member of the family gave Kristi the same advice and got the same reply. So I told Betty to pick Kristi up and put her in her bedroom. I lay down on the bed and Betty propped Kristi on the bed beside me. Kristi looked at me contemptuously. She started to scramble off, but I had a hold on her ankle. She said, "Wet me woose!"

I said, "I don't has to."

And that lasted four hours. She kicked and struggled. Pretty soon she freed one ankle. I got hold of the other. It was a desperate fight - like a silent fight between two titans. At the end of four hours, she knew that she was the loser and said, "I pick up the paper and give it to Mommy."

And that's where the axe fell. I said, "You don't has to."

She threw her brain into higher gear and said, "I pick up the paper. I give it to Mommy. I tell Mommy sorry."

And I said, "You don't has to."

And she shifted into full gear. "I pick up paper. I want pick up paper. I want to tell Mommy sorry."

I said, "Fine." 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

God Version 1.0 by Robin Mann

God Version 1.0

   I don't believe in a God up in the sky
   Who sits in heaven and never hears me cry.
   I don't believe in a God who's far away --
   I believe in Jesus living here with us today.

   I don't believe in a watchmaker above,
   Set this world going but now is not involved,
   Who from a distance is watching as we fall --
   I believe in Jesus' God who suffers with us all.

   I don't believe in a tyrant on a throne
   Who wants to punish us for every wrong we've done,
   Who keeps a tally of each mistake and crime --
   God wants to have mercy on us each and every time.

   I don't believe in a God who keeps a shop,
   Who checks each item and puts a price on top,
   Who wants dividend on each investment made --
   God is always giving and refuses to be paid.

   I don't believe in a patriarchal chief,
   A judge who never had mercy on a thief,
   The Lord and Master who must be waited on --
   God is mother-sister just as much as father-son.

   God is beside us, God has no other home,
   No other family, we are God's flesh and bone;
   He-she is with us and with all humankind --
   Loving Her creation always occupies Her mind.

    (Robin Mann, 1991.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A light in the darkness

Always, our darkness contains a seed of light
that struggles to grow into brightness.
Evil so hungers for good that often
it will consume itself in its longing.
For light is the truth of all existence.
     - Joy Cowley

Our life has its seasons, and God has the reasons
why spring follows winter, and new leaves grow,
for there’s a connection with our resurrection
that flowers will bud after frost and snow,
so there’s never a time to stop believing,
there’s never a time for hope to die,
there’s never a time to stop loving,
these three things go on.

     - Shirley Murray

Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13)

I believe that God is in me as the sun is in the colour
and fragrance of a flower – the Light in my darkness,
the Voice in my silence.
     - Helen Keller

I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look
up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will
change for the better, that this cruelty too will end,
that peace and tranquillity will return once more.
     - Anne Frank

May the blessing of light be on us, light without and
light within.
     - Celtic

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Holy Week 2011

I thank you for becoming weak, Lord Jesus,
so I don’t have to be strong.
I thank you for being willing to be considered
imperfect and strange,
so I do not have to be perfect and normal.
I thank you, Jesus, for being willing to be disapproved of,
so I do not have to try so hard to be approved and liked.
I thank you for being considered a failure,
so I do not have to give my life trying to pretend I’m a success.
I thank you for being wrong
by the standards of religion and state,
so I do not have to be right anywhere, even in my own mind.
From Hope Against Darkness by Richard Rohr, p. 38

Monday, March 28, 2011

Eyes of Faith

There is supernatural dimension to everything. The most ordinary object and the most commonplace event have a divine quality. Everything in life is a stone that builds a heavenly structure. If we are blind to this and live only according to what we can see and touch, we will stumble stupidly through a dark maze.

When we live by faith we see things another way. Those who trust only their physical senses will not perceive the riches that hide beneath outward appearances. If you see the hand of God in ordinary events, even in disasters, you will accept whatever comes your way with respect and pleasure. You will welcome things that terrify others. They may be clothed in rags, but you will respect the majesty hidden beneath those rags.

Think of God's poverty as he lay crying and trembling on some hay in a manger! If you were to ask the citizens of Bethlehem their opinions of the baby Jesus, you would get ordinary responses. If he had been born in a palace among all the splendor of a prince, people would have been eager to honor him. Not so with a child in a stable.

Now go ask Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the magi. They will tell you that in this absolute poverty they see something beyond words that is the glory of God. It is the very things which cannot be perceived by our senses that nourish and enlarge faith. Seeing less, we believe more.

---Jean-Pierre de Caussade: Abandonment to Divine Providence

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


He drew a circle that shut me out--
   Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
   We drew a circle that took him in!

       (Edwin Markham 1852-1940)

Sunday, January 02, 2011

For the Time Being

Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes --
Some have got broken -- and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week --
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted -- quite unsuccessfully --
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers. Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off. But, for the time being, here we all are,
Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid's geometry
And Newton's mechanics would account for our experience,
And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
It seems to have shrunk during the holidays. The streets
Are much narrower than we remembered; we had forgotten
The office was as depressing as this. To those who have seen
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
For the innocent children who whispered so excitedly
Outside the locked door where they knew the presents to be
Grew up when it opened. Now, recollecting that moment
We can repress the joy, but the guilt remains conscious;
Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.
And craving the sensation but ignoring the cause,
We look round for something, no matter what, to inhibit
Our self-reflection, and the obvious thing for that purpose
Would be some great suffering. So, once we have met the Son,
We are tempted ever after to pray to the Father;
"Lead us into temptation and evil for our sake."
They will come, all right, don't worry; probably in a form
That we do not expect, and certainly with a force
More dreadful than we can imagine. In the meantime
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem
From insignificance. The happy morning is over,
The night of agony still to come; the time is noon:
When the Spirit must practice his scales of rejoicing
Without even a hostile audience, and the Soul endure
A silence that is neither for nor against her faith
That God's Will will be done, That, in spite of her prayers,
God will cheat no one, not even the world of its triumph.

   From: For the Time Being by W. H. Auden (1907-1973)