Cynicism is an Intellectual Cop Out…There is a Better Way

Cynicism is an intellectual copout, a crutch for a withered soul, a thin excuse for inaction and retreating commitment. Do not become cynical; be appropriately concerned and actively involved.

Cynicism is an intellectual cop out,a crutch for a withered soul, a thin excuse for inaction
and retreating commitment. Do not become cynical; be appropriately concerned and actively involved.    Jeffrey R. Holland

There is a lot of cynicism being thrown around in our country right now. I believe in the quote by Jeffrey R. Holland. That is why I used it for today’s meme.

I understand concern. I understand differences of opinion. I understand a desire for leaders to see the world as we see it. I also understand that the solution to every problem, concern or care in this world is God.

I wish that I could share the memories of my near death experience with the world. In it, everyone would be blessed to see that God is real and His love is perfect and ever enduring. Everyone would see His infinite and complete perfection and understand that the key to all happiness, joy and true success is to make God an integral part of all we do and align our choices and actions with His unchanging truth.

The world is imperfect and we are imperfect but the greater the effort of mankind, as a whole, to choose light in this world, the more we will receive peace, safety, and joy. As Dieter F. Uchtdorf said: “When God works through us, No One and Nothing can stand against us.”

I hope you enjoy today’s story which was shared by Hugh Downs!:

Hugh Downs on Overcoming Cynicism

One morning on our Today show we reported on a group of teenagers whose demonstrations had shocked their community. In the faces of the young people pictured on the screen I saw a total rebellion against authority.

“That could have been me 25 years ago,” I said to myself.

It started me thinking back to the age of 14 when the change within me occurred. Up until then I had accepted without question the patterns my parents had set. Then slowly I began to see things through a haze of contempt and rebellion.

Perhaps it was partly because I stood first in my class and took great pride in my pseudo-intellect and glib tongue. Success, I concluded, was all that mattered.

As captain of my own ship, I decided that I needed help from no one. Sensitivity to need and concern for others were, to me, signs of weakness or guilt. I had a theory for everything.

Since a great percentage of those in my home town of Lima, Ohio, were church-going people, I divided them into two neat groups: the ones who used church once a week as a cleansing ritual, and the others who attended church with the thought, “I want to be on the winning side in case there is something to all this.”

So I argued that all churches should be abolished because they stood in the way of faith. I theorized that a man can worship God as he sees fit—where and when he chooses. And if he doesn’t choose to, that is his privilege too. (I didn’t choose to, by the way.)

My name for this theory was “Reverse Piety.” It sounded very smart to me.

But as a working philosophy of life it was to prove more and more unsatisfactory. Actually I should have known better.

My father was a Methodist, my mother a Baptist, but in a spirit of early ecumenicity they became Episcopalians when they were married. Time after time they showed their concern for others.

For a while, my father and a partner ran an auto accessory store. When they went into the red, the partner declared himself bankrupt. My father and mother decided that there was a moral as well as a material obligation involved. He took a job and over the years paid back every penny he owed.

I resented it since it meant there was no money for me to continue college. I had to quit after the first year. My bitterness increased when I applied for 26 jobs in a row and didn’t get one.

Then one day I stopped at the radio station in Lima with the halfhearted hope that there might be some kind of job open. They gave me an audition—and to my surprise I was hired as an announcer. The pay was $7.50 a week.

There was hardly any direction to go but up. I was married and a father when one of those experiences occurred which, in retrospect, you can call a turning point.

The radio station where I worked had to cut costs. My job was in danger. Thinking that my boss was looking for a good excuse to let me go, I built up a real dislike of him.

Then one day he called me into his office. To my surprise his manner was kindly. He was concerned about me. And he worked out a plan for me to stay on the job.

Something happened inside me at that point to chip away at the crust of cynicism I had built up around myself. I thanked him for his thoughtfulness, then said impulsively, “You do this for me when all the time I have been hating you because I didn’t think you wanted me here?”

My boss said calmly, “Why don’t you try to get outside of yourself, Hugh? If you do, you’ll tap a source of spiritual and physical energy that will make you feel inexhaustible.”

I chewed that thought long and hard. The words were certainly not new, but now they had meaning.

For a time I had been examining other faiths, from Judaism to Buddhism and Islam. Each has much to offer. Inevitably I came back to a reexamination of Christianity.

While pondering questions of faith and systems of philosophy, I was moving from radio to television, from Ohio to Chicago and then to New York. The years passed. I worked with Kukla, Fran and Ollie, with Sid Caesar, Jack Paar and the Today show.

As success came I followed the pursuits I liked: astronomy, boating, flying, celestial navigation, music. They can satisfy body and mind, but they leave the spirit unfulfilled. Yet, answers to my quest for faith were coming and piece by piece, like putting together a mosaic, the picture was taking form.

An actor contributed to it. I don’t even know his name. But he was in a very successful play and he was asked how he could possibly remain fresh after giving the same performance, day after day, 700 times.

“The audience hasn’t seen the play 700 times,” he said. “It’s a new play for them every night. If I thought only of myself I’d be stale by the 10th performance. But every night I think of the audience instead of myself and they renew and refresh me.”

Last year I sailed across the Pacific in a small boat. It was immensely satisfying to navigate that distance, even though I had a fall during the voyage that injured my spine. Back home, doctors said it required surgery.

I was taken to the hospital in a wheelchair. The operation was a success and I walked out without any help. Yet the experience added something to me.

First, the ordeal was neither fearsome nor intolerable though from the outside it seemed so. Second, there was always someone along the corridors whose troubles and pain were worse than your own. Cheering them was not depressing or morbid, but just the opposite. You got outside yourself.

At one time I served on the Citizens’ Advisory Committee of the New York State Mental Health Association. That committee was scheduled to make one of their regular visits to patients.

I would have ducked going, if I could. I couldn’t. In our car pool the driver of our auto was a rabbi whose sense of compassion interested me.

At the hospital we walked through the clean, neat rooms. Two very disturbed boys caught our attention. One was 13, the second, perhaps two years older. The older one said very little. The younger one said nothing at all.

As the rabbi talked with them I asked a nurse, “What hope is there for these boys?” She shrugged her shoulders. “Very little,” she said.

As we were leaving, I looked over my shoulder and saw the younger boy sitting on an oak bench, all alone, staring into nothingness, the picture of endless despair.

“That boy,” I said to the rabbi, “looks very much like my own son. I can’t help it, but I’m glad—” I was starting to express thankfulness for the fact that my son was normal.

“I know how you feel,” he interrupted. “That boy is my son.”

It was days before I got over the shock of that experience.

The picture of the rabbi not only ministering to his own son, and to all the afflicted in that institution, but also moving to save me embarrassment is still vivid before my eyes. For in his agony he had learned to lose himself in his concern for others.

This was what my parents were trying to tell me as they scrimped and sacrificed to pay off a debt that was moral, not legal. It was what my boss at the radio station was saying to me when I was 22; and it was what the actor meant when he talked about playing one role 700 times.

Different people were getting the message to me, but it took a long time before I really heard and embraced as the heart of my faith the words Christ uttered to His disciples: He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Shared from the following website: https://www.guideposts.org/better-living/positive-living/emotional-and-mental-health/guideposts-classics-hugh-downs-on/page/0/2?nopaging=1

 

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When We Listen to God’s Guidance…

Fantastic winter sunset. dramatic evening sky. beautiful world. fascinating vision. creative collage

My life has been blessed with many miracles. I hope your life has been blessed by miracles as well! Some may think that God uses miracles to convince His children of His existence. I do not believe that to be the case. I believe that miracles are a gift to those that believe. I know that there are occasions when non-believers have experienced miracles but I believe those are rare exceptions. I have found that the more I learn to listen to God’s guidance, the greater the number of miracles that my life is blessed with. Not only are there more, I am able to recognize those miracles with much greater clarity. I think the Pharaoh that contended with Moses is a perfect example. I don’t think Pharaoh was ever that impressed with the miracles that he saw – loss seems to have been his greater motivator.  Can you imagine how amazing the story would have been if Pharaoh would have been converted to God and His ways?!! What if Moses and Pharaoh had teamed up to build a temple rather than the Israelites wandering for forty years? I think one of the greatest miracles that occurred with Moses was Moses himself. He went from a reluctant participant to a man of tremendous faith and ability. I believe that each of us is meant to make a similar transformation. We are meant to take the unformed clay that we currently are and work with God to transform us into a masterpiece. Each of us is meant to be our own miracle!

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Labor to Keep Alive Your Conscience….

Silhouette of prayer bend to the cross to make a confession

Today, I am sharing a story from guideposts.org. It is a story about a woman following her conscience. So many times, it can be difficult to do the right thing. However, abuse is perpetuated and our safety, freedoms, and connection to God are compromised when we choose to ignore the voice of our conscience. Our conscience is the angel within. When we listen to that still, small voice – we will receive inspiration and guidance from God. If we want God to be a part of this world, we must allow our conscience to direct our choices and actions. Whether it is an individual, country or the world; when conscience prevails, God’s influence reigns. When God’s influence dominates the world in which we live, human rights are protected and truth rather than ego and greed becomes the overriding standard that guides conduct . Here is today’s story:

Reporter Michael Winerip details how Georgia state investigators were able to zero in on the Atlanta school administrators responsible for a widespread cheating scandal that falsely raised test scores in order to line their own pockets with lucrative performance bonuses.

The lead investigator, Richard Hyde, had a serious obstacle in his way. Finding a cooperative witness was key to the government’s case. Without testimony from one of the teachers assigned to alter students’ tests, the administrators who led the deception might escape prosecution. But the teachers all had their own reasons to stay silent.

One teacher, Jackie Parks, a single mother who taught third grade at Venetian Hills Elementary School for 17 years, had gone along with changing the tests because she could not afford to lose her job. If she became a whistle blower, she’d be fired and might not be able to feed her family. A difficult risk to take.

But one night in August, just before the beginning of a new school year, she had a dream.

“I saw people walking down the hall with yellow notepads,” Jackie told the Times. Not teachers or students. People who wanted answers. “From time to time, God reveals things to me in dreams.”

A few weeks later, out of a hundred Atlanta schools under investigation, Richard Hyde showed up at hers.

“I think God led Mr. Hyde to Venetian Hills,” Jackie told the Times.

At first, Jackie was afraid to speak to him. But he returned, day after day, and Jackie found it impossible to stay silent anymore. “I wanted to repent,” she said. “I wanted to clear my conscience.”

Jackie wore a wire to meetings that captured key players discussing the case. Several months later, the state investigators released an 800-page report, implicating 178 teachers and principals in the scandal and bringing down the alleged ringleader, Beverly J. Hall, the district superintendent.

 

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If a Country…

If a Country revised bald-eagles-341898

I have great concern for the United States of America. I think this country is filled with wonderful individuals who do not understand how precarious the blessing of freedom can be and is. Situtational ethics and morals are not a strength to this country – they are a weakness. The Ten Commandments were never intended as biblical law only – they are eternal law from a God who is as unchanging as HIs laws. The constitution of this country was written through divine guidance from that very same God who created us. It is divine guidance that enables ordinary humans to do extraordinary things. It was through divine guidance and divine miracles that this nation was established. It is an unfortunate truth but it is true that evil men exist in this world. Power, wealth, and greed successfully tempt individuals to do many hurtful things that bring pain and misery to our world. Those evil men and women live in all countries of this world. There are men and women who live within our borders who desire to and who are taking steps to take over this country and to remove the freedoms that this nation was built upon. It is because of evil men and women  that our personal freedoms must be protected and cherished. We must be able to defend ourselves and our beliefs. Our nation was rightfully established as One Nation under God. The strength behind our nation is the families that teach right and wrong and who make God central in their lives. The Fathers, Mothers, and Teachers who help to instill an understanding of God, His laws, and his everlasting desire to bless us with abundance and love are the very individuals that this nation depends upon for its well being. It is the not president or congress that gives this nation its strength – it is the citizens that they are elected to represent. We each are responsible to be the type of citizen and the mother, father or teacher (example) that our nation needs in order to keep our freedoms protected and our children provided with the life education that will continue to engender moral individuals who hold dear and sustain the freedom of this nation. If our nation is to remain free and strong – we must each take personal responsibility to maintain our freedom and strength. We must not be afraid to do the right thing and to stand for that which is right.

 

 

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Fear Not…

Fear Not  girl-843076As I write this today, I am thinking of the state of the world today. I am thinking of how within the last several years, the media at large (social media included) have made it socially unacceptable to stand for the truth that is contained in the scriptures. The Ten Commandments have not become obsolete. If anything, they have become more essential and more needed than ever. My near death experience allowed me to see God. I know He is real and I know that he is unchanging. We cannot change truth – we can only lose our understanding of it. God created this world and each of us with a purpose. The term socially acceptable is a frequently heard term these days. Unfortunately socially acceptable too often seems to mean the expectation that, as a whole, society is to go along with and support behavior that is contrary to God’s will. God loves each of His children. That does not mean that He loves our choices or our behaviors and that His commandments are a mere suggestion. It is not a popular stance to stand for truth and for God’s unchanging directives. Yet, if we want a world filled with peace and joy, the only way to get there is with God’s assistance and aligning our choices/lives with Him.

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