Friday, October 28, 2016

Religion vs spirituality LBC 10/28/2016

Ramana  offered this weeks topic. Religion vs. spirituality.

Religions are all "isms" and as such tend to think of themselves as the one true religion. Their leadership may pay lip service to other religions but behind closed doors they all think of themselves as the only real way to whichever God or Gods they worship.  While Christianity has many different "sects" they are essentially all either Catholic or Protestant. Martin Luther spurred the creation of Protestant sects when he broke from the Roman Catholic church over his disagreements with several practices and teachings therein. And then apparently God was frustrated and pressed the reset button and created the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - a  church that is considered by its followers to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ (and in the spirit of full disclosure the church into which I was baptized). Of course all Christian based religions owe a debt of gratitude and  dogma to Judaism and its 10 Commandments.  Of course the religion most often in the news lately is Islam. 

What do they all have in common? A specific set of rules and dogma that one must follow to reach the promised land. The rules are mostly established by the management team of the religion. Of course that is not what they are called. They use names like Apostles, Pope, bishops and the like.Did you ever wonder why Catholics ate fish on Fridays? Why Mormons do not drink alcohol?

Religions include many spiritual people. One might even say all religious people think they are spiritual. But not all spiritual people are  religious. Therein lies the difference.

My late friend Pete Dintino was a devout Seventh Day Adventist. We had many discussions about religion. He always considered me one of he most spiritual people he knew yet he fully understood my distrust  of and dislike of religion. 

Quite the opposite of religion, spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all. I wish I knew who said it that way but the quote I found in Google lists no author.

Spirituality means different things to different people. Atheists can be spiritual beings. Their spirituality is just not directed at nor referencing any god. A spiritual awakening is a very
individual experience.

I grew up in Colorado - John Denver's  song resonated with me the first time I heard it. I have seen the things of which he sings. I know there is a bigger picture than just me. I think 'ol Tom Jefferson may have gotten it right.  Check out the Jefferson Bible. Then again,

Check what my  cohorts have to say.  Ramana  Pravin

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Olympics - yes or no

This weeks topic was my suggestion.  I simply wondered what my cohorts thought about the Olympics - are they worthwhile?

I have always been a fan of the quadrennial athletic competition I always enjoyed watching the swimming competition and the field events like the shot put, discus and javelin. The fellow that was my best man when Lynn and I got married was an outstanding swimmer and he was very active in AAU swimming. Being a big guy I naturally gravitated toward the big guy events - shot put and discus and the more nuanced javelin.

I also loved the pomp and circumstance that surrounded the games. Watching the teams enter the arena in the colorful colors of their countries was always a  kick. 

Things changed in the sixties - the supposedly amateur athletes became  much more as the eastern block teams  became essentially professionals, supported year round by their countries. It became tougher and tougher for the countries that played by the rules so-to-speak, including the US. That made the so-called Miracle on Ic e all the more miraculous when the truly amateur US hockey team upset the Soviet hockey team in the 1980  Olympics held in Lake Placid, NY. Here,s the last minute of that historic event.

That game inspired a nation. Mine.  It also solidified my love of ice hockey which in turn made me a bigger fan of the winter Olympics than the summer games.

Eventually real professional athletes were allowed to participate in the Olympic Games.  Not surprisingly the US became almost unbeatable in basketball and in the winter games Canada, Russia  the US, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic became the best teams. Not surprisingly, the National Hockey League teams were comprised primarily of players from those countries. But to me it made perfect sense for an event meant to showcase the best athletes actually allow the best athletes to compete.

Since the Berlin games of 1936 the games were used to promote a political agenda. Jesse Owens ruined Adolph Hitler's plans in those games. President Jimmy Carter led a boycott of the 1980 summer games held in Moscow too protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.the 1984 games held in Los Angeles were boycotted by the Soviets and 14 of their allies.

The 1972 Munich Games included the massacre of 
eleven Israeli team members and officials by the Black September terrorist organization.

Yet the games continue. They have become financial disasters for some host nations but the audiences are still there. People still love to root for their teams. Most participants know they have little or no chance of winning - the want to compete with and against the best. A Jamaican bobsled team? Remember Eddie the Eagle Edwards?  

I say a  resounding YES to the Olympic Games. For a couple of weeks every two years (the winter and summer games are held two years apart, maintaining the four-year cycle of each competition) we get a brief respite from the problems of the world. It is not much but it is something.  And you can secretly root for the underdogs.  There is almost always a major upset in some event.

Check what my cohorts have to say - Ramana  Pravin

Friday, October 14, 2016

Why Do You Do What You Do? LBC 10/14/2016

This weeks topic comes from Pravin and I am going to take a SWAG (scientific wild-assed guess) that he has read Simon Sinek's  Start With Why or has seen Sinek's Ted Talk - which can be seen on Youtube  here.

Regardless of the inspiration, Pravin as usual has offered something that is interesting and thought provoking. 

Most of us have at one time been told to find something you are passionate about and  make that your life's work. With passion it won't feel like work. In my case from about age 10 on my great passion was baseball. I wanted to pitch and hit really long home runs.  That lasted until I was 17 or so when the physical realities kicked in and it became clear I was not going to be the next  Don Drysdale. I was what we  back then called a thrower - not a pitcher. Pitching is an art I was no artist. 

Reality bites. But heck - I was young and had my whole life in front of me. I entered college hoping to find a new passion that could lead to a successful career and a happy life. Several of my friends did just that - a couple of pilots, a dentist, an architect  and an engineer.

So in 1973 I graduated with  a BA in Political Science (International Relations). I was nominated for a Danforth Fellowship - pretty unusual  for a jock. As you can probably tell, I did not get the fellowship. In 1972 Lynn and I were married so  I was in the position of needing to find a job. As in a "real" job.

My first real job was repossessing mobile homes.  I trust you have  picked yourself up from the floor and did not hurt yourself laughing. No - i did not go physically move them - I handled the insurance paperwork and stuff like that. Trust me when I say there was no passion involved though on two occasions I was offered sexual favors to not "pop the coach" as we called it.

At that point I essentially stopped looking for a passion from which to launch a career and  started looking for something I could be good at and make a living. Sales reared its ugly head.

I was an excellent salesman (based upon my results) but I hated it.
At that point I combined computer support and programing with sales and became a small business consultant which lasted until Silicon Valley tanked in the early nineties. That meant the small businesses I was working with had the chance to hire PHDs from Silicon Valley or me for the same amount of  money. 

And that is how I ended up in Texas. I simply needed a job and RadioShack made an offer thanks to my past performance there previously.

I spent 21 years doing various jobs in scenic Fort Worth, Texas. I essentially worked because I needed a job and then Lynn developed HD and I needed to care for her.

I have always had a passion for music - especially the music of the sixties and seventies. I started visiting websites and music forums and met some great people with the same  passions. I built some web sites and ran a music forum. While running that forum I met a fellow that  had been part of the British Invasion of the sixties. He wrote several multimillion sellers  for a band called the Dave Clark Five. Because Clark reneged on payment he had promised, my friend parted ways and moved on to another band, He continued to write music and perform. He followed his passion and has lived a very happy life.  

So here I am at the end of the line, having essentially lived a relatively normal life like most people. Perhaps a lack of passion prevented me from living an exceptional life.  The chart below is the centerpiece of  Sinek's theory and the key to great leaders.
That's it  for this week's topic. check what my cohorts have to say.

Ramana         Pravin

Friday, October 7, 2016

Pets LBC 10/07/2016

Ramana  suggested this weeks topic as a replacement for one of the topics  previously suggested by a blogger no longer associated with the LBC. Pets are the order of the day this week.

I cannot remember a time when I have not had a pet, starting with my red cocker spaniel Pudgie when I was a youngster in Colorado. I  also had a cat - a beautiful Maine Coon I called Susie.  Susie was bigger than a bobcat and was king (yes - king) of the neighborhood. Indeed - he was the original boy named Sue. This is not Susie but is representative of his size and color. Imagine seeing something like this strolling through your yard at 35+ pounds with some serious swagger.

Lynn loved pets as much as I did. She  came with a Pekinese as a package deal and there were NO cats that were anything but putty in her loving hands.

Fast forward to today and I have three shelter adopted critters along with the three grandchildren to keep me on my toes.Ginger is a basset hound/collie mix and Stretch and Willie are tuxedo cats I adopted last Christmas here in North Carolina.

Stretch and Willie are named after my two favorite baseball players - Willie McCovey (44) and Willie Mays (24) of the San Francisco Giants of the early sixties. They love to  play all night -  including a game I call cat hockey wherein they manage to get the drain plug out of my bath tub and proceed to push it all through the joint. When they tire, they hop up on my bed and catch a few winks.

Lynn named Ginger when I brought her (Ginger) home from the shelter. Ginger loves to go with me in the car and in fact knows when I put on long pants she is getting sprung. (My regular attire is shorts and a long sleeved tee shirt)

My pets are family  and my best friends - loyalty unmatched and always up  for a snuggle or a back/belly scratch.

Check Ramana's take on this topic  here.
Pravin's take is here.