Archives for the month of: July, 2018

Misunderstanding cartoons, Misunderstanding cartoon, funny, Misunderstanding picture, Misunderstanding pictures, Misunderstanding image, Misunderstanding images, Misunderstanding illustration, Misunderstanding illustrations

Have you ever walked up on a conversation and heard a remark that startled you? Amused or confused you? Since you didn’t hear previous comments or know the context, is it possible (maybe even likely) that you might come to a wrong conclusion about what was really said or intended?

Just about yeah..

Likewise I wonder how often we misunderstand a situation since we don’t know the full story. Sometimes we don’t have enough information or maybe we just have partial knowledge and thus cannot fully know.  Partial knowledge or the absence of context can lead to errors of judgment and faulty opinions.

Recently in preparation for a trip we bought a new piece of luggage that was “on sale.” We made the purchase because it was marked down more than 50% of the original price. What a bargain. NOT! After getting home I checked a major online retailer and discovered that the exact piece of luggage was available for $22 less than the “marked down” item at a local department store. If we had known the full story before making the purchase, we probably would have made a different decision.

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon a news story about violence in the West Bank. Since I have been to Israel many times I clicked on the link (https://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2015/10/20/bethlehem-palestinian-israel-mideast-backstory-wedeman.cnn). What I found was Ben Wederman, CNN Senior International Correspondent, explaining how they cover the situation in Bethlehem, West Bank. He explained that he had been covering the situation at the same spot for over 20 years. Every Friday afternoon about 3:00, youth gather and throw stones and other objects at the Israeli soldiers stationed nearby at the wall that separates the Palestinians from Israel. The soldiers respond with rubber bullets and tear gas.

I have watched this orchestrated protest demonstration from my Jacir Palace Hotel room which can be seen in the background. The conflict in Israel and the West Bank is real and I do not intend to minimize its significance. If you watch television news for very long you will likely see scenes of violence in that region of the world. It is not unlikely that you will view the happenings described by this journalist. If you don’t know the full (back) story, it can appear that the entire city of Bethlehem is in an uproar when in actuality just blocks away it is business as usual in the beautiful bustling West Bank city.

When faced with difficult situations where people of faith are compelled to respond, Christians will often ask WWJD, What Would Jesus Do? That is a legitimate question and offers guidance on appropriate behavior but it is all too easy to pull one incident out of the Bible and make it the standard for conduct in all situations. The danger of this “cookie cutter” approach to the Scripture is you often don’t get the full story.

Mr. Sheffield Thompson was a self-taught man with a photographic memory. Although he lacked a lot of formal higher education, he was a genuine intellectual. He told me many times, “We do not know the historical Jesus. We only know the cultural Jesus we have created.” I think he was saying that we looked only at the aspects of Jesus that confirmed our already held beliefs. We failed to see Jesus in full character and used our limited understanding to sometime justify our misunderstanding of what it means to be a follower of Christ.

God help us to know the full story and pattern our lives accordingly.

Jamie Jenkins

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Over three decades ago a friend expressed his opinion and regret that, “The day of civil discourse is past.” I wonder how he feels today more than 30 years later.

I have opinions (on just about everything) and I am willing to share them- if you will listen. I am open to discussions, conversations, civil discourse- but not arguments. I know that I am not always right…nor am I always wrong. Sometimes I am neither. Sometimes I am both. And I am willing to give you that same consideration.

When I am “for” something it does not mean that I am “against” everything or anyone else. If you disagree with me, I will respect your opinion. I may be firm but I never want to be harsh. I will not demonize you. I believe it is important to separate issues from people. People are more important.

There are people who jump on every bandwagon. Ready to rally to any cause. I am not one of them and might rightly be accused of not responding to situations that are critical to the well-being of others. I understand that every good and just effort requires a champion if results are to be achieved, if change is to occur.

Elie Wiesel said, “Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” I agree. There certainly are things that require a response. Demand a word. But not everything.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” He is right but everything does not need an immediate response and certainly not an angry and vindictive one. The ancient Greek, Euripides, reminds us that sometimes “silence is true wisdom’s best reply.”

Please do not misunderstand me. I believe that we need to be change agents and confront injustice and evil. That means that there are times when we stand up and speak up but we need to be careful to address issues and not attack persons. Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Prize recipient, suggests “The best way to solve problems and to fight against war is through dialogue.” That is true for any behavior or attitude that damages people.

Leah Ward Sears, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia, offers this counsel: “We need to begin again to raise civil discourse to another level. I mean, we shout and scream and yell and get very little accomplished, but you can disagree very much with the next guy and still be friends and acquaintances.”

I am thankful if you agree with me. At the same time it is OK if you disagree. I simply ask that we treat each other with respect and dignity. It just might be that we can accomplish more together than either of us can alone.

Jamie Jenkins

Aerial view of a neighborhood with mature trees in a chicago suburban neighborhood in summer. Deefield, il. Usa.

There was a time when I thought of neighbors only as the folks next door or those who lived close by. Most of them looked and talked pretty much like me. I have come to have a different understanding of neighbor.

The transformation of my concept of neighbor began in 1966 when I moved to western New York to attend school. The enrollment of no more than 250-300 students included students from All over the United States and many foreign countries. Their backgrounds were as varied as their ethnicity. It was my first truly multi-cultural experience.

Multiculturalism word cloud concept. Vector illustration Stock Vector - 44625860

Then came marriage and family. After our first child was born in 1971 we started watching a new and different kind of community on Sesame Street. Each day on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood everyone was invited to “please, won’t you be my neighbor.” Both of these new television programs presented a world of diversity and inclusiveness that contributed significantly to the formation of our world view.

Fred tying shoes

The county in which I live has a population of slightly more than 900,000 of which 62% are black, |Latino, and Asian. Seventeen years ago my wife and moved into our suburban neighborhood of 85 homes which has a wonderful mix of lifestyles, ages, religions, and races. My neighborhood is very different from what I experienced when I was growing up.

I have been watching the World Cup for the past four weeks. 32 national teams have competed in this international football (soccer) tournament which is hosted this year by Russia. The final match is scheduled for this coming Sunday, July 15. My family has engaged in much conversation about the matches although we are California, Mexico, Japan, and two cities in Georgia. This sporting event has also provided a wonderful way to connect and have conversations with all sorts of people. Hearing the names and seeing the faces of the players and fans has broadened my understanding that we all have more in common than we are sometimes aware.

New Logo for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Brandia Central

My son and his family have lived in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, and Mexico. They have also traveled extensively in the United States and much of the world. In his travel blog (www.anepiceducation.com) he wrote recently about how watching the World Cup has made him a better parent and a better world citizen. In a match this past weekend my granddaughter cheered for Russia because she has a friend in Spain who is from Russia.

I have had the words of a song stuck in my head since I sang it with the congregation of the First United Methodist Church in Rockmart, Georgia a couple of weeks ago. The song, written by Thomas S. Colvin focuses on our neighbors as it recalls the words of Jesus, following a conversation with a lawyer. Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself” (Luke 10:27). The song is simple but profound.

Neighbors are rich and poor,
Neighbors are black and white,
Neighbors are near and far away.

Jesu, Jesu,
Fill us with Your love, show us how to serve
The neighbors we have from You.

These are the ones we should serve,
These are the ones we should love;
All these are neighbors to us and You.

Jesu, Jesu,
Fill us with Your love, show us how to serve
The neighbors we have from You.

God, help us to be good neighbors!

Jamie Jenkins

A friend recently had surgery and he told me that full recovery could take 6-12 months. Then he said, “I’ve got to find a ton of patience.” My reply was to assure him that I would join him in praying for patience. Then I asked jokingly, “Do you believe in miracles?”PatienceIt has been almost nine months since I had a fall and tore my rotator cuff. Seven months ago I had surgery to repair the damage. Physical therapy exercises have helped and I now experience only discomfort and soreness, not pain. I am able to perform simple functions that were complicated or impossible a few months ago. Tasks like putting on my socks, tying my shoes, scratching the opposite shoulder from the injured one, and feeding my belt through the loops behind my back.

I have made considerable progress but I am ready for this to be over. Patience is not one of my strongest character traits and I suspect I am not alone.

Dr. Robert Schuller is best known as an author, the founder of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, and the weekly Hour of Power television program. He espoused the philosophy of Possibility Thinking and suggested that “Inch by inch anything is a cinch.”  All it requires is patience.

Napoleon Hill says, “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” While there may be some truth to that, I find it difficult to wait. To have patience. If Saint Augustine was right that patience is the companion of wisdom, then I can make no claim to being wise.

Patience Is Not The Ability To Wait, But The Ability To Keep A Good Attitude While Waiting

I understand that when we allow God to be in control of our lives one of the results is that we practice patience along with other “fruit of the Spirit.” We possess not only the ability to wait but we are not anxious and restless while we wait. The writer of the biblical Book of Hebrews admonishes those to whom it was written, “you have need of patient endurance to bear up under difficult circumstances without compromising, so that when you have carried out the will of God, you may receive and enjoy to the full what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36, AMP).

So, I will pray for my friend to have patience. I will also ask God to help me to do the same. Anyone else need to be included in my prayers?

Jamie Jenkins

Sam and Susan are folks you might never have known if it was not for two of their children. They lived in a small town and although they both were well educated neither of them were in high profile positions of leadership.

Sam’s career path was certainly not one that many would count successful. He spent over 40 years in a rather non-descript place. Many of the folks he worked with and for did not like him. Some of them even burned his house down- not once but twice. One of his associates had him thrown into jail because he could not immediately pay a debt. This was one of two times he spent in jail due to his poor financial status. Lack of money was a perpetual problem.

It could be easily argued that Susan was more gifted than her husband but there was no attempt to upstage or overshadow him. She gave birth to nineteen children but nine of them died as infants. Her primary role was to focus her attention on her children. She was the primary source of her children’s education and ultimately the prominent force in shaping their lives.

Sam was also a poet but never achieved any real fame or success as a writer. One account suggests that Sam “spent his whole life and all of the family’s finances” on one literary work that “was not remembered and had little impact on his family other than as a hardship.” In contrast, Susan’s writings were foundational to her children’s education.

Susan devoted several hours every day to her children’s education. She was a commanding presence and a profound influence in their lives. Sam failed to provide financial security for his family but his life was a demonstration of perseverance- holding on when suffering, tragedy and opposition came.

In different ways Sam and Susan profoundly impacted their children. Their influence can be seen especially in two of their boys, John and Charles, the founders of the Methodist Movement that changed the course of history in 18th century England and is a continuing spiritual force in the world today.

Stained glass windows depicting John and Charles Wesley.

Because of the impact of the Wesley brothers, the world knows Samuel and Susanna Wesley. In his book, Revival: Faith as Wesley Lived It, Adam Hamilton says that the boys learned a lesson from their father that would be essential to their future work by his example that “when suffering, tragedy, and opposition come, don’t turn away; turn to God. And don’t give up.” As for their mother, Hamilton says: “Susanna Wesley changed the world by shaping the heart and faith of her children and by her wise counsel and persistent prayers and encouragement.”

I suspect that Samuel and Susanna had no idea of the impact they were having on their children. There was no way they could have seen the effect of their teaching and example on their lives. They were just doing what good parents are supposed to do- live before their kids a life of faith and integrity and leave the results to God. The role of parents has never been easy but has always been important- and never more so than today.

Jamie Jenkins