Archives for category: Uncategorized

 

Humankind: A Hopeful History - Kindle edition by Bregman, Rutger ...

I have just finished reading the New York Times bestseller, Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman. In this book he challenges the broadly held assumption that humans are bad. That we are by nature selfish and governed primarily by self-interest. The author “provides new perspective on the past 200,000 years of human history, setting out to prove that we are hardwired for kindness, geared toward cooperation rather than competition, and more inclined to trust rather than distrust one another.”

Rutger Bregman: 'Poverty is not a personality defect. We ...

Historian, philosopher, and bestselling author Yuval Noah Harari said “Humankind made me see humanity from a fresh perspective. I agree that the extensive research that Bregman shares does suggest that the basic nature of human beings is more positive than some evidence might lead you to believe.

While I do not completely agree with “one of Europe’s most prominent young thinkers,” I think the book is worth reading. The author offers good food for thought. At the very least, the examples he gives from very extensive research is interesting. Rather than attempt a full review of this book, let me share a summary of the last chapter entitled Ten Rules to Live By. I don’t think they are a complete guide for living but they do suggest some helpful positive steps.

TEN RULES TO LIVE BY

  1. When in doubt, assume the best.

It’s most realistic to assume the best- to give the benefit of the doubt.

  1. Think in win-win scenarios

Sadly, untold companies, schools and other institutions are still organized around a myth: that it’s in our best interest to be locked in competition with one another… In truth, this work precisely the other way around. The best deals are where everybody wins.

  1. Ask more questions

(In our efforts to help others) the simple truth is that we’re not always good at sensing what others want. (Rather than assume we know what others need, it would be) far better to start by asking a question.

  1. Temper your empathy, train your compassion

(When we share in another’s distress) empathy saps our energy. Compassion is not about sharing another’s distress, but it does help you to recognize it and then act… that injects us with energy, which is exactly what is needed to help.

  1. Try to understand the other, even if you don’t get where they’re coming from
    Seeing where someone is coming from does not mean you need to see eye to eye. Understanding the other at a rational level is a skill. It’s a muscle you can train.
  2. Love your own as others love their own

As human, we differentiate. We play favorites and care more about our own… But we must also understand that all those others, those distant strangers, also have families they love. They are every bit as human as we are.

  1. Avoid the news

The news (and social media) tends to generalize people into groups like politicians, elites, racists, and refugees. Worse, the news zooms in on the bad apples… Disengage from your screen and engage real people in the flesh. Think as carefully about what information you feed your mind as you do about the food you feed your body.

  1. Don’t punch a Nazi

Just like bombing the Middle East is manna for the terrorists, punching Nazis only reinforces extremists. It validates their world view and makes it that much easier to attract recruits.

  1. Come out of the closet; don’t be ashamed to do good

To extend that hand you need one thing above all. Courage. Because you may be branded a bleeding heart or a showoff…Doing good is contagious… Kindness is catching.

  1. Be realistic

…in modern usage the realist has become synonymous with the cynic- for someone with a pessimistic outlook… In truth, it is the cynic that is out of touch. In truth…all people are inclined to be good to one another. So be realistic. Be courageous. Be true to your nature and offer your trust. Do good in broad daylight and don’t be ashamed of your generosity.

Jamie Jenkins

Christ Is Risen! · Blog from Author & Methodist Minister Adam ...

On this Easter Sunday I woke up with the hymn, Christ the Lord Is Risen, in my head and heart. Later this morning I will join in singing that hymn with the congregation of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church and many others (online) as the choir processes down the aisle of the sanctuary (video from last year).  Later in the service we will sing “He is risen! He is risen! Sing it out with joyful voice.”

Handel's “Messiah” FAQs – Parker Symphony Orchestra

I will join in the Apostle’s Creed and the words “the third day he arose from the dead” will be especially relevant on this Sunday. Our closing hymn will be Rejoice the Lord Is King and after the benediction the choir will sing from Handel’s Messiah:

Hallelujah! For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!

The kingdoms of this world is become the kingdom

of our Lord And of His Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.

King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Hallelujah!

As I had my own personal sunrise service earlier this morning and was enjoying my first cup of coffee, another song came to mind. It is a more contemporary song that was  written by Sydney Bertram Carter. Upon his death on March 13, 2004, at the age of 88, his obituary in the London Daily Telegraph began with the bold assertion, “Lord of the Dance” was “the most celebrated religious song of the 20th century.”

“Lord of the Dance” almost did not appear in The United Methodist Hymnal. It was the only hymn not included in the original Report of the Hymnal Revision Committee to the 1988 General Conference of the Methodist Church. Bishop Woodie W. White influenced its addition at the last minute when he used this song as the theme of his sermon preached at the opening service of the conference. (https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-lord-of-the-dance)

Lord of the Dance: Sydney Carter, Jackie Morris: 9780745938981 ...

I share it with you as another way of celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord today.

Lord of the Dance
by Sydney Carter;
The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 261

 danced in the morning
When the world was begun,
And I danced in the moon
And the stars and the sun,
And I came down from heaven
And I danced on the earth,
At Bethlehem
I had my birth.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,
And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he

I danced for the scribe
And the pharisee,
But they would not dance
And they wouldn’t follow me.
I danced for the fishermen,
For James and John
They came with me
And the Dance went on.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,
And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he

I danced on the Sabbath
And I cured the lame;
The holy people
Said it was a shame.
They whipped and they stripped
And they hung me on high,
And they left me there
On a Cross to die.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,
And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he

I danced on a Friday
When the sky turned black
It’s hard to dance
With the devil on your back.
They buried my body
And they thought I’d gone,
But I am the Dance,
And I still go on.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,
And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he

They cut me down
And I leapt up high;
I am the life
That’ll never, never die;
I’ll live in you
If you’ll live in me –
I am the Lord
Of the Dance, said he.

 Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,
And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he

Hoping you have a happy and blessed Easter!

Jamie Jenkins

 

Why Tony Campolo's announcement on LGBT inclusion is a big deal.

Tony Campolo tells how he preached the perfect sermon one Sunday and had taken the congregation to ‘the heights of glory’. As he sat down beside his pastor, Tony patted him on the knee and simply said, “Top that.” The older black pastor looked at him and said, “Boy, watch the master” as he stood to address the congregation. The following is what he said.

It's Sunday - Imgflip

It’s Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter’s denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. See Him walking to Calvary, the blood dripping from His body. See the cross crashing down on His back as He stumbles beneath the load. It’s Friday; but Sunday’s a coming.

It’s Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, “Father, forgive them.” It’s Friday; but Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God who will not abide with sin pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, “My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?” What a horrible cry. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. And at the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil of the Temple that separates sinful man from Holy God was torn from the top to the bottom because Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that’s because it’s Friday, and they don’t know it, but Sunday’s a coming.

And on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of Calvary. Satan thought that he had won the victory. Surely he had destroyed the Son of God. Finally he had disproved the prophecy God had uttered in the Garden and the one who was to crush his head had been destroyed. But that was Friday.

Now it’s Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn’t the only thing that was shaking because now it’s Sunday. And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb.

Yes, it’s Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it’s Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says. He is risen indeed.

It’s Sunday, and the crucified and resurrected Christ has defeated death, hell, sin and the grave.

It’s Sunday. And now everything has changed. It’s the age of grace, God’s grace poured out on all who would look to that crucified lamb of Calvary. Grace freely given to all who would believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary was buried and rose again. All because it’s Sunday.

At the end of the message the pastor shouts out:

It’s Friiidaaaay!

And the whole congregation responds:

But Sunday’s Coming!

Jamie Jenkins

Peachtree Road United Methodist Church has announced its 2019-20 ...

The music of the church has always given me encouragement and guidance. Next to the Bible, the hymnal has provided words of comfort, encouragement, and instruction more than anything else. Hymns like It Is Well With My Soul, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, Amazing Grace, Crown Him With Many Crowns, How Great Thou Art, Lead On, O King Eternal, What A Friend We Have in Jesus, and the list goes on and on.

Other more recent Christian music also speaks to me. As I was drifting off to sleep one night recently my prayers and praises were being lifted silently to God when one of those came to mind. It is song that I usually sing in a setting of corporate worship. It is a song written by Dottie Rambo, an American gospel singer and songwriter.. Along with husband Buck and daughter Reba, she formed the award-winning southern Gospel group, The Rambos. She wrote more than 2,500 songs.

Dottie Rambo - Wikipedia

As I shelter in place along with millions of others there is more time to think and more moments of reflection than normal. The words of this song have been rolling around in my head for days during this time of isolation and social distancing.

*Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place
Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place
Omnipotent Father of Mercy and Grace
Thou art welcome in this place

Lord in Thy presence there’s healing divine
No other power can save Lord, but Thine
Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place
Thou art welcome in this place

Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place
Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place
Omnipotent Father of Mercy and Grace

Thou art welcome in this place.

Fill all the hungry and empty within

Restore us O Father, Revive us again

Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place

Thou art welcome in this place.

As I sing these words over and over in my mind I realize that wherever I am God is with me. Therefore, every place is holy. Not just the church sanctuary or wherever we gather together in worship but every place is holy. Although I really miss being together with friends and other fellow disciples of Christ in corporate worship, I am in God’s Presence and can worship anywhere. I welcome the Holy Spirit in any place and at anytime and I know that I am not alone.

Grace and Peace,

Jamie Jenkins

*Words by Dottie Rambo and David Huntsinger

 

COVID-19

During this coronavirus pandemic everything has changed in our world. Whether you are sheltered in place, quarantined, in isolation, or just hunkered down. Things are different.

Things that we have felt were essential have been taken away or shut down.

All of this has forced us to think differently and to alter our everyday routines. To look at life through different lenses.

A friend posted on Facebook a formula that he had learned sometime ago that is applicable to our present circumstances. Adjust. Adapt. Accept. We all are having to learn how to do that. Life has certainly thrown us a curve. Our routines have been upended and the way we are spending our time is drastically different for what it was just days ago.

In this unusual time when most folks are spending more time at home than normal and options are limited many sources are trying to help us to be entertained. Symphony orchestras are offering concerts online. The Metropolitan Opera have made several operas available for livestreaming. Special sports programming is abundant. Cable networks are letting you watch movies and other special programs. And it is all free.

Last night my wife and I watched a special live musical program presented by the CBS Network- Garth and Trisha in Studio G. These two country music stars, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, sang many of their hit songs in a very casual environment. Just the two of them and Garth’s guitar.

The last song of the program, If Tomorrow Never Comes, reminded us of how important it is to be sure folks know how much we love them. You don’t have to be a country music fan to appreciate the depth of the message for this and all times.

Garth Brooks' First Country Hit "If Tomorrow Never Comes"

Sometimes late at night

I lie awake and watch her sleeping

She”s lost in peaceful dreams

So I turn out the light and lay there in the dark

And the thought crosses my mind

If I never wake up in the morning

Would she ever doubt the way I feel

About her in my heart

 If tomorrow never comes

Will she know how much I loved her

Did I try in every way to show her every day

That she’s my only one

And if my time on earth were through

And she must face this world without me

Is the love I gave her in the past

Gonna be enough to last

If tomorrow never comes

 ‘Cause I’ve lost loved ones in my life

Who never knew how much I loved them

Now I live with the regret

That my true feelings for them never were revealed

So I made a promise to myself

To say each day how much she means to me

And avoid that circumstance

Where there’s no second chance to tell her how I feel

If tomorrow never comes

Will she know how much I loved her

Did I try in every way to show her every day

That she’s my only one

And if my time on earth were through

And she must face this world without me

Is the love I gave her in the past

Gonna be enough to last

If tomorrow never comes

So tell that someone that you love

Just what you’re thinking of

If tomorrow never comes

 

Jamie Jenkins

 * Written by: Kent Evan Blazy, Troyal Garth Brooks

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Downtown Music Publishing

 

The story is told of a man who got a permit to open the first tavern in a small town. The members of a local church were strongly opposed to the bar, so they began to pray that God would intervene. A few days before the tavern was scheduled to open, lightning hit the structure and it burned to the ground. The people of the church were surprised but pleased – until they received notice that the would-be tavern owner was suing them. He contended that their prayers were responsible for the burning of the building. They denied the charge. At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, the judge wryly remarked, “At this point I don’t know what my decision will be, but it seems that the tavern owner believes in the power of prayer and these church people don’t.”

“When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites. They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners so that people will see them. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. But when you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:5-6, Common English Bible)

When you pray do we really believe that it makes a difference or is it something you do to appear to be religious?

Jamie Jenkins

 

Technical problems is the term we use when something doesn’t work like we want it to and we have no idea why.

I understand that “technical problems” prevented some people from accessing my new blog posts. I have not yet figured out the problem. You can read the most recent blog post at everynowandthenhome.wordpress.com  but I cannot figure out how you can subscribe to follow the blog. I’ll keep working on it and will notify you when I find the solution.

In the meantime…

Another reminder that I am no longer posting weekly on the Thoughts for Thursday blog. I have created a new blog  in which I will offer thoughts of my own and of others that will sometimes be inspirational, informative,thought provoking, or humorous. It will not be a regular weekly post. Rather, my contribution will be on a random basis.

I have just posted a new entry- Christ in Crisis. If you want to subscribe to the new blog, go to http://www.everynowandthenhome.wordpress.com, and scroll to the bottom of the page. You can then follow it. Submit your email address and you will automatically receive anything that I post.

Grace and peace!

Jamie Jenkins

 

Just a reminder that I will no longer post weekly on the Thoughts for Thursday blog. I have created a new blog  in which I will offer thoughts of my own and of others that will sometimes be inspirational, informative,thought provoking, or humorous. It will not be a regular weekly post. Rather, my contribution will be on a random basis.

I have just posted a new entry. If you want to subscribe to the new blog, go to http://www.everynowandthenhome.wordpress.com, and scroll to the bottom of the page. You can then follow it. Submit your email address and you will automatically receive anything that I post.

Grace and peace!

Jamie Jenkins

 

After 3 years of teaching in the Fulton County School System in Atlanta, my son decided to take a break and explore the world. His plan was to teach English in Taiwan for “one year” and then return. When he left home he had no job prospect, did not speak the language, and knew only one person in Taiwan with whom he had one conversation prior to departure on this adventure.

Jason arrived in Taiwan with the name and address of this “friend” written in Chinese. He handed it to a taxi driver who dropped him off in front of this person’s home.  Fortunately the man knew someone who was renting a room and within a few weeks Jason had roommates and a job.

Jason’s “year abroad” started in 1997 — 22 years ago — and continues. Since then he has married, has two teenage children, and has lived in many places around the world. He taught English to Taiwanese children for 4 years before moving to Japan. There he continued to teach English to corporate executives before finding a job with an advertising agency. One of his primary clients was Nikon Corporation for about 13 years.

The Japan Times プロデュース『朝英語の会』活動開始

During that time he also wrote a weekly arts and entertainment column for the Japan Times and managed the English correspondent team of the Fuji Rock Festival, one of the largest and most famous music events in Japan.

During all this time the family traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia. Then after 13 years in Japan, Jason and his wife, Keiko, decided to make a change. Due to hectic work schedules, time with their children was minimal. They were missing their children’s lives. Also they wanted their 10 year-old son and 6 year-old daughter to realize that the world was much larger and more diverse than what they had experienced. Keiko left her job with DeutscheBank and Jason negotiated with his employer to be allowed to work half-time remotely.

With this decision Jason, Keiko, and their children, Jamie and Felicia, embarked on an adventure that continues until today. The first six months were spent in Taiwan, Thailand, and Malaysia. The plan was to live in different places in the world, not as tourists, but stay long enough to understand the culture and get to know the people. After the initial 6 months, they moved to Penang, Malaysia for a year. The kids were homeschooled while participating in local groups and extra-curricular activities in an international school.

Then it was on to Valencia Spain for 2 years where their children were enrolled in local Spanish-speaking schools two weeks after arrival. None of them spoke any Spanish at the time. The kids had attended Japanese public schools while they lived in Tokyo. English was spoken at home but everything else was in Japanese.

After two years in Spain the family moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Education for Jamie and Felicia was a mixture of online homeschooling and unconventional Mexican schools with a mix of local and international students.  While living in Mexico they continued to travel regularly in Latin America.

Three months ago the family moved back to Japan and the kids are enrolled in international schools in Osaka.

During these years of family travel Jason has developed a travel blog where he shares the family’s experiences and offers very practical and helpful information for anyone who travels. Travel Tips include suggestions on where to stay, shopping, money, insurance, travel gear, gifts, and others. Destinations include Columbia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, U.S.A., and Vietnam. In addition, Jason has interviewed over 150 traveling families all over the world.

Check out his website, www.anepiceducation.com.

Jamie Jenkins