Archives for posts with tag: change

I have become increasingly concerned over the “Us vs. Them” attitude that I see and hear regularly. Too many groups and individuals operate on the basis that anything different is bad. “We” must oppose “them.”  More than that, we see “them” as the enemies of “us” that must be stopped or destroyed.

I understand that there are people who espouse harmful philosophies and I know that all ideas are not for the benefit of the larger community. However, I find it impossible to believe that “we” are always right and “they” are always wrong. Whoever the “we” or “they” are.

There are many people who subscribe to the “Us vs. Them” approach to all matters. I am not one of them.

Some folks see anyone whose culture or language as different and probably dangerous. I am not one of them.

Many people believe that everybody is out for themselves. Wanting something for nothing. I am not one of them

Many politicians and John/Jane Does propose that Red/Blue States have the right perspective on all political issues and the other will lead the country to ruin. I am not one of them.

The attitude of a lot of people is that if your skin color is different from mine, I have to keep an eye on you. I am not one of them.

According to conversations I hear and read from individuals in leadership as well as common ordinary citizens, it seems that it is alright to use demeaning terminology and derogatory words to describe others. I am not one of them.

It is common for people to assert that anyone who holds a different position on religion, politics, social issues or virtually anything is your enemy. I am not one of them.

Us vs. Them

Sports fans often depict fans of an opposing team as bad people to be avoided. I am not one of them.

Someone always wins and someone always loses. That is the attitude that I sense in many people. I am not one of them.

Old Way and New Way signs, Life change conceptual image

I know people who always see change as bad. It is better to keep things the way they are. I am not one of them.

There are Christians who believe that they alone interpret the Scriptures correctly and know the mind of God  I am not one of them

Jeff Chandler, writing about working relationships says, “On the surface, we discuss compassion, empathy, and understanding but down at a personal level, there are grudges, alliances, and interactions that are the complete opposite. There is a growing contingency of US vs THEM which doesn’t seem like a good way (to work together).”

“Unless we are very, very careful,” wrote psychologist-turned-artist Anne Truitt, “we doom each other by holding onto images of one another based on preconceptions that are in turn based on indifference to what is other than ourselves.”

Loving and gracious God, help us to see our fellow human beings as brothers and sisters and treat everyone with respect. Enable us to understand that “we” might be wrong and “they” might be right on some things. Help us to work side by side with each other to  “guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride.” So that others “may know we are Christians by our love.”

Jamie Jenkins

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Spring finally arrived. The redbud trees, tulips, daffodils, azaleas, and dogwoods were welcome sights after the drab look of winter.

Cherry Blossoms

I got excited when I noticed buds on the cherry trees a few weeks ago. Then I worried that the blossoms would appear only to be killed by the last blast of cold weather. Fortunately the blossoms were wise enough to wait.

The trees have been in full bloom for the past few weeks and they are gorgeous. But their time has come to an end. By the time this is read the blooms will be all gone and the trees have sprouted green leaves for the rest of the season.

Cherry Trees 2

As the weather warmed, the cherry blossoms began to blow in the wind like snowflakes. That which had been picturesque became messy. Last week I became frustrated as I attempted to clean up the fallen cherry blossoms. I blew them out of the yard into the street so I could gather them up. When I would get a pile of them together a gust of wind would blow or a car would come down the street and they would scatter.

Finally I thought I had cleaned up all of the blossoms but as the breeze began to blow ever so gently another shower of the tiny white blossoms spread across the front lawn again.

This experience helped me to remember a few things about life.

  •  Life. Is not always neat. Things can get messy at times.
  • Nothing is forever. The Apostle Paul reminds us that even our human body is a temporary dwelling.
  • Life is cyclical. Good things/times come and go. “There is a time for everything under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
  • Change is inevitable- and can be very good. Aren’t you glad that we no longer heat our homes with fireplaces fueled by wood? And can you imagine navigating a new metropolitan area without a GPS? Can you remember when you had only three television channels to watch?
  • Everything has a price. A line from one of Carole King’s songs reminds us “If you want to be complete, you have to take the bitter with the sweet.” Gaining and losing are equally essential for life.
  • It is important to enjoy the good things in life but not to hold onto them too tightly.

I have welcomed springtime with all the beautiful offerings of Mother Nature. But I look forward to the warmth of summer that will give way to the changing colors of fall. Even cold winter will be welcome because the earth needs time to rest and be restored.

“So I (have) made up my mind that there’s nothing better for us men and women than to have a good time in whatever we do—that’s our lot.” (Ecclesiastes 3:22, The Message)

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

 

I woke up this morning with a blue screen on my computer monitor and a “Welcome” from Microsoft to Windows 10. For about a year I have resisted the invitations that have appeared regularly to download this free upgrade from Windows 7 to the “new and improved” Windows 10.

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In Nate Ralph’s review of this new operating system (OS) for CNET he says, “Windows 10 delivers a refined, vastly improved vision for the future of computing… and it’s a free upgrade for most users.”

Regardless of whether  Windows 10 is better than the version that I have been using. I felt like I was a victim of what Brad Chacos, Senior Editor of PC World, calls ” the nasty new way that Microsoft’s tricking Windows 7 and 8 users into automatically updating to Windows 10.” Although he likes the new OS, Chacos objects to “the heavy handed tactics that Microsoft has been using to force people into the upgrade, all to hit a goal of migrating 1 billion users to an operating system” and methods “purposefully designed to confuse users who have been wearily slogging through the nagging” for months.

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Chacos expresses my feelings very well. I have been well satisfied with Windows 7 Home Professional for quite a while and felt no need to change. Repeatedly I said “No” to the suggestion that I schedule the download for this new version of Windows. I feel like Microsoft has forcibly taken control over my PC without my permission.

For months the Get Windows 10 pop up could not be disabled so you had to press the X repeatedly if you did not want to upgrade. Then Microsoft changed the pop up so that exiting the window now is treated as consent for the Windows 10 upgrade, rather than cancelling it.

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I acknowledge that I am often resistant to change even when it appears that this will be good for me. It takes time and some persuasion, or at least intentional thoughtful decision making, for me to make significant changes. It is possible, even likely, that Microsoft has done me a favor in the long run but I resent the use of “dirty tricks” to get it done. It will take some time for me to conclude that Windows 10 is an improvement. In the meantime, I don’t have positive feelings toward Microsoft.

Whether in business, politics or religion. In personal or corporate life. This experience reminds me that there is a wrong way to do the right thing. The end does not always justify the means. I hope I will remember that in all facets of life and my relationships with others.

Jamie Jenkins

 

Last Sunday I saw a friend that I had not seen for a long time. He was an energetic young adult with a pleasant and positive personality Then he had an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. The accident changed his body but it has not changed his upbeat attitude. He is a loving husband and father who has a deep faith in God.

This amazing young man told me that he had recently been on a couple of work missions. One of them was to the Gulf Coast to help people whose homes had been flooded. One house had to have the lower four feet of drywall removed due to water damage. He was excited that he had been able to replace the sheetrock because he could work at that level from his wheelchair.

Another project in his own community afforded him the opportunity to build a wheelchair ramp for an older resident. He smiled as he told me he had never built a ramp before so he gave it a test run to be sure it could accommodate the older woman who would use it.

CARING PEOPLE CHANGE THE WORLD

I recently met a man who has established an ongoing mission in one of the poor communities in Nicaragua. While building much needed medical clinics in this rural area, he realized that many of the local young people were intelligent and industrious but could not afford to go to school. So he has created a fund to provide for the education of promising young people of that region with the expectation that their lives will be changed and they will in turn give themselves to improve the lives of others.

John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” He believed it was our responsibility to help change the world.

I am currently involved with Imagine No Malaria, an effort to end death and suffering from malaria. If you are thinking that malaria was eliminated in this country over 60 years ago, you are right. But this year over 650,000 people in Africa will die from malaria, more than Ebola and AIDs combined. Two-thirds of these deaths are children under the age of five and pregnant women. Although malaria is fully preventable and fully treatable, a child dies every 60 seconds from this killer disease.

The good news is we know how to stop death and suffering from malaria. In fact the death rate has been cut almost in half in the past 7 years. Imagine No Malaria provides insecticide treated bed nets, educates people on symptoms of the disease, the proper use of bed nets, and other preventive measures. In addition, early diagnostic kits as well as affordable and accessible medication and treatment in over 300 hospitals and clinics have made a very positive difference. And all of that can be provided for only $10. Only $10 to save a life!

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You can help save lives by texting MALARIA NGC to 27722 (be sure to leave a space before NGC) and $10 will be donated to Imagine No Malaria. Or you can send a check for any amount to Imagine No Malaria, North Georgia Conference, 4511 Jones Bridge Circle, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092. Learn more about Imagine No Malaria at http://www.imaginenomalaria.org.

INM TtEXT TO GIVE

There are many ways for caring people to change the world. Imagine No Malaria is one effort that I have chosen to support. I invite you to join me in the fight against malaria. If this doesn’t strike a chord with you, I encourage you to find ways that you have passion for and give yourself to it.

Together we can do more than imagine no malaria. And we can do more than imagine a better world. Together we can make it a reality.

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed that’s all who ever have.”

Jamie Jenkins

 

Change 4

I don’t like change.

I am comfortable starting my day pretty much the same way all the time, or at least most of the time. An occasional break from routine is good but before long I want things to get back to normal.

I know that change is sometimes necessary but most of the time I resist it. Once you find a way to do something, why change it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Why mess with something that works? That is the way I am wired, but I realize that my way of doing things is not always the best or only way.

John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” I understand that. It’s just that I am comfortable with most things the way they are. At the same time I understand that progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

 

Change

Although I don’t like change, I am willing, with some reluctance, to alter my routine and try something new. After a while I can even embrace change but it is not easy.

I mentioned in one of my previous writings that I recently acquired an electric vehicle (EV). It is quite different from an internal combustion engine (ICE) automobile in many ways. I was a bit skeptical at first but after almost three months and 2400 miles (with no gasoline) I have been converted. I have come to really enjoy the quiet and comfortable ride. And contrary to what many people think, it is a real car with plenty “get-up-and-go.” I have also contributed to better air quality because it has no emissions.

For several years I have paid my bills electronically through the bank’s online bill pay service. No stamps or envelopes to buy. No checkbook. Beginning in 2015 my church pledge will be charged to my credit card.

In 1925 Mayor Walter A. Sims leased an abandoned auto racetrack and committed the city of Atlanta to develop it into an airfield. The 287 acres of land was renamed Candler Field after its former owner’s family, including Coca-Cola magnate Asa Candler. That was the first step that led to Atlanta becoming a major transportation hub. Today it is home to the world’s busiest airport.

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I am grateful for the ability to hop on an airplane in Atlanta and go just about anywhere in the world. How else could I visit my grandchildren, and their parents, on the other side of the globe.

My son reminds me that I once said we would never have a cell phone. Why did we need to be able to talk on the phone from anywhere at anytime. Later I succumbed to the advanced technology and purchased my first “bag phone” that was about the size of a small briefcase. And today I won’t leave home without my “smart phone” in my pocket.

Although most of my retail purchases are transacted in a brick and mortar business, I have done my share of shopping online. In fact, with the last four cars purchased I went to the automobile dealer’s showroom only to sign paperwork and pick up the vehicle. Research and negotiation was all done online or by phone.

Email, text messaging and webcams which are a regular part of my routine could hardly have been imagined when I bought my first computer, a Commodore 64. The first video game was Pong, a far cry for the realistic graphics in today’s video arcade.

Just last night I had a conversation with my thirty-two year old son about Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, and Crackle. If I understood it , I would explain it to you. The digital age has transformed the way we work, play, and relate to each other. It offers far more than I can comprehend.

With all the advances in technology and the changes they bring to our everyday life, I am grateful for the words of the Statement of Faith of the United Church of Canada: “We are not alone, we live in God’s world. We believe in God who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit. We trust in God.”

We are not alone. We live in God’s world. We trust in God the Creator and Sustainer of all that is good.

Change. Scary. Hopeful.

Jamie Jenkins