What do you stand for?

September 17, 2021

Pastor Freed used this quote today – “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them…well, I have others,” (Groucho Marx)

Freed when on to write about having principles – things that you stand for and which drive your behavior in life. Principles are things that matter. Just this morning I again placed on my front lawn a sign with a quote from Martin Luther King – “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Interestingly when I looked that quote up there is some controversy about whether he actually ever said those exact words. It is credited as coming from his I Have A Dream speech, but it actually a paraphrasing of a sermon in Selma, Alabama, on 8 March 1965, the day after “Bloody Sunday,” on which civil rights protesters were attacked and beaten by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge:

A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.

King was talking about principles and what we stand for. He was saying that it is not OK to look away when we see injustice or to accept unacceptable behavior towards others. One cannot selectively choose which principles we will apply that day or in that instance. We cannot say, as Groucho said, if you don’t like my principles, I have others. If you do not stand on your principles, you step onto a slippery slope and fall. There is no half-way with principles. It’s like what Bob Dylan said about religion, “You either got it or you ain’t.” So, you either got principles or you ain’t.

A scary aspect of modern life is that too many people are taking a stand for things that just aren’t true. That is what drove the invasion of the Capitol…people actually believed the big lie that was being circulated about the election. Now, misinformation and conspiracy theories are driving the resistance to what should be a “no-brainer” decision to get vaccinated against a deadly pandemic. How many death-bed regrets must we see on TV from non-vaccers before people change their minds and do the right thing?

So maybe we should be saying to ourselves and others, “These are my principles, and if you don’t like them…well, sorry but that’s how I’m going to live my life.” However, even that is not enough. We must continue to try to convince others to do the right things, too. Standing passively by and watching others commit injustices or doing the wrong things makes us accessories to their actions. In that inaction we die a little because we have not stood up for our principles.

Take time to think about that for a moment…what principles are you willing to stand for? What ae you doing about that?


Be a beautiful human being today…

January 26, 2018

“True beauty is about who you are as a human being, your principles, your moral compass.”  (Ellen DeGeneres) – as seen in a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

You may have heard someone described as being a beautiful person and you could tell from the context that it had nothing to do with his or her physical appearance. Beauty is a perception and the way that people act towards each other may be perceived as eitherhandshake being ugly or beautiful. Which impression will you leave with the people that you encounter today?

Looking at Ellen’s quote in inverse order; if one has a strong moral compass based in faith in God and a good set of principles that build off that moral base, then it should not be all that hard to be perceived as a beautiful human being because of how you treat others.

One of the most basic principles that our faith teaches us it to treat others, as we would want to be treated. Very few of us probably sees someone else and thinks, “I hope that they snub me, because I’m going to ignore them.” Recognizing and acknowledging others is one of the most basic tenants of our social structure. We all want to be recognized and, hopefully, we enjoy recognizing others. There is a beauty and a joy in the exchange of recognition when you meet someone that you know.  There is also anticipation of futurecompliment joy when meeting someone new.

I’ve written here in the past that one of the key things that governs how you view the world and other is becoming comfortable with yourself. Love who and what you are first and then you can love others. In Jack’s post he went on to quote further from Ellen DeGeneres – “You’re unique.  You’re not supposed to be like everyone else.  Promise to be kind to people, to brush your teeth every day and to floss.”  I’m sure the last two pieces of advice were just Ellen’s way of being funny. The first part of that quote is really about getting comfortable with yourself and the fact that you are unique. It is that uniqueness that makes meeting you interesting. It gives you something to share. It is the beauty thing that is within you.

woman-prayingSo be a beautiful human being today. Greet and interact with others. Share the experiences and outlook on life that make you unique and beautiful. You don’t need to look in the mirror before you go out into the world; just check your moral compass with a little prayer and ask God to give you the courage to let your unique  beauty shine through to others.

Now that’s a beautiful thing.