Posts Tagged reason

Approaching Civility in a World Awash in Self – Thomas Crowl*

PSALMS: 138:6…Though the Lord be high, yet He hath respect unto the lowly: but the proud He knows afar off…

Thonas CrowlI observe another American political season filled with vile, hate-filled language attacking the very basis of our democracy. I think on a simpler time when a bright mind called P.M. Forni would pen “The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct”. I look forward to a few months ago when a Charleston Churchman would call for a “Say Something Nice Day” as a reprise to anger and hatred. I look at the 25 rules and see many that look to the denial of self and the observation of the souls around us. It is a blessed similarity.

My dear wife is always the first to remind me that we should always look to the best reason for a particular act rather than descending to the depths of doubt and anger. Our news media calls out to a different spirit and looks to the phrase “if it bleeds it leads” as a sensationalist press seeking to grab the attention span of a media world.

I challenged my spirit today to review so many examples around me of civility. Just the other day a noted country singer would speak the words “always be humble and proud” finding strength in the meek spirit that found genuine pride in humility. I see our Savior on the cross saying “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” pushing back from the well of anger and self-pity that surrounded him. Often civility expresses itself best when we just listen calmly and do not react. In this respectful…inclusive…welcoming way we invite our Savior to be our guide.

Civility is the oil that calms the roughest wave…is the honey in the ears of the tormented spirit and always seeks to “walk in the other man’s shoes” as Franklin Roosevelt once said seeking empathy in a world embroiled in tragedy. Civility is generous looking for the best and offering frequent praise, positive advice and reinforcement to advance our brethren.

The civil world looks to the best that grows within us, respects our positive efforts to improve and gives kindness to the lowly animals and our blessed environment that all may grow in peace. It is an eternal value that is known to God and is so needed in our world where discrimination, separation, isolation and greed call out to us from every corner.

HEAVENLY FATHER…grant to me this day the civil tongue…the welcoming hand and the loving spirit that will heal a divided nation and world gone mad with self. Never let us forget the wondrous example you sent to us in your divine Son those two thousand years ago.

KING DAVID KNEW THE POWER OF GOD FIRST HAND AND YET CHOSE TO PRAISE HIS SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE LOWLY…IT WAS SACRED ADVICE THEN AND IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT TODAY.

*Thomas Crowl is a retired judge who works in Florida as a volunteer having been born again in His service.

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A Call for Civility and Reason

The lack of civility in our society has reached an alarming level. National political leaders refuse to condemn the over the top language and the call for violence. Words are powerful and they have consequences often far greater than the speaker may have intended. Much of the intemperate language is from frustration, some is economic angst, some is strictly political and an alarming amount is racial.

It is a deeply religious issue. All of the world’s great religions call for its adherents to love each other, respect their neighbors and offer hospitality to the stranger. Many of the offenders will be in worship services this week and they will see no relationship between their religious doctrine and their abrasive language on the street. In our Judeo-Christian traditions the connection is undeniable. The psalmist said, “Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding, whose mouth must be held with bit and bridle.” Proverbs add, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” There is the great admonition from Colossians, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

As we approach Say Something Nice Day on the first day of June and Say Something Nice Sunday on the first Sunday in June, we have an urgent calling to set an example of civil discourse and do whatever we can to urge others to join us. It is important to refrain from saying anything disrespectful of others. It is equally important to boost people, to say something nice. Most of all it is important to restore a sense of fairness. This is one of those times in history when one person can make a difference. Refuse to become a part of the hostility.

Our words are reflective of the condition of our hearts. There are times when we are all angry or frustrated. These emotions do not give us a free pass to let our words run wild. These are the times to demonstrate who we really are and what we believe. There is never a time for rudeness. Disrespect for an individual is never acceptable. Every human being is a creation of the most high God. I am not required to like you, agree with your ideas, approve of your behavior, or condone what you do. What I am responsible for is how I respond to you. I am in charge of my emotions, my thoughts, my actions. It is often convenient to blame someone else for what I say or do, but that is simply not true. I am responsible for me. If I want the atmosphere of hate and disrespect to change, I must accept my responsibility to be a change agent.

It does no good to assign blame for where we are today in our relationships with those with whom we disagree.  Assigning blame does nothing to solve the problem and often leads to more conflict. What we did or did not do yesterday no longer matters. We can continue to behave in the same destructive manner or we can choose to change and make the situation better.

We should recognize that we will not always agree with one another. It would be unrealistic and counterproductive if we did. There is nothing wrong with debate that is conducted in a respectful manner. In fact good debate helps us clarify issues; however, all is lost when I attack you personally rather than your arguments. All is lost when I allow my emotions to overwhelm my reasoning. The wisdom from the nutritionists is that we are what we eat. The wisdom from Holy Scripture is we are what we speak.

 

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Fifty-Two Keys for Living, Loving and Working

Be considerate

Think of the feelings, fears, anxieties and joys of others. Don’t be a bull in a china shop. Lighten the burden of those around you. Be a calming presence. Make others feel happy that you are there. Be a voice of calm and reason.

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Random Acts of Kindness – 101

There is someone who wants to share your reliance on reason. Share with her or him why you are so devoted to the course of reason. You will be glad that you did.

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