Monday, June 15, 2009

The Death of Common Sense

Although this was written in March 1998, it seem very appropriate to remember the Death of Common Sense in today's environment. The obituary was written by Lori Borgman and is used with her permission. It was first published in the Indianapolis Star. It has since been published in newspapers and magazines around the world and is a favorite of radio talk show hosts.

The Death of Common Sense
© Lori Borgman Sunday, March 15, 1998

Three yards of black fabric enshroud my computer terminal. I am mourning the passing of an old friend by the name of Common Sense. His obituary reads as follows: Common Sense, aka C.S., lived a long life, but died from heart failure at the brink of the millennium. No one really knows how old he was, his birth records were long ago entangled in miles and miles of bureaucratic red tape. Known affectionately to close friends as Horse Sense and Sound Thinking, he selflessly devoted himself to a life of service in homes, schools, hospitals and offices, helping folks get jobs done without a lot of fanfare, whooping and hollering.

Rules and regulations and petty, frivolous lawsuits held no power over C.S. A most reliable sage, he was credited with cultivating the ability to know when to come in out of the rain, the discovery that the early bird gets the worm and how to take the bitter with the sweet.

C.S. also developed sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn), reliable parenting strategies (the adult is in charge, not the kid) and prudent dietary plans (offset eggs and bacon with a little fiber and orange juice).

A veteran of the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, the Technological Revolution and the Smoking Crusades, C.S. survived sundry cultural and educational trends including disco, the men's movement, body piercing, whole language and new math. C.S.'s health began declining in the late 1960s when he became infected with the If-It-Feels-Good, Do-It virus.

In the following decades, his waning strength proved no match for the ravages of overbearing federal and state rules and regulations and an oppressive tax code. C.S. was sapped of strength and the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, criminals received better treatment than victims and judges stuck their noses in everything from Boy Scouts to professional baseball and golf.

His deterioration accelerated as schools implemented zero-tolerance policies. Reports of 6-year-old boys charged with sexual harassment for kissing classmates, a teen suspended for taking a swig of Scope mouthwash after lunch, girls suspended for possessing Midol and an honor student expelled for having a table knife in her school lunch were more than his heart could endure.

As the end neared, doctors say C.S. drifted in and out of logic but was kept informed of developments regarding regulations on low-flow toilets and mandatory air bags. Finally, upon hearing about a government plan to ban inhalers from 14 million asthmatics due to a trace of a pollutant that may be harmful to the environment, C.S. breathed his last.

Services will be at Whispering Pines Cemetery. C.S. was preceded in death by his wife, Discretion; one daughter, Responsibility; and one son, Reason. He is survived by two step-brothers, Half-Wit and Dim-Wit.

Memorial Contributions may be sent to the Institute for Rational Thought. Farewell, Common Sense. May you rest in peace.

"Visit this writer at"

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 Hours in a day is not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it in to the jar.
Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with an unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table And poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the Empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions -- things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car.

The sand is everything else --the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

So...Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. "Take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter.
Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked".
It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Where is Your Treasure?

Kalthoma, a refugee from Darfur, is part of a group resettled through One Great Hour of Sharing funds.

Since 1949, Presbyterians have joined with millions of other Christians through One Great Hour of Sharing to share God’s love with people experiencing need. Our gifts support ministries of disaster response, refugee assistance and resettlement, and community development that help people find safe refuge, start new lives and work together to strengthen their families and communities.

Recognizing that the hope we have in Christ is lived out in our hope for one another, we respond with gifts that help our sisters and brothers around the world find the hope for a brighter future.

Where does the money go?

The Presbyterian Hunger Program receives 36 percent of undesignated One Great Hour of Sharing gifts, while the Self-Development of People and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance each receive 32 percent.

When is the offering received?Most congregations receive the offering on Easter Sunday, Palm Sunday or both, while many receive it throughout Lent.

Individuals may send their contributions to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)Church Remittance ProcessingP.O. Box 643700Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700

Jesus, Abide with Us

Lord, who throughout these forty days
For us didst fast and pray,
Teach us with Thee to mourn our sins.
And close by Thee to stay.

.As Thou with Satan didst contend
And didst the victory win
o give us strength in Thee to fight,
In Thee to conquer sin.

We don't know a lot about the forty days Jesus spent in the desert before His temptation. We know it was a time of fasting and probably of prayer. When the devil came to Him, the conquering words of Scripture were quick to Jesus' tongue, so it may have been a time of meditation, a time of special communion; with his Father.

This song–"A Lenten Hymn"--draws the comparison between Jesus' forty days in the desert and the forty days of Lent. Traditionally, the Lenten season is a time of fasting. People "give up" something for Lent. The idea is not punish ourselves, but to put aside something that may distract us from our communion with God. It is a time for special devotion to God, a time when He may "abide with use" in a special way. Lent is a time to refocus on our relationship with Christ.

Lent is a season of intensified self-examination and repentance. While these practices are part of regular Christian life year-round, we give them special attention during Lent to assure they do not devolve into mere rote activities.

One of the long-established spiritual practices in Christianity, championed by Ignatius of Loyola (a Spanish reformer and contemporary of John Calvin, who sought to reform the Roman church from within), .is a discipline of self-examination and repentance Ignatius called examen. Lent is a most appropriate season for Christians to engage this daily practice of taking inventory of our lives and resolving prayerfully to grow spiritually.

In his daily spiritual exercises, Ignatius invites us to begin each morning reminding ourselves of the "defects" in our lives we hope to amend today. At midday we take a first inventory. How has today gone so far with regard to the amendments we are seeking to make in our lives? Finally, at the end of the day, a full examen is undertaken: Where today did we experience a special awareness of Christ's presence and· transforming power, and where did we feel absent from him? We thank God for the places where we can discern our Lord's presence with us, and repent for those' places where we strayed from the way of Jesus.

Lent offers an opportunity to begin a daily practice of examen that might not be so thorough but is nevertheless powerful. This "entry-level" practice might consist at first of taking time each evening in Lent to list the consolations and desolations of the day, lifting them up to the Lord in prayers of thanksgiving, confession, and repentance. Some will find it helpful to share their consolations and desolations with friends or family members who serve as prayer partners; others will want to keep a daily journal listing the flow of consolations and desolations they have encountered.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

If Your Friends Were To Meet Alicia Pownall

If your friends were to meet Jesus, would they be able to say that they have already met? Furthermore, would they act like best buddies because of their deep relationship? Bringing them or even yourself to God during the teenage years can be tough, but with others your same age doing the same, right along side makes it much easier. The Tuscarora Presbyterian Church Youth Ministry is a great way for you and your friends to grow in God with others your own age. At the Sunday meetings, the youth enjoy games, fellowship, and helping in the community. Also some more active playing is often involved. Snow tubing is on the agenda for this month which will be on Monday, February 23 at 5 o’clock, meeting at the Spring Mills Rocs Convenience Store. The tubing facility is awesome at Whitetail, and this adventure with Christ’s’ followers is awaited each year. Either youth leader, Michelle Fox (258-9799) or Becky Jones (263-8080) should be notified for more information or to let them know you are planning on coming. So if you are looking for a magnificent journey into becoming closer to God, there is no better way than to join our youth group at Tuscarora Presbyterian Church.