This will be Rev. Jim Rudd’s final column for NEast Philly. We wish him all the best as he focuses his attention on his True Vine Church Community in Wissinoming.
Have you ever met a person who has opinions on every topic under the sun, whether they are informed or not? Or maybe a person who dominated every conversation so that no one else could get a word in?
Have you ever had to settle conflict with a person who seemed more interested in being heard than listening? Have you ever been that person? I have.
There is an old Jewish proverb that says, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in
expressing his opinion.”
According to this proverb, I have known many fools and at times have played the role of the fool. continue reading »
When someone asks you who you are, how do you respond? The question, Who am I? is brief, but
profound. The question and its answer get to the core of our being.
Our response to the question, Who am I? reveals how we identify ourselves, or what we perceive to
be our identity.
continue reading »
This morning I made myself a cup of coffee. Because it was early in the morning and I was still not fully awake, I made a mistake. Once the coffee has been brewed, I poured it into my mug, all the way to the top. Not wanting to waste any of the coffee, I filled the mug to the very top, almost overflowing it.
The mistake was, I had left no room for coffee creamer or cream and sugar. What’s more, I had filled the mug so full that I couldn’t even carry it without spilling it. In my desire to not waste a drop of coffee, I had filled my cup too full to add anything else, as well as move without spilling it.
The mistake I made with the cup of coffee is a mistake that we often make with our lives. In an attempt to not waste a single moment, we fill our lives so full of activilty and busy-ness that there is no room for anything else. Sometimes our lives are so full that even the slightest movement can cause us to spill. continue reading »
P-A-I-N. Pain is a four-letter word. Almost everyone dislikes pain. Often we run from it, avoid it or medicate it.
Whatever it takes to avoid pain, we will do it. In my opinion, however, pain has gotten bad rap. Most people avoid pain because we associate it with negative experiences.
Where I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, we experienced tornado watches and warnings on a weekly basis during the summer months. At least two to three times a week we would be interrupted by the loud siren of a tornado watch/warning. Over the course of time I began to hate the sound of that siren because I always associated it with severe and dangerous weather. But the reality is that without that siren warning us, many of us would have been harmed and some may have even lost their lives.
While no one really enjoys pain, it does have a role. Pain plays the role of a warning system in our lives. When someone leans over a hot stovetop, they immediately feel pain. That sensation of pain warns them that they are in danger. If they didn’t feel physical pain, they might continue leaning over the stove until they smell their own burning flesh.
There is a actually a bacterial disease called Hansen’s Disease that causes our nerves to prevent us from feeling physical pain. It can often be fatal because it prevents people from feeling pain that warns them of injury.
For instance, someone with Hansen’s Disease may step on a rusty nail and walk around with it in their foot all day because they are unable to feel pain. Before long they will have lost their foot to an infection. The same is true of burns, cuts and contusions. Often times people with Hansen’s Disease will lose limbs from un-felt injuries that go un-treated. Hansen’s Disease is also know as Leprosy.
When we choose to ignore the emotional pain that we feel, we create a form of emotional leprosy. We begin to let things go untreated and may eventually lose parts of our emotions all together. continue reading »
I am still a relatively new dad. I have one child and he is only about 11 months old. Most of my parenting philosophy is still only theoretical. Try as I might, 11 month olds don’t respond to instruction very well. I’m looking forward to gaining some first-hand knowledge on the nuts and bolts of parenting.
One concept that I anticipate having to apply is the contrast between acceptance and approval – one of the major misunderstandings that causes a great deal of emotional pain is our failure to understand the difference between the two.
When it comes to my son, he has my complete and total acceptance. It doesn’t matter what path he takes in life, I will always accept him as my son. There is nothing that he can do to increase or decrease his identity as my son. It’s already firmly established, because of his relationship to me. It will never change.
Acceptance, however, differs from approval. If my son should choose a life of crime he will still have my acceptance, but he will not have my approval. I think most parents understand what I am talking about. We may not always approve of our child’s behavior, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are still our child. continue reading »
In Greek mythology there is a deity named Atlas. Most people know Atlas as the deity responsible for bearing the entire Earth on his shoulders. What most people don’t know is that Atlas assumed that fate as a punishment, not a responsibility. Most artistic renderings of this myth demonstrate that Atlas is not enjoying his task of bearing the entire world on his shoulders.
Sometimes it may feel like we can relate to Atlas. We may figuratively feel like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. We often call this emotion “stress.”
Medical science has demonstrated that emotional stress can have a damaging effect on the body. Stress can lead to ulcers, high blood pressure, loss of sleep, overeating or even addictions. The connection between the emotional and the physical is too strong to ignore.
Like Atlas experienced, stress often comes from feeling like the entire world is weighing down on us. Mortgage payments, deadlines, family issues and a struggling economy can cause us to become wrapped up in issues that we have no solution for. continue reading »
When it comes to our emotions, sometimes health is hard to gauge. Our emotions are abstract and at times difficult to understand. Unlike physical health, it’s difficult to tell just how emotionally healthy someone really is.
For my purposes in this column, I will be using two standards to determine emotional health: continue reading »
Every year I take my truck to a mechanic to get inspected. Inevitably there are minor (and sometimes major) maintenance issues that need to be addressed by the mechanic. Sometimes I have to describe a problem to the mechanic and ask for his input because I don’t have the knowledge necessary to diagnose the problem.
The same is true with regular physical exams. People often show up at a doctors office with symptoms to report, but no idea what is causing the symptoms to manifest. Most people do not have the ability to diagnose internal medical issues. The same principle that applies to automotive and medical diagnostics also applies to our emotional state. Many people can report emotional symptoms, but have no idea what is causing them to feel the way they feel internally. continue reading »