Tuesday, October 24, 2017

John Maynard Keynes

“When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?” 
“The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds.” 
“Only with absolute fearlessness can we slay the dragons of mediocrity that invade our gardens.” 
“Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assaults of thought on the unthinking.” 
“The day is not far off when the economic problem will take the back seat where it belongs, and the arena of the heart and the head will be occupied or reoccupied, by our real problems -- the problems of life and of human relations, of creation and behavior and religion.”
“It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.” 
“Ideas shape the course of history.” 
“Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally.” 
“When somebody persuades me I am wrong, I change my mind.”
“The commonest virtues of the individual are often lacking in the spokesmen of nations; a statesman representing not himself but his country may prove, without incurring excessive blame—­as history often records—­vindictive, perfidious, and egotistic.”

In remembrance - 7/7/2017

When Great Trees Fall  
Maya Angelou
When great trees fall, 
rocks on distant hills shudder, 
lions hunker down 
in tall grasses, 
and even elephants 
lumber after safety.
When great trees fall 
 in forests, 
small things recoil into silence, 
their senses 
eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die, 
the air around us 
becomes light, rare, sterile. 
We breathe, briefly. 
Our eyes, briefly, 
see with a hurtful clarity. 
Our memory, suddenly sharpened, 
gnaws on kind words 
promised walks 
never taken.
Great souls die and 
our reality, bound to 
them, takes leave of us. 
Our souls, 
dependent upon their nurture, 
now shrink, wizened. 
Our minds, formed 
 and informed by their 
fall away. 
We are not so much maddened 
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance 
of dark, cold 
And when great souls die, 
after a period peace blooms, 
slowly and always 
irregularly. Spaces fill 
 with a kind of 
soothing electric vibration. 
Our senses, restored, never 
to be the same, whisper to us. 
They existed. They existed. 
We can be. Be and be 
better. For they existed.

No Wrong Way Home (18 June)


Knee bend (20 May)

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”
- Max Lucado

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

On ignorance

Was reading quotes on ignorance and found some gems. 

“It's an universal law-- intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Collected Works

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
― Frederick Douglass

“When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results.”
― Warren Buffett

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Reverence for God

This morning, I was late for service and was running hard from the UberPool car to the hall (part of my exercise regime, perhaps). Thank God that I didn't miss much because my pastor cut short the worship at the beginning of the service to start his message earlier and left the worship right to the end. When I went in, it was one last song, the offering and then his sermon.

My former and current pastors are not pastors who preach soft doctrines to tickle our ears. They lay out the hard truths that sometimes make me squirm in my seat. 

I miss my former pastor a lot because of his humility, love, directness, grace and the powerful anointing of the supernatural in him. God probably has a different season for my church now because he sent a Word-based teacher-pastor to succeed my former pastor. Along with that came a different focus and the inevitable departure of some parts of the congregation; however, I am seeing some new faces appearing in my church and it is becoming more cosmopolitan.

This morning's message reminded me why I also like my current pastor a lot. It was hard-hitting. His main message was that true worship is giving glory to God. 

He referred to the tabernacle of God that included three areas: the outer court, the inner court and the holy of holies. To get into the holy of holies, where the glory of God dwelt, there are two main keys: purification and sacrifice - a stripping down of everything that hinders us from God and an offering of ourselves to God. What can we offer to God? My first thought was a visual image of my heart in flames on the bronze altar of burnt offering. That’s what I would give.

In between, he said some things that made me laugh in my seat because they were so reflective of the modern church. 

He noted that sometimes people will come up to ask him why the worship team didn’t play their favourite song or why the worship team today was not good and so on and so forth. He told us that “please... they are not singing for you, you know? They are singing for God.”

People always wanted to see him but that 99% of the time, they wanted to talk to him in order to get him to do something for them. He was wondering if God felt like that sometimes. He added that it was like a relationship where the guy wondered why the girl would want to be with him, only to realise finally that the girl was with him because of what he can give her.

True worship does not anticipate some benefit. Rather it anticipates the pleasure of God.

He ended his sermon and then we just went into such a long period of praise and worship and before he dismissed the congregation, he said “we don’t have such moments often when we can sense such a strong presence of God. I hope that this encourages you to keep persevering and going into the holy of holies because that is where God’s presence is”.

PS: I felt ministered and chastened by his message because oftentimes, I’ve sauntered into the presence of God without being serious and reverential about entering into the holy of holies, and taking the worshipping of Him lightly because of complacency about His grace. It was a timely reminder to me to be serious about worshipping God. 

After the service, I think I was on a “sermon and worship were so good” high because I said “everyone, have a good day ahead” to my UberPool passengers as I alighted at Paragon and then proactively engaged in a conversation with an elderly couple while buying cakes at Chalk Farm at the basement. Totally out of character but it felt so good. :-) 

Reference verses:
1 Peter 4:7-11
John 16:13-14
Leviticus 10:1-3
John 4:23-24
Genesis 22:2
Matthew 26:39
2 Chronicles 6:41
1 Corinthians 6:19

Picture credit: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/robertcrosby/2012/05/what-the-wilderness-tabernacle-reveals-about-intimacy/

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

We can curse the darkness or we can light a candle

We had such an amazingly honest guest speaker at the recent weekend service - Pastor Bill Wilson. I was scrambling to record his soundbites. I love it when very experienced pastors (he has been in ministry for more than 30 years) say seemingly politically incorrect statements. I don't want to hear prim and proper statements; I want to hear battle-hardened truths from those who have been in the dirty trenches for a long long time. In their words, I sense their hearts.

Bill Wilson's soundbites:
"We can curse the darkness or we can light a candle."
"I wish I was living in biblical times. Instead, I've to live today where idiots run free and I can't kill anyone without a penalty."
"I was asked if I wanted a hearing aid. I told the doctor that I've been in the ministry so long that I've heard enough. I don't need a hearing aid."
"There is no superfluous banter in the Bible. Every word in the Bible is in there for a reason."
"Don't miss the profundity that is in the simplicity of the concept."
"Jesus glows in the dark. When it gets darker, the light gets brighter."

His background: Wilson's mother abandoned him on a street corner in Pinellas Park, Florida. She said, "I can't do this anymore. You wait here, I will be back." Bill stayed on that street corner for three days, but his mother never came back. Dave Rudenis, a local mechanic and committed Christian, found him there and took him to his home. Rudenis offered to pay this young man's way to a Christian summer camp. It was during this camp that the 12-year-old Wilson committed his life to God.

He now runs America's largest ministry to children. Every Christmas eve, he goes back to that corner where his mother left him and spends the night there because he wants to remember where he came from and how a stranger came to him with God's love.

In an attempt to remain in touch with the people attending his congregation, Bill Wilson still lives in a building adjacent to his Church. He continues to walk through the often dangerous neighborhoods of Bushwick in an effort to carry on his work. Over the years, Wilson has been shot, stabbed, beaten and hospitalized numerous times and is adept at raising millions of dollars for the ministry telling stories of hardship. Yet he remains committed to the work. Bill Wilson still drives one of the hundreds of buses utilized by his ministry each week, when he is in town.