Month: April 2014

Enemies and Friends

2004 vacation 095A Minister, a Rabbi and an Imam (No, it’s not the opening line of a joke) discuss the friendship that they share as leaders of people from differing religious ideologies.  It’s well worth the ten-minute listen.


How To Successfully Conduct Interfaith Dialogue



“The Lie About Sticks & Stones”

2004-vacation-0951.jpg(Please take the poll at the end of the post)

The old adage “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a bald-faced lie.

In fourth grade I broke my left wrist playing sandlot football.  The initial pain was intense but soon faded.  Now, it’s actually a fond memory.  I hurt myself doing something fun.

In second grade my family moved to a new town and I discovered immediately that the playground culture of my new school was different from that of my previous school.  During recess at my first school we played “army” chasing each other around the playground engaging in imaginary gunfights.

My second school was different.  We didn’t play army, we played kickball, a form of baseball using a soccer ball that was rolled and then kicked rather than pitched and then hit with a bat.  I understood nothing of that game or of any sport for that matter so, predictably, my initial performance in kickball was below par.  Knowing the amount of grace offered by schoolchildren you can imagine my humiliation.  The verbal shots and angry glares were by far more painful and damaging than the broken bones and sprains I would later sustain.  My spiritual injuries were deeper and longer lasting than any of my sprains, cuts or fractured bones.  They affected my self-perception for many years.

Sticks and Stones Mouth

Over time as my athletic ability developed and I enjoyed some success I continued to doubt myself.  In fact, the subconscious affects from the spiritual damage caused me to spend much of my life doubting my ability to do anything well.

Like anyone, I sustained additional injuries, both physical and emotional and can confirm that the emotional wounds have been more damaging.

I believe this is a result of the fact that physical wounds affect our body, our shell.  Emotional wounds on the other hand injure our spirit and are more difficult to identify and locate making them more difficult to treat.  The encouragement of family and friends, a better understanding of people as a whole and my faith in Jesus has resulted in healing but still the emotional wounds outlasted any of the physical ones.  Sadly, I am confident that many adults are still under the influence of long past wounds to the spirit.  Until a few years ago, it is unlikely that I would have publically revealed even this small glimpse into my soul.  I am much better now, thank you.

The mental health maladies suffered which lead to such tragedies as Columbine, Sandy Hook and Fort Hood often cause more damage than sticks and stones.  I won’t include Alex Hribal’s attack in Murrysville, PA on that list until a motive is uncovered.  However, I suspect that ultimately we will discover a deeply damaged spirit.

Let’s stow the verbal sticks and stones and release an onslaught of encouraging words toward everyone, especially those whom we least favor.