Posts Tagged With: wisdom

Falling Upward

Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr is the best book I have read in a decade, and I read a lot of books!   Richard Rohr spoke to me on every page of this short volume. I had to read it slowly, only four or five pages a day. Any more would have been too much to digest. I write in my books. I underline what I like. I place a star beside what I really like. I talk back in the margins when I disagree. I am glad to get two or three outstanding insights out of any book I read. In Falling Upward, I suppose I have 50 or more stars, which mean “Yes!” and “Amen!” Examples:

“No Pope, Bible quote, psychological technique, religious formula, book or guru can do your journey for you.”

“Resistance to change is so common, in fact, that it is almost what we expect from religious people, who tend to love the past more than the future or the present.”

“When you are in the first half of life, you cannot see any kind of failing or dying as even possible, much less as necessary or good.”

Rohr, who is a Franciscan priest, has had a similar pilgrimage, it seems to me, within Roman Catholic circles, as I’ve had within Baptist circles. As a youngster, he bought the whole package, believing every word his religion taught him, as I did. But adult realities and the shibboleths of childhood did not always fit together easily. He introduced me to the image of the “loyal soldier.” According to Rohr, when the Japanese military returned home after World War II, they were given permission, in a ceremony, to leave their soldiering behind. They had been loyal soldiers, and that had been good for their country during that period in their lives. Now their country needed them to move forward to the next step, to be farmers and merchants and craftsmen. Rohr contends that adult Christians need to be given permission to move toward mature faith, to fall upward, to be able to think for themselves and not merely to follow someone else’s orders as if they were still teenagers.

Another phrase of Rohr’s which I found helpful is “double belonger.” As teens and young adults, we work out our identities, so we claim certain tribes (I am a white, heterosexual, male evangelical Baptist Christian from South Carolina who is a Clemson graduate and who was a Young Republican in college. Other people are in different tribes. They are Hispanic or Catholic or pull for Georgia Tech or whatever…) As young adults, those categories are very important. As mature Christians, Rohr and I find them less and less valuable. We can be double-belongers! I am not required to choose sides. I can value insights from Republicans and Democrats. I would like for some of our politicians to read Rohr’s book. Being stuck in the world of either/or is not the role of a Christian. Do you really think God is either/or? Do you think God is limited to loving Baptists or Catholics, Christians or Jews or Muslims, conservatives or liberals? Teens can be forgiven such foolishness. Such bad theology from sixty-something’s is less understandable.

More quotations:

“You learn how to recover from falling by falling!”

“The only real biblical promise is that unconditional love will have the last word!”

“Every time God forgives us, God is saying that God’s own rules do not matter as much as the relationship that God wants to create with us.”

Categories: Book Review, Faith/Spirituality, Quotations | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

10 Reasons Smart People Make Stupid Decisions

10 Reasons Smart People Make Stupid Decisions

Marion D. Aldridge

1) Impatience/Impulsiveness—Some sad souls functionally deplete their IQ by impulsiveness. They speak too quickly, without thought. Unwilling to take time to think, they act abruptly, compelled to do something right now. Immediately. Behavior not considered reasonably or thoughtfully is, by definition, ill advised, rash and reckless. Counting to ten was a good idea when we were teenagers and it’s a good idea as we get older. Sleep on it. Think about it. Talk to someone you trust. Slow down.

2) Alcohol and Drugs—The Internet is crowded with sometimes comical, but sometimes awful, “FAIL” sites. After watching a series of YouTube fiascos involving golf carts, ask yourself, “You reckon alcohol was involved?” It might be funny on video, but people make idiotic decisions every day (“Hey, watch this!”) because of diminished faculties due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs. Sometimes it’s witty. Sometimes it’s dangerous and deadly. Substance abusers may have native intelligence, but they are no longer as smart as they think they are.

3) Raging Hormones—Teenagers, of course, don’t always think straight. Their hormones are out of control. Some fully-grown men and women continue to make bad decision after bad decision because they think with body parts other than their brains. This might be called bone-headed.

4) Prejudice—Prejudging a situation or a person before you have factual information is unwise. It’s irrational. Not trusting black people or white people or women or men or doctors or lawyers is a self-limiting choice. A prudent person keeps options open. Always agreeing with a political party or religious dogma or even your best friend is not the path to smart decision-making. If you are open only to half the choices available, then you are a half-wit.

5) Physical (and/or Mental) Laziness—“I don’t want to change. I’m comfortable here on the couch.” The man who would have been the best general in the history of the world may be alive and well in Nebraska, but he never joined the army, so no one knows of his military genius. The woman who would have been the greatest artist ever may have had good intentions, but she never picked up a paintbrush. The individual who might have found the cure for cancer decided not to do her homework in college, and dropped out. Being incapacitated because of a birth defect is far more understandable than being mindless or dull due to lethargy.

6) Peer Pressure—Not limited to childhood and adolescence, bullying continues throughout our lives. When we lack courage, acquiescing and going along with a bad idea because of another’s strong personality, we haven’t used our brains as we should have. Some intelligent individuals have proven to be morally defective by dumbing down their own honest opinions when an obnoxious know-it-all intimidates them. We might as well be ignorant if we lack courage and live as cowards.

7) Addictions—Any activity that causes us to function thoughtlessly and reactively deprives us of our full capacity to think, reason, analyze, and make good decisions. Collecting anything from sports memorabilia to silver teapots can tempt shopaholics to spend money they can’t afford. Incurring such debt is dumb. Devoting time to an addiction, whether it’s obsessive cell phone use or gambling at bingo five nights a week, can take you away from more constructive activities.

8) Anger—Think of the terms used to describe an enraged person: She is beside herself; she lost her head; he bit my head off; he was ready to eat someone alive; he gave someone a piece of his mind (and he didn’t have any to spare); she jumped down her friend’s throat. None of those describe someone who is happily functioning at full capacity. An individual who has lost control and lost reasoning power is, at least temporarily, senseless.

9) Chaos—Disorganization is an enemy of clear thinking. That doesn’t mean smart people can’t have a cluttered desk, or misplace their car keys, but the more energy an individual spends in clutter reduction, the less energy they invest on a needed focus. It’s simple arithmetic. If I have an hour’s worth of math problems to solve, and I spend 15 of those minutes looking for my pencil, paper, or textbook, then I won’t get but 45 minutes worth of the work done. That’s only a 75% success rate before I even begin the project. Not so smart. Muddle-headed.

10) Unwilling to Listen—Getting stuck on an opinion is forfeiting part of your IQ and detrimental to the successful pursuit of knowledge. In fact, when a prideful person is mentally, emotionally or spiritually unmovable, obstinate, there is no pursuit of knowledge. They are limited to only one tool which may not be the one needed. Discounting or filtering out other valid options is distorted thinking. A position is grabbed, held onto, and all other points of view are stubbornly ignored. Thick-skulled. The individual may be smart, but has unnecessary limitations. Nonsense.

Categories: Faith/Spirituality, Family, Health, Lists/Top Ten | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

We Admitted We Were Powerless…


You don’t have to get on an airplane or traverse an ocean to make discoveries. About twenty-five years ago, I began visiting church basements and other community rooms where, once or twice each week, men and women gathered to talk about what life is like living with addiction. A counselor friend recommended that every pastor, teacher, social worker and nurse should attend Al-Anon meetings, so I began going.

I became a fan of Twelve Step groups, the most famous of which is Alcoholics Anonymous. Other “self-help” groups related to or similar to AA include Overeaters Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Alateen and Al-Anon.

Al-Anon is designed for family members and friends of those who have addiction and/or dependency problems.

“Hi. My name is … .”

“Hi … .”

My life was changed by listening to the wisdom of people who dealt daily with problems they faced as family or friend to someone with an addiction. Here are some lessons learned from Al Anon meetings:

• Don’t overreact. Don’t underreact. React Appropriately.
• Fake it till you make it.
• First things first.
• How important is it?
• I can’t start the next chapter of life if I keep re-reading the last one.
• I don’t have to go to every fight I’m invited to.
• I’m not as good as I once thought I was, and I’m not as bad as I sometimes think I am.
• It’s like getting rid of an alley cat. You don’t have to kick it. Just don’t feed it.
• Let go and let God.
• Mind your own business.
• Nothing changes if nothing changes.
• One day at a time.
• Tend to your own affairs.
• The only thing that’s the end of the world is the end of the world.
• We are powerless over alcohol… and powerless over the people in our lives who are addicted to alcohol or to anything else…

When I attend church, I know there is some sort of pain on every pew. When I attend Al-Anon meetings, I know there is pain in every chair.

It is important to say I do not represent AA or Al-Anon or any other Twelve-Step group. This blog represents my desire to share something important in my life with friends. Anonymity of participants is vital. It’s in the name! At the same time, the twelfth step encourages us to “carry these steps” beyond ourselves. My motivation came when a friend with whom I was talking said she had never heard of Al-Anon. This blog is my effort to say how important this program has been to me.

Meetings begin and end with the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.


Categories: addiction, Faith/Spirituality, Family, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Available for Workshops, Retreats, Banquets, Sermons– Marion D. Aldridge

Close up Hilton Head photo MDA

Marion Aldridge …

Wisdom, humor, Exuberance, Faith…

“…is like your favorite old pair of slippers… honest introspection with himself and his world. His light has a unique brightness.” Craig Williamson, Pastor

“…combines wisdom, wit, and insight.’ Mark Tidsworth, President, Pinnacle Leadership Associates

Available for Workshops, Retreats, Banquets, Sermons
Marion D. Aldridge

Marion D. Aldridge is a popular preacher, public speaker, workshop leader and award-winning writer. Dr. Aldridge is author of numerous books and hundreds of articles on topics including religion, sports, travel, humor and personal growth.
In workshops, sermons and retreats, Dr. Aldridge’s primary life mission has been to help others “get unstuck.” Overcoming Adolescence is a memoir and self-help book about his own pilgrimage:

Marion Aldridge …

“… is my ‘go to man’ when I need someone to speak on a specific issue.” James Goudelock, Chaplain and Pastor

“… both cheerleader and prophet… keen insight into life.” Jay Kieve, Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of SC

“… will challenge, delight, inspire, and enrich.” Randy Wright, Chaplain

“… speaks and writes with deep conviction… a love of God and creation.” Jim Catoe

“… authentic voice… a message of personal growth. If he has something to say, I always listen. Brenda Kneece, Ecumenical Minister

“… sees with eyes wide open, and helps us all to see more clearly…unique and unassuming… depth and clarity.” Tony Vincent, Associate Minister

“… loves life! … grace and joy… laughter and honest reflection. In other words, his love of life is contagious!” Beth McConnell, Pastor

Categories: Faith/Spirituality, Family, Health, Humor, Travel, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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