Category Archives: Ideas

QFBR: Why Certainty is Sometimes Certainly Wrong

Person:  Peter Enns
Place: The mind
Thing: Book – The Sin of Certainty
Idea: A bunch of Christians might get sad reading this book.  Maybe they’ll weep or get steaming mad and gnash their teeth. According to Enns, the rock-solid certainty many segments of Christianity seek—is a sin.  Clutch your church pearls, your beads and your prayer cloths folks, and I’ll explain what he says:

Faith has nothing to do with knowing rules and tenets of what you believe. Faith is about actual trust in God. It’s also about distinguishing between knowing doctrine and trusting the God of whatever denomination to which you adhere. Enns says separating the two is key to a deeper, abiding Christian faith experience.

Christians seem certain about everything. What happens when people die, how the world developed, how the world will end. But with so many denominations and interpretations of scripture, someone’s certainty is certainly faulty. Doubt is cast as an enemy to be avoided… and vanquished if it pops up anywhere. Peter Enns writes that doubt isn’t the enemy a Christian should fear. Doubt is something to be faced head on… not as a warrior, but an explorer. Doubt’s pain and uncertainty, if explored, can be a means to develop trust. (I imagine trusting God is the entire point of being a Christian…)

Ditching certainty at all costs can unsettle and challenge faith…  It’s a lack of certainty that can make a person cut and run or stand firm (or curl up in a writhing ball) and insist “ I’m going to trust God anyway.”  THAT seems more demonstrative of faith than running down a list of creeds.  It’s certainly more Christian than shafting and bad-mouthing fellow believers who dare rethink faith as something bigger than reciting fundamental beliefs.  But maybe that’s too much of a challenge to some Christian communities. Knowing what you believe is nice (Enns insists knowing those beliefs is not a sin) but it’s never, ever better than trusting God in all matters… even the ones that seem counterintuitive, stupid and senseless. Doubt forces us to look deeper then our tenets  and find, define, and refine a relationship with the divine through difficult moments.

Ends insists God is still God, even if and when we get pissed off at Him… or Her… (or Him/Her).  Enns challenges readers not to fake like all is good when we’re mad at God. Just be mad, but work through the mess to find a closer, trusting connection with God. Trust is a habit you won’t find in a doctrine book. Folks just have to live it because (as the books subtitle says) “God desires our trust more than our beliefs.”

This is a highly recommended book because:

  1. It’s controversial… I imagine this might ruffle some stuffy fundamentalist feathers (and I say this as a Christian).
  2. It’s also a fun and thought-provoking read that might make someone reconsider another aspect of what it means to “have faith.”

 

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Quick-Fast Book Review: Think Like a Man; Act Like a Lady

Person: Steve Harvey
Thing: Book—Think Like a Man; Act Like a Lady
Place:  The dating world
Idea:   When it comes to dating, heterosexual women just need to give up. Not on men, but give up on hoping and praying men will “act right.” Often times, “acting right” means men should start acting like the dudes in a woman’s fantasy land.. which can be her mind.

Ain’t. Gonna. Happen. That’s the word according to Steve Harvey.

In this book, which is an easy and pleasant read, Harvey insists men are simple creatures. If women learned about and accepted what drives men, and how their ways of expressing love are different from the ways women tend to show love, things could be better in that arena.

But women need to accept the differences.

This book, when distilled to its essence, is a handy checklist of things to remember while navigating  romantic relationships.

If a man loves you, he’ll profess it, provide for you, and protect you. And Harvey says a man only needs three things from a woman he loves: Your support, loyalty, and “the cookie” (yet another way to say “good lovin’” or sexual healing).

Just don’t expect him to engage you like your girlfriends do.

He ain’t them.

If you want one man’s perspective, and a funny one at that, pick up this book. Take or leave his advice, but (IMHO) there’s something to be said about taking advice about men… from a man.

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Don’t get jacked! How to: Fall, stay and renew on love’s pathway

Person: Joe Beam
Thing: Book—The Art of Falling in Love: Four Steps to Falling in Love, Staying in Love, Renewing Lost Love
Place:  Your life, my life, and the mind of anyone looking to find or maintain a love relationship.
Idea:   Love isn’t a willy-nilly concept for the weak-minded or faint of heart. In my humble opinion, love is a state of mind, state of being, and there are practical steps to fall, stay, and renew lost love—at any stage of the love cycle.

We’re continuing our sappy love salute with books that could be categorized as “How not to jack up your relationship.”

For those folks lookin’ for love—some suggestions that may help you—while decreasing the likelihood of you losing your mind in the process.

This week’s book–“The Art of Falling in Love” is for anyone who wants to know how not to get emotionally jacked up while seeking a relationship.

There’s one chapter that really resonates with me—the one called “Craving for Caring.” Beam breaks down the ways to satisfy that craving on what he calls the “Pathway to Love.” Those four steps are:

  • Attraction
  • Acceptance
  • Attachment
  • Aspiration

Everyone wants someone with appeal—emotional, physical, intellectual—and from that attraction, we then accept the person as they are. But in order to find acceptance from another, you must accept yourself first. Not the picture you want to be, but the person you actually are. By accepting you, hopefully those attracted to you will actually like you, and not a snapshot of your highlighted best angles… that that carefully constructed persona meant for public consumption.

However, we still have no control over the picture of us someone else may paint in his or her own mind. It is up to that person to ask him/herself if they are attracted to the real person or who they perceive this person should be.

Beam says one thing that seems to contradict prior information I have read about keeping relationships alive—the idea that communication is the most important element in a relationship. Not so, says Beam. Respect is. Without respect, there can be no path to love.

He also discusses a concept called Limerence—which is that almost obsessive, emotionally charged high over—not a joint—but over a person, or the limerent object. And limerence is powerful. It’s only based on passion and perfection. Passionate feelings and a blemish-free view of the object. Sometimes limerence happens when two people are single. Beware though—because a limerent may also be married—and if this passion is not held in check, a man or woman in limerence may destroy a long-standing union in favor of the temporary high this infatuation brings.

Another discussion:  The bonds needed to form long-term attachments. Beam  addresses the need to understand a partner’s differences in order to meet his or her needs, and what happens if those needs are not met. Equally important, is a discussion of what sends people back down the love path—in reverse—away from love. Beam contends that any couple along the love path can restore a fractured relationship by revisiting what sent them on the path to begin with.

There’s even a chapter on productive anger, how to process it without weakening a relationship—and the role forgiveness plays in a working relationship. Follow the steps on Beam’s love path and you might find yourself aspiring together, dreaming, planning, and working to meet each other’s needs. That intimacy is where some say they want to be, but Beam says—and I agree—It. Is. Work. It’s totally intentional.

Another highly recommend read!

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Quick-Fast Book Review: Learn to recognize and drop a jerk in less time

Person: John Van Epp, PhD.
Thing: Book—How to Avoid Falling in Love With A Jerk
Place:  The Human Heart
Idea:   Van Epp says a love-interest’s jerk-like tendencies will manifest themselves within a set amount of time. And by following his suggested Relationship Attachment Model, budding relationships can maintain thoughtful balance, which decreases the likelihood of falling for a jerk.

Ahhhhh, February! Black History Month, heart health month, and the LOVE month!

Well this week’s Review is especially for all of you lonely souls—who look forward to growing to love the man or woman of your dreams! Maybe you just want a February Valentine.

This book is meant to prevent you from falling in love with a pendejo, an “a$$hole.” The title is more genteel…. “How to Avoid Falling in Love With A Jerk”.

I read the e-book version. Having fallen for a jerk or two in my past lives—when I read this, my aim was to avoid doing that again!

A few years ago, a man I went out with a few times alerted me to this book—along with one of the book’s major premises: That there is no substitute for TIME when trying to avoid falling for a jerk. How much time? Ninety days. And the author contends that 90 days is plenty good time for jerk-like patterns to reveal themselves.

Side note: In hindsight…the guy who recommended the book——was he warning me about himself? Hummm…

Van Epp says the principles in this book are part of his PICK program—that’s right—for folks trying to literally PICK a partner. If followed, the author pretty much guarantees you won’t marry a jerk! This book is chock full of acronyms—mnemonically friendly devices for you to keep handily in mind as you date.

For example:

FACES are critical in getting to know your partner:

  • Family Background
  • Attitudes and actions of the conscience
  • Compatibility potential
  • Examples of other relationships
  • Skills in relationships

Use these areas to get to know your partner, while using the RAM model—which is supposed to strip jerks clean. You’ll see a jerk for who he—or she—is. By taking time to examine FACES, you will be well informed about potential partners.

RAM stands for Relationship Attachment Model, and essentially states that there are five dynamics intrinsic to all humans. They concern how deeply one knows a person, how well you trust, rely, are committed to them, and have sexual involvement with them.

As you get to know a potential partner, you’ll find out about their background, attitudes, compatibility, etc.—and as you do, and the relationship grows. ALL relationships are based on knowledge first.   And if any of the other steps get ahead of knowledge—that puts relationship parties in a precarious situation—not necessarily physical but emotional.

You’ll have to get the book for the other nifty examples, and visual models that help make some principles easier to remember.

How to Avoid Falling In Love with a Jerk is a highly recommended read.

Next review—another love book!

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Day 6: Days off! Yes, Lord!

Who isn’t’ thankful for these?  They are a gift from the workhorse gods.

Working in the news business can be exhilarating!

But there are some days I want to bury myself in the stupidest TV shows or movies to ditch reality–even for a few  hours.  Some days life’s happenings are extremely disheartening.  By workweek’s end, I’m ready to turn off, tune out and drop away from all news reports.  I try to use my vacations to catch up with loved ones,  unplug from all news, read inspirational books and catch up on my fave reality-suspending television shows.

I am also thankful for weekends and days off so I can connect with friends.  I also  take care of the mundane… like running run through my laundry list of errands and chores—which always includes, well, loads of laundry.

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Day 5: Light-blocking curtains deserve a day of observance

When I moved into my place, blinds were all I had shielding my eyes from the outside light of day or streetlights of night.  They kept the glare off, but mercy me!  Slumber was jacked up every night!   These half-baked sleeping patterns continued for many months, and included  snoozing during daylight hours.  I actually thought I was sleeping well–at the time.

Then a Wonderful Soul bought me light-blocking curtains and offered to install them.  Awesome sauce!

Glorious was that first night of sleep without the glow of streetlamps worming in between the blind slats!

Then I slept during the day.  That, too, was glorious!

As the India.Arie song says–“It’s the little things… and the joy they bring.”

[*Insert “church hands” or “jazz hands”*] Hallelujah for the small things!  I declare today a personal day of thanks for light-blocking curtains!

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Day 3: Grateful to learn

I’m grateful for the ability to learn new things.

Not everyone can. Time and disease can erode this ability. Neither asks for permission.

Sometimes willingness wanes, which is also tragic. In my humble opinion, as long as you’re willing to learn something new, you’ll never be washed up. Who knows if someone said this before, but I’m saying it today.

Can’t help but think about how refreshing it was to read about the retirement plans of a Los Angeles-area judge.

Lance Ito was thrust into the national spotlight during the O.J. Simpson murder trial in the 1990s. When Ito retired, it was reported his plans didn’t include much outside of learning to play guitar. Other than that, who knows what he’ll do during his retirement years. Who cares? He plans to learn and grow. And even if guitar learnin’ is all he does, that’s a-plenty.

My guess is skills like that take years to master—and practice to maintain. There’s no shortage of songs to learn, either. So guitar learning, learning different styles of play, and song learning will take up plenty of time.

I’m thankful for the ability to learn new things. Yes, people can become experts or masters, but I also think [IMHO] it’s healthy to maintain a sense of wonder and to remember education is an ongoing process—no matter how much a person thinks he or she knows. There’s always something else out there to learn. If you can learn, do learn.

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Day 2: Pleasure in a warm blanket

I’m grateful for warm blankets on cool fall days. It’s a plus if that blanket is fresh from the dryer. What a comforting sensation to have while self-swaddling in covers on crisp days or nights. The feelings of warmth, security, exhilaration, relaxation, joy, and cozy thankfulness are most welcome. It’s so beautiful to keep re-discovering such a simple pleasure still has the same effect as it did when I was a child. As an adult who is determined not to grow crotchety, such reminders are appreciated-always.

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Day 1: I’m grateful for decent health.

It seems life is a collection of great memories, friendships and lessons. It’s also a collection of ailments and pills as people march toward death. Yes, time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping… nudging away my youth while hoary strands keep pushing through more hair follicles. Even while thinking about what I would change about my life if I could re-live the past 10 years, I’m still so grateful to have decent health. Even with prescriptions and supplement orders through the years, I’m grateful for decent health. I walk. I talk. I laugh. I love. I live. And I appreciate it all.

Please follow and like Planet Noun: