Archive for November, 2018

Continuing the concept that we all, daily, exercise faith, our daily lives become our practice of religion. Religion, now, takes on a much larger perspective than just the many names of various “World Religions”. Religion describes one’s philosophy of life based upon their source of truth. Religion begins at the point of union of the faith-trust-truth triad or what the more conventional religions would call,“god.”

An example of this philosophical truth construct may be found expressed in the Christian Bible by their Messiah-God, Jesus Christ, “Do not store up for yourselves wealth (treasures; figurative or literal) here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and burglars break in and steal. Instead, store up for yourselves wealth in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and burglars do not break in or steal. For where your wealth is, there your heart will be also.” (the book of Matthew, chapter 6, verses 19-21) Treasures on earth are those things one sees as truth, yet, as such, these things cannot be expressions of faith by the very nature of their visibility. Faith becomes expressed when the treasures are stored in Heaven for Heaven is not seen but received in truth. The nexus of trust is expressed with, “…where your wealth is, there your heart will be also.”

Faith is not the issue, as religion is the practice of one’s faith founded in truth. Faith is tightly bound to how and where one defines their truth. If truth is defined by one’s experience, then the experience need only be changed to alter the truth. If truth were not absolute and indisputable, there would be no basis for trust. A denial of absolute truth has grown. Over the past decades, one can see the erosion of trust that has occurred between our leaders at all levels of government, as well as between individuals throughout the world. We, as a nation, are arriving at this point, no trust, as we no longer recognize absolute truth among ourselves. How much more are the world’s people in danger when America loses its common trust?

Our nation has deteriorated from a founding people with faith, based in a deity as absolute truth, to a people trying to survive by having faith in their fellow man, and finally, to the point where great numbers of Americans base their faith in their individuality, so, no longer trust each other. A way forward is for Americans to remember that our nation was founded by men and women who, like us, were flawed in their character, yet, in faith, reached beyond time, place and strength to realize the existence of absolute truth. They trusted each other, albeit with great societal tension, because their faith led them to undeniable truth, as expressed in the preamble to the Declaration of independence of the United States, 1776:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their creator with certain, unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Faith, when held in conjunction with absolute truth, defines trust.

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As we have seen in part 1 of this discussion, there seems to be two kinds of truth; that which mankind establishes and that which transcends perceived experience. Mathematically, we have a problem if we allow two truths to define the same point of an idea or fact. If we say that truth is indisputable but demand that it be verifiable, then faith is not exercised; the triad of faith-trust-truth is incomplete.

The position taken by religion, when viewed as a philosophy, is that everything one believes is derived from faith built on trust, which may or may not be found in absolute truth. Modern science, as a religion, takes the realist view that truth is derived only from that which may be observed, while denying or ignoring the faith that underlies any law or theorem. Post-modernism, practiced as a religion, denies the existence of absolute truth, as such, the nexus in trust by faith and truth is destroyed. The end-result for the post-modern thinker is the loss of trust.

Suddenly, faith becomes ubiquitous within our existence. When we drop an object, do we expect it to ever fail to fall toward the earth…but, you say, “Scientifically, I know the object will drop. I have seen it drop every day of my life. The dropping object has been documented for several millennia by others, as well as on the Moon.”? Are you exercising faith or observation? Are you able to observe a dropping object in all the conditions that are possible in the universe? Yet, because of our limited observations, we say that gravity is an absolute, a truth. We, often, make absolute statements without considering the underpinning principle(s) of faith that those statements are built upon.

Why do you close your eyes when you sleep? The general psychological understanding as to why humans close their eyes when they sleep is that there is a “sense” of safety about the act of closing one’s eyes to sleep. Ask any soldier that has served on a battlefront how difficult it was to close their eyes, much less, sleep. Have a conversation with someone who has difficulty breathing regarding how difficult it is for them to close their eyes and sleep. This individual has no assurance they will continue to breathe if they close their eyes. These two examples are of individuals who have little or no “sense” of safety.

Basically, we close our eyes to sleep because we have a “sense” (faith) of safety (trust) that the earth will continue to turn (truth) on its axis appearing to make the sun rise so we may enjoy a new day. Where does this faith come from? We have no guarantee that the earth will continue to turn, yet, we trust that the earth will turn. Where does the trust come from? Perhaps, due to the repeated event, we develop a false trust upon which we can balance our faith and wrongly deduced truth.

Faith is all we have to function with and, in so doing, live religious lives.

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When I first heard his name, I said, just as you are going to say, “But I thought    he was a boy?” “So did I,” said Christopher Robin. “Then you can’t call him Winnie?” “I don’t.” “But you said—” “He’s Winnie-ther-Pooh. Don’t you know what ‘ther’ means?” “Ah, yes, now I do,” I said quickly; and I hope you do too, because it is all the explanation you are going to get.  (“Winnie the Pooh” A.A. Milne, 2009, p. 1)

So many times, in life this is all one hears, “…because it is all the explanation you are going to get.” That statement seems to be not very helpful, especially when one is trying to find the truth about something or someone. This statement demands that one exercise faith in whoever said it, that truth is being stated. Maybe faith and truth are drawn from the same idea?

The online dictionary, Dictionary.com, defines faith as 1) confidence or trust in a person or thing; 2) belief that is not based on proof; 3) belief in God or in the doctrines of teachings of religion; 4) belief in anything as a code of ethics; etc.

The same source defines truth as 1) the true or actual state of a matter; 2) conformity with fact or reality; 3) a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like, e.g., mathematical truths; 4) the state or character of being true….8) ideal or fundamental reality apart from and transcending perceived experience. Interestingly this same source describes the origin of the word, ‘truth’, as derived from the Old English word, treowth, which is a cognate of the Old Norse word, tryggth, meaning faith.

I talk to a lot of people in the course of a week. Quite often the word faith comes into our conversations. Almost all the time the understanding by the one who hears the word, faith, is that I am speaking of the Christian religion. Perhaps this is because I am a Chaplain, but I know that other religions work in faith and I suspect that the word, faith, has a significantly broader application.

Using the Christian understanding of faith, the book of Hebrews from the Bible reads, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”(11:1 King James Version); from a Jewish-Christian perspective: “Trusting is being confident of what we hope for, convinced about things we do not see.”(11:1 Complete Jewish Bible) I find it very interesting that the word, faith, is equated with the concept of trust. Apparently, there exists a conceptual relationship between these two words, faith and truth. The nexus for faith and truth is trust.

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Reflective of my wanderings for the past several years, I, apparently, have a two year publishing cycle!! This cycle is about to change. Great news, today! I am announcing the opening of “Shepherd’s Care” (SC). The focus of SC is to provide Pastoral Counseling and / or professional Chaplaincy services to all who ask. The links to SC will be primarily on Facebook and then here, on The Friend of Pooh.

A Pastoral Counselor is an individual that has been trained in basic counseling techniques who stays within an overarching framework consistent with their faith. I am an evangelical Christian, so, my framework would be the Holy Bible.

A professional Chaplain has usually been through 4 units of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education), approximately 1600 hours of training and been certified by a nationally recognized accreditation group. In my case, I am certified by the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy and the Spiritual Care Association. I am trained to use my belief system to inform me as how to help a client resolve their conflicts, using their own belief system. As a professional Chaplain, it is not my place to force my beliefs onto a client.

A Pastoral Counselor will use tools to help guide an individual to resolve life conflicts they are experiencing through 6-8 counseling sessions (a technique known as Brief Therapy). A professional Chaplain will help an individual to use tools they do not necessarily realize they have, to find their solutions to their issues.

Check out the links to see my Facebook page, Sermons (yes, I need to update it!) and Koinonia Health website. I hope we can get together for whatever your needs are or you will refer this site to others that may be in need of someone trained to listen effectively. If you follow this site, you will receive notification of new posts (yes, significantly more frequently than every two years!) and asked to chime in on any topic you desire to speak too.

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the emptiness statue

“Emptiness” Original artist : Albert György Bronze Statue located at Lake Geneva, Switzerland

The Holiday Season can be a tough emotional time for those who have experienced loss. A loss doesn’t always mean a loss of a loved one, instead, it could refer to a loss of a life situation or deeply held personal possession; possibly the loss of a dearly held               friendship. What follows are some thoughts from the Harvard Health Letter   regarding strategies for dealing with this season.
Certainly, if you need someone to talk to during this time, please, contact me. If I can’t help you, I probably know someone who can.


POSTED DECEMBER 24, 2011, 9:13 AM , UPDATED DECEMBER 01, 2017, 4:19 PM
Anthony Komaroff, M.D.
Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

Family and togetherness are key themes for the holidays. That can make the holidays awfully difficult for people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. My father passed away a month before the holidays. We still shared presents, ate large meals, visited with friends, even sang carols—but it was all pretty subdued.

“If the grief is fresh, holiday cheer can seem like an affront. Celebrations may underscore how alone people feel,” notes my colleague Dr. Michael Miller former editor of Harvard Mental Health Letter.

Although grief is nearly universal, it expresses itself in many different ways, and sometimes resembles major depression. Frequent crying spells, depressed mood, sleep disturbances, and loss of appetite are common during the bereavement process.

Grief is not a tidy, orderly process, and there is no right way to grieve. Every person—and every family—does it differently. This can cause emotions to collide and overlap, especially during the holiday season when the emphasis is on rebirth and renewal.

Here are the strategies recommended in the Harvard Mental Health Letter that may help you or someone you know who is grieving cope with the holidays:

1) Start a new tradition. During a holiday dinner, place a lighted candle on the dinner table, leave an empty chair, or say a few words of remembrance.

2) Change the celebration. Go out to dinner instead of planning an elaborate meal at home. Or schedule a trip with friends.

3) Express your needs. People who are grieving may find it hard to participate in all the festivities or may need to let go of unsatisfying traditions. It’s all right to tell people you just aren’t up to it right now or to change plans at the last minute. I remember that my sister did not join in singing carols, the holidays after our father died.

4) Help someone else. It may also help to volunteer through a charitable or religious organization. Make a donation to a favorite cause in memory of the person who died. In retrospect, I wish I had done this during that sad holiday.

5) Give yourself time. The grieving process doesn’t neatly conclude at the six-month or one-year mark. Depending on the strength of the bond that was broken, grief can be life-long. Nevertheless, grief does usually soften and change over time. With time, the holidays will become easier to handle.

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