Keepers of the Flame

I believe that we are keepers of the flame.

 

It seems to me that there lies within each of us a spark of goodness which glows ever so calmly as a light of love, and  which helps us to see the way clearly when we are guided by our natural sense of kindness and compassion.  The milk of human kindness is thus warmed from within to a degree desirable to self and satisfactory to the palate of all peoples ….

 

It seems to me that there lies within each of us a flame of potential fury and frustration which can all too easily get out of control and become a wicked wildfire, when we give in to egotism and anger.  The milk then turns sour from overexposure to the undesirable elements of the negative side of our thinking, and becomes distasteful to self and dissatisfactory to one and all….

 

I do not know “who” put the flame within me.  Nor “how” that flame came to be.

 

I only know that I; and I alone, am the keeper of my flame.

 

For it is I; and I alone, who must ignite that spark of goodness within my own self; if indeed I am to be the good person that I want to be.

 

And it is I; and I alone, who must extinguish the wildfire of hostility and hatred which can all too easily and all too often arise from within the negative side of me.


Indeed, I am the keeper of my flame.

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Just Be Decent

Religion as a means of self improvement is understandable.

By self improvement I do not mean making more money or establishing some degree of social credibility, be it in the workplace, the region, or even in the home.

By self improvement I mean being a decent person.

Now by decent I do not mean following moral “rules, regulations, or codes”.  I do not mean living a “conventional lifestyle” to please mass opinion.  I do not mean refraining from certain practices in order to fit a mass dictated concept of “decent” as contrasted with “indecent” behaviour.

By decent I mean giving a damn about your neighbor, your friends, and yes, even the plight of people you don’t even know.  By decent I mean treating people nice and actually CARING that there are poor people, hurting people, socially discarded people, who are PEOPLE.

By decent I mean GIVING A DAMN about the existence and welfare of every single person alive, anywhere and at any time.

Now, if religion is your crutch that you feel you need in order to develop and maintain any sense of social conscience within your inner being, then go for it.

The main thing is to be decent.

Personally, I think being a decent person is a human thing and has nothing whatsoever to do with religion.

But whatever works.

Just be decent.

Doubts and Demons

Upon reflection, it was the doctrine of Hell which initially lead me to my Agnostic perspective. Ironic isn’t it?  For there are those who would conclude that my Agnostic perspective will ultimately lead me to Hell……

Perhaps they are right.

But I doubt it.

Recently, I was speaking with  one of my nearest and dearest friends regarding my “change of beliefs” over the course of the past few years .  Like myself, he was raised in the fundamentalist Christian Church known commonly as the Church of Christ.  In the course of our conversation, I referenced my peaceful perspective that there is no Hell.

His response intrigued me.  He said something along the lines that he never gave Hell much thought.  That he focused more on what affects life in the here and the now (I am admittedly paraphrasing to a point).  In this regard, my dear friend represents the best of the Christian community.  For in terms of practicalities, my dear friend  is as much of a humanist as any person with whom I am acquainted.

Which leads me to question my own perspective during those many years of professed and practiced Christianity.

My perspective on the matter of the Bible was cut and dried, clear and to the point.  Hell was Hell.  God was God.  God spoken Creation in 6 days was actually God spoken Creation in 6 days.  The miraculous conception of a Virgin was actually a miraculous conception of a Virgin. The Bible was the inerrant, fully inspired Word of God.

There was no doubt in my mind.

And since I was so convinced that the Bible was the actual Word of God, then I was convinced that preparing for life after death was all that mattered.  Which ultimately meant that life after death was all that truly mattered.  And when assessed and deliberated, that meant that avoiding an existence of eternal torture in Hell was all that truly mattered.  At least that was how I assessed life during my days as a Christian.

Now, I do not presume to speak for Christians in general on the matter.  Perhaps other Christians view the matter differently.  I can only speak for myself.  But with all my heart, and in all sincerity, I can truly say that my perspective during my many years as a Christian was based upon a fundamental fear of Hell.  And that fear of eternal damnation I extended to my loved ones, for who would not fear such on behalf of family and friends, if one fears such on behalf of self?  Quite frankly,  that fundamental fear shaped and molded my perspective as a Christian.

Perhaps had I been like my dear friend who professes and practices Christianity without focusing on the alleged life hereafter, I too would still be “in the church”.

For whatever reason, my fundamentalist thinking as a Christian would not allow me to advance beyond “either/or” reasoning.

Thus, it seems to me that either the Bible is the fully inspired Word of God, or it is merely the product of the human mind.

In other words, myths and legends relative to one particular peoples’ early history.

That history likewise recorded from a biased perspective; as are most autobiographies.

It further seems to me that either there is a personal God who dwells in another realm, or there is no other realm at all.

And hence no Heaven.

And hence no Hell.

Could I be wrong?  I suppose.

Does it  matter?  I doubt it.

For quite frankly, I doubt many things.

Except what my dear friend, the Christian with the humanistic perspective observed:

The here and the now is all that matters.

Robert Ping

It was warm that Summer morning,

In June of 2009.

The date was the 24th

When I lost a good friend of mine.

Robert Ping was his name,

And he was many things to me.

But on that very day,

He died a servant of humanity.

Compelled by neither pledge nor oath,

When he responded to natural duty.

Robert died a hero’s death,

Due to goodness and inner beauty.

I don’t know what I would have done,

Had I been in Robert’s place.

But I know what Robert did,

When he met Death face to face.

Robert chose to get involved,

When he happened across a car accident.

Robert’s choice to get involved,

Proved to be his final incident.

For as Robert was in the road,

Rendering aid to a lady who had been hurt.

He was run over from behind,

The curtain fell abruptly on his life’s concert.

It has been several years now,

Since the day he passed away.

But I always think of Robert Ping,

On this particular day.

—————————————————————————————————-

(In honour and memory of Robert Ping,

Born:   April 2,1969

Died:  June 24, 2009

So long my friend….)

A Burden to Bear

People bearing burdens bring the best out in humanity. 

The person carrying a load who approaches a door is likely to inspire a complete stranger to rush to open the door for them.  The person who rushes to open the door is so inspired not by any expectation of gain or approval in so doing. The person who rushes to open the door is so inspired not because of common ideology with the burden bearer.  In fact, the person who is inspired to rush to open the door likely knows absolutely nothing about the person carrying the load except that the burden bearer is carrying a load.   The fact that the burden bearer is carrying a load is enough, in and of itself, to so inspire the complete stranger to rush to open the door for the person carrying the load. 

Indeed, people bearing burdens bring the best out in humanity.

Imagine how inspired people would be to rush to aid each other if we would realize that EVERYONE bears burdens.  Not all burdens are as noticeable as a load that someone is carrying in their arms.  In fact, most burdens that folks bear are more troublesome than a mere load in one’s arms.

People bearing burdens bring the best out in humanity. 

Or do they?