it’s all Greek to me

It’s true. I can be a bit of a nerd. 

Please… don’t agree so fast. 

Maybe it’s better said that I’m always a student… always learning… always attempting to figure life out. In fact, one of my bottom lines in life is that none of us have life all figured out this side of heaven; in fact, we are each — frankly — incapable. Hence, may all of us, always, be learning and growing — and have at least a little nerd within us.

One of my favorite, nerdier-perceived pursuits is my decades long study of the Greek. No doubt — no where close — I am no expert… although I would at least stand a chance if “Jeopardy’s ‘Daily Double’” fell in the convenient category of “Ancient Greek Roots” (… true, “NFL Superstars” would serve me far better).

Last week, no less, in my pursuit of knowledge, I uncovered a fascinating find… one that made me stop, reflect, and contemplate what current culture has captured and missed…

I was diving into this idea of how we are to treat one another — and specifically, the appeal of “bearing with one another in love.”

We all get the love idea… not that we’re always good at it. In fact…

We tend to be selective or withhold it or somehow justify why loving a certain other well isn’t necessary nor right. I’ll be honest; that practice doesn’t make sense to me. I mean, I get it… we get angry or hurt or feel wronged — and maybe it really is all the other person’s fault. But the failure to love well typically only hurts the withholder, as unfortunately, bitterness tends to then swell so swiftly on the inside. I don’t wish to live with a bitterness that burns primarily on the inside. I wish to learn and grow.

So “bearing with”… that’s the key action point here…

What does it mean? … to bear with one another in love?

Check out the Greek, friends…

Straight from the Greek, written at least a couple thousand years ago:

ἀνέχω…. (transliteration: anechō; pronunciation: ä-ne’-khō)

Look what’s in the meaning:

To sustain, to bear with, endure, with a genitive of the person (in Greek writings the accusative is more common, both of the person and of the thing), of his opinions, actions, etc.

Do you see what I see?

Do you see what’s seemingly so profound and countercultural?

… and has been around for centuries??

In the historic encouragement to bear with one another in love, there is an appeal to endure not only the person but also their opinions.

Granted, opinions can be stated without adding “you idiot” at the end of the sentence. But what’s key here is that if we are going love other people well, we are also going to be accepting of different opinion.

I’m thinking this isn’t going out on too much of a limb here… but in at least on our social media behavior, we have much to learn.

Respectfully…

AR

a too often used title…

Oh, the games people play…

(Did I not say a too often used title?)

There’s a vacancy on the Supreme Court. I really, really hate to say this, but I tend to think that an open seat evokes the worst in us… especially in the establishment, so-to-speak.

On a February of 2016 morning, sitting Justice Antonin Scalia was found unresponsive. He was at a Texas ranch, and reportedly died in his sleep. His death was considered shocking and tragic.

Then Pres. Obama did what all sitting presidents are called to do; he nominated a successor.

The succeeding nominee was D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland.

The Republicans, who at that time had a majority in the Senate — the confirming body for Supreme Court justices — refused to hold any hearings on the prospect of Garland’s confirmation. Insisting that the next elected president should fill the vacancy (which albeit, seemed a colossal long-shot at the time), they ignored the Garland nomination.

Oh, the games people play…

With the closing of the recent Supreme Court session, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. At age 81, the ending of his tenure was not unexpected, as it had been rumored for months.

Then Pres. Trump did what all sitting presidents are called to do; he nominated a successor.

The current, succeeding nominee is Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who also serves on the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

The Democrats, who at this time are a minority in the Senate — rushed to denounce the nomination. In fact, they denounced the nomination before they even knew who it was.

Oh, the games people play…

Friends, I realize this will be one of my more unpopular posts. We are not very fond when a group we identify with or typically support is highlighted as having behaved in an unscrupulous manner. The reality certainly seems as if two men of integrity were/are being opposed by established parties acting with a lack of integrity.

The role of the Supreme Court — the highest federal court in the land — is to determine what is — and is not — constitutional. That’s it. It’s really that simple.

And yet our legislators — on both sides of the aisle — are playing politics with who sits on that court.

Yes, I hear you…

Oh, you don’t understand…

The reason they acted this way is because of ______  [your choice — fill in the blank]…

Yeah, but they did it first…

And the schoolyard retorts remain in full refrain.

Note some of the votes of those before them…

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg, confirmed 96-3…
  • John Roberts, confirmed 78-22…
  • Sonia Sotomayor, confirmed 68-31…

Many were confirmed unanimously — Scalia and Kennedy included. Certainly, political differences existed, but integrity was still intact. 

I desire something better, friends. Something purer. I care less about ideological agreement than about integrity in the process.

Currently, I’m not sure I see that in either established party.

Oh, the games people play…

Now whether or not we can identify more than one of the game players…

Respectfully…

AR

I’m offended…

Some sweet, extended family members went out Friday evening for dinner and a quick errand. Dinner was great, but then, after venturing in and out of Pet Smart, one of them started to back up the truck…

… and he hit her.

“Her” was a young gal in her lower-sitting sedan. 

Daily, no doubt, conflict exists. We run into trouble with people who get in our way, who inconvenience us… hit us… hurt us… even cause damage.

Maybe the damage is minimal — just a fender bender, perhaps — but maybe it’s more… it can feel so harsh! Maybe, in fact, it’s simply their existence that we find so damaging to what we are trying to do or where we are attempting to go.

In so many places and pockets these days, we find persons unwilling to tolerate even the existence of another. How many times have we read a social media thread where someone calls someone else out, simply saying, “STOP!”…

I’m offended! … you and your opinion are not welcome here.

I’m offended! … that is not an angle I will allow to be discussed.

I’m offended! … you are ignorant; no need for civility with you.

The sequence starts with offense.

Observe once more our family members and their accident…

The damage was minor, but damage nonetheless; both parties had cause — justified grounds — for offense. But notice what they chose…

As they awaited for the police to arrive, my family members began to converse with the twenty-something female driver of a car that was “pretty blue and fairly new.”

While engaging in interactive, listening-oriented dialogue, they quickly found common ground. The gal works at my family’s doctor’s office.

The common ground brought trust, and so they spoke more. And more. Even though the setting had all the potential for opposition and offense, they chose otherwise, knowing the issue would be mended faster and better if they could see something good or common in the other.

After all information was exchanged and the police had finished making record of the accident, see the reaction of those involved, before they resumed their evenings as planned:

“… she said she felt like us literally running into each other was a ‘God-thing,’ as she loved having the opportunity to talk with us. She said she felt like God allowed that little accident to happen just so we had that time together.

The policeman even told us both how nice it was to deal with people who weren’t all irate and screaming at each other…”

So often we choose to be offended. We have grounds; our offense is justified. 

But what if we chose otherwise?

Said the family:

“Their comments touched my heart, and it just goes to show you how our words and reactions to a situation can make all the difference in the world. This turned out to be a positive experience rather than a negative one, because of their reactions…

An experience I will never forget… it brought tears to my eyes.”

Choosing not to be offended… finding common ground… listening… still dealing with the issue but in an honoring-of-all kind of way…

What a positive experience.

Respectfully…

AR

taking notes on the 4th

Declared in Congress, July 4th, 242 years ago today:

“… 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…”

Taking notes…

Truths… we don’t question these… this is reality… always accurate and in play…

Self-evident... it’s obvious… it doesn’t have to be nor should have to be explained… to any…

All… all people… men and women, it would now say…

Are created equal… regardless of who you are, what you look like, color or creed, gender, generation, ethnicity, intellect, or faith… whether you’re a Democrat or Republican… voted for Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or none of the above… equal, it says… not better… not worse… no superiority… 

Endowed by their Creator… acknowledging God and him having an active role in our existence… he is an active God, giving us something… endowing… shows we recognize that not only do we not have life all figured out, but we aren’t even capable… it’s a “God thing” — not a ‘me’ or ‘we’ thing… we leave God out sometimes… often, maybe… seems we’re missing something… really important…

Unalienable Rights… what are those?… something that can’t be sold or transferred or taken away, I’m told… something permanent — with us/for us always here on Earth… and God is declared the giver of those… not man… not government… man and government are not to be equated with God… they can’t… they aren’t the same…

Among these are Life… Ah, I see now why we squabble… so many issues with so many angles in regard to what this looks like… what does the unalienable right to Life look like, especially when considering an infant, a criminal, or one at war… not arguing… just asking… desiring dialogue, always… wish we all asked and listened more than ranted and raved… we could learn so much if we listened better — tolerated, even considered varied perspective…

Liberty… Oh, let freedom ring!… maybe this is what’s hardest for us… Liberty is an unalienable Right… and it feels so good!! … but what happens when your freedom encroaches upon my freedom?… but what if it doesn’t… what if it really doesn’t… what if someone else’s Liberty doesn’t really obstruct or impede… what if the real issue is that I want you to think like me… I want the rights of others to align with me being the one who thinks rightly…

And the pursuit of Happiness… isn’t this an individual thing? … do I need everyone to think like me and embrace what I believe and accept how I behave in order for me to be happy?… seems like we can be pretty blindly selfish at times… yes, me included…

Thinking maybe there is something we can still learn here, even though it was 242 years ago…

“The Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled,” concluded that day…

“… support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

A recognition of the divine, Providence, a commitment to one another, our fortunes, and honor…

… learning how to honor one another…

Still taking notes….

Respectfully on the 4th of July…

AR

ethical?

We’ve entered a key stage here, friends. Emotions are heightened. The environment seems to be intensifying, almost by the hour. People are noticing; they’re talking.

Individual observers are reacting in individual ways. Individuals vary in the ways they respond. There is not one sole, correct perspective; the Intramuralist believes in the allowance of varied perspective.

It’s the 2018 World Cup Round of 16!!

Sports journalists have posted their previews; the games have begun; Messi and more, unfortunately, have already been eliminated.

Here, no less — albeit slightly tongue-in-cheek-ly — is what we ‘most’ need to know…

First, as offered by Lewis Krell in yesterday’s Huffington Post [emphasis mine]:

“Anyone who has ever taken an Economics class knows that there is only one universal truth; we all respond to incentives. What it is that motivates us changes from person to person but we are all willing to change our behavior to get whatever it is that we want. In soccer (brace yourself for a shocking statement) what everyone wants is to score a goal. When Americans watch soccer we have a tendency to get angry at the players on the field for embellishing contact, whining and in general following Coach Bombay’s advice perfectly. To remove flopping you need to remove the incentive to flop. Currently, the perverse incentive structure of the sport makes flopping and diving far too rewarding to the elusive pursuit of scoring and therefore diving runs rampant, becoming a distracting side-show to an otherwise beautiful game…”

In other words, “flopping” in soccer is a player’s exaggerated expression — when all eyes are on him (or at least the referee’s eyes) — in order to produce a competitive advantage. The player acts as if he has been significantly/seriously injured/offended by an opponent — only to be fully capable of all amazing athletic acts seemingly less than thirty seconds later. The player thus either lied or amplified what happened to him.

Flopping is faking. The motive is to gain a competitive advantage. The reality of the situation is secondary to the player’s desire to win.

Krell continues:

“The problem lies with the current way that penalty kicks are awarded. In a sport where it is so difficult to score, it is sheer insanity that a penalty in the box is rewarded with such a monumental advantage as the penalty kick. The ease of scoring a penalty kick compared to the difficulty in scoring during regular play leads to these objectionable actions that are far too prevalent in soccer…”

Note: we are speaking of objectionable, exaggerated expressions that are far too prevalent.

So if flopping is deliberate, my question to all centers upon whether or not it’s ethical…

… talented people… maybe truly good people… perhaps even highly intelligent people… but people faking their response…

Is the faking ethical?

The sincere challenge, friends, is that some are floppers and some are not — but the floppers and actually-injured are all mixed up together. It is often impossible to discern the difference.

Speaking candidly, the next layer of the challenge is that often we know a person’s expression is exaggerated, but they’re on our team, so we don’t necessarily refute their expression; we don’t question their exaggerated means because we identify with the cause they are attempting to advance. 

So again we ask: is that ethical?

(… in soccer, of course…)

Respectfully… always…

AR