Friday, September 29, 2006

If You Believe in Numbers....

IF you were born on the:
1st, 10th, 19th, 28th
Of any month you are number 1.
2nd, 11th, 20th, 29th
Of any month then you are number 2.
3rd, 12th, 21st, 30th
Of any month then you are number 3.
4th, 13th, 22nd, 31st
Of any month then you are Number 4.
5th, 14th, 23rd
Of any month then you are number 5.
6th, 15th, 24th
Of any month then you are number 6.
7th, 16th, 25th
Of any month then you are number 7.
8th, 17th, 26th
Of any month then you are number 8.
9th, 18th, 27th
Of any month then you are number 9.

Number 1
You are smart, a straight talker, funny, stubborn, hardworking,
honest, jealous on a competitive basis, kind hearted, temperamental, friendly,
and popular. You always want to be on the top and most likely to be
independent. You are most lik ely to fall in love at a young age, but
will marry once you mature! You are likely to have problems with people who
have opposite views and you are most likely to take revenge over your
enemies in a long time basis. You are a spender, but you will have a
good profession in the future. If you are guy you will be very popular. You
can go anywhere from the local shop to the heart of the parliament because
you are positive and talented in numerous areas. But in your life you will
always have some people who will work hard to bring you & your name
down.
Because of your intelligence, some might hate you. You are a pioneer,
independent & original your best match is 4,6,8 while a good match
would be with 3,5,7

Number 2
No matter what, every one will love you because you are ruled by the
Moon. You daydream a lot, you have a very low-self esteem, you need to have
a back up for every move in your life, and you are very unpredictable.
You tend to change according to time and circumstances, selfish, have a
very strong sense of musical and artistic talent and powerful verbal
communication. You can be sweet as an angel and can be ruthless when
double-crossed. Some might say you have a sixth sense. You will become
a poet, writer, an artist or a businessperson. Y ou are not strong in
love, so your relationship will be in disarray until you settle down. If you
are a girl, you will be responsible for your family. If you are a man, you
tend to get involve in fights & arguments in the family. You will
sacrifice your life for your family. You are gentle, intuitive with a
broad vision. You make a well-balanced person. Your best match is 2,
7,5, and 9 no other people can put up with you!!!

Number 3
You are hardhearted and selfish most of the time. You always tend to
have lots of problems within your family in the early stages but you will
be able to cope with everything. You seem to have your way in everything.
And from birth you would always have to work hard to achieve anything you
want. You always make a point to set examples on others, especially
the younger ones. Generally you are not a cool person. It's not easy
dealing with you. A tough player you are! But once you are comfortable with
someone, it will be a lasting friendship. You always earn respect from
others. Your Ilk seems to have lots of worries and problems but they
won't be for long. You will have brilliant kids! You love money a bit too
much so temptation will push you to try endlessly. You will look after your
family and help friends, so you will spend a life time just being
generous and kind (except for men born on the 21st). You love your freedom,
creative and ambitious, a person who brings beauty, hope & joy to this
world!!! Your best match 6 and 9. Good match 1, 3, and 5

Number 4
You are very stubborn, very hard working but unlucky in important
matters in life, very cool and helpful. You might repel people away from you,
you may cause nuisance to others if you area man, as you gifted are with
understanding other people's problems. If you are a girl, you excel in
your studies and arts. If you are a guy you spend most of your time
with girl friends and you tend to have too much fun with your mates &
girls.
Your friends will spend your time & money and get on with their life
and you will be left empty handed. So be careful! You love to spend. Your
positive side is that you are always around to help family and
friends.
You always fall in love with those younger than you. You often live
with disappointments but you will take good care of your family. You need
to be careful of people who will take advantage of your kind heart. And
beware of your relationships too. You are radical, patient, persi stent, and
a hit old-fashioned; you live with foundation & order. Your best match
1, 8. Good match 5, 6, and 7


Number 5
You are very popular and you can get things done only by talking. Even
to your enemies! You are business-minded and like to do things
spontaneously. You will be famous if you get involved in any business. Your friends
and families will always ask for your help, and you are the one actually
with the money to help your friends. You will have more than one
relationship, but when you settle down you tend to be selfish. You tend to go for
other relationships - even if you are married at times because of your
popularity. You tend to get along easily with anyone because the
numbers is a middle number. You love freedom and changes. You learn your life
through your personal experiences. Your best match 1, 2, Good match 6, 8.


Number 6
Ooopppss.. You were born to enjoy! You don't care about others. I mean
you always wanted to have a lifetime of enjoyment. You will excel in
either education or business management! You are talented, kind (but with
only people who you think are nice), and popular . All good things come
easily to you. Your mind and body is just made perfect for love. You are
loveable by any number. But if you are a number 6 men, you will be involved in
more than a few relationships until you get married. If you are a girl,
most of you will get married/engaged early. You are a caring person towards
your family and friends. You are a person of compassion, comfort &
fairness, domestic responsibility, good judgment, and after all you can heal
this world's wounds to make peace for everyone because you have the great
power and caring talent to take the world of love one step further.. Your
best match 7, 6, and 9. Good match 4, 5


Number 7
You are realistic, confident, happy, and talented in education, music,
art, singing, and most importantly in acting. You also have a bad
temper!
You value your family status a lot; you will be in the top rank when
you reach a certain age. If you are a guy you are popular with girls. Most
of the number 7s face lots of problems with their married life. Only a
few are happy. You have everything in your life but with worries
throughout your lifetime. You need to get ready looking for a partner rather than
waiting. If you don't, then you might end-up being single. You are
born to contribute to everyone's joy. Your best match is 2. Good matches are
1,4


Number 8
You have a very strong personality and people will find it hard to
understand you. You are more likely to suffer in your younger year s.
You might be also the one responsible to look out for your family. You
often suffer all the way through life. You will learn life in a very
practical way. You are the one who will fight for justice and may even die in
the war too. You are normally very reserved with a handful of friends and
most of the time, live life alone and always prepared to help others.
However, once you settle down, (which is often late), then your had lucks will
disappear. You will face unexpected problems such as encountering
poisonous animals, and accidents. You are highly- disciplined,
persistence, and courageous, and it is your strength that will take
you to success. You are a great part of a family team. You are a fighter!
Your Best match 1, 4, and 8. Good match 5


Number 9
You guys are the most incompatible people in the world. You are so
strong, physically and mentally. You often have big-aims. You will work hard
and will think it's still hard to get there, even if you already have
gotten there! Normally you suffer in the early age from family problems and
generally you will have to fight in life. You are respected by others.
You were however very naughty in your childhood, and often got beaten up
by your parents and had be en involved in fights and you seemed to have
suffered lots of injuries. But when you grow older you become calm and
will fall into the quiet and dignified macho type. Love is not an easy
matter for you. You are however good in engineering or banking jobs
because people always trust you. Your family life is very good, but
you will always worry over your children. Your finer qualities are that
you are humanitarian, patient, very wise & compassionate. You are born to
achieve targets and serve every one equally without any prejudice. You
are a role model for everyone. Your best match 3, 5,6, and 9. Good match 2

Friday, September 22, 2006

10 ways to get the most pay out of your job

By PERRI CAPELL The Wall Street Journal
2006-09-18

(AP) - Want a bigger paycheck? It may not be as hard as you think.

A lot of people assume that more pay can come only from winning a promotion, or finding a new job elsewhere. But there are ways, large and small, to put more money in your pocket each week. Separately, these strategies may not be enough to change your life. But put several together, and they start adding up.

"It's nickels and dimes that can get you to a dollar," says Alan Johnson, managing director of Johnson & Associates, a New York pay consultant. "A thousand here and there can add up to real money."

Here are 10 tips from compensation experts, human-resources managers and employees on how to beef up your pay.

1. LISTEN TO YOUR BOSS

You may work harder than the people around you, but your annual raise and bonus award may still be lower than theirs. That's because your co-workers are getting more of the right things done than you and making sure their boss is aware of it.

"To say it concisely, the main way to increase your paycheck is to do a good job and make sure the right people know about it," says Craig Schneier, executive vice president, human resources, for Biogen Idec Inc., a Cambridge, Mass., pharmaceutical company.

The best performers received raises averaging 9.9 percent in 2005, compared with 3.6 percent for average performers and 1.3 percent for poor performers, according to a survey by Hewitt Associates, a consulting firm in Lincolnshire, Ill. Thanks to compounding, those differences translate into a lot of money over time.

Hewitt offers the example of three hypothetical employees, each hired in 2001 at a salary of $50,000. They then received salary increases related to their performance. After five years, the poor performer earns $52,807, the average performer makes $57,821, and the top performer earns $72,078. (Hewitt calculated the final salaries based on actual increases for the three types of performance since 2001.)

What's more, don't assume you know what your manager expects, and don't be afraid to ask. You must understand exactly what he or she thinks is outstanding performance in your position, says Laury Sejen, practice director of strategic rewards for Watson Wyatt, a global compensation consulting firm.

Have two meetings with your manager, she advises. At the first, ask how you can earn the maximum amount of pay over time at your company. This can tell you what career goals to shoot for. At the second, ask how you can receive the highest salary increase.

"Some organizations struggle to set objectives," says Ms. Sejen. "You can take the responsibility to have it clarified."

Write down what you both agreed to and give your boss a copy, says Steve Gross, head of rewards consulting in Philadelphia for Mercer HR Consulting. At the end of the year, you can use this list to discuss how well you performed against your goals.

"Now you both have a scorecard for the performance review, which makes it easier for your boss to recognize your performance," Mr. Gross says.

You don't have to brag to get a top-dollar raise. Simply citing your accomplishments will set you apart "because a lot of people don't take the time to do it," says Paul Dorf, managing director of Compensation Resources Inc., an Upper Saddle River, N.J., consulting firm. He adds that if you have no significant contributions to list, "you probably shouldn't be seeking more money."

2. BET ON YOURSELF

Having a bonus tied to performance goals and hitting them can get you more money annually. More than 95 percent of companies offer a chance to earn annual bonuses to executives, while 80 percent offer them to managers, 68 percent have plans for professionals and 54 percent award them to clerical and technical workers, according to Mercer HR.

Target bonus awards vary by industry and company type, but a typical bonus for an employee earning $50,000 might be 10 percent of salary, while someone earning $75,000 in salary might have a 15 percent target bonus and a $100,000-a-year employee might have a 20 percent target, Hewitt reports.

The key to receiving more bonus money is superior performance. If you meet your goals, you should receive your target bonus amount. But at some companies, if you exceed the targets set for you, you may receive an award that exceeds your target bonus. At Biogen Idec, for instance, high-performing employees can receive up to 200 percent of their target bonus amount, says Mr. Schneier.

In the mid-1990s, Eric Herzog was director of marketing for a computer-hardware-storage company in Silicon Valley that paid its senior executives salaries only. Mr. Herzog says he wanted the potential to earn more money, so he told the chief executive officer that the company might be more successful if it created an annual bonus plan for executives that was tied to revenue and profit goals.

He explained that every executive had the ability to influence profits and that the plan could be designed so that bonus awards would be distributed only if the company made more money. Having all six of the company's executives in the plan was key, because then they would aim toward common goals, Mr. Herzog says he told the CEO.

The CEO agreed and created a bonus plan tied to revenue and profit objectives. "We hit the goals, and I received 20 percent over my base pay," says Mr. Herzog, now a vice president of product management, channel marketing and communications for Maxtor Corp., a computer-hardware-storage company in Scotts Valley, Calif.

It's hard to increase the size of your target bonus once you've accepted a job. But when negotiating with a new employer, you might be able to swap a higher salary for a larger target award amount, Ms. Sejen says. Suppose the employer offers you a $100,000 salary and a target bonus of 10 percent of salary. You could counteroffer that you'd take a $95,000 salary if your bonus-award target was 20 percent of it. Your annual target pay then would be $114,000 instead of $110,000. "An employer might be willing to change the pay mix," Ms. Sejen says.

3. SEEK FINANCIAL ADVICE

Executives who are skilled at running their companies often aren't so skilled at managing their own finances. Many could benefit from financial counseling so they know what to do with their stock options, restricted stock plans and other long-term incentives, says Mr. Dorf of Compensation Resources.

"Most executives, if pushed, would say they are financially challenged when it comes to doing their own deals and could use a financial counselor to advise them," he says.

One little-known Internal Revenue Service regulation allows executives to pay tax on the value of restricted stock when they receive their grants. This may help lower capital-gains taxes when you sell the stock.

A counselor can also help you determine when it's most beneficial to exercise stock options and whether to do so with cash or trade stock you already own. Using appreciated stock to exercise options may be better than using cash, because you reduce your taxable gain on the existing shares, notes Mr. Dorf.

"I estimate that 75 percent of the executives I know do not know what they earn from year to year because it's coming from so many sources," Mr. Dorf says. "They could be smarter about it."

4. LEARN ABOUT SPECIAL COMMISSIONS OR AWARDS

Many employers pay one-time bonuses to employees who bring in new business or refer candidates for hard-to-fill company jobs.

After taking a break from the work force, Deirdre Carey joined Kel & Partners, a Westborough, Mass., marketing-services company, as director of client services last year, accepting a salary that was lower than her prior pay. After her employer offered all employees a 15 percent commission for landing new clients, Ms. Carey brought in a $10,000-a-month account, garnering a $1,500-a-month salary increase for 12 months, or $18,000 total. "I'm already starting to work on some other new business," she says.

Company owner Kel Kelly says six of the firm's 15 employees also have earned the commissions.

Special bonuses also may be awarded to employees who accomplish something that's unusual for their positions. Companies often call these "spot" awards, and about two-thirds of U.S. employers offer them, according to Mercer HR.

Typically, a pool of money is set aside annually to allow managers to give out spot awards at their discretion. The amount awarded might range from $100 to six figures, although some companies give gift certificates or other noncash items, says Mr. Gross.

So, find out whether your company has a spot-award program. If it does, learn what your manager thinks it takes to get one. Mr. Gross says that at a previous employer, he gave his secretary a $1,000 bonus for bringing in a new client, which he viewed as exceptional behavior for someone in her role. "It's the event based on the expectations for that person," Mr. Gross says.

5. CHANGE YOUR TAX WITHHOLDING

Taking home a bigger paycheck may be as simple as having less tax withheld. One sign that your current deduction is too high is getting a big refund from Uncle Sam on April 15, says Tim Jones, vice president, global human resources, for IXIA, a Calabasas, Calif., technology manufacturer.

Your goal is to have your company deduct only what you will owe the government. "Otherwise you are loaning money to Uncle Sam," says Mr. Jones.

Unless you say otherwise, your federal withholding filing class determines your state filing class. You can change either anytime by visiting your human-resources department.

Be careful not to have too little money withheld, or the IRS may fine you, says Art Kaufman, a tax accountant in Monmouth Junction, N.J. The IRS requires at least 90 percent of your upcoming tax bill to be deducted, he notes. (The IRS offers a withholding calculator at http://www.irs.gov/individual.)

After joining the Abelson Group, a New York-based public-relations firm, four months ago, account director Liz Erik asked a professional to do a tax projection to determine how much she should have taken out for taxes. She changed her election and now receives $150 more per pay period, or $300 more a month, than when she started.

6. TAKE THE FREE MONEY

Many employers will match the amount you contribute to a 401(k) retirement savings account, up to a certain level. The company's matching amount might be, say, half of your contributions up to 6 percent of your salary. At minimum, employees should contribute enough money to get the maximum free matching money, Mr. Jones says.

While having money deducted for a retirement account reduces the size of your paycheck, the free money and the tax-free account growth will pay off. Still, only about 75 percent of eligible employees participate in their companies' 401(k) plans, reports Hewitt Associates.

At Biogen Idec, for instance, not all employees are in the 401(k) plan, even though the company offers a 2-for-1 match on employee contributions up to 3 percent of their earnings, says Mr. Schneier. He declined to disclose the percentage of employees who don't participate.

Discount stock-purchase plans that allow employees to buy company stock for less than the fair market price also translate into free money. Typically, employees receive a 15 percent discount on the stock's trading value, which means that unless they are required to hold the stock for a few months, they can sell it immediately and receive the gain.

7. PAY FOR AS MUCH AS YOU CAN WITH TAX-FREE INCOME

Many companies offer employees flexible-spending accounts that can be used to pay for commuting, health-care and child-care costs with pretax income. The enrollment period, when employees sign up for the accounts and say how much they want deducted from their pay, usually occurs in the fall. Employees receive the untaxed money after submitting their expenses to their companies or a third-party administrator.

The potential for savings is significant. An average employee might owe 28 percent in federal, state and Social Security taxes, says Craig Copeland, a senior researcher for the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington. Such workers would have to earn about $14 of taxable income to cover a $10 expense. By having a fund of pretax money, they can keep the $4 that would go for taxes.

The more money you can set aside, the greater the saving. For instance, an employee who has $5,000 in pretax income deducted to pay medical or child-care bills would save $1,400, he notes.

But it's important to know that you'll forfeit any unused funds, so you have to be careful when deciding how much to have withheld. Participating also means less take-home pay initially. Employees benefit at tax time because their federal taxable income is lowered by the deducted amount.

Cathy Summers, an account director for Shift Communications LLC in San Francisco, has $1,500 deducted annually to cover parking and daily commuting cost from Walnut Creek to the city's downtown financial district; $2,000 taken out for medical expenses; and 5,000 for child-care costs. When she submits receipts, the expense reimbursements are automatically deposited in her bank account.

She estimates that she realizes about $200 in extra income monthly due to the plans. "As a single mom raising a 5-year-old son," she says. "I'm always looking for ways to stretch my dollars."

8. ASK FOR A PAY RE-EVALUATION

You may be able to boost your salary outside of annual salary increases just by taking on more responsibility or being assigned to a department where employees doing the same thing are paid more.

Or, if you're a valued worker and the market suddenly heats up for people with your skills, the company may want to raise your pay to ensure it retains you. This was the case with information-technology employees for a few years beginning in the late 1990s.

"The outside world was moving so quickly that some companies were giving IT workers raises every six months," Mr. Gross says.

Such salary adjustments are akin to getting a promotion-based increase without the promotion, says Ms. Sejen. Companies set aside funds every year for this purpose, but employees must have justification for receiving unscheduled raises, she says.

Following a downsizing at his former employer, a technology-consulting firm, Derek Messulam met with the company's CEO, who said two remaining units were going to be merged into a group Mr. Messulam already managed.

One of the firm's youngest vice presidents, Mr. Messulam knew through the grapevine that he was underpaid relative to his peers and that in light of the increased responsibilities, he could expect a pay review and a possible increase.

He decided to see if he could squeeze a larger raise than the company may have been planning by taking an unconventional approach. When he sat down with the human-resources manager, he told them he didn't want a raise. This prompted concerns that he might be leaving, Mr. Messulam says. "The result was to shift the negotiation from a conversation centered on money to a passionate discussion of the great things the management team would accomplish," he says.

The company then designed new objectives for his role and offered Mr. Messulam a larger salary and bonus. "I was extremely satisfied," says Mr. Messulam, now a vice president at GE Capital Solutions, a unit of General Electric Co. in Danbury, Conn.

9. TURN DOWN BENEFITS THAT COST THE COMPANY

Lowering a company expense can sometimes translate into a larger paycheck. This is the case for employees who are paid to "opt out" of company medical-benefits plans because another family member provides coverage for them. The size of the payments usually varies depending on whether your health insurance was for a single person, couple or family. Your salary also will grow if you no longer have health insurance co-payments deducted.

You also might have grounds for a higher salary during initial pay negotiations by offering to forgo health benefits. Debbie Veney Robinson, a communications vice president with Communities in School Inc., an Alexandria, Va., nonprofit that helps kids stay in school, negotiated a $10,000 salary increase by offering to do without health benefits when she accepted her job in 2005. Ms. Robinson receives health-insurance benefits through her husband's plan.

"I said I would save them a lot of money now and in the future by not taking health benefits," says Ms. Robinson. "This allowed them to afford me and me to bump up my compensation a bit."

10. DON'T FORGET THE SMALL STUFF

Some employees don't take advantage of a plethora of benefits and freebies available from their employers, says Mr. Johnson, the pay consultant. "Read the manual where it tells you all these things," he says. "A lot of people have no idea what a company will or won't pay for."

Tuition reimbursement is offered at 85 percent of companies, while 30 percent match education or other charitable donations, according to Mercer HR. You may not have to take courses in your field to get reimbursed for educational expenses.

Some companies subsidize gym memberships. Nearly one-fourth allow employees to purchase products at a discount, while 19 percent offer discounts on movie or theme-park tickets and other entertainment events, Hewitt reports.

"You don't pay attention to those things until you are standing in line at Great Adventure," Mr. Johnson says, "and it's going to cost you $99 for each member of your family."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Are we Honest?

An older lady gets pulled over by a police officer for speeding...
Older Woman: Is there a problem, Officer?
Officer: Ma'am, you were speeding.
Older Woman: Oh, I see.
Officer: Can I see your license please?
Older Woman: I'd give it to you but I don't have one.
Officer: Don't have one?
Older Woman: Lost it, 4 years ago for drunk driving.
Officer: I see...Can I see your vehicle registration papers please.
Older Woman: I can't do that.
Officer: Why not?
Older Woman: I stole this car.
Officer: Stole it?
Older Woman: Yes, and I killed and hacked up the owner.
Officer: You what?
Older Woman: His body parts are in plastic bags in the trunk if you want to see.
The Officer looks at the woman and slowly backs away to his car and calls for back up. Within minutes 5 police cars circle the car. A senior officer slowly approaches the car, clasping his half! drawn gun.
Officer 2: Ma'am, could you step out of your vehicle please! The woman steps out of her vehicle.
Older woman: Is there a problem sir?
Officer 2: One of my officers told me that you have stolen this car and murdered the owner.
Older Woman: Murdered the owner?
Officer 2: Yes, could you please open the trunk of your car, please.
The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.
Officer 2: Is this your car, ma'am?
Older Woman: Yes, here are the registration papers. The officer is quite stunned.
Officer 2: One of my officers claims that you do not have a driving license.
The woman digs into her handbag and pulls out a clutch purse and hands it to the officer.
The officer examines the license. He looks quite puzzled.
Officer 2: Thank you ma'am, one of my officers told me you didn't have a license, that you stole this car, and that you murdered and hacked up the owner.
Older Woman: Bet the liar told you I was speeding, too.
ARE WE HONEST TO OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WHEN WE ACKNOWLDGE OUR SIN?

Our Beautiful Planet

I dont know if the night pictures are true, but you have to admit it, this is one great planet!

http://home.att.net/~hideaway_fun/442/planet.htm

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sarcastic Poems

Roses are red, violets are blue
Monkeys like you should be kept in the zoo.
Don't feel so angry, you will find me there too
Not in a cage but laughing at you.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Twinkle twinkle little star
You should know what you are
And once you know what you are
Mental hospital is not so far.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
The rain makes all things beautiful.
The grass and flowers too.
If rain makes all things beautiful
Why doesn't it rain on you?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
I wrote your name on sand it got washed.
I wrote your name in air, it was blown away.
then ~ I wrote your name on my heart
And I got a heart attack straight away

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
God saw me hungry, HE created pizza.
HE saw me thirsty, HE created Pepsi
HE saw me in dark, HE created light
HE saw me without problems, HE created YOU.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
When your life is in darkness, pray to God
ask him to free you from darkness
and if after you pray,
you're still in darkness,
please pay your ELECTRICITY BILL!

The Link Between Man and God is....

An atheist professor of philosophy speaks to his class on the problem science has with God, the Almighty. He asks one of his new students to stand and.....


PROF: So you believe in God?


STUDENT : Absolutely, sir.


PROF: Is God good?


STUDENT : Sure.


PROF: Is God all-powerful?


STUDENT : Yes.


PROF: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn't. How is this God good then? Hmm?


(Student is silent.)


PROF: You can't answer, can you? Let's start again, young fella. is God good?


STUDENT : Yes.


PROF : Is Satan good?


STUDENT : No.


PROF : Where does Satan come from?


STUDENT : From...God...


PROF : That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?


STUDENT : Yes.


PROF : Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything. Correct?


STUDENT : Yes.


PROF : So who created evil?


(Student does not answer.)


PROF : Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don't they?


STUDENT : Yes, sir.


PROF: So, who created them?


(Student has no answer.)


PROF: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son...Have you ever seen God?


STUDENT : No, sir.


PROF: Tell us if you have ever heard your God?


STUDENT : No, sir.


PROF: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?


STUDENT : No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't.


PROF: Yet you still believe in Him?


STUDENT : Yes.


PROF: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your GOD doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?


STUDENT : Nothing. I only have my faith.


PROF: Yes. Faith. And that is the problem science has.


STUDENT : Professor, is there such a thing as heat?


PROF: Yes.


STUDENT : And is there such a thing as cold?


PROF: Yes.


STUDENT : No sir. There isn't.


(The lecture theatre becomes very quiet with this turn of events.)



STUDENT : Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don't have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.


(There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.)


STUDENT : What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?


PROF : Yes. What is night if there isn't darkness?


STUDENT : You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light....But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? In reality, darkness isn't. If it were you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?


PROF: So what is the point you are making, young man?


STUDENT : Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.


PROF: Flawed? Can you explain how?


STUDENT : Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one to view death as the
opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it.

Now tell me, Professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?


PROF: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.

STUDENT: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?


(The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument is going.)


STUDENT : Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir?

Are you not a scientist but a preacher?


(The class is in uproar.)


STUDENT : Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor's brain?

(The class breaks out into laughter.)


STUDENT : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so.

So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir. with all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?


(The room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unfathomable.)


PROF: I guess you'll have to take them on faith, son.


STUDENT : That is it sir... The link between man & god is FAITH. That is all that keeps things moving & alive.


NOTE: I believe you have enjoyed the conversation...and if so...you'll probably want your friends/colleagues to enjoy the same...won't you?.... this is a true story, and the student was none other than...


Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam , the President of India

(from his college life)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Joke : Finding Jesus

An old drunk stumbles across a baptismal service on Sunday afternoon down by the river.

He proceeds to walk into the water and stand next to the preacher. The minister notices the old drunk and says, "Mister, are you ready to find Jesus?"

The drunk looks back and says, "Yes, preacher, I sure am."

The minister dunks the fellow under the water and pulls him right back up.

"Have you found Jesus?" the preacher asks."Nooo, I didn't!" said the drunk.

The preacher then dunks him under for quite a bit longer, brings him up, and says, "Now, brother, have you found Jesus?"

"Noooo, I have not, Reverend."

The preacher, in disgust, holds the man under for at least 30 seconds this time, brings him out of the water, and says in a harsh tone, "My God, man, have you found Jesus yet?"

The old drunk wipes his eyes and says to the preacher, "Are you sure this is where he fell in?"

Moral : Find Jesus in the WORD OF GOD.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Made for Success Quote and Commentary

"Tell a person they are brave and you help them become so." -- Thomas Carlyle


Chris
Widener's Commentary:
Tell a person anything and you help them to become so. The tongue has a tremendous power to lift up or to destroy. We can create in others what they become. Over time, a child who is built up and encouraged by your words will become strong and healthy. Likewise, a child who is constantly criticized will grow up weak and lack confidence. Friends, in having worked with literally thousands of people over the years, I cannot even count how many people relate to me that their problems stemmed from something they were told by someone else that rocked their foundation. But there is a good side to that principle. We who want to change the world and make it a better place can begin to speak good into people's lives and start producing healthy people for the future! This will transform your family and your workplace!

Action Point:
Pick one person in your family and one person in your place of work or an organization you belong to who could use your regular words of encouragement and praise. Now make a commitment to letting them know the good on a regular basis!

Your Date with Destiny

by Chris Widener

Destiny. What a powerful word. And the great thing about it? Everyone has one! You have a destiny! Another great thing about destiny? We have a significant role in shaping our own destiny! In essence, you can choose your date with destiny - powerful!

Your destiny is the dream that lies within you of your desired and preferred future. And the things that we choose each day are what lead us to that destiny: Our actions, our words, our attitudes, and our relationships. They all add up to develop and shape that date on which we will reach our destiny.

Here are some thoughts to think about as you work on shaping your Date with Destiny:

The Mental Question: Do you believe that you can achieve a life of abundance? The frank truth is that many people simply do not believe that they can achieve what lies in their heart. Success is for someone else, a better person, or a smarter person. This is not true and is perhaps the greatest obstacle we face on the journey to our destiny. If we are to achieve the abundance in life we must first believe we can, or face our own continual self-sabotage of what a college professor of mine called "stinkin'-thinkin.'"

Here is the truth:
It doesn't matter what your intelligence is.
It doesn't matter what your current resources are.
It doesn't matter what you currently earn.
It doesn't matter what family you came from.

Nothing in your current circumstances matter in whether or not you can achieve your destiny! Nothing! Now, your current state may make it a longer or harder journey than someone else, but the possibility is always there no matter what your current circumstances are.

And that is the message we need to continually tell ourselves. "I can do it." Not "I can't do it."

Clear vision. Do you have one of your destiny? Here are some questions to determine whether or not your vision is clear.

Can you describe it in intricate detail?
Can you "see" it?
Can you "feel" it?
Can you "hear" it?

Here are a couple of illustrations.

Perhaps you came from a dysfunctional family and your dream is to have great moments with your family. Let's start with a Thanksgiving meal. Can you see each person there? What are they wearing? Are they smiling? What is the conversation? Can you hear the laughter? Can you experience the joy? Can you smell the turkey? Can you see people hugging each other and saying "This was wonderful," as they leave?

Another scenario: Your company. Can you see the large building you are in? Can you see the workers? Can you feel the positive attitude they have as they carry out their work? Can you experience the excitement as you get the quarterly results? Can you see yourself handing out healthy bonuses that bring pleasant surprises to your employees?

This is where it begins. A clear vision of your destiny.

Consider your resources. Are you aware of the resources you will need in order to set your date with destiny? Do you know how you will go about getting them? What are your natural gifts and talents that you have? How can you best utilize them in achieving your destiny?

What is your current level of resources?
Money?
Time?
Emotional health?
Help from others such as friends, family, employees or volunteers?

What will be your needed future level of resources? And have you developed a plan to achieve this level?

The last thing I would encourage you to do is fix a date in the future that you believe you will be living your destiny by. A real date. What this enables you to do is then begin to work backwards in setting goals to move you along the way, providing you with future points to strive for and evaluation points to reflect upon.

Here are the points again:

Answer the mental question: Do I really believe?

Develop a clear vision.

Consider the resources needed.

Set a date with destiny.

Develop a plan to get there.

What is Love?

What does love mean? A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, What does love mean? The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined :

When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love. Rebecca - age 8

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth. Billy - age 4

Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other. Karl - age 5

Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs. Chrissy - age 6

Love is what makes you smile when you're tired. Terri - age 4

Love is when my Mommy makes coffee for my Daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK. Danny - age 7

Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss. Emily - age 8

Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. Bobby - age 7

If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate. Nikka - age 6

Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday. Noelle - age 7

Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well. Tommy - age 6

During my piano recital, I was on a stage and scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my Daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore. Cindy - age 8

My Mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night. Clare - Age 6

Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken. Elaine - age 6

Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford. Chris - age 7

I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones. Lauren - age 4

When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you. Karen - age 7

Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day. Mary Ann - age 4

You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget. Jessica - age 8

Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

Pope's speech at University of Regensburg

Sep. 14 (CWNews.com) - Editor's note: The following is the prepared text from which Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) spoke as he addressed an academic audience at the Unviersity of Regensburg on September 12. As he actually delivered it, the speech differed slightly. Because the speech has aroused an unusual amount of debate-- particularly regarding the Pope's references to Islam and to religious violence-- CWN strongly recommends reading the entire text.

(full prepared text)


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a moving experience for me to stand and give a lecture at this university podium once again. I think back to those years when, after a pleasant period at the Freisinger Hochschule, I began teaching at the University of Bonn. This was in 1959, in the days of the old university made up of ordinary professors. The various chairs had neither assistants nor secretaries, but in recompense there was much direct contact with students and in particular among the professors themselves.

We would meet before and after lessons in the rooms of the teaching staff. There was a lively exchange with historians, philosophers, philologists and, naturally, between the two theological faculties. Once a semester there was a dies academicus, when professors from every faculty appeared before the students of the entire university, making possible a genuine experience of universitas: the reality that despite our specializations which at times make it difficult to communicate with each other, we made up a whole, working in everything on the basis of a single rationality with its various aspects and sharing responsibility for the right use of reason-- this reality became a lived experience.

The university was also very proud of its two theological faculties. It was clear that, by inquiring about the reasonableness of faith, they too carried out a work which is necessarily part of the whole of the universitas scientiarum, even if not everyone could share the faith which theologians seek to correlate with reason as a whole. This profound sense of coherence within the universe of reason was not troubled, even when it was once reported that a colleague had said there was something odd about our university: it had two faculties devoted to something that did not exist: God. That even in the face of such radical skepticism it is still necessary and reasonable to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian faith: this, within the university as a whole, was accepted without question.

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (M√ľnster) of part of the dialogue carried on-- perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara-- by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was probably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than the responses of the learned Persian.

The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship of the three Laws: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur'an. In this lecture I would like to discuss only one point-- itself rather marginal to the dialogue itself-- which, in the context of the issue of faith and reason, I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.

In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: There is no compulsion in religion. It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat.

But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels,” he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words:

Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.

The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.

God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death....

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: "For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practice idolatry.

As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: In the beginning was the logos. This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts with logos.

Logos means both reason and word-- a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist.

The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. The vision of Saint Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: Come over to Macedonia and help us! (cf. Acts 16:6-10)-- this vision can be interpreted as a distillation of the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry.

In point of fact, this rapprochement had been going on for some time. The mysterious name of God, revealed from the burning bush, a name which separates this God from all other divinities with their many names and declares simply that he is, is already presents a challenge to the notion of myth, to which Socrates's attempt to vanquish and transcend myth stands in close analogy. Within the Old Testament, the process which started at the burning bush came to new maturity at the time of the Exile, when the God of Israel, an Israel now deprived of its land and worship, was proclaimed as the God of heaven and earth and described in a simple formula which echoes the words uttered at the burning bush: I am.

This new understanding of God is accompanied by a kind of enlightenment, which finds stark expression in the mockery of gods who are merely the work of human hands (cf. Ps 115). Thus, despite the bitter conflict with those Hellenistic rulers who sought to accommodate it forcibly to the customs and idolatrous cult of the Greeks, biblical faith, in the Hellenistic period, encountered the best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual enrichment evident especially in the later wisdom literature.

Today we know that the Greek translation of the Old Testament produced at Alexandria-- the Septuagint-- is more than a simple (and in that sense perhaps less than satisfactory) translation of the Hebrew text: it is an independent textual witness and a distinct and important step in the history of revelation, one which brought about this encounter in a way that was decisive for the birth and spread of Christianity. A profound encounter of faith and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine enlightenment and religion. From the very heart of Christian faith and, at the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to faith, Manuel II was able to say: Not to act “with logos” is contrary to God's nature.

In all honesty, one must observe that in the late Middle Ages we find trends in theology which would sunder this synthesis between the Greek spirit and the Christian spirit. In contrast with the so-called intellectualism of Augustine and Thomas, there arose with Duns Scotus a voluntarism which ultimately led to the claim that we can only know God's voluntas ordinata. Beyond this is the realm of God's freedom, in virtue of which he could have done the opposite of everything he has actually done. This gives rise to positions which clearly approach those of Ibn Hazn and might even lead to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to truth and goodness. God's transcendence and otherness are so exalted that our reason, our sense of the true and good, are no longer an authentic mirror of God, whose deepest possibilities remain eternally unattainable and hidden behind his actual decisions.

As opposed to this, the faith of the Church has always insisted that between God and us, between his eternal Creator Spirit and our created reason there exists a real analogy, in which unlikeness remains infinitely greater than likeness, yet not to the point of abolishing analogy and its language (cf. Lateran IV). God does not become more divine when we push him away from us in a sheer, impenetrable voluntarism; rather, the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love transcends knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Eph 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is logos. Consequently, Christian worship is worship in harmony with the eternal Word and with our reason (cf. Rom 12:1).

This inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that of world history-– it is an event which concerns us even today. Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant developments in the East, finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe. We can also express this the other way around: this convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe.

The thesis that the critically purified Greek heritage forms an integral part of Christian faith has been countered by the call for a dehellenization of Christianity-– a call which has more and more dominated theological discussions since the beginning of the modern age. Viewed more closely, three stages can be observed in the program of dehellenization: although interconnected, they are clearly distinct from one another in their motivations and objectives.

Dehellenization first emerges in connection with the fundamental postulates of the Reformation in the 16th century. Looking at the tradition of scholastic theology, the Reformers thought they were confronted with a faith system totally conditioned by philosophy, that is to say an articulation of the faith based on an alien system of thought. As a result, faith no longer appeared as a living historical Word but as one element of an overarching philosophical system. The principle of sola scriptura, on the other hand, sought faith in its pure, primordial form, as originally found in the biblical Word. Metaphysics appeared as a premise derived from another source, from which faith had to be liberated in order to become once more fully itself. When Kant stated that he needed to set thinking aside in order to make room for faith, he carried this program forward with a radicalism that the Reformers could never have foreseen. He thus anchored faith exclusively in practical reason, denying it access to reality as a whole.

The liberal theology of the 19th and 20th centuries ushered in a second stage in the process of dehellenization, with Adolf von Harnack as its outstanding representative. When I was a student, and in the early years of my teaching, this program was highly influential in Catholic theology too. It took as its point of departure Pascal’s distinction between the God of the philosophers and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In my inaugural lecture at Bonn in 1959, I tried to address the issue. I will not repeat here what I said on that occasion, but I would like to describe at least briefly what was new about this second stage of dehellenization. Harnack’s central idea was to return simply to the man Jesus and to his simple message, underneath the accretions of theology and indeed of hellenization: this simple message was seen as the culmination of the religious development of humanity. Jesus was said to have put an end to worship in favor of morality. In the end he was presented as the father of a humanitarian moral message. The fundamental goal was to bring Christianity back into harmony with modern reason, liberating it, that is to say, from seemingly philosophical and theological elements, such as faith in Christ’s divinity and the triune God.

In this sense, historical-critical exegesis of the New Testament restored to theology its place within the university: theology, for Harnack, is something essentially historical and therefore strictly scientific. What it is able to say critically about Jesus is, so to speak, an expression of practical reason and consequently it can take its rightful place within the university. Behind this thinking lies the modern self-limitation of reason, classically expressed in Kant’s “Critiques”, but in the meantime further radicalized by the impact of the natural sciences. This modern concept of reason is based, to put it briefly, on a synthesis between Platonism (Cartesianism) and empiricism, a synthesis confirmed by the success of technology. On the one hand it presupposes the mathematical structure of matter, its intrinsic rationality, which makes it possible to understand how matter works and use it efficiently: this basic premise is, so to speak, the Platonic element in the modern understanding of nature. On the other hand, there is nature’s capacity to be exploited for our purposes, and here only the possibility of verification or falsification through experimentation can yield ultimate certainty. The weight between the two poles can, depending on the circumstances, shift from one side to the other. As strongly positivistic a thinker as J. Monod has declared himself a convinced Platonist/Cartesian.

This gives rise to two principles which are crucial for the issue we have raised. First, only the kind of certainty resulting from the interplay of mathematical and empirical elements can be considered scientific. Anything that would claim to be science must be measured against this criterion. Hence the human sciences, such as history, psychology, sociology, and philosophy, attempt to conform themselves to this canon of scientificity. A second point, which is important for our reflections, is that by its very nature this method excludes the question of God, making it appear an unscientific or pre-scientific question. Consequently, we are faced with a reduction of the radius of science and reason, one which needs to be questioned.

We shall return to this problem later. In the meantime, it must be observed that from this standpoint any attempt to maintain theology’s claim to be “scientific” would end up reducing Christianity to a mere fragment of its former self. But we must say more: it is man himself who ends up being reduced, for the specifically human questions about our origin and destiny, the questions raised by religion and ethics, then have no place within the purview of collective reason as defined by “science” and must thus be relegated to the realm of the subjective. The subject then decides, on the basis of his experiences, what he considers tenable in matters of religion, and the subjective “conscience” becomes the sole arbiter of what is ethical. In this way, though, ethics and religion lose their power to create a community and become a completely personal matter.

This is a dangerous state of affairs for humanity, as we see from the disturbing pathologies of religion and reason which necessarily erupt when reason is so reduced that questions of religion and ethics no longer concern it. Attempts to construct an ethic from the rules of evolution or from psychology and sociology, end up being simply inadequate.

Before I draw the conclusions to which all this has been leading, I must briefly refer to the third stage of dehellenization, which is now in progress. In the light of our experience with cultural pluralism, it is often said nowadays that the synthesis with Hellenism achieved in the early Church was a preliminary inculturation which ought not to be binding on other cultures. The latter are said to have the right to return to the simple message of the New Testament prior to that inculturation, in order to inculturate it anew in their own particular milieux. This thesis is not only false; it is coarse and lacking in precision. The New Testament was written in Greek and bears the imprint of the Greek spirit, which had already come to maturity as the Old Testament developed. True, there are elements in the evolution of the early Church which do not have to be integrated into all cultures. Nonetheless, the fundamental decisions made about the relationship between faith and the use of human reason are part of the faith itself; they are developments consonant with the nature of faith itself.

And so I come to my conclusion. This attempt, painted with broad strokes, at a critique of modern reason from within has nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age. The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly: we are all grateful for the marvelous possibilities that it has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been granted to us. The scientific ethos, moreover, is the will to be obedient to the truth, and, as such, it embodies an attitude which reflects one of the basic tenets of Christianity. The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening our concept of reason and its application.

While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them. We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. In this sense theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith.

Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today. In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world’s profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures. At the same time, as I have attempted to show, modern scientific reason with its intrinsically Platonic element bears within itself a question which points beyond itself and beyond the possibilities of its methodology.

Modern scientific reason quite simply has to accept the rational structure of matter and the correspondence between our spirit and the prevailing rational structures of nature as a given, on which its methodology has to be based. Yet the question why this has to be so is a real question, and one which has to be remanded by the natural sciences to other modes and planes of thought: to philosophy and theology.

For philosophy and, albeit in a different way, for theology, listening to the great experiences and insights of the religious traditions of humanity, and those of the Christian faith in particular, is a source of knowledge, and to ignore it would be an unacceptable restriction of our listening and responding. Here I am reminded of something Socrates said to Phaedo. In their earlier conversations, many false philosophical opinions had been raised, and so Socrates says: “It would be easily understandable if someone became so annoyed at all these false notions that for the rest of his life he despised and mocked all talk about being - but in this way he would be deprived of the truth of existence and would suffer a great loss”.

The West has long been endangered by this aversion to the questions which underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby. The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur – this is the program with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. “Not to act reasonably (with logos) is contrary to the nature of God”, said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

How To Pray

For some people, prayer is easy and its something they look forward to. For me, being brough up with strict Christian parents, prayer was the norm in the family but it was forced in order to build dicipline.

That explains my reluctance to pray.

Now that I am married, I am free to pray as I wish. And I prefer to pray in solitude. My wife on the other hand loves to pray with music and songs praising the Lord. I dont really like that way of praying. I prefer to talk to my Creator in silence so that I can listen when he speaks.

Today, I received a small note from JesusandYou.com :


1. Preparation

Prepare your heart for prayer.


2. Find a place alone - away from outside distracting influences

If you can't find a good place in your house, go to a park or some place where there is quitness.

3. Wait quietly before the Lord

Wait until you feel his presence.

4. Play worship Music

Music is always a part of a prayer. If you can't sing, play worship music. The anointing will flow.

5. Become totally dependent on the Holy Spirit

Bury you self and depend on Holy Spirit alone.

6. Open yourself to God.

Don't hide anything. Talk to your father freely.

The Man That Didnt Get Away

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Quote by CEO of Verizon

Ivan Seidenberg, Chairman and CEO of Verizon, on Hard Work

"My first boss - he was the building superintendent, and I was a janitor - watched me sweep floors and wash walls for almost a year before he mentioned that I could get tuition for college if I got a job with the phone company. When I asked him why he'd waited so long, he said, 'I wanted to see if you were worth it.' The message: Work hard, have high standards, and stick to your values, because somebody's always watching."

How To Save Water-Logged Electronics

By Lori Appling

You're on vacation in France. You lean over the reflecting pool in the Versailles garden, and plop! Your cellphone lands in the water.

Don't fret. You may be able to save water-logged electronics with this simple trick: Before you test your phone, camera, or PDA to see if it's all right, stick it in a bag of rice and let the rice draw the water out overnight. If the device doesn't work in the morning, the damage is done. But there's a good chance the rice will do the trick.

The Six Pillars of Inner and Outer Balance

By Ineke Van Lint


Many people are building their inner balance and happiness on one single pillar. This is a dangerous situation! What's going to sustain them if for some reason the only pillar they rest upon collapses? There are six pillars that support your inner balance. If you want to live a life of inner calm and peace, don't just lean on one or two pillars, but make sure to invest in all six of them. When you are resting on six pillars and one of them crumbles, there will be no need for drama. You can still support yourself with the other five pillars while you start repairing the one that broke down.

Compare it to a table. Which one will be the most solid one: the one with only one or the one with six legs? Do you think a table resting on only one leg will be stable? Would you dare to put your cup of coffee on it? How do you dare to put your whole life then on the one and only pillar?

What are these six pillars that support inner balance? Here they are in random order:

1. Your intimate relationship. A warm, supportive, nourishing and loving relationship with that significant other, will substantially contribute to your inner balance and happiness. Be careful, however, not to bet all your money on this one pillar alone, while neglecting the others! If your happiness depends completely on your relationship, then you are taking a big risk: what will you do when your partner is gone? When that significant other leaves, dies, or loves somebody else, your entire life will collapse because you have nothing else to support you. Don't link your happiness to just one person!

2. Your job. A meaningful job where you can express your talents is a valuable source of well-being. However, what would happen if you put all of your time and energy in your job, and then some day your employer dismisses you? Your world will fall apart and you are headed for a serious depression. Does it feel like you are married to your job? It is too dangerous to entirely identify yourself with your job without paying attention to the other pillars. You are much more than your business card!

3. Your children. God knows it's a wonderful gift to have children. I have four of them myself and every day I thank the Universe for choosing me as their mother. But what happens if you focus too much on your children? A parent who lives only for his children will suffocate them. He puts too much pressure on the child, which then feels obliged to live up to the parent's expectations. The child may feel solely responsible for fulfilling the need for love and affection of the parent. This is a burden too heavy for any child to bear, and it jeopardizes the child's free development and individuality. One day the children will leave to start their own life somewhere else. If your children are your only pillar of happiness, then your whole world will fall apart. What's left is emptiness, depression, dependency, and trying to make the grown-up children feel guilty for not caring enough about their parents. Don't take your kids hostage. They are entitled to a life of their own.

4. Your house and material possessions. Creating and enjoying a beautiful house brings a lot of pleasure into your life, but what are the dangers of making property your most important life goal? When it's all about having, buying and possessing "stuff," the only guarantee you have is that of dissatisfaction. You don't know how much stuff you need to possess before you will find peace, and therefore you will never find it. There is no end to "having." As long as you are convinced you need to have things in order to be happy, you will be restless and a slave of your own attitude. Being rich is okay, of course, but it should not be a goal in itself, otherwise you are doomed to be unhappy, always waiting until you possess another car, another house, more money, more stuff.... Not a good recipe for happiness!

5. Meditation. Meditation is good, you say! Of course it is! But what if all you do is meditate, and hope everything will be fine? You will not get much satisfaction or happiness that way. You will feel useless and restless. Your body needs action, and your energy needs a goal to strive for, so that it can flow through your veins and direct your life. Meditation will only get you nowhere. There's more to life!

6. Your friends. Good friends are essential. They are the pepper and salt that give taste to life. They share your experiences and make them worth living. They give you feedback and back you up when you need help. But what if you need to share everything with them? They have their own life, their own experiences to live. Relying on friends for every single thing you do is a ticket for disaster. You need to be able to sometimes do things by yourself. If your friends leave you or break up with you, and they are everything your life is built upon, then your world will fall apart.

I think you are getting my point: every pillar is good and a valid source of energy and happiness, but it's dangerous to rely too heavily on only one of them. Leaning on your relationship too much makes you dependent on the other. Identifying with your job too much transforms you into a workaholic. Chasing after material possessions makes you a materialist. Relying on your kids too much suffocates them. Thinking meditation will fulfill all your needs makes you an isolated stranger. Relying on your friends too much makes you a needy person, always turning to somebody else for rescue.

You will however find inner balance in the combination of all these aspects. Every one of them can be a source of happiness, as long as you enjoy each of them with moderation.

Do you have kids? Wonderful! But don't forget to also invest some time in your relationship, your work, your friends, your house and your inner silence.

You have a good job? Great, but do take time to play with your kids, to spend some romantic time with your partner, to go out and have fun with your friends, to take care of your house and to meditate.

You are a meditation freak? Don't forget to clean the house, to help the kids with school, to do your job, to meet your friends and to listen to your partner when he comes back from work.

You invest a lot of time and energy in your house and other material possessions? Fine! Just don't forget to spend some time with your children, your partner, your friends, enjoy your work and meditate!

You are committed to freedom and friends? Ok, no problem! Now balance your life by taking some time to experience the inner silence, to play with your kids (or somebody else's), to invest in a particular loving relationship (even if it scares you), to take care of your house and possessions and to excel at your job.

You love someone and that person loves you back? Great! Now don't forget about your friends, your job, your children (or someone else's), your house and your inner silence, if you want this relationship to last!

Imagine a peace temple, built on six pillars. If your personal peace temple is supported by one pillar only, then surely the first tornado that comes along will bring it all down! Too dangerous! The stability of your temple depends on the support of all six pillars. If one of the pillars is temporarily out of service, nothing catastrophic will happen because you still have the five other pillars to carry you on.

If you lose your job, but you still have five other solid pillars to hold you up, you will find the strength to find a new job. Your children are leaving the house? No panic! You still have five other pillars to support your temple! One of your friends has let you down? Your significant other has left you? You have to leave your house? You will be able to handle all of this, if you can revert to other pillars that continue to support you.

Don't build your happiness on one pillar, but invest in the solid combination of all six of them. Everybody knows about the importance of a balanced diet, as well as the danger of an overdose! In the same way, your inner peace depends on your ability to find the right balance between the six pillars.

About the Author:
Written by Ineke Van Lint, psychologist. My goal is to help you achieve success and happiness. Accomplish your mission on earth and love yourself. Two free e-courses at http://www.theenthusiasm.com