Sunday, July 25, 2010

Maybe Even Some More Chutzpah...

LANGHORNE, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A.  Something happened on Friday but it was not discovered until the next morning when I turned on the car radio as I do most every Saturday.  As my wife and I drive to the local diner for breakfast we listen to Weekend Edition Saturday on NPR with Scott Simon.

What we have always liked about this program is the kind of week in review commentary of veteran news analyst Daniel Schorr.  But he was not there in person this time like he usually is.  Instead Scott Simon was giving about an eight minute piece in remembrance of Dan.  At the age of 93 Dan Schorr had died on Friday. Yes I cried, but not because I was sad.  I cried because deep down inside I felt privileged to have been mentored in a way by this man's thirst to share what he believed to be the truth.

In 1976 for example, my military career was taking me from California to the European country that was then known as West Germany.  In that same year Dan Schorr was appearing before a Congressional comittee because he had leaked to the press a special report he had been given about the CIA.  Dan was going to be asked to reveal his source and he was not going to tell them.  He could have been found in contempt of Congress which was no small matter and it could have resulted in a couple of years in prison.  But he successfully stood on principle and his First Amendment rights and he made it through the hearing.  That was just one episode in his sixty some years of what he called "investigatING journalism."

So on Saturday when I had begun to write this blog I had opened a brand new spiral writing pad.  On the front cover I had written "Remember Your Leaders..." and "July 24, 2010" in pen.  I had sharpened a new number two pencil and put a new pencil cap eraser on the top end.  An internationally known investigative reporter had died on July 23rd, 2010.  But his life and work had helped to inspire at least one Mentor in Training to perhaps write with more accuracy, more dedication, and yes, maybe even with some more chutzpah.

For more of what is inspiring about Daniel Schorr please go to National Public Radio and explore a bit.  If I may suggest a starting place try the following link:

Journalism Legend Daniel Schorr Dies At 93 by Alan Greenblatt

It starts with a 23 picture photo gallery and along with the printed story it has several audio and video links. Two of the audio links recommended are different lengths, one short and one longer:

NPR's Scott Simon Remembers Daniel Schorr  [8 min 25 sec]

Dan Schorr Memorial Special  [54 min 52 sec]

Thank you Daniel Schorr for your example :-)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Just a Thought For Today...

LANGHORNE, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A. You hear from your stepmom that her youngest brother has just unexpectantly passed away. You never had the privilege of knowing him but you give your condolences because she means a whole lot to you and he was her brother. All you have is his name and that he lived in Wisconsin so you put the name in Amazingly the obituary appears in front of you, from three different sources. At the bottom of one it tells you that you can go to the funeral home web site and leave a public or private condolence. When you find his page on that site it is complete with a recent photograph. While glancing at the picture you read what is written about this brother that you really never knew.

He was born on a certain date to a father and mother in a particular town in Iowa. He married a wonderful woman and had two children. He had graduated from a university with a degree in secondary education. He had taught remedial math for eighteen years until his retirement in 2007. He had been on the board of directors of a local civil organization. He loved his cats and his dog Zoe. He loved his wife and children enormously and he will be dearly missed. He is survived by his immediate family of course. There are also still living all four of his older sisters and brother who live in different parts of the country. He was the youngest. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews, other relatives and many friends of course. He was preceded in death by his parents and there will be a memorial service and time of remembrance on a certain day at an appointed place. Terry Humiston was special to many folks and the memories that he leaves those still living are numerous and rich in content.

What does it mean to you when you turn to the book of Hebrews, the thirteenth chapter, the seventh verse, and you read these words, "Remember your leaders, those who taught you about God. Consider the outcome of their lives and imitate their faith." What do those words mean?

When I first learned this verse in the Bible, it was the summer of 1978. I was stationed with the military in what was then West Germany but I was visiting a very special place in Switzerland. Around the time I was first introduced to this verse two of my uncles passed away. They were the husbands of my mother's only two sisters. I knew that I needed to write each one of my aunts a letter to not only give them my condolences but also to share with them why my Uncle Frank and my Uncle Bennet were very special to me. They were both strong Christian family men, rich in character and wisdom, who had taught me many things. As I wrote those letters the verse in Hebrews came alive and it forever changed the way I look at life.

Now, it is easy for the normal student of the Bible to say that because both of my uncles were strong Christian men, that yes they had taught me about God with their lives and thus they were worthy of imitation. Without question I should imitate their faith. But what about those verses in Genesis that directly infer that ALL men (and women) are created in the image of God? We are all "image bearers," and the way I was taught this truth, it was also inferred that we are ALL image bearers of God, whether we consider ourselves to be "Christian" or not. We were all created in the image of God.

Let me be very careful here. I am not saying that there is "a little bit of God in all of us," and so right along with it we can more or less assume that we will go to Heaven when we die. I'm not saying that. What I am saying is... Let me stop there. This writing is becoming too technical, too deep, and that is not what I am trying to get across at this particular time.

What I am trying to say is this. Remember Your Leaders. What did you learn from them? Hearing about the passing of one of those leaders can definitely bring important memories to your heart and mind. But don't wait until their death to imitate what you have learned from them. Imitate them now while they are still living. It is the best thank you that you can ever give them. And what about your legacy? What will those that you taught in some way about God, about what is right and true and honorable...what will they remember about you? How will they imitate Your faith?

Just a thought for today :-)


Monday, July 5, 2010

Maybe These Are the Words

LANGHORNE, PENNSYLVANIA, USA.  This new blog is still a work in progress.  The title is right. The subtitle seems to be the one that needs to be there.  The hat graphic on the right seems okay.  But the writer is still not sure whether he will be able to focus on a content in the articles that will mean something to those for whom this blog is being written.

One part of the audience is his family of course, the immediate as well as the extended parts of that group of loved ones. Another part of the reader audience are members of an email discussion list that is focused on personal faith and how to live the Christian life. This is also the subject matter of a smaller discussion list, another small group of family and friends that is part of the audience but in a more personal and private way. One more group in the audience are members of a discussion list who are Vietnam veterans, fellow brothers who wore the same uniform in the same battalion in Southeast Asia, who will somehow always try to stay connected with each other.  The final group in this blog audience are high school classmates, those he grew up with back in the day and to whom he is also trying to stay connected.

You love them all in some way.  Your heart is maybe trying to be too big but then that's kind of the way that you've always been.  You have moved from place to place all of your life.  You have known so many and the memories are so rich.  You somehow want to reach out to all of them and just say thank you, but your way of saying thanks has just somehow never been quite enough in the past.

So, you remember each one.  You remember what you have learned from them. You know from your personal faith that ALL of them were created in the image of God.  Part of all of them has somehow become part of who you are.  So you try to live a life that somehow has all of those blessings that God has bestowed on you through them all wrapped up inside your heart and mind.  The blessings keep coming because God in His grace has not turned off the Fountain.  Every day is still an adventure where new and different relationships are still a reality.

So, you turn back around.  You share back with them what life means to you, what symphony is being played out in your life, what splenderous landscape is being painted before your eyes, what words and sentences and paragraphs and stories come to your mind that illustrate the joy and the truth and the love of life every day.

Then maybe you change the title of the article in the blog for this time from "Looking for the Words" to "Maybe These Are the Words."  Then you also add, "Maybe...just maybe, there will be more words to come."  Then you go home and eat lunch :-)

Oh yes...hello audience...since this blog is for you, what would YOU like to see here? :-)

Love ya'll,