Saturday, March 17, 2007

MEMORIES, sad, loss, fear, love and forgiveness.

I am still so sad that I cannot help the tears that well up whenever I remember..

I am sad for the lost opportunity for love and caring and friendship and family
available and waiting one friend about whom I thought I knew as well as most anyone.

We had shared far more than most men ever share with each other.
Thee was mutual respect and admiration and much sharing over a number of years..
But perhaps the most significant fact of his life he did not share until a few months ago.
That he was a father and had denied fatherhood to a son for 27 years.

It saddens me deeply to realize the loss all three suffered because of his fears.
Yes, he had a terrible relationship with his own father.
And maybe not much more with his mother.
Yes, Vietnam really changed him, according to close friends he grew up with and who knew him before and after. He was more suspicious and moody and unpredictable after 'Nam.

But the loss of love that all three might have had is still a tragedy, a great and enormous loss that will still take years to heal. I cannot imagine the loneliness and longing for his father that
his young son went through--to no avail.
And the conflict and anger this boy’s mother must have had to deal with,
from a man she did really love. This deeply saddens me for I really loved my friend.
I hurt for his hurt, the hurt he had and the hurt he caused.

The miracle of all this, and it is really a miracle is the forgiveness that she was
able to discover and express in my friend’s last days.
Opportunity for healing and some healing did take place.

If there is a heaven and if there is an after-life, and if we are indeed judged on the basis of
love, vulnerability and courage, then in my humble opinion,
her forgiveness and willing to travel from her home several timesl
and be with my friend during his last weeks
truly was the healing that saved his soul.

He finally, ultimately accepted that love.
But I must also forgive my friend for his lack of courage, close-mindedness, stubbornness,
pride, and allowing fear and dissembling to rule his life.
He had to live in great fear to cover this up from so many for so long.
Even from several that he know loved him.
(Tho his basic fear did not allow them to be their own person and still love him)

Fear rules his life, something so deep and needy and repressed.
How did it affect him existentially?

My friend was naturally suspicious, very closed and too ready to take offense,
A kind way of saying this is that he had a sensitive soul. But
both his talent and his sensitivity was large. We could almost say that his talent
was too large for the container which did not have basic trust that every person needs. .

In his talent, he is almost the epitome of the misunderstood genius.
He was, in fact, brilliant. And I felt that others were often jealous of this talent,
as his father was. But there was a deep part of him that never felt loved
(as we are sure he never received this from his own father) and therefore could never trust love
to be just for himself. He is a study in contrasts, a study in the human shadow and how it
can influence us in our lives, severely and to the harm of others and loving relationships.

I have some friends, Turner and Barbara Lyman who teach the Love of Miracles philosphy
in my Fiercce Landscape spiritual growth program for addictive offenders at the country
detention center. We choose either fear or love. I am glad we have them to teach this in our program.

Love requires courage. When we choose fear it can dominate our lives. When we choose love, then we keep making ourselves vulnerable to more love, and increase our capacity for love. We do not grow or change in our comfort zones.

Loving is the choise we make every minute of our lives.
When we keep on choosing love, we discover that we are living in
a world of miracles.

My favorite all time hymn (after Amazing Grace)
is How Can I Keep from Singing?
there is one great line
"If love is Lord of heaven and earth,
how can I keep from singing?"
If anyone ever celebrates my life,
let it be with those songs!

I can never be loving enough for
all that I have received.

Paschal, March 17
St. Patrick's day, 2007



.

Friday, March 16, 2007

John McGill Memorial Service completed, Friday even.

Lexington,Ky, March 16.
The Cuimberland Lansdowne Presbyterian Church in the Tates Creek area of Lexington was mostly full. Friends, relatives, co-workers, and many from his past places of work were present. In front was a table of John's books, awards, with a collection of pictures and clips in a large frame to the right.

Rev. Tom Cottingim opened the simple memorial service with an invocation. Paschal Baute, long time friend of John opened the eulogy, and after speakers Tom, Billy Reed, and Mark Maloney, added closing remarks. We closed with a final prayer by the pastor and then greeted gathers who came forward.

It was a moving ceremony. Billy Reed had graduated just ahead of John at Henry Clay High school, called him Johnny, and shared many experiences of some 47 years of friendship and working together. Tom, John's pastor, shared experiences and memories concerning their common interest in cars and the outdoors. Mark shared how John had been a role model for him at the Herald Leader since the 1970s and how inspirational John's courage and humor had been during his last months.

I shall share only a few remarks from my eulogy.
At the end John found a love he never imagined he could have and felt enormously blessed by all those who reached out to him. "Lucky" he called himself, while the cancer was eating away at his life. He discovered a lost love. The final mystery of John's life, was, I suggested, one of Forgiveness, hope, trust, and love. He died knowing he was loved, truly loved, and as far as most of us who knew John could tell, he had never allowed himself to experience that.

I shall miss John enormously. But like Helen Keller in speaking of the friendship offered her from age 14 on, by Samuel Clemens, Mark Twain. "I withdraw all my charges against life due to my circumstances, because of the friendship I have experienced." She concluded:

"AS LONG AS THE MEMORY OF CERTAIN BELOVED FRIENDS LIVES IN MY HEART, I CAN SAY LIFE IS GOOD."

Regarding the gift of John's life to us, maybe to many of us, I deeply feel the same today. Thank you John McGall for all that you were. We shall deal in love with the rest.

Paschal
Billy Reed has his own eulogy posted at his web site. Very worth reading.
Google Billy Reed Enterprises, Louisville, Ky

Thursday, March 15, 2007

RIP, John McGill

JAM, Eulogy, March 16, Cumberland Lansdowne Presbyterian Church. Lexington, Ky

A eulogy is an impossible task.
We are in the presence of the ultimate mystery of one life, of suffering, of relationships, of love,.of friendship, and of death. Of a UNIQUE storied magazine of many chapters.

Human Words can never capture the mystery. Only poets, and country music singers TRY--MERELY TRY.
We depend too much on words. It is PRESENCE that counts.
We are here today to be present to this Mystery,
--this human story and rich magazine that was the life of John McGill.

I had the privilege of knowing John for almost 30 years in his low points and high points. He helped me author two books and several writing projects. I was privileged to help John through some tough times. I had played sports and coached on several levels which gave us an intuitive connection.. Vietnam radicalized me also. I had been Lt. Cmdr Naval Reserve Chaplain during Vietnam and resigned my commission in protest. We were both skeptical of authority,We both believed that a Wisdom existed in the People that politicians could not hear. We both felt from the beginning that Iraq would be a greater disaster than Vietnam. He read widely and our conversations ranged the universe.

John loved the Beatles as did I. His great plan, hope and dream was to gather a group of his friends to go together to Vegas to view the latest Cirque du Soleil production which celebrates the musical legacy of The Beatles..

Some of you may not know that John went to Europe and studied race car driving and in competition and training, according to reports did very well. He loved the Indy 500 and kept trying to take me. He told me he once interviewed Paul Newman.

John was a gifted writer. He could take an idea, a phrase or a paragraph and in a bit, tweak it so that it could capture the imagination, intrigue the mind and touch the heart. He could take a new writing assignment and within a few days produce an amazing summary article that touched the heart of the matter. I considered him to be brilliant in this.

John had the abiilty to author the new Great American novel of Catch 22 in Business Leadership: that is, How organizations profess highest standards of teamwork and leadership and then actually sabotage their talk most every step of the way. He walked and bled through several such places. My book called Hidden Lions was an unfinsishd project between us on this subject of business self-sabotage.
IT IS SAID
“Every person is born into a particular quadrant of the universe. Our friends hang like companion stars around us, giving us point and direction.
We run to them when we have something to celebrate.
Fall back on them when feeling abused, or confused.
And when a friend dies, as Robert Louis Stephenson wrote of his childhood friend.
“There falls along with him a whole wing of the palace of our lives.�

We celebrate here the Mystery and Grace of John McGill’s life. SPORTS WERE HIS PASSION.. .

When the one Great Scorer comes to write against your name, he marks not whether you won or lost but how you played the game, “said Grantland Rice, regarded as Dean ofAmerican Sportswriters. ....

John McGill loved the game.
John was an acute observer and student of HOW WE PLAY THE GAME.
John grew up in a home where THE GAME and SPORTS were constant conversation. .
John loved stories about sports. John knew sports.
If you were to be in the game, you should be in the game ALL THE WAY, TO THE VERY END.- NO LET UP TIL THE FINAL BUZZER.

On our first trip to Nashville last summer, John visited a nearby book store to buy another book on surviving cancer. If his mind were capable of willing his cancer cured, he would do .it.
He would not relent. In the last week of his life, all four attending physicians at ST. Josephs agreed there was nothing further they could do. John called on the oncology expert he first consulted at Vanderbilt for his final hope.
For his final SHOT AT THE BUZZER. (pause)

A human life is like a diamond, with many parts. Individuals see only aspects.
From John’s first surgery to his last breath, John was mostly in constant pain and could not move without wrenching pain. The days and months crawled by. August, September, October, November, December, January, February, March, 24 hours a day, often being stuck by needles. --March 10 finally ended his pain.

What was amazing to me about these months was how often John found a way to laugh with, kid around, get smiles from those attending him. He had a way of immediately connecting, a heart and funny way of connecting with his caretakers. I believe he showed the quality of his character in the face of the enormous challenge of being helpless in bed 24 hours a day.. He could be entertaining even while undergoing the most humble and humiliating procedure. NO, he was not always easy to be around. All the time, we know now the cancer was growing and spreading, slowly taking over his body.

During these months, what amazed John the most was the love and loving care he found from others, from unexpected sources, from old friends of whom he had not heard for years. Some did walk away unable to find words or resources to deal with what John was undergoing. It is not easy to be with someone you like or love when they are suffering. John did not blame them. Some stayed. John genuinely touched many hearts during his last 8 months. .
(timed delivery: 10 minutes up to here)

Let me now call on his friends Tom, Billy and Mark.
After their remarks
If anyone here wishes to share a remembrance, please raise a hand. If more than one, Count off and give sequnce, "Please come forward in the order given."

CLOSING (timed delivery 5 minutes)

.
THE ULTIMATE IRONY OF BEING HUMAN IS THAT
DEATH ALONE SETS ALL ELSE IN SIGNIFICANCE.

Often We run or hide from the mystery of love,
Always haunting us like an elusive phantom we are afraid of
we are leery of being vulnerable. The VULNERABILTY OF embracing LOVE..
,
John lived with some fear of love, of being loved and of loving.
In the end, his heart was found, captured — Seized by love.
The love of many others, and a lost love.

This is the irony and mystery of his life.
He regarded himself at last as V ERY LUCKY.
despite all that was happening or not happening.
AT THE END, JOHN WAS LUCKY AND GRACED
in his feeling of being loved
--of discovering some he was afraid of, could love him.

That single acceptance may be his most singular grace.. .
The rest of that story is only now begins to be written.

Many have written on the power of friendship to heal. Helen Keller, born blind and dumb, said of the friendship of Samuel Clemens, Mark Twain, which began when she was 14. She wrote:

It has been said that my life has treated me harshly and sometimes I have complained in my heart because so many pleasures of human experience have been withheld from me, but when I recollect the treasure of friendship that has been bestowed upon me.�
I WITHDRAW ALL CHARGES AGAINST LIFE.
If much has been denied me. (She was born deaf and dumb)
MUCH, VERY MUCH HAS BEEN GIVEN ME. “

John felt this way at the end.

Helen Keller, born blind and dumb ended her eulogy to Samual Clemens with these words: As long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I can say life is good.

CANNOT WE SAY THE SAME? I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE RICH MAGAZINE THAT JOHN’S LIFE WAS FOR ME. MAYBE SOME HERE CAN SAY THE SAME.

RLS described his friendship with his childhood friend James Ferrier:

The first step for all of us, is to learn to the dregs, says Stevenson, of our ignoble fallibility. WHEN WE HAVE FALLEN THROUGH STORY AFTER STORY OF OUR OWN VANITY AND ASPIRATION, AND SIT RUEFUL AMONG THE RUINS, THEN IT IS WE BEGIN TO MEASURE THE STATURE OF OUR FRIENDS.

The world of sports and sports writing were John’s Passion, but he had many sides,
and he never stopped growing or challenging himself.

When the one great scorer comes to score against your name, he marks not whether you won or lost but how you played the game.
John McGill loved the game and had SKIN IN THE GAME til the very end.

We thank you, Lord, or the gift of his Life.
Thank you, John McGill for everything you were.

As long as the memory of my friend John McGill remains in my heart, I cay say that life is good.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Is the universe random? Chopra

Debunking 'The God Delusion,' Part 3

'Do we live in a random universe?' asks Deepak Chopra as he parses the arguments of atheist Richard Dawkins. By Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra In the fall of 2006, mind-body and consciousness expert and author Deepak Chopra, M.D. debated the existence of God with atheist author Richard Dawkins on British television. In this six-part series, Chopra takes on Dawkins in even more detail, specifically addressing each major God-related claim by Dawkins, whose books include "The God Delusion," "The Selfish Gene," and "Unweaving the Rainbow." -- Ed.

One of the reasons that Dawkins' book has touched a nerve is that many scientists are outraged by the religious tide in world affairs. Using theology as a shield, politicians are undermining the whole rational structure of scientific progress. This brings us to another major point for Dawkins.

3. The universe is a complex machine whose workings are steadily being demystified by science. Any other way of viewing the world is superstitious and reactionary.

What is so strange about this argument is that Dawkins himself is totally reactionary. His defense of a material universe revealing its secrets ignores the total overthrow of materialism in modern physics. There is no world of solid objects; space-time itself depends upon shaping forces beyond both space and time. The notion that Dawkins stands for progress while religion stands for anti-progress may be true in a broad social sense: Nobody would pick a Baptist preacher to lead the human genome project.

But arch materialism is just as superstitious as religion. Someone like Dawkins still believes there are solid objects randomly colliding to haphazardly form more and more complex objects, until over the course of billions of years the universe produced human DNA with its billions of genetic bits.

What's wrong with this argument is that if you trace DNA down to its individual atoms, each is more than 99.9999% empty space. If you take an individual electron, it has no fixed position in either time or space. Rather, ghostly vibrations wink in and out of the universe thousands of times per second, and what lies beyond the boundary of the five senses holds enormous mysteries.

Enough mysteries, in fact, to be consistent with God. I don't mean a personal God or a mythic one or any God with a human face. Set aside all images of God. What we observe once we get over the superstition of materialism (one that Dawkins defends to the last degree) is that random chance is one of the worst ways to explain how the universe evolved. Here are a few reasons why:

--The various constants in nature, such as gravity and the speed of light, are too precisely fitted with each other for this to happen by chance.
--If any one of six constants had been off by less than a millionth of 1 percent, the material universe couldn't exist.
--Events at opposite ends of the universe are paired with each other, so that a change in the spin of one electron immediately produces a twin effect in another electron. This ability to communicate instantly across millions of light years cannot be explained by materialism. It defies all notions of cause and effect. It defies chance.
--Every electron in the universe exists as a wave function that is everywhere at once. When this wave function collapses, we observe a specific isolated electron. Before the wave collapses, however, matter is non-local.

The ability of objects and events to be everywhere at once seems like an attribute of God--omnipresence. The ability of electrons separated by millions of light years to "talk" to each other seems like another attribute of God--omniscience. This doesn't mean that God explains the universe. It means that there may be governing forces at work which allow the existence of universal consciousness. The self-aware universe is a plausible theory. Many writers have described it, although Dawkins disdains such theories.

If the universe is self-aware, it would explain the formation of a self-replicating molecule like DNA far more elegantly than the clumsy, crude mechanism of random chance. As the astronomer Fred Hoyle declared (Hoyle was one of the first to seize on the notion of an expanding universe in the 1950s), the probability that random chance created life is roughly the same as the probability that a hurricane could blow through a junkyard and create a Boeing 707.

Before proceeding with the next step in refuting the anti-God position, let's pause to see what you think. Is a random universe of concrete objects colliding by chance is the right model for creation?

Share your thoughts on our mini-board to the right.

Continue on to Part 4 of Debunking "The God Delusion"

Return to Part 1 of Debunking "The God Delusion"

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

the two faced hypocrisy of the Right Wing, Guest opinion,

From OPEd news, today,

He is GUILTY. The man they like to call Scooter has been found guilty as charged on four counts by a jury of his peers. Justice for him has come but for Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson it remains elusive. Just mere hours after justice was delivered upon I Lewis Libby, the republican right was bellowing about pardons and anything to distract America from the inescapable fact that he is GUILTY.


What is this man guilty of? Obstruction of justice and perjury. You remember perjury don’t you? Perjury is the crime that the republican right whined abut for two years as they were impeaching Bill Clinton. Of course in Clinton’s case, he had lied under oath about a person sexual indiscretion, not about treasonous activities. Treason? You got it. You see this investigation was about the felonious outing of a CIA covert operative as political payback. It doesn’t get any more treasonous than that… wait, I forgot that the agent’s job at the time was to protect this country from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. I stand corrected, it CAN be more treasonous than that and it certainly was.


In fact, George Bush Senior perhaps said it best, "I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are in my view, the most insidious of traitors."

Amidst the crocodile tears and calls for pardons, let us not lose sight of what this is really about. Prosecutor Fitzgerald was investigating who leaked the covert identity of Valerie Plame. The leak was done to discredit her husband Joseph Wilson, who has an unimpeachable record of bipartisan public service. Wilson was dispatched at the behest of the Office of the Vice President, despite the lies being spread by the right, to investigate the claim that Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase yellowcake from the country of Niger. The documents in question were poor forgeries and Wilson knew that. The name on the documents of the Mines Official was someone who hadn’t been in office for years. Wilson went anyway and came back assuring everyone that there was no validity to the story.

Unfortunately for him, our government wanted the story to be true to justify the war. The story made it into the State of the Union address and Wilson put two and two together. After trying to get them to come clean about the error, he published an op-ed in the NY Times where he told the truth to the American people. His reward for his decades of public service? A vicious smear campaign was launched against him by the White House, including the willful outing of his wife, Valerie Plame, who was a covert CIA operative, despite the lies being spread by the right.


What does all of this mean? It means that the White House sold this country into war, resulting in the deaths of over 3,000 soldiers, on lies that they knew were lies. This was not a case of bad intelligence; it was a case of selective intelligence they knew was false. When Wilson had the temerity to set the record straight, someone betrayed this country by outing his wife, pure and simple. The republicans will whine that Fitzgerald never actually indicted anyone for the outing of Valerie Plame and they are correct. What they refuse to acknowledge is that the reason Fitzgerald could not indict anyone is because Lewis Libby lied to him under oath and obstructed justice. That is what this case is about. That is why perjury is a serious offense.


But the right-wing echo chamber is having none of it. The same people, who bemoaned the lies of Bill Clinton, now seem to think it is not a serious matter. They have portrayed Libby as a loyal servant. HE LIED UNDER OATH AND OBSTRUCTED JUSTICE. They have tried to claim the jury was “confused�, - shut up. (This is the view of Fox News "Fair and Balanced humbug")

They said clearly that they felt Libby was the fall guy, but that he clearly was a LIAR. George W. Bush, who is supposed to serve the interests of the citizenry of this country, said in response to this verdict that he was “sorry for Mr. Libby and his family.� Excuse me? Bush feels badly for the convicted felon, not the injured party? He feels badly for the man who obstructed an investigation into treasonous activities but does not have a word of remorse for what people in his administration did to two patriotic citizens?

Lewis Libby is not the injured party here, he is the perpetrator. The spinning being done on the right may be dizzying at times but do not lose sight of the fact that Libby was CONVICTED of obstructing justice and perjury in a federal investigation into treason against the United States of America.

Republican spin machines such as the Weekly Standard and the National Review have already called for a pardon, clearly showing that they put party before country and think the rule of law is strangely outdated. Since Libby lied to protect this president and his lies that started a war, Bush should recuse himself from any possibility of a pardon. That of course is highly unlikely based upon the president already expressing his remorse that a jury of his peers has found Libby guilty.

The truth obviously does not matter to this administration. Maybe I am too harsh but I generally do not have a lot of sympathy for people who betray their own country. That is what I Lewis Libby did, and was convicted of yesterday. Maybe I just like the idea of seeing how well the name "Scooter" goes over in prison, but this verdict does not sadden me as it does our president.


Let the right wingnuts cry as loudly as they like. Scooter Libby is a convicted felon who put his party before his country. There is nothing they can say to change those facts. They can try and minimize the investigation or spin yarns about how Wilson and Plame are somehow to blame, but in the end, the justice system worked and a jury of his peers has found Lewis Libby guilty as charged.

Nothing is sacred anymore to the anti-American spinmeisters of the right wing.

So what if a woman whose job was to protect Americans from WMD had her career ruined. So what if that made us more vulnerable because in destroying Plame, the Bushies also destroyed her cover, Brewster-Jennings, who was responsible for preventing WMD proliferation. Only in the mind of the right-wing nut can this not be seen as blatant hypocrisy. Only in their twisted version of America is the person who obstructs justice in a treason case, the victim. See you later Scooter; hope you look good in orange.

_
Anthony Wade, a contributing writer to opednews.com, is dedicated to educating the populace to the lies and abuses of the government. He is a 39-year-old independent writer from New York with political commentary articles seen on multiple websites. A Christian progressive and professional Rehabilitation Counselor working with the poor and disabled, Mr. Wade believes that you can have faith and hold elected officials accountable for lies and excess.

Anthony Wade?s
Archive: http://www.opednews.com/archiveswadeanthony.htm Email Anthony: takebacktheus@gmail.com

Friday, March 02, 2007

New Storytelling experience. March 2, Journal.

Journal, May 2, 2007

New storytelling experiences.

Although I have been using stories, writing stories and telling stories since the middle 1980s, and leading a few workshops on storytelling for the Spiritual Growth Network of Kentucky for several years, I risked taking this focus to a new level this past month.

I volunteered to lead three workshops on "Building Bridges between Faith and Psychology, Use of Story to Change" for Ohio Psychologists at their annual retreat on the Union between Psychology and Spirituality (where I have twice presented before but not on this subject). So this was my first attempt to persuade professional care-givers, a group of psychologists about the power of story to heal and to change. This had never been mentioned in their graduate school education.

I presented three workshops, a 101a, 101b, and 102, each three hours. I designed them to be participative and active learning. I collected brief evaluations from participants at the end and these are summarized elsewhere on this blog. OPA retreat evaluations.

Today I received the official evaluations reported to the OPA sponsors. I am very pleased with the results reported. Most every person rated the workshops highly, and there was not a single negative response. Most gave me a "5" Strongly Agree, to all 8 statements on Content, and to all 6 statements on Instructor. Comments added were: "Great topics and presentation. Lots of good practice," and "Please get him next time again.".

All but two checked Overall Rating as "Met My expectations and the other two were "Exceeded my expectations." Psychologists, whether young or very experienced can be tough raters for their peers presenting. I did not expect this degree of positive evaluations. Several present had deeply moving experiences of inner reconciliation of parts of their own story. I am very happy with these reports..

I am also pleased that I risked stretching myself in planning and leading these workshops. I enjoy pushing my own envelope. I am now ready to repeat these kind of workshops for other care-giving professionals. In fact, I have already offered to do so for the Kentucky Storytelling Association of which I am a member. Maybe in Lexington and elsewhere. I am scheduled for storytelling at a church conference for women and another at Natasha’s café in downtown Lexington, both in April. I am also enjoying helping others to tell their own stories and learning to discern what kind of story someone might need for a new window for themselves.

This is allowing me to integrate a great deal of my experience and passion, building bridges between faith, spirituality, wellness and science, to empower others. Thanks for listening.

Remnder: Our SGN monthly workshops and quarterly retreats focus on the power of story and the shadow side of story. Our next one is March 12-14. Knobs Haven, Loretto Motherhouse, Nerinx, Ky..

Namaste

Paschal Baute.

My storytelling blog is AMAZEMENT on my writing page.

Www.paschalbaute.com

“Truth used to run around the world naked. Everyone was frightened and avoided him. He saw someone dressed in beautiful robes surrounded by friends.

Truth asked her name. She answered, "I am story. I could dress you."

And from that day forth Truth and Story traveled mostly together, but not always."

--A Jewish tale