How to Handle Loss with Dignity

January 2, 2009

book-coverI just received a promotional piece on a new book that deals with a godly view of tragedy and suffering.  I responded to this one because the forward is written by Dr. Stephen Seamands (whom I like) who is from Asbury Theological Seminary (which I like) and the book included a lot of good quotes (which I appreciate because of their pithy depth)

The book is called Tragic Redemption: Healing the Guilt and Shame: by Hiram Johnson

The message is one of hope following a series of tragic losses.

Topics include depression, grief, alcoholism, suicide, childhood tapes, embracing our weaknesses, co-dependency, prayer, blessing, acceptance, intimacy, joy, the value of scars, and finding redemptive purpose and meaning in heartache and loss.  Wow!

The memorable quotes are as follows (I wish I could craft words like this):
“The extreme greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering but a supernatural use for it.”  French Philosopher Simone Weil (1909-1943)
“Repressions are the power that makes one work against all the avowed and willful intentions. They are strong because they are deep in the vows of the child of the past.” Myron Madden
“Hope is a memory of the future.”  Gabriel Marcel
“When we avoid pain, we avoid healing.” author
“We belong to the power we choose to obey.” J.B. Phillips
“A thorn in the flesh is nothing in comparison to a thorn in our conscience.” Charles Spurgeon
“Pity can be described as falling in love with our sorrow.” author
“Many guilt ridden people take an unconscious pleasure from suffering.” author
“What happens within us is more important than what happens to us. We can not always choose the latter, but we can choose the former.” David Seamands
“Within every process of forgiveness, there is enshrined a great agony.” Macintosh
“Shame is a hemorrhage of the soul.” Jean Paul Sartre
“What comes into our mind when we first think of God is the most important thing about us.” A.W. Tozer
“I believe that Christ died for me because its incredible; I believe that He rose from the dead because its impossible.” author unknown
“The church is the only institution in the world whose membership is based on unworthiness.” Morrison
“Forgiving ourselves (or others) is taking a bold step into power.” author
“The problem is that people have enough to live by but nothing to live for, they have the means but no meaning.” Viktor Frankl

All this got me to thinking that suffering is a bummer mainly because it seems like the ruination of everything good and decent, the end of road.  God seems to see it differently, so I add one of my favorite quotes, not from the book, but from Paul in the Book (Romans 5:3)

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame,because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

How to Get to Know One Another

January 1, 2009

getting-to-knowWhat kind of questions do you ask someone to get to know them?  I have always reacted with a bit of frustration when I hear people say, “Be sure you get to know the other person before you enter into a permanent relationship.”   Most people don’t know how to do that.  Now, finally, Julie Ferwerda, shows us how.  Her book, The Perfect Fit,  contains over a hundred questions that you can use to start personal discussions.  The context for her book is premarital awareness of your partner.  The application goes far beyond that.  My wife and I (married 33 years) took this list to dinner with us this evening and started discussing some of the statements.  We dealt with two of them.  You won’t run out of material for a long time.  I share them all with you and also encourage you to check out her blog.   She’s clear, personable and insightful.

Work through these questions together. There’s no hurry; take all the time you need. But there’s one rule.  You must be completely, gut-wrenchingly honest!

My biggest goal in life is to _____.
I find satisfaction in _____.
Before I die I want to _____.
I am here because _____.
My dream is to someday _____.
I will be ready to die when I’ve _____.

The best part about my childhood was _____.
The worst part about my childhood was _____.
The scariest thing that ever happened to me was _____.
Something I¹m afraid to tell anyone about my past is _____.
A past situation that could affect my future is _____.
I’ve had [ ___ ] sexual partners before this relationship.
The way I feel about my past relationship history is _____.

My biggest fears in life are _____.
My biggest needs in life are _____.
My most frequent mood is _____.
The thing I hate most is _____.
The thing I worry about most is _____.
Three things I want to change about myself are _____.
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