Forgiveness: Last Sunday I asked our pastor, “Who is leading our Lenten Study?’ Lent is the four weeks before Easter. Lent is a time of reflection I have found valuable many times. She smiled, leaned in and asked “How about you?” Thus, at the last minute, I found myself leading a study on a book by Marjorie Thompson called Forgiveness. Despite the scrambling and time taken for preparation, I was glad to teach. I always learn more from the responsibility of teaching than I do as a student.

She begins the book by saying our experiences build perceptions that affect how we view the world and understanding that helps forgiveness. Thompson argues to understand our experiences and how they shape our views of the world helps us live in community.

To encourage discussion on that topic, I asked two questions:

  1. If you are truly in favor of diversity, equality and inclusion, which of the following two phrases is the better description of diversity and inclusion—Black lives matter or all lives matter?

2. If you believe America is a Christian nation, how does the phase “America First” align with the Great Commandment to love God first and others as ourselves?

My intent was not to support a particular position but to make people aware that their experiences shape how they respond to the world. I wanted discussion. I got discussion. 

I am not sure everyone understood I was not pushing a position. Their views were challenged by the questions and quite naturally they defended those views.

Not being defensive about my views is as hard for me as it is for every normal human. I am set in my ways. Admitting I am wrong after many years of believing something takes strength and humility.

 At the same time, the older I get the more convinced I am that two keys to wisdom are the ability to see my own flaws and to see the strengths in others. I am not weak if I know my weaknesses. I am not fully supporting another viewpoint if I acknowledge one aspect of an opposing position.

Eighty–one years of experiences have led to firm perceptions, but I try to challenge myself to see other views. To that end, I watch both Fox News (not the commentary) and get the New York Times on my computer.

For those of you that believe Fox News is only spewing far right propaganda, you would be surprised to learn Larry Kudlow, a Trump economic advisor and FOX contributor, recently praised the current economy under Biden.

Former Trump adviser on Biden’s economy: ‘I would be bragging about it, too’ | The Hill

In addition, Neal Cavuto, a FOX host, cut away from a campaign speech by Donald Trump and corrected some of Trump’s claims, including the idea the 2020 election was stolen by fraud. There are many references to his cut-away available by Google.:

Fox Host Cuts Away From Trump Speech to Debunk Election BS (

And for those you who refuse to read the New York Times because you believe it is just mainstream media propaganda, you missed an excellent in-depth article about the problems with illegal immigrant faced by a ranch family on the border with Mexico.

When the Border Crisis Is in Your Backyard: Migrants, Cartels and Cowboys – The New York Times (

I can only speak for myself but, I do not have understanding and wisdom unless I know both the strengths and weaknesses of my own positions. I cannot have dialog without being willing to admit the strengths of the others.  

Marjorie Thompson is helping me see I have a better chance to be a forgiving person and live in community if I know my strengths and weakness as well as the strengths and weaknesses of others.

Cooperation and Competition. The older I get the more I believe cooperation is good for survival. Believe it or not my thinking comes from reflections about lions and ants.

Yes! I wrote lions and ants—bear with me here.

My interest in lions began when we took our marvelous trip to several countries in southern Africa. On one photo safari we observed a young lion. He was resting in the shade and we got many good pictures.

Later, the guide got a call from another guide about the location of a lion kill. We raced to the site in late afternoon and watched until after sunset.

When we arrived, our guide drove us between two groups. On the right were the 10 female lions in the pride. They were asleep and full from eating their share of the giraffe they had run down and killed.

On the left were two old male lions. They were now allowed to eat what was left.

As we watched, the guide shared a fact that surprised me. He said the average age-span of a male lion was only 10 years. The surprising low time-span was not the result of poachers or climate change. The guide said the young lion we saw earlier will eventually migrate to this area. He will then kill the two old lions and take over the pride.

When I returned home, I checked and the information I found supported what the guide said. In the wild the average male lion’s lifespan is around 10 years. My further research showed that it is not the genetic lifespan for a male lion. In captivity, they can live up to 25 years.  (Good argument for zoo life.) Cooperation between the male and female lions allows the males to have regular food but competition between male lions in the wild, results in a shorter life span.

My curiosity about ants came from reading about E.O. Wilson when he died. He was raised in Mobile and was a world-famous entomologist. He was a brilliant, controversial man.  His specialty was ants.

The genetic limit for a male ant is a few months. The male spends his life foraging and feeding the colony. Wilson’s research made it clear — cooperation enables ants to survive and thrive.

 Without cooperation ants would be extinct in short measure. Their cooperation has facilitated their survival and they exist everywhere in the world except Antarctica and a few islands. (Think about — no ants in ANTarctica.)

I’m not adverse to competition. I enjoy both watching and participating in competition. But I want competition AND cooperation. In my opinion a society that depends solely on competition to survive probably won’t survive. Cooperation seems necessary for communities to survive.

Why is this topic on my heart at this time? I am inundated by aggressive, hostile local campaign ads flaunting lack of cooperation in governace. In fact, bipartisan work is treated with disdain.

People of faith are encouraged to practice forgiveness and live in community. We need cooperation to live in community as a nation.

This and That

CPAC. Numerous sources reported Jack Posobiec opened the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) convention with the following — “Welcome to the end of democracy,” and the subsequent claim, “We are here to overthrow it completely. We didn’t get all the way there on January 6, but we will endeavor to get rid of it and replace it with this right here.” Posobiec raised his fist and proclaimed, “All glory is not to government. All glory to God.” 

He later claimed it was a joke. If it was a joke, why did the people cheer rather than laugh?

Caitlin Clark. In her quest for scoring records, the next milestone for Caitlin Clark is to pass Lynette Woodard. I will be watching this with even greater interest because Caitlin attends Iowa, which is where I earned my PhD. Lynette graduated from my high school, Wichita High School North. Should be fun to watch.

Good News

Kindness Spreads

  Free Meals For Truckers: Queensland Pub Inspires A Wave Of Giving Across Australia (

Teacher’s Generosity to Students

New York Medical School Eliminates Tuition After $1 Billion Donation (

Kindness over Bureaucracy

Texas Court Unable To Find Jurors To Uphold $500 Fine For Feeding The Homeless (




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