Faith in One Another

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. – Mahatma Gandhi

Have you ever heard someone say something like, “I’ve given up on so and so. It/he/she just isn’t worth the effort anymore.” It might be a friend, a faith community, an organization, or even a family member. Or maybe you’ve been privy to conversations about the dire state and depravity of humankind in general. When the mind starts spiraling in this direction, it becomes easy to become “oh, so negative,” as my friends Allen and Sally are fond of saying.

Of course, negative thoughts lead to more negative thoughts, and pretty soon the person thinking them becomes a real “Debbie Downer.” Think, I’m exaggerating? Try this little experiment: for 24 hours watch nothing but news channels (FOX, MSNBC, CNN, or any other 24-hour news outlet or combination thereof). I guarantee you’ll feel more agitated, negative, and nervy than before you began.

Instead, vow to believe in the innate goodness of humankind, indeed of all creation. For folks who read the Torah or Old Testament, the first chapter of Genesis repeatedly chronicles the Creator proclaiming the creation “good” and “very good.” That means God doesn’t create bad, broken stuff.

Sure, we can get bumped, scuffed, scraped, and broken as we journey through life. Some folks are REALLY broken and as a result do horrible things to innocent people. Some individuals act just plain mean. Evil is very real. Still…for the good of all  of us, I believe we must never, ever give up faith in humankind. Gandhi’s words are every bit as true today as they were when he first spoke/wrote them.

Or as the unknown Johannine teacher wrote in 1 John, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (4:7).

Believe in the presence of good and in the restorative power of love. Keep the faith–and the faith in each other.

Thanksliving Action:

Need some positive information? Check out for good news that inspires and uplifts.

Photo by lel4nd. Thanks!

The Difference

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

 ― William James

You were created to live a life unlike no other person on this planet. You were gifted with unique skills, talents, and potentials to contribute much of value to your family, community, and world. What you do, what you think, how you act does make a difference.

Do you believe the statements written above? Are you living like you make a difference? Are you willing to, as Mahatma Gandhi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world”? A life of thanks-living is a life of intentionality, of recognizing, giving thanks for, and living out the gifts and blessings that are part and parcel of our lives.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the cares and concerns of daily living that we forget our intrinsic worth as human beings and our ability to make the earth (our home) a better place. Our hectic twenty-first century lifestyle simply does not encourage intentionality in thought, word, and deed.

We get so busy trying to manage the details of life that we forget to really live. We forget that we are created beings with a soul, a mind, and an innate desire to be in relationship and to make a difference.

How does one go about making a difference? Where to start? As a person of faith, I strive to uphold the “golden rule” or “ethic of reciprocity.” Specifically, as a Christian, I look to Jesus’ “Love Command” (Matt. 22:37-40) based on the Hebrew Shema (Deut. 6:4-9) for ultimate guidance. Of course, I fail mightily, so I am grateful for the grace that enables me to “fall down seven times, get up eight” (Japanese proverb). I find it interesting that many of the world’s religions have a similar teaching about how to treat others and how to make a difference. Click here for some examples.

We are all connected. Even the poet John Donne recognized that fact. Click here for an exploration of his Meditation XVII and the famous “no man (sic) is an island” quote. So then, our connections are only as good as our interactions and relationships one with the other. That’s why all that you say, do, and are matters and makes a difference. So, yes, act like it; better yet, live like it–each small moment of every precious day.

Lent 40/40/40 Update

Honoring Relationships

Charlie and Frances Rampp made a real difference in my life. As a struggling single mom and seminarian, Charlie nourished my soul with poetry, gifting me with the occasional treasured book or a sheaf of his poems (usually on recycled paper–nicely done, Charlie). Frances helped me laugh at life during some very dark days and showered me with kindness and hospitality. Charlie is gone now to life eternal, but his legacy lives on in my approach to ministry and attempts at writing poetry. Thank you, dear Frances and Charlie, for living lives that mattered and for being the difference.

Giving Possessions

Bye, bye blue fleece! I didn’t wear you all winter, so obviously you are needed elsewhere. I offered to return you to your previous owner, but she declined, so hopefully you will soon have a new owner to keep warm.


I am thankful for trains. Mass transit is a great way to share life with others, save gas, and avoid the stress of driving.

Photos by Manoj Kengudelu used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!