From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Friday, October 31, 2014

Thinking for success: Harvard tips

(Photo by Zhen-Huan Lu)
If you can play the piano but just don’t, your ability for that skill is outweighing your disposition to practice it. 

Thus spaketh Shari Tishman, a Harvard education scholar. She also points out that this discrepancy between ability and inclination can extend into our thinking tendencies.

Drake Baer of Business Insider explains that people who potentially can see both sides of an issue often don’t bother to.
Making full use of your thinking abilities therefore means having both the ability and the inclination to do so.

Baer lists Tishman’s recommended core “thinking dispositions.”  Tishman’s ideal intellectual scenario would include a thinker who is open-minded, zestfully curious, able
to clarify and conceptualize, disposed toward setting goals and executing plans, careful and precise, assessing and evaluative, and reflective of his or her own thinking patterns.

Baer concludes:  “Thinking about your thinking dispositions – rather than how innately smart you are” helps to cultivate a “growth mindset.”


Copyright October 31, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 30, 2014

John C. Maxwell: Bucket-list books

Henri Nouwen  (Photo by Frank Hamilton)
Pastor John C. Maxwell is himself a prolific writer.  Having led numerous churches, he has authored numerous books on leadership.

Wikipedia lists the following Maxwell titles:  Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader.
Altogether, Maxwell has written more than 60 such books.

Because his own books have “sold more than nineteen million copies,” and some have been “on the New York Times Best Seller List,” it is interesting to note which authors Maxwell
particularly cherishes.

He has made this easy to determine by publishing a “bucket list” of personal favorites. Authors within this select group include C. S. Lewis (Screw Tape Letters), Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled), Henri Nouwen (Life Signs), Jack Welch (Jack: Straight From the Gut), Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life) and James Allen (As a Man Thinketh).

And, oh yes – among the many other listings, there are seven by Maxwell himself… 


Copyright October 30, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

'People's Tree': Nature's sacrifice

U. S. Capitol   (Photo by Martin Falbisoner)
With more than a touch of irony, the soon-to-be U. S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be cut down in the name of ecology.

Aptly named “The People’s Tree” (if it were instead “The Forest’s Tree,” it could go on living in its natural habitat for years to come), this “whopping 80-foot plus white spruce” will be torn from its home in Chippewa National Forest, Minnesota on October 29th. explains that this sacrificial tree will then slowly wend its way through numerous states in order to “showcase” Minnesota’s “natural beauty…”

Once it gets to Washington, D. C., it will also be showcasing the traditions of a particular faith.  If other faiths were equally showcasing their traditions in this pronounced a manner, the pluralistic demographics of the United States would be more fairly represented.


Copyright October 29, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Stephen Hawking: a Facebook first

Hawking in Zero Gravity   (NASA photo)
Facebook just got a whole lot wiser.  Live Science reports that famed physicist Stephen Hawking recently made his very first entry on to that popular site.

So what would this genius choose to share with the world by way of a Facebook introduction?  The answer comes as no surprise – Hawking characteristically dove right into his favorite topic.

First sentence:  I have always wondered what makes the universe exist.

Final sentence:  Be curious, I know I will forever be.

Wow, and wow again.

Nevertheless, Hawking’s down-to-earth practicality was also very much featured within an accompanying Facebook video.

While explaining why he himself didn’t take part in the recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Hawking stated:  Because I had pneumonia last year, it would not be wise for me to have a bucket of cold water poured over me.


Copyright October 28, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 27, 2014

Muslims flee Myanmar

Mandalay Mosque   (Photo by Wagaung) 
Rohingya Muslims, a persecuted minority within the “Buddhist nation” of Myanmar, are fleeing the country in vast numbers.

Although the essence of Buddhism is compassion for all sentient beings, mobs which call themselves Buddhist have been attacking the Rohingya.  Aljazeera reports that this persecution “has left hundreds dead and 140,000 trapped in camps.”

The Rohingya, who emigrated to Myanmar from “neighboring Bangladesh generations ago,” mostly “live in the northern tip of the Rakhine state.”  Authorities there have recently embarked upon “an aggressive campaign” to categorize the Rohingya as “illegal migrants.”  Those refusing to take part in this “verification” process have been “confined… beaten or arrested.”

Due to ongoing violence against the Rohingya, the United Nations has labeled this group “one of the most persecuted religious minorities in the world.”

And that’s saying a lot.


Copyright October 27, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Priests and Nun: Making joyful noises

Tap Shoes   (Photo by Calliopejen1)
It’s refreshing to see members of the clergy simply tap dancing around, rather than tap dancing around important issues. 

During an April 2014 fundraiser at North American College, which Trisha Thomas of the Associated Press calls “the elite American seminary up the hill from the Vatican,” two seminarians were filmed tap dancing for the masses. 

The Rev. David Rider of Hyde Park, New York first “warmed up the crowd,” until he was “pushed aside” by the Rev. John Gibson of Milwaukee’s “fast-footed Irish dance.”  They continued this fleet-footed dueling for some time, much to the audience’s delight.

Not everyone, however, was delighted.  Some have criticized them for daring to dance “under a crucifix and a painting of Pope Francis.”  Rider’s reply?  We would just refer them to the Bible, where the Lord tells us to live with joy.

Sister Cristina Scuccia is also in the habit of making joyful noises.  She’s done a cover of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” and has won last June’s “The Voice of Italy” competition.  She, too, has elicited mixed feelings from the faithful.

Copyright October 26, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hitler coffee: Hot as you-know-what

Latte Art  (Photo by Mortefot from Flickr) 
With a hellish display of advertising gone wrong, a “leading Swiss supermarket chain” has been “distributing mini-containers of coffee cream bearing portraits of Adolph Hitler…”

The Geneva Associated Press reports that the company, Migros, is now calling this an “unforgivable blunder,” and is blaming it on an “internal failure.”

Whatever that means…

At any rate, Migros is now wiping Hitler’s likeness off the face of its shelves, and “is breaking all ties with Karo-Versand, the small Swiss company that designed the collectible series.”  (The series also includes likenesses of Mussolini, lest Hitler become lonely.)

Not everyone was against these Hitler additives.  Some were delighted to see him get creamed all over again.


Copyright October 25, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved