A friend of mine googled my name and in his search he found a poem which was written by Dan Tocchini. When I read the poem, I really connected it with times of despair in my own life. I was deeply impacted by its content, yet I didn’t remember writing it. I thought this must be another Dan Tocchini. So, I forwarded the poem to my son (Dan Tocchini IV) and asked him if he knew anything about it. I informed him that it had won an online poetry contest and our name was on it.
He wrote back and confirmed he had written it in 2002 as an assignment for one of his classes and somebody entered it in an online contest.
The Heart of the Godless
Heaven is upon me and I am not ready. Wading in my inadequacies, I fondle with sin. I consort with lust and am comforted only by violence. My body aches in laziness. I am dripping with imperfection. Rooted in shallowness and wrought with lies, I am pathetic. The most subtle force will topple me over. I stand for nothing. Regret holds me hostage. My facade is fit, right and sane. But, I have no control. I despise my reflection. I am clothed in shame. Worse, I am lost and alone. I offer my mind as a playground for the wicked And, my body as their tool But even they refuse to lie with me. My silence shall become my eternal inheritance.
“Creation is a better means of self-expression than possession; it is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed.”
Vida D. Scudder
Transformation is what occurs when people alter the way the world appears to them by making specific decisions to tap into the power of interpretation. So, why is it that producing transformations in how teams, organizations and families work together is so elusive despite well intentioned, very smart people? I believe the number one challenge is that our culture is entrained to listen for simple answers, sound bites, steps, tips and techniques to very complex challenges. We want answers to questions that demand more than what can be achieved through a sound byte or even an audio book.
Our current financial crisis is a perfect example. We want an answer and we want it now. We pass stimulus packages that don’t get read until after they become law and then wonder why things just don’t transform, no matter who we find to blame or how long or hard we keep our fingers crossed. We are steeped in the expectation the if we do a class, listen to a tape, read a book we will then be able to put it down and because we have been exposed to some interesting intellectual content turn around and implement it into our lives as if we had mastered it.
Allow me to exaggerate the point to make it as clear as I can. Imagine a group of first year brain surgeons learning about how the nervous system impacts the functioning of the body’s organs. And then they ask, “how can we start using this knowledge with our patients tomorrow?”
Any discipline requires rigor in practice to become second nature or “get it in our body.” Especially things like neurosurgery and transforming teams, family or organizations. whether it is transforming how you treat your spouse or what it takes to have your sales team generate breakthrough levels of revenue.
The work of transforming the way we live our lives is about accomplishing levels of performance in your life and business that, when considered by others appear to be impossible! I call this transformance! Transformance is a level passionate disciplined expression that transcends mere competence; it is mastery or a place of free expression marked by a distinct level of focus and self-abandonment which produces unprecedented impact, in other words it seemed impossible until the master accomplishes it.
If you have ever watched a Grand Master at Chess play 50 games at once you know what I am saying. Their ability to see the board and identify the winning moves along the way seems impossible or even miraculous, especially when the demonstration is over and he or she has won all 50 games. During the process a Master enjoys a sense of prowess that transcends competent expression.
When a master shows up, people’s stop and pay attention because they recognize something unprecedented could occur! Tiger Woods, Michael Jordon and Bobby Fisher have all done what appears to be impossible and yet they are not surprised by the transformance! They do not come to the event to find the “answer” to breaking a record, for them it is self-expression! How often do we get out of bed fully intending to express ourselves in unprecedented ways? Do we have anybody or anything that means enough to us to live this way?]]>
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” John 3:16
Blasphemy is calling God a liar.
Declaring your worthlessness, denying your eternal value while gathering evidence to support your self-contempt and justifying your apathy isn’t humility; it is blasphemy!]]>
I have been watching the Youtube presentations by Atheists ranting and raving about how evil religion is. I have literally watched hundreds of videos and one of their main tenets is : “Christian nations promote imperialism, violence and oppression as was demonstrated by the Inquisitions, Witch Burnings of Salem and The African Slave Trade. They have pointed to other tragic events conducted in the name of religion such as the Japanese Empire rooted in Buddhism and Shintoism, Islam and today’s terrorist organizations, as well as the Israeli injustices against the Palestinians, etc. saying that these are evidence that religion aggravates human differences until erupt in war, violence or oppression.”
At first glance their premise seems quite compelling. This would mean that any religion would catalyze the behaviors they have cited in their dogmatic diatribes.
The Communist societies that were founded in Russia, China, and Cambodia rejected all organized religion and belief in any god. These were, as our Atheist friends would say, rational and secular societies and each one of them produced massive violence of an unprecedented order. Marxism makes the State a god, science makes Knowledge a god, Nazis’ made race a god.
Alister McGrath indicates that when a society abandons an idea of God it will “transcendentalize” some other concept in order to appear morally and spiritually superior. So, when I hear an Atheist call me stupid, moronic, imbecilic and retarded for my faith all I can say is, “Well, isn’t that special!”]]>
Yes, it must be if it is to do anything for us as individuals. Faith therefore, requires a leap. It is not a matter of galvanizing the will to believe something there is no evidence for, but a leap of commitment.
Kierkegaard says “The leap is the category of decision”– the decision to commit one’s being totally to a God whose existence is rationally uncertain and whose redemption is utterly an offense. All proofs for the existence of God and the deity of Christ fail. What if Christianity is not a doctrine to be taught, but a life to be lived?
In which case proofs would not only be unconvincing, but irrelevant.]]>
What does it mean to get out of my own way? It means I would need to stop prostituting my future (fulfillment) for the short term gain of getting my immediate needs met (Happiness). Getting out of my way means to subordinate my immediate gratification for the long-term benefits of what matters to me with another person or group of people. For instance, I will say I am committed to having an open, authentic and loving relationship with my wife. When I find myself in a conversation with Aileen and she is communicating to me what I do that causes her to with draw from me. Without exploring what I do or don’t do that would contribute to her with drawing, I immediately begin to explain to her: • How she doesn’t understand what I meant, • How she isn’t seeing what is going on • What was going on with me • How she misunderstood what I said • If she really listened she would hear how much she means to me I get in my own way, when I trade the inheritance of a fulfilling life with my wife for the short-term happiness of being right about what I meant, feeling like I am in control, being justified looking good.]]>
Multiculturalism is becoming vogue in America’s universities and public life. What is it? Multiculturalism is the basis of political correctness; it is a relativistic view that all cultures, from that of Radical Islam to that of an advanced industrial civilization, are equal in value.
Are cultures equal in value? Not if the well being of each individual human life is your standard of value. Multiculturalism seeks to obliterate the value of a free, industrialized civilization, by declaring that such a civilization is no better than the primitive tribalism of Nations ruled by radical Islam. More deeply, it seeks to incapacitate a mind’s ability to distinguish good from evil, that which is life promoting from that which is life negating.
I say the question of this century is: Is moral judgment essential to life?
What happens if the ideas and values that animate a particular culture are not judged by their objective results? Is a culture that values freedom, reason, the rule of law and science, for instance, no better than one that values oppression, stagnation, mysticism, and ignorance? If they are the same then oppression is nothing more than a cultural prerogative to be tolerated, much like it is in Europe, where women are persecuted many kinds of ways often resulting in Honor Killings. These murders are swept under the rug, covered by the press through ambiguous headlines or held in confidence in the midst of a community governed by Sharia Law all in the name of Multiculturalism!]]>
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
The Loyalty of Agape is beyond immediate conditions, or personal gain or loss. It produces the clarity of purpose necessary to transcend circumstances that encroach on our comfort and survival, calling those who seek to love into action.
There are only two purposes in any communication; either to love the one being spoken to, or to get love from them; either to give to them or to take from them. Love your neighbor as yourself is simply stated so we can understand it in our limited minds and eternally challenging, because without God; it cannot not be done. Loving your neighbor can’t be done without the grace of God, but what does it require from us?
We must be ruthlessly honest with ourselves and confess the secret of our soul. We are born into a reality that we are, in and of ourselves, helpless to do anything about. We cannot change our heritage, we cannot change what happens to us, nor how or when we die, we cannot change the suffering inherent in living and loving, nor can we predict how others will be with us and what we will feel about the way they treat us. So we keep our secret not from others as much as from ourselves. The secret is so profound that we crave to be entertained, to be diverted from its encroaching presence. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the American Language defines entertainment:
To please; to amuse; to divert.” What is it we wish to divert ourselves from? What is the secret we hide from ourselves, that seems to haunt our souls? We are unbearably alone!
We are helpless to share our “self.” We are faced with the reality that we are powerless to overcome the gulf between the “I” and the “other.” What is the significance of our isolation? Peter Kreeft says: “I am alienated so that I can overcome alienation. I become an individual self so that I may give myself to another and receive another’s self.” Yet, every desperate attempt to reach out and conquer the separation just reminds us of how separate, isolated and lonely we truly are. The irony is we are alone and individual, yet our eternal purpose is to be united. Frances Frangapane says: “Love is a passion for oneness.”
This is God’s eternal objective and it demands loyalty, not to self but to Him, and to those whom He loves. So, we are caught in a conundrum. We are called to do what we are unable to do. He has called us to do the very thing we know we cannot do on our own! How many times have you looked at your spouse, your child or friend and said, “There is no way I can love you after what you have done.” How many times have you sat in your tears despairing over the impossibility of reaching the object of your love? We must lose our life here in time in order to join Him in eternity. We must be loyal by continuing in a state of grace until God brings a state of glory! What does it take to love with agape? It shares the unshareable, gives the ungiveable, and receives from the other the gift that can no more be received than given; the gift of self, the gift of the giver, the I. Agape, as distinct from eros (desire) or philia (friendship) or storge (affection), is a gift not just of pleasure, or the body, or possessions, or time, or actions, or interests, or feelings, or thoughts, but of self. There is a second paradox to agape: it performs the apparent contradictory feat of individuating by uniting, as well as uniting by individuating. The self, once given, is (truly) found. ‘He who loses his self shall find it.’
Peter Kreeft, Love Is Stronger Than Death
May the coming year be one in which you lose your life to the unreasonable calling God has placed in you for others!]]>