Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Bit of My Philosophy

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3, 5-6

At one time , when I was quite young, I felt that I was responsible for everything--even World War II, although I wasn't born until after it ended. After years of spiritual growth, counseling, and just plain experience, I concluded that I was not responsible for World War  II. It has taken much longer to accept that I cannot heal the world's ills alone. It takes millions of like-minded people to address issues such as poverty, oppression, peacemaking,  and justice. Thankfully, I am now networked with many of those folks.
 My mother thinks that the world is about to end. Her belief comes from watching various TV evangelists plus programs about 21 DEC 2012. I point out that I am now 65 and in 2 weeks she shall be 88 years old. Sooo, who gives a damn.

Well, I do give a damn because I have grandkids. But I am rather certain that the world will not end next year: my theology so informs me that no one can foretell the  if and when of anything. Besides, my life's philosophy has followed that of another United Church of Christ clergyman, Reinhold Niebuhr:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.


Following this philosophy has removed from my shoulders the solitary burden of fixing all of this crazy world.  

We gotta all do it together!

Right, Arlo?



  1. By living a life of carrying the problems of the world on our shoulders or obsessing about the end, we miss the love and beauty that was given us. That seems like an insult to the God (or whatever term we want to use) that created it.

    I used to feel responsible for more than my share of the problems of the world, too, so I relate, Nick. I'm glad that we both let that one go.

    I like the part of Niebuhr's prayer where it says that we take this world as it is, not as we would have it. I don't think I see the big picture well enough to be the Decider of how this world should be. And accepting what is does not mean that we don't act when we can.

    Thank you for this beautiful post, Nick.

  2. Nick, this was a great thing to read today. When it comes right down to it, if you carry the "I'm responsible for my reality" line of thought to its conclusion, it's a bit arrogant. I, however, have been guilty of that kind of arrogance and therefore truly enjoyed this post.

    As to the end of the world warnings, when I was a kid, I remember sitting on my grandparents' front porch in the country, and hearing my uncle say, "I think these children may see the end days." What a horrible way to scare kids. Although in fairness to him, I don't believe he realized we were sensitive enough to be listening to the conversation. He didn't have kids.