There are three things I know about God: 1. There is one, 2. You are not Him and 3, Neither am I.
Wait, Will, why are you talking about God? Isn’t Revolution 2.0™ about culture, society and politics?
That is the subject of today’s 15 minute episode.
Core to everything we do, including culture, society and politics is having a moral compass. Mine is God, yours might be something else; in a moment we will talk about what a moral compass must be to be effective. But back to God for now. My first point is that there is a God. Some believe that the Big Bang theory explains things without needing a God, but who said “Bang!”, and who put the stuff together to go bang in the first place? Oh, and show me the person, the scientist, perhaps, who can make a blade of grass. No, don’t tell me you will start with dirt, seeds, water and sunlight. Just stand there and give me your best, “Let there be grass,” and show me what happens.
And God clearly would want to communicate with his thinking creations. If not, what’s the point? The Bible is one of the ways that He communicates. Church, prayer, and other people and texts are also ways He communicates. And it is our personal responsibility to listen. And act upon what we hear.
Let’s return to the moral compass part of this episode. Some people call it your True North. No matter; the questions are
Needing a moral compass is a recurring theme for those of us at Revolution 2.0™. I refer to its importance frequently in my semi-weekly episodes, so it is entirely appropriate for us to return to the subject from time-to-time.
If you don’t have a solid moral compass that you follow, then nothing else matters. Nothing. You will simply be a cork on the oceans of life, following the changing paths of the tides, currents and waves. I know; I have been there. And I still have to fight to stay with and strengthen my adherence to my moral compass.
Pause for definitions. For purposes of this discussion, Moral compass and True North are interchangeable. I like the term moral compass because it means more to me, it anchors me better. I will use both here in the event that your preference is different from mine. A mechanical compass works because when used at all correctly, it points to a fixed point outside of itself, allowing the user to stay on track. The location of the magnetic north, which is what the compass points to, is not in the exact location as true north. To get to true north using a compass, you would need to apply declination to the compass heading. But precision like that is entirely unnecessary and beside the point. We are working to find our way in life, not shoot missiles 5K miles with the intention of hitting a precise location.
What are some examples of an effective moral compass? And how do you know? Two things: 1. Your north has to be something born and fueled outside of you–with externally inspired values, goals and checkpoints. The danger is that our own internally generated principles may lull us into a false sense of commitment. There must be an outside entity to learn from, and to act as a touchstone–a place to check in to see how we are handling ourselves. This does not mean that you don’t need to internalize the external teachings and examples; all is certainly lost if you don’t. But it is equally certain that it cannot be just you. 2. That outside entity must be powerful enough to keep you on track even when it is hard. If your north’s power and influence in your life is weak, so will be your adherence to it.
What are some examples where both criteria are met? God comes immediately to mind. Whatever your definition, God meets both criteria–external and powerful. Depending upon your path to God, the external writings, religious leaders, ceremonies, legacies, etc. will be different, but each path has its external–and powerful–teachings, values and inspirations.
Teachers, whether more well-known masters like Confucius and Buddha, or somewhat lesser lights like Rumi and Lao Tsu, qualify as external and, if taken seriously, powerful. As do more modern leaders like Rick Warren or Tony Robbins. Philosophers such as Aristotle can also be a solid foundation for a true north. Look no further than his Nicomachean Ethics for support for this claim.
Are there some examples of wrong places to seek help to form and maintain your true north? Well, Snapple bottle caps are one example (no laughing here–I have seen worse). And Satan worship would be out. Better the Snapple cap.
Even harder than developing a true north is staying true to it. You will be besieged by teachings and cliches like, “You have to get along to go along.” and “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t trying.” Perhaps the most diabolically tempting is, “Just this once. You will have plenty of time to correct things later.” The “just this once” part is bad enough; there really are slippery slopes out there. And “later” is always now. Always.
Let’s expand on religion, God, being a strong candidate for our moral compasses.
Most regions in the world have their favorite source for starches, that complex carbohydrate that supplies nutrition and needed calories. Leading favorites include potatoes, rice and yams; there are many more, but we’ll use these examples. They can be served up in a variety of ways. Potatoes can be fried, baked, and mashed, with each variation having many offshoots. Rice can be steamed or fried, and can show up on your plate as anything from risotto to sushi. Which starch is the predominant one for most people is pretty much due to geography rather than having been a studied choice.
The same is true for religion. Most regions in the world have their favorite religion. Leading favorites are Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. There are more, but we will use these examples in today’s podcast. As with starches, each religion is served up in a variety of ways. And the predominant religion for most people is pretty much due to geography rather than having been a studied choice.
I am a potato guy. More importantly, I am a Christ-following Christian. I was born into both. I worked to reinforce the early exposure and training that set me on those paths, but I did not start with a complete review of all the available starches and the major religions of the world in order to make a studied choice. Nor will I now. I will work a little to make better potatoes at home, and try to find the best restaurant fries and hash browns. I will work much harder to be more Christlike. I will never get there, but the game is in the continuing study, commitment and effort.
It is not important to find the perfect starch. It is important to find healthy sources and take in, use if you will, the right amounts at the right times. It is also important to share the starches you have with those who have needs and wants. And share them in a way that shows that you care for those with whom you are sharing. Yes, love can be expressed in the proper preparation, presentation and sharing of lowly starches.
It is not important to find the perfect religion. It is important to learn about your religion and practice it, use it if you will, at all the right times. Which will be a whole lot more often than you do with starches. Like as close to 24/7 as we can get. It is also important to share the religion you have with those who have needs and wants. And share your heart, including your religion, in a way that shows that you care for those with whom you are sharing. Yes, love can be expressed in the proper expression and sharing of your heart and your faith.
It is good for you to familiarize yourself with a variety of starches. If the only starch you will eat are potatoes, you will be stuck with the chicken teriyaki at a sushi restaurant. And no hummus or sandwiches for you.
It is good for the soul to familiarize yourself with other religions. Let’s take a few quick peeks via quotes. “When you walk, walk; when you eat, eat.” -Buddha. What I get out of that is to stay calm, and focus. Multitasking is overrated. “Every act of kindness is charity.” and “Give to those who have never given anything to you.” -Mohammad. “Man is made by his beliefs. As he believes, so is he.” –Bhagavad Gita (Hindu Bible).
Pause for two important questions: 1. Did you do a thorough job of researching all of the world’s starches before you settled on a favorite? 2. Did you do a thorough job of researching all of the world’s religions, doing an in-depth comparative study, before you settled on where to put your faith and trust? Just about everyone answers these two questions in the negative. And that’s just fine–as long as you don’t get carried away, even a bit superior, about your decision to adopt the faith you were born into. More specifically, don’t tell people that they are going to Hell if they don’t accept Christ as their Saviour, and don’t treat people as Infidels, worthy of scorn or worse, if they don’t accept the word of Mohammad and believe that Allah is the one true God.
Today’s Key Point: It is not the choice of the starch that matters, it is how you use it in your life and how you share it that is important. In the same way, it is not the choice of your religion that matters, it is how you work it into your life and how you share it with others that makes all the difference. The key is not in researching and experimenting to find the “best” religion, but in finding the best ways to incorporate our religion in our lives, and the best ways to share it, in love, with others. Let’s hear from Christ, Mohammad and Krishna (The main deity in Hinduism.) about love. “Love your enemies.” -Christ. “You will never enter paradise until you have faith, and you will not have faith until you love one another.” -Mohammad. “He who has no attachments can really love others, for his love is pure and divine.” -Krishna.
My moral compass is God. My path to God is Christ.
We all have the personal responsibility to find, follow and adhere to the moral compass that keeps us on the right path, including the path to making our best contribution to our culture, society and politics. Speaking of personal responsibility, it does not stand alone; the two main and interdependent principles at Revolution 2.0 are:
1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
Where do you stand? What are you going to do? Remember, it does not matter where you stand if you don’t do anything. You can start by subscribing to these episodes, and encouraging others to subscribe with you.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:1.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
This is Will Luden. We’ll talk again in a few days.