Looking After Our Eternal Assets

I’m Richard Lloyd Jones, and this is Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

As we head into Christmas, we often take time to reflect on friends and family, on hopes and dreams, on plans and logistics. After all, we’ve got the trips to hometowns, the Christmas gift buying, the parking lot congestion to navigate. It’s a time to reflect on what’s happened, and how fast it’s all gone by.

And in those times, we need the wisdom and dedication to commit our efforts to doing what’s necessary, what we were put on this earth to do in this short time we’ve been granted on this planet.

But above all that, and widely forgotten in our modern, materialistic age, is the true reason for the celebration – the virgin birth that marks our western world. For believers or not, the undeniable fact remains that our civilization was, and is, formed by adherence to those Christian values that He brought a couple of millennia ago. Justice, tolerance, forgiveness, love for one’s neighbour … these are the true values that we all desire. And that’s what He came to remind us of.

Looking After Our Eternal Assets, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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Even Psychopaths Feel Guilt

I’m Richard Lloyd Jones, and this is Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

Back when I was a kid playing street hockey in my hometown, a couple of Dutch immigrant kids came out hoping to join us. They were carrying hockey sticks their father had made by nailing a piece of wood to long broom handles. These makeshift sticks were far from the sleek, black taped, store bought babies the rest of us were sporting, and my friends were lavish in the derision they heaped on the poor guys who retreated, humiliated, back to their rented house.

It was the shattered look on their faces that I remember even to this day. I felt so guilty, I stopped playing and walked down to their house to apologize.

It’s a powerful feeling, guilt. It can keep us up at nights. It can make us sick. A police detective here in Brazil told me he thinks guilt may be the reason criminals leave clues so they get caught.

Today, though, we’re counselled to mitigate our guilt. Not being able to manage our guilt feelings is actually considered detrimental to our mental health.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Even Psychopaths Feel Guilty, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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Dark Spirituality and Victimization

I’m Richard Lloyd Jones and this is Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

We’re just out of the Easter period and some reflections. It was a tough week for the faithful. The burning of Notre Dame striking hard in that major center of Christian faith for 800 something years. And then the bombs exploding in Christian churches and popular hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, apparently in retaliation for those terrible attacks on mosques in New Zealand back in March.

Does this hit you at all? Maybe it all seems so far away, right? After all, there are bills to pay and potholes to fix and renovations to do right here in our own daily worlds. Like, who’s got time for another act of terrorism or environmental disaster or burning building?

It’s difficult to put the pieces together. And the media smotherage brings us constant updates of facts and pictures, additional images and numbers that expand exponentially and overwhelm our capacity to filter and understand. Seems we’re poor human ruins tottering over the grave, as Blake described it. Testing times.

Dark Spirituality and Victimization, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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A Study of Temptation

I’m Richard Lloyd Jones, and this is Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

Temptation. Like most religious words, that one’s been banalized and reduced from its original meaning. It means literally a trial or a test. A moment in your life when you have a choice to be faithful or not.

Today, that’s like faith to a diet or a spouse, to a virtue or an ideal. But the original sense was to be tested in your faith to God. Something Job-ian – no matter what life throws at you, you stay the course.

But temptation is secondarily related to allurement or seduction to sin. And here we’re into a less popular usage. Nobody likes to think in terms of “can’t” or “don’t” anymore, do they? “Who says I can’t?”, goes the language of modernity. “Who are you to tell me what’s right and what’s wrong?”

These are tricky waters. “You can’t do that!” has been used to control and restrict by those wanting to remain in power, for sure. But is there something to this obligation aspect of temptation that deserves a more careful consideration?

A Study of Temptation, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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Man’s Greatest Enemy

I’m Richard Lloyd Jones, and this is Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

All of us, if we’ve lived a little, have had to contend with the lure of temptation. From the mundane, “Just one more piece of chocolate cake,” to the come on of a cold beer when you’ve got a drinking problem, to the more serious attractions to violence and crime, we all know the experience of that voice in our ear.

Our modern scientific perspective prefers evidence-based interventions as solutions, leading us to explain away vice and bad habits as weakness, upbringing, chemical imbalance, even genetic disposition. We seldom in our modern world even think of putting temptation down to influence from nefarious spirits. Reason over superstition would read the promotional literature for the modern point of view.

But are we missing something in excluding the theological view? After all, Jesus warned us time and again of our unhealthy subservience to demons, and perhaps we should listen more carefully to that advice.

Man’s Greatest Enemy, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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Our Entangled Spiritual Reality

We are assailed in our modern world with all sorts of problems. There are money worries, health of ageing parents, stress and depression, crime and taxes. Coping with all of that can make us forget the beautiful things around us every day.

But there’s another influence no one talks about in our modern, number-crunching world, and that’s the very real influence from the spiritual world. That’s not the topic of dinner conversations these days. Well, actually, we don’t even have conversations anymore, do we? … everything being pushed into the digital world of email, chat and Instagram. Which emphasises the point – the deeper levels of the human experience are not being plumbed anymore – and to our great detriment. It’s like spirituality is something we feel at times, something we sense is important, but something we keep at arm’s length for fear of being branded weird or fanatic.

But spirits were not dismissed in the past. Shakespeare exploited the knowledge of them for great art. Let’s explore spiritual relevance more on our program.

Our Entangled Spiritual Reality, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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Under Control of Evil

I’m Richard Lloyd Jones, and this is Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Ferdinand, in desperation at the terrible plight of ship and crew, cries out, “Hell is empty and all the devils are here!”

And looking around at our situation today, it wouldn’t be difficult to reach the same conclusion. Except that our modern materialistic science doesn’t allow for that conclusion. Oh, we might utter the words, but I doubt most of us would use words like “hell” and “devils” in anything more than an illustrative sense. We almost certainly wouldn’t mean them literally.

But there is a very modern science emerging here in Brazil that does consider the power of spiritual influence to inspire the human being – both for good or for evil. And yes, I do mean a science. And what the scientist responsible for this view, Dr. Norberto Keppe, maintains is that the evil is winning as long as we don’t have more consciousness of it. That means, reuniting theology and philosophy again with exact science, as used to be the case. So we can really understand our situation.

Under Control of Evil, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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