Friday, October 31, 2014
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
By Adam Carolla and originally published at prageruniversity.com
I'd like to talk about 'Emotional Growth', aka 'Change', the greatest part about being a human being that we completely ignore. If you think about it, every other species on the planet is unable to change. Polar bears, they can't change. Actually, you can ask. No, you know what, don't bother. They'll eat you.
I mean, really. Nothing else on the planet can change but us. We can change. It's the greatest thing about being a human being, yet we squander it every single day. How many people do you know that are exactly the same as they were in high school? And by the way that's always bad. Even if you were good in high school, not changing is bad. But most of the people I know started off bad. And whatever habits they had, good or bad, or idiosyncratic behavior, they're taking it straight to the grave.
The only way you can change (and believe you me, everybody around you wants you to change in some way, shape, or form -- that's the sad part). The only way you can change is through internalizing.
The way you internalize is, just about everything that happens in your life, you make yourself responsible. And it's easy to do -- it's painful to do, it's rarely done, but here's how you do it.
Let's just say I wanted some FroYo. And by the way, how lazy are we that we can't even say 'Zen' and 'Gurt'. Let's just I wanted some frozen yogurt. And I got in my car, and I went up the street, and I went to the frozen yogurt place, and it was closed. Now, I could pound on the glass and throw my hands up to the heavens and scream "WHY?" It's noon. It's Tuesday. It's the middle of the summer. You guys should be open. This is an outrage.
Or, I can think, "You know what? I should have called first."
Because the only way I can get anything out of this experience is by turning it to myself and on myself and internalizing. And I'm not saying I'm a bad man or should be incarcerated for not calling them first. But if I can get into the habit of making almost everything my -- not fault -- but responsibility, then I can use what was a wasted trip across town into a learning experience. Whether it's riding a motorcycle with no helmet or going to the FroYo place and finding it's not open, you are the first person that makes that decision.
And if you're going to blame your teachers, meaning I got an 'F' because they don't like me. Or you're going to blame your girlfriend or boyfriend because "they don't listen", "they don't understand", "every guy I meet is in love with himself and never listens". Well what... every guy you meet. What's the one constant in this equation?
Well, that would be YOU.
So please find a mirror and start looking into it.
Change as a human being should not be something we shun. It should be something we embrace. And it is humbling, and it doesn't feel good. But it's the greatest gift we have as human beings.
Again, salamanders and koala bears -- although what would you change about a koala bear, they're so squeezable, those guys -- they don't have a choice! We can go from unemployable, horrible, uneducated to God's gift to humanity with just a little something called change and first internalizing.
I'm Adam Carolla for Prager University.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
By John Rubino and originally published at dollarcollapse.com
A rising stock market, like a rising tide, can cover a multitude of interesting and/or scary things. If the finance guys who really know what’s going on are buying, then the disturbing stories that lead each evening’s news must be manageable. And we, in general, must be okay.
But let the market fall a bit and those headlines suddenly begin to seem both oppressive and really, really numerous. And maybe we’re not okay after all.
To take just a few of the issues that, in the wake of the recent equity correction, now loom large:
Islamic State, the tiny band of religious crazies that the US armed to do its bidding in the Syrian civil war is now threatening to take Baghdad, capital of Iraq and home to a US embassy that will live forever in the annals of hubristic excess. Actually a small, self-contained city, the embassy contains all kinds of sensitive equipment, documents and personnel, and will be defended with (thousands of) boots on the ground if an Islamic State victory appears imminent — which it now seems to be. In other words, we’re getting ready to dump another trillion or so dollars into the hole where we previously dumped two trillion with nothing to show for it but chaos.
Ebola, a nasty virus that was previously polite enough to stay in Africa, has escaped and is now touring Europe and the US. Either it has mutated to become more communicable or the West’s protocols for dealing with it are inadequate. Either way, there is now talk of the disease breaking free and causing a First World pandemic. See Ebola pandemic spreading across Europe is ‘unavoidable,’ WHO warns.
The strong dollar, meanwhile, has had the same effect on the world as would higher US interest rates, slowing growth and causing hot money to leave emerging markets and pour into US Treasuries. So while everyone is waiting for the Fed to raise interest rates and court the traditional “taper tantrum” liquidity crisis, the foreign exchange markets have done the heavy lifting already. See Why a strong dollar is scarier than taper tantrum.
Japan and Europe are dropping into recessions that could easily become system-threatening depressions. While US stocks were rising it was possible to view America as an island of stability in a chaotic world. But when US stocks start to fall it’s much easier to envision an interconnected world where everyone feels everyone else’s pain. Which is the accurate viewpoint, because who will buy our stuff — including the bonds that finance our deficits — if the other major economies grind to a halt?
Junk bonds, typically a canary in the financial-bubble coal mine, began selling off in September, just as the dollar started to spike. This was also easy to ignore while equity prices were rising, but now looks like the first of many dominoes to fall in a financial panic.
And it’s October! All of the above happening simultaneously would be scary anytime, but coming in the month when some of the most dramatic stock market crashes have for some reason occurred, this must feel like deja vu all over again for folks with a sense of financial history.
It’s impossible, of course, to know whether something is a crisis until it becomes one. So this might turn out to be nothing more than a hiccup in the permanent new normal of ever-rising financial asset prices. We’ll know soon enough.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
By John MacArthur and originally published at gty.org
God’s Word does not give us detailed instructions for every aspect of Christian life. Believers are frequently confronted with situations, questions, and decisions that Scripture says nothing about. God’s people have been set free from the Old Testament law, but that freedom leaves us with a lot of important decisions to make in life’s gray areas.
And that reality is not unique to the modern church. The believers in Corinth faced several issues that were not addressed in the Old Testament or any of the apostolic writings they had access to. They wrote to the apostle Paul for guidance (1 Corinthians 7:1), and his answers give us helpful, biblical principles that ought to guide our decisions and how we use our freedom in Christ.
In particular, Paul exhorts his readers to be thoughtful about the exercise of their liberty, considering both the example they set for others and the effect of their choices on their own lives. We’ll look at his instructions to the Corinthian church over the next few days, starting with his admonition for them to consider each other in the decisions they make.
Causing a Brother to Stumble
Throughout his ministry, Paul repeatedly exhorted his readers to consider their influence on others and to avoid leading other believers into sin. In Romans 14:13, he wrote, “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.”
His words echo Christ’s dire warning to the person who leads others into sin: “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Luke 17:2).
That principle guides Paul’s answer to the Corinthians’ question. While some believers might feel free to exercise their liberty, he wanted to make sure their freedom to do so was not the priority. Instead, the priority must be the spiritual growth of the men and women around them. And he illustrates that very point in 1 Corinthians 8:13, saying “Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.”
Idolatry, Worship, and Food
Just like any other polytheistic culture, Roman society was highly superstitious. Not only did the Romans have a god or several gods for every aspect of daily life, they also believed in an array of evil spirits. Their sacrificial system was built around gaining and maintaining the favor of the gods and protection from the evil spirits.
Food sacrifices were most common, and particularly meat. The sacrifices were divided into thirds—one third would be burnt on the altar, while the other two were divided between the priests and the temple officers. And because idol worship dominated the culture, there was often a lot of meat left over, which was then sold in the marketplace.
It would have been virtually impossible for the Corinthians to avoid the sacrificial meat. Because it had been sacrificed—and therefore supposedly purged from the influence of evil spirits—it was highly valued, and usually served at banquets, weddings, and other social occasions. Christians could perhaps avoid some of those events, but if they had personal relationships with anyone outside the church, they would likely face the issue of eating sacrificial meat sooner or later.
It seems there was a divide in the church over how they should respond when confronted with meat that had been offered to idols. Many in the church had been saved out of the pagan Roman culture, and any activity related to idol worship—even the simple act of eating—might have greatly troubled their sensitive consciences and upset their spiritual growth.
However, more mature believers understood that the worship of idols was empty and vain, and that the meat was just meat. They ate with clear consciences, and likely were the ones writing to ask Paul for clarification and instruction in the debate.
Knowledge and Love
Paul’s answer indicates the Corinthians included in their letter a defense for eating meat sacrificed to idols. In 1 Corinthians 8:1, he acknowledges what may have been their first point of defense with the words “we know that we have all knowledge.” Taken on its own, that’s an egotistical statement, even if it’s partly true. It reflects a feeling of superiority from knowing and understanding God’s Word—a feeling Paul immediately undercuts in the latter half of the verse: “Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.”
The mature Corinthians knew that the pagan gods were not real, and the meat offered to them posed no spiritual threat. But that knowledge turned their focus inward. The truth to them mattered as long as it affirmed their personal desires. They were insensitive to others, especially those in the Corinthian church who did not “have this knowledge” (1 Corinthians 8:7).
As Paul had previously said, “If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:2). Their arrogance proved they didn’t know as much as they thought. They might have had the right doctrinal knowledge, but practically in their relationships with other Christians, they behaved in ignorance. By failing to act in love, their knowledge was rendered worthless.
Paul’s response to the mature believers put the focus where it should have been all along: on the other group. Rather than relishing their liberty, they should have been concerned about the impact it would have on others. To put it another way, just because they could eat with a clear conscience didn’t mean they should. They needed to consider their brothers and sisters in the church, and how their own actions could offend, confuse, or weaken another person’s faith. By ignoring that, eating the meat was an exercise of their arrogance, not their liberty.
We ought to have that sacrificial attitude when it comes to exercising our liberty in Christ. Just because we know we have freedom doesn’t mean we need to explore it to the fullest. Instead, we ought to be willing to restrain ourselves in love for the benefit of others whom we might offend by our actions.