Sunday, September 29, 2013


Without nature humans will never survive on our mother planet Earth. We have a moral and ethical obligation to treat nature with respect and kindness. We must learn to tread lightly upon her and listen to her birds sing, her winds sigh through the branches of her trees, her wildness deliver its message through her wolves, coyotes, foxes and other wonderful creatures, and enter her presence to restore our souls.

We must learn to be compassionate to her animals and give them assurance that we are their friends. As we hug a child to let it know that it is loved so should we hug a tree to show our respect for the oxygen and shade it provides us and for the homes it provides for birds and squirrels and so many other creatures and life forms.
It is our bounden duty to treat nature as a special gift that has been bestowed upon us; for to respect life we are obligated to respect nature. The Golden Rule is meant to apply equally to all. To do otherwise constitutes the profoundest disrespect to the basic ethics of life.
We see some getting out to their gardens. Try and plant a tree or two if you can because the world needs trees. Fruit trees are needed even more.
Lets try not to cut down trees unnecessarily. Trees take many decades to grow into what they are today. They provide shade for the weary, homes for the birds, and contribute to the food chain by way of their emissions.
“Waste is a sin against nature. As long as we respect the earth and make use of its gifts then we can live in harmony with nature,” 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

How does your Behavior impact others?

Sunday Morning Sermon - Sep 22 2013
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. One of the most interesting parts of this test is the Feeling 'F' versus Thinking 'T' scale. This scale rates how you make decisions in your life and within the world around you. In other words, when you are making decisions, do you consider facts more than feelings?
Those who rate very highly on the 'T' scale often find it difficult to empathize with others because their decisions are based primarily on rational facts. Thus, at work they can struggle in management positions when it comes to addressing their staff, as their (at times) tactless and abrupt manner often offends. They tend to find it very difficult to sugar coat issues and to truly empathize with emotional problems they cannot relate to. These individuals are unfortunately often completely oblivious to their impact on the health and well being of their staff.
In contrast, this Myers-Briggs scale is particularly interesting when you consider those who rate highly on the feeling scale. Often people who are strong 'F's on the scale assume they are very considerate and kind towards others. However, these very people can be completely unaware of their negative behavior towards other considerate and kind individuals. Because they base their behavior so strongly on feelings, they can fall into the trap of assuming these nice people will simply accept their rudeness, disrespect, lateness and so on. A classic example of this is when they choose to make an effort to please those they are not confident around and thus ignore, pay little attention towards, and neglect friends, colleagues and associates who they assume will just always be there for them. Usually, by the time they realize this person has had enough, the relationship has been tarnished beyond repair.
The most interesting aspect of this type of behavior is that these very individuals are often the first to complain about being mistreated by others (usually by those very people they have tried so desperately to impress). The lesson for those bearing the brunt of this negative behavior is to be assertive, to try to make the 'F' people aware of their behavior and stop it before it completely tarnishes the relationship.
In work situations this happens all the time. Senior Managers who are not aware of, or do not consider, the impact of their decisions on their staff are often left wondering why their staff are not loyal, have a high turnover, or are no longer willing to work overtime to impress tho boss! When treated in a disrespectful manner, staff will eventually become disheartened and lose interest when treated with disrespect.
The moral here is that if you want positive relationships with the people you really care about in life to last - you have to make an effort and give these people the respect they deserve. Don't assume you can return their calls when you feel like it (eg after you've spoken to all the people you're trying to impress). Don't turn up late to social events without advising them or making up a lame excuse that you bumped into an old friend on the way. Don't repeatedly cancel at the last minute because something better came along or you've just lost interest. Don't assume you can get away with making little or no effort and they will always be there.
Life is all about balance and give and take. You get what you put in, so be mindful of those who perhaps you have been taking for granted and take this chance to tend to this relationship more closely.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

To shoot or not to shoot

Sunday Morning Sermon - Sep 15 2013

Its been a while now since the US has been deliberating a military attack on the Syrian regime in order to deter it from using chemical weapons against its own people.

WMD's have been used by so many across the ages since we saw. Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Gaza, and the lot, in our lifetime. How often did the powers that be try to step in and stop the killings? Its been a wait and see approach in almost all the cases.

Two Republican senators who are among President Barack Obama's sharpest foreign policy critics on Saturday blasted a Syrian chemical weapons agreement as "an act of provocative weakness" by America that will embolden enemies such as Iran as it continues its push for a nuclear.

What concerns us most is that our friends and enemies will take the same lessons from this agreement: They see it as an act of provocative weakness on America's part," Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a joint statement. "We cannot imagine a worse signal to send to Iran as it continues its push for a nuclear weapon."

So the people are on both sides of the fence. Most Americans do not want a military confrontation while some are shooting from the hip.

What the two senators do not support is the agreement their former colleague, Secretary of State John Kerry, announced Saturday in Geneva after days of tense talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The deal calls for securing and destroying Syria's chemical weapons stockpile and imposing penalties if the government of President Bashar Assad fails to comply with its terms. The agreement was the result of a surprise proposal by Syria's staunch ally, Russia.

There are those who also claim that the chemical weapons that Assad is throwing out are the very MD's that good old Saddam had in Baghdad which he stealthily shipped out to Damascus. Are they opening a brand new can or worms here to prove that the WMD's did actually exist in Iraq?

But then who armed Saddam with the WMD's in the first place?

We live in a bitter and vicious circle of men, machines, and molotovs that seem to be manufactured, distributed, sold, and moved around for personal benefit, be it for cash or for conflict.

When will the madness stop?


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Oppressing Women

Sunday Morning Sermon - Sep 8 2013
[better late then never, the pastor was too bz this week]

In the corporate culture that we do live in these days, we don’t monitor or measure women’s advancement adequately. Overall, we as a people understand an issue better when we have ways to perceive, analyze and measure it.  Our Corporate Planet still hasn’t effectively quantified and measured the impact of the lack of women leaders on business outcomes, or researched and identified effectively where in the pipeline women are falling out, why, and how to address it.  Diversity programs abound, but the needle has yet to move.

In many peoples view, quite a number of women haven’t themselves made the decision about how far they want to go in business or government or readied themselves to deal with the consequences.  We believe that there will always be a work-life balance struggle that women will face more intensely than men traditionally have (although that may be changing with younger generations on the ground today).   “Men have always sacrificed not staying home with the kids, and women haven’t thus far been willing to make that sacrifice to the same degree. “ Women now need to decide definitively how far they wish to go, and commit to actions that support those decisions.

There are hundreds of women who have fought very hard to lead, thrive and grow in the corporate environment and in the political arena, but our culture has yet to embrace them.  In short, people are more comfortable with what they know, and men have remained more comfortable with men at the top.  As long as 95% of senior corporate leadership is male, the  culture will be challenged in integrating and promoting women leaders. 

In politics, women don’t really help women.  In fact, most women are “super critical” of other women.  Nations need to grow more accustomed, as some countries have, to accept women at the top, as powerful, intelligent, highly capable agents of authority, command, and change. Why aren’t women voting for women?”

It’s vitally important to include women in key decision making roles and to encourage diversity of all kinds — of background, culture, gender, socioeconomic background, etc. – in leadership and teams to ensure success. Research shows that the more diverse a group, the more capable it is to solve the problems at hand and arrive at better solutions.

David Landes – eminent Harvard historian in his book The Wealth and Poverty of Nations,

 asserts that one of the key forces behind how an economy will perform is its openness to new ideas.  And one of the best gauges of that openness is how a country treats its women.   The best clue to a nation’s growth and development potential is the status and role of women, and the economic implications of gender discrimination are serious.

Kathy Matsui, renowned top-ranked equity strategist in Japan, conducted groundbreaking research on what she calls “Womenomics” which points to investing in women as the key to creating stronger economies and a more equitable global society. She asserts that women’s education is the best investment our generation can make for global peace and sustainable development.  In her TEDxTokyo Talk on Womenomics, Kathy shares that companies who have adopted explicit practices that promote diversity – for instance, programs that support working mothers or ensure objective evaluation and performance metrics — experience higher average profit margins than companies that don’t.

This tells us that it is vitally important for both companies and individuals to step up and do what they can to support the education, development and growth of women globally.