Life of Meaning

Things Aren’t the Way We Hoped They Would Be

June 15, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 3 Comments

“What the thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.” John Lennon

I just recently went to a movie titled Echo in the Canyon. It was all about the beginnings of a whole new kind of music, kind of mixture of folk music and eclectic guitar. Truly, the very, very beginnings of what we now call rock ‘n roll. Featuring music by Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and the Mamas and Papas including interviews with David Crosby, Steven Stills, Jackson Brown, and a lot with Tom Petty.
[Read more…]

The Dangers of Genuine Dialogue

June 8, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Satire is, by definition, offensive. It is meant to make us feel uncomfortable. It is meant to make us scratch our heads, think, do a double-take, and then think again. Maajid Nawaz

It seems to me that it really isn’t really possible to conduct genuine dialogue or discussion without being offensive. I’m not talking about being rude or obnoxious, I am simply talking about telling the truth as you see it. Because when you do, someone with the opposite opinion will most certainly take offense. The result is too often angry name-calling, a rise in ire, and even total dissociation.

Free Speech???

I guess you could classify my political leanings as center left and yet I remain appalled by the political correctness that is degrading our constitutional right to free speech. Unfortunately it seems that political correctness is rampant in many or perhaps even most college campuses where we are supposed to be teaching young people to “think” with an open mind.

In 2015 (four years ago), in an interview on ESPN Radio with Colin Cowherd, Jerry Seinfeld discussed the growing trend of comedians avoiding college campuses for fear of backlash over political correctness. Chris Rock followed with this… ““I stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because they’re way too conservative,” he added, “Not in their political views — not like they’re voting Republican — but in their social views and their unwillingness to offend anybody.”

I think of my friend Terry who is much more liberal than I am. We have political discussions frequently, vehemently disagree on many topics and yet we have found a way to do so without damaging our friendship. I just called Terry on this subject and he told me his objective in any conversation is to “learn something new.”

Learning Something New

I am currently deep in the throes of two debates in which I am trying to understand each side better—both with politically correct implications. One is a theological debate on the function of Easter and the other is attempting to try to better understand the positions of the right and the left in political debate. I YouTube both Fox News and MSNBC to try to understand each side. Unfortunately I feel I am in need of another resource because each side is so entrenched in vitriol toward the other that I cannot find what I consider truth from either one.

So what is the solution? Quit being so damned offended. Another person’s opinion should literally have no effect whatsoever on my personal ideas. In fact, if I am open, I just might learn something.

Perhaps this comes with age. At nearly 70 I know a lot fewer things “for sure” than I did when I was 35. I am open to radical ideas—as long as they pass the “well thought through test.”

And You?

How about you? Send me a comment.

Freedom of Speech

A Losing Right

Photo courtesy of corners74 at istockphoto

Contemplation Before Action

June 1, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action.” Meister Eckhart

We live in a world that values action. Indeed some things don’t require much thought, but that is not what I am writing about. Some people are more prone to contemplate and consider the value and intent of actions than others and yet, it is essential for all of us to consider the value of our beliefs and our actions.
[Read more…]

Apathy: A Key Stage to Growth

May 18, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

It is often when night looks darkest… when one feels that resurrection of hope in the midst of despair and apathy. Hillary Clinton

I recently did a podcast on the tragedy of apathy both personally and politically. It seems people of all generations are losing confidence in the prosperous and meaningful future to which they have become accustomed.
[Read more…]

Successful or Useful?

May 4, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“… you seem to spend a lot of energy on the question of how to be successful. But that is the wrong question… The question is: how to be useful!” Peter Drucker to Jim Collins

Aristotle said it best… “A person’s purpose in life is to contribute to the value of society.” I cling to his words with tenacity because I feel they define how I can make a difference in my short stay on this planet.
[Read more…]

Myth: The Truth in Other Words

April 13, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and adventures are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten.” Neil Gaiman

I’m a huge devotee of perhaps the most perplexing book ever written, the Bible. As a compilation of history, wisdom, laws, psalms, and stories—lots of stories—often told in literary forms that require study and contemplation, it can be a task to comprehend at times.
[Read more…]

Acceptance: The True Road to Peace

April 6, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.” Michael J. Fox

Like a new value in life, acceptance has crept into the very heart of almost everything I do. Michael J. Fox nailed it when he put acceptance and expectations in juxtaposition. Acceptance is the willingness to acknowledge each and every situation as it is—good and bad, resulting in an overwhelming sense of peace. While expectations are things hoped for, often with little legitimate justification for that expectation. And when they do not occur the disappointment and/or anger disrupts our entire sense of well being.

I only discovered the enormous value of genuine acceptance a little more than one year ago. I was 68. Let’s hope you can find it sooner.
[Read more…]

Normal: The Roadblock to Amazing

March 29, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” Maya Angelou

“You’re weird” is one of the best tributes a person could offer me. When I graduated from a conservative seminary my advisor warned me that I had a “proclivity for the novel.” What was intended as a warning was taken one of the most satisfying compliments I have ever been given.

The Road Less Travelled

If you desire a full and exciting life then “normal” is not your route. I’ve always loved the title of M. Scott Peck’s book, The Road Less Travelled. The book is part individualism, part adhering to traditional values such as kindness and honesty, and part personal spirituality. Written in the 1980”s it remains a must read for understanding a way to negotiate life with wisdom and courage.

As I wrote in a recent post, our society seems to attempt to guide us in a position that “follows the herd.” If I lived in the time of Jesus I most surely would have been the “lost sheep” that wandered away from the herd looking for a more interesting and adventuresome road. Thank God for Jesus to go out, hunt for me and bring me back—not to the middle of the herd but rambling along in a general but loose way as an outlier.

Comfort in Your Own Skin

My friend Terry Hershey speaks frequently about “being comfortable in your own skin.” He is referring to living in such a way that resonates with your own uniqueness and peculiar proclivities. Remember, you are unique, but also remember that everyone else is unique as well. If we remember that we can embrace our similarities and enjoy our differences.

I have always most identified with the outliers while still finding a way to mix well with those in the middle of the herd. On the outside I may appear to live right in the middle of the herd: a business consultant, a minister, a department director of a corporation, a baseball coach, an executive business coach, and now the VP of an NGO drilling clean water wells for the rural population of Uganda.

However, in everyone one of those careers I seemed to find the road less travelled. I believed and behaved in ways corresponding to my own heart and not those of the herd. And you know what? I was able to discover success because I did things different from the herd by thinking and acting outside the box.

Normal or Amazing

So what about you? It is most comfortable and socially acceptable to hang out in the middle of the herd. You will find acceptance, approval, and a modicum of success. Shoot, who wouldn’t want that? The only real trouble is that it is most likely not the way you are uniquely DNA’d. I find the most intriguingly satisfied people are among the outliers—the ones that are comfortable in their own skin.

Some are called weird (yippee), some recluses, others are considered simply odd. But they are the ones that have discovered how to live an amazing life, living according to their own heart and not the whims of the social crowd.

Not Normal?

Welcome to The Road Less Travelled

Photo courtesy of kdshutterman at istockphoto

The Illusion of Freedom

March 3, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Freedom, in any case, is only possible by constantly struggling for itAlbert Einstein

We are free. But do we act freely? Or do we freely conform to what is expected of us?

If so, is that true freedom or is it merely subservience to the to the expectations of the crowd? It takes a truly bold person to act genuinely according to his or her own heart. Because when you act freely you will most certainly take the risk of being ostracized, criticized or scoffed at.
[Read more…]

Taming Your Evil Twin

February 9, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Few things in life are more powerful than an unacknowledged adversary.

Like it or not, every day you battle against an adversary with shifting faces—an adversary who holds sufficient power to drive you to behave in most offensive ways. Until you can name this adversary, he will defeat you, every single time!

Although he is virtually omnipresent, your adversary is not easy to name because he is not easy to see, that’s because your adversary… is you.
[Read more…]

The Next Chapter Podcast
Living a life of meaning Living a life with adventure Living a life with awe