The Sunday Sermon- Margaret Heffernan: Dare to Disagree

It seems counterintuitive to welcome friends, business partners, and/or acquaintances who significantly differ from one’s own self ideologically, culturally, or methodologically. Who wants a squeaky wheel of dissent hanging around and being a distraction? Yet, by not allowing for interaction with those who are different, we risk falling into a state of intellectual atrophy, not only as individuals, but as a society.

Having relationships with those who are different or who disagree with us encourages conversation, re-evaluation, learning, and perhaps even changes of mind. Friction with those who rub against our own grain or who are simply not like us can produce wonderful effects if allowed and encouraged. Of course, both parties must desire genuine interaction and not just contentious banter or to “win” a debate. The key is a true and honest desire to understand, learn, share, revise, teach, and adapt for the better. The fruit produced by such a social virtue is good for individuals and good for the communities at large.

I am glad to know some people in life who, though we differ in many ways, are not xenophobic, crave deep discussions, AND actually find it refreshing to have a non-homogenized collective of people in their life. Such friends are rare roses among the thorns of the us/them masses.

For more information on Margaret Heffernan, visit this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Heffernan

Have a great week! -Luke

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The Sunday Sermon- Alan Watts: What if Money was no Object?

This is an ever-needed reflection from Alan Watts that anyone, regardless of faith system or no faith system, can find encouragement in.

So, what would you do if money is no object?

For more information on Alan Watts, click the link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Watts

What would you do if money was no object?

Alan Watts- “What would you do if money was no object?”

Also, if you were encouraged by this post, please pass it along 🙂

Have a great week, Luke

The Sunday Sermon: Christopher Hitchens on Life, Death, and Free Will (Video)

Here is one minute and 15 seconds  worth of wisdom for you from the oracle on the street, Christopher Hitches.

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was a prolific author, journalist, political critic, debater, and speaker. For more information, see this link:

http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Hitchens

I Saw the Incensed Horde- A Poem Dedicated to Farkhunda of Kabul

"I Saw the Incensed Horde" by Luke Austin Daugherty- A poem dedicated to the memory of Farkhunda of Kabul, Afghanistan and the eradication of the violent, fundamental religious ideology which caused her murder. Copyright 2015- All Rights Reserved, Luke Austin Daugherty

“I Saw the Incensed Horde” by Luke Austin Daugherty- A poem dedicated to the memory of Farkhunda of Kabul, Afghanistan and the eradication of the violent, fundamental religious ideology which caused her murder. Copyright 2015- All Rights Reserved, Luke Austin Daugherty

I saw the initial, uncensored videos of Farkhunda’s murder when they hit the internet last month. I wrote this poem laying in bed, unable to sleep, as I thought about her that same night.It is my hope that her story may break up the stony hearts of those who would support or engage in such inhuman atrocities.

To all who read- Your fellow humans must rank higher than your personal ideology. An ideology has no breath, no feelings, and senses no pain. It is an abstract. Your fellow humans do. They need you and you need them.

If you have the time, please visit some of the following links to learn more about this heart-wrenching story and Farkhunda, a woman murdered in public by insane zealots.

Original Video (graphic)

Video Story:

News article:

News Article

One Scribble From Gov. Pence and Indiana Takes a Huge Step Back

Mike Pence- Indiana Religious Freedom Bill

Mike Pence- Indiana Religious Freedom Bill

Well, the Indiana Religious Freedom Bill is headed to Gov. Pence’s desk and he is likely to sign it. One scribble from his pen and Indiana takes a huge step back in our progress toward equal rights for all Indiana citizens.

This Bill isn’t only about LGBT rights in Indiana. But, I think that it mostly is for many fundamentalist style believers. Listen my fellow Hoosier business owners, if you offer a service to the public, it should be offered to the whole public. You are, of course, free NOT to offer a particular service to everyone. Like, if you are a pizza joint, you don’t have to serve clam chowder. Yet, if you serve pizza, don’t serve pizza to a straight patron and tell a gay customer to hit the bricks. If you bake wedding cakes, you can refuse to make provocative style cakes to all patrons. But, you should not deny a cake that you DO bake to a gay couple. A business, which is open to the public, should not deny services that they provide to paying customers only because they are gay, black, atheist, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, whatever…

We all have the right to our personal religious views. The First Amendment already guarantees that. You can believe what you want, teach what you want, go to fellowship wherever you want OR not. No one will come to your house of worship or home and force you what to believe or how to worship your god. Yet, if you choose to open a business to serve the public in Indiana, serve the public at large. If you want an exclusive private club, then charge membership fees and put “Private Club” on the front door.

Fellow Hoosier (or really anyone) if you find yourself today to be a person who has a downcast gaze upon the LGBT community, please read this blog that I wrote some time back.

Confessions of a Former Homophobe

Years ago, I used to be where you are now and was probably worse. Still, if you won’t change your mind and have a business that will be denying services to a portion of the population, have the balls to put a sign on the door saying so. If you get your morals from Jesus and he said not to be ashamed of him, display his alleged morals on the door for all to see. You wouldn’t want to be refused from heaven over your shame to have a public witness.

If this blog or the blog in the link resonate with you, please take a moment to hit the share buttons below. Thanks! -Luke

“An Astronaut’s Guide to Optimism” By Astronaut Chris Hadfield (VIDEO)

This is a very good, condensed, and positive message by Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield. It is easy to focus on all the negative situations that are paraded before us daily, yet to forget that many aspects of life are steadily improving in most nations. Yet, there is still work to do. So, we can take Mr. Hadfield’s admonition to heart and do what we can to make things better.

“When thinking if you’re going to be optimistic this year, remember, nobody changes the world on their own. It all starts with a resolution… what’s yours?” -Chris Hadfield

If you have an extra twenty-ish minutes, you may enjoy this closely related video by Dr. Steven Pinker. It is a talk called, “The Better Angels of Our Nature,” about the decrease of violence over the centuries. It presents some very comprehensive material regarding the subject.

On Sadness…

It is the damnedest thing… Sometimes it just hits me, seemingly out of nowhere. Real, palpable sadness.

I have never dealt with true depression in the clinical sense. The kind that you can’t wiggle and twist your way out of no matter what you do. That brand of deep, lasting, and relentless sadness that just clings to your mind like unkind, cold, rain-soaked clothing to your crying skin when you’re stuck outside in a storm, locked out of your own house, banging on the front door to be let in, with no one inside to hear your desperate plea.

I have a few good friends that struggle with that kind of depression. I am very sorry that they do and very thankful that I don’t.

But sadness, we all deal with that to a greater or lesser extent.

I am quite a happy guy in general. Optimistic too, but not to the point of self-delusion.

Yet, even with my normal, sunny disposition, sadness can creep into me at times. It is usually unexpected and visits at its own leisure, no appointment having been made ahead of time.

That was the case late tonight, or rather, this very early morning, only a bit after midnight. Nothing has the ability to stir my deepest parts like music. As I was doing a bit of ebay listing after the kids went to bed, I popped my earbuds in to listen to some tunes without keeping anyone awake. I listened to a bit of this and that on YouTube: Flatbush Zombies, Yelawolf, Kid Astro, etc, etc. I list fastest when banging hip-hop and rap in my ear holes.

Then, as I was finishing up, I randomly clicked over on, “Brick,” by Ben Folds Five. That was all it took. By the time I got to Regina Spektor, not with any intention of bringing on a cathartic experience, the sadness came to visit. It really didn’t have anything to do with the songs specifically. Just a flurry of micro-memories, flickers of past moments, thoughts, anticipations, and the utter and unavoidable gravity of just existing hit me all at once. Not only that, but the fact that it all goes away some day. Much like the arrival of sadness, mortality doesn’t tend to make appointments either.

As I have been editing the second draft of my new book, “Love is the Middle,” about my relationship with my deceased father, memories of him are frequent. Tonight, the reality of my current life, part of which includes the void his death created, came to mind. The overwhelming joy of being a father to my five kids crashed right into my lament over being a fatherless son like dissonant chords. I also considered the fact that one day, my wife and the love of my life, will either leave me behind on this side of death’s veil or I will leave her. (A desirable and tidy Notebook movie ending aside). Altogether, three things hit me at once: sadness over lost people that I love, knowing what I love now will not always be, and as Christopher Hitchens once eloquently said about death,

“It will happen to all of us, that at some point you get tapped on the shoulder and told, not just that the party’s over, but slightly worse: the party’s going on — but you have to leave. And it’s going on without you.”

So, what can we do when those truths about our mortality, our love, our loss, and more losses to come show up front and center? How do we handle the times when our feelings of joy, happiness, and contentment are interrupted and invaded by sadness?

I will give you the best advice I have, right from “behind the lines” of some present sadness in real time… Embrace it. Don’t shuck it off in a premature fashion. Let it burn a while and do its work. Sadness, even the deepest sadness, is a necessary part of life. In a strange, ironic way, it is a good part of life. Not the best part by far, but a good part. Sadness is an honest friend, reminding you and I not to take time, things, and most importantly, people, for granted. Sadness says to us, “Friend- you will not have all of this forever. It is only for a while at best. So, wring your life out for every last drop, bitter or sweet. Many billions have come and gone and do not have the present privilege of treading on the lively side of the green grass on this earth. You do. Don’t waste this moment. Don’t waste this day. Love someone. And, by the way… don’t forget to start with yourself.”

Thank you, sadness, for stopping by. I didn’t expect to see you today, but it has been real.

– Luke

I’ll leave you good people with a song. Before I decided to share all of this with you kind friends and strangers, “How,” hit me right in the feels.

Florida Lawmakers Make Feeding Homeless Illegal- 90 Year Old Man Arrested

Ricky Bobby's response to  Fort Lauderdale, Florida lawmakers.

Ricky Bobby’s response to Fort Lauderdale, Florida lawmakers.

Due to new laws against “food sharing” in  Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a 90 year old man has been arrested for serving food to the homeless in a public park. Please read the following link for more information:

Local Florida News Article on Arrest of 90 Year Old Man for Feeding Homeless

I have read lots of recent posts on social media decrying this law and the actions of police in arresting Arnold Abbott merely for serving food to hungry people. It is good that people are outraged. This is an issue that ANYONE should be passionate about.

When I was a Christian believer for many years, I thought it was important to help the less fortunate and I did what I could. I’m an atheist now and I believe in helping the homeless just as much as ever and do it when I can. Just two weeks ago, I invited a homeless man to have lunch with me in Indianapolis. We both had a good time and ended up with full stomachs. I suppose if I did the same thing in a public park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I may have ended up in jail.

Helping other people is a human value, regardless of the accompanying ideology. Because of that truth, I assert that any lawmakers who, by force of law, would stand in the way of humans helping less fortunate humans are behaving in an inhumane fashion. If they happen to be Christians, they are an offense to the teachings of Jesus. If they are secular, then they are an offense to the values and practices that have allowed our species to move forward across the many centuries due to mutual help and working together for the benefit of the group. If they find themselves in another dogmatic camp, they are likely in error of those teachings as well. I have done a fair amount of study on various religions, and I have yet to find a verse in any sacred text that says, “When ye find people homeless and hungry, do your best to screw them over.”

Regardless of our own personal dogma, we should stand in unity against such lawmakers as these, ridicule them publicly, and ignore their foolish laws. They are against humanity. They are against mercy. They are against love. Enough said. No further argument required. And to relevant law officers involved, you have no obligation to enforce these wretched laws. Your duty is to protect the people in your jurisdiction, homed or homeless, and not to oppress them.

Please visit my site below for some related tips on encouraging others on a daily basis:

The Butterfly Flutter Project

And this link for a story about a homeless man who shared his beautiful song on a public piano:

Homeless Man Shares His Beautiful Melody on Piano- A Lesson on Humility and Compassion (Video)