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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Wednesday, November 28 2001


Yesterday's entry discussed the traditional biblical and monastic view of self-worth or self-esteem based on comparing oneself with others and deriving self-worth by keeping score, counting one's possessions or accomplishments. Such materialism and/or self-centeredness may be epitomized by a bumper sticker seen occasionally a decade or two ago (usually on Porsche and BMW bumpers as I recall): The One Who Dies With the Most Toys Wins.

The counter of that given here yesterday is probably epitomized in the Apostle Paul's professing himself to be the "chief of sinners" (1 Timothy 1:16). Paul also describes the last days of the world as being a time when "men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy," It seems to me that in the context of materialism, all the items he lists are synonyms of the same condition.

Yet for at least several decades the counseling psychology profession has touted self-esteem as the super highway to mental heatlh. One of America's most popular and successful preachers has extolled self-esteem as "the new reformation." When I was first encountering such issues in my own life, around junior high age in Big Bend School, self-esteem was not yet the shibboleth. Instead, pop psychology articles cast the root of much personal and interpersonal unhappiness in terms of in being introverted.

I think introversion is just another word for what later was called "low self-esteem." But introversion as a buzz word, though probably more technical and harder to grasp, may be the better term. It suggests being handicapped in the areas of making friends and making a strong positive impression on those around you. It's social shyness, lacking grace and not being outgoing. In more extreme cases, introversion could be fear that could be "diagnosed" as a phobia of reaching out to people, even becoming reclusive.

Its opposite, extroversion, was popularly thought of as the antidote; being out-going and finding it easy to make friends and get acquainted while appearing graceful and optimistic were to be prized. Fortunes were made on teaching those values. Yet the psychologists cautioned that "there really isn't any such thing as an extrovert," suggesting that such out-going or gregarious behavior is just another mask of its purveyor's inner torment or introversion.

Is there a third or fourth way through these schools of thought? Let me know what you think, and we'll continue tomorrow.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Bears in the woods

The Department of Wildlife is advising bikers, hunters, fishermen and golfers to take extra precautions and be on the alert for bears while enjoying their given sport.

They advise people to wear noise-producing devices, such as little bells on their clothing to alert, but not startle the bears unexpectedly.

They also advise you to carry pepper spray in case of an encounter with a bear. It is also a good idea to watch for signs of bear activity.

People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear droppings.

Black bear droppings are smaller and contain berries and possibly squirrel fur.

Grizzly bear droppings have little bells in them and smell like pepper spray.

—Sent by Mike Harrison

Advent thought for the day

"Take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously" (Malachi 2:16). Our state of mind is powerful in its effects. It can be the enemy that penetrates right into our soul and distracts our mind from God. There are certain attitudes we should never dare to indulge. If we do, we will find they have distracted us from faith in God. Until we get back into a quiet mood before Him, our faith is of no value, and our confidence in the flesh and in human ingenuity is what rules our lives.

—Oswald Chambers
Sent by Judy Martin

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