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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Summer Solstice               Friday, June 21 2002 

Rejection

The email service that sends these four-times-a-week ruminations to a list of a little over 100 interested or quasi-interested subscribers is carefully set up to let me know when a new reader joins the list but not inform me about cancellations. That's because, like any insecure paranoiac, I have such a hard time handling rejection that such news might render me incapable of continuing the project. Nevertheless, there are demons or “daemons,” as they’re called in electronic engineering circles, who foil the system and let me know despite my best intentions that they’re outta here. “Why?” I wail from my soulful depths. “Why does s/he now also hate me like so many others?”

When I was editing magazines at Stanford University, I got to interview the widow of Paul Tillich, whom many refer to as a great theologian but many others, including myself, consider a major destroyer of faith in God. Whether she might have been dealing with her own issues of rejection or not I don’t know, but Mrs. Tillich seemed to share my opinion of her late husband, except that in her worldview that wasn’t such a bad thing. But she did seem to believe he was no advocate for, but rather an adversary of, the Gospel.

She attributed this to an incident in his early childhood. Somewhere around four years of age, young Paul was play acting about the birth of Jesus at Christmastime. When his father, who was a stern Lutheran minister in Germany, realized Paul’s “sacrilege,” he strongly disciplined him. The temporal father's rejection of Paul’s childish offering of faith struck the child as a rejection by God himself, which in turn launched him on his course of undermining the simple faith of anyone willing to read his "scholarly" books, or so his widow believed.

Though the Freudian school of psychology that approaches all personality problems as rooted in early childhood perceptions of parental interactions has been superceded by newer models, still it seems just “common sense” to attribute many personality traits, loves, and hates to experiences in our pretheoretical years. Mrs. Tillich’s theory may not be accurate, but lacking a better one, it certainly seems to explain a lot of things.

So I believe that my own feelings of rejection have shaped everyting from my choice of a career and whatever success and failure I've had in it, to the failure of my marriage, and everything beyond. The good news is the opposite side of that coin, however...feelings of acceptance are often the root of any inklings of achievement that come along in life. Both seem like subjects worth pursuing more.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

You may be a redneck if... (2002 edition, series)

You take your dog for a walk and you both use the same tree.
You can entertain yourself for more than an hour with a fly swatter.
Your property has been mistaken for a recycling center.
Your boat has not left the driveway in 15 years.
You burn your yard rather than mow it.

— Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for today

The man who seeks a quid pro quo from God builds on uncertainty, whereas the man who considers himself a debtor will receive sudden and unexpected riches.

—St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, 525-605

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