Empathy vs Compassion

empathy noun. Psych. The power of identifying oneself mentally with (and fully comprehending) a person or object of contemplation. (Oxford) I was 15 when this word was first being introduced to the population of North America. It was touted as the best way to relate to the sufferings of others. I didn’t buy it then; … Continue reading Empathy vs Compassion

Unmoved by empathy

Empathy was foisted upon us 60 years ago as a more egalitarian substitute for sympathy. I suppose I’ve always had an analytical mind, sometimes that’s just an excuse for inaction. But I never believed this new word offered anything useful. I have been part of a small minority. The majority has come to believe that … Continue reading Unmoved by empathy

Government sponsored morality

“Every generation, no matter how paltry its character, thinks itself much wiser than the one immediately preceding it, let alone those that are more remote. ” -William Shakespeare Old Mr. Shakespeare was a pretty keen observer of human nature with all its foibles. I guess that's why his plays remain so popular, we are still … Continue reading Government sponsored morality

The problem of age

I was sitting in the food court with my 95-year-old mother. A young oriental lady rushed up to us, on the verge of tears, and wanted to meet and hold the hand of this old lady. I was startled at first, but as the young lady talked it warmed my heart to see her love … Continue reading The problem of age

Faith based service

I got to chatting with some of the younger generation at the lunch after my cousin’s funeral on Tuesday. (In this case, younger means somewhere around 60.) Ron is executive director of an organisation that flys volunteers into remote northern communities to conduct Vacation Bible School in the summer and to maintain contact at other … Continue reading Faith based service

Relevant to what?

Relevant to what? Everybody talking about the decline of Christianity in the Western world says that it is because the faith preached over the pulpit is no longer relevant to our society.  What they cannot agree on is in what way it is no longer relevant. For over a century now, many churches have struggled … Continue reading Relevant to what?

Is anybody listening?

Christians who suffer from depression or other emotional or mental distress often face disapproval if they try to find help in psychologists and pills.  It is true that there are dangers with both.  What kind of help are we offering them? “Why do Christians shoot their wounded?” was the title of a book published some … Continue reading Is anybody listening?

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts

Among the gifts bestowed upon us by the ancient Greeks there are many that are without a doubt of priceless value, such as democracy.  But there are others that were better left outside the gates, as the Trojan horse should have been. Astrology is one.  Yet the belief persists among many today that the sign … Continue reading Beware of Greeks bearing gifts

Imaginary Sympathy

Around 50 years ago The Readers’ Digest carried an article suggesting that the  word “sympathy” had become so degraded in common usage as to make the word unacceptable to many people.  As I recall, the writer felt that “sympathy” had taken on too much of a connotation of superiority towards the person one felt sympathy … Continue reading Imaginary Sympathy