The Joy Of Giving Without Receiving

The late great coach Bobby Dodd delighted to tell of his playing days at Tennessee. He said he tried for the longest to get his granddad to come to a game. Finally he did. Before the game even started a bunch of pretty young girls came out in short skirts and started jumping up and down yelling, “Volunteers.”

He said his granddad got up and went down to volunteer for what ever it was they wanted them for.

The spirit of volunteerism is a vital part of our culture. My wife has served as a volunteer at WelStar Hospital for well over 25 years. For her it is fulfilling and rewarding. I admire her discipline and devotion to the service.

Recently an amazed employee asked over and over, “You mean you do this and don’t get paid for it?” Working for pay is an essential and admirable. However, the idea of working without pay can’t be comprehended by some. To such persons what you get out of work is money. To a volunteer the reward is intrinsic. You can’t put a monetary value on it.
Persons have to work for pay in order to make a living. A good work ethic combined with a job well done for which a person is compensated is fulfilling.

However, doing something additionally and expecting nothing in return is very satisfying and gratifying. It’s an upper. I have a couple of such outlets and work as hard at them as for a salary.

I was fortunate in that I worked for 32 years without knowing what my compensation was. My employer related to my wife and the compensation went through her competent hands. I did that because I wanted to be able to do what I did for the joy of doing it and not for what I got for doing it. That is not for everyone but being able to do it made working all the more rewarding.

The last year for which statics were available it was reported that 93 million Americans rendered volunteer service to their community. They gave an average of 4.2 hours per week. That totaled 20.3 billion hours of formal and informal volunteer service. Based on the minimum wage that was $201 billion.

What can’t be measured is the good done in impacting lives.

Many organizations could not operate without volunteers. The human resource base enables services to be performed that otherwise could not be. Churches, hospitals, and many other institutions benefit form the spirit of wonderful volunteers. Not only on behalf of these organizations do I want to make this unsolicited appeal for volunteers but also for the welfare of those who might volunteer. It is more blessed to give than to receive. We all know what a blessing it is to receive. The statement doesn’t imply it isn’t good to receive. Knowing how good it is to receive and being aware it is more fulfilling to give should motivate us to want to try giving of ourselves.

Albert Sweitzer said, “The only ones among us who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”

There is a line from a spiritual song that sums up this principle: “It is in giving that we receive.”

Find a need and volunteer to help meet it.

John Walker Is No Nathan Hale

Nathan Hale made a fateful decision. As a member of the army of General George Washington he responded to the request of the general and volunteered to infiltrate the British lines for recognizance purposes. Upon returning he was captured by the British and ordered to be hanged the next day.

As a youth he was tutored for college by Reverend Joseph Huntington, a student of the classics. In 1769 he entered Yale where he distinguished himself as an athlete and scholar. His executioner, Major Cunningham, denied his request for a Bible and destroyed a letter he wrote. He was allow a last statement. It must have impressed the British for it is emblazoned on the pages of legendary commitment.

Facing the gallows at a place not far from where the World Trade Center recently stood he said, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” Nathan Hale was only 21 years old. Was his a responsible act? He, his family, fellow patriots, his comrades in arms, and history have vindicated his conduct as heroic. No one questions his judgment in enlisting in the colonial army. No one questioned his willful courage in capturing a supply loaded vessel under the guns of the British warships. For his bravery he won a place in the small fighting group known then and now as the Rangers.

This 21 year old acted responsibly and assumed accountability for his actions. Fast forward 225 years and note the conduct of a 20 year old American named John Walker. With pride his mother commented when he willfully left his native America to align himself with an alien ideology that it was “good for a child to find a passion.”

The brand of Islam he chose is even alien to Islam. He knowingly enlisted in Al Qaeda a foreign fighting force. His dad noted he was “proud of John for pursuing an alternative course.” Every course on which they had ever directed him was alternative. Their lifestyle in the 60s was itself alternative. They sent him to the elite alternative Tamiscal High School.

There students determined their own course of study and saw a teacher only once a week. He was considered old enough and his judgment mature enough to make such decisions. When at age 16 he decided to drop out of school they deemed it his choice and endorsed it. His move to a Third Word oligarchy on the other side of the world was financed by his parents who considered him responsible enough to make such a decision.

Only now that he is called upon to give an account for his actions do his parents consider him an unaccountable youth who should not be deemed culpable. Is there a defining line between age 20 and 21 that determines when one is accountable? Is it that we live in a different era and that is the deciding issue?

In our judicial system youth are considered adults at an even younger age. In demanding he be held accountable for his own actions we should weigh the consequences of our actions. Parents should aspire to develop youth with the character of Nathan Hale.

Jihad: What Is It?

Jihad is a word heard often in the news. Its meaning is complex, its application diverse, and its interpreters give it differing degrees of expression. As persons struggle to understand the complexities facing our nation in relating to the Islamic world a better understanding of the word is needed.

It literally means “struggle” or “exertion.” In its religious setting it always refers to fighting evil. It can mean jihad of the heart, of the mouth or pen, of the hand, and of the sword.

All Muslims are to engage in jihad of the heart which means to fight personal evil desires.

Jihad of the mouth refers to verbal disparagement on all that is in opposition to Islam. This can involve defense of their faith by advocating its virtues or saber-rattling. Saddam Hussein did the latter before the Gulf War in declaring “the mother of all battles” was about to begin.

Jihad of the pen involves either or both tactics as jihad of mouth in written form.

Jihad of the hand involved doing good deeds.

Jihad of the sword has four progressive stages advocated in the Qur’an. It is a summons to combat on behalf of Islam. Muhammad engaged in such and urged his followers to do so. As the followers of Muhammad increased in number his writings in the Qur’an on the topic grew more aggressive.

As his small movement began it was heavily persecuted. During this stage they were encouraged to engage in peaceful persuasion (Sura 16: 125-126). Many Muslims today still believe this to be the best approach.

In 622 when Muhammad fled to Medina he was still opposed and survived by raiding caravans. He now declared fighting was permissible to oppose aggression and recover property form infidels (Sura 22:39).

Soon rewards in the highest heights of heaven were promised those who sacrificed their lives in battle. Also those who were able to engage in battle and did not were to receive divine punishment (Sura 9: 38, 39). Armies expanded immediately. The next progressive move involved military offensive jihad. Muslims were told to take the initiative in war but to avoid doing so during four sacred months.

“When the forbidden months are past then fight and slay pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, lie in wait for them in each and every ambush. But if they repent, perform the prayers and give alms, then leave their way free” (Sara 9:5).

The ultimate state of jihad removes all restraints against battle in any season and land not yielded to armies of Islam (Sura 9:29).

The law of abrogation in Qur’anic hermeneutics says the last revelation always takes precedence over previous ones (Sura 2: 106 13:39). It should be noted that though many Muslims do not advocate the latter posture on war there are those who do. It is expedient to try to discern between the groups and befriend those who do not advocate aggression while governments try to deal with those who do.

Islamic Violence

Our nation is confronted with a conflict that must be fought whether we want to or not. It is on a battlefield less than ideal yet more to be desired than the one preferred by the enemy. The war in Iraq is not one of our choosing. The combat was initiated by our President but the conflict was envisioned long before in palaces and desert tents.

Trying to link various factions is complex. Understanding their common goal is simple. The common objective is the destruction of the United States, the Great Satan. Our opponents had chosen the battlefield of our streets. Our President chose the sands of their desert.

To be casual about casualties is to be calloused. Every one changes the world of those related to the one killed. That brings sadness to the nation.

When considering casualties contemplate this. At the rate we are losing personnel in Iraq the conflict would have to last fifteen years for us to lose as many as died in the World Trade Center. What this is basically about is preventing other such events. That is plural, not just another, but many more. There are those who desire such devastation.

If we pull out of Iraq that will be perceived as weakness and they will come into the United States to continue to conflict.

It is my good fortune to have contact with civilian personnel working in Iraq who share interesting insights. Our media reports we have approximately 133,000 military personnel in Iraq. These civilians say our dedicated troops are actually 133,000 social miracle workers befriending the masses of citizens who are thrilled they are there.

Well, if that is true why all the shooting and bombing? This is where the plot thickens according to my friends inside Iraq.

When the Ottoman Turks were run out of the region around 1870 it became the Protectorate of France and England. England sought a strong tribe in the region to support which could help control all others. The cunning and forceful Saud family was chosen. Out of the Saud family, who were Sunni Muslims, developed two schools of thought. One was the Wahabi faction.

After Desert Storm in 1991 they became Muslim evangelists and spread their militant philosophy throughout the Muslim world into Indonesia, the Philippines, and other areas. Through the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) they funded their movement and built mosques in Arab cities where even the smallest Christian work existed.

Keep in mind this is only a faction of Islam, but a large and energetic segment. They promised suppressed impoverished people Islam would bring them blessings. This attracted many. When the plight of these persons didn’t improve they complained to their spiritual leaders who told them blessings were not in this life but in the after life. Many of these became candidates for suicidal attacks in an effort to receive higher blessings. It is this element that has infiltrated Iraq since the end of the major conflict.

There are over 5,000 Saudi princesses today. Many of them are more moderate than the Wahabi element. This however is how the Royal Family became involved in the current conflict.

Islamic Sects: Peaceful Or Not?

A distilled depiction of America would be a contemporary, progressive, diverse, independent, free enterprise, freedom loving culture.

Around the globe many suppressed and oppressed people being held hostage by totalitarian regimes admire and aspire to these traits. These people want the freedom we enjoy.

These same traits are the very attributes that ignite and unite others in bitter hatred of our culture. These people want to destroy the freedom we enjoy in favor of a totalitarian government.

Both schools of thought have deep roots in the religion of Islam. Our American mentality prompts us to wants to know which is true Islam. The answer is both.

If you think Christianity has a lot of denominations the diversity in Islam will amaze you. As the Sunni and Shi’a branches of Islam jockeyed for dominance various groups emerged.

The Murji’tes became advocates of tolerance and equality. They were proponents of peace and espoused equality.

The Mu’tazilites promoted the principal that reason could determine truth without the benefit of revelation. Evil and good could be discerned simply by reason without revelation.

A third group, the Kharijites, opposed any persons they considered to have strayed from the perfect practice of Islam. Such persons were considered worthy of death. Any leader not holding to the true tenants of Islam was considered illegitimate and should be overthrown and killed.

Is the picture getting clear? Currently modern radical Islamizes emulate this ancient sect.

The Mu’tazilites emerged as the dominant power in the early 800s. Classical learning blossomed. Science, math, architecture, and art flourished under their guidance. However, a resentful fourth party began to solidify during this time. These proponents of legalism supplanted the Mu’tazilites within a century. They were a coalescence of three parties.

One group, the qadis, were administrators in the government. A group of intellectual legal scholars paralleled them and developed a definitive school of law. A third group, the pietists, opposed them and advocating the empire adopting Koranic standards. These three merged to become the legalists. Legalism closed the door on Islamic creativity. They advanced what they consider immutable divinely authored law.

It is that system of law that today’s fanatics want to see replace our American contemporary, progressive, diverse, independent, free enterprise, freedom loving culture. They are a resurrection of the legalists that ended the era of progressive Muslim societies.

Their hope is that by creating global terror governments and people will capitulate and allow them to Interlink Islamic theocracies under their control. If you wonder what that would be like reflect on Afghanistan of two years ago.

In the past other more rational Islamic groups brought their totalitarian dominance to an end.