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I am a pastor and a clinical psychotherapist. My life's passion is defining healthiness from a human perspective and paralleling it to the holiness of God, divine perspective. Shifting perspectives creates a paradigm that is alongside of rather than over and against. The parakalein of God and the paradoxes of humanity are redefined. Humanity is all about winning and yet we are losing ground everywhere. Divinity is all about letting go of the desire to win and the fear of loss. The Divine embraces the world with loving care regardless of anything.

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A New lyric an Old Tune: People Who Need People

Posted by Don Paine

The other day I was driving and listened to a delightful recording of Barbara Streisand singing "people who need people are the luckiest people in the world".

While enjoying the song and her singing it, I simultaneously began to change the word, that is right just one word and felt it a duller and deeper expression of a truth of life.  It is not that I do not get what she is singing or saying or what the song writer, I think Burt Bacharach had in mind but it was another perspective, a shift, an alternating idea.

What if we sang it,

"People people who like people are the luckiest people in the world"

I am doing some substitute teaching in elementary school and have noticed what I think some research is validating that when teachers genuinely like their students the students are more students and are less a management problem.  When they do not like the student (even due to behavior that is not likeable) the student feels the "unlikeability sensation" which exacerbates the behavior problem.

When we genuinely like people is it because we like ourselves in a heathy way with all our falterings, failings, and feral like behaviors.

People who Like people are just Happy People inside and it flows outside.

John reminds us in his epistle that, "We love Because He first loved us"

So "Be Happy"
Be Liked
Be Liking of otherstreisand

An End and A Beginning

Posted by Don Paine

This is my last post on this site of parakalein.blogspot.com.  Parakalein is the Greek word for “being at the side of another, or called alongside of another.   There are season for one thing then another.  There are beginnings and endings.  One era gives way to a new era. 

I have a friend Mark Kelso www.muddyangels.com who wrote a song during a season of grief and loss that has a line in it that goes like this, “and in the end, we find out that there is not end”.  Perpetual growth, eternal life, and eternal peace and love are the ingredients of a harmonious and balanced world.

Like the one in Genesis 1:31 which when God looked at everything that he had made and how everything is in balance and harmony, he said ”it is very good”.

So look for me to blog about those things that are eternal, faith , hope and love and relationships which are the only thing that lasts forever.  These are my passions: understndign God, making sense our of nonsense, and seeing God present even in the dullest and sharpest of painful experiences.

So look for me at www.painespresence@wordpress.org or on twitter

@painespresence or at my website www.parakalein.org where you can arrange for coaching/counseling appointments consultations and speaking engagements.

Discipline Defined and Deliverd

Posted by Don Paine

I listened to AndyAndrews www.andyandrews.com at Influence & Impact Summit <michael@michaelhyatt.com> going on thru Oct 13th.

He stated that "Discipline was acting in a way regardless of how you feel to get or accomplish what you want to accomplish".

I was in church yesterday stockbridgeucc.org and heard a message from pastor Brent that focused on Psalm 22 which expresses the feelings inside of the human Jesus as he was dying on the cross.  He said, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me".  While he knew the history and knew God was good he could make no earthly sense of this feeling of abandonment but he knew he had to honor it which is to speak honestly about it.  A couple of years ago a series of events happened in my life that had me feeling abandoned, hopeless, deserted and depressed.  I was looking at just one thing, my feelings.

In verse 23/4, a remarkable thing occurs which I think shifted Jesus form his feelings to the goal of accomplishing what he came to do: "to give his life a ransom for many" (more on that in a later blog).
V.23/4 "All of you that fear the Lord, praise him!...for He has not despised or abhorred the affliction of his own, neither has he his his face from him, but when he cried out he heard so my focus is to praise God".  He shifted his focus from what he was feeling which he had to honor to what he was disciplining himself to do, the task of giving himself so others might live and learn the secret of discipline.  He shifted to as Hebrews 12"2 tells us "the joy that was set before hime while enduring the cross its affliction and pain. I believe that on the cross in the afflcition and in the feeling of abandonment, Jesus shifted to the comfort of the much shorter but focused Psalm 23.  He literally said in the inner regions and from the vision of his soul to, Yeas I feel abandoned but what I KNOW is that "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want, He leads me in my mind the choice central of my will to green pastures, still waters,...He restores my focus...though I walk through the valley of death and feel abandoned I know it is not true for the rod of their affliction gone bad turned to good and your staff the sign of the shepherds care, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me (so in between me and my enemies) in the presence of my enemies (death, Rome, Religious zealots, fearful deserters, quiet onlookers, people of helplessness and hopelessness)  my cup overflows surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever!  Now that is a shift.

I have learned the hard way that that shift from the feeling of loss, misunderstanding, abandonment, hopeless ness, helplessness are true feelings that need to be honored but they do not need to direct our lives.  We can shift.  God can help us to shift to focusing on the discipline of doing what God has called us to do regardless of anything we feel.

God is good.  And His Goodness transforms the not good into something good for us, in us and for the world.

Praising God is not an act ewe do because God needs our praise but because our praise shifts our focus form our feelings to the fact of God's eternal presence in the pain through the pain into any pain that comes turning it all with creative genius into goodness and mercy that follows us all the days of our living

Thanks be to God.

The Sacred and the Scared

Posted by Don Paine

I am enrolled in an online course with Michael Hyatt <michael@michaelhyatt.com> called:  "Influence and Impact Summit" which I am finding very helpful in my reengaging the world and my readers.  In fact yesterday one of the speakers said that engagement of people not advancement of career or revenue had to be number one.  It can's be to influence poor impact people so you get the notoriety, or make more money but to really help people because you really care.

Michael Hyatt blogged http://michaelhyatt.com/start-here
 to day that he had fearful parts that had negative gremlins, well he did not call them that but I am, that chewed away at his confidence but in the face of fear he went ahead.

So Iwant to blog what I have realized that has helped me to step back into the land of the living, from the island of fear.  "Fear is a place where we let Scared Parts rule, Faith is a place where the Sacred Place of Hope overshadows the Scared Place"  What a difference the position of a letter or a though makes in the choices we make.

Be bold, courageous and find that sacred space.  It is in you and all around you.  I have found that out so I know it is true.

Pay attention, It is better than defending oneself with lack of Intention

Posted by Don Paine

I was walking and thinking in the early morning hours when the air is fresh and so are thoughts.  I began to think about how I heard someone say a hurtful thing but knew they did not intend that hurt so mused as to why that would happen.  Why do we sometimes hurt the people we love.  It is not an intentional hurt but it hurts just the same, maybe deeper.

Context and  compassion must be interwoven.

During introductions at a training, I recalled that I would jokingly say, mostly out of nervousness, that I was schizophrenic as I lived and had an office in MA and NY.  Some laughed but I realized supposing someone in the room was struggling with a diagnosis of schizophrenia even a mild case they would not hear this as funny.  In fact it would be hurtful.

At the same time I recalled being in a relay race on Nantucket Island where each team had 5 members each doing 10-12 miles in the sand around the beautiful island that at times seemed like it would never end.  As I approached my relay member and passed off to him I saw a female runner throw up her hands in disgust that her relay partner was still not in sight and by the way you could see for two miles down the seacoast.  As I fell somewhat exhausted I said,  "You need to know men are just more responsible than women" every one laughed and she said, "You are absolutely right I am never being part of a woman's relay team again, ever!"

I do not think it is true and I do not think it would be funny in any other setting ing=fact it woudl probably be received with disdain.

You just have to know the context, your audience, and not be so self focused that you offend while attempting just to be funny.  It is not funny if it hurts anyone even if there is not intention to do so.

So I am learning to pay attention rather that fall back on lack of intention.

Genesis Musings

Posted by Don Paine

So What is the Knowledge of Good and Evil/Not Good/Bad and why did God place this tree in the "middle" of the garden.

I often muse about this so want to keep my musing to a short concise statement but I am tempted to give you all of my thoughts.  Too much is just hat too much.  So let me do what might seem an arrogant or egoistic thing that is speak as if I were God which I am not.

So I want you to know that I put the tree in the middle of the garden because always and for all time the temptation to reach for that which is self destructive is right in the middle of whatever you are going through, wherever you are walking wether in a garden or in a storm the temptation to be irrespective of limits, of other people, and /or of nature is omnipresent.  In any given situation people can act in a self centered "reach out and take whatever I want" without concern for the impact and effect on anyone else is rife.  The freedom of choice I gave to humanity had to include the freedom to use that freedom in a self destructive way.  When Adam and Eve, who please note from Genesis 3:8 were together while the whole internal and external discussion about this tree was going on.   The discussion was about its fruit, the pleasant taste and sight of it.  It included why I gave it, and why I gave a prohibition about it suggesting that my fear was that the day they ate of this tree they would be as God, as me, knowing Good and Evil.  Really?  How absurd!  Here is the partial truth veiling the real truth.  It is true, they became as God knowing good and evil (cf Genesis 3:22) but it is not true that they became as God.  It is one thing to know good and evil without the moral fiber to choose the good and reject the evil.  It is another thing to know good and evil and have the moral capacity to always choose the good, to always work all things together for good, to always be good in your heart toward the bad that people do in the world.  That in a word is, God!

So I put the tree there to help you to know that respect for limits is good and healthy, and disrespect of limits, of people, of anything that I have given is itself the nature of moving a good thing to a bad/evil/or not good status.

So enough musing for today!

Amazing Power of Music to Strengthen the soul

Posted by Don Paine

I was listening to NPR today and they had on a vignette of the amazing story of a 17 year old girl from Iraq who after loosing her parents to natural causes when she was 11 years old.  She spoke of a passion and belief that music settles and comforts the soul.  Since ISIS has taken much control of the region, She has been operating out of Glasgow, Scotland.  All rehearsal's are done thru the internet at this time but people are faithfully practicing their instruments hoping that they one day they will be together and perform a concert as the Youth Orchestra of Iraq.  They originally had planed to tour USA this fall but the movement of ISIS made the visa process impossible, so they wait.

Patience and passion helped her to see and have a vision of music helping give peace in the presence of way.

Read more below


Reflections of Pope Francis visit to America

Posted by Don Paine

I sat with a friend who was at Madison Square Garden to see her pope, Pope Francis.  A Pope of the People, for the People, and with the people.  In this he was really a "with us" representative of the God who is with us.  She was overtaken by his presence, not his holiness.  She saw his holiness and respected that but it was his presence that moved her along 18,000 others who gathered that day.

Moving days, powerful words, momentous issues accompanied the popes visit.  Of all that I heard him say one thing stands out, "Only when the strongest among us care for the weakest among us is God's will being done".  The way of the world is that the strongest or at least those in power, abuse, misuse, or neglect the weakest through exploitation, oppression, or suppression.  The way of the God of love, hope, and faith is the way of serving the weakest, nurturing strength in them, and building them up to the equality of peers. Jesus came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life that people in oppression might walk the path to redemption, that is finding their place as loved members of the community of earth.

Maybe when Jesus said the first will be last and the last will be first was his way of saying there is ultimate equality of rights, opportunities, and responsibilities for all, to all.  Only when this is true will there be liberty and justice for all.

Thank you Pope Francis for visiting America and challenging us a the strongest nation on earth to lead with humility conferring dignity on all people.  The strongest religious body is called to do the same. Amen


A Symbol of Hope in the midst of Suffering

Posted by Don Paine

20 Years ago after 20 years of church life ministry the idea of parakalein and the symbol came The symbol presents and portrays the parakalein of God as over us in a loving presence nurturing growth.  We are like a seed planted with the intention of becoming a mighty oak tree of righteousness (Isaiah 61:1).  This happens through the transformation of ashes to beauty, of despair to hope and of mourning into light.  Hidden in the darkness of the shadows of life is the light (white) of the Cross.  Seeing the Cross as the hope and source of growth rather than the point and pain of suffering is the transforming work of the "Alongside of presence of God's Spirit in, around and through our lives. When you feel the most alone know that you are not alone for the "I will be With You God is with you right then".  It is God's mysterious and mystical presence in the pain of suffering. The goal of our suffering is not to create pain and perseveration but to invite us to shift perspective and surely persevere.  

painespresence.org will soon appear as a new blog on wordpress.org.  Watch for it, please!

Genesis 3 a Jewish perspective

Posted by Don Paine

A Rabbi shares a new perspective on Genesis three.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is about Good and not good.  The sense of good, not good, good enough and bad are looked at in the context of what the Christian community calls the fall from union with God. Is it a fall, a trip, a planned event?  I call it the "fall into grace" as prior to this event the communion with God was natural and daily.  Now the communion is because God shows up regardless of their behavior as he demonstrates the attributes of mercy and grace, hereto fore unnecessary.  Grace is the way of communion with God


In this video the Rabbi Fohrman offers a different perspective on this "falling" into sin.  The Christian doctrine of Original Sin is introduced in the Christians perspective of this event.  I call it the "fall into Grace" as this event opened the door to God's grace ding visible.  Prior to this their was no need of grace or ,mercy for God and humanity were at one in their communion.  But some thing changed.

The Rabbi saw the action of Eve and Adam as independent acts of defiance.  They were told to eat freely of all the trees in the garden but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Not Good (Evil they were not to eat of for in the day they eat of it they will die.  The part of humanity that does not respect limits imposed on them even if they are for their own good.  They wanted to "masquerade as the master" and so they wore a mask not just over their face by a mask ver their nakedness, fig leaves.  A poorly devised and implemented plan that God in grace and mercy upgraded to animal skins.

The Rabbi related it to a parent giving gifts to a child,  The child is feeling loved by these many gifts so is laying with them with joy and happiness.  The parent wants the child to enjoy (the first positive command in the Torah- "enjoy"), but the parent also wants the child to be appreciative not in a simple or even necessary thank you but in how enjoying they are of the gift.  Being thankful is expressed in that joy. When it is not enough or when the child wants more it is seen is ungrateful and unsatisfied.  It leads to ignoring any prohibition as to get that need of affirmation.  I can have whatever I want.  This moves the child from health=y appreciation for what he has to unhealthy greed and avarice that is unsatisfied by the moor. :By showing the discipline of respecting the prohibition one shows the discipline and resolve to enjoy what God has given"

The tree was there so they could demonstrate their resolve to enjoy what God had given and not need or think they needed more.  It was not the fruit that was good, bad, evil or not good.  It was the choice to set aside focusing on that God has given and rather focus on the restriction or prohibition until defiance kicked in. Having failed at the discipline of enjoying what God had given them they lost their sense of innocence and purity.  It was their perspective that was contaminated and so it is our perspective that needs to be addressed as the "faulty perspective" not the "Fall into Sinfulness".  It could be thought of at the fall into the propensity to lose perspective then act in sinful ways that sin against ourselves not just others and God as did this first act of betrayal.  Indeed betrayal of trust to enjoy what God had given is a true betrayal and the seeds (not respecting limits) of all betrayal.

Thank you Rabbi for your perspective.  I will give mine, augmented by his, in a couple of days.

Thank you for reading.

The Loss of Power to Negativity, the Power of Postivity

Posted by Don Paine

G K Chesterton was once asked what is wrong with the world, his response was simple,
"I am"
Sincerely G.K. Chesterton

Why is it that we the word negativity in negating way but
 we use far less often the word "positivity"in a positive way.

People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?  -Thich Knat Hanh

While the disciples went off into negative judgment telling a group of people who were casting out demons in Jesus name to "Stop it" then proudly told Jesus what they had done, they got a surprise. Jesus said, "If they are not against us they are for us" 
-Mark 9;38-40

Why is there so much judgment in the world from Christians who know the truth?  I think because they have let there sense of they are right, create a lens of deception that results in mis perception and mis representation of the positive heart and life of Jesus.

The Grip of Fear

Posted by Don Paine

When I was afraid that I had lost everything and everyone important to me I could see nothing positive.

Grey skies were black.  Black skies were blacker.  Blue skies were all gone.  Truly it was not true but it was true in my mind.  Negativity negates everything positive in me.  That is how it felt as I slipped into a "cave of hopelessness".   When light shone into the cave I began to have hope even before I was ready to come out of the cave.  Hope began the work of life in me.

So why are we so negative when a positive approach is more help.  Why do we sing it "Accentuate the Positive, "Accentuate The Positive"

You've got to accentuate the positive
eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
But don't mess with mister in between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
have faith, a pandemonium
Libel to walk up on the scene

To illustrate my last remark
Jonah in the Whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do
just when everything looked so dark

They said we better
accentuate the positive
eliminate the negative
latch on to the affirmative
But don't mess with mister in between

[One more Time]

To illustrate my last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do
just when everything looked so dark
don't mess, don't mess, don't mess
with mister in between