#morality #legal #morals #laws
What is morally right, and what is legally right?
By definition, laws are secular. They are created by governments and, in the United States, by the will of the people, at least in theory.
Morality is something we believe in wholeheartedly. It’s a personal endeavor. We use it as part of self-definition, whether we get it from teachings, scripture etc.
Bishop Joseph Walker III, pastor at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nashville, took on these questions in a May 24, 2015, column in the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.
Walker says both law and morality are matters of interpretation. As a Christian pastor, he sees morality as founded in the Bible. There are other faiths which use other religious texts as their moral compasses, he says.
His task as a pastor is to lead people so that they discover what is moral and immoral, based on scripture and spiritual revelation, he writes.
For some with deep convictions, morality is concrete, inflexible and void of compromise. For others, morality is fluid, with the ability to change as new interpretations emerge, the pastor writes.
Because we cannot pass laws based on one set of religious or moral standards, one’s morality and what is legal may conflict.
Because, at least in the United States, there are people of varying religions, beliefs and moralities, laws have to determine right from wrong based on that context. As we see watching governments in action, it’s no easy task. Yet, it is necessary.
By definition, laws have to contain some compromise, yet define right from wrong as clearly as they can. That makes it possible, even likely, that people can be wronged by laws, while those same laws make things right to others.
When laws seek to define morality, it becomes a slippery slope, Walker writes. He then asks, “should our rights be protected by the law, whether they are deemed moral or not? Should the law protect any religious rites? The jury is still out.”
Laws do their best to seek justice for all, regardless of one’s beliefs or definition of morality. The Constitution of the United States allows one to worship as he pleases, as long as he hurts no others. So one’s rites and rights can be protected simultaneously. One’s morality could be offended by certain laws, but that should not stop one from believing personally in a certain morality.
Often, we are confronted with laws that allow certain behaviors we consider immoral. In reality, often these behaviors have little, or no, effect on us personally. So, we can privately condemn the law, and still live a life we consider moral.
As laws attempt to seek justice for all, we have to be careful not to judge. As we carry ourselves in our own morality, we do our best to portray that morality vividly, while not condemning others who do not believe as we do.
We must obey the laws, even as we may consider them immoral. We do so with clear conscience by acting within our own moral code, regardless of others’ actions.
As one ponders these questions, he should strive to be the best he can be, within his own belief system. He must also strive to help others, regardless of those others’ belief systems. For a great way to do that, visit You could be sharing a great bounty while still following your own moral code.


#convenience #inconvenience #tooconvenient
Is there such a thing as being “too convenient?
Eric Weiner refuses to buy an Apple Watch because it would make his life too easy.
Weiner, author of the forthcoming book, “The Georgraphy of Genius: A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places From Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley,” discussed this in a column he wrote for the Los Angeles Times, published in the June 7, 2015, edition of the News Sentinel in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Though he is not advocating the return of the inconvenient Paleolithic Era, he writes that too often we fail to recognize the full cost of our convenient lives. He cites all the plastic K-cups clogging the ecosystem, as well as personal and social costs of convenience.
The cost to workers of convenience can be harsh. A company can find a machine, or mechanical process, to do the work once done by humans. When that happens, humans lose their jobs and, in today’s world, may not be able to replace them.
Think, too, of all those disposable diapers, which Weiner cites. Yes, diaper pails and laundering cloth diapers is very inconvenient, and can be smelly, too. But those disposables s don’t recycle, though there are experiments around the world attempting to recycle them. Usually, though, they just go into the environment and, hopefully, degrade eventually.
Weiner also cites the convenience of shopping at Amazon. Point, click, enjoy, he says. Online shopping has led to the closing of many stores and placed store clerks, managers, shelf stockers etc., out of work.
Weiner says we, as humans, crave boundaries, obstacles and inconvenience. Buddhism is not an easy religion, as anyone who has attempted to meditate for five minutes can attest, he writes.
Yet, it’s an immensely popular religion worldwide, he says.
If, as Weiner quotes the late philosopher Robert Nozick’s notion that, we could imagine a happiness machine, would we want to be hooked up to it? Though the instinctive answer might be yes, the actual answer is no, because we want to earn our happiness, he says.
That brings to mind the notion that we appreciate more the things that we earn, than those we are given. If a college student has to pay for his own education, the thought goes, he will work harder in school. If the student is given a full scholarship, he may not work as hard.
Obviously, that doesn’t apply to everyone. Those with real gratitude are thankful for any blessings they are given. They will work to ensure that those blessings are not wasted, and will pay it forward as opportunities arise.
If you are looking for such a blessing, visit You’ll see stories of others, perhaps like you, who have been blessed beyond their wildest imaginations, realized it and worked not only to help themselves, but also to help others take advantage of those blessings.
Yes, our lives are certainly more convenient than those of our parents, grandparents and other ancestors. If you believe your forebears were happily inconvenient, perhaps they were. But true happiness has to start from within, and not necessarily be influenced by the things around us.
So be happy, healthy and prosperous. Choose your conveniences wisely.


#retirement #SocialSecurity #employment
It’s been said many times, in many ways: many of us don’t see how we can retire.
Perhaps we haven’t been able to save enough. Perhaps we won’t be getting the pension we were promised. Perhaps we believe Social Security will be tapped out before we can tap in. Or, perhaps we’ve been put to the curb by our employers at middle age, can’t find a comparable job and have to “retire” before we want to.
Robert Powell, editor of Retirement Weekly, discussed some of these issues in a USA Today column, published June 1, 2015.
Powell talks about postponing retirement until age 70. That’s fine, if you like your job and are able to do it. Bob Schieffer, the longtime newsman with CBS, had recently retired at age 78. But, most employers won’t exercise that much patience. Once an employee hits middle age, he or she usually begins to get messages about “early retirement.” For many employers, a middle-age worker, particularly one who has been with the company a good number of years, is taking a lot out of the company in salary and benefits. If that position is vital to the company, then it can be more economically filled with a younger, less senior person, who may bring some new energy to the company.
Now, if you are able to extend your employment, there are great benefits to waiting until age 70 to collect Social Security. Powell says your benefits could go up by 76 percent by waiting. Basically, delaying Social Security should be a no-brainer for anyone who doesn’t need the money in retirement. It’s a whole different matter if you NEED the Social Security money to survive.
Powell also talks about the longevity risk. Will you outlive your money? One way to avoid the longevity risk, assuming you’ve been able to save some money, is to only tap the dividends, interest and other earnings your money generates, without dipping into your principal. Certainly, people are living longer and the longevity risk is real. If you are already middle age, your parents and grandparents would envy the longer average lifespan you now have. If you are young, presume your average lifespan will increase further. Start saving whatever you can TODAY, and don’t touch it until you retire.
Again, this is easier said than done when you don’t earn enough at your job, your employer doesn’t offer retirement benefits of any sort etc. Take this hint: live within or below your means. If you aren’t making much, look at what you spend your money on. Buy what you can afford, when you can afford it.
If you are married, postpone having children until you are financially ready to care for them. If you are single, look to share a household with friends to lighten individual expenses.
Powell also talks about home equity. There are some famous people out there touting reverse mortgages, which are a fine solution for the property-rich, cash-poor retiree. Perhaps it’s best to consider this option a last resort. Some of the ads say you retain “complete ownership” of your home as you draw cash from the equity. Your name is on the deed still, you are responsible for all the maintenance of the home, but the lender owns whatever chunk of equity it has turned into cash for you. If that doesn’t matter to you, then check out the reverse mortgage option as a last resort.
One thing Powell doesn’t mention is the idea of re-inventing oneself. If necessity is the mother of invention, then retirement, for some, is the mother of re-invention. There are multiple ways out there to make an income, perhaps even a great income, without having a job, pension or other source of funds. For one of the best, visit You have to be willing, perhaps, to re-invent yourself. Or, you have to be looking for a way to cut spending and earn more money. But a retirement solution could be waiting for you, if you are willing to look at it.
The retirement picture doesn’t have to be gloomy, particularly if you are young. But it does take some thought, perhaps some habit changes or courage to re-invent. It’s OK to be afraid, but sometimes we have take action while afraid. That action, gradually or quickly, can ally our fear.


#stop #look #findtheanswer
If you know what you have is good, it doesn’t matter what others think.
Don’t be quick to judge others, though they may think differently from you.
Work hard, work smartly, don’t give up!
If others don’t see what you see, don’t tell them they are blind. Find those who do see.
If what you are doing isn’t working for you, look for something that will work. Don’t necessarily give up what you have.
When circumstances turn ugly, turn the energy you would use to complain about it into vision to solve the problem.
Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone to step into something good.
It’s not what you have, in relation to what others have, that matters. To borrow from the late Zig Ziglar, it’s whether, and how much, you can help others get what they want.
When you step forward, don’t carry your troubles with you.
However, helping others carry their troubles is noble.
The more you give, the more you will get.
The more you take, the more you will lose.
If any of these words speaks to you, you are probably someone who has seen difficult times, even overcome them. Yet, another challenge has come.
You might be someone who knows he or she wants something different, but may not know yet what that is.
You might be someone who has spent his or her life working hard, but don’t have what you believe you deserve to show for it.
You might be someone who needs something, but is never needy.
You might be someone who craves independence, but feels boxed in.
You might be someone who feels the world has much to give, but you would love to give even more.
Perhaps you are someone who would never take advantage, but would instead empower others.
Don’t let others tell you what’s best for you. Only you know that.
At the same time, don’t tell others what’s best for them. Try to show them what might be good.
If any of these words has meaning to you, visit Perhaps you will find what you are looking for. Perhaps you will solve a current problem. Perhaps you will find something to give.
Looking back has seldom paid dividends. Looking forward always does.
So love, give, look until you find and drive until you thrive. Then, you will have all the best.


#servantselling #sellingoneself #increasingconfidence
Do you ever think of salespeople as servants?
Perhaps you are more likely to think of them as self-servants.
Rory Vaden, cofounder of Southwest Consulting and a self-discipline strategist, discussed the concept in a column published May 17, 2015, in The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.
Vaden sees servant selling as, rather than trying to persuade a stranger to buy something, helping a friend get the confidence to make the decision to buy.
Usually, good salespeople are confident. Buyers can tend to be skeptical. It’s OK to be skeptical. Servant sellers, Vaden says, don’t answer objections, as in, doing something TO someone. They increase confidence, as in, doing something FOR someone.
We all, at some time, have to sell something. If not a product, ourselves. We sell ourselves to a potential employer, date, friend, mentor etc. We sell ourselves at work, trying to do the best job we can while making sure the right people notice.
When we sell ourselves, do we help “buyers” by increasing their confidence to buy us?
To turn it around, are we confident enough in ourselves to help others have confidence enough to buy us?
Many of us hate to be sold to, but love to buy. When someone is trying to sell something to you, perhaps themselves, are you confident enough to decide to buy? How much are they helping you be that confident?
It’s OK to have confidence to buy something. Not everyone is out to “sell” to you. A good salesperson WANTS you to like what they have, at the same time understands if you don’t.
He or she will help you have confidence not just to see what is being sold, but also to see how it can help you solve a problem, complete a task or be a better person.
Some of us hate to sell. If you are one of those, do you like to SHOW to people? Do you like to tell a friend, or even a stranger, about a good book, movie, TV show or restaurant you’ve had the pleasure to witness? Would that person have the confidence to read, see or eat at what you’re bragging about?
If you like to show, rather than sell, visit See the stories of how people learned to show something they like, and help others have the confidence not only to try it, but to increase others’ confidence to do the same. You might even see true servant selling.
Think of it this way: if what you have is good, and you know it, it’s others’ loss if they don’t see it, too. The word “no” usually comes from someone with no confidence in themselves to try something that could really benefit them.
In other words, it’s not about you. When one approaches selling as, “it’s not about me,” he or she is likely to find success eventually. He or she is likely to have enough confidence in himself or herself so help increase others’ confidence.
“It’s not about me” is true servant selling.