Chapel of Optimal Life

A traditional Bible-based Christian church
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A new age church for the inquiring mind

SERMON: The Absence Of Light

There is a Buddhist saying that, "In the absence of light, darkness reigns supreme." Albeit a bit on the melodramatic side, it is a very powerful proverb. It vocalizes the idea that evil will prevail when good people stand idle.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is darkness and there is evil in this world. From where it comes can be disputed endlessly, but the fact of the matter is that it exists. It is within each person born into the world, and it is a devious thing everyone struggles with throughout their lives.

This is the great struggle, and it is a struggle because there also exists the light, and the ability to do great good.

in the practical world in which we live, those who do not actively participate in sharing light and spreading goodness are equally at fault when more sinister forces seize power.

So long as both exist there will be a battle between them, and in order for good to be victorious it must be a priority that people strive for and contribute to.

Evil is relentless and unceasing in its quest for dominance, not only in the battles that are waged within, but those fought in the external world every day. One of the most troubling aspects of the dark side of the human personality is that it is very easy to slip into. In a way, it is like walking downhill where doing good is like hiking uphill.

It's easier to go down, and depending on the means for going that route it can be a very quick decline. To complicate things, it is a slippery slope, and without upward movement or momentum one can simply slide down. The farther down one descends, the harder it is to turn that momentum around.

Good on the other hand, often requires more education, more purpose, more strength, and more control. As it is so often the case that the good in each person requires discipline, it becomes a more conscious effort.

Hiking up an incline is slower and more difficult, but it also gets a person in shape and has a wonderful view from the top. Once it has been engrained in a person to do what is right and stand for things that are good, it becomes easier to do so of course. By conditioning oneself to perform good deeds, the body and mind become accustomed to the application of positive energy.

Since doing good can entail effort and education, are we all dominated by darkness at our core? Not necessarily, but in the practical world in which we live, those who do not actively participate in sharing light and spreading goodness are equally at fault when more sinister forces seize power.

"Idle hands are the devil's workshop," is also a common saying. It too suggests that in the absence of action, darker powers will be at work. This means that when a person fails to do something for the greater good, they are actually contributing to its downfall.

A dramatic example might be a case where a witness to a crime does not come forward because they don't want to get involved. The crime may then go unpunished, and the criminal would remain free to terrorize the world at large.

So if wrongdoing is easy, and a person ends up participating in it simply by doing nothing at all, how can the average person contribute to doing what is right on a daily basis? It doesn't have to be complicated, and it's not always an obviously righteous battle.

As black and white as the struggle can be described, one of the most difficult and perplexing characteristics are the many shades of gray that are involved. However, by simply starting out with simple gestures of kindness, warmth and caring, a person can become more in tune with the good within.

When goodness resonates inside, it has the power to overwhelm apathy and indifference, that metaphorical idleness.

Through small deeds and kind gestures everyone can be involved in bettering the world and actively pushing back the encroaching darkness.

Adapted from a sermon by Will Clement as submitted to


How To Match A Job Applicant To An Appropriate Position

Put about 100 bricks in some particular order in a closed room with an open window. Then send some candidates into the room and close the door. Leave them alone, and come back after 6 hours, and then analyze the situation :

If they have broken the bricks into pieces, put them in information technology.

If they are sitting idle, put them in human resources.

If they say they have tried different combinations, yet not a brick has been moved, put them in sales.

If they have already left for the day, put them in marketing.

If they are staring out of the window, put them in strategic planning.

If they are talking to each other, and not a single brick has been moved, congratulate them and put them in top management.

Finally, if they have surrounded themselves with bricks in such a way that they can neither be seen nor heard from, put them in Congress.

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