Tuesday, May 31, 2011

P4E:211 More Horse Sense

I have previously posted about how the natural horsemanship that my wife practices influences our human interactions and in particular how husband/wife and father/child relationships might be positively affected.

Recently, Gwen and I attended the Lighthands Horsemanship Workshop in Santa Ynez, California. We shared the weekend with an intimately small group of people who enjoyed listening to and watching several clinicians who practice natural horsemanship. There were also other very interesting and some famous people (within that community) who shared their experiences.

I'm continually struck by how the spirit necessary to truly practice natural horsemanship is the same spirit that's necessary to be a true Believer and a caring husband. The presenters would say something about their approach or relationship to their horse and I would think, "Wow, if a husband approached his wife or a father approached his child in that way, the world would truly be a better place." Here are a few quotes from the weekend that I found memorable in that way.

"You have your brains...most people don't use 'em enough." Jack Brainard

"If you want to learn something bad enough, sneak around and watch." Ernie Morris

"What's best for the horse? Start riding for what's good for the horse. From the point of view of the horse." Lester Buckley

"Horses never get over being scared or intimidated. Don't be abrupt." Jon Ensign

"Do just what it takes to get the job done. No more and NO LESS. Not enough is just as bad as too much." Jon Ensign

"The horse is experimenting. Don't punish him for that. He's searching." Jon Ensign

"When I want something from my horse, I ask...and wait. I'm not particular about how he responds at first. I reward any movement toward what I want. I pay him for a positive response with an immediate reward. Getting patience in my self and with my horse is valuable. Waiting time is precious time. Build it. Build poise and confidence. Be particular, but not critical. Take the time to slow down and be safe." Lester Buckley

"Think about what the horse thinks about. What does he see? He sees with his ears." Ernie Morris

"After a success, rest. Wait. Savor the moment." Lester Buckley

"It's what happened before what happened happened that got me into trouble." Lester Buckley quoting Ray Hunt

"Because of the sensory perceptors in the human fingertips and the horses mouth, the ultimate communication between a human and a horse happens between the reins in a human's hands and the bit in a horse's mouth." Dr. Robert Miller

"I will never violate the relationship between my hands and the mouth of my horse. The bit is sacred." Lester Buckley

"Follow what your heart says is truly and inherently right. When you're violating your conscience, stop." Lester Buckley

"Bill Dorrance made you feel you could do anything because he was so encouraging." Lester Buckley

"Give me my spankin' now and let's get it over with. Don't just pick on me all day!" Richard Winters

"The biggest hurdle in horsemanship is...anthropomorphizing, or assigning human-like qualities onto non-humans." Rick Lamb
(I think this is relevant because I believe one of the biggest problems husbands have in their marriages is projecting their male thoughts, values, perceptions, attitudes, opinions onto their female wives. Why can't a woman be more like a man?)

"Observe. Remember. Compare." Rick Lamb quoting Tom Dorrance

"Horses take the deal that's best for them. The one that's the least work and easiest. So, make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult." Rick Lamb

"Horses see differently than humans. Their eyes are on the side of their head. Temple Grandin says that they see in pictures and categories. They have a greater field of vision, but cannot perceive depth the way humans do. Their blind spots are different from humans. They see better in low light and their peripheral vision is better than humans." Rick Lamb
(Again, in relation to husbands and wives and fathers and children, I think the idea here is to acknowledge that my wife and children see things from a different perspective than I do.)

"When I'm light with my hands, I give my horse the opportunity to listen and respond to suggestions." Richard Winters

"When I want my horse to do something, I only put as much pressure as needed to get him to do it. I suggest, I ask, I TELL!" Jon Ensign

"There's a difference between being firm and being abusive. Being firm is knowing the timing of when to release pressure. Being abusive is not knowing when to quit." Jon Ensign

"The most important thing is the timing of cuing your horse what you want him to do." Eitan Beth-Halachmy

"He needed support from me to do the right thing." Lester Buckley

"Discipline yourself to move through distractions. When things aren't going your way, don't get bothered. It's an opportunity to train." Lester Buckley

"There's three things you need to advance: qualified instruction, the desire to learn and time to practice." Lester Buckley

"A 'broken' horse, one that's been ridden beyond its emotional, physical, spiritual limits, can't be repaired." Lester Buckley

"Let the horse keep its sense of self-preservation. A horse trusts the rider to keep him out of trouble. Never violate that trust." Lester Buckley

"I keep my goals in alignment and in parallel with my principles. Keep your principles ahead of your goals." Richard Winters

"The lighthands horseman is after the unattainable goal: 100% respect with 0% fear. It takes observation, patience persistence, courage and empathy. To do it you must gain control of your emotions. If you have impatience, anger and fear you won't be able to communicate with your horse." Dr. Robert Miller

"I had to teach and discipline myself to act differently; to change myself." Dr. Robert Miller

"Know your horse." Lester Buckley

Enough said! Now to practice what they preached.
Your ally in the pursuit of Christlikeness, Kim

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

P4E.210 Rob Bell Fared Well

I've just finished reading Rob Bell's Love Wins - A Book About Heaven and Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. The book was panned and Rob Bell's fate sealed in many people's minds before it was ever released; before most had ever read the book. It caused a firestorm in Twitterdom after pastor and author John Piper famously tweeted "Farewell Rob Bell."

The irony is that the controversy about the book in the "Christian" community proves many of the points that I believe Bell is trying to make. In fact, Bell's writing is less about making points and more about asking questions. His writing makes me want to ask: What do we know, for sure? Does Scripture embody the entirety of the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, infinite God? Can Scripture be interpreted in more than one way and, if so, is discussion about the differences of interpretation to be tolerated or squelched? What is the nature of the Good News? Is it open or closed-minded? Can the meaning of words change over time?

Bell rightly points out that he is not the first to bring controversy to the Christian community. More questions (some Biblical): Circumcision or no? Pigs and crustaceans or no? Pelagius or Augustine? Ptolemaic geocentric or Copernican heliocentric? Catholic or Protestant? Apocrypha? Purgatory? Wesley or Calvin? Methodist or Presbyterian? Arminian or Calvinist? Baptism or no? Submerge or sprinkle? Saturday or Sunday? Pre or Post Trib? King James only? Tongues? Cremation or burial? Slavery? Assisted suicide? Death penalty? Global warming? Cloning? Stem cell research? Wine? Beer? Smoking? (These last two remind me that our sainted C.S. Lewis was known to frequent a pub and have a pint and smoke a pipe with his contemporaries, The Inklings. I love him no less for it. In fact, I love him more.) Then again, you may think there are no questions here; that they're all answered. But, do these questions and controversies help or harm Christ? Or is it really true that they have no effect on Him? Is the universe anthropocentric or theocentric? Does God exist to save man? Is that the central message of the Bible? What is the central message of the Bible? What constitutes "belief"?

Is it all about personal salvation or Christlikeness?

I have always believed that Christianity had to (and is completely able to) hold its own in the marketplace of ideas. The Christian community seems to me to be having a fit of paranoia and is lashing out in fear at anything that it doesn't understand or disagrees with. The irony is that the arrogance, the smugness, the inflexibility, the dogma, the closed mindedness that the Christian community has exhibited towards Bell (or anyone else that has a different idea) would seem to be exactly the same attitudes that Jesus found fault with in the Pharisees and Sadducees of His time.

Is the hidden, mysterious wisdom of God hidden and mysterious because God wants to remain hidden and mysterious or because He wants to be sought and found?

Will God punish us for pursuing His mysteries by posing questions and answers?

Do I ultimately agree with Bell on heaven and hell and the fate of every person who ever lived? Maybe. Maybe not. But, I do not fear questions. I do not fear being "born again" over and over and over again into a different and emerging understanding of God and His people and His world and His universe. I do not fear change because God and Christ are always working and work means change. If I am to work the works of God, I must believe in Christ and the evidence of that belief, Christ said, would be love. So let it be.

"The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can't tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit." John 3:8 (NLT)

Rob Bell starts his book with a reference to Gandhi. So, I will end this post with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

I pray that we can erase Gandhi's perception and be more Christlike to those closest to us and the world.