The Toughest Kid on The Block

Courtesy of the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame

I have seen different versions of the Toughest Kid on the Block by Randy Lewis, including one posted on the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame website. The version below was posted to the Open Mat Forum, on the official website of USA Wrestling.

Randy Lewis is a legend in the wrestling world who wrestled for the legendary Dan Gable on the legendary Iowa Hawkeyes wrestling teams of the 1980’s. He is as gregarious a story teller as he was an exciting, no holds barred, wrestler in his day.  This particular story is as well told as it is inspirational, and I have embedded the the video of his legendary match with the Russian, Victor Alexeev, a two-time world champion.

Even if you aren’t a wrestling fan, don’t understand and haven’t even watched it before, you will be warmed by this story of a father’s wisdom and a son’s willingness to believe in it. Enjoy! And be inspired!

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Friends, Enemies and Neighbors on Social Media

Crazy couple screaming over chalkboard background

Depositphotos Image ID: 98171734 | Copyright: Vadymvdrobot

While the Godfather might have lived by the motto, “keep your friends close but your enemies closer”, most of us shut out enemies out and listen only to our friends.  This is human nature.

These thoughts occur to me as I reel from the flurry of angry and angst-ridden posts on Facebook. We have endured a particularly long and relentless period of political and sociological tensions dating back to the last Bush presidency. That the angst seems to have arisen with the rise in popularity of social media sites, I think, is no coincidence.

Regardless, the Bush, Obama and now Trump presidencies have proven to be fraught with angst and angry rhetoric from all sides. Social media was barely a thing when George W. Bush exited office, though he did exit office under a barrage of social media posts.

Considering human nature, and assuming that we all want our voices to be heard and taken seriously, perhaps we should think a little deeper about the difference between the voices of friends and enemies. Maybe an understanding of human nature, including our own, might help us to be heard better than it seems we are now.

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Whose Side Are We on?

depositphoto Image ID: 12096314 Copyright: ZouZou

depositphoto Image ID: 12096314 Copyright: ZouZou

I saw this posted on Facebook:

Apartheid was legal,

The Holocaust was legal,

Slavery was legal,

Colonialism was legal.

Legality is a matter of power, not justice.

I am not sure of the point of this meme, but it got me thinking. For one thing, power and injustice don’t always go together, but there is certainly a strong correlation between the powerful and injustice to the powerless.

In that context, think about these words from the most famous sermon given by Jesus:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.[1]

Jesus was not talking to the powerful in this sermon. He was preaching good news to the poor.[2] He wasn’t urging the poor, the downcast, the meek to rise up and riot or challenge the power of the powerful. He was telling them they were blessed, for great is their reward in heaven!

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Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s legacy lives on in his son. He says here in the video above that he is a bridge builder, as a swarm of journalists try to get him to burn that bridge. I am deeply impressed with admiration for his response.

If you haven’t watched the video yet, please watch it.

We live in a sharply divided nation that is polarized on many issues. Race is just one of them, but race is one of the most visceral and difficult of the issues we face. Dr. King preached a message of love and unity in a world of hatred and disunity. In some ways the world is little different than it was when he was alive.

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Race: Building Bridges in a War Torn Country

Universal Design Intuition & Darwin’s Blind Spot

Douglas Axe[i] recently published a book Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed[ii], in which he attempts to show how science, as well as our own experiences and observations, belie a world that is full of design and evidence of a designer. Though he is vilified by hardline New-Darwinists and others who cling to that tired model of life in spite of mounting evidence against it, others have recently acknowledged his contributions to science.[iii]

In the book and elsewhere, Axe highlights a phenomenon that he calls universal design intuition. According to Axe, pre-school age kids on the whole look at the world and attribute it to a God-like designer.

He isn’t alone in this observation, and it isn’t just the advocates of intelligent design who confirm the phenomenon. It has been recognized even by people who are not in favor of intelligent design.

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Pluralism: Good or Bad?

Pluralism is a modern buzzword that has turned into a rallying cry in some circles. It shapes education at our universities, and it even shapes our politics. Not everyone ascribes to the value of pluralism, but the notion that we live in a pluralistic society and, therefore, that we should highly value pluralism has become a popular dogma.

It might have been inevitable that we would find ourselves valuing pluralism so highly in this melting pot we call the United States of America. Much of the motivation that drives the current focus on pluralism is good motivation and flows from the freedoms we have long enjoyed. Like any doctrine, however, heresies lurk in the shadows.

Even in the midst of championing pluralism and the unity, opportunity, inclusiveness and tolerance that goes with it, dissension comes from various outlying corners. Not everyone is buying it. The visionaries of a pluralistic ideal can be heard to say something like: “if we can only all get along, the world would be a better place!” But would it?

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