Monday, September 7, 2009

there's building, there's building, then there's really building

psalm 127:1
unless the Lord builds the house, those who labor build it in vain

Now I don't think I'm going out on a limb here when i suggest that none of us really want to build in vain? 

The above verse has more than a ring of truth about it doesn't it.

Life is too short - and full of so much nonsense as it is. Far too often we find ourselves sifting thru the happenstances of the day, ranging from the sublime to the quite frankly utterly ridiculous, thinking that we've just gone thru the looking glass, (while no-one else seems to have noticed - or would appear to have gone thru the looking glass with us) all the while repeating to ourselves any number, derivation or combination of the following mantras: 

'this is madness', 'did what just happen here really just happen here', 'Am i delusional - or is everybody else? Just exactly who is the mental case here - cos i thought it was the other person involved in the exchange that just occurred.

i've been there. I'm sure you've been there too.

Check your pulse if you haven't.

I think that in all honesty I can truly say that i've been there - on a fairly constant basis since i became aware that i was and that i actually  - as it turn out - am. 

So through all the living, breathing, talking, thinking, listening, observing, laughing, crying, shouting, screaming, and running for cover in a meltdown going postal type madness - i have arrived at a conclusion: 

An epiphany if you will:

unless the Lord builds the house, those who labor build it in vain

Hope you're still with me.

i want what i do to matter. I am sure that you want what you do to matter to some degree too?

Not for vanity.

Not for kudos.

Not for money. you don't miss what you ain't never had.

And not for the social influence (if any) that the building of the 'whatever it is' might garner for me - or not - in the overall emotional real estate scheme of things

Most folks are far too busy comparing where they see themselves in relation to whom they consider their 'peers' and where they see themselves in relation to me (and if i am not regarded by them as a peer)  then it makes no tangible difference whatsoever. i may as well have just passed wind in a hurricane.

Everyone wants to come out on top. Everyone thinks you're the idiot.

i have lost count of the amount of times i have been the third party observing a dialog. You can just tell that both parties walked away thinking: 'i sure told him/her'. 

Well no-one told anyone anything - because no-one was listening, but instead rather foolishly forming their witty retort to ensure the ultimate goal of our current civilization:

'to come out on top in every social scenario possible'.

So then:  to the pondering; 
where have you built in your own strength and to your own design and then asked for His blessing?

When have you had every intention of letting Jesus building the 'whatever it is He wants to build' - using you as one of the vessel's for the short, medium or long term haul - but then got impatient and taken over proceedings from the sovereign creator - because you can't wait any longer - because as it turns out you know best, like you know something that He doesn't?

if you were to tell me that you have never been there - and that none of the above has any resonance for you whatsoever - may I be so bold to suggest that you are either delusional, lying to yourself or live a life surrounded by sycophants.

I have been a fool before.

i probably will be again.

but i am not alone. For there is always you.........

And i'm pretty sure that you too have a timeshare in a place called 'foolsville'.

I wanna build.

i wanna get it right.

Someone told me recently that i was a carpenter - not a tool. I hope their assessment of me turns out to be well founded.

unless the Lord builds the house, those who labor build it in vain

Peace, life long learning and understanding


Thursday, September 3, 2009

guest posting from Peter Scott: the Kingdom of heaven and the parallel universe

The Kingdom of Heaven – The Parallel Universe

People living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."

From that time on Jesus began to preach,

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

Matthew 4:17. 

The Coming of the LORD Jesus spearheaded the invasion back into Time/ History, of the Creator God’s Parallel Universe. This Parallel Universe is called the Kingdom of Heaven; it is a Spiritual State where God Holy Spirit is sovereign and has always existed.

To be Human is first and foremost to be a spiritual being. We are spiritual whether we are redeemed Believers or not!  As unbelievers we are “dead” to God, but because we are created in His image, we are spiritual and must therefore exist forever!

The Kingdom of Heaven is the State where the LORD Jesus is sovereign. It is a Spiritual State as distinct from the Natural State that is defined as the World of unredeemed Humanity.

The World in scripture almost always refers to the condition/worldview dominated by the influence of the powers of darkness, the Devil’s realm.

The LORD Jesus so loved Unredeemed Humanity, that He gave Himself as a ransom to release from that domination of Death and Destruction, individual men and women; who, by the exercise of their spiritual energy (faith), devote and submit themselves to the rule of the Sovereign LORD Jesus.

This in itself entails an acceptance of a personal shortfall from perfection (sin), both deliberate and unintentional: to ask for forgiveness in repentance and releasing from judgement all who have wronged them. 

This process is called “believing in Jesus as Son of God and Saviour of Mankind.” The “believing” process is primarily a Spiritual activity not just an intellectual one.  

Because it is a Spiritual process it initiates a spiritual interaction between God, Who is Spirit and Man who is also spirit and establishes the Believer into the Parallel Universe of the Kingdom of God.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2Co 5:17 

This means that the LORD God has imprinted His DNA, as promised, into the Believer’s life.

After that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.Jer.31:33

Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. Joh 1:12-13

So let us live in the consciousness of the Parallel Universe.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Col.3:1-2

Believers are children/offspring of God the Father and we are told that the LORD Jesus is not ashamed to be known as our brother, because we are sharers in His Inheritance.

In the Scriptures Believers are also known as disciples or saints (set apart ones). Nowhere does God call us Christians. That is a curse name that the pagan non- believers gave to the Father’s children. It became accepted by the secular church and therefore became the religious label for all believers.

The Spiritual life of Believers became stunted as the spirit of religion insinuated itself into the fabric of the Body life of the church. The Divine messages to the 7 churches of Asia in the Book of Revelation reveal that process.

As the Religion of Christianity became more and more influential, so the Spiritual Life of Believers became less effective.

That Life was sustained only by strong individuals throughout history who kept Faith with the Eternal Gospel of the Lord Jesus. No wonder that period became known as the Dark Ages. The history of Christianity demonstrates it’s foundational weakness, it’s fault-lines are clear for all to see, division after division, each division claiming justification for protecting the religious “truth” of men’s philosophies. Religion is man’s attempt to explain the unexplainable. It is based on men’s intellectual understanding not on the Wisdom of God Holy Spirit.

The LORD Jesus said,

 "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: "'These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.” Mk 7.6-13

I am convinced that in these days, days that so many people are calling “the last days”, that it is prudent if not imperative, that we use the right words when we try and proclaim the message of the Kingdom God and His Son, and demonstrate that we are living in the Parallel Universe. 

If we name the offspring of God the Father as Christian, then they will grew up as religious adherents, bereft of some of their inheritance, and denied much of their Spiritual enabling.  We will sow into them the spirit of division, and they will not be able to recognise their true identity. They will forever be following the dictates of strong personalities, or use their strong personality to create a following of their own. Sometimes disguised as “church planting” Just as the LORD Jesus predicted:

“ From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it”.Matt.11:12

Christianity and the Kingdom of Heaven are not the same things.

There are too many Christians who are self confessed non-believers

In this day it is confusing to any seeker after righteousness and truth to be told that, my form of Christianity is better than someone else’s Christianity.

Worse still, is the conflict between Arab and Jew and Christianity. It is a proven fact that, in this, the simple and sincere Believer in Jesus, commands a greater respect and hearing that is denied the Christian religious zealot however doctrinally correct.

Because we Believers are primarily Spiritual beings we must function in and through God Holy Spirit, Who is the Spirit of Jesus. We do not work for Jesus, but we work with Him. By His grace, (that empowering  Presence) we use the enabling Spirit energy through prayer, which is what praying is, the application of spirit energy out of the Parallel Universe of the Kingdom of Heaven into the natural world.

All Scripture predicates the existence of this Parallel Universe: the co-existence of Eternity and History, the angelic and demonic beings, the constant yearning for the something “other” throughout the world.  

It is only in the culture of the Western world that the concept of the spiritual dimension to life has been dismissed or neglected.

However there are powerful signs of an awakening to the realisation that such a dimension exists, and we Believers must state our understanding of the true condition of life by living it. In the text of the prayer that the LORD Jesus taught His followers to use; the words, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, in earth as it is in Heaven,” reveal to us that there is a Parallel Universe that we need to be very much aware of, and so be more effective in living our lives with Him. 

The regenerative/recreation that the LORD Jesus spoke about to Nicodemus, involves a complete change of Heart and Mind. This can be used as a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario. But, as in much of Scripture, it is not ‘either or’ but, ‘both and’. This is the cause of controversy, because the principles of the Parallel Universe are not understood. 

The Bible says,

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Eze 36:26 

The chicken and the egg were created together at the same time

The condition that has been the concern for many is the difficulty that people have of transferring the thought process into a heart experience.

The answer has been found by the paradigm shift of focus, by the Spirit from the head to the heart. A difficult process for the cerebral Westerner, however, God Holy Spirit works the miracle in the life of the meek and repentant true seeker after God. 

The “Christian” who cannot appreciate the significance of this wording is still functioning in the idiom, of the “world”, and will be assessed as such, when attitudes and mind sets are judged. 

Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship Him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."

Jesus says,

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. "As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. Joh 12:46-48 

And again:

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Mat 5:14-16

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2Cor.4:6

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light  (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) Eph 5:8-

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.2Cor 5:17-20

From all this we see that Light and Life are forms of energy expressed in, through, out of, us. Jesus says, “if anyone opens the door of their life , I will come into them.”

In another place He calls us His co-workers.

He wants to live and work with us.  Too often we focus on doing things for Him, which by definition means, we retain a measure of control.

In the Parallel Universe of His Kingdom He gives us access to His Energy. He said and still says, “All Power/Energy and Authority is mine.” Then He commissioned His followers to go and make disciples through and by, His indwelling Life/Energy.

In our Western mindset, we have confused “Power and Authority” as being the same thing:

Executive Power.  

They are not.

Power is Energy, Authority is Executive.

We function in, through, and with Energy. The LORD Jesus is the source of all Energy/Life. 

The focus of our Life/Energy is our heart,

The source of our Executive authority is our mind.

Too often people get their priority muddled.  

The result is a religious activity of hard line philosophical doctrine, instead of pure relational Faith Life. 

God focuses in our hearts, because what we want, our will, energises our minds. So we are told to:- 

“ offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.

Rom 12:1-2

In other words to live now in the reality of the LORD’s Parallel Universe, His Kingdom. To receive the Bread of Heaven in the here and now, and work with Him to feed the hungry, to heal the sick, to release from captivity the prisoners of darkness, to establish Hope for the despairing, to give Life to the dead!

The LORD Jesus Himself lived in the experience of the Parallel Universe, that is His Kingdom.

Joh 18:36 

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

Mat 26:53

 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

Praise and honour to God the Holy Spirit, Who makes all this possible.

Praise and honour to God the Son, Who made all things new.

Praise and honour to God the Father Who is the Maker.

AMEN and Amen.

I'd like to thank peter for letting me post this mindset / thought process.

Peter and his wife Ann are great friends and great saints who have spent their lives pushing the envelope with dialog aimed at empowering and challenging



Monday, August 17, 2009

blog 3:The limits of tyrants are prescribed only by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

For your consideration:

'As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness'. Justice William O Douglas

'Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and which will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress'. Frederick Douglass

Don’t write the tyrants in your life a 'bent back' blank check to do with you as they please: they don’t own you: you were bought with a revolutionary sovereigns life: there’s a difference between a stance of deference and the bent back attitude which gives the oppressors the chance to walk all over you: they will.

'That only a few, under any circumstances, protest against the injustice of long-established laws and customs, does not disprove the fact of the oppressions, while the satisfaction of the many, if real, only proves their apathy and deeper degradation'. Elizabeth Candy Satton

How's your apathy-o-meter doing these days?

'Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral'. Paulo Frieire

Did you hear that?

No neutrality.

Who are you siding with?

The oppressed?

Or the oppressors?

Who did Jesus side with?

Who did MLK side with?


‘If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin: Charles Darwin.

That’s the best thought process Darwin ever came up with.

There's more than enough there for a lifelong dialog; but while you're logged on - and thank you for doing so - let me add a few thoughts:

I have always had what i suppose one could refer to as a built in injustice chip: i would stand with and for the weak against the bullies in the school yard while asking myself 'why am i doing this?' especially after finding myself on the receiving end of a good kicking in defense of some other kid who needed a whole new mindset from his parents, his teachers and his peers: but alas, such insight was sadly lacking: parents out to lunch; teachers: beaten down by the system and there’s no such thing as useful peers as school: just other idiots who are still learning to walk and talk at the same time while dealing with outrageous hormonal imbalances; school is the last place we should send kids ‘en masse’; it dehumanizes them and teaches them nothing much in the way of life skills. Apart from: ‘do unto others first…..’

So then to injustice;

Injustice is the lack of, or opposition to justice, (no brainer there) in reference to a particular event or act: bullies in the school yard / tyrannical bosses etc, and in reference to a larger contextual mindset: that which makes up the current societal status quo.

Slavery used to be 'OK' - if you get my drift

But we ‘learnt’ that it wasn't.

Those that would still advocate on behalf of slavery need an education.

Misuse, abuse, neglect, misappropriation or malfeasance of a justice system would seem to follow us around in our everyday like a long drawn late in the afternoon shadow - where we spot - with nothing more than a casual glance the systemic failure to serve relentlessly the cause of justice.

To protect and to serve.   Where have I heard that before?

According to Plato: we may not know what justice is but we know what justice is not. Sometimes it's hard to articulate why something that affected us first, second or even third hand is wrong but deep down inside us our injustice chip just went off: Trouble is my injustice chip is wired different from yours, and yours mine: because we are all unique; it follows that our own tolerance for where injustice lies: or should lie will have some differences; subtle or grand canyon sized.

Someone once drew a line in the sand: It was a succinct visual aid to the fact that all hypocrites are 'justice challenged'.

Some things are plainly 'not of justice': Rosa Parks took a stand once - actually a seat - Rosa was a hero in real life - while as far as i am aware Marrion Morrison was only ever a hero on screen - yet he is revered in some folks mindsets more than Rosa Parks ever will be?

Why is that the case? Our celebrity obsessed culture kicked in many decades ago.

Injustice inflicts undeserved hurt. 

Injustice applies to any act that involves unfairness to another or violation of one's rights: and if you don't take a stand for your rights: you'll soon be saying; 'what rights?' 

Let's have a few more quotes to close:

I regard class differences as contrary to justice and, in the last resort, based on force’. Albert Einstein

‘The first principal of nonviolent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating’. Cesar Chavez

‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’. Edmund Burke (attributed)

‘Now my friends, I am opposed to the system of society in which we live today, not because I lack the natural equipment to do for myself but because I am not satisfied to make myself comfortable knowing that there are thousands of my fellow men who suffer for the barest necessities of life. Thousands of years ago the question was asked; ''Am I my brother's keeper?' Yes, I am my brother's keeper. I am under a moral obligation to him that is inspired, not by any maudlin sentimentality but by the higher duty I owe myself. What would you think me if I were capable of seating myself at a table and gorging myself with food and saw about me the children of my fellow beings starving to death. Eugene v Debs: (1908 speech)

BTW: this is not a broadcast on behalf on any political party; to my mind they're all useless;

The following quote from Illiam Hellman helps illustrate the comprehensiveness of a justice mindset:

'Since when do you have to agree with people to defend them from injustice?' Illiam Hellman

So then - is your knee-jerking? When was the last time it jerked like there was no tomorrow?

When the other person in the conversation took an opposing view – so you wrote them off as insignificant immediately? (raca!)

Because some folks really do think like that don't they? He's different, they say. She doesn't look like me, they think. He thinks in a way contrary to mine: ergo he must be wrong; and having reached that conclusion i am now free to pass sentence  - if you will - and judge in an unjust manner all to suit my insecure fancy.

And to wrap up this food for thought on the nature of injustice I offer you this quote from the Holocaust Museum; Washington DC:

‘Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander’.

Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander; because eventually it will be your turn to be the one kicked in the teeth in the name of someone’s bastardized version of 'justice'.

As always; all posts will be published; this is supposed to be dialog and not monologue and a blog that censors is in my mind not worthy of the name; but please focus on the mindsets and the thought processes at work here: i want all to engage. Thru dialog we learn: thru passing judgment: we don’t. Thanks, peace and thoughts: mike



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

post 2: because this time is all you have

From Prot (Kevin Spacey) K-PAX: Prot: I wanna tell you something Mark, something you do not yet know, that we K-PAXians have been around long enough to have discovered. The universe will expand, then it will collapse back on itself, then will expand again. It will repeat this process forever. What you don't you know is that when the universe expands again, everything will be as it is now. Whatever mistakes you make this time around, you will live through on your next pass. Every mistake you make, you will live through again, & again, forever. So my advice to you is to get it right this time around. Because this time is all you have. 

Get it right this time around.

Because this time is all you have.

One of the best films i have ever seen: Spacey delivers an acting master class: and the script is all killer no filler. 

The above passage makes for an uncomfortable read and a timely reminder every time you read it or see the film - or burn it into your brain so it becomes part of your walkin' talkin' MO: for as as far as i know - we do only get one shot: and this one shot at life is to all intents and purposes us 'living it through; again and again, forever'.

We are so ill informed: 

This life should come with some kind of health warning at birth; maybe on a laminated card? or delivered in a forthright manner  - one that we understand immediately: even though we've only just put in our first appearance: something along the lines of; 'you - yeah you - pay attention - we'll remove the umbilical cord while you get your act together - you only get one shot at this - and you wouldn't believe the amount of folks thru the ages who've blown it big time:

here's the list of assorted fools, delinquents and border line mental cases from the annals of history for your perusal and reference: now repeat after me  - just so we're all clear on this:

Get it right this time around. (Get it right this time around)

Because this time is all you have. (Because this time is all you have).

What I'm angling for in all this is: do we get it when we've just received a wisdom lesson: or do we continue to stumble through the same old stuff: because we're a little too dense to be anything more than pack mules?

'A man can't ride your back unless it's bent'. Martin Luther King said that. We should get that on a laminated card at birth too: or be taught it from a very young age by our folks - or whoever is charged with our early education and upbringing..

I refuse to have a bent back. my dad taught me that. Probably with a little less eloquence than MLK and a little more by way of head on cockney street fighter freight train attitude: but the message went home:

A man can't ride your back unless it's bent.

And I refuse to have a bent back.

My dad ran the family - he was the alpha dog: the leader of the Brooks clan: until in later years, where the roles have now changed because of his age: I have to a large extent become his parent:

MLK also said this: A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. 

So to the mindsets the thought processes  and the questions:

Do you have a bent back?

Do you remember the last time you had one?

And how it made you feel?

Do you wanna feel like that over and over again?

Who has taught you well?

Who has taught you badly?

Which thought processes passed onto you work work for you?

Which ones didn't?

Did you see the emperor's new clothes?

Or are you the emperor? - and would you believe it if anyone told you?

Are you a pack mule?

Do you have a bent back?

Do you go with the crowd: in a Zelig like manner? 

Or do you take the day. the hour, the mindset and the prevailing thought process  / zeitgeist to hand; grab it by the scruff of the neck and set about building the consensus? 

If the choice is either turning over the money lenders tables in the temple, or keeping the peace for want of upsetting the apple cart: which one do you do?

Because this time is all you have




i await your stories, mindsets and thought processes with a barely contained anticipation

Thursday, August 6, 2009

quote me baby one more time

Hi all
please note: I will not edit your responses: they will be posted exactly as sent in by you.
No anonymous postings will ever be posted: have the courage and cajones to stand by your words: or stay quiet.

Let's start with a simple quote or two: just to get the creative juices and responses flowing:
"History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce''. Karl marx

You can't argue with that can you?
Well you could, but if you do: i'll assume you've only just landed on planet earth. 

If we haven't yet experienced either tragedy or farce: we will: probably many times over: but you probably know that already and could tell a tale or two to enlighten and inspire. So tell away.....

Immediate family: alas for the majority of us both tragedy and farce; Cities; Detroit springs to mind: tragedy and farce for all to see; Nations; tragedy and farce; time and time again. Whole eras, movements, ideologies, inquisitions, dogmas, wars, justifiable(maybe) stupid(definitely), holy wars (unjustifiable period), have littered our history with tragedy and farce.

Mankind's history has proof beyond all reasonable doubt that we have this inbuilt ability to make the same mistakes over and over again: if we learn, we learn slowly: most of the time it appears we don't learn at all; yet we would appear to have learnt enough to justify ourselves in the courtroom of our own minds and proclaim that it is always the other guys  / other nations / other race / other creeds fault. heaven forbid that it may be ours. Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. Too busy forming our own defense; learning to repeat it by rote: convincing ourselves, yet fooling no-one else: while ice skating around the many issues real and, alas the imaginary ones that roll around inside our paranoid heads like marbles in a tin can. We could choose to address 'stuff'  head on in an effort to 'get well'. But we probably wont: besides i just bought the ice skates. Life can get very complicated; but it could be simple:

''All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope''. Winston Churchill.

As a fellow englishman i'd like to add a 'one word' great thing to Winston's list:  integrity. not much of it lying about is there?