An act of senseless kindness

HUMAN relations professor Charles Wall was listening to the radio news about a decade ago when the announcer said: “And in another random act of senseless violence . . .”
Wall thought to himself: “If they could take out the word violence and insert the word kindness, you would turn a negative into a positive.”

He gave his students an assignment to each perform a “senseless” and random act of kindness and report on it.

One student handed out blankets to the homeless. Another backed out of a hard-to-find parking space and gave it to another driver. One paid his mother’s power bill; another took her nine-year-old daughter to visit the sick at a hospital.

The students turned the assignment into a bumper sticker campaign.

Now the phrase “Perform an act of senseless kindness today” is regularly seen in US cities.

It may be seen as a New Age fad, but Wall believes the campaign is a tool to heal a sick society.

He said: “People are just so sick of all the hate and violence in the world that they’re looking for anything that would make life just a little bit better.”

T HE kindness movement has been around for a while.

Jesus said: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

Jewish philosopher Hillel, a contemporary of Jesus, said: “What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbour. That is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary.”

In his book The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren asks: “What on Earth am I here for?”

He wastes no time giving an answer. Chapter one begins: “It’s not about you.”

Warren, pastor of one of America’s biggest churches, criticises “worldly Christians” who are “saved, but self-centred”.
“God wants to make you holy more than he wants to make you happy,” he says
“In heaven, God is going to openly reward some of his most obscure and unknown servants — people we have never heard of on Earth, who taught emotionally disturbed children, cleaned up after incontinent elderly, nursed AIDS patients and served in thousands of other unnoticed ways.”

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54 thoughts on “An act of senseless kindness

    • If these random acts are spontaneous, it’s very pleasing for the doer. But if they’re done because that’s ‘good’, it can lead to horrible feelings of self righteousness. Still probably worth it, as the other party still benefits!

      I don’t know about the senseless bit, but for the professor to make the task a random and senseless act must have made an indelible impression on the students.

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  1. I thought I would make an observation here.

    Jewish philosopher Hillel, a contemporary of Jesus, said: “What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbour. That is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary.”

    It is not the whole Torah. The rest is not just commentary. He left out a most important part. There is only one God and to worship God. If you do that correcty the rest will follow.

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      • Really ? How does my neighbours likes and dislikes determine the value of the area I’m in? On one reading it’s a kinda fascist little viewpoint you’ve got there – that people with different values to yourself are some kind of untermenschen that have to be moved away from.

        What if I like steak and my neighbour is a vegetarian? Should I turn up to his place with a prime cut of beef on a Friday night and tell him to get stuck in?

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      • Pity it raises an interesting area of discussion. As a less grim example than Strewth gave us one of my neighbours used to bread and keep snakes. Personally I can’t stand em.

        So what is hateful to me was perfectly agreeable to my neighbour.

        Wouldn’t the quote be better if it said ” What is hateful to your neighbour do not do to your neighbour'” ?

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    • If you do that correcty

      slight typo there Dom – I do them semi constantly because there is redundancy in linguistics such that minor errors in syntax don’t affect much change in semantics. Redundancy means the message is preserved.

      So “if you do that correctly ”

      I think you’re doing it incorrectly. That’s my humble opinion. No-one knows Torah, Tanakh like Jesus because His Holy Spirit wrote it holding men in His hand. 40 plus different men over 2000 years.

      President Barrack Obama said at the United Nations, “the future shall not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam”. Barrack and I disagree. You and i disagree. We disagree over details. Did Jesus ever criticize Caesar or Pilot? Yet He didn’t make passing reference to Herod as an old fox, meaning an opportunistic killer with a hidden lair, a predator of stealth, who attacks in darkness targeting the most weak and vulnerable. Jesus didn’t hate Herod, He was merely putting facts on the table. Did Herod have time to repent? Jesus love for Herod didn’t help Herod, because, apparently, Herod wouldn’t apprehend the simple historical facts. Seems he died an unreformed ‘fox’.

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      • Why would Pr. Obama say such a thing, Phillip? In what context did he say that? Was he quoting something ISIS would say? I find it quite shocking actually. But please forgive my ignorance if I’ve missed something—I’m obviously in the dark here……

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      • It’s all a work in progress Mon. I’ve been visiting this idea that the only universal brotherhood of man with any future at all is “sinner’s saved by Grace” :I’ve been looking at that, the only nations on earth with any future at all are those with “thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” written into their articles of association.

        Barrack, IMHO, has deceived the whole world, if that were possible? Oh, it gets much much worse.

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      • During President Obama’s address to the UN General Assembly in September 2012, he listed groups, ideas, and people whom “the future does not belong to.” Among those listed were people who bully women, those who target coptic Christians in Egypt, dictators who massacre their country’s citizens, and those who turn their backs on peace. The President’s full speech can be read at WhiteHouse.gov, and the relevant section is reproduced below:

        It is time to leave the call of violence and the politics of division behind. On so many issues, we face a choice between the promise of the future, or the prisons of the past. And we cannot afford to get it wrong. We must seize this moment. And America stands ready to work with all who are willing to embrace a better future.

        The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt — it must be claimed by those in Tahrir Square who chanted, “Muslims, Christians, we are one.” The future must not belong to those who bully women — it must be shaped by girls who go to school, and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons.

        The future must not belong to those corrupt few who steal a country’s resources — it must be won by the students and entrepreneurs, the workers and business owners who seek a broader prosperity for all people. Those are the women and men that America stands with; theirs is the vision we will support.

        The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.

        Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims and Shiite pilgrims. It’s time to heed the words of Gandhi: “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.” Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, and not defined by them. That is what America embodies, that’s the vision we will support.

        https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/25/remarks-president-un-general-assembly
        Gives the full speech, made after American diplomats were killed in an attack on their Libyan embassy.

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      • The Quran says Jesus didn’t die on the cross. Barack refers to the Quran as Holy.

        In my humble opinion the West gets judged for the second betrayal of Jesus Christ, not the first.

        In another place there was a brief discussion about Cornell University advertising for someone whose only qualifications were “diversity”. It’s one of those magic words: just say the word ‘diversity, tolerance’ and magic happens. Problem is Christianity can’t be diverse because raciss. That’s not exactly intellectual.
        When Cornell was created by a gift the giver said; A.D. White noted in his inaugural address, “We will labor to make this a Christian institution, a sectarian institution may it never be”

        Whether it’s A.D. White’s hope for Cornell University or Jesus’ specific words, does anyone give a crap? A thinking breathing living Christian can’t call a quran/ koran holy.

        this is about Jesus Christ, historicallly thought of as the only begotten Son of God, Whom God Almighty raised from the Dead, the coming Judge of all the Earth, and an obvious offense to traitors. Love you.

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      • Thanks Strewth,

        That clarifies a lot, as given out of context it almost sounded threatening to me “The future must not belong to… ” almost sounds like an advocacy for the sharia death penalty for blasphemy. What is the most sure way the slanderer will have no future?

        Cheers

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      • Hi Mon

        Obana is very supportive of Islam.
        We now gave the Saudis headibg human righrs in UN. To 2014 there were 24 resilutions against Israel. 4 for other countries not including abuses in China,Syria and many other conflicts.

        It is no surprise that Obama sais such a thing and Islam isgaining increasing influence around the world.

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      • Yes Alexie,

        I’m not into conspiracy theories….can’t stand them, in fact, but I did seek the Lord about Pr. Obama when he was first elected. I discerned ‘antichrist’ and it terrified me…….still does. Many years later I find that I wasn’t the only Christian discerning that spirit over his governance. But look up, He holds us in the palm of His hands.

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      • True Dom. Many thousands by drones. Even more by other means. Beheadings, suicide bombs etc. it is mostly muslim against muslim. Interesting how quick Saudis bombed Yemen!!!!

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      • Yes Muslims are killing Muslims which has less to do with Islam and more to do with man’s thirst for power.

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      • There’s no moral high ground in Syria but there is the biggest liar on the block – and it isn’t President Assad. The genocide of Christianity in the middle east has a lot of muted voices surrounding it.. Meanwhile how many Buddhists are there in Afghanistan and Pakistan these days Dom – where did they all go?

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      • Shia started as a political party by people in Persia (around Kufa) that wanted to destabilize the Islamic government in the 6th century to transfer power to themselves in Persia. They tried to cause a revolution against the caliphate by stating Ali should be caliphate. Ali would not have anything to do with them. As time went on they moved from a political group to a religious group. They are similar to the Catholics where they believe their religious leaders to be infallible and carrying around idols and have pictures of saints.

        The pictures you see of them hitting themselves until they bleed is out of remorse. They called out to Hussein , the grandson of the prophet pbuh) to come to Persia and they would back him to remove a vicious dictator. They ran off and left him high and dry in Karbala. They feel shame in that on each anniversary of his death in Karbala.

        it is the Shia that have the doctrine of taqiyya.

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      • By Sam Dagher
        June 25, 2015 10:05 a.m. ET

        To find popular support for the embattled regime of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, look to the mountains, valleys and coastal cities of the country’s western region. It is the Alawite heartland—the traditional home of the religious minority to which Mr. Assad and many of his key associates belong.

        Alawites make up just 10% to 15% of Syria’s population, and they are usually presented as fervent supporters of Mr. Assad. Most Alawites do indeed fear that, if the Assad regime falls, they will face reprisals from the country’s majority Sunnis, who have led the rebellion against the government since March 2011. Many Sunnis see the Alawites as willing accomplices of a brutal regime that has committed atrocities against them from the time it was founded more than four decades ago by the current president’s late father, Hafez al-Assad.

        Before being expelled from Syria last summer by the Assad government—for reasons never explained to me, having been this newspaper’s reporter there for two years—I spent several weeks among the Alawites, and I found a more complex and often painful story.

        More here-
        http://www.wsj.com/articles/syrias-alawites-the-people-behind-assad-1435166941

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      • Obama is a far lefty with sympathies for muslims. The Shia Sunni thing is what is causing some of the problems. Sorry Dom, its about Islam as well as the thirst for power. Its about Islam as groups believe they are more islamic than the next and so should be exterminated.

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      • Alexie, I don’t think Obama is a “far lefty”. Compared to whom do you think?. Neither is he to my mind a Muslim sympathiser. There is no evidence for that. I think Obama merely decries religious bigotry. Obama has gone on record numerous times to state that he is a Christian. He has said: “I came to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead. Being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. Treating others as they would treat me. And I think also understanding that, you know, that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility that we all have to have as human beings.”

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      • Sympathies for Muslims why that sounds awful. Almost like he’s treating them as if they were people or something. 😉

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      • Some people equate Obama with the U.S. The U.S. has, along with its good points, some very bad ones. I believe Obama does all he can to eliminate the bad ones, but he is not a dictator.

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      • Hi Strewth,
        Helen got given two free tickets to the Royal Melbourne Show so we are postponing Ballarat till the Football finals weekend. I trust this interruption was of the Holy Spirit. please Pencil in Friday now – God willing – there’s still a blood moon rising over America and maybe a poles inversion, a meteor shower, a pre-emptive Russia China strike, the total bond market implosions that wise guys are expecting, other than that it all looks good to go.

        Like

      • I didn’t get to learn till late in the piece that Melbourne doesn’t get to see this eclipse. The map is here:
        http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2015-september-28
        Melbourne, as you can easily see, misses out completely. You might as well spend in all under the big city lights.

        As for scenarios:
        http://beforeitsnews.com/war-and-conflict/2015/09/china-joining-russia-in-syria-while-germany-prepares-to-leave-nato-ww-iii-is-here-2458428.html

        God wasn’t joking about Gog+ Magog. Too much dirty politics, too many rivers of blood, Dom’s aingst over the drone strikes that aren’t the tip of an iceberg. I suggest Old Testament prophets saw it all. It’s now, it’s real.

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      • Yes, very honest. I like him. He’s a principled man; a good man, but I’m not so convinced that he believes Jesus Christ to be THE Son of God/divine……

        (CNSNews.com) – Speaking to a group of Christian clergy at the Easter Prayer Breakfast he hosted at the White House on Wednesday, President Barack Obama referred to Jesus Christ as “a son of God.”

        “It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on the triumph of the resurrection, and to give thanks for the all-important gift of grace,” Obama said of Easter, which is this Sunday. “And for me, and I’m sure for some of you, it’s also a chance to remember the tremendous sacrifice that led up to that day, and all that Christ endured–not just as a Son of God, but as a human being.”

        The Christian faith teaches that Jesus is the only Son of God. John 3:16-18: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

        As far as I am concerned, if you deny Christ’s divinity, you cannot be a Christian. But what do I know? 🙂

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      • Hi Mon, At the same time Obama made that statement he he quoted John 16:33.

        “Jesus told us as much in the book of John, when He said, ‘In this world you will have trouble,’” said Obama.

        “ I heard an amen. Let me repeat. ‘In this world, you will have trouble,’” said Obama.

        “Amen!” said someone in the crowd.

        “‘But take heart!’” said Obama continuing to quote the Gospel. “‘I have overcome the world.’”

        At another recent event Obama clearly said to a crowded audience after someone said he was not a Christian “”First of all, I agree that Jesus Christ is the Lord. I believe in that,” Obama said

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      • It all comes down to this, doesn’t it, that Pr. Obama has said he is a Christian. Even though I think that the changes he’s made in government do not reflect Christian values, whether he is a Christian or not is for God to judge, not me.

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  2. “The Ba’ath party, which ruled in both Baghdad and Damascus, was the creation of a Christian ideologue, Michel Aflaq. Two radical Palestinian leaders, George Habash and Nayef Hawatmeh, were Christians. So was George Antonius, the great historian of Arab nationalism.”
    !
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/05/sunni-shia-why-conflict-more-political-than-religious-sectarian-middle-east

    Aflaq called on all Arabs, both Muslim and non-Muslim alike, to admire the role Islam had played in creating the Arab character. But his view on Islam was purely spiritual, and Aflaq emphasised that Islam “should not be imposed” on state and society. Time and again Aflaq emphasised that the Ba’ath party was against atheism, but also against fundamentalism; the fundamentalists represented a “shallow, false faith.” According to Ba’athist ideology, all religions were equal. Despite his anti-atheist stance, Aflaq was a strong supporter of secular government, and stated that a Ba’athist state would replace religion with a state “based on a foundation – Arab nationalism, and a moral – freedom.”[70]

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    • According to Ba’athist ideology, all religions were equal.

      Is that what Jesus said? Is this your belief Strewth?

      Can you prove secular exists? Does it exist by fiat, by human decree? By group consensus? By wishful thinking?

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      • Jesus was interacting with Jews. Are you saying he had no guidance for the rest of the world, each nation according to their culture? What about the gentiles? “Other sheep have I in other folds.”

        Why should not the Light of Christ be available to all people everywhere? To those who never heard about the historic Christ but have had experiential knowledge of the Christ within? Christ within, not just his earthly incarnation. Some hold, with Paul, that the Eternal Christ was known before the historic Christ.

        I am not saying this is so, but I trust no-one is declaring it is not so.

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      • William Penn was a politician, a courtier, a theologian, and a prolific writer. In 1693 he wrote:
        “The humble, meek, merciful, just, pious, and devout souls are everywhere of one religion; and when death has taken off the mask they will know one another, though the divers liveries they wear here makes them strangers.”

        In other words, some might just be following Jesus without being aware of doing so.

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    • Karen Armstrong joined a convent at the age of seventeen, but soon found herself both miserable and, per her own admission, a “failure” as a nun. Seven years later, she left and decided to become a secular scholar, cutting off all ties to religion and setting out to study English Literature in Oxford. But what she learned about instead — and what she dedicated the next four decades of her life to — was compassion.

      Although it might not seem this way — especially amid today’s gruesome distortions of spiritual traditions, which are hardly new — Armstrong was startled to find, through her secular back door, that compassion was the common core of all religions. She became a historian of religion, received the prestigious $100,000 TED Prize in 2008 for her work promoting interfaith dialogue, and founded the Charter for Compassion, a multilingual effort to transmute the world’s religions into a force of global harmony rather than discord, enlisting leading thinkers from a wide range of religious and moral traditions.

      http://www.charterforcompassion.org/
      https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/01/08/karen-armstrong-compassion/

      Like

  3. PhillipGeorge(c)2015 on September 26, 2015 at 15:59 said:

    Hi Strewth,
    Helen got given two free tickets to the Royal Melbourne Show so we are postponing Ballarat till the Football finals weekend. I trust this interruption was of the Holy Spirit. please Pencil in Friday now – God willing – there’s still a blood moon rising over America and maybe a poles inversion, a meteor shower, a pre-emptive Russia China strike, the total bond market implosions that wise guys are expecting, other than that it all looks good to go.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    Apparently God was not willing. I was there before time and found our rendezvous, and stayed a considerable time. A few blokes were a bit bemused when I asked them if they were Phillip, and one told me his name was George, but still not right!

    Like

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