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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Here's the way I comprehend Love in terms of the Christian God:

If you are a parent, this is pretty straightforward. Think of your children. If you're like most parents, you have a remarkable love for them. I lost an older brother when I was 5, and it hurt, but nothing like the way it hurt my parents.

They say losing a child is one of the most painful things you can experience. I have two adult children, and even now I would do anything for them. I hate to see them in any pain. I would eagerly give my own life so they could live, like donating two kidneys, one for each, at the same time. The pain of living life with one of them gone is something I'd rather not do. So giving my life so they could live would for me be a bargain.

Parents understand this type of strong love. Some children never get a chance to experience it. But you can if you choose to.

When Jesus died, I see a parent's love, which may sound confusing. Let me explain. In the Bible, there was an incident where a dear friend of Jesus named Lazarus died. Usually the emphasis is on Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. But I place real weight on the fact that Jesus wept. Weeping comes from strong love.

It's my view that in that moment, God experienced something, through Jesus, that was unique: strong human love and the pain that can come with it. Can you imagine this, our Creator, coming head to head with this pain? Soon after this, Jesus was determined to go to Jerusalem. Anyone with half a brain could see this was suicide, but Jesus went anyway. What motivated him?

I think the painful experience with Lazarus did a number on God. So He, through Jesus, determined to save us from the pain of life, just like a parent would: out of love, dying for us, His children.

Well what good did that do?

To the Jewish culture at the time, this can easily be interpreted as a sacrifice.  But even to non-Jews, if we think about it, we can understand that God intended for us to show us love, then through the Resurrection, hope. There is hope to be found in the symbolic example of conquering pain and even death, but there is also love shown by God demonstrating this to us personally, humanly, through the experience of Jesus.

God was no longer the parent of discipline and and justice, He was revealed as the parent of love and hope. Regardless of our spiritual leaning, I think we can understand these very human motivations.

To me, it eventually makes sense. But you have to be human to really understand it. Many Christians haven't emotionally thought this out so explicitly, but evidently many of them have a deep emotional response at a non-verbal level.

Emotions are primitive, dangerous to the purely intellectual scientist. But the reality is that as humans, we are both emotional and thinking, rational beings. God speaks to us at both levels. At a human level. And like children, some of us get it, and some of us don't, or maybe finally do after years of pain and misunderstanding.

God loves us like a parent loves his or her children. He proved it, by example and yes, sacrifice,
to show us the way to love, hope, and triumph.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Don't Go Home




Don't Go Home - Dan Ellender 2006

Don’t go home
Wander with me
Through and through
With superglue

Feet akimbo, blasting lasts
Shoes kicking balls
And crumbling stones.

You have such pleading, wondering eyes.
Wander with me forever.

We never had to stay in one place,
We didn’t need to stand by the lake,
But we did, holding hands like children.

Come with me through melting ice on the side of the trail,
See what bugs and weeds can live through ice and winter.
Find out which twigs bend and break.

Stop forever, stop here,
Let me hold you up in time
And carry you over the rainbow flood.

Stay here, don’t go home,
Stay here, back when we were never alone.


Friday, October 11, 2013

The thing people forget about.



Things go up. They go down. And after they swing, attitudes are different. If a company has money, you generally don't care much about what it's doing. The company has money, that's all that matters. But when cash gets tight for a publicly traded company, a whole new set of rules apply, regardless of direction or earnings.

I would say drowning in cash, especially for a well established company (like Apple) bears caution. Look at what they are doing with the cash. Using it wisely, or diversifying needlessly? How is the core business?

One thing's for sure: when the market is up, and companies are up. People get careless. The good plan, for companies and people, is to have cash at hand to expand or invest when markets are down and everyone is selling.

Obvious yes. But we forget how powerful this fact of psychology powers us.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Looking at Stocks

In this very cynical and self serving post I'll be talking about stocks that I own. Cynically I would hope for the blog to become popular and for you to follow my thoughts. You may even want to invest in stocks I own. I can tell you perfectly seriously that I don't guarantee any return from my musings. I don't even get a return sometimes.

That being said, I occasionally do better than the indexes, and sometimes worse. On the other hand, I keep a large amount of my money, unwisely, in cash. This is to guard against my own ignorance. That's my first rule of investing:

You as a stock trader are ignorant, in ways you don't even know.

This is a Black Swan type of ignorance, in that you can't even gauge the gulf of your lack of knowledge. What this means from a practical standpoint is that I am making hopefully sensible and educated guesses about companies, because (and this is crucial) they ALL have the potential to do something illegal, stupid, or both. And they are ALL subject to chance disasters and events.

HOWEVER, by following Seth Klarman's logic and diversifying, you can fairly well cushion yourself, if you have the nerve to let the market swing around. Here is my rule of practical stock trading.

It's very easy to to buy a stock. It's hard as can be to sell it. 

This is because your decision to sell puts your ignorance on line. You CAN"T know the future of a stock at any time but when selling you have immediate feedback on your decision. If it goes down after you sell it, you wonder if you should have held it a little longer. If it goes up, you really kick yourself for not holding it longer. Any loss, even a minimized loss (such bailing out near a bottom before the final bottom) is a negative. And any gain after you sell is a negative.

No wonder Buffet tries to find stocks he can hold 'forever'.