• Fred's Blog

    I Don’t Feel Your Pain

    “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them…” Matthew 6:9 During a meeting last month, one of my friends quoted President Obama, “The biggest deficit that we have in our society and in the world right now is an empathy deficit.” None of us disagreed or questioned him. After all, with every horrifying situation in the world how could anyone doubt what we need is more empathy? I would have said the same until I read Paul Bloom’s new book Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion. What do we mean by empathy? Empathy is not the same as sympathy or even understanding. To feel empathy for someone is to share their pain or joy so completely that you…

  • Fred's Blog

    Keeping a Soft Heart in Hard Times

    I love the martial arts choreography in movies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I asked a black belt friend how he hardened his hands for real (not staged) competition. It seemed easy enough. Set up a five-gallon bucket of white rice and punch your hands in it 10-12 times in a row five times a day. When that no longer hurts use a five-gallon bucket of dry beans for several weeks and then graduate to five gallons of sand. While it takes time to become hardened it is a simple process. My martial arts friend cautioned me, “Be careful. The process is irreversible once the calluses are there…and you could really…

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