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Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life
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does Christ have a fake ID?

December26

I started this post abut a week ago, but kept losing both my enthusiasm and focus.

that was until I ran towards a thought, as opposed to from one.

Emma Jo still exhibits too much wonder and joy this time of year, and I worked hard to savor every moment of that. then I saw an article reminding us, collectively, that there is no validated evidence that Jesus Christ was, in truth, born on December 25th. that started to really bug me. however, Saturday I had a very good run at North Park. I started out a bit sore and thinking I might want to dial it back a bit. but, by the second circuit I was feeling pretty light-footed and decided to put some steam into play. the “zone” realized itself and my mind wandered with my good form. that’s when I was (thunder) struck by the notion that I believed Christ rose from the dead.

just like that.

no justification. no debate. not even a “why not”, to allow for some wiggle-room.

there was this sense that I could not prove it did not happen. and, I’d been playing the Heterodox card so long I had forgotten the circular argument that, ultimately, believing in a thing (any thing) is potentially much like believing in oneself. there are times when we prevail against great odds. and, I’m certain faith has it’s role in that.

so, I’ve elected to keep some of the early thinking alive in this post. however, now you know, as do I.

meanwhile, I fully understand that this post is going to generate a great deal of consternation. I expect the shaking of fists, and possibly teeth gnashing. lofty-minded opinions may be hurled my way.

so… was Jesus really born on December 25th?

does it matter?

original thinking that geared this controversial topic must needs be, and should be attributed to Angie Mosteller, and probably God, for that matter.

but, we must also submit ourselves, collectively to the aforementioned Heterodox.

I’m confident that Jesus walked the earth and died on a cross. I don’t know that He rose from the dead (as we think we understand death) to seal the deal around a covenant between Himself, God and the rest of us. however, I’m genuinely satisfied that this is the case though because there is a clear advantage there for all of us. and, we’ll make that assumption going forward with this post so we don’t get bogged-down with tangental discourse.

you may be pausing, right about now and taking your own wonder at the veritable lack of drama, here. but, in truth, it’s more calm, for me – much like the way after I feel after a good run.

make a note that I also think I know that Jesus was a Rabbi leading up to his death. although I can’t point to the relevant scripture, His being a Rabbi, from the line of David (through Mary, and possibly Joseph as well) is mentioned throughout the New Testament (Books of Matthew and John 1:14, for example) /1.

…there’s some random thinking, for you. I love and value random, heart-felt, unrestricted, irreverent, untamed, Kobayashi Maru-drenched, thought.

by the way…

“Most people who profess a deep love of the Bible have never actually read the book,” Rabbi Rami Shapiro told CNN during a recent interview. “They have memorized parts of texts that they can string together to prove the biblical basis for whatever it is they believe in, but they ignore the vast majority of the text.”

these baring points are relevant, here, because the point of this post is to pin-down points of logic hopefully based in fact but impacted by sequential logistics that include science in the form of astrology, technology (the press), and matters of convenience, ironically originating from the catholic Church.

I grew up delighted with the calendar event of Christmas day and the date of December 25th. now I relish Emma Jo’s own delight. but, there are rumblings a-plenty that date was chosen in an effort to “Christianize” a pagan holiday. Tim Barker recently shared with me an article on just that topic. I contemplated adding my own research and perspective. but, I love interest in that in the face of calm perspective. however, it’s (the, and other, related articles) subsequently been a terrific source of lively debate between myself and a few buddies, and an interesting teaching opportunity for my own kids (although we need to tread lightly around the Santa Claus element for the time being).

in any event, like everything else in our lives, the Heterodox inevitably rears it’s head for me and creates the “truth-of-the day” based on current information. but, I’m still fascinated by how the date of December 25th was potentially selected.

though the gospels of Matthew and Luke both give an account of Christ’s birth, neither one provides a date for this great event. Though it may sound strange to our modern minds, it is likely that early Christians did not place any particular value on birthdays.

it was not until the third century that various pockets of Christians began to show interest in the date of Christ’s birth, and it would take another century for the Church to begin celebrating it with some uniformity. the first clear record of Christ’s birth on December 25 was not until 336 AD, but it is possible that the church had accepted the date long before and that it was already common knowledge. regardless, even if the dating of Christ’s birth was owed in part to the pagan holiday, “The Birthday of the Unconquered Sun,” the influence was probably only secondary. it appears that the primary goal of the Church was to determine an appropriate date, one that Christians expected to be rich in symbolism. if this date, December 25, also happened to give the Church a sacred feast with which to counter pagan celebrations, then it was arguably the best possible choice for the day on which to honor Christ’s birth.

by the third century, it appears that some Christians had started celebrating Christ’s birth, as well as his death, on March 25th.

go look it up. do it!

so, why were Christians celebrating Christ’s birth and death on the same day? well… there’s an ancient Jewish tradition of “integral age” or “whole year theory” that evidently influenced this practice. it is a belief that the life of a Jewish prophet began and ended on the same day. most good Rabbi’s know this. a third century Christian, Sextus Julius Africanus (note: most of the valid research evidently occurred in the third century), added an interesting component to this theory. he argued that Christ’s life began not at birth, but at conception (thus the Catholic views around birth contro?). his case proves to be of particular relevance, because if Christ was conceived on March 25th, he would have been born roughly nine months later on December 25th, the date on which our current discussion is focused, eh.

but look… you can Google, Bing, or, what-ever “facts around Christ’s birth”, and get all manner of data and information. but, it really does not matter. dates don’t matter. calendars have changed and evolved. man has clearly manipulated fact and information. however, God gave us discernment. and, mine is edged with faith, now. I’ve tried to intellectualize all of it. all of it, mind you. but, that does not work for me, today. so, that’s the sublime beauty of the Heterodox – I’ve realized my truth of the day, and will remain satisfied that darkness can try and prove otherwise. that’s how I nimbly side-step the hypocrisy issue.

so, perhaps more simply stated, I believe in Jesus. in part, because I believe in myself. I’m of the opinion that God relishes my own thinking and He designed me for such purposes. thank God.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

1/ Men better than myself, teachers, tell me that Rabbi’s start memorizing scripture (i.e. the Torah – which is largely the first five books of the Old Testament) as soon as they are able to read along with any other good (subjective) Jew. then at the age of twelve they either took up the family trade or become a Rabbi (this entailed memorizing the rest of the Old Testament). Point-of-reference: There is the story where Mary and Joseph left Jesus in town and upon their return came back they found him studying scripture with the “other” Rabbis.  Also, I believe that when he is much older He goes to Peter, James, and John (who are in the family trade of fishing) and asks them to drop their nets and follow Him. I’m advised that they would not have done so unless he had authority (being anointed by God, nonetheless). If they followed Him they could potentially become a Rabbi themselves, and move-up in social class.

you have to understand evil to appreciate goodness

December18

you can also listen to me narrate this post, here: you have to understand evil to appreciate goodness by brian patrick cork.

when I was much younger (which is all the more relevant now that I’m near one hundred years of age), my Nana (Mom’s Grand Mother) said, “where there is greatest good is where you will find evil’s best opportunity”. of course, she said it with a very raspy Italian accent, but I clearly understood.

mind you, Nana ran boot-leg gin out of her bathroom during the depression in Old Sacramento. but, she also taught my Mom how to high-dive, think independently, and to love “fiercely”.

I think she meant that you have to understand evil to appreciate goodness.

I am not hypocrite, just like I can’t claim to be an evangelical Christian. but, I talk about subjects and discuss topics realized in the Bible because the book is so relevant with it’s perspective and point-of-ageless example.

in any event, dedicated readers of this blog and long-time stalwarts of mine understand that I don’t know for certain that Christ rose from the dead to make his point and save us all. but, I do look around myself daily with confidence there is a higher power that influences and compels my actions around doing good things. so, I’m hip with God. I’ve always been quite matter-of-fact about that. its seems obvious to me God is our ultimate cause-and-effect. I’ve never seen any point in debating against it. call that instinct, but I know it’s conviction.

so…

Satan might be a frame-of-mind. but, that perspective is what offers the greatest hope that good can prevail. maybe that propels our actions. were there no comparison, we would have no baring-point to align those actions. the fear of death and fading to black nothingness awakened God in our hearts. and for God to hold us accountable there must needs be something to lose. that makes Satan darkness, and God light.

if only life were always that simple. then again, perhaps it is. ironically, death is the proving ground, eh.

so… I’m typically focused on doing good work. most of the time it’s easier than the alternative, anyway. especially if you surround yourself with people that generally feel the same way and conduct themselves accordingly. I still get offended and surprised when people are bad or do things that seem out-of-sync with my sense of fairness or fair-play (that occurred just late last week with a guy in my business life named Marcus, for example). but, that’s the best potential to stay on-point, right?

I ask God every day to keep introducing me to good and better men. when bad things happen I keep learning and refining my own sense of virtu, by comparison.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

brian cork can run Over the Abyss

December16

Feel free to indulge yourself with an audio version of this post,  brian cork can run Over the Abyss. click on the link to listen. do it!

so… I found myself being updated around the continuing adventures of Mary Guthries family. I coached two of her daughters in soccer for a couple of years. they taught me a lot. and, like my own daughter, Haley Anne, I’ll likely long consider great days of coaching soccer as being associated with the Guthrie girls, Claire and Grace.

I’ll keep the details of the most recent email exchange with Mary in trust. but, the immediate result would be the following excerpt from that dialogue…

[...]

I am, the eternal optimist.

my own home is under pressure from Satan. I know that sounds dramatic, and it’s meant to be. I don’t know precisely how Satan works because I don’t qualify as as an evangelical Christian. but, in my imagination, this is how dante may have been inspired for the abyss.

but, I always feel like I can prevail and with the balances of forces between good and evil, light and dark, I am a good guy, and thusly hold a tenuous advantage. kind of like the Hal Jordan Green Lantern (my favorite). the ring knows Jordan’s heart is pure, and his greatest test is always his own deeply rooted sense of humanity. that constant test of strength, character and will raises him above many of his brethren, and fuels the awesome power of the ring that is focused against evil.

so Mary, this Fred character makes me think of Sinestro, a Green Lantern arch villain. Or, possibly a Shakespearean villain (actually Sinestro is quite Shakespearean by design, I’m certain, and he is clearly meant to come across as fascist). I’m not prepared to label Fred a “fascist” (mostly because I know hardly anything about him), but he should always offer the courtesy of keeping you in the loop where the kids are involved. but, with that said, I have to believe your daughters approach him with a mix of many feelings, not the least of which is curiosity. but, I would trust them to maintain a level head. you can tell them I expect they’d both to make terrific Green Lanterns.

moods are good. they suggest “feeling” with it’s attachment to life, and change. remind Claire to take a run when she might feel blue. it certainly works for me.

[...]

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

brian cork is not Nehemiah

December1

you have the option to listen to this blog post via the following audio link: brian cork is not Nehemiah

so…

one promising day back in September Chip Brackley looked at me, square in the eyes, and said, “I think you should write about Nehemiah“.

to prepare for this post I had to go back and ask Chip to remind me why he wants me to focus on Nehemiah. he came back with:

Because it’s my favorite book of the Bible. Because he had a vision and he executed it with leadership and skill like no one else since or before.  Because God is tugging at you and wants you to write about what is important to him.

although, to be fair, I think Andy Stanley started this through one of his books, Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Personal Vision, and that was followed by a series of sermons known as Catalyst. however, I’ll submit it was God that is the root of this.

…I suppose that’s rather obvious if we look around ourselves. but, we can’t always see what we need to, or should.

it’s just about discernment. we all have a destiny. a purpose. we like the stories of Robin Hood, King Arthur, even Don Quixote because the sense of purpose, that Raison d’être speaks to something deep within our souls.

perhaps the very question of, “why am I here”, is where God was formed and always forged. man and those better around him will always say, “iron sharpens iron”.

we’ll safely assume that God put Nehemiah on the planet to set an example. I’d trust God to do that. causing a remarkable text book or parable reference book on the global market in the manner God did was fairly impressive./1 so, creating a figure (of Biblical proportions) that we might want to emulate, is probably well within His skill-set.

where do I get these ideas?

the inspiration, here, as you must recall, is Chip. but, that conversation started around correlative topics that include “transactional transparency”, “the authentic life”, “best practices”, and many other lines-of-thought that might define a philosophy that drives my life. so, if Chip see’s Nehemiah in-and-amongst that, I find myself compelled to discuss this and possibly strive to be like Nehemiah (except for the eunuch part).

mind you, I’ve just tapped the words, “possibly strive to be like Nehemiah” into existence. and, I may commit this post to audio, so I’ll also breathe the words into life (with no promethean intent, mind you). so, does that carry arrogance with it? or, have I challenged myself and now must hope better men than me like Chip and Andy will hold me accountable?

well… that’s the point, eh. years ago I started writing about, “Living Like Christ” (go find those pieces if you choose). and, all that was part of me avoiding a covenant of my own with Christ (or, God, or however the Christian’s try to define Him, or confuse others). I would say things like, “I don’t know if Christ actually rose from the dead”. and, “does it matter as long as I live my life ‘like Christ’. I also talked a lot about being Heterodox (in short that means appreciating the tradition but always questioning the foundation with an understanding that the truth of the day changes based on circumstances). I suspect I remain that, for the most part. but, I also know I both want to live my life like Christ, and some how find a way to believe what I need to. does that find you? or, do you find it?

so, can I be like Nehemiah if I am still “searching” as the Christians refer to that un-quixote-like quest? is it possible that in realizing my inner Nehemiah I’ll see that man in the mirror thus reflecting Christs’ example because He has somehow found his way into me?

bring it on, I say.

meanwhile, what is God’s commission of me? upon what stepping stone do I find my foot on today’s path?

I hang out all day helping my friends make better decisions. I use my super powers for good. I believe that good can and will always, if only eventually, over-come evil. and, I sincerely believe that I can or should some how be an example for all of that. or, is it more than that? something deeper.

oh hell… this is not going anything like I had mapped-out in my head.

it’s about vision, I think. a personal vision, and the other we must needs have in our minds-eye for the world around us.

however, vision is more than simply what could be. after all, what could be is simply an idea or a dream. vision also carries with it a sense of conviction.

vision always stands in contrast to the world as it is. vision demands change. but a vision also always requires someone to champion the cause. it takes someone who is willing to put his or her neck on the line. someone who has the courage to act on an idea.

its not only something that could be done, but what should be done. it’s something that must happen. it moves you from passive concern to action.

then there is that conviction. that sense of purposeful conviction that gives vision a sense of urgency.

this finally brings us to the story of Nehemiah who heard about the deplorable condition of his homeland from some of the exiles who had returned from Persia. just go find the Book of Nehemiah, and read verse 1-4). do it!

today the one (because there are others with different context) thing I find most encouraging about the story of Nehemiah is that he was just a regular guy who caught a divine glimpse of what could and should be. and, then went after it with all his heart.

years ago, Aubrey Nelson wrote of me:

“Brian Patrick Cork is a beautiful man BECAUSE of his many imperfections. They fuel his boundless optimism because he is convinced that he and every thing around him can, and will, always improve.

I have known Brian for over 20 years. A gifted athlete, I first saw him emerging from the mist charging up a daunting hill during a Cross Country race in Virginia, and stood amazed as he ran down the Kenyans for victory. He is all heart, this one.

Brian Cork has made and lost fortunes. He has never had to think twice about giving away the very shirt from his back. He has lost businesses to predators and buried children. He has been lauded as a hero for being a volunteer firefighter; and wrongfully vilified as a stock swindler (I was one of his many investors, and he did brilliant work). Men of great stature and influence seek his counsel. Most simply enjoy being around him. Brian will say “we are all tied together by threads of continuity. So, we can and must make a difference in one another’s lives. It’s not only an obligation… the connection makes our lives richer and meaningful”. Every day he strengthens the very fabric of the business community – one thread at a time.

What I marvel at, what gives me such hope for a generation led by Brian Cork and his people, is that this man could overcome depression, self-doubt and other constraints of biology and not only act decisively, but retain his humanity. Like a figure from the Old Testament, Brian has wandered the earth, making mistakes, loving his family but causing them pain, despairing over the course of events, trying to divine God’s will. He could not know how things would turn out, but he has always done his best and maintained an unwavering faith in GOD, himself and people. He has always kept his moral compass pointed firm and true. And, now he helps other men find balance and success in their own lives.”

I’ve somehow managed to forget about that, and even neglected much of the history that generated it. but, it all comes rushing back to mind as I ponder the possibility that Chip is in my life to remind me of who I am, and what I need to do.

not be an example so much, but possibly the difference.

here’s an interesting thing… that quote above from Chip came moments ago, in terms of the span of time it’s taken to craft this post. I had asked Chip to remind me about two hours ago. and, his response came moments after I wrote the word “difference”.

our present always seems to converge with our past and future when time has no meaning other than purpose. I just made that up. seriously. but, that’s where I am. square in the mote of God’s eye. and He wants me to do something.

Lifting up Michael Jackson because he has lifted me up many times. here’s to the Man In the Mirror.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

1/ that would be the Holy Bible.

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What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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