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April 13, 2010
You need some skills in order to live well in this world. You need to know how to cook and sew on a button -- if you can't hem something, you need to know that scotch tape will hold a hemline through one wearing, until you can get the garment to someone who can. You need to be able to add and multiply and subtract and divide -- and you need to be able to read a traditional clockface, not just a digital readout of the time, so that later you will understand fractions more easily. You need to know a few simple knots -- a square and a bowline are enough for most of us, though more are better. You need to know how to light a fire and keep it going. You need to know how to perform CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver; also, how and when to apply a tourniquet. You need to know how to read.

You can see that this list is not in either ascending or descending order of importance -- if it were, reading would probably be first.

You also need to know how to delay gratification of your desires, or even to set them aside altogether, if it becomes necessary for the survival of something more important. And so you need to be able to distinguish between what is truly important and what is merely urgent -- they are not the same.

You need to know the direction of your delight -- that activity that will satisfy and interest you for a lifetime. If you are very fortunate, this will also be the way you earn your living, If not, you need to know how to find the time to feed your devotion.

You need to know how to ask for help.

And you need to know how to admit error. Maybe that should have been first.
Many readers responded to the eMo about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It could have been more accurate, though -- both Matt Gai and Erika Latchis noted this, and Erika supplied this concise correction:

There is a small inaccuracy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer was active in the Resistance Movement, and he was a founding member of the Confessing Church. He fully supported the plan of the Abwehr (Military Intelligence System) to assassinate Hitler, but he was NOT involved in the assassination attempt. At the time of the failed assassination attempt in July 1944 he was already imprisoned for his activities in the Confessing Church, his support of the Jewish people and his preachings against the Nazi regime. He was in a concentration camp from April 1943 until he was killed by hanging on April 9, 1945.


A recent anouncement of this Saturday's quiet day with Barbara Crafton at St. Thomas, Whitemarsh in Fort Washington, PA contained an invalid website address. The correct one is The church's phone number is (215)233-3970
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