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These Foundation Stones of Assyrian King Sennacherib's Camp have Remained Strong for almost Three Thousand Years - Photo Courtesy of Phil's Adventurer-Historian Cousin - Stephen (S.C.) Compton


1. I must be able to see beyond my own lived experiences to understand and receive yours. Certainty is not a virtue. More often than not, it is a stumbling block to new learnings.

2. I don’t want to be focused on the need to achieve more things, but on the desire to achieve better things; not to climb the ladder for myself, but to hold the ladder for others; not to create taller buildings, but stronger foundations.

3. I must strive to spend more time introspecting and less time otherspecting. Nothing is gained when I have blind spots about my own biases and prejudices, especially when I have a 20/20 vision of seeing those of others.

4. Life’s experiences have painted a different portrait for each person. Understanding the palette, paint, and paper of the other’s life and how each has impacted and framed their views, perspectives, beliefs, and identity is vital to understanding and diminishing human conflict.

5. Whenever I believe I or my group is the only one, I immediately relegate all others to be “less than.” Whether that is my intent is irrelevant. Onlyism hurts . . . Otherism lessens.

6. Some claim superior intelligence and learning. Others are certain they have better values and faith. In reality, all the intelligence, knowledge, values, and confidence are worth nothing more than a mess of pottage unless we each confess our own shortcomings with humility.

7. The trees most grounded are those with the deepest roots in the richest soil through which they draw sustenance, sufficiency, sustainability, and support.  Each tree stands or falls alone in the largest forest, depending on how well it is grounded. So it is with every individual in the human forest.

8. Ranking, othering, normalizing, generalizing, and dehumanizing are the antecedents of human conflict (the disease). They have existed in all times and places since the dawn of humanity. Tribalism, racism, creedalism, ageism, sexism, and a host of other isms are the symptoms of the disease. We have focused and failed for too long because we focus on symptoms, not the underlying condition.

9. Harvey Milk once said, “To demand only your view is wrong!” Mocking, making fun of, or denigrating someone with whom you disagree doesn’t make you righter, smarter, or better. Nor does it make them “wronger.” It only demonstrates your intolerance of true diversity - that of thought, speech, and belief.

10. “Preoccupation with correct thinking . . . reduces the life of faith to sentry duty, a 24/7 task of pacing the ramparts and scanning the horizon to fend off incorrect thinking, in ourselves and others, too engrossed to come inside the halls and enjoy the banquet.” – Peter Enns: The Sin of Certainty.

Rio Vista Group - tree.jpg

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