Laughter Was God’s Idea: Stories About Healing Humor by Chaplain Jack Hinson


Today I visited my new hospice patient. He’s 94 years old.  His frame tells of a once fit physique.  Aging has robbed him of strength, but his spirit testifies age has no power over spirit.

During our time together, he kept things light. Never did he emitted a whimper of despair nor take anything about himself seriously. He is the model person described in Laughter Was God’s Idea: Stories About Healing Humor by Chaplain Jack Hinson.

The objectives of the book are:

Humor is a good medicine.

Humor is God’s gift to us to navigate life with joy.

We must be taken with the word “joy”.  For joy according to Hinson grants us peace, openness to others, and it allows us to bond with others. It does not have the usual meaning of ‘

“a state of laughter and fun”.

In one of the early chapters, Hinson writes,  “Taking oneself seriously leads us to believe that we are responsibility for our personal well-being and  our future.” He continues,”Only  when we accept of our human frailty, can we naturally accept God’s grace.”

His obvious corollary is,  “Don’t take yourself seriously. For it builds a wall around you that keeps you from the joy that awaits you.”

Hinson writes that these views were his takeaways from four Conrad Hyers lectures. They changed my perception on the healing power of humor, joy and laugher.

Having embraced at these beliefs, Hinson realized that a hospital deserves a joyful chaplain. His daily prayer became, “God, if you will furnish the joy, I will spread it all over the hospital  …”

My new hospice client is another example of a person who believes and adopted this “joy” to navigate life.

Hinson’s book contains many experiences and profession wisdom gained from his life as a chaplain.  These two arrested me:

  • Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Ecclesiastics 9:7-10.

Thus is another way to say life is a one-time gift,  let nothing (particularly seriousness) keep you from the joy God has already approved for you.

  • Love thy neighbor as thyself.   Phil 1:3-4.

Chaplain Jack interprets this to mean: Do something for your neighbor that you would do for yourself, for your neighbor is just like you.

To support his  joy/humor in healing theory, Hinson laces his book with scientific studies from the halls of research, from sayings by famous historical figures and from recognized medical stalwarts. They make interesting readings. For me, the tone of his stories convinced me.  For conviction is hard to sell when there is no belief.

Jack Hinson is a husband, father, pastor, writer and chaplain of various hospital chaplaincy committee. Further, he served as interim pastor in a number of international locations and delivered numerous addresses on Humor in Healing.

Isaiah 28 For The Second Millennium

A true cornerstone

The Lord Almighty said:

I have placed a special one among you.

He is tested and has my authority.

For those who rely on him,

your concerns are covered.

If you follow him,

your interactions are just and

I will declare you righteous.

Those who rely on him:

Your ungodly alliances with associations and worldly things,

I void.

Your lies and falsehoods behind which you hid,

I annul.

In my special one,

there is rest, repose and peace for your soul.

His rest will completely wraps you in justice,

His righteousness and  His strength

will support you during troubled times.

Pay attention to His faithfulness, His proven faithfulness;

to do his work, his strange work,
    and perform his task, his alien task.

I  permitted his death on a cross.

I permitted the curse

to compensate for your return to the Divine.

Then I made him My throne of mercy,

through which I dispense grace.

My Fellow Travelers: In times of crisis,

The Lord Almighty wishes you to remember

the beauty and the mystery of His work –  His strange work;

and that His alien tasks create what seems alien to His nature

though, it is good,

all the time.



For an NIV translation of Isaiah 28, go to:

Originally posted on Women in Florida History:

Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to “jump at de sun.” We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.

- Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston has been a women close to my heart since I first read her work in college (I know, way to late to be introduced to a Woman of this magnitude!). She was a trained anthropologist who studied under Franz Boas, though today Hurston is better known as a major literary figure.

We owe our “rediscovery” of Hurtson’s work to another famous feminist author, Alice Walker. In 1975, Ms. Magazine published Alice Walker’s essay, “In Search of Zora Neale Hurston” reviving interest in the author. In the time since, Zora Neale Hurston has come to be considered one of the pre-eminent writers of twentieth-century African-American literature. Hurston was closely associated with the Harlem Renaissance and has…

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An Interesting Ratio

Mean Proportional


An Interesting Ratio

On the line segment BA, when C is the mean proportional between the points B and A, the  ratio BC/BA is incommensurate. This ratio appears in ancient architecture, in modern art design, in many designs in the universe and in designs in the human body.

There are many treatments that show the value of the ratio is between .6175 and .6182. A simple explanation that uses basic rules of fractions and elementary terminology of line segments awaits your examination. Click, Ratio , to view.

Perseverance Pays Off

Dear Alex,

I watched the victory parade that New Orleans threw for the Saints  in the grips of contentment, joy, nostalgia and finally I experienced redemption (CNN: 02/02/2010). It was good to see the crowds in New Orleans celebrating the Saint’s magnificent season and its first Super Bowl victory. It was nothing short of a perfect Mardi Gras celebration. As I watched the merriment, I felt a happiness leap from the TV screen into my viewing room. I’ve never found that type of merriment anywhere except in a New Orleans celebration. It evoked a cultural journey I had long forgotten. But this time, it was a good journey from my vantage point. Things I had not seen as a child shone brightly and they tenderly tugged at my emotions in the dawn of my life. But this parade was more than a journey down memory lane, it was a journey fulfilled.

Over the 43 years as a Saint’s fan I wandered, often in circles, in the desert of  “we lost”. On too many occasions I threw the Saints asides, only to take them up the next season. I guess it is hard to walk away from one’s first love. This parade attests that perseverance and hope pays.  Finally, we got to the promise land.

Parades featured many things that evoke pride and joy, in particular marching bands. The New Orleans high school marching bands were wonderful. As a band came into view, it stepped proudly to the culture and history. Each band’s short TV appearance reminded me of our days as band members in New Orleans parades and each sparked a impulse that coursed through my neural network subsiding in the most comforting joy.  That joy purged many depressed frustrations from my memories in the land of “we lost ”. I was redeemed for loyalty.

Did you see the Saint Augustine Marching One Hundred? Of course you did. Their tradition is still in tact. They marched in their usual proud exacting formation. The horn players energetically  high stepping as they fanned their instruments for side to side to the rhythm of their drumbeat. It was a great show. I’ve always envied their discipline, and wished they would mess up. But they never did; neither 50 years ago nor now.

Then came the O. Perry Walker Band featuring its dancing tubas. Its drummers proudly beat their cadence in the showy style in DRUMLINE. Their drum cadence was simple and melodic but quite rhythmic.

Many bands came into view. I would enjoy talking about the effect each had on me then and now.  But I will only mention the Walter L. Cohen Band, our band. They were near of the parade; as always.  The crowd responded to their music as they turned the corner. As in the old days, Cohen’s band is still a crowd pleaser. I suspect the organizers continue to hold the philosophy “leave the best for last” to reward those who remained for the entire show.  As  Cohen’s band exit from sight, even at this writing I can still feel the enthusiasm of the crowd’s applaud – just as they did us. The circle is now complete.

Alex, New Orleans provided us  a rich tradition, a loving culture, and caring environment in which our parents reared us. This victory parade signaled that it has reclaimed its place as one of the world’s finest centers. This statement  sounds unrealistically enthusiastic.  I know I’m biased; but maybe not. Irwin Taranto of San Raphael who was visiting New Orleans during this festive time emailed this description to his brother.

“This city went crazy, more than usual, last night. Yesterday, Sunday, the energy vibes throughout the city was so strong it must have reached Miami. Tomorrow, Tuesday, is a big parade for the Saints. Starts at 4 p.m. a block and a half from our hotel. They are expecting 400,000 people. Between the Saints and Mardi Gras this is a fabulous time to be in NO.”



The Agent of Chance We Need for Education

September 9, 2008, Dayton Ohio: Senator Barack Obama detailed an extensive educational plan for America in a 36-minutes speech. The candidate showed his grasp of:

•    The role of education in the global economy,
•    The importance of a quality preschool experience to future academic success.
•    The importance of education to America
•    Needed changes for a successful 21st century America education,
•    The new workplace for 21st century teachers,
•    The importance of public education to America’s mission.

Senator Obama revealed his thoughts on education and the global economy with the statements, “Information technology has broken down barriers that once kept countries and markets apart, creating a single global economy that’s more integrated and interconnected than before. In this economy, companies can plan their jobs wherever there is an Internet connection and someone willing to work. What matters, is not what you do or where you live, but what you know.”

His austere voice made clear that the old methods of employment are passé as he said, “Our children now competes against all the children of the world for jobs. So they must be better educated than those of other nations – those who long to change their economic status. The italics supplied by the writer.

Citing long term benefits of quality preschool experiences, Obama promised his administration will invest in early childhood education stating it is known that, “… children in these programs are more likely to score more higher in reading and math; and, because they start school prepared, they are able to keep up, … they are more likely to graduate high school and more likely to get and keep a job.”

Read more..

Proposal for a Three-week Mathematics Clinic Grades 4,5


Why this proposal?

The United States is facing a critical shortage of graduates who major in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology. As children progress through the educational system, far too many shy away from science and mathematics. Other nations, particularly in Asia, have far more success in producing successful students with strong backgrounds in science and mathematics.

This proposal presents The Mathematics Room Project, a three-week enrichment program that stresses mastering mathematical skills that underpin success in higher mathematics and ultimately, in high tech and mathematics centered jobs. But to no lesser degree, it addresses social responsibilities and the City’s rich cultural heritage.


What is The Mathematics Room Project?

The Mathematics Room Project (TMRP) is a three-week summer enrichment program that stresses

· fluency with whole numbers,

· mastery of fractions,

· relationships to others and to the XXXXXX neighborhood,

· the City’s rich musical heritage.

Why are these emphases over others?

In a recent Washington Post article, a presidential panel of mathematicians, education experts and psychologists reported that, students need a deeper understanding of fluency with whole numbers and fractions, if they are to be success in completing Algebra II. Further, the panel stressed, that many students are befuddled by fractions. A fundamental focus of TMRP is to develop fluency of whole numbers and mastery of fractions, thereby responding, to correct the problems identified by the presidential panel.

“Market emphasis” is a fact of life. We approach education, the arts and even our spiritual institutions with a business plan. This approach has its advantages but it reduces all things to a bottom line mentality. Often in human endeavors, the process leading to the bottom line is as important as the bottom line, for example, in building relationships, in working in team, in caring for others, in caring for things over which we have charge, in developing plans for the future, etc. In all a spirit is built that is necessary to relate to others as well as our community. TMRP will teach participants to solve mathematical problems within a group structure, thus highlighting the importance of relationships and highlighting our responsibilities in human affairs.

What is the teaching philosophy of TMRP?

The teaching philosophy of TMRP is rooted in the famed Singapore Method of teaching mathematics. Like the Singapore approach, TMRP focuses on teaching mathematical thinking to produce mathematical thinkers. It does this, by walking the learner through all the components of a problem and then presenting her with the whole problem to solve; all done, with the learner’s preparation in mind while poised to elevate her to the next level.

Is this method better than the traditional?

The Mathematics Room Project believes and data shows this method is optimal for learning “how to” frame a problem in a concrete stage, and then, “ how to” usher the learner into the abstract stage, thereby enabling him to learn mathematics in a meaningful way. It encourages an active thinking process, effective problem solving skills and clear communication of mathematical ideas. All of the attributes are necessary to develop a foundation that students need to successfully study more advanced mathematics.

TMRP supports this method with outstanding, experienced, caring teachers and with excellent textbooks and workbooks that stresses the

Concrete-> Pictorial-> Abstract approach.

Is the Singapore Method proven?

Since 1995, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study tests (TIMSS) have been administered to students of thirty-six developed nations. These nations used the TIMSS test to measure the success of its student preparations in mathematics and the sciences. Singapore, a small nation of 45 million, has never scored less than first position in the TIMSS test, while the United States has never placed higher than 16th position.

Follow-up results of the TIMSS attest that students taught by the Singapore method have a higher success rate in completing algebra and higher mathematics.

Who will lead the Mathematics Room Project?

The Director and Coordinator of The Mathematics Room Project, XXXXX, have acclaimed success in directing mathematics enrichment programs.

The support staff includes XXXXXX – a retired grade teacher of 33 years experience, having taught 25 years at the XXXXXX, one of California’s Distinguished Schools.

Where will the program be held?

The XXXXXX Church has committed to host The Mathematics Room Project. This Christian institution has ministered to the XXXXXXXX Community for XXX years.

How will the participants be recruited?

Thirty students will be recruited by invitations sent to:

· Area churches

· Area recreations facilities

· Advertisements in a weekly newspaper



The Mathematics Room Project needs:

  • meeting space to accommodate 30 children
  • eight tables: seating four per table
  • Singapore Method mathematics workbooks: grades 4 through 6
  • Singapore Method teacher manuals: grades 4 through 6
  • cost of admittance for 30 participants to:
  • one of the City’s Philharmonic performance and
  • one of the City’s Choral performance


The Students: The immediate beneficiaries of the project are its participants. Mastery of problem solving skills enhances student self-esteem and cementing student–school bonds. Studies have demonstrated that girls having strong mathematics skills tend to resist predatory male advances and amoral peer pressure. In like manner, boys having strong mathematics skills and strong parental guidance tend to successfully shun gang advances. Thus, TMRP will be another effort to engage students in academic life and to build a student more resistant to social distractions.

Over the years, students trained under the Singapore Method boast high rates of success in higher mathematics. Algebra II, the gateway to higher mathematics, is a proven predictor of success in college. The recent Washington Post article reported that The National Mathematics Advisory Panel – the Presidential Panel composed of mathematicians, educators and psychologists – declared that success in Algebra II is predicated upon mastering fractions and fluency in whole number operations; primary focus topics of The Mathematics Room Project. Thus, TMRP is another local effort to increase the number of students who earn successful completion in Algebra II, and thus earn success in college.

The Society is a long-range beneficiary of TMRP. As problem solving is a necessary prelude to develop a thoughtful citizenry, and as thoughtful citizens build strong and safe communities, The Mathematics Room Project will take part in providing the citizens for better Sacramento communities.

The Country: The science and medical communities of the United States have experienced a severe shortage of prepared graduates in science and mathematics, due in large part to the poor performances in the sciences and mathematics. This is visibly reflected in the medical, computer science and engineering communities. The Mathematics Room Project is a Sacramento effort to increase the number of U.S. students who are successful in Algebra II, and hence increasing the number of candidates in the medical, mathematics and science pipeline.


As The Mathematics Room Project is a program with an academic,

cultural and social impact that targets bettering students in a particular Sacramento neighborhood, it is consonant with the vision of FUNDING AGENT. to develop awareness and care for neighborhoods.

It does this:

· By teaching its participants to master mathematics identified as a building block to success in college.

· Through its planned ice cream social in the local park.

· With scheduled attendances to a performance of the Sacramento Philharmonic and the Sacramento Chorale Society.

Familiarity breeds acceptance. So during its instruction time, TMRP will play as background music those selections designated by the City Philharmonic and City Chorale Society to be performed during the scheduled attendance of TMRP. This predisposition to the selected music provides for greater student enjoyment as they witness familiar music dramatized in a cultural setting.

Our activities will be held in the XXXXXXXX Church facilities. This structure is a recognized historic landmark to the neighborhood. Gaining life changing academic experiences, while experiencing positive events and joyful times in a place of historic value in one’s neighborhood promotes positive and manifold connections to the neighborhood, thus this program fits the vision of FUNDING AGENT.


After the program, our participants will have:

· learned “how to” learn mathematics.

· mastered mathematics crucial to learn higher mathematics.

· a better appreciation of mathematics, and stronger self-esteem.

· experienced great music performed by local musicians.

· recognized the historic value and importance of the building that housed project.

In summary, our participants will have exposures that communities desire of its youth.


The Mathematics Room Project requests $ xxxxxx to cover operational expenses, student textbooks, student workbooks, teacher instruction manuals, 12 nutritious snack for 30 students, transportation cost to the music events, t-shirts that stress TMRP common focus and fosters a sense of belonging; and certificates of completion.


The Project Director will coordinate all field trips during the project year.


All properties of The Mathematics Room Project, except student workbooks, revert to FUNDING AGENT. upon cessation of the project.








$ 939.00

FIELD TRIPS and Social





Social in Park





$ 770.00













$ 1016.00





$ 1258.00











ORIENTATION: June 7, 2008

Accept applications, distribute rules of operation, administer pretests to measure student preparedness and measure for t-shirts.


July 7, 2008


July 24, 2008






M T W Th

Number fluency







M T W Th

Number fluency









Number fluency









6:30 – 8:30 pm


Program: Student Presentations & Awarding

Certificates/ Social (Parent attendance, public)


Upon entering the program, all students will be administered a pretest to determine whole number fluency, mastery of fractions, and problem solving skills.

TMRP will permit its learners to advance to a new topic only upon 85% or better mastery of his latest workbook assignment.

During the last three days of the enrichment program, the Director will assign to each student a problem he will present at a closing ceremony. Parents and the public will be encouraged to attend the closing ceremony. The presentations will be graded on clarity, correctness and problem insights.

On the final day of TMRP, student will take a post-test. Its results will be compared with the pretest results to measure the impact of the enrichment intervention.

At the completion of the first year of operation, the Director will submit an annual report to the Board of FUNDING AGENT. The report will summarize student performances and the project’s impact on student educational and cultural growth.