I grew up in an AG (Assembly of God) church. I was taught that all people without Christ are going to hell. Trained how to “win” all unbelievers to Christ. Was taught to speak in tongues, which often involved being slain in the spirit, rolling around on the floor, and or running around the church. As I child, I often felt like God wasn’t within me, and I would do the things I saw other kids and adults doing to win #acceptance and approval from my Mother, and her peers. I was taught to judge, and reject those who believed differently than I had been taught to believe. That most people were without God, and destined for an eternity of damnation, and suffering.
When I was in my early twenties, I began traveling the world, and quickly became exposed to many other world views and religions. Although my own faith had been something I’d struggled with for quite some time, it steadily became apparent to me that I believed differently than I had been trained. Years later, I can unashamedly profess that I remain a person of faith, but a faith I have arrived to on my own experiences, studies, convictions, and what I believe to be a natural desire to do what is right, no matter the cost. I’m not a professing Christian any longer, but remain close with many believers, was married in a traditional Christian ceremony, and acknowledge and value many biblical principles as true. Of course I’ve also discovered that most of those values are consistent among most of the mainstream religions, which was a bit of a surprise I must admit.
Our World in recent years has been plagued by the division that difference brings. Different faiths, race, world views, cultures, and in some cases values. I’m particularly bothered by the amount of fear, hate, and bigotry that so many Muslims endure outside of the Middle East. I’ve traveled to the Middle East, specifically, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Yemen, Bahrain, Turkey, Oman, Kuwait, and Egypt (technically North Africa, but a Muslim country.) In all my travels, not once have I ever been afraid of being an American in a Muslim country, even when I was in Bahrain a week before a riot broke out, or in Egypt, three days after the US ambassador was killed in Libya, and there were so called riots all over Egypt. In fact, we drove by one of the riots, and it was underwhelming to say the least. I’m in no way making light of the terrible acts that terrorists are responsible for, and the killings of innocent people. However, unlike most Americans, I have at least a dozen Muslim friends, some of which are Americans. What’s most interesting is that they call a terrorist the same thing I call them; a terrorist, because terrorism has no religion.
I often feel like I’m not doing enough. Look, let’s be clear, if I felt as if someone’s religion or world view put me and/or my family at risk, I would respond defensively. I’m no fool. However, I really feel as if so few are asking the right questions, but instead are just jumping on the no toll bandwagon. Sadly, I think that most, on both sides of the argument are just not bothered enough by what’s wrong to stand up for what is right. The attitude is, hey, “you stay out of my way, and I’ll stay out of yours.” It’s only the radicals and lunatics in the World that have a voice, because it’s the only thing the media will report on.
Think about this. Young black men are killing each other by the thousands each and every year, and our government and society are allowing it to happen. The solution is simple; education and opportunity. School shootings are happening so frequently now that most feel it’s not if it will happen again, but when. The solution is simple; better controls on gun ownership, which may included psychological exams. Gay men and women are being brutally attacked, bullied, and killed for loving a person of the same sex. No one needs to “understand” this, they just need to #accept it. Homosexuality isn’t a trend. The point is, there is never a reason to resort to violence in the name of any God, or world view. Every man, woman, and child, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation has just as much right to their next breath as you or I do. And this I believe is the answer. For each of us to resign to what we think we know about God, religion, or particularly our neighbor, and start finding out for ourselves what’s on the inside of strangers. I’m confident if humans so desired; we’d find much more sameness than difference in every stranger and friend alike.
When watching movies like Milk, Selma, Remember the Titans, I’m overwhelmed with a sense of grief, and responsibility to stand up for what I believe is right, and as simple as it is, I do believe in “live and let live,” but most of all, I believe in “love and let love.”
I don’t think stoning women who commit adultery is justifiable, nor do I think thousands of America’s youth killing each other is necessary. I don’t think slaughtering Jews or native Americans was something any God would have ordered. I think above all, the problem remains, the ignorance of weak men, and the fear in those who have the power to change the World, one mind at a time. Have I changed yours? You have the power to do the same.
#acceptance | http://www.acceptance.org
Last week, I traveled to Phoenix with my EO forum to attend the Bondurant school of high performance driving. It was an incredible experience, and I highly recommend the school to anyone interested in improving their driving skills. We also got a chance to meet the founder, and former Gran Prix driver, Bob Bondurant, which was a huge bonus.
Although the driving school was most likely a once in a lifetime experience for me personally, it wasn’t what I’ll remember most about the trip. I left Phoenix with a much more valuable nugget. I learned that my personality, coupled with my insecurities and past experiences can make for a frustrating experience for strangers and friends alike. This “quality” is a defense mechanism that I’ll explain later, and is one I share with the late Marylin Monroe.
If you Google Dan Henderson, you’ll most likely discover the UFC champion Dan Henderson, or Hendo. However, if you Google Daniel Henderson, you might find me; a self-proclaimed blogger, entrepreneur, and truth seeker. No, I don’t have my own Wikipedia page, but I have staked claim to my own little spot in cyberspace, where I can make up ridiculous tag lines, challenge people to think, and share my most recent experiences and discoveries.
Contrary to what some might say and/or believe about me, and like Marilyn Monroe, I’m an introvert. I enjoy close friendships, recharge with time alone, and fittingly use sharp, self-deprecating humor as my primary defense mechanism. It’s often raw and disruptive, and secretly in an attempt to cause a person to judge, and when they do, I’ve got them. It’s gross when you think about it in that context, so I prefer to think about it as a way to guard my heart, however, thanks to a few friends, I’m now exposing it for what it is in an attempt to grow.
So to those that don’t know me and would like to, think you know me but don’t, or coudn’t care less to know me, but somehow stumbled upon this blog post because you’re a Marilyn Monroe fan, don’t bother Google with the query. There is little you will find, save this blog, that allows for a look inside my soul where hurt and hope share a room, and truth remains the hidden treasure.
I accept you.
It’s been more than a month since my last post, and it certainly hasn’t been because I haven’t had anything to say. I settled a lawsuit with my previous employer, am back in court with my ex over money and custody issues (why wouldn’t I be,) and got into a bad business deal with my brother, which has caused further strain on our already fragile relationship. However, in spite of what certainly could be considered a bad set of circumstances, I have been able to stay excited about some of the things I’ve been working on, particularly with acceptance, and my new found love for connecting people and accelerating businesses. I’m having fun, and that’s ok with me.
However, what I am most excited about is the evolution that is taking place in my heart and mind around significance versus success. For most of my life, I have pursued success as my ultimate goal, however, I’ve realized that significance is a far more rewarding prize. There have been many successful men and women that have lived and died, most, you’ve never heard of, however, those that were most significant, who changed the world in some way, were mostly common people with extraordinary dreams and ideas. I want to be one of those people. I want to change the world.
When tomorrow never comes, my hope is that I gave more than I took, and led a life of significance in my home, community, and ultimately the world. I don’t think this is an unachievable feat, as it has been done many times before. It takes awareness, passion, and action. Steve Jobs said, “Those that are crazy enough to think they can change the world, usually do.” He was right.
I’m on to something, and the journey is just beginning. Keep Calm & Carry On!
Since writing my NTH post, there have been a number of responses; some of which were expected, and others more surprising. There have been fleeting moments of regret, but I remain steadfast in my mission. I met with my editor a couple of weeks ago for the first time. He interviewed me for a couple of hours, and took several pages of notes. Although we haven’t defined a core message for the book, we have some concepts to begin with, which I think will shape up nicely and be something worth reading. What’s particularly interesting is that when I decided to write the memoir, I had no intentions of selling the book, or at least marketing it to sell, but I’ve been very encouraged by my supporters, and now feel a higher sense of accountability to ensure that whatever I write will be interesting and worthy of the couple dozen dollars someone may shell out to get a copy. Nevertheless, I have my first assignment, which is to identify a core message, and write a 10 page introduction for the book. The non-conformist in me would argue that it would be possible to have more than one main theme, however, I must defer to the experts I have asked to assist me, and wrestle with my conscious to identify the most urgent and important message I want to communicate, considering this may be my first and last book. Instead of doing this on my own, I thought it might be interesting to request feedback from my supporters by inquiring what you would be most interested in reading about. Here are my top three potential core messages for the book. Have a look, and leave a comment below this post should you feel compelled to do so.
- Importance of self-worth and self-acceptance – Arguably, my low self esteem has been the primary driver to become an over-achiever in anything and everything I have done. I’ve never been the smartest, or most talented, but my need for approval manufactured a grit-like quality that allowed me to achieve success in many ways, or alternatively blow mounds of money to gain acceptance and/or approval. Go big or go home is an understatement when fumbling to find the write words to describe my over-the-top style. However, once I was able to expose this deficiency, it has allowed me to grow in many ways, and redefine what is most important to me while I’m here on earth, and what I want to leave behind when I leave it.
- Transparency – For the majority of my life, I’ve always been very forward and direct. I don’t like small talk, and have never been afraid to speak my mind, however, I didn’t come to know the value of transparency until early adulthood. When you expose your own fears, weaknesses, and sin, it can create a sense of intimacy only described by experience. Unfortunately, the flip-side is that transparency can get you cut out of deal, betrayed, judged, and worst of all, killed. Telling the truth can get you hurt, but living a lie is much worse.
- Doing the right thing – Anyone who knows me well, knows that doing the right thing is extremely important to me. At times, I have chosen not to do the right thing, but when possible, I’ve made things right. A person might think that doing the right thing will result in good things happening, but in my experience, it’s been quite the opposite, especially from an outward perspective. We have opportunities to do the right thing every day, and more often than not, people choose to do what’s best for them. Yes, we are selfish creatures, but I plan to spend the rest of my life attempting to prove up that doing the right thing is what matters most.
No matter the core message, my life stories will be interwoven throughout the book, as to draw reflection and perspective to the main theme. I also need to identify who my main audience is. This is particularly tough for me, because I think my story has potential to appeal to many demographics, and especially young adults, as well as men and women alike. However, it would be interesting to hear from those that do find what I have to say appealing and why. Thanks in advance for your help, and for being part of the journey.
Tomorrow is Christmas. It’s a day of giving and receiving. In addition to the presents under the tree, perhaps we could give…
- The forgiveness we’ve been witholding
- Another chance to a loved one who deserves it
- A hot meal to someone who is hungry
- A random act of kindness to a stranger
- Our kids some quality time
- Our family a break
- Our feelings a vacation
- Ourselves some quiet time
Take a moment this Christmas to remember what matters most. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
Daniel, Ashley, Kyson, & Sariah…oh and Sadie (our dog) and Kikki Reece (our new cat)
Acceptance is among the most basic human needs, yet it has managed to stay just out of grasp since its inception. As a result, many of the World’s youth turn to drugs, gangs, and empty relationships to gain a sense of belonging. And what’s worse; the youth of yesterday are the trustees of tomorrow, yet we sit silent in the prison of our present. Your voice is in your choice to accept.
The artwork behind the movement, “the Face,” was conceptualized by Dan Henderson and commissioned to Sara Smith. The face represents everyone and no one all the same. It is nameless, faceless, genderless, and ageless. The face is without race, sexual orientation, social class, or religion. It represents you, me, a stranger, and a friend.
Dan Henderson, husband, father, and serial-entrepreneur, is the founder of AcceptanceWear.com, which is a grassroots movement formed to promote Acceptance. Dan is passionate about doing the right thing, and inspiring others to do the same, and above all feels that how you treat others is a true reflection of the character of a person. Dan’s vision is that “the Face” becomes a universal symbol of Acceptance.
Dan Henderson, AcceptanceWear, and its affiliates support local, national, and International organizations whose activities align with the primary goal of our movement and purpose for existence.
Coming soon — AcceptanceWear.com