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Eric’s Sunday Sermon; How We Appear

Updated on February 12, 2018
Ericdierker profile image

Holding degrees in philosophy and Law. Formal studies or certificates or degrees in business, theology, insurance and security. Ex-preacher.


Northern Arizona
Northern Arizona | Source

More Than Meets The Eye

I just love to ask my online sphere to tell me the definition of a word. I think they are about 45% accurate, give or take. So instead of a definitive definition they are a talking point. This made me pause as I probably hit about a 45% accuracy in my life. But that is probably 45% wrong as my life is near perfect. Not my doing but I get kudos for not messing it up.

Hey! Let us assume that our life is perfect to begin with and then we spend 70 years undoing that perfectness. That is really funny because it is almost true. It makes me laugh. So here you are with a definition that like perfect is fun to make fun of.

A friend of mine whose name I cannot disclose but his initials are Demas kind of challenged me on a way cool word known as “countenance”.

coun·te·nance noun; a person's face or facial expression. "his impenetrable eyes and inscrutable countenance give little away"

synonyms: face, features, physiognomy, profile. 2. support. "she was giving her specific countenance to the occasion". Verb 1. admit as acceptable or possible. "he was reluctant to countenance the use of force" And check synonyms out; tolerate, permit, allow, agree to, consent to, give one's blessing to, go along with, hold with, put up with, endure, stomach, swallow, stand for. And a different idea via the use; "His countenance waivered”

Isn’t that so bitchin cool (can you say “bitchin” in a sermon? ;-) My son says “hell” is not permitted in school. Good for them. We read “Hercules and the Hounds of Hades”. He was concerned that Hades was hell and he could not write it down. Go for it kid!! How smart that little guy is. Let us see if his teacher really knows the concept and not just a word like we just did above.

Countenance? In my strange little world of Latin (a “dead” language) I say “prima facie”. I also say tabula rasa. So we venture into the twin concepts of a clean slate and on the face of it – obvious. Poor little guy but my son had to learn both concepts before playing some horrific game on his tablet. Can you even imagine having such a weird dad? I can because my dad made me do it and challenge him with outré stuff out of Funk and Wagnall’s. I think he let me win sometimes.

So let us kick some intellectual and spiritual stuff about countenance.

Smooth Operator


Be good.
Be good. | Source


With all of my children, when they pouted I whipped them up and carried them to the bathroom sink mirror. I can do an awesome pouting face. I even toss in a snarl. So they are challenged. Can they pout better than I? (Do not worry about that “me” vs. “I”)

Are we our outward countenance? I do not want to appear numb or Zombie but I try to begin with a tabula rasa. And then I look at the prima facie evidence and discern. Clean non-judgmental assumption and then discriminate. What do I perceive? And make no mistake, I am a fake. I do clothes and facial expressions and posture to project and/or conceal countenance. Do you? My wife wears makeup. I brush my teeth before going out. I smile. It is not clear to me how I developed that countenance. I carry a cross on my back that I never let others see. Perhaps I am a fake countenancer.

I have issues, kind of serious like cancer. But my countenance goes from outside into inside. Maybe inside to outside. Too hard to figure on that I reckon. Not quite nature vs. nurture and probably not genetic vs. lifestyle. Maybe a permeation of attitude like a bad habit. Could it be a good habit, or is that oxymoronic?

Now we drop down again to our vision to the world. No not vision of the world. But better, something we truly can countenance. Our choice. Our purchase. (hey look up purchase such a great word) Excuse me I just sat here and did the biggist and bestist smile I could do. I forced but then it slapped me silly with happy. I surely do figure I can claim my purchase and countenance. I can make me happy with my face. “On the face of it he looked ready for anything”. He was prima facie tabula rasa so we had to guess at his countenance.

I went out back and dropped to a knee and honored my God of Love and Nature. I made neither request nor demand of my son who was kicking his soccer ball and scoring against a really good opponent – the imagination. But my countenance brought him to take a knee also. I wonder what the tensile strength of a father is under pressure of a hug from a child. Maybe we cannot countenance such a notion. (Tensile strength is another great word combination)

Can you kneel in writing and give countenance in humility? I think so. I think as you read you see my love of that which is more than me, a free gift of sorts I figure. (Figure is another great word. Check out figure or reckon “he was reckoning his arithmetic”.)

However You Are a Human


No fear
No fear | Source

Love and Compassion

And so I show my true colors here. The hopping from one concept to another as quickly as I blink. So it makes for an eclectic sermon. But it plays well for “sound bites”. Did you know that when you speak for news people you do not need to make any sense? In fact that might be bad. News people do not set forth a speech. News people take quotes. Quite often out of context. It is the one liners and everything must fit into a one liner. Check this out “I agree with everything he put forth however I think he is wrong on the issue of costs”. The headline reads “I think he is wrong”. If you put out press releases and do not understand this concept you are going to have problems.

So let us agree that our stature is important to others. We sometimes must wear our broken heart on our sleeve. We sometimes need to puff up to give confidence to others. And so we end up asking if our countenance effects our inner spiritual self. I would say for at least 45 years I have believed that my face can affect my heart. Perhaps more correct to say “effect” my heart. And right in that little concept lives the whole notion of countenance. “Affect”. I am a peace with putting my good foot forward. I hope you are too.

I truly hope that today and this week that your countenance brings joy and wellbeing to others.


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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      7 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lawrence I love how you broke that down. Puts a smile on my face. My bad lines are in my forehead. For some reason I "scrunch" it up when thinking hard.

      I was sitting in a busy public place just looking at faces one day. I noticed that some people have a permanent scowl even when clearly enjoying life at the moment. Grandma is right.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      7 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      If I got this right, you're saying it's 'likely' we only get things right about a third of the time right?

      Well, we sleep on average a third of our lives, that means we do nothing during that time. That leaves two thirds of it for activity. That means that when I'm awake I get it right 50% of the time I'm awake, that's something I can accept, I'll work on improving that, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it!

      As for the face, every time I frowned, my Grandma used to say, "Pull the face once too often, and it'll stay that way!"

      The amount of permanent frowns I see, I think some did do it once too often!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Frank you really are appreciated. Strong and steadfast and always a friend.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      9 months ago from Shelton

      again your sermons make me think of whats around me, I feel the words.. really I do

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Oh my, I have just missed my sangha not my practice. I do believe it was Buddha and Christ who proclaimed the quiet alone place to pray. But Paul and the Dalai Lama tell us to have community in worship.

      That so cool and awesome place of two or more of us is what I have missed.

      It is said that the best meditation is rest after a day of serving others.

    • manatita44 profile image


      9 months ago from london

      Oh, I didn't know you stopped! Actually it's not easy. I and we, for that matter, have give courses in several parts of the world and we meet many, who for various reasons, do stop: ten days, ten months, 10 years... people do stop.

      No one is pushing, but my experience and the Guru's advice is that continuity is far more meaningful and produces greater results. You may have heard me say this, but I have meditated day after day relentlessly, for 36 years without fail. But again, nothing can be achieved without Grace. It is all Grace, 100% Grace.

      Your pardon here, but let me add that the shrine is useful. Every Sri Chinmoy Disciple has a shrine (alter, for some) Rise in the morning and go straight to it before anything else. Spend 10 - 15 minutes. It's a good start. If you need ideas then write to me. Much Love.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      My energy soul goes to our Tina. That which I know so shall she know. Bonded in meditation and cultivated in love. If she desires I shall be her carrot growing strong in God's earth.

      Mr. Hutchison I will soon go back to my studies with Sri Chanmoy. I miss them but they are in my heart.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Kari what a wonderful comment. Give me a seat on your ship. But let me tell you an ethnic deal. I was giving a translated speech in Quang Tran software city. Maybe 400 folks. I pushed the mike aside, and I asked if they could hear me -yes they could. (an old trick if you know the acoustics. Christ did it on some mount)

      The first question was "why are you laughing and smiling?" I told her I was a victor and not a victim, and what was she?

    • manatita44 profile image


      9 months ago from london

      I like the way you sum it up, Bro. No stranger to you, as I figure you like to test the waters, so to speak and come to the point at the end, but this ending was quite meaningful for me.

      It really is a lesson in giving and our countenance is a way of doing this, while being careful that we do not do the opposite; have a different effect. Nice Hub!

      Note: Tina is in serious meditation and chanting these days. Om Shanti!!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Linda, my boy and I just did my "nap". I snored. He jumped on my head with a pillow. Instead of sleep we countenanced laughing and giggling. I am quite certain I am more refreshed by him holding my eyelashes open that sleep.

      Hmmm what shall I cook!?

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Harish, it is always so good to hear from you. My elder daughter told me to "conclude". I wonder if I can.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      9 months ago from Ohio

      I was raised to keep my feelings to myself and to show happiness to the world. It seems I cannot undo this training. I agree that putting a smile on your face makes you happier. It also makes others happier. I think my countenance has an affect on my inner self.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, I loved this statement - " Let us assume that our life is perfect to begin with and then we spend 70 years undoing that perfectness. " Oh, my is that ever true! Does our outward appearance affect our inner feelings? That's really something to think about today, and I will. Thanks for another loving sermon.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 

      9 months ago from New Delhi , India

      Love reading this sermon. Eric, you dwelt with ' countenance ' at great length. Of course, our countenance influnces others around us.

      Does 'countenance' make our personality ? With each sermon, you take us to the inner journey. A very thought provoking sermon.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      That dang thing we call love keeps me square. (is that a word anymore?)

      Please do not burst my bubble en lingua.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great word, great sermon, great guy! The trifecta!


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