bless the beasts and the children

Another installment: thinking of the world we are leaving our children and the children of the future. We are on the cusp of the next great extinction event caused by climate change. Climate change cause by humanities overwhelming impact on the environment and the planet on which we call home. Our children should not be the ones to warn us yet that is what is happening. We adults have shrugged off our responsibility and now our children are crying out for help. What are we doing to provide light during these dark times? What are we doing to keep them safe? How long will we pat our children on the head and offer our empty comforting words? Or, will we continue to write pretty songs to placate and humor the need instead of meet the need? It’s not enough to say, “It’s just too hard. At least the world won’t end while I’m alive. We’ll let someone else figure it out.”

When will we say, “…NOW is the favorable time. NOW is the day of salvation”(*) for our children?

* II Corinthians 6:2

… on… hate….

messages-from-the-future-22-evn-smlr
Being a citizen of the United States Of America the past 8 months have been excruciatingly difficult to endure.  We have a President (along with other White House leadership) with no self-control, no discretion, no discipline, no compassion and no love who continues to emotionally/psychologically abuse, harass and harm the very people he is supposed to lead.  Never has so much damage been done in and to the office of President of the United States than has occurred under Donald Trump.  It will only go to deepen the cynicism and distrust that people have for politicians.  I think the notion of a politician being a force for good is not even possible with the current leadership.  It has been depressing to daily and sometimes hourly see breaking news stories of how the President has, yet again, done something so outrageous and shocking that it is virtually unbelievable.  We are being forced to watch a reality media show that is seemingly never-ending.  And the media is focusing on the sensational.  Now I have no great love for the media and that is about the only thing Donald Trump and I have in common.  Our reasons for disliking the media are completely different.  I would like to see more investigative journalism and less sensational journalism.  Trump just decries anything he doesn’t like as “fake news”.  But it’s NOT fake news it is the reality we live in.

This past weekend we saw many developments in the United States.  The rise of racism, talks of secession, hatred for all things non-white.  And in the past few months we’ve been seeing the increased likelihood of nuclear war with North Korea, Venezuela, and a trade war with China.  Sure with all this “madness” it would be easy to throw in the towel and say it is WAY bigger than anything I can have any power over or change.  But I’m not ready to do that.  Now more than ever we need to be strong.

We do need to look at both sides of a story but we also need to address and stand up to those values and positions that would harm others or enslave them for ones own enrichment.  For example: The American Constitution has a provision for free speech and lawful assembly.  These laws apply to ALL people – even people who believe differently from me. So for neo-nazis, white supremacists etc; we must acknowledge they have the right to protected free speech (we just don’t have to like it).  Just like people who oppose them have the right to protected free speech.  Now I know a lot of people are going to be uncomfortable with that notion. But as a follower of Jesus Christ I am a FIRM believer in what he taught about loving ones enemies (I’ll explain more on that later). It’s just that in these troubled times it is difficult to STOP, take a moment, consider, weigh ones reactions before making those reactions public.  But that is exactly what we must do.  I do not love Donald Trump’s policies I specifically hate his approach to what should be collaborative, positive working relationships.  I hate his non-stop “twittering”.  But I do NOT wish him dead.  I hate now Trump and many in the white house continues to hold his business interests (even if they are in his children’s names – who are his official presidential advisors and aides) creating conflicts of interest. I cannot hate a man who is misguided, foolish, delusional and emotionally unstable.  I can honestly say I’ve had to think about this long and hard.  The past 8 months have shown me that we all have the capacity for hatred but we do not all act on that.  I understand why people may think that the only way to solve this crisis we face in America is to kill or assassinate Donald Trump.  I understand because I felt myself slipping into the same hate for hate thinking and had to stop myself.  I pray to God that Donald Trump is not assassinated.  Here’s why.  I don’t have any confidence in the Vice President that would take his place.  And killing Donald Trump would only give the alt-right extremists the martyr they’d love to have – which they would use to justify further violence.  On top of that as a Christian I am against the death penalty for anyone because I believe that just as God gives life he also takes it away it is not up to man take life away.  And anyone who behaves abominably should have the opportunity to change or, to use an archaic term, repent.  If they are killed we are depriving them of that opportunity.  So death is NOT the answer.  But Donald Trump should be impeached and that needs to happen ASAP (in my opinion).  I seriously doubt that Trump will survive to the end of his first term.

Sadly America can only blame itself for creating AND electing Donald Trump the tyrant. No one should be surprised by what he is doing.  He used the same tactics in his reality TV shows.  People who have participated in his shows “THE APPRENTICE” and “CELEBRITY APPRENTICE” have noted how Trump would pit people against each other, he would harass and harangue people to create and build drama in the show.  He is a victim of his own celebrity – believing in a false value of self.  Unfortunately, we can see that what works on television isn’t what works as a world leader.  He has also gotten support from an “Evangelical Right” that uses scripture to justify and encourage Donald Trump giving him a false moral justification for all he does.  This same type of Evangelical movement that uses the Christian Bible to justify white supremacy also supported Hitler and The Third Reich (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Evangelical_Church).   I also think it may be time to do away with the electoral college.  There was a time when the electoral college had value.  But in the internet age the electoral college is an archaic institution that can only do more harm than good.  It is time to elect leaders only by popular vote.

Now about love.  It may seem odd and unlikely to read about love in this type of post.  I think it is necessary to bring the needed balance and provide level-headed options to the discussion.   Please consider this; how do we love a tyrant, a despot, an oligarch, a hate-filled man? We CANNOT react in the ways he reacts.  We can find ways to slow down the discussion allowing time for all parties to think about their positions.  We can act respectful to them without agreeing with them.  We can seek to remove them from their position for their own good.  Donald Trump is clearly over his head and he is being battered on all sides continually and that would be enough to make anyone crack.  The kindest thing we can do for America is also the kindest thing we can do for Donald Trump.  Impeach him.  Remove him from the position that is causing him so much distress.  And wish him well as he leaves.  Now I’ll be the first to admit this is easier to type than actually practice.  Love is not some easy fluffy romantic notion – it is something we have to work at.

One of the benefits of writing this is that it also reaffirms what I believe and helps give me the strength I need to practice what I “preach”.  I cannot hate Donald Trump I can only hate the carnage he has created while in office.  I do not believe there are evil people only evil actions.  And I choose to not act evil or out of malice toward my fellow Americans, or any living beings.  And if I do act evil (because I am human and have occasional weakness) it is a weakness that I quickly seek to remedy.

Matthew 4:43-45 (NIV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Feel free to agree or disagree on any and all points.  That’s why it’s called free speech.  We can disagree and still be respectful.

***If you think more people should see this post – feel free to re-post.

… on… syria….

2012 Syria's Blood Soaked Walls

Syria’s Blood Soaked Walls

Probably like most people, the desperate situation in Syria that has been going on for several years sickens me.  I am so disgusted with the politicians playing with innocent peoples lives.  But is there hope?

I love this song and video by Maher Zain. It’s filled with powerful images and allegory. Enjoy. Will love prevail through you and me?

* if you purchase this song from iTunes – all proceeds go to Syrian humanitarian relief work. Help The Syrian People: http://humanappeal.org.uk

Your Weekend Gift ~ If You Want It

Peace of mind. 3 words just loaded with meaning when joined together as an idea. They suggests not only mental but also spiritual and physical states of existence. It is, [sadly] too often, something longed for but seldom experienced. So how does one experience peace of mind? I think it is a gift that we need only receive to experience. Can you receive it? Can I? Do we need help receiving it? One of the beautiful things about peace of mind is that it doesn’t remove us from life’s difficulties but gives us a way to deal with difficulties that is both positive and beneficial not only for ourselves but others. So for those who want to escape life’s difficulties – I’m sorry peace of mind will not provide escape. But it will allow you to perceive life struggles as if they were moving in slow motion giving you time to respond effectively. Peace of mind is natural state of existence that, in this day and age, is constantly under attack from exterior forces – often created by ourselves. We tend to blame others and don’t take responsibility for how we have had a part in creating this noise that disrupts our natural state of being.

So, how do I achieve peace of mind? Here are some easy steps. Once the practice is established it doesn’t take long to receive this gift.

1. Stop – just stop what you are doing.

2. Find a quiet place that you enjoy being in. [I have several places I can go – even at work – if I need just a couple of minutes to reconnect to this gift.]

3. Sit. [close your eyes if needed] Focus on your breathing for a couple of minutes. Then…

4. Take responsibility and admit to yourself that you have also had a share in disrupting peace of mind – either for yourself or others.

5. Think about and see the things around your daily life that disrupt your peace of mind. It might be technology or other people – even family.

6. Letting go: Forgive yourself for how you have disrupted your own peace of mind and the peace of mind of others.Then forgive others for how they have disrupted your peace of mind.

7. Receive your peace of mind [you may have to verbalize it at first saying, “Thank you, I receive this peace of mind”]. Imagine how to carry it with you through out your day at work, with family, strangers and friends.

Some people may need help receiving peace of mind. Look for ways to help them receive and achieve peace of mind. Give them peace of mind. This will also help your own peace of mind. Give the gift of peace of mind. I give it to you. Right now. Can you receive it, and accepting it, be grateful?

Music often plays a role in my experience of peace of mind. The video is for one of my favorite Japanese artists Missa Johnuchi. Enjoy this song. I apologize, in advance, that I don’t have a translation for the Japanese lyrics. But again it’s the music itself that I find to be the very expression of peace of mind – like it’s title. [If any reader does have a translation of lyrics please post in your comment. Thanks.]

PEACE OF MIND by UNESCO Artist for Peace, musician/composer/conductor Missa Johnuchi

Go in peace.

Believe…you…live…

Believe that you are more than any given circumstances you find yourself in.

Rise up and live the “more” that is you within the circumstances.

The power is in living and realizing that “more” is not only knowing but

Being and acting on that being.