Wednesday, December 24, 2008
A teenager in a Hebrew culture was ostracized for being pregnant. 2000 years ago
Yet she carried on and gave birth to a baby in Bethlehem. That baby Jesus changed the world.
Remember them today and tomorrow and think about what that courage means.
Young Mary surely was an ordinary person doing extraordinary things in her own time.
In what way are you performing extraordinary tasks everyday?
God Bless your Christmas celebration.
The Christmas Story Luke 2:1-15
It’s a BOY!
Born in Bethlehem
Announced by Angels
Adored by Shepherds
He Came in Love to Be Love for all who believe. He came to serve and live among the ordinary people and teach them extraordinary ways of being and living. As he loved us he invites us to love him and live as he did with simplicity and humility.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Let us remember to not discriminate other people because they are different from us.
Let us remember peace and live with justice in our hearts amid a chaotic and violent world.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Non-violence is a learned skill and a lifelong commitment.
YOU can support peace by purchasing WHAT IS PEACE? shown in the video.
Become involved with someone else who is practicing non-violence.
Members of Benedictines for Peace make the following commitment:
I commit myself to take up a nonviolent way of living in a violent world as an expression of my monastic calling.
I commit myself to keep one day each week as a day of fast and prayer for peace.
I commit myself to learn more about the spirituality and practice of nonviolence.
You are invited to take the above pledge, too, and join us in spirit, prayer, and action as you are able.
God of Creation,
"Help us to achieve peace in our hearts, in our homes,
in our neighborhoods, and in our troubled world.
Let peace fill our lives
so that we may live in God's grace and love.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
YES WE DID have a VICTORY over past ways of doing and being.
It is now our challenge to keep up the momentum and BE the Change we need to be.
Name one thing YOU will do differently to promote justice and be peace in your community.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008
by Amitabh Pal
Nonviolent resistance is not only the morally superior choice. It is also twice as effective as the violent variety.
That's the startling and reassuring discovery by Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth, who analyzed an astonishing 323 resistance campaigns from 1900 to 2006.
"Our findings show that major nonviolent campaigns have achieved success 53 percent of the time, compared with 26 percent for violent resistance campaigns," the authors note in the journal International Security. (The study is available as a PDF file at http://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/)
The result is not that surprising, once you listen to the researchers' reasoning.
"First, a campaign's commitment to nonviolent methods enhances its domestic and international legitimacy and encourages more broad-based participation in the resistance, which translates into increased pressure being brought to bear on the target," they state. "Second, whereas governments easily justify violent counterattacks against armed insurgents, regime violence against nonviolent movements is more likely to backfire against the regime."
In an interesting aside that has relevance for our times, the authors also write that, "Our study does not explicitly compare terrorism to nonviolent resistance, but our argument sheds light on why terrorism has been so unsuccessful."
To their credit, the authors don't gloss over nonviolent campaigns that haven't been successes. They give a clear-eyed assessment of the failure so far of the nonviolent movement in Burma, one of the three detailed case studies in the piece, along with East Timor and the Philippines.
In some sense, the authors have subjected to statistical analysis the notions of Gene Sharp, an influential Boston-based proponent of nonviolent change, someone they cite frequently in the footnotes. In his work, Sharp stresses the practical utility of nonviolence, de-emphasizing the moral aspects of it. He even asserts that for Gandhi, nonviolence was more of a pragmatic tool than a matter of principle, painting a picture that's at variance with much of Gandhian scholarship. In an interview with me in 2006, Sharp declared that he derives his precepts from Gandhi himself.
Gandhi's use of nonviolence "was pure pragmatism," Sharp told me. "At the end of his life, he defends himself. He was accused of holding on to nonviolent means because of his religious belief. He says no. He says, I presented this as a political means of action, and that's what I'm saying today. And it's a misrepresentation to say that I presented this as a purely religious approach. He was very upset about that."
One of the authors of the study, Maria Stephan, is at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. The group's founders wrote a related book a few years ago, "A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict." Erica Chenoweth is at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
This study is manna for those of us who believe in nonviolent resistance as a method of social change. We don't have to justify it on moral grounds any more. The reason is even simpler now: Nonviolence is much more successful.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
How will we know we have achieved it?
How can we know if it will last?
Consider the words of UN founder Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche:
Peace, to have meaning for many who have known only suffering in both peace and war, must be translated into bread, rice, shelter, health and education as well as freedom and human dignity.Are you prepared for that level of peace in your heart?
What will it take to bring that kind of peace to our world?
Which of the presidential candidates in the USA will be most likely to build leadership towards this kind of peace?
Thursday, September 11, 2008
It was a sunny day in Alabama on September 11, 2001.
No one wanted to be indoors watching the news.
But we were glued to the screens of computers and televisions and cell phones.
The Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger airplanes.
They crashed two planes into the Twin Towers in NYC.
We saw that happen over and over and over again on the news that day and for weeks afterwards.
A third plane flew into the Pentagon building in Virginia.
The fourth flight crashed in western Pennsylvania in spite of the efforts of passengers to regain control of the plane.
This was horror on a grande scale on American soil.
It ripped the soul of the nation.
It tore at hearts all around the world.
9/11 will always be remembered by those who lived it in 2001.
We will know where we were and what we did perhaps forever.
Remembering those who have fallen in this horrid terrorist attack and those who have suffered in the times since then as the stories snowballed across the land.
Praying today for all who suffer and who serve to prevent suffering.
There is no peace in the hearts of terrorists. For that I am filled with sorrow.
It disturbs my peace and fuels the fires of hatred among so many others with distraught hearts.
I pray for peace today in honor of all the caregivers who helped and who continue to help the victims and the rescuers. . . yes, and the rescuers who became victims.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Do you think about what it means to be a martyr?
EVER? Well it is time to. No matter what your religious beliefs are.
You have a history of martyrs, I imagine. Buddhist martyrs are in Myanmar these days in the news.
These martyrs are in China. They are Christian.
"The eyes of the world will soon be on the
Olympics. But the eyes of God remain on His children and especially those who
suffer for their faith. Despite what you may hear in the news, Chinese
Christians who refuse to register with the government controlled church are
being persecuted. Many have undergone horrific suffering. "
This information was updated from the site managed by The Voice of the Martyrs.
You can show your concern and/or support with prayer action and FREE prayer bands as the world prepares for the 2008 Olympics in China. I know I will not be present in China for the Olympics but I have been paying more attention to what is happening on that side of our planet in recent months.
I see cosmetic changes in preparation for the Olympics. I see what looks like "urban renewal" types of gloss over the undesirable elements of society and present what the world wants to see kinds of activity like the fancy topiary gardens, nice. I wonder how many homeless people were displaced for that land.
Were they Christian? Were they peaceful people? Will we learn from our mistakes? How will further protests be managed by the Chinese government? By the people? Time will tell.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Where did our food come from?
Do we trust this farmer?
Has the produce been handled properly?
Living Simply does contribute to peace full living.
I can think of few better reasons to BUY LOCAL and GO ORGANIC.
Go to your Local Farmer's Market this week and check it out.
Friday, July 04, 2008
Happy Fourth of July!
Independence is more than just doing what we want.
Remember the Founders of the
We Hold These Truths to Be Self Evident. . .
NOTES: Thanks for being a part of my team. Have a great weekend.
Grass Strangles Baby Penguins see video... nice scenery in Australia
My New Squidoo Lens on Bird-Watching
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Linking people to the land and the stars, solstice celebrations are often considered to be pagan. Certainly they have pagan roots, as we all do. It is a grand time to celebrate the season of summer and reflect on growth within ourselves and growth around us.
Christians celebrate the solstice too, particularly in agrarian societies. We plant seeds in soil and nurture them to provide us with food and sustenance. You do not have to be pagan to celebrate the solstice. God made Earth and sun and set our planet into orbit. The solstice is a day of special notice in the annual cycle of planetary movement.
Listen to the gifts of Creation all around you. Give thanks with a grateful heart that you are able to celebrate and appreciate God’s bounty. Be mindful of the slight changes in the wind and temperature. Notice life in abundance. Take time and pay special attention to how the day feels and notice the night as it comes around you. Cherish the moment and be thankful.
The Summer Solstice is an excellent time to pay attention to harmony and healing in your life. It is a time to nurture the seeds we have planted in our souls. What seeds in your spirit are coming to full season now? Are you mindful of the abundance of energy around you?
A Summer Solstice Prayer
God of Creation, let the light of
this Summer Solstice glow in our
hearts and homes.
Bless our hearts and
minds with creativity and fire our
We give thanks for gardens that nourish
We pray the fires of compassion and
creation will eliminate hunger and
poverty, war and hatred.
Let the light of the Solstice stir us to
enthusiastic and healing responses to all
Grant comfort where it is needed.
Grant peace to all of creation.
May we embrace the fire of God’s passion and allow the light
around us to become the light within us
As we share the love of God with all the people of creation.
The Christ of the Cosmos shines throughout all the
universe and we give thanks.
AMEN June, 2008, bydpb
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
How often we rally 'round the latest gossip of the day instead of
allowing ourselved to fully participate in the discussion or the thought
Too often do we see reporters and journalists presenting "sound bytes" or
tiny clips of trivia linked to celebrities instead of doing real
reporting or journalism. Instead of engaging disenfranchised guests and
LISTENING to them through the interview process.
Yes, the world will feel the loss of Tim Russert, even if they live
in a far away place that has never heard of him. I link this blog
title to Joan Chittister's post at NCR because she says more about him
and covers the issue really well, as always. Thanks, Joan for your insights
again. and again. and again.
Thanks Tim. Forever. Condolences to all of the family and all who mourn his death.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Open your hearts to the people who live there and their families who wait to hear from them.
Open your hearts to the rescuers who work long hours and days to relieve their suffering.
And then remember there are floods and earthquakes all across the world. Who thinks of China or Iceland in the course of everyday life? The people who live there. And we do even for a moment when a natural disaster happens.
Send them prayers of peace in their hearts as they struggle with rebuilding their lives.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Today just a short note.
Details are found at On and Off the Wall if you want to follow along.
Suffice it to say. My ears are much better than I ever imagined since the treatment at the Shea Clinic in Memphis. My hearing has more clarity and even tests out better on the audiology report. I acknowledge this is a PROCESS, not a one time fix-it.
But I also celebrate progress and the ability to think clearly for longer periods of time. I give thanks for this growing internal peace all day everyday.
When this began, there were no treatments available to remedy tinnitus. The prevailing thought was "Too bad, you'll just have to learn to live with it." And Live With It I did for a long time. Now the prevailing thought regarding treatment is to teach people HOW to live with it. And research is focussed on finding causes and cures.
Meanwhile, in Memphis, there stands a surgeon who seeks remedial action for patients now, not twenty years from now. And he has been treating people with success with these techniques for more than 15 years.
I am grateful. People ask me if I am resentful because all of this time I did not know about this procedure. No. I may wish it were different but I am not resentful. My life has been blessed in many ways despite the challenges of severe tinnitus. And perhaps the need to listen "through" the sound has helped me become who I am today with the courage to stand up and express what is important. Be Peace and Do Justice. Live Simply.
I thank God for the guidance and support I had to get me to and through the operations. Both ears are much improved. I need ask for nothing more.
You see, some of that peace has already been growing in a climate of noise and now it has the opportunity to blossom. I can only be thankful.
You might appreciate my newsletter on being thankful. Think Thanks.
An attitude of gratitude supports success.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
I have noticed that Walmart and Krogers and some other stores are now providing cloth reusable bags that are made of recycled plastic bottles. It take four PETE clear plastic bottles, like soda pop or water bottles to make the plastic fiber for one bag that is as durable as you can imagine... just don't pour a plastic solvent into it.
A friend of mine has a room with a plastic carpet made from recycled plastic bottles also.
The number 1 inside the triangle that shows it can be recycled is what tells you it is the kind that they can use for making fiber.
The number 2 kind of plastic recycles well into things like plastic lumber or decks or docks.
The other numbers are not as easily handled at this time.
Remember the basic principles of science still work here. . . and entropy sets in the further away from the source we go.
Matter is always becoming something else. But it cannot go backwards and become more complex than it was before once it has been melted down, so a drink bottle cannot become another drink bottle. It has to become something else.
Now GLASS is yet another story. But people talk less about it.
Monday, April 28, 2008
And the Russians give us a GREEN alert to capture our attention.
The planned site for the 2014 Olympics at Sochi is located very near sensitive ecosystems.
The locals are surprised at how quickly development is happening to "prepare" and/or beautify the area in time for the Olympics.
They are even more concerned that the extensive development will produce irreversible environmental damage in their sensitive locale.
Now THAT is worth celebrating. NOT that damage will occur. But that SOMEONE noticed and has begun to DO something to prevent it THIS FAR in ADVANCE!
It is April. So We are seeing more green news everywhere.
What I like about that is that it is a refreshing change from mayhem in the world around us.
It is a reminder that with each season we have a new call to notice new growth and assess how we impact the world around us.
The shortest path into the Universe is through a deep forest. ~John Muir~
Friday, April 25, 2008
God is so gracious. I am so grateful.
How can I be anything but peace in this world?
This clip is from last summer. But the story still "rings" true for the people of this world with ringing ears.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Fifty million Americans experience tinnitus... ringing in their ears. And the military has begun to notice more and more cases in soldiers returning from Iraq. It is one more toll the road bombs take and leave them with forever.
Put perhaps it is not forever. Researchers are actively creating new approaches to mitigate tinnitus and its sometimes debilitating effects on one's life.
I share a personal journey with tinnitus at a different blog Feel free to check it out and share it someone you know.
Here I want to share an occasional article on some of the factors involved with this very real and invisible condition which somtimes becomes a disability.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Holy Saturday and then
Each day has its own special emphasis in the historical journey of Jesus into Jerusalem on the days before he was crucified.
Each day calls us to reflect on what it means today to commune with each other, to share our hearts and minds, our souls and meals with each other. To serve and be served.
To face contempt with dignity and persecution with compassion.
To face crucifixion with forgiveness.
To grieve the absence and loss of your sacred loved one.
To be shocked with the stunning news of resurrection on Easter morning.
He is Risen.
He is Risen Indeed. Alleluia.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Is it one and the same?
Reflecting on the ills of our day. Of our souls. Of our bodies. Of our world.
Each and every facet requires healing.
For healing to happen. Reconciliation must happen. For that to happen.
We must first recognize the darkness within each and feel the awareness of how it touches our lives every day.
To allow reconciliation, we must first seek forgiveness.
Sometimes we feel it is too much for one person to bear... a life in this world.
The ailments of this world.
Then comes the recognition we are not alone.
Everyone of us is comprised of atoms and molecules.
Dirt and dust and spirit . . . cosmic dust.
Like animated stardust we come seeking the light of Easter Sunday
Awaiting the resurrected hope even before we have taken the steps to
forgive ourselves. . .
But if we feel unworthy of forgiveness, we need only recall that we are already forgiven.
Yes. Before we ever knew it.
Just accept the gift.
And the light follows.
We can move to a greener world. A safer place to live. A more peaceful way to live.
Lend your spirit to this season of Lent and find forgiveness here too.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Keeping pace with politicos these days...
since it is all connected to peace and how we shall continue to live our lives. . .
Lent is so early this year and the campaigns are so intense it is a real challenge to live with a sense of congruence.
Friday, February 08, 2008
It was about 3 AM at my house. The cat was driving me crazy. Mom was sleeping soundly.
The weather alert sounded off AGAIN. For about the 4th time that night. Good grief. Didn't it know I had to get up early to go to work in the morning??
This time it was LOCAL. This time it was clear when I popped out of bed and dashed to turn down the volume and tune in the station that we were in trouble.
Lightning like I have never seen before was EVERYWHERE. ALL the Time.
Bright enough that I could even see color!
The raging wind was indeed loud and seemed palpable. We have so many trains coming through our town that I could not tell if it was a train or if it was the wind.
It seemed like I could SEE and taste the wind. And yet, I stayed indoors.
We were fortunate, it did not land in our town. But in outlying areas ... wow.
Total tornado trashout.
A few hours later Mom saw spectacular lightning right at sunrise. It looked "as if" the thunder and lightning and heavy cloud cover smashed the sun back into the ground.
I missed that one. Wow.
What a way to enter into Lent the season of repentance and atonement!
Being reminded of the powers of nature and the fragile nature of our everyday living.
Today it is calm and I am resting at a nearby lake area.
Praying for those folks who were not as fortunate as we have been.
Maybe tomorrow I will be rested enough that I can help someone besides myself.
May your Lenten reflections be blessed.
It is clear which candidate I favor.
Between now and November perhaps I can help you understand why I do.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Our Nation needs real, progressive and POSITIVE transformation.
I believe Barack Obama is the candidate who gives us the best hope of uniting and inspiring the nation to move in that direction.
I believe he also has the ability to restore America's dignity and standing as a member of the global community.
Millions of people are going to the polls this Tuesday to pick our Democratic nominee.
I hope you'll join me in voting for Obama.
My personal wish is for a power-packed team with Obama as president and Hillary as VP
Now that is not impossible... other presidents have chosen their opponents as VP .
Please don;t give us another 4 years of Republicans or Clintons in the White House. '
Give us a break.
Give us Barack.
I respect your right to hold a different view than mine,
but I do want you to know this is a carefully chosen message that I write tonight.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Pay Attention to what your leaders are doing at all levels of government and society.
Pay Attention to more than celebrities and their pets or babies' names.
Pay Attention to what the presidential candidates have
done that MERITS more leadership responsibilities.
Pay Attention to what these candidates say they ARE doing
and WILL do to promote world peace and sustainability.
Pay Attention to their plans for reducing Global Climate Change.
If they have not told you yet, ASK.
In those everyday ways we can act for justice and make a difference.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Excerpted from "The Drum Major Instinct", a sermon by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968.
Indeed it is our lives and actions today that continue to MAKE a Difference.
===Let Peace Begin On Earth===
It was this experience with inner-city schools and the children who live there
This many years later.
I see some changes. I some improvements. I see some losses.
And yet... the hope for the future has not failed...
it simply requires more people working for peace
by living with hearts of justice and compassion.
One day at a time.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
These people did. Peace on earth begins with each person and when one thinks outside the box to solve a problem it helps all of us.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Michael Dowd's book is an exceptional leap to link science and religion at a time when the world continues to debate the issues of global warming and religious wars.
I agree with him when he says
"A sacred evolutionary worldview offers a way for people to make peace with
themselves, each other, and the planet, and no gift could be greater than that
If this book doesn't end the science and religion war, it's certainly a MAJOR step in the right direction! "
If you don't read it, at least watch the fantastic video trailer for the book! It is a short story of the universe. A very short story.
One path to peace is recognition of our oneness. This story expresses that well.
So, live well. Take action for peace and justice in your part of the world today.