Monday, November 18, 2019

Seek the Light




Seek the Light

The descent to the underworld is a motif about life.  Readers find these in Greek, Jewish, Slavic, Hindu, Chinese, and Japanese mythology.  These stories are the folklore of all peoples.  The descent is usually made to rescue someone who is either abducted, or rightfully dead.  It’s all done to find the answer to a question, discover a secret, or to seize some treasure.  The rallying cry that believers must heed is don’t wait for a hero rescue you.  Try to be always safe, live wisely, and do what’s right in the sight of God.  Waiting until you’re in a dark and bottomless pit isn’t the best thing to happen.  It’s wise to stay away from dark and gloomy places.  So why don’t you seek the light?

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

God's Attributes



God has extraordinary attributes and with his saints there’s extreme joy.  It’s so because they are always striving for perfection.  Happiness from God is like a flame enlightening our lives.  This ideal is to be found in the working of the Holy Spirit.  This is a great gift symbolic of his transcendent glory.  God’s image is beyond all created wisdom as the Creator and Father of Lights.  He’s the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

God’s attributes were noted by Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), a founding father of the United States, who wrote, “A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.”  It’s the Holy Spirit who provides this food and fire to believers.

Perfect Bliss

With God there’s perfect bliss.  Christians expect eternal rest after leaving this earthly domain.  We’ll praise him without ceasing.  Hunger and thirst will be no more, for we’ll be recipients of his precious gifts.  Believers walking in the spirit are fearless.  We’ll eventually discover the full nature of our amazing lives.  Christians will demonstrate this willingness by what they do.

Believers are known for having a steadfast spirit.  Our experiences continue to deepen when we walk as spirit-filled evangelists.  A mythologist and lecturer in Comparative Religions, Joseph Campbell (1904–1987) wrote, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were walls.”  Campbell captured the essence of our earthly journey where nothing is impossible with God.

Sight of Excellency

God’s wisdom is indescribable and known for infinite grace.  Believers walking in his footsteps often demonstrate an apostolic spirit.  It’s one of harmony revealed with the fire at Pentecost when there was a religious awakening.  Christians create trails like those envisioned by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), an essayist and poet who said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

God’s Goodness

Contemplating God is remarkable for people experience his goodness, and mercy.  This power is found in God’s boundless love.  He’s the fountain of goodness that tends the wounded before believers are able to recognize them.  As Christians it’s good to witness about God’s character, for this is a weapon used when believers fellowship with unbelievers.  God’s resurrected power was for all to see in the Risen Christ.

In our pastoral outreach let us show love for other souls.  Be industrious for that’s what God expects of us.  With the anointing of the Holy Spirit people are enlightened to walk in his ways.  Our approach to Christianity has to be Christ-o-centric.  His followers have to be obedient like true disciples.  Booker T. Washington (18561915), an African American educator wrote, “Character is power.”  Inevitably, faith-filled lives would best exemplify the character of Christians.  God’s goodness and mercy will shine through his believers in amazing ways.     

Friday, November 8, 2019

A Good Life




A Good Life

When people talk about being comfortable do they mean being in Comfort Inns, having improved home efficiency, using a hybrid bike shopper, and being served by others?  Or do they wish to retire financially comfortable having at their disposal an adjustable chair, and a water furnace geo-thermal unit?  These might be part of your plan of having a good life when you’re able to watch multiple TV channels via satellite or cable.  But are you really satisfied with such comfort?  You might say add my favorite drinks of wine, beer, and liquor.  Aren’t you sure that you would still be lacking what’s essential for a healthy lifestyle?  Your friends might advise you to do an exercise program, and try to be healthy.  But it’s essential you take a good look at your spiritual life.  For behind all comforts care should be taken in your spiritual growth.  You must remember that God, Brahman, Allah, or Dao is the provider of every comfort.


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Native Americans




Native Americans

The first Americans have the distinction of being a people of diversity.  They consisted of more than 500 tribes ranging from the Arctic Circle across the Great Plains to the Eastern Seaboard and known as the Lakota, Cherokee, Navajo, Haida, and other groups.  In the Northeast alone, there were dozens of tribes originating from three main mother groups – Algonquian, Iroquoian, or Siouan.  Around 12,000 to 20,000 years ago Indians came to the Western Hemisphere after having crossed the Bering Strait ice bridge that linked Asia to the Americas.  So, Native Americans are indigenous to the Americas.

The Indians displayed vibrant languages, cultural forms, and their political empowerment varied between tribes.  Some tribes boasted a sophisticated clan system with unique spiritual traditions, music, songs and chants.  Not all adopted to the horse as a primary tool of hunting, but they fished - catching salmon, trout, and sturgeon; farmed - raising indigenous plants, roots, berries, and nuts; hunted – catching deer, elk, bison, antelope, moose, and even caribou; inventing agricultural methods with flourishing crops of corn (maize), beans, and squash.

Tribal architecture flourished.  They made ceramics from clay tempered with sand, potted ceremonial objects, rugs, jewelry, bead works, and baskets of all sorts.  Their trading networks were spread across the whole American continent, and their sovereign authority was invested in cultural and linguistic patterns.

The American Dream

In their own way the Native Americans were living the American dream.  Marco Rubio (b. 1971), a senator from Florida said, “The American Dream is a term that is often used but also often misunderstood.  It isn’t really about becoming rich and famous.  It is about things much simpler and more fundamental than that.”  Early Indian tribes exemplified what the American dream was all about by having a diverse culture blessed with simplicity.  Billy Graham (19182018), an evangelical Christian evangelist wrote, “The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”  Our first Americans exemplified this legacy and faith while living off the land.

Joe Baca (b. 1947), a U.S. representative in California said, “Native Americans are the original inhabitants of the land that now constitutes the United States.  They have helped developed the fundamental principles of freedom of speech and separation of powers that form the foundation of the United States government.”   These first Americans were instrumental in proposing fundamental ways of governing by how they were living.

A Legacy Impacted

European diseases – small pox, measles and influenza devastated many Native American communities.  These natives became victims of brutal massacres, murder, and rape that dampened the American spirit.  Native Indians though continued to have rights, and the American government had no authority on Indian land without an act of Congress.  The 19th century witnessed the impounding of Indians to reservations.  Philipp Meyer (b. 1974), an American fiction writer wrote, “When you start to look at the native American history, you realize that very far from being peaceful, morally superior people, Native Americans were not that different from the Europeans.”  Meyer must have been thinking about the atrocities and broken promises committed by America on the American Indians.  Alberto Gonzales (b. 1955), an attorney general of the United States wrote, “I will be the first to admit I am not perfect and I make mistakes.”  The Europeans who settled America were imperfect men and women, and although some critics felt their actions against the American Indians were motivated by power, greed, and religious zeal they surely committed big mistakes.  Despite these atrocities the American Indian culture still exists, and adds to the spiritual richness of the nation.             

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Earthly Paradise





People are on an earthly journey.  They hope that eventually they will be in paradise.  There they will discover immortality, perfect beauty, and the truth about life.  Many believers see this place as heaven.  In anticipation of this reality they talk about experiencing heaven on earth.  Some refer to this place as the original Garden of Eden that once existed in the Middle East.  This garden described in the Book of Genesis was destroyed by the Fall of Man.

The Earthly Paradise (1868–1870) is a four-volume collection of narrative poems written by William Morris.  Its prologue described the flight of a band of Norse sailors in the Middle Ages from the Black Death, and their search for this glorious place.  But isn’t heaven more than an earthly paradise? Whatever it truly is people are unable to comprehend.    

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Ethics for the New Milennium




The Dalai Lama’s Ethics for the New Millennium is rather compelling to read.  This book’s central theme is based on the virtues of compassion, love, patience, forgiveness, and humility among others.  He traces his life’s journey from Tibet to his home-in-exile India, travels, lectures, and observations about life.  The Dalai Lama keeps reminding readers that although he is the spiritual leader of Tibet he is still a human being like all of us.

He discusses what it means to be like children, adolescents, adults, professionals, and senior citizens.  Often the Dalai Lama encourages us to live up to our responsibility of being decent human beings.  It is for us to have disciplined lives, to love our neighbors, help the poor and underprivileged, and strive for the betterment of humanity.  That’s why it is best to practice restrain by working on doing no harm to others.

There are many things people could do to propagate peace in their lives.  They ought to live in harmony with their families, neighbors, community, nation, and the world.  According to the Dalai Lama people don’t have to be religious to do such things.  A great deal of what we do should come from our heart.  This is so because he believes that our basic goal in life is to be happy.  This same happiness people should want for all others, including their family, neighbors, and even their enemies.

Concerning world peace the Dalai Lama wasn’t happy about those who work in building arms of mass destruction.  He thinks that this is a waste of resources that could be spent more wisely.  Yet he was hopeful that the major powers of the world cut back on their arsenals and find peace.  This he realizes isn’t exactly easy because many professionals make their living through the military industrial complex.  But he was hopeful that some international organizations like UNESCO could be more effective.  Although the Dalai Lama realizes that members of the public don’t have a voice in this organization.

The Dalai Lama is for supporting efforts for the existence of a clean environment.  He reminisced about what it was like growing up in Tibet amidst an abundance of wildlife - animals, birds, and other species.  He deplores the deforestation of lands, pollution, and the hazards caused by the use of chemicals.  He therefore hopes that all these problems would be solved by people playing their rightful part in society.  And Dalai Lama believes that everyone – people of all classes, rich and poor, professionals, politicians, scientists, and entrepreneurs should live compassionately by upholding the virtues in building sustainable communities, nations, and the world.     
   
     

Thursday, October 31, 2019

My Spiritual Journey




The Dalai Lama’s My Spiritual Journey presents this Buddhist’s life with extraordinary love, compassion and foresight.  It’s amazing to understand how at age two as a child he was discovered through established traditional norms to be the spiritual leader of Tibet.  Raised in a monastery under a regent the 14th Dalai Lama assumed his responsibility at the age of sixteen when the Chinese first invaded his ancestral home.

After failed negotiations with the People’s Republic of China the Dalai Lama escaped via the Himalayas Mountains to India.  While in Indian Territory with some eighty thousand refugees they re-established Tibet as a refugee nation under the auspices of the Indian government.  From their external home in Dharamsala the Dalai Lama persevered in an ongoing campaign with the Chinese officials for Tibet to be returned to Tibetans as an independent country.

All these negotiations failed although the Dalai Lama spelled out a Five-Point Peace Plan and had even agreed to drop its demands of an independence homeland to that of having a truly authentic and autonomous state.  But the People’s Republic of China viewed the Tibet-in-exile government with suspicion, and thought that their sole intention was to gain independence for Tibet.

Since the 1950’s to the early 2000’s Chinese brutality has continued with thousands of Tibetans losing their lives, wounded, and imprisoned.  Many Tibetans have continued to flee Tibet to neighboring countries, and died as they attempted to make their way via the Himalayas Mountains.  And China has relocated many more Han Chinese to the Tibetan region where they have now outnumbered Tibetans whose culture, language, and ecological means of living have been decimated.
But Tenzin Gyasto, Tibet’s spiritual leader has continued his campaign for their homeland.  As head of their government-in-exile he has received multiple awards and honorary degrees, including the Congressional Gold Medal and Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his message of peace, nonviolence, interreligious understanding and compassion.