Thursday, August 29, 2019

Thoughts & Prayers




Thoughts & Prayers

Often people hear believers say to those who are dealing with problems, “Know of our thoughts and prayers.”  These words go out when some family member or friend passes away.  At times our thinking is focused on helping the poor, destitute, and the homeless.  And people follow through by giving them charitable donations. Or, they may decide to help those with incurable diseases, viz., cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, or chronic renal failure.

But there are those natural disasters over which people have no control.  But do they?  Some religious people believe they do.  Hurricane Katrina (2005), Canterbury earthquake (2010), Christchurch earthquake (2011), Central Mexico earthquake (2017), and Hurricane Maria (2017) brought countless suffering and devastation to many households.  What about the massacres perpetuated by terrorists, viz., Columbine High School massacre (1999), Virginia Tech Shooting (2007), Norway attacks (2011), Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (2012), Paris attack (2015), Orlando Nightclub shooting (2016), Las Vegas shooting (2017), Christchurch Mosque shooting (2019)?  These tragic events were random acts at schools, and nightclubs.  Still believers lift up these victims, and their families in their thoughts and prayers.

People who sympathize with victims and families with these tragedies would also give charitable donations to relieve their suffering.  But it should be remembered that healing starts in our minds.  It’s what believers think that’s important.  Positive thoughts are a form of prayer.  Although it’s difficult to measure the effectiveness of such thoughts, still believers know in their hearts that thoughts and prayers are a source of healing.     

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Mass Media In 2025



Mass Media In 2025

Mass Media In 2025 by Erwin K. Thomas and Brown H. Carpenter was published by Greenwood Press.  This book looked at what the media industries, organizations, people, and nations envisioned by the year 2025.  Over the years there have been remarkable developments in print, electronic and social media.  There has also occurred an incredible revolution of media technologies, and social media.

The verdict about what the contributing authors did in their media predictions isn’t fully in.  But there have been some surprises in the industries of books, newspapers, magazines, radio, television, smart phones, and social media.  National and political coverage of events have witnessed the rise of fake news, and women and minorities making progress especially in the broadcasting industry.  Developing nations have benefited from the revolution in social media, and are now considered part of the Global Village.

Mass media’s coverage has intensified with its diversity, a 24-hour news cycle, and publications on-demand.  Audiences have been sold slick advertising, and public relations are flourishing.  Such developments have occurred in such cases because of bigger budgets, more efficient organizations, and mergers.  Corporate America has ushered in the rise of digital newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and video conferences.    

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Great Partnership




The Great Partnership
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ book on The Great Partnership presents readers with a predominantly Jewish perspective about the meaning of life.  Sacks makes a comparison between the thinking of Athens and that of Jerusalem.  He argues that philosophy and science although they have examined life’s burning questions weren’t able to answer them satisfactorily.  This is where Sacks sees the importance of embracing the religion of Abrahamic monotheism.  The writer explains that Judaism existed for over 4,000 years, and has influenced the Christian and Islamic faith traditions that constitute about half of the world’s believers.  This he points out is an extraordinary achievement especially when Jewish culture is such a minority of the world’s population.  Sacks said nations without God have failed, namely those during the Enlightenment, Soviet Union, Communist China, and North Korea.  He argues only Abrahamic monotheism has endured to influence the structures of democracies all over the world.  So Rabbi Sacks believes in having a new synthesis of religion and science, for societies to deal with the underlying problems of poverty, crime, ignorance, racism, consumerism, greed, and power.  This synthesis he argues would be best for the future direction of the world.           

Saturday, August 24, 2019

First, Do No Harm





First, Do No Harm
“Primum non nocere”
Is the Latin translation from the original Greek
For the oath, “First, do no harm.”
It’s the Hippocratic Oath that medical students take.
But it’s also the tenets enshrined
In the world religions of Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism

Doctors will undoubtedly do harm
When they attempt to treat patients
How could they not order CT scans, MRIs, mammograms,
Biopsies, vaccinations, and blood tests?
These procedures could have deleterious effects.
But doctors have to recommend these tests
Because the potential benefits outweigh the risks

But religious faith traditions like Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism
Are known to have principles of “non-violence”
To these faith traditions the concept of “do no harm”
Not only extends to all living organisms of God’s creation
But to “how and what people think, their words, and deeds.”
For these believers “thoughts are influential in our interactions with all creation.”

“Universal Spirit, help us to use good judgment as we endeavor to “do no harm.”
In cases that are complex give us insight for making correct decisions.  And help us to be wise in weighing the good of our actions against the risk of harm.”  
Amen
   

Monday, August 19, 2019

God's Creation




God’s Creation
How do believers make sense of God’s Creation?
God’s manifestations of the celestial sky, rotating earth, far-flung lands,
Mountains, rivers, animals, flora, and fauna
Grace us each day and night
But it’s through reason that believers consciously make sense of these phenomena.

Scientists note the facts of the setting and rising sun.
Believers experience the changes of the earth as it heats and cools.
That’s how people know about what to expect during the seasons of the year.
Science tells us of impending storms and natural disasters
Reasoning is a characteristic of human intelligence
That helps us to determine the facts of life

But it isn't only believers’ reason at work.
They have to rely on their intuition to make that leap
To fully understand  creation and  Divinity
This creative process leads to formal proof
And makes it possible to set goals, have beliefs, and attitudes
Based on human freedom and self-determination

Over centuries scientific research has evolved
And answered questions about beliefs in sacred books that were myths
So religious believers now understand why different cultures
Might have divergent beliefs on matters of faith and morality

“Eternal Spirit, help us in our reasoning to find the true nature of reality.  Guide us in our understanding to have better perspectives in interpreting the faith traditions of the world.”
Amen  

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Reflections on Living




Reflections on Living

Is Heaven For Real?
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.
Earthly Paradise is a four-volume collection of narrative poems written by William Morris (1868–1870).  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 heaven is more than an earthly paradise. Whatever it truly is our limited minds can’t begin to comprehend.    

Right Comforts in Perspective
When people talk about having right comfort do they mean being in Comfort Inns, improved home efficiency, using a hybrid bike shopper, and having the right service?  Or do they wish to retire financially comfortable, having at their convenience an adjustable chair, and a water furnace geo-thermal unit?  These might be part of your plan of the good life, and you’re able to watch multiple-TV channels both via satellite and cable.  But are you really satisfied with these comforts?  You might say add my heart’s desire of favorite drinks, wine, beer, and liquor.  Aren’t you sure though that you might still be lacking what’s essential for a healthy lifestyle?  Your friends could advise you to do an exercise program to be in good shape, and try developing physically.  It’s essential though that you take a good look at how you’re growing spiritually.  For behind all your earthly comforts, much care should be taken in selecting what you do in your spiritual life.  You should always remember that our heavenly Creator is the provider of all comforts, so be wise about them.

Descent to the Underworld
The descent to the underworld is a motif in many myths.  Readers find these in Greek, Jewish, Slavic, Hindu, Chinese, and Japanese mythology.  These stories are in 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 from the ruler of the underworld, or to seize some treasure.  The rallying cry that believers should heed is don’t wait for a hero or heroine to recapture you.  Be safe, live wisely, and do what’s right in the sight of God.  Waiting until you’re in a dark and bottomless pit, then realizing you’re in trouble, isn’t the best thing to do.  It’s better to stay away altogether from such a dark and gloomy place.

Enjoy Life!
Be a success in life! Don’t let disillusion get you down.  Some people act bizarrely at bad stages in their life because they are discontented.  It’s better and more fulfilling to work at being happy.  Take time to reflect on the good things that life has to offer.  Discover the richness in the arts.  Listen to uplifting music, and enjoy reading good poetry.  Remember to see the good-hearted gifts in people, and celebrate the joys of life.  Why don’t you fill your dreams with these pleasant reminiscences, and see the joys of the world unfold before your eyes?  Katori Hall (b. 1981), a playwright and journalist wrote, “Follow your intuition, listening to your dreams, and your inner voice to guide you.”

Be Happy
Carp Diem is a Latin aphorism that calls for people to live to the fullest right now.  “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die,” declared the Roman poet Horace.  But does life only consist of pleasurable pursuits?  There’s an essential goal that’s necessary to make people happy.  On a fall’s day people can take a stroll in the woods.  They could watch a powerful and life-affirming film.  Take a trip to some exquisite destination, or read a good book that warms their receptive hearts.  Still these joys might not satisfy their desire to be happy.  They could even breathe in the fresh air of the seaside.  Swim in the Atlantic Ocean, or go biking on the beach when the sun is shining brightly in the sky.  Still real happiness could escape them.  Why is this so?  It’s because they are only satisfying some emotional, physical, or intellectual needs.  But have they ever stopped to think what is lacking?  It could be that with all they are doing, there’s no balance in their life.  They could be neglecting their spirituality that’s because their souls are hungering for higher fulfillment.  This satisfaction only comes when they love knowing God.  Their happiness then becomes truly enlightened only after they have attained a perfect equilibrium.

Lost Saints
A poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1812–1861), who was more successful than her husband Robert Browning, wrote in Sonnet 43 about love without limits.  She addressed the “lost saints” this way, “With my lost saints – I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life! – and if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.”  These were saints Browning didn’t know.  It was an acknowledgement that some of these wonderful individuals as important as they were, people didn’t know.  They lived humbly doing good works, suffering patiently, and kept the faith.  Only God in heaven knows, who these men and women really are.  These are the incredible ones Browning loved so deeply.  Yes, we hear a lot about the saints, who are canonized in the Catholic Church, and are blessed to know them.  But what about those that are under the radar?  Are you listed among these?  Maybe you are, and don’t even know it.  You could be humble, self-effacing, but abundantly blessed.  Yes! You’re listed among those that Browning hopes to love better in death.

 Changed Lives
Unlike poet and novelist Thomas Hardy (1840–1928), the world isn’t just governed by “chance.”  And natural laws aren’t always hostile.  These aren’t necessarily indifferent to human lives.  Do people get what they deserve?  Some persons think so.  They might say it’s all about karma.  And what goes around comes around.  Others could be simply indifferent concerning the needs of their neighbors.  They find explanations of events with coincidences, view these incidents as the bleakness of nature, and are pessimistic.  But it’s always better to be positive.  When people look on the bright side of life, and serve their community they are able to find peace.  It’s through this special kind of love that lives are changed for the better.                
           

   

Friday, August 16, 2019

Guyana's Seawall Girl




Guyana's Seawall Girl

This biographical novel Guyana’s Seawall Girl paints a picture of love that triumphant for three Guyanese nationals.  In the 1950's to 1980's this story occurs against the backdrop of the Republic of Guyana, the West Indian Islands, and America.  It tells about Kevin Thompson and his relationship with two women.  One was Gwen Philips, who was on a roller coaster ride.  She has had affairs with different men, notably a professor at the University of Guyana (UG), and with Kevin. 

Kevin, who was a teacher with Gwen at St. Cyril’s Anglican School in Georgetown was fascinated by her charm and intelligence.  Buffeted by local political and cultural intrigues their relationship was unsettling and unpredictable.  But Kevin was soon drawn by educational opportunities to study mass communications in the United States, and Gwen was left behind in Guyana.  While in America he had an affair with Susan, a British blonde, and found their relationship going nowhere.  In the 1960's and early 1970's, while at school in Oregon, New York, and Missouri pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees he was caught up in America’s social, and cultural revolution.  He however never forgot Gwen with whom he had a sexual encounter on May 26th, 1966 on Guyana’s Independence Day celebrations near the seawall.

This seawall meant to be symbolic of life in the novel prevents the Atlantic Ocean from flooding the low-lying coastland of the East Coast.   Kevin wished to do right with Gwen, although while pursuing studies in America he married Lynn, a white American of Irish heritage.  Unknown to her he continues writing Gwen whom he would see during trips to the region.  Kevin though never stopped loving Gwen.  Eventually he taught at three universities, had an American family, but couldn’t forget about her although married to Lynn.  Meanwhile Gwen became involved in a relationship with UG’s Professor Harry, who refused to leave his wife.  With these heart-aches she was persistent, struggled over Kevin’s love, and was troubled by Professor Harry’s advances. But with all these problems she was still able to continue teaching at St. Cyril’s, and completed an undergraduate degree in languages at UG.

Gwen, who lived under the watchful eyes of her parents, with Billy and Nora as their mutual friends, determination paid off after she left Guyana’s shores to further her studies in America.  While in the United States she visited Kevin and Lynn in Virginia Beach, attended Boston University, and eventually earned a doctorate in linguistics at the University of Washington, Seattle.  It was while living in Seattle she met and married an American naval officer, had a child of her own, and presently lives happily with her family in Washington.                   

Trusting God




Trusting God

So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”  Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.  Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”  So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Gal 3:6-9 


God is always at work in our lives.  Situations come and go, but God directs our paths.  Joel Osteen (b. 1963), pastor and televangelist said, “I believe if you keep your faith, you keep your trust, you keep the right attitude, if youre grateful, youll see God open up new doors.”  Jeremiah 11:1-5 urges us to obey the terms of Gods covenant and be his people.  Of this nature is the love of God.  1 Peter 2:1-5 tells us to rid ourselves of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander.  For those who have tasted the Lord is good.  On the theme of love, Desmond Tutu (b. 1931), a retired South African Anglican bishop and social rights activist reminded us: “You dont choose your family.  They are Gods gift to you, as you are to them.”  We therefore have to accept not some, but all of our family members, even when it seems they have problems. 

Gods View of Us

God loves us all.  In the world some give the impression that they have a special place with him.  These individuals could be self-righteous.  Albert Einstein (18791955), a German-born theoretical physicist wrote, “Before God we are equally wise and equally foolish.”   But we could enhance who we are if we heed the advice of Voltaire (16941778), French Enlightenment writer, who said: “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.”

It ought to be remembered that our talent is God’s gift to us.  We have to recognize God is wiser than humans, and his weakness is stronger than ours (1 Cor 1:25-26).  Thats why believers should speak the Word of God with the strength he provides (1 Pet 4:11-12), and they will be blessed. 

Be a Blessing

The Lord is always with us and we should have no fear (Isa 41:10).  Its him who gives us strength and power (Isa 40:28-31).  Joel Osteen said, “When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are always blessed in abundance.”  But should believers pursue these blessings?  Saint Teresa of Calcutta (19101997), an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun wrote, “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is in the friend of silence.  See how nature trees, flowers, grass grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence … we need silence to be able to touch souls.”  Trusting and loving God is a process that takes time.  The Word of God is right, true, and faithful (Ps 33:4-6).  With dedication to Gods Word believers could say like Joyce Meyer (b. 1943), a Christian author and speaker: “I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be.”           

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Marriage of Compatibility




Marriage of Compatibility
Nature is “consistent” and “inconsistent.”
That’s the way of the Laws of Nature.
So when it comes to the Law of Attraction it’s just the same.

People say, “Opposites attract.”
That’s “true” and “false.”
With sub-atomic particles of “positive Protons”
And “negative Neutrons” that’s always true
Believers have heard of Christians inter-marrying believers from other faith traditions –
Jews, Chinese, Japanese, Africans, Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims
Whites marry Blacks, Blacks marry Asians, and Asians marry Native Americans
Many such unions are successful and last for a life time.

People also say, “Like attracts like.”
Again we hear of Christians inter-marrying believers of the same sex.
We live at a time when LGBTQ+ has gained national prominence.
Males marry males, females marry females, and bisexuals marry bisexuals
Many of these individuals are from different faith traditions or may be non-believers

Believers might ask the question, “Why is it that life is manifesting itself this way?”
But the truth is that all of life manifests itself in “predictable and unpredictable ways.”
The Universal Spirit is at work when “males marry females” and “believers marry non-believers.”

“Supreme Spirit, God, or gods, grant us the insight to understand the diversity of your manifestations.  Let us see that ‘positives don’t always attract negatives’ and vice versa.  But in your mercy you have shown us that believers marry because of their compatibility.”
Amen     

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Therapy Pet




A Therapy Pet
A therapy pet can be one of a number of animals –
Dogs, cats, llamas, miniature pigs, mini-horses, or birds
But many people choose dogs.
Dogs could be emotional support dogs,
Therapy dogs, and certified service dogs

But why are these dogs necessary?
Many people attest to the benefits of having such pets.
Because they lift their mood, relieve stress,
And help them recover from health problems
While in hospitals and mental institutions

Classrooms are also a good place for such dogs
Students benefit during physical exercise
Interactions with such dogs lower blood pressure
And having dogs around are stimulating
For they also assist patients and students with pain management.

But there’s a difference between a “therapy dog” and “service dog.”
A therapy dogs helps their clients physically and emotionally,
While a service dog helps people perform tasks
That they are unable to do themselves.

God, help us to use the pets of your creation in beneficial ways.  Teach us the best ways to use such animals as a service to mankind.  And help us to treat these pets with love and compassion for the work they do for us.”
Amen  


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Triumphant Church




The Triumphant Church

The triumphant church is glorious, and offers holiness for all to enjoy.  It’s a blessed and glorious company of Christians that celebrate sacredness.  These believers come to know and experience what dwelling in the Creator’s presence really means.  Many are saints in glory who know God’s exceeding greatness and grace.  To them the fire of Pentecost still burns brightly.  Saint Basil (330379 AD), bishop of Caesarea said, “A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds.  A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”  In fellowship believers interact and touch each other’s hearts giving wings to love.

Heavenly Inhabitants

In Christianity angels are blessed spirits and are a crucial part of the Universal Church.  Believers are rejuvenated when they rest on the Sabbath from their labors.  They seek spiritual companionship not only on Sundays when worshiping, but throughout the week serving their fellowmen and women.  By so doing, they show to the world a spirit as evangelists of the faith.  As heavenly inhabitants believers are blessed with the spirit of harmony.  Jim Sturgess (b. 1978), an English actor and song-writer wrote, “Love is such a powerful subject matter because it comes in so many different shapes and sizes.  It’s about timing, fate, failure, redemption.”  Sturgess shared with us love in all its dimensions that all are free to have through God’s goodness.  This kind of love radically transforms people’s lives.

Praising God

Christians always praise God for his benevolence and merciful ways.  He’s known for glorious works that dominate our lives and the environment.  They praise God’s goodness to mankind, and with a contemplative spirit give thanks for their blessings.  Anointed with generosity in the spirit  words of praise flow forth from them.  These words express how they feel about God.  Their spiritual experiences are lofty, and might well be coming from angels who perpetually praise God.

Charles E. Wilson (18901961), the tenth president of General Motors said, “For more than 150 years free men in our countries have had the opportunities to educate themselves, choose their own religions, select their own occupations, accumulate capital and invent better ways of doing things.”  A better way is also to pray to God when seeking guidance.

Pure Holiness

Visions of pure holiness are spectacular.  To humans, these are lovely and give their hearts an exalted feeling.  This is when believers reach for the Son of righteousness for what is infinitely pure, lovely, and beautiful.  Here, such people are blessed with spiritual mercies, and food for Enlightenment.  Once capturing such gifts they become enlivened like the spirit of an apostle.

Suze Orman (b. 1951), an author, financial adviser, and motivational speaker wrote, “True generosity is an offering; give freely and out of pure love.  No string attached.  No expectations.  Time and love are the most valuable possessions you can share.”  In the Church triumphant it’s all about love.  It’s for believers to pursue ways of changing people’s lives.  It’s the goal to set a trail in motion of such goodness, kindness, and caring that impact lives for the better.                

Monday, August 12, 2019

Concepts of Afterlife



Concepts of Afterlife

In World Religions and Beliefs concepts of the Afterlife
 Are confusing and shrouded in mystery 
Different faith traditions have beliefs that range
From bodily resurrection, the survival of the soul, judgment,  
Merging of consciousness, heaven and hell,
Reincarnation to animals, insects, and plants;
Moksha, or salvation in Hinduism, Enlightenment and nirvana in Buddhism. 

The Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Profess beliefs in the resurrection, judgment, heaven, and hell;
While the Indian religions - Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism
Believe in karma (good or bad actions),
Some form of rebirth, or transmigration
Based on the Samara doctrine of the cycle of life and death.

But what path should an Interfaith believer take?
Myths and all the teachings about salvation have to be put into perspective.
It makes no sense to follow a faith tradition blindly.
A believer’s approach in discovering adequate answers call for prayer, study, and intuition.
So let our basis of finding a path be through religious literacy.

“Eternal Spirit, give us the wisdom and insight to understand the tenets of Afterlife.  Help us to grapple successfully with the many Afterlife concepts.  And help us to decide on a path for our salvation.”
Amen  

      

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Who is God?




World Religions & Beliefs

Who Is God?

God is the Eternal Spirit, infinite, and unchangeable.  He is the absolute of all there is, and nothing greater cannot be conceived.  His Universal Spirit has all the attributes of love, wisdom, power, holiness, and justice.  He is goodness, and truth, predictable, yet unpredictable, and mysterious.  Humans have been created the crown of His jewels in the Universe.  He is the ineffable protector who cares for all living, and non-living beings.  And like the wind is ever present and changing.

God exists inside and outside of nature.  He could be seen in the trillions of heavenly galaxies e.g., the constellations of suns, moons, stars, atoms, and quasars. Manifestations of what people experience on planet earth are merely symbols, also of landscapes with mountains, valleys, oceans, rivers, and streams. For, He speaks via His creation of creatures, lower animals, trees, plants, and organisms of all sorts. 

Theologians, scientists and philosophers have failed in their attempts to determine with certainty the extent of His ubiquitous nature.  Intuitively people could only speculate by reflecting on the gifts of this vast Universe. But such an exercise often proves inadequate because no words could fully describe who God really is.

D.F.U.R.S.T.A.N.E. (Dfurstane)
– Devotees for universal rights stand tall after natural Enlightenment.


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Dfurstane Religious Beliefs




Dfurstane Religious Beliefs

1)  Religious beliefs are always evolving, and like nature nothing remains the same.

2)  God is the Universal Spirit, infinite, and unchangeable in wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. 

3)  God is predictable, unpredictable, and mysterious.

4)  The Timeless Spirit is the glue that holds all Universal Manifestations together.

5)  By the Eternal Spirit all beings, structures, and elements are created.

6)  On entering the world via the Creator, all living and non-living beings take some form, and at the end of their existence their consciousness becomes invisible again.

7)  The health and consciousness of all living things are determined by “Chance.”

8)  Sin is a human construct, but there is “good” and “bad” in the world – different sides of the same coin.

9)  Prayer is quite diverse.  It involves thoughts, deeds, physical exercises, and works.

10)  Reason causes healing, growth, development, and discovery.

11)  “Positive” and “negative” polarities influence cultural norms, but Eternal Reality is quite diverse and different in nature.

12)  Prayer only works as a regulator of “Cosmic Wholeness.”  It has to do with interdependence, and inter-relationships of the Universal Structures.  Believers should pray to help bring these elements into “Harmony.”  That is how the world experiences disruptions of all sorts when structures are shifting out of sync.  This reality has nothing to do with the way people are living their lives, but is the result of “Chance.”  This is why some healing occurs.

13)  Living in harmony with nature is the key for a successful life.   This means having balance: a) helping the mind grow in understanding; b) caring for one’s body; c) serving society’s poor, homeless, and destitute; and d) building up the world’s structures by works.

14)  Religious literacy helps believers discover diverse paths that are important for spiritual growth.  Following a chosen spiritual path will result into a merger with the Eternal Spirit.
 .
Erwin K. Thomas
August 10, 2019 


Trust in Faith




Trust in Faith

Paul was convinced that neither “height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39).  Such trust we will have through Christ because our sufficiency is of God (2 Cor 3:4-5).  Like David, we will have confidence in God like a child that is weaned of his mother (Ps 131:2).  That is why our judgment will be with the Lord, and our work with God (Isa 49:4), because “there is nothing too hard for Thee” (Jer 32:17).  The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand, so we have to repent, and believe the Gospel (Mk 1:15).  God’s kingdom is everlasting and his dominion will endure for all generations (Ps 145:13).  With faith we must have confidence even in difficult times (Jer 1:17).


William Shakespeare (15641616), an English poet and playwright regarded as the greatest writer in the English language wrote, “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”  Some might put some restraints on their faith.  But Shakespeare was rather pragmatic about what he saw as a way of treating others.  On the other hand, Rome, Pope Francis (b. 1936) said, “Although the life of a person is in the land full of thorns and weeds, there is always space in which the good seed can grow.”  Pope Francis expects us to have barriers in this world concerning our personal growth.  He was however assuring that despite these, Christian believers will still find fertile ground for growth.

Trusting God & Others

People though, have to learn how to trust.  Allyson Felix (b. 1985), a track and field sprint athlete said, “The most important lesson that I have learned is to trust God in every circumstance.  Lots of time we go through different trials and following God’s plan seems like it doesn’t make any sense at all.  God is always in control and he will never leave us.”  It’s clear that when it comes to trusting others we must put our faith in God, who never disappoints. 

Believers should be confident, and trust in the right source in faith.  A lack of trust in God will do us no good.  Lao Tzu (6th to 5th C – 531 BC), an ancient Chinese philosopher and poet wrote, “He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted.”  Trusting is therefore reciprocal.  Knowing this comes through prayer and studying God’s Word. 

By trusting we will continue to grow our faith.   Natalie Goldberg (b. 1948), a popular New Age author and speaker said, “Trust is what you love, continue to do it, and it will take you where you need to go.”  At times love can be disappointing, yet we must freely offer this gift of love to others.  We have to be willing to show confidence. 

Power of Trust

Thomas J. Watson (1874 -1956), a businessman wrote, “The toughest thing about the power of trust is that it’s very difficult to build and very easy to destroy.  The essence of trust building is to emphasize the similarities between you and the customer.”  Watson gave a business perspective of getting things done. 

A hopeful perspective of trust came from Golda Meir (18981978), a prime minister of Israel who said, “Trust yourself.  Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.  Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”  To Meir trust is an ongoing process.  It involves inventing and re-inventing oneself, and basing your life on a set of good values.  In the end it will be through faith that we attain the outcomes we have envisioned.   

Friday, August 9, 2019

Nature & Nurture




Nature & Nurture

Nature and nurture go hand in hand
Although they are uniquely different
Nature is in your genes
You’re born that way
With certain physical and personality traits
Irrespective to where you were born or raised

What a person inherits biologically from their parents
In their childhood can’t be changed in any way
But nurture is the environment in which we live
And this can be changed for the better
It helps if our children are raised by loving parents.

As people grow how healthy they are, are reflected in many ways
This is determined by their diet
The amount and type of exercise they do
How they sleep at night
And the work they do to earn a living

Where they live is important
Are they stuck in an urban environment?
With skyscrapers, traffic congestion, and pollution
Or do they live in the country?
Where there are open spaces, trees, lakes, and fresh air

The results of living under these conditions are certain
Many factors help shape our lives in good and bad ways.
“Eternal Spirit, help us to make good choices concerning how and where we live.  Guide us in our goal to cultivate a healthy lifestyle by recognizing the relationship of nature and nurture.”
Amen


Thursday, August 8, 2019

Media & Society



Media & Society

Media sometimes presents itself as a guardian of healing, and healing is always occurring in society.  Ubiquitous media though never stops in playing its part with far-reaching implications.  As objects of attention media has profound influences on our perceptions, the healing of mind, body, and spirit.  This is because the mass media is the central nervous system of the world.  Media lives up to the description of Henri Nouwen (19321996), a Dutch-born Catholic priest, and professor who asked, “Did I offer peace today?  Did I bring a smile to someones face?  Did I say words of healing?  Did I forgive?  Did I love?  These are some real questions.  I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.”  Nouwens views on social responsibility could be likened to the role of the media in society.  If media succeeds, or fails it’s for us to decide.  Media has definitely been an instrument of healing of social issues e.g., wars, natural disasters, and racial conflicts.

Medias Message

The media covers stories of diverse religious faith traditions, cultures, and ethnic groups, via newspapers, magazines, books, radio, cable, TV, and the Internet.  Although limited in some cultures its sobering that people are able to find commonalities in media.  Its clear that in faith traditions believers worship the same God, who is called different names.  Many are able to attribute some degree of healing, peace, prosperity, and personal well-being because of media’s professionals.

A message that comes through loud and clear is best captured by Joseph Addision (16721719), an English essayist, and playwright, who said, “If you want to succeed in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.”  This statement means putting ones trust in media’s attempt to be fair.  Undoubtedly these beliefs are seen in faith traditions of different editorial approaches. 

Secular & Non-secular Media

Its unwise to think that readers and viewers will respond the same way to medias role in healing.  Some critics argue the media does nothing more than promote sensational stories.  Its commonly believed, “If it bleeds it leads.”  But readers could focus on the discussions and analyses in media.  And taking shape though is the edification of the public that bring wholeness to the viewers’ perceptions of what they comprehend.  Media does a lot to allay fears.  When news is from the secular or non-secular press there are good results.  People are aware of media’s role to alleviate suffering.

Healing might not necessarily be physical, but it could bring emotional stability to communities torn apart by strive.  Radio and TV also serve as instruments in promoting charitable works in times of natural disasters, by raising aid for those affected by drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and forest fires.  So the next time you read a magazine, or flip through the pages of a newspaper, and laugh at a situation comedy, be sure to remember to volunteer for causes presented by media.  For it’s good to remember that the mass media does play a role of healing in American society.