Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Happy New Year 2021!


 

Happy 2021 New Year!

As the New Year dawns

Let’s celebrate the good things

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines

The arrival of the Biden administration

And the promise of a revival in the land

 

The tragic deaths of thousands

The suffering of millions

Will all recede from our consciousness

Once millions of people

Around the world are inoculated

 

New hope is on the horizon

As America rejoins the Paris Climate Accord

Immigration of the less fortunate

Will be addressed with compassion

And there’s hope that Washington

Won’t be as polarized with partisan politics

 

Americans will once again

Inhale the fresh air

People would listen to news

That they will be able to trust

And hopefully there’ll be less misinformation

That’s cluttering the airwaves

 

“Great Arbitrator, help us to embrace the new days that lie ahead in 2021.  Give us confidence to trust our political leaders of this country.”

Amen     


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Season's Greetings! Happy New Year!


 

Season’s Greetings! Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

We wish you all the best in 2021.

This has been a trying year.

Thousands have died and are suffering

And like many we’re using zoom

 

There have been social justice demonstrations

Some issues with income inequality

But we’re hopeful about a Biden’s presidency 

And for this season it’s for us to be thankful

It means a lot to be happy this season.

 

Matthew and Shannon are doing well.

At UVA Matthew is busy as a Genetic Counselor.

Shannon is enjoying her job as a Real Estate Agent.

And they continue to live in Charlottesville, VA

Surrounded by their loving pets

 

Mary and Erwin continue to face some difficulties.

Erwin has health problems that he’s watching

But is making the best of these chronic conditions

Work for our kitchen and bathroom 

Is on hold because of the virus

However, we were able to give a face lift to the lawn

With new shrubs planted in the flower beds

Erwin has a new book out

It’s entitled, “Sunlit Streams of Water”

That’s a devotional for Religious Naturalists

He continues to write blogs

And posts them to his Facebook’s author page

These also appear on Twitter and his website –

https://www.amazon.com/author/erwinthomas

 

We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary

That surely was a milestone in our lives

But we haven’t done much travelling this year

We only visited the casino in Dover, Delaware

And Mary missed her sister-time in Oregon

 

We hope that there’ll be renewal of life in 2021.

This is promising since a vaccine is on the horizon.

Hopefully by mid-year there should be a new normal.

So all the best for the coming year!

Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year! 

 

“Almighty God, bless our families at this time of the year!  Be with us as we celebrate this season that has been dampened by the pandemic.  And may we all live in peace and prosperity in 2021!

Amen        


Friday, December 18, 2020

Religious Naturalism


 

Religious Naturalism

Religious naturalism

Is like a breath of fresh air.

Unlike the monotheistic faiths –

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Religious naturalists don’t believe

In sin, heaven, or the resurrection

Naturalists focus on scientific proof

About how all aspects of the universe works

 

Religious naturalists see the world as “sacred”

They extol the millions of galaxies

That adorns the night sky –

The moon, stars, and planets of all sizes

Those we can see, and those that are unseen

They celebrate the cyclical seasons of the year –

Spring, summer, fall, and winter

And all the wonders of our daily lives -

The air we breathe, the water we drink,

And the fire we light to be warm in winter

 

With religious naturalists “faith” and “hope”

Are based on scientific proof

This religious orientation always acknowledges

The “sacred” as opposed to the “profane”

People are considered in a real way

Interrelated with other species of the world

And there isn’t a hierarchical structure the way Westerners think

For religious naturalists don’t consider themselves better than other species

And when it comes to an afterlife, people like everything else in nature

Will merge and be one with all the other elements of the universe

 

“Ultimate Reality, help us to fully understand the cycle of life.  Let us be able to see ourselves as part of nature, and realize that we die we’ll be absorbed to become one with the vast universe.”

Amen     


Thursday, December 17, 2020

O Christmas Tree!


 

O Christmas Tree!

Oh what will I do without a Christmas tree?

Christmas tree growers are having problems.

The harvest is lacking this year.

And buyers are being turned away.

 

It takes about twelve years for trees to mature

To be sold to the public

But these tree farms were depressed in 2008.

There were forest fires on the West Coast

That has wiped out prospects of a good harvest

 

Other problems have arisen that impacted these growers.

There has been drought due to climate change.

On the East Coast infestation of these trees was a problem.

So from East to West there are shortages.

 

How can consumers get live trees this Christmas?

They have to deal with scarcity and higher prices.

The trees therefore will be smaller.

But they can still bring joy this Christmas.

So shop early.  Go to the tree farms.

And be sure to be the first in line to select your tree.

“Almighty Creator, you have provided Christmas trees to grace our homes.  Help us as we face this shortage, and don’t remove from our hearts the love of Christmas.”

Amen


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Peace with COVID-19


 

Peace with COVID-19

How can the elderly be at peace with COVID-19?

It’s killing them and reaping havoc in their midst

Yet people have to learn to live with the coronavirus.

They should try to do so and find peace.

 

With millions worldwide being affected by this virus

There are scams perpetuated during this pandemic

These are major incidents that cause many to stress

Especially the elderly that are sitting targets

But seniors must learn to protect themselves

So they don’t lose it and sink into depression

 

Seniors should therefore have their families

And trusted friends looking out for their welfare

Don’t let scammers try to talk them into their schemes

Telling them they have won a prize in a competition

And wanting them to pay taxes up front

 

But the elderly should remain calm and rely on loved ones

They shouldn’t isolate themselves by living alone

But reach out to family and friends that are helpful

Dependence on trusted relatives brings comfort

They have to be at peace in this crisis

 

They can depend on the North American Securities Administrators Association

By reporting schemes that attempt to disrupt their life

To be widows and widowers shouldn’t be seen as vulnerability

Know that scammers want to bleed them dry and drain their accounts

So they should be calm and be at peace when on social media

Don’t answer telephone calls that ask for their personal data

All these incidents are red flags that they should report to the authorities

 

“Ever-loving Benefactor, help the elderly to be at peace when they are faced with schemes by scammers.  Give them insight and guide them to detect these swindlers that seek to rob them.”

Amen


Sunday, December 13, 2020

God is Nature


 

God is Nature

The 17th century Jewish philosopher

Of Dutch origin Baruch Spinoza viewed religion

In Theological-Political Treatise as superstitious

He considered Nature and God ubiquitous

 

Nature encompasses all things Spinoza considered Providence.

Every aspect of its essence is reflected in good and bad experiences.

Miracles described in the monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity,

And Islam could be explained through the varieties of ever-changing nature

These are natural occurrences that surprise people when such phenomena occur.

 

The first rainbow that humans saw must have struck them as a miracle.

But science later showed this resulted from scientific evidence.

Prophecy could be viewed as another of these phenomena.

In ancient times people were uneducated and had vivid imaginations.

Many of their delusions were motivated by vivid dreams and visions.

 

In modern society these ancients would be seen as having psychotic episodes.

But these visionaries appear to the Israelites to be filled with images of a Creator.

Therefore God is perceived as being human and personalized.

Nature is all things good and bad that exist in the vast Universe.

It’s more realistic to think about the Divine as Nature by an objective analysis.

 

God in Nature is material and immaterial.

God doesn’t have human characteristics that are alluded to in sacred texts.

This spiritual essence is universal and governs all things.

Putting a human face on God of Nature is an error that equates God with humankind.

 

“Divine Creator, who isn’t conservative or liberal, help people so that they will promote what’s best for the citizenry.  Let them see the 20th century treatise and ethics of Spinoza as a visionary work in religion for democracies where free speech is a hallmark.”

Amen     


Friday, December 11, 2020

Working from Home


 

Working from Home

Workers are experiencing an array of emotions

Brought on by the coronavirus pandemic

Their feelings are exacerbated in isolation

But many see hope by working at home

 

These home bound workers

Are able to spend more time with their families

Their new schedule gives them more flexibility.

They are enjoying the convenience of their own homes.

Many have ventured out at lunchtime for walks.

 

In working from home there’s less distraction.

Workers’ productivity has greatly increased.

McKinsey survey research finds that 41 percent

At their desk at home are more productive

Many introverts have benefited from changes in the work place

They are presently being able to judge by what they produce

And not by how they promote themselves at meetings

 

Working parents are happy to be spending time with their families.

They are able to be teachers of their kids that are taking remote classes.

Many have found new ways in practicing gratitude and being imaginative.

Parents are more relaxed and are spending more time caring for their needs.

 

“Great Emancipator, help all the families and friends that are quarantined by the coronavirus pandemic.  Continue to guide them as they work from home in unison with their children as they face these trying times.”

Amen    


Saturday, December 5, 2020

Holiday Shopping


 

Holiday Shopping

The coronavirus pandemic

Is surely making its mark

It’s changing the way

People will shop during the holidays

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas

Won’t be the same for shoppers this year

 

Stores like Best Buy, Macy’s, and Target

Are planning ways to safeguard the health of their consumers

So these businesses have decided to have early shopping

This shopping season will start in early October

And is meant for shoppers not to flock to the stores

Just cutting down on the dangers of them being infected

 

But there exists uncertainties if buyers’ demand will be great

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought quite a back lash

Many workers have been laid off, others furloughed

And while many more are working from home

Quite a few have lost their jobs with the down turn of the economy

 

Companies will use a variety of tactics to get consumers to buy their products

People could be expected to be steered to their stores’ websites for deals

So consumers will have the option of shopping online

But businesses don’t know what to expect because of the down turn

Some executives predict since people are spending less on travel and restaurants

There will be a great chance for online businesses like amazon.com to pick up the slack

 

“Heavenly Provider, help businesses at this time of uncertainty as they cater for the needs of consumers during the holiday season.  May shoppers act wisely and be safe as the crisis of the coronavirus pandemic rages.”

Amen  


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving for God's Creation


 

Thanksgiving for God’s Creation

 A pediatric surgeon Bernie Siegel (b. 1932) said, “God wants us to know that life is a series of beginnings, not endings.  Just as graduations are not terminations, but commencements.  Creation is an ongoing process, and when we create a perfect world where love and compassion are shared by all, suffering will cease.”  Inevitably Siegel was putting his trust in mankind to create a perfect world.  But our world is broken because of sin.  Christians believe it will only be transformed when Jesus Christ comes again.  This has been alluded to time and time again in the New Testament.

 How should people navigate this this world?  We have to use our imagination and ask God to guide us. George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), an Irish playwright and critic wrote, “Imagination is the beginning of creation.  You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”  Believers come to know their God by meditating on his Word.  They are touched by God’s divinity, and realize they should seek his forgiveness.

 People’s Perception

 An actor and producer James Cromwell (b. 1940) said, “Often we are recreating what we think we’re supposed to be as human beings.  What we’ve been told we’re supposed to be, instead of who we authentically are.  The key about creation of full self-expression is to be authentically who you are, to project that.”  Such a gift comes by faith.  With this knowledge people walk in godly ways by doing what’s right. 

 Wise men and women have pondered the role of nature in God’s creative process.  Luigi Pirandello (1867–1936), an Italian dramatist and novelist wrote, “Nature uses human imagination to lift her work of creation to even higher levels.”  With the glorious displays of trees, mountains, and streams in our environment people reflect on God’s grandiose nature.  Their minds and hearts leap to encounter these gracious blessings.

 Testament of Life

 Nevertheless life is such a powerful testament of the gifts of God.  An attorney and Freemason Albert Pike (1809–1891) said, “One man is equivalent to all Creation.  One man is a World in miniature.”  People see this phenomenon in God who is all in all.  According to scripture they were born in his image and are spiritually like him.

 How could people make a difference in the world?  There might be some disconnect about our life’s mission.  A French poet and novelist Victor Hugo (1802–1885) wrote, “One is not idle because one is absorbed.  There is both visible and invisible labor.  To contemplate is to toil, to think is to do.  The crossed arms work, the clasped hands act.  The eyes upturned to Heaven are an act of creation.”  It’s good to remember that everyone is different.  How could it be determined who is working the most?  How do people see contemplation to that of labor?  Yet contemplative meditation is necessary for promoting justice, dignity, and peace in our world.

 How do people view creation?  Who is ultimately responsible?  Joseph Franklin Rutherford (1869–1942), a second president of the incorporated Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania said, “Jehovah created the earth and therefore it is his by right of creation.”  Every aspect of life which exists is God’s gift to us.  He controls everything, and is the greatest gift of all living, and non-living things.  People always have to give thanks for his creation.      


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Wear a Mask

 


Wear a Mask

Wearing a mask

Is important for saving lives

It’s easy to do

And isn’t an infringement

On an individual personal freedom

 

It’s amazing what a piece of cloth can do.

Some argue if you have difficulty breathing

You shouldn’t be wearing such a mask

But its inconvenience is minimal

 

It’s true a mask will affect how you look

But you can have fun while wearing it

Know that you will be protecting

Others from being infected with the virus

 

People wear masks of different colors

They are each designed in unique ways

Some are more sophisticated with special filters

But they should cover the mouth and nose

 

At times it’s difficult trying to keep on a mask

While trying to talk to someone

People will be unable to read your lips

But still they can understand what you say

Masks should go with social distancing

 

“God, help us during this pandemic.  Let us realize that by wearing a mask we are protecting others by not spreading the coronavirus.  Let us practice social distancing when doing so.  These two actions will go a long way in preventing the spread of the virus.”

Amen 


Saturday, November 14, 2020

The Elite Media


The Elite Media

John C. Merrill wrote The Elite Press.

Noam Chomsky said, “It’s the agenda-setting media”

That sets “the framework in which everyone else operates”

 

Media like the New York Times, Washington Post,

And the Wall Street Journal are elite newspapers

CBS, NBC, and ABC are TV networks

That also comes to mind

So are PBS, CNN, and Fox News

 

But all these news sources are controlled by corporations

They are in the business of selling audiences

But there’s a difference with these news organizations

Some are considered right-wing

While others are said to lean to the left

 

Chomsky is thought of as being on the left

Bill O’ Reilly of Fox News is on the right side of the spectrum

The New York Times and CBS appeal to a privileged group -

Managers, corporate executives, and university professors

While Fox News influences right-wing 

Opinion leaders, evangelicals, and conservatives

 

Time and Newsweek stand out as magazines of prominence.

But all the elite sources are battling the rise of misinformation

That has been more prevalent throughout the Trump administration

Politico has found 70 percent of Republicans believe

The 2020 elections results between Trump and Biden to be false

But the elite press and social media are pushing to clear the air of such distortions

 

“God, grant us the insight to determine what’s true in the market place of ideas.  Help American media officials to counter all falsehood with their political stories, by presenting the facts to their audience.”

Amen       
 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Let Truth Prevail


 

Let Truth Prevail

The United States is at crossroads.

Truth is on the line.

The election of 2020 has focused on this truth.

Still dark forces continue to deny this fact.

 

More than 140-million voters have spoken.

The results are clear.

There wasn’t any massive fraud.

But still the Trump’s administration

Has decided not to recognize Biden as the winner

 

Democracy is in peril

False insinuations only undermine

The cherished ideals of the U.S. Constitution

It’s time for justice to prevail

This is necessary for peace in the land

 

Why isn’t the Trump administration accepting this reality?

People can only speculate

Is it the desire to overturn a legitimate election?

A poll shows 70 percent of Republicans support these false claims.

This fact doesn’t hover well for the nation’s democratic traditions.

But all good citizens should embrace the truth

And not fan the flames as the hypocrites do

A smooth transition of power will uphold the nation’s ideals.

 

“God help our nation as Americans see “untruths” masquerading as “truth.”  Banish from our midst all falsehoods that seek to undermine the democratic process.”

Amen   


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Black Cemeteries


 

Black Cemeteries

Black cemeteries exist nationally

But some are in a state of disarray

Many are located in the South

Names like the Evergreen and the East End Cemetery 

In Richmond, VA, Magnolia in rural eastern Arkansas,

And South-View Cemetery in Atlanta, Ga,

Where Representative John Lewis was buried

 

These cemeteries were established

During the Civil War

In hazardous, hilly, and wooded terrain

And for decades Black people

Have been migrating from these sites

Moving North and West to escape racial prejudice

 

But volunteers have manned these burial plots

They did so in segregated times

And expressed pride in these undertakings

South-View Cemetery was chartered in 1886

And have Black businessmen as current board members

 

Success in endeavoring to maintain these cemeteries

Have a great deal to do with the passion

Such burial plots evoke for the volunteers

Still there are problems with maintenance

Because of lack of funds, enough volunteers,

 And having access to older cemetery records

 

“Great Emancipator, shine your light on the Black souls that are resting in these cemeteries.  Let not their lives be forgotten, but their gravesites are a memorial for future generations.”

Amen  

 


Sunday, November 8, 2020

Symbol of Change


 

Symbol of Change

Change is in the air.

In America millions of voters took to the polls.

They voted for their candidates.

It’s a decision to elect the president of the United States.

And they cast their vote for a senator and congressman.

 

But voters had many things on their mind.

Some look at the character of their representatives.

Some were concerned about the economy.

Then there were those wishing for racial justice and harmony.

 

Pollsters looked at the predominant white voters.

Whether they were male or female

Their age group and identity were important.

So most pollsters focused

On the choices of white men as opposed to white women

Rich or poor, and if they live in an urban or rural communities

 

Minorities were a special concern

For they constituted a significant portion of the electorate

Many Black and Hispanic voters have different cultural identities.

Blacks are often concerned with multi-ethnic representation.

While the Cubans in Florida view the effects of socialism as important

Since many of them have taken refuge in the United States from Cuban oppression

“Loving Creator, embrace the various desires for social change amongst the diverse ethnic groups of the United States.  Guide its citizens to make good choices when they vote for their candidates on Election Day.”

Amen      


Friday, October 23, 2020

Food Waste


 

Food Waste

By 2030 some of the largest food suppliers

Have pledged to cut their food waste in half

Companies like Rice Krispies cereal, Hellmann’s mayonnaise,

And Spam have joined the 10x20x30 initiative

An effort to slash the amount of food discarded yearly

 

The process will involve companies to make annual reports

They will center on the sharing of information about food waste

As a Dannon executive stated that this would explore all options

The goal is to turn wasted foods into animal food or compost

 

Food waste has always been a sore point in the industry

And Walmart, Kroger, and Giant Foods have embraced similar pledges

They have enlisted their suppliers to commit to their plans

These food companies hope to accomplish such objectives set

By the United Nations General Assembly by 2015, to halve food waste

 

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

The supply chain throws away about 30 percent of the world’s food

This waste is a great contributor to the world’s climate change problem

This produce amounts to about 10 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions

So the food manufacturing industry is a player in climate change

 

It has been reported about 80 percent of waste food comes

From homes, manufacturers, grocery stores, and restaurants

These sources can do more by limiting such productions

By having consumers not toss out the excess in their daily lives

There should be a system that will enable them not to act badly

 

“Divine Provider, help food producers to curb their waste.  And let consumers realize that they have a responsibility in making more sensible decisions by the way they use their food.”

Amen