I weep, truth must be heard

In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.-—George Orwell

This quote speaks so clearly to me of our times. It seems that truth has passed away and we should be mourning.  There are no more statesmen only politicians. There is no more consideration for the good of people or nations but only for the people in control. Because of the rapid sharing of information this virus has spread throughout the world. Power, money and position are all that matters.

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I weep for the world. I weep for the children and their children. I weep for all that was before. Mankind has never been perfect, never been without greed or hubris but it wasn’t the total driving source. Goodness was found in the past and can still be found but it is being pushed into dark culverts and trash strewn alleys. The voice of truth and wisdom is almost not recognized. It has become a foreign language.

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We must, somehow, begin to be heard. We must speak until our voices rise above the corruption and greediness of the powerful. We cannot stay silent. Each of us has one voice but one voice added to another voice doubles the sound. We cannot allow ourselves to be silenced.

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We must speak out about injustices: sexual, racial, status, health, lifestyle, position, occupation, age and any others that rise to minimize others. We must speak clearly about the state of the earth, a living thing with animals, plants and humans, and our abuse of the resources we pillage. Nothing else will do.

I weep for us all. I weep.

We must speak. It is time for truth.

Don’t let religion divide us!

equalityToday as I sat in church I was struck by the thought “don’t let religion divide us.” I am not sure why that came to me so strongly but there it was and it kept repeating itself until it was rooted in my mind.

There have been wars about territory, water rights, expansion of empires, money and whatever else. There have also been wars over religion.  The middle east (or the fertile crescent) has changed hands so many times. Mostly is has been about territory but religion was involved. The fertile crescent had many different religions over the centuries but the Jewish worship of one god persisted.

As Christianity grew it encountered other faiths and prevailed over most of the ones in Europe. A form of the Jewish faith moved south and morphed into Islam with Mohammad.

During the middle ages Christianity and Islam battled in Spain and the Holy Land. The crusades were launched to recover the Holy Land. Many died in this conflict.

Later Christianity became obsessed with itself and the Inquisition had many innocents slaughtered in the name of religion.

Conflict rose again with the protestant reformation and Catholic and reform groups both suffered.

Religion has added prejudices to the ones about skin color, nationality, and anything that makes someone “other.” Now there is much disagreement among Christian denominations.

If we add the widening influence to other cultures and their faiths: Buddhism, Hinduism and many others we now have a world with religions bumping into each other everywhere.

world religionI think all of this leads me back to my original thought. Do not let religion divide us. It already has with Islamic extremists planning death to “infidels,” fighting between India and Pakistan and conflict almost everywhere.

I love the God that I believe in and I don’t think that his/her intention is for us to slaughter each others over our faith. Instead we are called to love everyone. We are told to turn the other cheek. We are not told to murder others because of their beliefs. God is greater than us and his plan is beyond our understanding. Please Lord, help us not to kill each other over religion.

Good news

brainYesterday I read and article that came out of NPR. It said that researchers in California found anxiety cells in mice.  The quote from the article says: The finding, reported Wednesday in the journal Neuron,could eventually lead to better treatments for anxiety disorders, which affect nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.

This is wonderful news for you young people who are fighting with this. I hope that your generation will have an answer about help for anxiety and depression which are linked. It also shows that any of us that have these disorders in any way are only 1 out of five! Did any of us ever realize that it is that prevalent?

We are not alone. And for all we know the odds may be even higher since so much mental health issues are unreported. This is not good news for humanity. Has anxiety been this large and issue forever? Are we just beginning recognize it or is it increasing?

While the neuroscientists continue to learn the psychologists and others need to discover why this is happening. It is one thing to know that it is there it is another to find out how to prevent it.

love for mankindThere is hope one the horizon. Research is moving forward just as it is on other problems such as cancer. Maybe someday the only thing we will have to fight is other humans….unless we can learn to live together and love each other.

What are we to do?

what-have-we-learned1Sometimes the sadness of the world can be overwhelming. It is not even necessary to mention all the things that are wrong. There is so much grief and pain. When I was younger I thought that the world would just get better and better….that each generation would have a better life but I know that is not the case. Life continues….do people change? Are we any better or any worse than people who came before us? Is the violence and hatred worse? Sometimes is seems so but that may just be because communication lets us hear more. Since my first degree is in history I know that there was great evil in the past and horrible violence. This makes me believe that nothing has changed. We humans have not changed. We have learned nothing from the past.

be like christGod must weep at our inability to learn. He sent Christ to show us how we should live. What more could he do? A living example right in front of us and yet here we are. When will we learn?

We have to keep following his example. Not words that were written though they help…..but his actions. His love. His healing. His acceptance of everyone. His forgiveness. This is what we have to do. Every day, every minute, every second.

Live like him, live for him.

God with us!

birth of christChristmas is about here. I think today ( Christmas Eve) may be one of my favorite days. Sometimes anticipation is better than the actual event. However, I know that tomorrow will bring joy.

There are different thoughts about the importance of Christmas. Some theologians see Christmas as the central focus of their theology. They are called Incarnation Theologians. I am one of those (although I don’t consider myself a theologian). Somehow I like the idea that the greatest sacrifice on the part of Christ was leaving heaven. This doesn’t mean that his life, death and resurrection were not important.

There are others who see the resurrection as most important. I guess in reality I see his birth, life, death and resurrection as a whole….no one part more significant than the others. I don’t know what kind of theology this is but it is the complete image that connects me. His whole being and all that he offered is amazing. He truly is “God with us.”

ImmanuelHe came as an infant, vulnerable and fragile. He grew up among us learning from those around him. His life and ministry showed us how to be wholly human. (Notice that the word wholly contains “holy”). He was radical in his time…accepting women, lepers, tax collectors and other outcasts as equal human beings.

If only we could follow his path of acceptance and love the world would be a different place.

Can you question?

what is god likeSometimes I wonder…. have we created God in our own image instead of the other way around. There are so many interpretations of God. Every group seems to have its own god. As a teen I visited a church with a friend and was upset by the wrathful image of God in that place. God was scary. Sin was paramount and love was not mentioned. I felt as if God was waiting for me to transgress so that I could be punished. This was certainly Dante’s kind of God with his various parts of hell.

Was this what they found in the same Bible that I was reading? I guess I spent more time in the New Testament. The various religious texts are there for all of us to read no matter our faith. However, I have discovered that interpretation is the key. Each of us can come up with an entirely different meaning for the same reading.

I have read parts of the Book of Mormon and the Koran and came to the same conclusion. The person reading will see it through their eyes or the eyes of a teacher. Each person also interprets things based on their life experiences. No two of us are alike. It certainly explains how different sects can arise reading the same material.

I have noticed that Buddha and Jesus seldom made things easy for us. Nor did the readings of Hinduism. True mystics seldom speak clear messages but want us to use our minds and our hearts to discern meaning. Jews use exploration of texts placed against thoughts through the ages to interpret scripture. This is sometimes called or related to Midrash. They are unafraid to question and debate over meaning. (see below for definition)

questionDo you take the word of scholars/teachers about meaning or do you absorb ideas and be willing to question? Questioning is not doubt. It is expanding your belief.

This makes it all the more difficult to know who or what to follow and is not for everyone. Questioning can be scary and rock our belief system. It can make you doubt your belief but can move you to a deeper faith. It is not for the faint of heart but it can be rewarding. When I ask questions I grow and end up with a stronger connection to my faith.

I suspect that I mostly see readings through the eyes of love. Living with compassion and love toward others is my benchmark. That doesn’t mean that I can do it all the time but that is my goal.

 

(Midrash is an interpretive act, seeking the answers to religious questions (both practical and theological) by plumbing the meaning of the words of the Torah. (In the Bible, the root d-r-sh is used to mean inquiring into any matter, including occasionally to seek out God’s word.) Midrash responds to contemporary problems and crafts new stories, making connections between new Jewish realities and the unchanging biblical text.)

God weeps

There are many kinds of Christians. We are divided into so many denominations that I don’t think I could come close to naming them all. Even amongst denominations there is dissension. Most religions have people who see their faith in different ways. As a Christian it is interesting to me how we can spend as much time being upset about other Christians than we are about other faiths. We are busy telling others what they are doing wrong.

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We know from history that there have been many wars fought over religion. It is sad that our perception of God can divide us so. Most faiths have  extremists. It is certainly true of Christianity and it is obvious to us in Islam. Interestingly enough some of the ideas of Muslim and Christian extremists and the same. I don’t know that I have ever met a Buddhist extremist but I guess it is possible. How much damage is done in the name of religion.

God must weep over our ignorance and obstinance. We want to force our ideas on others. After all, what we believe has to be right! Why can’t we accept that we don’t all think alike or believe the same things?

god weeps(side note: I have just discovered that spell check doesn’t know the words amongst and obstinance)

We will never have peace in the world as long as we want everyone to think that same. We are not robots. God created us to be individuals.