When is it discrimination?

This morning in church the sermon focused on two pieces of Scripture one from second Kings and the other from Luke. Both pieces of Scripture were talking about someone with leprosy. In the Old Testament of the Bible lepers were considered unclean. Unclean meant that they could not participate in any regular community. They were outcasts. In other parts of the Old Testament specifically the Torah there are laws written concerning people with leprosy and other diseases. The law prohibited these people from being part of the community. I am sure that they were initially formed to prevent contagion and exposure to those who might pass on illness.

In Luke Jesus heals 10 lepers. According to the laws of that time those lepers must go to the priests and be properly assessed and determined that they were no longer unclean. Only the priests could make that decision. Jesus, however, asserted that they were now clean and sent them to be looked at. Jesus essentially sidestepped the law.

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This exclusion of people from society still exists today. Laws have been written to prevent people from being excluded from life in the community. Job discrimination is not tolerated on many levels. However, often the wording of laws is somewhat ambiguous. When a law is written it is usually written in a certain period of time and to address specific concerns of that era.

Now we have cases before the United States Supreme Court questioning discrimination laws concerning sex. The laws were written in a time when Blacks and women were being discriminated against in the workplace. Now there are questions about that law. The questions really are concerning issues that we face today that we didn’t face in the 60s. So a determination is having to be made about the real meaning of the law. There are people on both sides.

think for yourselfThere has been a lot of discussion on media for both sides. “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended, protects employees and job applicants from employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.”

The law itself is not in question. It’s the interpretation of the law that is the problem. Whenever these issues come up it is always a good idea to go and read the original law in order to understand the discussion. Listening to the talking heads does not give you an accurate picture. Sometimes looking up the Constitution or other documents will give you a clearer picture. Don’t take someone else’s word for something. Read it for yourself and make your own decision.

 

Awareness

Mental health day is here and I hope that those who do not suffer from these problems will look with kindness, compassion and most of all acceptance on those who suffer. We have to continue to aid awareness and understanding. We will not remain silent but will continue to seek hope for a new future.

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God bless all those who suffer from mental health issues!

Joy and sorrow

This morning our church celebrated the life of St. Francis as our church is named for him. It was a joyful day much needed after the last few days. We ended the service by singing a fun song called “all God’s critters got a voice in the choir?”

The young father in my prayers died last night. I will offer what solace and help that I can.

We do have the joy with the sorrow. The two are inextricably connected. Without one we don’t truly experience the other. How can one understand joy if one has not felt the impact of deep sorrow.

This wonderful quote from Henri Nouwen sums it up beautifully

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Life is full of both and we must live it out.

Go out…share your fears with someone

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This is a lesson I have learned well in my life. There are many times that I have sat and struggled with anxiety and fear. Even though the last thing I want to do is go out I force myself to get dressed and find someone to talk to. Just getting it out in the open helps me to put things into perspective. For me, fears shared and divided in half.

Watch out judging others

It has always fascinated me that people who I know and who condemn any kind of sexuality other than heterosexuals can sin so freely in other ways. Adultery seems to be fine, hatred, unkindness, greed….actually many of the 7 deadly sins are fine. Sexual differences are the one unforgivable sin. My aunt used to call this “swallow an elephant, choke on a gnat.”

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They seem to feel that some sins are ok and others are not. A kind of hypocrisy that I find particularly abhorrent. It is so easy to condemn others and blithely  carry on with our hurtful ways.

Judgement is mine says the Lord and the rest of us need to back off.

Powerful help

sleepy dogToday I hit the wall. I am so sleepy that I could just drop off writing this. I think the things I have been doing have finally relaxed some of the tension and I am wiped out. It is a wonderful feeling except I have things I have to do so I’ll just keep going until bedtime. Sure hope I don’t end up wide eyed awake then.

Ironically there are still storms floating around in the Atlantic but so far it seems they are little threat. I hope it stays that way. I guess with climate change happening we will have to cope with this or move.

Yesterday was another Community Conference. Again I saw the power of this program as it saved another youth from being caught up in the court system. It is a powerful feeling to think that I was able to help. I hope this child now understands the chance that has been given and it able to move forward with a positive attitude toward a productive life. I think, in this case, that will happen. It also help an adult to see that not all youth should be written off without knowing more than the surface information.

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I am blessed to be able to help with this program.

Taking in strays with love

There are some days when you don’t feel the least bit creative. Recently I realized that I have written almost every day since July of 2017. How in the world have I managed to do that? I guess I can say that my brain is running all the time. I wish I could have the kind of ideas that would produce a novel but that is not me.

I think a lot about helping other people. I grew up in a family who cared deeply about others and helped where they could. Over the years I have made the comment that we “take in strays.” My parents had two war wives living with us during WWII. They were there for years until their husbands came home. They got jobs and became part of our family. For me, they were like extra aunts. I grew up enjoying a variety of people.

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During my teen years we had two school teachers living with us. They were the big sisters I never had. I learned so much from them including how to sing harmony. We washed dishes in the evening and sang.

I learned early on that for me, sharing problems made them less scary. I also was there for anyone who wanted to lessen their own stress. This was also true in college when I seemed to attract all those with were seeking a listening post.

Our travel during my husband’s military service exposed me further to different places and different faces. Life was varied and good.

My husband retired from the service after 20 years and since then we have been in one place. We have continued the family tradition and have housed friends of our kids and one friend of ours who was with us for a year after the kids were gone. People asked why we would have someone move in with us until our friend painted all my kitchen cabinets. Then they wanted to know if he could live with them.

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We have no one extra right now except for our two rescued bassets. They are such a blessing to us. I continue being a sounding board for others and am able to share my joys and griefs with friends. There are always challenges and things that make me step back and struggle but I will keep on exploring all that life will bring me.

Thank you for reading these ideas and thoughts through the years.

Too special to use?

In my generation we were so much more formal that things are today. We had special china and silver that we used on special occasions. There were always things that we put aside.

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I am so glad to see that much of that has changed. Now I use whatever I want whenever I want. Each day is special. Each moment is important. We need to celebrate that by enjoying the special things that we have. Don’t let them just sit in a cabinet or drawer. Will the special occasion when they will be used be your funeral?

Perspective

 

Often I think that perspective is everything. How we view things is our reality. This is hard to learn and to realize that the world functions that way. One of the most difficult things to do is to change someone’s perspective. Our prejudices and our beliefs come from there. They are so ingrained that I don’t think we even know what is creating our world view.

The dictionary says perspective is:

a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
“most guidebook history is written from the editor’s perspective”
synonyms: outlookviewviewpointpoint of viewstandpointpositionstandstance,  angleslantattitude, frame of mind, frame of referenceapproach, way of looking/thinking, vantage point, interpretation

When you read the synonyms you can see the far reaching effects of this. Sometimes it is worth our while to made changes to our perspective. If we see everything from a negative point of view then life will be negative.

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“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” Abraham Lincoln

Perspective can change your life.

The balance

I didn’t post yesterday since we were in Charleston, SC with our family. It was a lovely time with the most amazing meal at a local restaurant. We are at home resting. They will be back tomorrow and we will enjoy the rest of their visit.

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Life recently has been crazy. Of course that is the usual thing. It is just a matter of balance. The balance between health issue, mental health, the world around us and all the events in our lives is tricky. Sometimes we feel that we are walking a high wire and that any moment we could over-balance and fall. I think that fear of falling is what put such stress on us. Instead of just walking ahead we spend our time looking down at our feet on the wire. That takes the focus from the things that matter and puts it directly on ourselves and our balance. Sometimes we just have to look ahead and keep going.

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Life truly is a balancing act. It can be scary and dangerous and stressful. We have to use all the coping skills we have to keep from falling. Our faith, our friends, our family, our medical resources help us to stay stable. We can use them as a balancing pole if we just reach out.

Never stop thinking you can do it. We can keep that balance and see life ahead.