Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Came Early

I often wake up asking the Lord to give me a witness or an opportunity to help someone.
Today in between morning communion and my Theopoetic readings (  I went to ________ supermarket to get odds and ends for tomorrow, Thanksgiving.

When I walked in a distressed looking lady asked me if I drove.  She had been stranded by whoever gave her a ride to Dave's and she needed to get to East Cleveland.  After I got my odds and ends I got her and started off.
She had to get to the person who had stranded her because her prescription meds were left in the car.  "I am so sick, I feel so bad, I need to get my prescription and go home."  It turns out she is the fiance of one of the cats that works at _______ who I "know" and like very much. He is not that keen on me.
I asked her why she was sick.  "I have ovarian cancer.   I had some removed but it is back.  I am having surgery next week to have everything taken out, God bless you for taking me, God bless you. "
She was having custody issues with her kids and they were possibly spending Thanksgiving with someone who drinks a lot.  I didn't understand because I thought she said the kids were 18 years of age.  I ministered to her and prayed for her the "kids" the over drinker in the name of Jesus.

She said she had a few dollars she could give me.  I explained how I ask God to give me at least one person to minister to, to help in some way everyday and that she was my blessing.  She was my answer to prayer.  She mentioned paying me two or three more times and each time I told her she had already given me something and that she was my answered prayer, my blessing. I don't think she was a Christian or church-goer or "believer."  She was someone God loves though.

I told her how good God is.  As i was driving her home I inadvertently told her of an issue I was going through and she said, "Oh ok, good, you prayed for me and I will pray for you."  I hope she does but whether she does or doesn't isn't God faithful?  Isn't God good?  He used me to answer her desperate prayer to get home.  I don't know how many folks she had asked to take her home.  More than a few.  In the midst of my misery God's Spirit sprang forth and took my eyes off of me and blessed somebody.
I believe she will be much, much better on the other side of surgery than had I not prayed for her.  And now God may use me to bless the finance.
Seems like such a little thing but I am thankful and overwhelmed at God's goodness.
Bless his Holy name.  Bless his Holy name.  Have ya ever been there? Overwhelmed by life and stranded with seemingly no help on the horizon. Call on Jesus.
Praise God he causes it to rain on the just and unjust alike.  God answers prayer.  God is love.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Hundredth Monkey by Ken Keyes, Jr. (->FREE COPY HERE<- ) is about nuclear proliferation and critical mass, mass consciousness. The lessons can apply to the Wall Street debacle, Occupy Wall Street, the 99%, the 1%. We must scream it, sponsor golf fundraisers against it, dance it, art it, poem it, make jokes concerning it, rally it, protest it, show love, talk it, do it, unite, drag people into the higher consciousness kicking and screaming, get involved, we already are by default. An excerpt:

There is no need to feel helpless or get paralyzed by hopelessness. We know we have the power to make changes if we can join together and raise our voices in unison. There is more power in numbers that we ever hoped to dream about! I call for us to let our numbers grow exponentially as we all take it on ourselves to spread these messages. We are the bearers of a new vision. We can dispel the old destructive myths and replace them with the life-enriching truths that are essential to continued life on our planet.
St. Mary, Kentucky Ken Keyes, Jr. December, 1981

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich -

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich -
The above Op Ed letter submitted by Warren E Buffet, "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich" is a breath of fresh air. However his "outing" the rich and legislators in Washington begs the question, "why now?"  The political slant in favor of the rich has existed since at least April 30, 1789 when George Washington was sworn in as president.
It also begs the question what expectations do the rich eg., Warren Buffet have concerning any outcomes based on our country, politicians, and all taking Mr. Buffet's advice.

Our country is in serious trouble, not only due to our debt and mortgage crisis, which was not a lapse in judgement but rather chickens coming home to roost to poor morals leading to unethical and illegal behavior bred in America culture and escalated since the 70's,  but financial and cultural trouble do to the erosion of the middle class.  The shrinking middle class call to arms got a lot of play during the Reagan years and interesting statistics leaped to the forefront.   However, for every statistic heralding the end of the middle class there was one to suggest things were not so bad.

The boundaries between classes are  imaginary  spanning around groups according to economic and psychological standards. In the 1980s at least one economist defined the middle class as a state of mind. "Says Lawrence Lindsey, assistant professor of economics at Harvard: "A middle-class person is someone who expects to be self-reliant, unlike the upper class with its unearned wealth or the lower class with its dependency on society. Far from declining, the middle class is bigger than ever, and its ethic is alive and well."" (Is the Middle Class Shrinking? by Stephen Koepp; Gisela Bolte/Washinton and Jon D. Hull/Los Angeles Monday, Nov. 03, 1986 Time Magazine)

Like the little engine that thought it could middle classers through hard work, determination and belief in themselves felt they had arrived at a station in life  that at least would not be toppled. As comforting as this is at first blush this mindset ethic has created a false sense of security that has caused the middle class to react slowly to a drastically changed, even more, uneven terrain that at one time affected the small percentage of middle class fringers who found themselves overwhelmed by American politics and the resulting economics. Like Dorothy observing, "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore," more and more middle classers have been awakened from the American dream into an uncertain nightmare on Elm street where one must stay awake and alert.

In essence the fringe group has eaten at a significant part of the core middle class and the new fringe has failed to realize it is now the outskirts of the middle class and spinning of the circumference. Never has the saying, "a paycheck away from" hunger, homelessness, no health insurance, the working homeless, and displacement been so real for so many.
"Joel Kotkin seems to concur with some of this doomsaying. In his piece in the Dallas Morning News, Kotkin says:
Most disturbingly, the rate of upward mobility has stagnated overall, as wages have largely failed to keep up with the cost of living. It is no easier for poor and working-class people to move up the socio-economic ladder today than it was in the 1970s; in some ways, it’s more difficult. The income of college-educated younger people, adjusted for inflation, has been in decline since 2000." (Warner Todd Huston, "Is the American Middle Class Disappearing?" Canada Free Press 2010)

Still not a believer?

  • 61% of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49% in 2008 and 43% in 2007.
  • Only the top 5% of households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
  • A staggering 43% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
  • For the first time in US history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
  • 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.

Have we seen the last of the attacks on collective bargaining?  Probably not.  Power struggles such as in Ohio where Democrats staged a walk out in favor of unions, in Massachusetts where the attack on unions was led by Democrats and  in Indiana point to a government as usual panicked and looking for money in a business as usual support- big- business environment.  There is absolutely no creative thinking based on a long range view of  the real state of America advocating the case for the little people, the heart of our country.

It is patronizing for president after president to ascent we are the strongest greatest country on the planet when even the most ignorant of world affairs know we lead in military expenditures only.  We have lost ground in education and health care and steadily slide down the world leader list.  We still have not conquered the game of race and what is most startling is that many polls suggest most A

If we take Mr. Buffet's "we're all in this together" advice what then? We may avert a financial apocalypse, the middle class may still believe in the American dream which supports the upper class risking the possible complete demise of the middle class, and Mr. Buffet and the rest of the really really rich, stay that way.   By the way the American Dream is based on the premise that anyone can become part of the upper class through you guessed it, through hard work, determination and belief in ones selve, laudable ideals to be sure, but grossly misplaced.   I would think there would be many writings out if they are not out now about the American cast system.

Government backed credit card companies and banks are the new loan sharks able to change rules, interests and contracts in a single sweep of the pen.  Many churches are still only sellers of "pie in the sky" that nominally support the poor and down trodden but not in deference to their own fiefdoms.  We are a society without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable and unmerciful from the greatest to the least.  Because of the aforementioned we are a nation of cynics.
Time for some black eyed peas and cornbread as I ponder, where is the love?

 Dismal wouldn't you say?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

2-1-1 Food

Free Food at a Price

My God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19.  Today God supplied my need to humble myself.

July 12, 2011.  Today my wife and I went to an emergency hunger center in our neighborhood, (see video at end of this blog) in Cleveland Heights.  Inside we were met by a dour man in his 60's, standing in front of a desk, face snarling, slightly slouched over, one hand in his pocket seemingly sizing up the scum as he looked up peering over his glasses at us.

"Take a ticket he barked," as our eyes met.
 I felt trapped in a "Where's Waldo" episode, only Waldo had a whip,and the  stopwatch was racing to zero, as my eyes frantically raced up and down, back and forth across the room until I found the number 7 on a dowel of numbers on one of the walls.  "Oh look honey," my wife exclaimed, "only 7 people in front of us!"
An elderly lady had entered the room.  "You're the only ones here," she explained.
"Okaaaay, so why do I need a number," I thought.  I was fearful to broach the topic, even just out of curiosity, we sat down and the surly man began to ask questions to ascertain how provably poor were we .  We supplied the proper documents while an upbeat, friendly man named Bob handed me a bag of fresh green leafy stuff and a bag of lettuce with peppers in it.   We agreed that the green stuff  was most likely Swiss Chard. 

There were also baggies of sugar, flour, instant coffee and canned items on the desk.  He stood briefly in the doorway behind the dour, surly gent seemingly apologetic.  Was he apologizing for Mr. Surly or for my being there?

 I didn't have my child's social security number with me but Mr. Surly assured me I could bring it  when I came back.  The thought of returning had not occurred to me.  At one point my wife and I stumbled over information Mr. Surly requested, "Now look," he chastened, "I can't hear both of ya talkin at the same time!"  The sweet elderly woman interpreted "We both have trouble hearing."

I felt my eyes widen so I picked up a flyer advertising a community meal at the church housing this food center, to bow out of the info gathering.  "Oh you ought to come to that, the food is really good!" the sweet older lady chirped.  I then eyed another piece of paper.  "A lot of places on that list have really good food too but you need to call and make sure the hours are correct, this list may be outdated," she cautioned.

Not knowing the procedure it occurred to me maybe I should've brought a packing box, so I decided to take the few things on the desk and the greens to the car. Two others had come in during our interview, a lone woman and a young woman with a small child.  The little girl had apparently not received the memo about not making eye contact and we studied each other on my way past her.    A woman in the passenger's seat of a car stirred when I came outside.  Today the recipients of free food handouts, seemed too intent on avoiding eye contact, or was I projecting?  I leaned out of my way, like Michael Jackson in "Thriller" into the driverless car, to make eye contact with the woman who smiled sheepishly and replied to my hello.  There I'd done it!  I'd broken through the invisibility cloak!

I returned inside, like a convict to the electric chair, hearing the voice of another inmate,  loudly addressing a cell phone as if straining to be heard over the din of an imaginary crowd in the tiny room.  "Uh huh, well I calt chu the otha day and told you I wasn't doin' nat.  Listen I'm over at da food place.  I had my money come in an' I'm goin' to da sto'.  You want me to pick you up anythang?"

She was obviously not a novice.  She was serenely oblivious to the rest of us.  She was seasoned enough to owe obeisance to no one.  There was something to admire there but did I want to become a regular?

The Bounty: sugar, flour, 2 bags Jack Rabbit pinto beans, 1 bag of Diamond rice, 1 jar of Hampton  peanut butter, 2 cans of Hudson sweet corn, 2 boxes of Tabatchnick 1% milk, one box of cream mushroom soup, 1 can of Hart sliced potatoes, 1 bottle of SunPac orange juice, 1 baggie of sugar, 1 bag of flour, 1 plastic tin of Giant Eagle Itty Bitty brownies "($3.99), 1/2 pound cake, a 2 pound loaf of bread, 2 bagels, 2 muffins, 4 small whole loaves of bread, 2 cans of Port Royal tuna, 1 can of First Harvest sliced peaches, 2 cans of Family Pantry chicken noodle soup, 1 can Estofado Verduras (stew), 2 cans Delmonte leaf spinach, 1 can Lady Liberty pear halves, 1can of Mothers Maid apples, 1 can of Beckman's greenbeans. 
See you Thursday?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Roseanne Barr on the Lack of Change in the TV Industry -- New York Magazine

Nothing real or truthful makes its way to TV unless you are smart and know how
to sneak it in, and I would tell you how I did it, but then I would have to kill you.
Based on Two and a Half Men’s success,
it seems viewers now prefer their comedy dumb and sexist.
Roseanne Barr on the Lack of Change in the TV Industry -- New York Magazine

Sunday, May 15, 2011

AFA Writer Condemns Christians Who Practice Yoga | Right Wing Watch

Click here to read AFA article entitled->:AFA Writer Condemns Christians Who Practice Yoga | Right Wing Watch

Instead of our spiritual "leaders" like Albert Mohler of the Southern Baptist Convention and Douglas Groothuis of the Denver Seminary leading the flock into the freedom which comes only through Christ they shackle Christians to the idolatry of religion. They suggest that the bible narrowly defines a methodology to following Christ.
They have at least read James 1:27-
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. So then specifically their issue must be what is and what isn't being polluted by the world.

Please bear with me as I lay out the foundational thoughts of Buddhism to point out where I think my brothers in Christ miss the boat or feel free to scroll down to "Christians Involved in the Practice of Yoga."

The foundation of Buddhism is centered on the " Four Noble Truths:
  1. The truth of suffering (dukkha)
  2. The truth of the cause of suffering (samudaya)
  3. The truth of the end of suffering (nirhodha)
  4. The truth of the path that frees us from suffering (magga)
The truth of the path that frees us from suffering (No.4) is the Eightfold Path one must follow to be enlightened.
You can find this in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.
Here is the Eightfold Path by , Guide:
  1. Right View
  2. Right Intention
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Concentration
The Eightfold Path is divided into three main sections: wisdom, ethical conduct and mental discipline.
Wisdom: Right View and Right Intention are the wisdom path. Right View is not about believing in doctrine, but in perceiving the true nature of ourselves and the world around us. Right Intention refers to the energy and commitment one needs to be fully engaged in Buddhist practice.
Ethical Conduct: Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood are the ethical conduct path. This calls us to take care in our speech, our actions, and our daily lives to do no harm to others and to cultivate wholesomeness in ourselves. This part of the path ties into the Precepts.
Mental Discipline: Through Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration we develop the mental discipline to cut through delusion. Many schools of Buddhism encourage seekers to meditate to achieve clarity and focus of mind.

The Truth of the End of Suffering
The Buddha's teachings on the Four Noble Truths are sometimes compared to a physician diagnosing an illness and prescribing a treatment. The first truth tells us what the illness is, and the second truth tells us what causes the illness. The Third Noble Truth holds out hope for a cure.
The Buddha taught that through diligent practice, we can put an end to craving. Ending the hamster-wheel chase after satisfaction is enlightenment (bodhi, "awakened"). The enlightened being exists in a state called Nirvana.
-Barbara O'Brien

 Christians Involved in the Practice of Yoga
I would make several points here about Christians involved in the practice of yoga being wrong for doing so. My first point is revealed in a question, do you know all of the above philosophy about Buddhism or enough to say you truly have an understanding of what is going on here to the point of agreement or disagreement? If the answer is no then continue on in blissful ignorance because to be affected by this one must buy into the Truth is the End of Suffering hook, line, and sinker.
The first part of this makes a lot of sense. The Buddha preached that we can end craving through discipline and practice. Many Christians undertake disciplines to do likewise.  There is a plethora of scripture that speak of the ability to control one's mind such as Romans 12.1-2 ending in, "don't be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.."

The departure from Christianity says that after one has mastered this one moves on to a state called Nirvana. At this point huge buoyant, all encompassing red flags should be everywhere a Christian looks. This is directly tied to the concept of Reincarnation which basically says one is doomed to a cycle of returning to the concrete until one gets it right and this is diametrically opposed to the good news found only in Jesus Christ.  If one has any foundation in Christ then this is absolutely, positively wrong.

  If you are in Christ you might have noticed that just about all of your thoughts and perceptions go through a Christ filter.  This means that you convert things into the likeness of Christ in your daily living.  A number of years ago there were some Tibetan monks at the Cleveland Museum of Art.  One of them the Venerable Lama Tenzin Yignyen is an ordained Tibetan Buddhist monk and very, very charming. They were there to spread the word of Buddhism through creating a sand mandala.

A mandala is a cosmic diagram that represents the dwelling place or celestial mansion of a deity. Both the deity, who reside in the mandala and the mandala itself are recognized as pure expressions of Buddha's fully enlightened mind. Mandala can be visualized, painted or constructed from wood, precious jewels, rice, flower and so forth. Sand is considered to be a superb medium because of its number and the great skill required to create the mandala's exquisite details.

There was a public question and answer with these wisemen and Christians would have agreed with every moral platitude they uttered.  Why, because Christianity does not corner the market on morality, it is universal.  We had great conversation myself and the monks until one morning I asked could I worship with them and they were curious enough to listen.  I told them I wanted to meditate on Christ with my didgeridoo, that was where they drew the line.  My didgeridoo sounds a lot like chanting/throat singing  if I want it to and I showed them.
My point is that I get involved in the world all of the time but I am not of the world, Christ is with me and the Holy Spirit is in me.  I have the mind of Christ.  Therefore I can meditate, change my state of consciousness, which was such an affront to brother Mohler and Gruthias and twist myself like a pretzel and not affect my standing in Christ.  Paul said that buffeting the body might even do a little good when comparing spiritual exercise to body exercise.  In 1Cor.9 Paul beats his body to make it his slave... Downward Facing Dog anyone?
By change my state of consciousness, I do not mean over indulgence or introducing anything into my body for an effect, we are commanded not to be filled with such things but to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  However I believe "altered states" is a dangerous acid test for real Christianity and if my brothers believe this they must start within the church and every Holy Roller congregation from West Virginia to New Jersey to Cleveland Heights Ohio.  Sadly  AFA author, Marsha West, who I greatly respect, Mr.s Gruthias and Mohler point to Christians who apparently are not very grounded in knowledge of the scriptures and following Christ through the Word as proof of their judgement.   I'm sure had they wanted to they could have pointed to more learned judgements among their respondents. 

There's a Zen story in which a professor visited a Japanese master to inquire about Zen. The master served tea. When the visitor's cup was full, the master kept pouring. Tea spilled out of the cup and over the table.
"The cup is full!" said the professor. "No more will go in!"
"Like this cup," said the master, "You are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"
If you want to understand Buddhism, empty your cup.
Got Christ? Then guess what, your cup is full, no more will fit in.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Life Lessons from: NEWTON'S LAWS of MOTION (sorta)

First Law:
·       A Situation, Policy, Object, Dilemma, Train Of Thought, or Malaise, (SPODTOTOM)
·        [Which is] at rest remains at rest until acted upon by a force.
·       A SPODTOTOM [which is] in motion continues moving in a straight line at constant velocity until acted upon by a force.
Also called "Law of Inertia"

Accelerated motion
Newton's Second Law:
F = ma
Acceleration of a SPODTOTOM is directly proportional to the net force acting on the SPODTOTOM and inversely proportional to its mass.  Translation: the more force you apply to a, SPODTOTOM over time the quicker the SPODTOTOM will move or change.  The bigger the SPODTOTOM the slower the change.

Newton's Third Law:
Whenever one SPODTOTOM exerts a force on a second SPODTOTOM, the second SPODTOTOM exerts an equal and opposite force on the first.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Isabel Trautwein

I've been chosen the Poet Laureate of the City of Cleveland Heights and will be installed April 20 at Cleveland Heights City Hall. Recently, I went to a pot luck in honor of this fact and met many wonderful folks. One person in particular is Isabel Trautwein a violinist. She played a few pieces of Bach, J.S. Bach and they were wonderful. She works with the Rainey institute in Cleveland's Hough Neighborhood and I was moved to post this since I have had the privilege of working with this fine institution.
I am hoping to exact some modicum of change in the culture school aged youth in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights community as poet laureate of Cleveland Heights. Prayers, cherished.