Wednesday, July 21, 2021

World in Distress

Our world is in distress.  We have experienced unprecedented life-threatening high temperatures in the 100’s for days on end.   Droughts, fires and floods have resulted in unparalleled destruction and loss of lives.  Rivers, lakes and streams and oceans as well as lands and the air are all polluted.   We see a degradation of the food chain from overuse of antibiotics and chemicals.   This past year has brought a plague of deaths from a new virus and the flagrant rash of ‘recreational’ drug use.  Nations don’t know how to manage the onslaught of millions of refugees all over the globe fleeing drought devastated lands, tyrannical leaders and uncontrolled crime.  This is our world in the 21st century.  

 

Isaiah 24:4      The earth is mourning, withering,

                        the earth is pinning, withering,

                        the heavens are pining away with the earth.

                        The earth is defiled under its inhabitants’ feet,

                        for they have transgressed the law,

                        violated the precept,

                        broken the everlasting covenant.

                        So a curse consumes the earth

                        And its inhabitants suffer the penalty.

 

Those are words prophesized by Isaiah over three thousand years ago . . . and it tells of our world today.  Isaiah describes it as God’s wrath.  Each age describes reality in the terms that are available to their understanding.  The ancients believed God directly controlled everything.  Their idea of God was that of a harsh, demanding and controlling Deity—much in line with the rulers of the times.  So in prophesying a world disaster he attributed it as being the curse of God punishing humanity. 

 

God’s covenant to man was to shepherd the earth.  We were given control. 

Jesus introduced a new view of God, as the God of Love who desires and awaits mankind to choose ‘the good’.   Jesus did not demand and command, rather he demonstrated love with stories of kindness and lessons like the beatitudes, and he left it to his followers to choose to accept or reject.  In Deuteronomy, God’s words are reported as “I have set before you, life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life so that you and your children may live.”  Not a command or demand, but a choice.

 

As religions grew, particularly Judaism and Christianity, they were structured more in line with  the Old Testament God of wrath and control.  The New Testament view of God, is of a God of love as demonstrated by Jesus.  Religions do not clearly convey the difference.  

 

Since the mid-20th century there has been a decline in religious participation as science showed us another side of existence and it seemed less likely that God was controlling what was happening on earth.  Many came to think that meant there wasn’t a God.  Materialism and consumerism grew, and God was left out of the equation.  That was the mistake!  It’s not that God isn’t, it that God gave humanity a directive, “I lay before you life and death, choose life.” God watches and waits for humanity to choose ‘the good’ that leads to life.

 

In today’s world most people recognize that God is not controlling our actions.  Humans were given consciousness and free will.  That means we are expected to see, think and choose the course of action.  Unfortunately we have not chosen to follow the laws laid out at the beginning of time ‘to shepherd the earth’, which means we were to guard and protect it;  instead we have chosen to exploit it for selfish ends.  We have been directed to ‘love one another’; instead we divide into camps of ‘us’ and ‘them’ and fight each other.  We are instructed to share and to care for the poor and needy, instead we accumulate for ourselves—and the world became lop-sided with one percent of the extremely wealthy holding as much wealth as the poorer half of the world.

 

The climate crisis is not ‘God’s wrath’ punishing us; it is the result of the careless abandoning of principles and laws of justice inherent in ‘choosing life’.  In the process we have broken God’s covenant to shepherd the earth.  It is not God’s wrath we are facing.  It is the result of our own choices; we have chosen for death—and we, the inhabitants, are suffering the penalty.  

 

We still have time to choose the other option.  But that requires us to recognize our One World and work together to save it from those selfish choices we have made that got us to this point.

 

                        

                     

                        

Sunday, June 27, 2021

of Serious Thoughts: Modern Day Pharisees

of Serious Thoughts: Modern Day Pharisees:   I was shocked and appalled when I read in the Washington Post that my church, the Catholic Church, was taking steps–officially—to make Com...

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Modern Day Pharisees

 I was shocked and appalled when I read in the Washington Post that my church, the Catholic Church, was taking steps–officially—to make Communion a political issue.  That is wrong on two fronts: 1) our constitution clearly mandates the separation of church and state, and 2) I have always heard it stated that the Church does not take a political position.  

 Lately, within the Church I’ve seen contradictions to the second point.  Here, in my blog of August 28, 2020 I posted Protesting The ‘Catholic Vote’ which was about the organization by that name.  It clearly takes a pro-Trump/anti-democratic stand, and its objective is to influence Catholics to vote that way.  The official church raised no objections to it.  This present issue again shows that same bias—the official church is trying to weaponize the Eucharist.  This past week, US Catholic bishops voted to back measures to limit Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.  That is specifically aimed at our President Biden who is a Catholic.  The ultra-conservatives in power have pushed it this far—following that intense election campaign to bring the vote to Trump which didn't happen, it now seeks to ‘punish Biden’.

 

They will of course deny that, yet this move is trying to limit who is ‘good enough’ to receive communion.  Who IS ‘good enough’?  The Catholic Church has once again become a body which, in his day, Jesus called the ‘teachers of the laws and the Pharisees . . . who shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces.’  (Matthew was pretty strong on that point.)  

 

God’s greatest gift to humankind was free will; with it each individual is responsible for the choices he/she makes.  One’s own conscience is the final determinate.  Jesus did not command or demand, he respected one’s free will.  When Jesus sat at the table with his disciples on Holy Thursday he knew his betrayer, yet he offered him the cup and bread along with the others.  Jesus does not demand or command, he demonstrates Truth and leaves the choice to the individual.       . . . If the bishops are followers of Jesus, they should pay better attention to that! 




Wednesday, June 9, 2021

of Serious Thoughts: Humanity's Wake-Up Call

of Serious Thoughts: Humanity's Wake-Up Call:   The 21 st   Century calls humanity to awaken to the perilous path it walks. There is order to life and existence.  On its own, the natural...

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Humanity's Wake-Up Call

 The 21st Century calls humanity to awaken to the perilous path it walks.

There is order to life and existence.  On its own, the natural world is in balance.  The human world we have built is not automatically balanced, it evolves through the choices we make.  

Humanity is called to a moral order which keeps life in balance.  We have allowed an imbalance to grow to the point of threatening our very existence.  We haven’t paid attention to seeking a balance and it is past time to wake up to the plight of our planet.

 

Within the living memory of our senior citizens there have been many wake-up calls:  WWI, The Great Depression, WWII, Viet Nam and the anti-war movement, The Million Man March, 9/11, Black Lives Matter protests . . . but none has had a lasting effect.  We fall back to sleep, ignoring the alarm being sounded.  All those alarms were calling us to become aware that Humanity is on the wrong path, we’ve chosen division rather than unity—and we’ve lost our way to sustainability. 

 

As we moved into the 21st Century, there were numerous massive climate crises: floods, tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, wild fires, unprecedented winter storms, melting glaciers, rising ocean waters.  It took two decades to finally acknowledge the danger this poses and there are still those who demy it.  There is one climate that envelopes the earth, and collective human actions have disrupted it.  It is our responsibility to correct it and that can only be done through international cooperation.

 

Most recently the world has been in the grip of a global pandemic; no nation has escaped its ravages; it has killed millions.  It demonstrates our planet’s oneness.

 

The wake-up calls are getting louder, more dangerous and persistent.  –To what are the wake-up calls calling us?  To realize and act upon the fact that we are One World—which is a singular interacting interdependent unit!  That is the critical realization that can save us from self-destructing.

 

Sustainability is a word that has become popularized.  Broadly it means the ability to continue existence at a steady level (i.e. without threat or danger.)  At present, our world is unstable—out of balance in ways that threaten humanity’s continuation.  For us to achieve sustainability there are three major areas we must address.  As difficult and impossible as it may seem, we must do it globally in a cooperative fashion. 

 

1)     We’ve come to see the obvious imbalance and threat from climate disruption; it has made itself known through multiple crippling disasters.

2)    The next major imbalance is one which we are unwilling to acknowledge.  It is that of economic imbalance.  Oxfam International is a non-profit group focused on the global economic imbalance, giving annual reports.  They have reported that the top 1% of the world population (the billionaires) hold the same amount of wealth as the whole bottom half.  That is shocking and obscene that billionaires can buy private islands, personal planes, and gold toilets while half of the world starves.

3)    The most immediate and dangerous threat we must awaken to is the stockpile of nuclear weapons.  We don’t pay attention to that, it’s scary to contemplate, but within this last century, humanity has devised a way to annihilate all life on this planet.  A nuclear war can do that!  Throughout all of history humanity has engaged in warring.  In the 1970’s there was an anti-war movement, but it met with opposition and went away—yet the nuclear arsenal of some 13,500 nuclear warheads still exists.  That is the supreme world imbalance; on the whim of one unstable leader, a button can be pushed to end life as we know it.  Look into statics of the nuclear arsenal; I recommend two websites: armscontrol.org and ‘nuclearweaponswhohaswhat’ provides a chart.

 

This century’s numerous climate crises together with the global pandemic, constitutes humanities wake-up call to recognize our One World in need of international cooperation to address the three major areas of threat that create the disastrous imbalance that could literally bring about our self-destruction.  

 

There is a moral order which consciousness asks that we follow.  When we failed that, we lost our way.  Can we wake up in time?

 

 

 

Friday, April 23, 2021

of Serious Thoughts: Again A Nation Weeps

of Serious Thoughts: Again A Nation Weeps:   Today is April 16, 2021.     What a horrible statistic was announced today by CNN: “45 th   mass shooting in the United States since the A...

Friday, April 16, 2021

Again A Nation Weeps

 Today is April 16, 2021.  What a horrible statistic was announced today by CNN: “45th mass shooting in the United States since the Atlanta area spa shooting on March 16” . . . CNN considers a mass shooting incident to be “if 4 or more people are shot and wounded or killed”.

That includes the incident of today in Indianapolis, Indiana.  It all happened within a month!

 

How can that be acceptable to a so-called educated, advanced civilized country?  Damn the NRA, damn the Republicans in Congress or anyone who opposes gun control—this can’t be accepted as ‘the norm’ in our nation!  All the varying voices of protest against violence must be respected.  The American public wants it stopped—I don’t know the percentage number, but it clearly is the majority that want this kind of outrage to end.

 

How have guns become so sacrosanct that their ‘right to be’ exceeds that of human life?  It is an absurdity from every direction that automatic weapons of war are available for purchase at local stores.  No other country allows such an absurdity!

 

Has our nation become so atheistic that the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ has no power or meaning against the Almighty Gun?  The ferocity of opposition to removal of weapons of war from our store shelves is tantamount to the revering of a commandment.

 

It may be true that the banning of assault weapons won’t end the slaughter, there will always be someone who chooses to kill, but the number of people killed by one person at a time can be altered dramatically.

 

In the name of all that is good and holy, we must act against this kind of menace.