4 Freedoms to die for and live by: #4 Freedom from fear

4freedomsRoosevelt and Norman Rockwell (one a public eOrator the other a creative artist) teamed up to bring 4 freedoms to the fore in the American Dialogue in the 1940’s, they are the essence of the American Dream of a free society with freedom of speech and religion and a solidified community free from fear or want.

“The Freedom of speech, The Freedom of Religion, The Freedom form Want, and The Freedom from Fear”.

 

The Freedom from Fear:  That within reason no person or social/cultural group shall have the capacity or power to undermine or dominate another.  Bullying behavior makes a bully of us all.  Those with power can bully those under them.  Rhetoric or reality, treating any other human being with less respect than we all deserve is to demean that other person (the oppressed) and the oppressor, for those roles can change ever so quickly in a society that does not care for all people as one. This provides for people not being tormented by fear or using fear to torment others. Fear is used to enslave, perpetuate and excuse violence, and prejudice of multiple kinds.  The absence of fear is only achieved by the presence of fairness toward and by all. This is why inherent and implicit racism, sexism, gender identification, nationalism, naturalism, religious persecution, social prejudice, and bias are more of  threat to a free society than their parallel extrinsic and explicit forms of racism. For a black man/woman to fear walking into a room of white people and for a white person to fear walking into a room full of black women/men, are equally disturbing to a free society. To be totally free of fear mature love for all and mutual respect toward all are necessary ethical norms.  Fear fuels violence, blame and shame.  The lack of fear breeds hope, prosperity, and compassion toward and from all.   Fears is used to undermine some and provide the source of dominance of others.  As Franklin D. Roosevelt aptly stated: “There is nothing to Fear except fear itself”.  Fear ravages some, creates avengers of others, and victims of all.

These four freedoms are the essentials of a civilized and egalitarian society and a source of individual incentives and achievements without sacrificing social responsibility or personal conscience. 

Freedoms Worth Dying For and Living By: Freedom from Want

Freedom from Want

4freedomsRoosevelt and Norman Rockwell (one a public eOrator the other a creative artist) teamed up to bring 4 freedoms to the fore in the American Dialogue in the 1940’s, they are the essence of the American Dream of a free society with freedom of speech and religion and a solidified community free from fear or want.

“The Freedom of speech, The Freedom of Religion, The Freedom form Want, and The Freedom from Fear”.

The Freedom from Want:  That within reason their should be no social or ethnic pockets of privilege where food and shelter for some are extravagant and in abundance and while there are other pockets of homeless, helpless, and hungry people.  Not giving bread to a hungry neighbor and World hunger are not just indecent realities and immoral actions of a society, but blatant and egregious violations of the principles of equality of persons and equities of treatment towards all persons within that society. It is an indictment of the lack of solidarity and social consciousness of a society that is stratified between the haves and the have nots and are complacent and satisfied with the same.   “A society that can tolerate the “Abundance of Food in one arena or area and Starvation and famine in another” is not a society at all.. In the American declaration of allegiance to the flag and the  republic for which it stands, the words of the American Dream: “with liberty and justice for all”.  There is a Biblical parallel as we read of “cities of refuge” where groups of people under siege could go for rest and renewal.  In the new testament, Acts 2:44-45 “All the believers were together and  had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need”.  This provides equity in terms of food and shelter basic needs of all humanity.  This protects any one group of people to exceeds wants of essentials while another group of people are without “food or shelter”.

 

Freedoms Worth Dying for and Living by: 2 Freedom of Religion

Freedom of Religion

4freedomsRoosevelt and Norman Rockwell (one a public eOrator the other a creative artist) teamed up to bring 4 freedoms to the fore in the American Dialogue in the 1940’s, they are the essence of the American Dream of a free society with freedom of speech and religion and a solidified community free from fear or want.

“The Freedom of speech, The Freedom of Religion, The Freedom form Want, and The Freedom from Fear”.

The Freedom of Religion:  That within reason any religion unless it sanctions violence toward others, has the freedom to exist including non-religious categories.  This prevents any one religion to be the religion of the state.  It maintains that the state of freedom to practice any religion regardless of its tenants as long as those tenants are consistent with all other freedoms.  This freedom of Religion guarantees that no one regardless of their faith or the lack thereof will be treated with prejudice or bias.  This promotes egalitarianism of all and not an elitist position or posture toward one brand of faith or one practice of religion.  It promotes the idea that their is not one right way to believe in God and that all those who do not believe in that way are “infidels”.  At the heart of all religions (excluding extremists versions) are the principles of internal peace, and peace within one’s neighborhood and peace with God as well as love for God, self in a healthy way, and toward all people of earth and living things including respecting all life forms and nurturing the same’s existence.  To negate any form of religion, or religious construct is to violate the very foundation of religion and spirituality, which is love and peace in all and for all.

 

4 Freedoms Worth Dying for and Living By: Part 1 Freedom of Speech

On Saturday January 7th a Rally for the Four Freedoms will occur, Another is being planned for Jan 16th MLK Day

4freedomsRoosevelt and Norman Rockwell (one a public eOrator the other a creative artist) teamed up to bring 4 freedoms to the fore in the American Dialogue in the 1940’s, they are the essence of the American Dream of a free society with freedom of speech and religion and a solidified community free from fear or want.

“The Freedom of speech, The Freedom of Religion, The Freedom form Want, and The Freedom from Fear”.

The Freedom of Speech:“That within reason as reason would determine it, I and you can say anything I or you want without fear of persecution or reprisal.  This protects all of us from elitism, exploitation, exclusivity, and inequities of any kind.  This provides for all voices to be heard.  The lone minority voice, and the silent majority, nor the dominance of majority rule can silence any0ones voice. It is not about who is right or wring on any matter but that is is always right to honor the honesty of the right to freedom of speech.  This demands maturity and mutual respectfulness.  Today the glaring challenge of this is that in certain places if your say your are a Trump supported you will be attacked at least verbally and emotionally if not physically.  the indictment of our falling short of this mature and mutual respectfulness venue is that in another setting if you said you were a Hilary supporter you would be equally in jeopardy.  It takes a disciplined and determined populace to be and act with maturity and respectfulness toward all which we might call egalitarianism as opposed to elitism.

 

Where were Joseph and Mary’s Family

Everyone had to go to their families birthplace so all brother's and sister, Aunts and Uncles, Nieces and nephews, Where were they

Faith and Reason can help us make sense if nonsense

In church this morning the Gospel of Matthew re: Jesus birth

All were required to go to “family birth place”.  All those of the House of David lineage were to go to Bethlehem.   

My family 3 grown children and 5 growing Grandchildren were all together to enjoy a wonderful sit down meal, made by my wife, in a warm home heated by fireplace and wood stove and in the warmth of the company of family.  No one was alone.

So how was it on the first Christmas, 2016 or so years ago, that Mary and Joseph were alone.  Where were their brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandma and grandpa.   Where was Elizabeth and Zechariah and their toddler, John.   The only thing that makes sense is they all sat in what in Psalm 1: “seat of the scornful” “the seat of judgment” no one was in the “mercy seat”.

The family had to be close by.  We are reminded that the loneliest of moments are when we are where people are but their judgments rather than grace makes us fell alone. 

No doubt the fact that family was all around made it an even more silent night and lonely place.

It reminds us that regardless of anyone’s act of presence or absence the Emmanuel God is the God who says I am always with you  and is in fact always with you. 

You are never alone

God is with you!

Faith says you are never alone

Reason knows the truth that you are only as alOne as you chose to think so think better, “you are never alone”

Kwanzaa – A celebration of Community and Equality, Justice, Goodness to all

Religious overtones no religious undermining of others

Kwanzaa may be the most misunderstood least exploited of all the winter solstice holiday festivals. It is not religious per se while having overtones of the best of all religions:

It is celebrating its 50th anniversary here in the states which parallels the 50’s-60’s and the efforts for equality for all, freedom and justice for all, not just in words but in actions and attitudes.

It is about light shining in all hearts, about equality, justice, community, respectfulness (the reason it has two a’s at the end is when first presented there were seven children who volunteered to carry the letters but only 6 letters so they added a 7th so as to not let one child feel left out), and The Kinara holds one black candle at its center, symbolizing Umoja, or unity. At the right of the Umoja candle are three green candles, one for Nia, or purpose, Ujima, or collective work and responsibility, and Imani, or faith. And on the left of the Umoja candle are three red candles representing, Kujichagulia, or self-determination, Ujamaa, or cooperative economics, and Kuumba, or creativity. Candle placement is an important element of Kwanzaa because it places unity at the center of all other principles — without it, no other candle can be lit and no other principle can be met.

So it celebrates in a way that seems to be bathed in the Christian Fruit of the Spirit.

for more info go to:

In honor of its 50th anniversary.
COSMOPOLITAN.COM

7 Acts of Grace in the Creation Record

Where sin is Grace is More1

  1. God came graciously into the garden the next morning.   Though God was clearly full aware of what Adam and Eve had done, he demonstrated that proactivity not reactivity would be and were at least one mark of Godly character.  God came seeking with the faith that they would respond to his call.
  2. God asked in the kindest of ways, softly and tenderly, “Where are you”
  3. God made sufficient noise for them to hear him in the Garden and spoke loudly so they could not avoid the inquiry.  Adam, “We felt naked and shame so hid in a cave”.
  4. Notice God did not condemn or argue with them just invited them to speak honestly to him in the presence of  grace (year slater God would send his Son full of Grace and Truth, and a teacher Paul would instruct the church in Ephesus and all of us thereby to “Speak the Truth in love” which will help you to grow in wisdom and stature both with God and humanity.
  5. God slew an animal or at least skinned him to create a covering for them so they not feel the shame or blame each other for what happened.  He did not get angry or frustrated because he knew that he had created them subject to frustration, failure and fear. (Romans 18:20).  He recalled as Psalm 103:13-14 (God has compassion on his creation because He recalls how they were formed) “that they are dust”.
  6. God then takes the opportunity to teach them that every action has responsibility, consequences and accountability.  Clearly in “self control” God is meeting out responsibility and consequences nto as harsh judgment but as a “teaching moment”.  Think of it:  To Adam he says, “You will work the garden”  It is obvious that part of the motivation to eat of the tree is the ease of it, and the not appreciating it as you did not have to work for it.  Protecting humanity form itself I would say! As a bumper sticker said, “Where the Hell is Easy Street”.  To Eve he said that birth process which again was to be pain free will now be painful.  Pain also teaches us to appreciate the fruit of the body, the birth of the next generation and the subsequent maturity to teach them the same balance of accountability and abundant grace.
  7. God realized that given their proven behavior to test the limits there was a high likelihood (Past behavior is the greatest predictor of future behavior or choices) that hey would eat of the second tree in the garden: “The tree of Eternal Life”.  With fore thought and fore ordination, God cast them out of the garden not in anger or judgment but in “protective grace” to “promote their learning the balance of law and grace”.  He sealed the entrance so they could not return until they were ready in a healed and restored way to be welcomed into the garden and invited to eat of the Tree of Life Eternal which is (Rev. 22:2) forth healing of the nations and the restoring of heaven and earth.

It is never about Chance it is Always about choice motivated by creative love, compassionate care, courageous chance, and the calmness of the sea of glass (heaven’s image) and the peace of earth and heaven that surpassses human understanding bcause it is of heaven.

Choices: It is all about Choices

What influences Your Choices?

Early this morning, I tweeted two thoughts:

“Choices Not Chances control our Destiny
and

“Life is not about the chances we take or what by chance comes our way, but the way we respond to the sorrow or happiness that comes our way”

Afterward I went for my usual hour swim.  As I was swimming, I realized that these are more true than I first thought.

Think of the first couple on the planet (whether you believe in that account or not,, humor me and think about the first couple however they got here).  They made a “choice” to defy the creator’s rule and eat of a forbidden tree with its fruit.  They knew God was a friendly creative and compassionate God (I mean he came into the garden every morning to just chit chat and remain connected).  They took a chance and ate the fruit.  Not sure why or what they were thinking.  We are sure they instantly felt shame inside and resorted to blaming each other, the serpent and even God.  Later when God did come into the garden not with anger toward them or fear for them but with compassion toward them, he called out in a loving voice and tone, “Where are you all?”  Everything that happened afterward expresses the love and care of God.  I will blog tomorrow about the 7 acts of grace from the creation record.

God made a choice, to create people with independence and self determination.  God could not take that back but love them to a second choice.  God chose to be the first to shed innocent blood as he made a covering for them, a garment of grace to cover over the act of their defiance of rule.  The couple now made the choice to put on those provided clothes and feel the comfort of their covering them in grace and gratitude.  God’s second choice created a second chance with the accompanying responsibility to make a second choice.

For God and humanity it is never about chance always about choice.

Ending the year on a Good Note

A Merry heart does a Good think to the soul

The Best way to celebrate the end of 2016 is to do something generous, not-necessary, just kind and compassionate to whoever for whatever.

 

One of our traditions around Christmas and New year is to make and give some pretty elaborate but genuinely just nice Gingerbread Houses.  This year we are making and delivering tomorrow a “Phelps Memorial Hospital” Ginger Bread House to say a huge thank you to all the staff and workers in that hospital and particularly 2 Center where I was a patient for 15 days back in July following my accident when i was hit by a motorist not paying attention to the road therefore hit me while I was walking to get into my car!  My pelvis was severed and the pelvic ring fractured as was my sacrum. 5 and a half months later I will walk i=onto the floor unassisted by a cane or walking stick to say thank you for providing care, hope, and confidence.

img_0952Thank You are two small words but mean a lot.

Jesus healed 10 lepers one day but only one returned to give thanks.  We have all learned as a sad reality that few actually say thank you and fewer yet go out of their way to say thank you.

 

After decorating the above Ginger Bread House complete with the Ambulance (delivering me lower right), I drove to Phelps and delivered it to the 2c where I was a patient.  Once I removed my santa’s hat they recognized me and were thrilled to see me walking.  PT, OT, Nurses Staff et al gathered around to marvel at the Ginger Bread House and also such a unique way to say think you to them.  The Director of Nursing came to the floor to witness it and said it was the first time she ever heard of anything like this happening.  Smiles all around what an honor to be part of this moment with them.  HIPPA says I cannot take a picture of them but they took one of me. We will see if it shows up anywhere on media!

So end the year thanking someone for something and enter the new year with a cheerful heart and soul.

Children are our future, God is our Eternal Grandfather

Grandchildren the future for real......they are truly the upcoming generation

5grandkids

I had three children who are now all grown adults now and they have and are parenting my five grand children. On christmas eve we had all of them together in one place which was quintessential, cosmic, chaos of such a delightful kind there are no words for it.

I began to think that God is probably better thought of as a “Grand Father or Grand Mother!  Parents seem to be so caught up in many things (I was).  Making their mark in the world by excelling in a career notably to provide for the child they were in charge of raising. As young parents they are often filled with anxieties about their capacity to be a good parent, about safety, about doing a good job.  Pressures abound financially, new family connections, everybody giving in put, books a plenty from specialist abound, and the growing child that from the crying and sleepless ness of infancy to the adolescent identity formation and crisis.  I tis surprising that parents and child survive this era but they do unless tragedy interrupts.

Grandparents and in my case, Grandfathers, are in a different space, place, and full of grace.  The journey of life has taught us that everything is not as critically important as we think it is when we are young (under 45).  What church we go to and even what we believe becomes less important than how we behave.  How much money and property we have is not as important as how much peace is in our minds and how much love is in and flows out of our hearts.

My accident this past summer nearly fatal has changed a lot in me and around me.  I had asked for one thing for Christmas from my children back when I was still in the hospital maybe before: “a picture of all five of my grandchildren”.  MY children never asked me why and it was never mentioned so I was pleasantly surprised when On Christmas Eve as we were all together and exchanging presents that the above picture nicely framed was my present.

As a grandfather I see the beauty of life in the screaming 1 year old, the courage of life in the defiant 3 year old, the discipline of life in the competitive 8 year old, and compassion in the creatively cleverly deceptive 11 year old.  In short I see the best in each of them no matter how good or bad they are being in any given moment.  I think God is like that.  I know he is not anxious about what people think of him/her and their parenting skills, or of how much wealth or health he can maintain,or how much security or provisions he can give to his/her creation.  As a Grandfather he just watches and waits until their grandchildren learn, grow and develop in wisdom and stature both with God and humanity.  The grandfather never disciplines out of frustration but of faith to belief in the riches of what this child will become.  He never flexes his eternal power to subdue or subjugate his grandchild but in love and grace encourages and builds him/her up into the adult they can and will be come.  He sees all with eyes of hope, peace, love and joy all be anticipatory joy at times.  As John noted well of Jesus who was a reflective example of his father in heaven was from day one, and eternity, “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).  This couplet was also presented years later by Paul as the two sine quo non of Christian community and the family: “speaking truth with grace (love) (Ephesians 4:15) causes all people to grow up and mature in their faith and living.

So I look at these five beautiful, connected to me (through the roots, experiences and linkages of love) over the years and place in them by their loving parents.  I can be equally honest about their foibles and futures with truth and grace as God is with all their children.

They are the youngest generation alive and they are adults of the future, and the parents of the next generation.

So I also wanted a picture of my five (may be more in time) grandchildren because they along with my wife and my grown children gave me reason to fight so hard to be back among the living to promote the life force, determination, discipline, courage and compassion in me and at the same time model and propel the same in each of them.

God the grand Father and Greatest Grandfather of all generations is simply and profoundly full of grace and truth toward all in the hope that we will all grow up to be all that he/she wants us to be and let that be the heritage we leave the next generation. Amen