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No country can claim the banner of freedom when it starts killing it’s young.

A Poem for Neda Agha Soltan (1982-2009)
Written by Mandana

Stay, Neda—
The twittering birds,
Green-garbed forests,
Scented blossoms… all sing
of spring’s arrival
Don’t go, Neda…

Stay, Neda—
Sing with your people in the streets
Say, Long live life!
Down with death!
Tell the sun to shine,
the cold to depart
Don’t go, Neda…

Stay, Neda—
Look at this city
At the shaken foundations of palaces,
The height of Tehran’s maple trees,
They call us “dust,” and if so
Let us sully the air for the oppressor
Don’t go, Neda

Don’t be afraid
It is the sound of fireworks, not bullets The offspring-sparks of a great flame We are aflame, Fueled by baton-cracks and gunshots We are ablaze Don’t go Neda…

Oh Neda, Neda!
Breathe
Rise
Shatter the cage
Break through the bars
Don’t go, Neda

Don’t go, Neda—
Wait—
Look beyond the clouds
Lady sun is breaking through
She is just like you
Don’t go Neda
Oh God, don’t go…

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My cathedral

West Haven Beach

West Haven Beach

The gazebo on the left is where many couples begin their married life.  It is my favorite place to watch the sun come up over Long Island Sound.  When I can drag my butt out of bed early enough to make sunrise.  🙂

What is your place of worship like?

Everyday I go for long walks.   I try to both exercise my body, and relax my mind.  Below are two pictures of the park  I often use for both these activities.

Waterfall By Legion Pool

Waterfall By Legion Pool

Nature Trail

Nature Trail

What is your favorite way to exercise your body?

What is your favorite way to relax your mind?

My favorite song for just sitting back and chillin is Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic”.  I couldn’t find a good video of his singing the song, but I like Jen Chapin’s version.

What is your favorite chillin out song?

The following is great advice to live by.  The world would be a much better place if we all lived by them.

2 Peter 1:4 thru 7 (King James Version):

4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

 5And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

 6And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

 7And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

I can’t think of a greater promise than to spend eternity with those you love, who share your faith in God.  This is were having faith in God can give Christ Followers more comfort in their system of belief than I can mine, which is based on the forces in the world I live in.  For me my story ends at death.

Lust is a very powerful, corrupting, force.  Looking back at all my relationships it could be that I was more driven by lust, not love.  This could be why none ever lasted.  I don’t regret one minute in any of these relationships.  I do regret the pain I caused because I was too self centered to work hard enough at building any of these relationship into a loving one.

I have mixed feelings about the word temperance, which in the dictionary is defined as moderation in action, thought, or feeling.   Once I discovered how joyful, exhilarating, life can be, living life to it’s fullest, not in moderation, was more my goal.  I do try to factor in the risk of doing harm to either myself, or someone else.  Music, dancing, laughter, joy, love are not activities that are best experienced in moderation.  It is also true however, that my overindulgence in food, and drink, likely lead to my diabetes.  I guess the degree of moderation we should exercise depends on the activity. 

It took me a long time to learn the value of patience.  On more than one occasion I have been like Mr. Wile E. Coyote, with the resulting crash landing from leaping before I looked.  Life will always put up hurdles.  If the hurdle happens to be a railroad track, you are much better off waiting for the train to pass before you cross to the other side.  If your are trying to build something, including your plan for life, you had better take the time to read the blueprints, twice, before you start.  If you get the foundation wrong you had better have a lot of insurance. 🙂

Kindness and charity are two of the most beautiful words in the dictionary.  In terms of living in this world, acting with kindness, and charity, towards our fellow man may be the only two concepts we need.  Love is a word people use a lot.  If we don’t act with kindness, and charity, love is just a word.

Natalie Merchant – Kind and Generous

1) First I want to pay my respects to the creator of one of the greatest inventions of the modern era.

John Houghtaling, inventor of “Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed”, died Wednesday, June 17, at his home in Fort Pierce, Fla.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/20/business/20houghtaling.html?hpw

“The earliest vibrating beds predated the Industrial Revolution and were powered by household servants. Then came steam power, and after that, electricity. Mr. Houghtaling’s great innovation was to separate the motor from the bed.”

I have used Mr. Houghtaling wonderful invention.  Have you?  You do not have to provide any details.  🙂

2) National Youth Service

In 1973, after over 1 million Nigerian’s died in a civil war, that country created the National Service Youth Service Corps.

From a Christian Science Monitor article about this Youth Corp:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0619/p09s01-coop.html

“Nigeria’s youth-service program had an even more ambitious goal. The National Youth Service Corps has largely reintegrated Africa’s most populous country, bonding many disparate tribes and peoples, and forging one nation. This is no small accomplishment, considering a population that is 50 percent Muslim, 40 percent Christian, and 10 percent animist.

Today, despite clashes between guerrilla rebels and the Nigerian Army in the southern, oil-rich Delta region, words such as “secession” and “civil war” do not seem to be on anyone’s lips. The NYSC “is a good glue that holds this country together,” said Tosin Alagbe who works in the IT sector.

Marching orders for Nigeria’s university graduates to go live in the most primitive rural areas still engender some unease, however. Things become tense when some Christians draftees are sent to live in the north’s overwhelmingly Muslim cities, such as Kano.

TV anchorman Onimizi Adaza shared those apprehensions. He dreaded the Saharan heat, the desert, and the dust, as well as “hostile conservative Muslims who keep to themselves.” But as his year in service passed, the scales fell from his eyes, and he concluded, “They weren’t bad as a people. I still keep in touch with one friend up there.”

I like the idea of a national service requirement for all Americans.  In the US we had a military draft until 1973, the year Nigeria began their Youth Services program.  I don’t believe any citizen should be required to serve in the military, but some form of public service would be a good thing. I think Missionary servce, the Peace Corp, hospital volunteer work should all qualify.

Do you think some type of mandantory youth services program would be a good idea?

If you do what kind of program would you like to see?

There is far too much in the 42 chapters of Job for me to adequately analyze in only a day.  Many of the words I don’t understand.  
I can see where Job can be an inspiration to Christ Followers, as someone who keep his faith, no matter how much he suffered, and was rewarded by God in the end.
 
1) What do you think the Book of Job teaches?
 
Besides the example Job provides I see two points this book seems to be making. 
 
a) God’s workings are beyond the ability of man to understand, including why you must suffer.  No matter what the circumstance, trust in God completely.
 
Question – If you don’t ever develop that complete trust in God will he deny you the reward of heaven?
 
b) Suffering is not the result of sins committed by man.  This is the mistake that Eliphaz, Zophar and Bildad make.  The case of Job proves them wrong.
 
2) What part of the Book of Job inspires you the most?

3) I had a great deal of difficulty following Elihu’s speech in Book 37.  What is your interpration of the following?

2 – Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth.

3 – He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.

4 – After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard.

18 – Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?

19 – Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness.

20 – Shall it be told him that I speak? if a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up.

23 – Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.

24 – Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.

 

I wanted to pick a Bible passages that dealt with inspiration.  My friends Love and Rain suggested the Book of Job.  They neglected to mention there are 42 chapters(?).   For this weeks study I will have to do some serious studying.  🙂

I was going to mark my schedule for some study time, except being retired I don’t have schedule.  🙂

I will make time tomorrow, Thursday, to read all 42 chapters.  I did want to post something now, and found a video that tell Job’s story.  

What do you think of the video?  I’ll put a post for more “serious” discussion Friday.

Seatrain’s take on the story of Job:

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I found the following site “Dark Roasted Blend” with some amazing pictures of art made with food.

http://tinyurl.com/cuuu8t

Which picture do you like the most.

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I knew the English language was spreading across the global.   I had not realized how wide spread this “mania” to learn English was.

According to Jay Walker it is mandatory in China to teach English beginning in the 3rd grade.  China will soon have more people speaking English than any other country in the world, probably more than England, the US, and Australia combined.

Jay Walker is an American entrepreneur who founded Priceline.com.  There is an interesting article in Wired, with pictures, of his amazing personal library.

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/16-10/ff_walker?currentPage=all

I like the idea of having one language that all the people in the world could speak.  A person in China, another in Brazil, a third in Russia, all being able to turn on their computer and speak with each other.  The easier it is for the people of the world to communicate with each other, the more the barriers that separate us will come down.

I also like the idea of teaching all our children a second language, beside their native tongue.   I think this would encourage intercultural dialogue. 

It of course won’t stop us from fighting with each other, such as over what should be the first language of government.  In all the countries I can think of people complain about immigrants who can’t speak that countries language, be it English, French or German.  I do believe it is preferable to have one language for government. 

I think it should be mandatory, as it is in China, to have children taught in school at least one language other than their native tongue.  It would be best if the child is given a choice of what to learn.  Do you agree or disagree?

I tried two semesters of French in high school and don’t remember anything from it.  Of course I don’t remember much of anything I was taught in high school.  🙂

 

I was looking up Bible verses that dealt with faith.  I came across Mathew 11 “John the Baptist Sends Messengers to Jesus”.  I do not understand verse 6.

Mathew 11:1-6 King James Version

1 Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities.
2 And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of[a] his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

What is your interpretation of “blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

For next week I was thinking of looking at Bible verses that deal with inspiration.  Do you have any recommendations?

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The songs of Bob Dylan, and Woody Guthrie before him, help ignite the revolution for social justice in 1960 America.

In 2009  Sheema Kermani is using a theater group, to advance the cause of women’s rights in her country, Pakistan.

What artiest, in any field, songs, plays, movies, tv, etc, do you think advanced the cause of social justice in your country, in your lifetime?

From a Christian Science article, by Huma Yusuf, about Sheema Kermani and her Tehrik-e-Niswan (Women’s Movement) troupe.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0608/p47s01-lihc.html

“KARACHI, Pakistan – Last December, when the theater troupe Tehrik-e-Niswan (Women’s Movement) performed in Orangi Town – the largest slum in the Pakistani port city of Karachi – it did not expect Muslim clerics to make up the bulk of the audience.

At the invitation of a nonprofit organization, the activist troupe was staging a play about child abuse, which features a cleric as a molester. “We were too scared to perform,” says Asma Mundrawala, one of the actors.

“But Sheema encouraged us to go on, reminding us that this was the exact audience we were trying to reach.”

Sheema Kermani is the founder of Tehrik-e-Niswan, considered the cultural wing of the women’s rights movement in Pakistan. For 30 years, Ms. Kermani has staged plays in low-income urban and rural communities that touch on taboo topics, including domestic violence, rape, child molestation, the claustrophobic fate of unmarried women, and the importance of education for girls.

The troupe flourished in the 1980s, when then-military dictator Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq imposed draconian Islamic laws that curtailed women’s rights. One piece of legislature, for example, required the government to prosecute rape victims for pre- or extramarital sex. During that time, Kermani directed and acted in plays such as “Anji,” in which her character is raped on stage, and “Chadar Aur Chaardiwari,” in which a young girl commits suicide, which is illegal in Pakistan.”     

“Two years ago, Kermani’s troupe performed a play about girls’ education in Lyari, a large slum in Karachi. The men of the community insisted on watching the play first, before their female family members, and eventually decided that the women could not see the performance.

“The decision should have made me sad,” Kermani says. “But it only reinforced that this medium is so powerful that people are scared of it. Those men thought the play would inspire or incite women to think for themselves – and that’s what we want.”

“For all her resilience, Kermani concedes that sharing ideas through theater is increasingly difficult. “When I was growing up, there was no stigma against dancing or acting. But that’s no longer the case,” she says.

“For years, I’ve been performing in all corners of Pakistan, and no one has shut us down. But the mullahs [clerics] in the crowd are growing in number. I don’t know if theater can defeat the fashion of fundamentalism.”

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