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Pick up any newspaper, watch any news program and you will see stories of people making war on their neighbors.  Human history is full of stories of war.

I was a very angry, and confrontational young man.  As a teen I got into a lot of fights in school.  I willingly took part in war, Viet Nam.  That conflict taught me the tragic waste of life that is war.  I have not had a physical confrontation since.  Verbal?  If you traveled had with me on my commute to New Jersey you might have learned a few words not found in Websters dictionary. 🙂

Neither I, the society I live in, or the world I share with my fellow men and women, can claim to be truly civilized.  Not as long as we make war on each other.

I can think of only two groups that don’t make war, the Amish and the Jains of India. 

You can read about the Jains here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism

In researching the Amish, and their source of guidance that leads them to “non-resistance”, all of the Internet sites I found, with information about the Amish, is written by people who are not Amish.  I did find the following site maintained by The National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom.  This organizations defends Amish communities in courts of law.

http://www.holycrosslivonia.org/amish/intro.htm

From their FAQ page:

http://www.holycrosslivonia.org/amish/amishfaq.htm#pacif

“Some of the Biblical references for peace and non-resistance are: Matthew 5:38-48; John 18:36; Romans 12:18-21; and I Corinthians 6:18.”

Further – “Both Amish and Mennonites are committed to a lifestyle of peace and non- violence. Yes, this pervades every aspect of life. However, no one can predict with certainty how anyone would really react to an absolutely unprecedented crisis such as described above. Emotions as well as thoughts are involved and the situation is personalized. Having said this, we would hope that as people who have practiced a lifestyle of peace, we would not resort to force and violence in a crisis situation such as the one described.
We must briefly make several points:

  1. There is no assurance that use of force would save my life or the life of my family if confronted by an attacker.
  2. We could recall many accounts of unhoped for deliverances, whether by mediation, nature, or divine Providence, when Christians refused to use force when confronted by an attacker.
  3. If the result is death at the hands of the attacker, so be it; death is not threatening to us as Christians. Hopefully the attacker will have at least had a glimpse of the love of Christ in our nonviolent response.
  4. The Christian does not choose a nonviolent approach to conflict because of assurance it will always work; rather the Christian chooses this approach because of his / her commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord.

The analogy to war in the situation described above tends to break down when we think of the vast preparations for war — accumulation of weapons, training of the military, etc. War is planned and seldom is aggression so clearly defined with the defense staying on its home turf.”

Finally to the Bible study part. 🙂

Mathew 5:38-48 (King James Version)

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

What is your interpration of Mathew 5:38-48?

Do you believe the Bible does sanction the use of violance to defend yourself, your family, your faith? 

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Today has been the first day I have been sick in years,. I can’t remember the last time I was sick since I have retired.  I eat something that didn’t agree with me.  A lot of people don’t agree with me, but not usually my stomach.

It’s a hazy, hot and humid (90%+) day so laying in bed all day sounded like a good plan, especially since my bathroom is next to my bedroom.  🙂

What is your remedy for an upset stomach?

Mine is lots of liquids, water, hot green tea with honey.  Light food like eggs and toast.

How good of a patient are you.  Do you follow the advice to your doctor/wife/caregiver?

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In Afghanistan 26,000 women a year die while pregnant or giving birth. In rural areas women are not allowed to be treated by a male doctor. Pashtoon Azfar’s Afghan Midwives Association is making a difference.

From an article in the New York Times by Denise Grady:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/28/health/28midw.html?hpw 

“Afghanistan has the world’s second-highest death rate in women during pregnancy and childbirth (only Sierra Leone’s is worse). For every 100,000 births, 1,600 mothers die; in wealthy countries the rates range from 1 to 12. In one remote northeastern province, Badakhshan, 6,507 mothers die for every 100,000 births, according to a 2005 report in the medical journal Lancet. In all, 26,000 Afghan women a year die while pregnant or giving birth.”

“The main causes of these deaths are hemorrhage and obstructed labor, which can be fatal if a woman cannot obtain a Caesarean section. Even if the mother survives, obstructed labor without a Caesarean usually kills the baby. Most of the maternal deaths — 78 percent, according to the Lancet report — could be prevented.”

Pashtoon Azfar’s mother gave birth to 10 children, always alone, behind a closed door. When Pashtoon was 9, she began to help, by waiting outside the door to receive the newborn baby and wash and swaddle it, while her mother then delivered her own placenta.

At 16 she began studying midwifery, Pashtoon finished a three year program.  “It was a very well-respected profession in my country,” she said.

The came war and her family fled to Pakistan.  Decades of war destroyed midwifery and much of health care, she said. Professionals fled the country, and many never went back.

By the time she returned to Afghanistan, she said, midwifery was in a shambles. Spots in professional schools of all kinds were being filled by people with political connections instead of those with good grades.

“A culture of war was going on,” Ms. Azfar said. “If a mother came for delivery they didn’t treat her as she deserved or needed to be treated. There was no emotional support.”

A mother of five herself, Ms. Azfar works 12 hours a day, seven days a week. She has irked relatives by missing weddings and other family events because of work.  “My children are not happy,” she said in an interview after her speech.

By day she directs Afghanistan’s Institute of Health Sciences, by night she works for a nonprofit group from Johns Hopkins University that focuses on women and children’s health, and somehow she also manages to serve as president of the Afghan Midwives Association.

Pashtoon Azfer

Pashtoon Azfer

Every country in the world has people like Pashtoon Azfar. People are any countries greatest resources.  Given half a chance people working together can solve any problem.

 

 

Lyndon Harris, a pastor in New York, builds ‘Gardens of Forgiveness’ around the world to help promote the power of reconciliation.

Lyndon Harris, a pastor in New York, builds ‘Gardens of Forgiveness’ around the world to help promote the power of reconciliation.

“Not to forgive is like drinking a glass of poison and waiting for your enemies to die.”   Nelson Mandela

The Christian Science Monitor has a column called “People Making A Difference”.  It is one the primary reasons I read the Monitor.

The most recent article is a the story of Lyndon Harris, now Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in New York’s West Village.

On that fateful day, 9/11/01, he was the pastor of St. Paul’s Chapel, a 200-year-old sanctuary where George Washington, not far from the fallen towers.

Far too many people seem to have forgot the undefeatable spirit demonstrated by Pastor Harris, and all the men and women of New York.  Tragedies will happen, people will suffer and die, the human spirit never will. 

From the article, by Marilyn Jones:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0727/p07s01-lign.html

After the twin towers fell, Father Harris spent the morning evacuating children from the nursery school at Trinity Church Wall Street – two blocks from the crash site. As he prayed and worked, he had no idea how dramatically his life would change.

“All the children and their parents working nearby survived. For Harris the day went by in a blur. He spent most of it on the street, helping. The next morning, still dazed, he arrived at little St. Paul’s Chapel, just up the street from Trinity. Ashes covered the cemetery out back, but the 200-year-old sanctuary where George Washington once worshiped was intact.

As the newly appointed priest in charge of St. Paul’s, Harris made a decision. With his superiors at Trinity out of town, he spontaneously opened the chapel to the hundreds of workers at ground zero. For eight months, St. Paul’s became a refuge to firefighters, workers, heavy-equipment operators, and police officers.

Open 24 hours a day, St. Paul’s served more than a half million meals. Counselors, musicians, and an untold number of volunteers from around the world helped. The grimy faces and worn bodies of the workers showed the strain of their bleak work. But the smiles and uplifted waves to news cameras also revealed how profoundly touched these workers felt by the outpouring of love. Cards, letters, posters, quilts, and pictures hung from every fence, surface, pew, and wall of the “little chapel that stood.”

Once emergency operations ceased, St. Paul’s closed for inspection, and Harris faced the realities of life in a hierarchical organization. “The heights of joy I was blessed to share while serving others at St. Paul’s Chapel were soon matched by the depths of my despair,” he recalls. “Internal divisions concerning the direction of the ministries at St. Paul’s boiled over. I wound up resigning.

Over the next three years, Harris’s life spiraled down. His lungs had been compromised by exposure to the air at ground zero. He lost his house through foreclosure, and his marriage ended in divorce. “PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] and depression began taking over my life. I was bitter and resentful,” he says.

At one point, a good friend listened to Harris’s woes. But rather than commiserating, he threw down a challenge: What if you could forgive? Harris hung up the phone. But then he got to thinking: “Of course I had to forgive!” he says. “I’m a Christian pastor! It’s part of my job description.” He called his friend back and told him he’d give it a try.

That decision marked a turning point. Finally, Harris says, he could hear these words attributed to Nelson Mandela: “Not to forgive is like drinking a glass of poison and waiting for your enemies to die.” Harris admits he drank deeply of that poison – mostly, he says, “because it tasted so good.”

Out of the ashes of his despair, forgiveness began to bloom. He spent two years as a consultant to The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine (Episcopal) in New York City. As his health returned, he traveled to Beirut, Lebanon, to visit Alexandra Asseily. She had begun a movement to plant a Garden of Forgiveness in her beloved Lebanon after its civil war, which claimed more than 300,000 lives. The greatest gift to one’s children, Ms. Asseily teaches, is to become a better ancestor. And that, she says, is done through forgiveness. ”

Web Site of “The Garden Of Frogiveness”

http://www.gofnyc.org/index.html

I have done some reading recently about the many rituals performed by different cultures. I think, in general, older people place great value on the traditions of the past, while younger people may prefer to adopt their own version, or create new ones.

My perception (the word I use when I know I am not an that knowledgeable) is that within religious groups, the older their origin the more likely they are to place great importance on rituals. Conservative, Fundamentalist, Orthodox religious groups tend to believe the rituals in their holy books should be followed exactly as they are written, which of course is still open to interpretation.  Liberal, reform groups use these “instructions” more as a guide.

How important do you believe it is to follow the traditions of the past?

I am probably one of the least traditional people on the plant. I do see value in “honouring” some traditions from the past, such as Thanksgiving (US). I also believe there isn’t any tradition from the past that can’t be improved on.

From the Bible I will pick the ritual of the Eucharist, also called Holy Communion.

1 Corinthians 11:23 – 24 (King James Version)

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken] for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

Also Mark 14:23 – 24 (KJV)

23 Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new[a] covenant, which is shed for many.

I will use Wikipedia for my source because it is easy to follow, and I don’t have the time for a great deal of research. Remember I am a working man now. 🙂

1) “History”

In his First Epistle to the Corinthians (c 54-55), Paul the Apostle gives the earliest recorded description of Jesus’ Last Supper: “The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me’.”

also – “The synoptic gospels, first Mark, and then Matthew and Luke, depict Jesus as presiding over the Last Supper. References to Jesus’ body and blood foreshadow his crucifixion, and he identifies them as a new covenant. In the gospel of John, the account of the Last Supper has no mention of Jesus taking bread and wine and speaking of them as his body and blood; instead it recounts his humble act of washing the disciples’ feet, the prophecy of the betrayal, which set in motion the events that would lead to the cross, and his long discourse in response to some questions posed by his followers, in which he went on to speak of the importance of the unity of the disciples with him and each other.”

further – “The Didache (Greek: teaching) is an early Church order, including, among other features, instructions for Baptism and the Eucharist. Most scholars date it to the early 2nd century. Two separate Eucharistic traditions appear in the Didache, the earlier tradition in chapter 10 and the later one preceding it in chapter 9.The Eucharist is mentioned again in chapter 14.

Ignatius of Antioch, one of the Apostolic Fathers and a direct disciple of the Apostle John, mentions the Eucharist as “the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ”, and Justin Martyr speaks of it as more than a meal: “the food over which the prayer of thanksgiving, the word received from Christ, has been said … is the flesh and blood of this Jesus who became flesh … and the deacons carry some to those who are absent.”

2) Eucharistic Theology

“Many Christian denominations classify the Eucharist as a sacrament. Some Protestants prefer to call it an ordinance, viewing it not as a specific channel of divine grace but as an expression of faith and of obedience to Christ.

Most Christians, even those who deny that there is any real change in the elements used, recognize a special presence of Christ in this rite, though they differ about exactly how, where, and when Christ is present. Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy teach that the consecrated elements truly become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Transubstantiation is the metaphysical explanation given by Roman Catholics as to how this transformation occurs. Lutherans believe that the body and blood of Jesus are present “in, with and under” the forms of bread and wine, a concept known as the sacramental union. The Reformed churches, following the teachings of John Calvin, believe in a spiritual (or “pneumatic”) real presence of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit and received by faith. Anglicans adhere to a range of views although the Anglican church officially teaches the real presence. Some Christians reject the concept of the real presence, believing that the Eucharist is only a memorial the death of Christ.

The Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry document of the World Council of Churches, attempting to present the common understanding of the Eucharist on the part of the generality of Christians, describes it as “essentially the sacrament of the gift which God makes to us in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit”, “Thanksgiving to the Father”, “Anamnesis or Memorial of Christ”, “the sacrament of the unique sacrifice of Christ, who ever lives to make intercession for us”, “the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, the sacrament of his “real presence “, “Invocation of the Spirit”, “Communion of the Faithful”, and “Meal of the Kingdom”.

What is your view of The Eucharist, and what the Bible says about?

“No man is ever old enough to know better.” Holbrook Jackson 
 
“Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from your cone.” Jim Fiebig
 
“We’ve put more effort into helping folks reach old age than into helping them enjoy it.” Frank Howard Clark 
 
  
“True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.” Kurt Vonnegut 
  
“A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age.” Robert Frost
 
  
“Age is an issue of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain

In youth we run into difficulties. In old age difficulties run into us.” Beverly Sills 

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Henry Ford 

“He has a profound respect for old age. Especially when it’s bottled.”  Gene Fowler

“I don’t feel old. I don’t feel anything till noon. That’s when it’s time for my nap.”  Bob Hope

“Middle age is the awkward period when Father Time starts catching up with Mother Nature.” Harold Coffin 

Question – “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?’  Satchel Paige 

My Favorite:
 
“Old age is no place for sissies.” Bette Davis

 

Any of the above apply to you?
 
Which is your favorite?
 

 

Immersive Dolphin Encounter Simulator

Immersive Dolphin Encounter Simulator

Apologises for feeding your brain some junk food today.  If however you haven’t had a bowel moment in a while just watch the video below a few times.

1) The Jejune Institute

http://jejuneinstitute.org/

“Among the broad ranging scope of discussion, a few central topics emerged to the top. Primarily; the problems of expanding interpersonal trust among fellow human subjects, how to increase general spontaneity & creativity across large populations, and how to induce mutation in the geopolitical realm. As eccentric as these topics sound, they were not based upon the bohemian movements popularized in the area at the time. They were firmly based upon solid scientific research and empirical evidence.”

Okay, I guess this “woo” falls into my Atheist/Science camp.  🙂

“Through the use of these products, coupled with meditation and study of spontaneity, benefits will include surging artistic libido, energy swell, dialectic perception, and neighborly conduct. “If the mutation is to occur it needs to be personally initiated, consciously brought about” says Octavio Colemen, Esq. “It happens on an intimate scale, in a thousand miniscule ways.”

“Surging” “libido”, “energy swell” “on an intimate scale”.  That should bring in some customers.  🙂

If Torry Hotprune (I swear that is the name on the picture) is applying the treatments I may give signing up a second thought. 🙂

Torry_Hotprune

One product for use is the Cyberfin platform, which is part of “Immersive Dolphin Encounter Simulator”

“The Cyberfin platform is designed for single attendant operation. Once guests are briefed and shown to the platform the attendant activates a single control. No assistance is necessary until the guest disembarks the ride. The total time required to embark, experience the standard ride, and disembark is 3 minutes, 15 seconds.”

In any exchange of intelligence between dolphins and men, it’s the dolphins who are getting the worse end of the deal.

 
 

I remember doing some finger painting as a kid, but the following performance artist bring this art form to an amazing level.  The video comes from Russia so I have no idea who this artiest is.

Update – thanks to my friend Love, in his response the artiest name is Kseniya Simonova.  She has an account on Facebook if you want to send her a message.

http://www.facebook.com/people/Kseniya-Simonova/587603368

Do you remember trying finger painting when you were a child, or now for that matter.  🙂

Have you ever tried painting on anything other than your house?

What Wikipedia has to say about finger painting:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finger_painting

“Fingerpaint as an art education medium was originally formulated by the American educator Ruth Faison Shaw in Rome, Italy in 1931. After developing her expressive medium for children, Shaw devoted her attention to the therapeutic benefits of finger-painting. At the request of Carl Menninger, she taught at the Southard School at the Menningre Foundation in Topeka, Kansas, USA. Later she served as a consultant to the Department of Psychiatry at Memorial Hospital at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.. While working at Memorial Hospital, she met psychologist, John Thomas Payne. Payne became her successor in 1969 and continued her work until his death in 2000. Today Shaw and Payne’s work continues at the Shaw School and Studio in Durham, NC. Founder and director, Bryan Carey  apprenticed with Payne from 1986 – 1993. At the suggestion of Payne, Carey devoted an additional seven years to the study of Shaw as an historical figure – artist, teacher and therapist. Carey and his protege Jennifer Falchi continue the Shaw-Payne tradition by traveling and teaching their method of artistic self-expression and emotional healing to people of all ages and abilities.”

How I remember finger painting:

Finger Painting Fun

Finger Painting Fun

Having one source to help you in life makes finding the right guidance much easier.  Christian’s have the Bible, Jews have the Torah, Muslims have the Qur’an.  In the movie “You’ve Got Mail”  Tom Hanks had the Godfather saga. 

I’ll go with the Muppets.

My friend Tam in her blog asked about body image.

Kermit the Frog – “It Not Easy Being Green”

Mandy has been blogging about happiness:

Muppets & REM – “Furry Happy Monsters”

Of course nothing is more important than love and marriage:

Kermit and Miss Piggy get married.

Everyone have a great weekend.

I had an interesting discussion at my friend Deb’s site that lead to the question of whether lying was permitted, even encouraged, in the Qu’ran.  The principle is “Taqiyah”.  I also looked up what the Christian Bible says about lying .  So today I will pose a moral question:

Does God’s guidance ever allowing lying, for example if it means saving a life?

1) I found a Muslim study on Taqiyah.

http://www.al-islam.org/taqiyah/1.htm

He who disbelieves in Allah after his belief in Him, (is the liar) except he who is compelled while his heart remains steadfast with the faith (has nothing worry). But who opens his breast for infidelity; on these is wrath of Allah, and for them is a great torment.

“This verse of the Qur’an refers to the incident when ‘Ammar bin Yasir (May Allah be pleased with both) had to utter some words against Islam to save himself from the Quraishite infidels.

It clearly allows hiding one ‘s true faith when one is in danger of one’s life. This rule is called taqiyah.”

2) I also looked up what the Christian Bible says about lying.

a) Doing a Google search for Bible verses about lying I found Proverbs 6:16-19

16These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

 17A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

 18An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

 19A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

b) I also found an interesting discussion on whether lying is ever permitted by the Bible, even to save a life.

http://allanturner.com/lying.html 

“First of all, one is not under any obligation, morally or otherwise, to give an answer to the gunman. Jesus did not sin by refusing to answer some questions asked of Him (cf. Matthew 27:11-14; Luke 23:8,9), and neither do we! Secondly, as God’s Word instructs, one ought to do unto his neighbor as he would have his neighbor do unto him. In this case, this might entail preventing or subduing the potential assailant, if possible. But under no circumstances is one under any Biblical obligation to aid, answer, or assist the evildoer.

Now, let’s consider the case of Rahab. What Rahab did in assisting the spies to escape (viz., she lied) was wrong, and consequently, it is nowhere praised in the Scriptures. Those who use the case of Rahab to justify lying, simply “err not knowing the Scriptures, or the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). Neither Hebrews 11:31 nor James 2:25 commend Rahab for lying. Instead, she is commended for the faith she exercised in believing God. Likewise, when David, an adulterer and murderer, was identified as a man after God’s own heart, one can be sure that these two sins were not being recommended to those of us trying to live godly lives. And maybe—notice that I said maybe—if the aforementioned denominational preacher understood this (i.e., that adultery is condemned in God’s Word and is, therefore, always wrong), then maybe—again, I said maybe—he wouldn’t be so concerned about conditioning his flock to lie for him whenever they see some man chasing him with a shotgun.”

A long discussion follows, read it if you have the time.

Conclusion:

“Is it ever right to lie? Absolutely not! The Christian must recognize lying for the evil it is and never try to justify it under any circumstances, no matter how difficult they may be. Nothing will destroy our influence quicker. No confidence can be placed in a liar. The Christian is instructed: “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth” (Ephesians 6:14). But, at the same time, let us make sure we understand the difference between Webster’s definition of a lie and God’s definition. ” 

Question – Does God’s guidance ever allowing lying if it means saving a life?

My perception is that a Christian is never permitted to renounce their God, even if it means they, or their family, will die. My guess is that a Christian can withhold information, tell less than the whole truth.

The Muslim prinicple of Taqiyah does allow a Muslim to renounce his faith with his mouth, to save a life, because Allah will know that in his heart he is still faithful.

I can’t think of a lie I wouldn’t tell to save another person’s life.  I will guess that if someone put a gun to my head, and demanded I procliam that I believe in God, I probably would.  If you don’t have a gun you will have a fight on your hands.  🙂

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