Kaepernick’s MOUNTAIN

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So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.  

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What’s the mountain you are willing to defend with life, limb and honor?  How about me?  I’ve been at the base of numerous mountains, defended only a few.  With each one, hopefully wisdom played a role, but more importantly I would like to cite courage as the determining factor in my choices.

I am not a sports participant, never have been.  Doesn’t mean I cannot follow football or baseball enthusiastically or knowledgeably.  Especially enjoyable are the personalities who have made sports their life-time endeavors and discovered lucrative careers playing a game for millions upon millions of dollars.

Patrick Mahomes just signed a contract with the KC Chiefs for a 10 year period for 450 million dollars.  Amazing!!  Do I begrudge him and the money?  Absolutely not.  He has discovered his niche in life and has learned early how to capitalize.  If corporate America (yes, professional football is just another corporate conglomerate) is willing to belly up to the table with that much moolah, then more power to Patrick.

However, I do not idolize money.  The less I have, the more content and peaceful I feel.  What impresses me is not the money these guys earn, but  the mountains they are willing to defend for reasons of social justice and moral compass.  Colin Kaepernick is one such man.

Exiled from professional football in 2016 for taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality, Kaepernick was the focus of public scorn from a broad spectrum of political and professional celebrities for his “unpatriotic” behavior.  Most notably was the involvement of the WH under the tweeting thumb of a well-documented draft-dodger during the Vietnam era.

Colin Kaepernick has signed a deal with the Walt Disney Company to be featured in a documentary series produced by ESPN Films ‘telling scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social justice and the quest for equality.’  

His deal will extend across all Disney platforms including Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Hulu, Pixar and The Undefeated.  “I am excited to announce the historic partnership with Disney across all platforms to elevate Black and Brown directors, creators, storytellers, and producers, and to inspire the youth with compelling and authentic perspectives,”  Kaepernick said in a statement.

The moral of this story – carefully choose your mountain to defend and then courageously do it never looking back.  Great men will attack, small men will tweet, but those who matter will support your journey.

Disney – Kaepernick sign deal

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if not us, then who?

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So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.  

pride8

Through every season of my life, in retrospect, I see the major players of the Jesus story in myself.  I have been the prodigal son, the denying Peter, the wayward woman at the well, the mocking crowd at the cross, and much too frequently the doubting Thomas.

Today, Thomas is asking, “If you are real, if you are who you claim to be, why is the world such a screwed up mess?  Can’t you do something?”  God answers –

“I did.  I created you!”

IF NOT US, THEN WHO?

life-sustaining society

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So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.  

pride8

“If there is to be a livable world for those who come after us, it will be because we have managed to make the transition from the Industrial Growth Society to a Life-Sustaining Society. . . . While the agricultural revolution took centuries and the Industrial revolution took generations, (the Great Turning) has to happen within a matter of years. It also has to be conscious—involving not only the political economy, but the habits, values and understandings that foster it.” —Joanna Macy – Pace e Bene

Can we do that?  We, who have been the most voracious consumers of this earth’s resources, who have built an empire on the backs of slave and immigrant labor, who have tilted the political process in favor of the corporate elite, who have widened the gulf between the prosperous and the poor, who have thumbed our noses at environmental consciousness….can we do that?  Not over the course of centuries or generations, but within a few years we must make our decisions.  Can we build a life-sustaining society which honors the entirety of creation?beard-beggar-face-35015

 

poverty or simplicity ?

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So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.  

LIVE FREE OR DIE

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It is not surprising that many of my daily inspirational readings focus on Matthew  11:29 –

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest in your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

For my generation, these are probably the most difficult times Americans have ever experienced.  Our nation has been cut in two by opposing political forces and we are struggling with an unfathomed health crisis.

We have been bamboozled by a capitalistic economy which places unmerited value on materialism, property and assets leaving the majority of us in the lower echelon of a prosperous society.  We are seen not as symbols of simplicity, but as statistics of poverty.  We have been victimized by a social culture which tells Americans that we are better than the rest of the world.  We have been deceived about the earth’s resources – that there is not enough for all mankind; therefore, we should horde and accumulate.  We are continually bombarded with our deficiencies rather than our blessings.  The cup is always half empty rather than half full.  But, Matthew 11:29 says that we don’t have to carry those burdens.

The Gospels are often called ‘the Good News’.  Contemporary theologians tend to emphasize the salvific promise of this ‘Good News’ as the salient message.  However, the ancients who wrote the scriptures in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were also carrying a message to the disenfranchised, the poor, the oppressed, the underprivileged, the down-trodden not so much about eternity in heaven but about joyous survival on earth.

This message is one that proclaims a freedom from the problems and cares of a materialistic world.  That freedom happens when priorities change.  Today’s America is just a blip on history’s radar screen.  Yes, it is important and we need to pay attention, but it is not important enough to throw our lives into continual depression, fear and defeat.

What can I change about today, what can I not change about today?  Pray about it,  surrender it and then get on with life.  Let Jesus handle it.  His yoke is easy and his burden is light.  In Psalms we are told to “be still and know God.”  The Jewish tradition renders this as “cease striving and know God.”  The wisdom of Alcoholics Anonymous says, “let go and let God.”

I will trust in those who have “been there and done that.” smiley face 2

 

a sacred earth ?

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“One of the reasons we’re destroying the planet is that it has lost its sacred dimension for us. The planet as given to us by science is a physical reality essentially meaningless in itself. It’s a resource for our physical activity.”

—Thomas Berry, Dream of the Earth

Centuries ago science overtook faith as reality.  The wisdom of the ancients tied the sacredness of our earth and of nature to a power beyond the understanding and reasoning of mankind.  But man’s arrogance demanded an answer to all questions and the discovered explanations which they accepted denied the sacredness of Creation.  The earth has become just another vehicle for our selfish endeavors.

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misfits, runaways, losers

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Photo by Garon Piceli on Pexels.com

The Sermon on the Mount; The Beatitudes MATTHEW 5:1-11, amplified version 

If you have ever been to Bible School as a child, if you have participated in a Christian church service, if you have thumbed through the New Testament, you assuredly are familiar with the Beatitudes – the “blessed are” verses.

Often misunderstood, verses 1-11 tells us about the Jesus crowd circa 32 AD.  The powerful of the mighty Roman Empire and the elite of the Jewish hierarchy judged the followers of Jesus to be insurrectionists, rebels and losers.  The story of Jesus tells us that they were the target audience of the Gospel teachings, the ones whom Jesus loved dearly, for whom he was crucified.

I am a content misfit (according to today’s Western culture), a runaway, a loser.  Join me in my insane, joyful approach to life, will you?

(the portions in red and underlined are my emphasis)

When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He was seated, His [a]disciples came to Him. Then He began to teach them, saying,

“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].

“Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent change], for they will be comforted.

“Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the [b]gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled]for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God]for they will be [completely] satisfied.

“Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God.

“Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.

10 “Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love] are those who are persecuted for [c]doing that which is morally right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].

11 “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. 12 Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.smiley face 2

I want to be one of the biggest losers in the Jesus crowd.

 

 

 

ASSURANCE

Melanie Sita · The Lord is My Shepherd (Psalm 23) Keith Green cover

KJV

PSALMS 23

A Psalm of David.

1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

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When living in Pennsylvania, I attended a small, country church, St. John’s Lutheran.  The members were an accepting, loving congregation of people who, in my humble opinion, practiced the Gospel, they walked the talk.  The pastor was ordinary, the service was ordinary, but the choir was magnificent.

These simply farm folks were renown for their ancestral singing talents back to the early 1800s when the community was founded.  A special treat on Sunday mornings was when the men of the choir sang a cappella.  It was absolutely, stunningly pure inspiration.  I never could fathom how men who spoke English with heavy Pennsylvania Dutch accents could sing together in perfect English enunciation.

I discovered, on YouTube, videos by ACAPELDRIDGE.  I want to share with you one of my favorite hymns done a cappella by an amazingly talented young man.  Soak it in and be inspired.

1 Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to thy God to order and provide;
in ev’ry change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
thro’ thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2 Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
to guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice, who ruled them while He dwelt below.

3 Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
and all is darkened in the veil of tears,
then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
from His own fullness all He takes away.

4 Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
when we shall be forever with the Lord,
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Jean Sibelius from FINLANDIA

how does your garden grow?

Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  Beyond the horizon is rest calling my name.  Green pastures, still waters, my cup is overflowing.
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The bush beans and kale, planted in late February, have provided the dinner table with a bounty of fresh beans and greens for 3 months and are now ready for the final stage in their journey – the compost pile.  The second crop of beans is popping from the ground and the tomatoes are in their prime providing delectable fruit far surpassing that which is available from the grocery store or produce stand.  It has been a very successful season in the backyard garden.  A few summer squash and perhaps pole beans will be given a chance to survive Florida’s summer heat and humidity.  But, September is just around the corner with its invitation to plant a winter garden.  Life is good.

So much can be learned about life simply by watching nature.  Everything has a season and everything has a purpose.  Every part of the Lord’s creation knows its purpose and lives life according to that intention – except for mankind.  We are the only creature which has a choice in how we live.

Each of the world’s major faith walks endorses the simplicity and intelligence of nature.  Christian literature tells us that we reap what we sow.  Sow discord, disharmony, fear and hatred; that is what we will gather within our hears at harvest time.

What’s growing in your garden?

Sober today?  Give yourself and your Higher Power a hand.sober emoji