| BEAUTY | LOVE | TRUTH |
| PEACE | JUSTICE | FREEDOM |
which we experience and enjoy
as we embrace our fantastic journey,
--in memory of Andy (1977-1994)
+ Rush Limbaugh mocks and ridicules advocates for justice and peace with some regularity but now he has hit a new low with his outrageous pronouncement regarding the Christian Peacemaker Team captives in Iraq. SOJOURNERS offers "Advent in Iraq, Rush Limbaugh, and Reality" by Ryan Beiler .
+ In my never ending quest for wisdom on the heavenly attribute of justice, I have discovered RESPONSIBLE SHOPPER. This important website offers comprehensive and detailed information on many businesses. Both the positives and the negatives are covered.
+ In my never ending quest for wisdom on the heavenly attribute of abundance, I have discovered that About.com offers a few good motivational and inspirational quotes on abundance as well as on many other topics.
+ The UK's Catholic Agency for Overseas Development offers an Advent liturgy focusing on the planet's need for justice. I invite you to read and share and pray this liturgy.
+Tell O'Reilly: It's not Christmas yet! It's Advent. It's time to say: "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly."
I have long proclaimed that "Merry Christmas" isn't really an appropriate greeting until the twelve days of Christmas begin on December 25 (or at the Christmas Eve service on 12/24). I would love it if O'Reilly would use his "pulpit" to teach people about the meaning of the 3 Christian seasons of winter: Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Who decided that Christmas begins on Thanksgiving? It sure wasn't the church. Advent challenges our society to simplify our lives in ways which most of those trying to enforce "Merry Christmas" can't and won't embrace.
+ In my never ending quest for wisdom on the heavenly attribute of abundance, I have discovered the SAYINGS OF SWAMI OMKARANANDA offering abundant wisdom on the abundance of God's love and beauty and peace and joy.
+ In my never ending quest for wisdom on the heavenly practice of simplicity, I have discovered "A Necessary Simplicity" by David Cadman. Excerpt: "Take, for example, the lessons of sufficiency of the Jains, the Middle Way of Buddhism and the teachings of selflessness given to us by Christ. In all of this there is a code that can lead us along the path of simplicity. At its root are qualities that contrast markedly with our present culture: co-operation instead of competition, generosity instead of greed, patience instead of haste, and sufficiency instead of indulgence. And, of course, underlying it all there is the mysterious and awesome teaching of Love as being not just virtue or emotion, but of the very essence, being with, not apart from: a teaching of the very connectedness of life."
+ In my never ending quest for wisdom on the heavenly attribute of abundance, I have rediscovered an "old friend," the Presbyterian CONFESSION OF 1967. Reconciliation is the main theme but this document leaves no doubt that reconciliation leads to our awakening to the most holy, glorious, fantastic realm of abundance, joy, wisdom, beauty, love, truth, peace, justice and freedom.
+ In my never ending quest for wisdom on the practice of stillness, I have discovered "The Death of Stillness" by Richard Mahler. Excerpt: "What's wrong with being busy? Plenty. Americans have become the most anxious, time-stressed people in the world, thanks in part to all the high-tech devices at our fingertips that are meant to make life easier. The white noise of trivia and the thrill of consumption fill our heads and guide our behaviors."
+ Jim Hightower offers "The Absurdity of Pat". It begins: "Satire is dead. When a society's reality becomes so inherently absurd that it cannot be satirized, satire is dead. In our society, Pat Robertson's maniacally-bloated ego has become the dark hole of absurdity... and the death of satire."
+ More and more, I am discovering how important Chris Hedges is. I heard him today on Air America Radio's MORNING SEDITION talking about the growing threat of the right wing religious dominionists. His most famous book is WAR IS A FORCE WHICH GIVES US MEANING, not at all pro-war. A more recent book is LOSING MOSES ON THE FREEWAY: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IN AMERICA. He is a NY TIMES reporter who grew up in a Presbyterian manse with activist peace movement, civil rights movement parents. The PBS program, RELIGION & ETHICS offers a Bob Abernathy interview with Chris Hedges. Excerpt: "Fundamentalism lends itself completely to war, because it has a dichotomy between 'us' and 'them.' There is a notion that the only way to salvation is through whatever religion we happen to be, and in the fervor of that kind of fundamentalism, we refuse to acknowledge that salvation is possible through any other route. In a time of national distress, people always look for those who promise what appear to be black-and-white answers, or clear-cut solutions to the confusion around them." | NOW offers a Bill Moyers interview with Chris.
+ In my never ending quest for wisdom on the heavenly attribute of abundance, I have discovered "The Inevitability of Abundance" by Joseph R. Giove. It begins: "Abundance is not a thing to do or something to achieve or even a way to be. Abundance is an attribute of the infinite, ubiquitous Presence that fills the universe."
+ In my never ending quest for wisdom on the heavenly attribute of peace, I have discovered 384 peace quotes by hundreds of wise men and women. These are really great. The page is offered by the Peace Center of Santonio, TX.
+ Searching for more wisdom on the 12 practices, I found 2 excellent resources on the practice of stillness.
1. FOLLOWING THE CALL OF LOVE by Tom Kurzka -- Excerpt: "In our deluded condition, our attention is constantly focused on objects, seeking each arising form as something to satisfy our sense of a separate, fixated self. We are like a broken record, skipping over the same tune segment, seeking fulfillment from the same thought stories, always seeking the next object or experience to make us happy. We are hopelessly lost in this habit throughout the day, from the moment we wake up in the morning until we drift off into sleep at night, lost in our meandering thoughts. If we could simply stop and see that we are already the Love in which all this takes place, the delusion would be over. We would wake up. Unfortunately, most of us do not know how to just stop."
+ Thanks to Wayne Ferguson, the Four Precepts, I found the following informative article: CrossCurrents offers "On Evangelicals and Interfaith Cooperation: An Interview with Tony Campolo" by Shane Claiborne.
+ I believe that God created Heaven and we created Hell so, naturally, we know far more about Hell than Heaven! I believe Hell is a little part of Heaven and we don't have to stay there but there are many temptations there so we stay for long periods of time and keep going back. This is addiction and we are all ego-bound addicts striving for a better way.
Well, that's what I believe right now at this moment anyway.
At abundancetrek.com I offer some of my thoughts about heaven. I believe we are always in heaven but ordinarily (in most cases) don't know it. God created and is creating a realm of abundance, joy, wisdom, beauty, love, truth, peace, justice & freedom. Love is at the center of this creation, this creativity, this happening, this feast. It's always happening. It's wonderful. It's fantastic. The new church for the new age (not organized as an institutional church by any means) is the vehicle of awakening, awareness and connection. Love is the source, guide and goal of everything there is.
The discipline of being still is the way to know this glorious reality.
"Be still and Know that I am God." -- Psalm 46:10
"You do not need to do anything; you do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You do not even need to listen; just wait. You do not even need to wait; just become still, quiet and solitary and the world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet." -- Franz Kafka
In my continuing search for wisdom on the heavenly states of love, beauty and truth, I have discovered Rhio's Raw Energy which offers a page of many wonderful quotes on LOVE, HARMONY, TRUTH, BEAUTY & KINDNESS. Here's a sample:
"The subject tonight is Love
+ Would you like a discussion about Iraq which is refreshingly free of sloganeering and polemics and spin? Yesterday, The Diane Rehm Show offered a panel discussion on the topic: "U.S. Strategy in Iraq." "Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says recent calls for swift U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq motivate insurgents. We'll talk about the current political and military debate over a possible U.S. exit strategy." | Guests: Anthony Cordesman, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies;
Lawrence Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and former Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration; Frank Newport, editor and chief, The Gallup Poll; Thomas Barnett, former senior strategic researcher and professor at the U.S. Naval War College, served from October 2001 to June 2003 as assistant for strategic futures in the Defense Department's Office of Force Transformation.
+ Clearly the religious Right is a threat. As of yesterday, November 21, 2005, there is Talk to Action, a website devoted to exposing and reducing the power of the religious Right.
+ I am not surprised that Vice President Cheney is now coming at his opponents like an attack dog. He either has to admit he was wrong about pre-war Iraq or defend himself with a blistering offense. Democracy Now! offers an important interview with Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson who was former Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff. He leaves little doubt that Cheney and the CIA led us to war on the basis of faulty and weak intelligence. He is contrite and embarrassed about his own participation in the selling of the war.
+ A Republican Senator has courageously challenged President Bush and Vice President Cheney and others in his party. Some of them seem to be questioning the right to dissent. The Chuck Currie Blog offers "Republican Chuck Hagel Takes On Iraq War". Senator Hagel is a Viet Nam vet who is concerned that we haven't learned our lessons from that war. He does challenge the Democrats to offer constructive criticism. The media has given very light attention to this speech.
+ H.R. Niehbuhr called the church "the sensitive, responsive ones." The church has the responsibility to speak truth to power and to challenge society to be compassionate. Archbishop Oscar Romero believed that and he was killed for his convictions and his excellent witness for justice in Latin America. Today's Daily Dig offers "Touching Sore Spots: The Church's Role in the World" by Oscar Romero. It's an excerpt from his book, THE VIOLENCE OF LOVE. Here's an excerpt: "The mission entrusted to the church community is a hard mission: to uproot sins from history, to uproot sins from the political order, to uproot sins from the economy, to uproot sins wherever they are. What a hard task! It has to meet conflicts amid so much selfishness, so much pride, so much vanity, so many who have enthroned the reign of sin among us. / The church must suffer for speaking the truth, for pointing out sin, for uprooting sin."
+ Science and Religion seem to always be in conflict. The New York Times (free registration required) offers "Shaking the Foundation of Faith" by Scott M. Liell. Liell tells how the religious community and the scientific community reacted to the 1755 Cape Ann earthquake which shook New England. 1000 chimneys toppled to the ground in Boston. God's wrath? a natural event?
+ The National Council of Churches of Christ General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution declaring that "any and all use of torture is unacceptable." They want the House to support the Senate in declaring torture totally unacceptable. Sojourners is conducting a campaign called "Who would Jesus torture? and is challenging Speaker Hastert to stop using a procedural tactic to block this important legislation initiated by Senator John McCain.
+ There are many, many articles circulating on the net describing how the current administration is betraying American traditions of "liberty and justice for all." Here's one by former President Jimmy Carter. TruthOut offers "This Isn't the Real America" by Jimmy Carter. It begins: "In recent years, I have become increasingly concerned by a host of radical government policies that now threaten many basic principles espoused by all previous administrations, Democratic and Republican."
+ I get my TV news from Amy! Do you? CommonDreams offers "Ode to Amy Goodman" by Joyce Marcel. Excerpts: " 'The media should be like a huge kitchen table that stretches across this country, where we discuss life and death, war and peace - and anything less is a disservice to this country,' you said at Keene (N.H.) State College this past weekend, to an enthusiastic crowd of over 600 people. 'My mission is to make dissent commonplace in this country'." | "Day after day, Democracy Now! reports the news to a growing audience on some 400 non-commercial radio stations, public access stations, on the Dish satellite network and DirecTV (on Link). The show also podcasts on the Web (democracynow.org) so 'people around the world can have access to the news from the grassroots level'."
+ Progressive Christian Blogger Chuck Currie offers "Open Letter To US Rep. Earl Blumenauer & US Rep. Russ Carnahan". Excerpt: "Before moving to St. Louis to attend seminary I worked for 17 years on issues of affordable housing and homelessness in Portland and look forward to finding ways to once again become involved with issues of poverty once my family moves back to Oregon in December. I know that the cuts under consideration will be devastating. Poverty has increased for the last four years in the United States and this legislation will worsen the situation."
+ FaithfulAmerica, a progressive faith political action organization, is campaigning to prevent Congress from reducing benefits for the poor. Here is an excerpt from the home page:
America's Poor are Under Siege - Help Stop an Immoral Budget
A $50 BILLION hole is about to be blown in our national safety net for the poor, including:
The list goes on. It is about to happen at the U.S. Capitol, where Congress has proposed perhaps the cruelest, most immoral budget ever to reach the floor. Its rationale: to help pay for Katrina recovery. Yes, Katrina recovery will be expensive, but do we really believe punishing the poorest among us is the best answer? If this budget is passed, Katrina victims will the the FIRST to feel its sting. It makes no sense.
Adding insult to injury, the proposed budget also contain massive tax BREAKS for big corporations and the ultra-wealthy few.
This budget must not stand. On Thursday morning, FaithfulAmerica joined a gathering of national religious leaders at the U.S. Capitol to call on Congress to reject the proposed budget cuts in the federal budget. The reason: the proposed cuts literally take from the POOR and give to the RICH. Cruel and immoral as it sounds, this is exactly what is going down in Washington. You can help stop it.
+ CommonDreams offers "The First Casualty of War" by Eric Alterman. Excerpt: "We know now, thanks to one brave and dogged historian at the National Security Agency, that after the famed Gulf of Tonkin "incident" on Aug. 4, 1964 — in which North Vietnam allegedly attacked two American destroyers — National Security Council officials doctored the evidence to support President Johnson's false charge in a speech to the nation that night of "open aggression on the high seas against the United States of America. In fact, no real evidence for those attacks has ever been found. The entire case rested on the alleged visual sightings of an inexperienced 23-year-old sonar operator."
Have a great week end, everybody!
+ RealLivePreacher offers "Return of the Gulag". Excerpts: "The rationalization is always the same. For the security of the homeland, or the fatherland, or whateverland, the government needs the freedom to act with no 'interference' or accountability." | "Secret prisons, secretive interrogation methods, no accountability, no provisions made for even the most basic of human rights. We treat serial killers better than this. Is this my country, the land that I love? Is this the United States of America, the beacon of hope and freedom and the champion of individual rights?" | "What the hell is going on here?"
+ I believe that God is creating a new realm of abundance, joy, wisdom, beauty, love, truth, peace, justice and freedom. Progressive Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Agnostics, Atheists, etc. are working together to bring this new realm to our planet. I believe that people with narrow, rigid ideologies are blocking progress but God will prevail.
This thought was inspired by an important Bill Moyers quote I just discovered at a progressive Christian blog, ProgressiveTheology: "Having lost faith in all else, zealots have nothing left but a holy cause to please a warrior God. They win if we become holy warriors, too; if we kill the innocent as they do; strike first at those who had not struck us; allow our leaders to use the fear of terrorism to make us afraid of the truth; cease to think and reason together, allowing others to tell what's in God's mind."
+ My friend Jim Symons is developing a theology of discovery. He has compiled a list of discovery scriptures supporting his discovery! I just turned his Word document into a web page here at abundancetrek.com.
+ One of my favorite web pages is THE TEN TEACHINGS SHARED BY ALL RELIGIONS which is offered by the HARMONY INSTITUTE. You can always find these great links at CONNECTIONS GALORE, the Abundancetrek Links page.
+ The NY TIMES (see below) and many other big corporate media outlets have let us down in a huge way. If current trends continue, they will let us down again. We need to demand that our major media outlets tell the truth and dig for the truth. The warfare state is not in keeping with the best of human ideals. We need to press for peace, justice and sustainability on this planet. We need a media which shares these goals.
+ TruthOut offers
the Fourth Estate, and the Warfare State" by Norman Solomon. Excerpt: "The apex of the Times hierarchy has provided no indication of personal remorse or institutional accountability. And the next time agenda-setting for US military action - against Iran or Syria or wherever - shifts into high gear, it's very unlikely that the New York Times or other top-tier US media outlets will present major roadblocks."
+ Psalm 65 is today's Lectionary Psalm. Here are verses 5-8:
By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
+ InnerFrontier offers "Creating Ourselves," Joseph Naft's Inner Work for Week of October 17. Excerpt: "Self-creation constitutes our own primal act, recapitulating on our personal scale the original Divine act of creating the universe."
+ Here's a couple of verses from Psalm 36 (today's Lectionary Psalm):
+ I just added a link to a great article on my PRACTICE OF SOLITUDE page.
I just added this paragraph to my introductory page on the twelve practices which lead to our awakening as citizens of heaven: There are at least two ways to progress through these practices which ultimately lead to our becoming full citizens of heaven. But, never forget, we already are full citizens of heaven and we simply need to rediscover our heavenly identity. We need to become awake. This is the teaching of all spiritual teachers who know what they are talking about. You can progress in Order # 1 or Order # 2 or any other order which works! But all of the practices are necessary sooner or later. God will keep guiding us gently to learn each practice. Order # 1 is: stillness, silence, solitude, simplicity, detachment, discernment, devotion, delight, humility, healing, holiness, heavenliness. Order # 2 is: stillness, detachment, humility, silence, discernment, healing, solitude, devotion, holiness, simplicity, delight, heavenliness.
+ Common Dreams offers "Liberal Hopes Ebb in Post-Storm Poverty Debate" by Jason DeParle. Excerpt: " 'We've had a stunning reversal in just a few weeks,' said Robert Greenstein, director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal advocacy group in Washington. 'We've gone from a situation in which we might have a long-overdue debate on deep poverty to the possibility, perhaps even the likelihood, that low-income people will be asked to bear the costs. I would find it unimaginable if it wasn't actually happening.' "
My thought: I read a lot of Liberal or Progressive comment and here's what I think. First, the Liberals are not in control of Congress. Conservatives are. It will take an election to change priorities. Second, and much more important, Americans are in huge denial about the state of the world. Denial is a trait of addicts and that's what we are ... addicts. We are addicted to our pleasure and power and we believe our party will go on and on and on and we deserve it. The fact that many Americans and most citizens of the planet are not participants in this great party only bothers most of us briefly from time to time when we have some ugly reminder such as Hurricane Katrina. We will probably have to be hit on our heads over and over again before we come to realize we must move beyond our addictions. The Wake Up call has been sounded. Let's wake up and change our priorities. The planet needs justice. The planet needs peace. The planet needs sustainable development.
+ DailyDig offers The Charms of Autumn, excerpts from The Autobiography of Mark Twain. I like the idea of getting outside to enjoy a beautiful October day but the forecasters say that we will have several more days of rain. We haven't seen the sun for 4 days now. Oh well, I guess we will appreciate that beautiful October day all the more when it comes. And we have the memory of those beautiful October days last week!
+ The people can be led to go to war easily:
"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
-- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials
+ Polling Report offers the latest survey on Iraq and the trends. 58 per cent of Americans now believe the troops should come home now. Only 32 per cent support the way the war is being handled now. Look at the trends and notice how this war has rarely been popular since it was first conceived.
It's reassuring to know that my sense of both what we did and what we need to do is supported by a growing majority of my fellow citizens. Polls do matter. That's why both parties have pollsters and pay them lots of money.
I do want to look for common ground here and not bashing and dividing so let me point out that I respect those of you who believe the war is necessary for our security and I believe we have lots of common ground regarding the goal of security for every one. I do believe that bringing our troops home would increase our security. The Iraqis need to work out their future without our continued interference.
+ AlterNet offers "Al Qaeda's Golden Opportunity" by Fawaz A. Gerges. This is a lengthy, informative article on the current situation and how we got here. Excerpt: "Far from hammering a deadly nail in the coffin of terror, as Bush had stated, Iraq appears to have become a recruiting tool, if not yet a recruiting ground, for militant jihadist causes and anti-American voices. A consensus exists among American, European, and Arab analysts (and the American intelligence community) that Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next or second generation of "professionalized" jihadis and that it provides them with the opportunity to enhance their technical skills."
+ Common Dreams offers "Carter's Brave Vision on Energy" by David Morris. David Morris is vice president of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, based in Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. The Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE published the article today.
This is one of the best columns I have ever read. WOW!Excerpts: "THE ANCIENT myth has it that a person entering the maze will never find the way out. As if that were not terrifying enough, inside the maze lives the beast whose special appetite is for the young. The maze is a cluster of tricks, paths to nowhere, the realm of dead ends. There is no escape. The young must fear being eaten alive, but an eternity of false exits threatens everyone." | "Iraq is far away, but its maze transcends locality. US foreign policy is the maze now; so is the evening news, and so are the pages of the newspapers that arrive each morning. We sit at our breakfast tables wide awake, yet the feeling of dreams is over everything. The corridors of American consciousness open only into other corridors. We hustle from one threshold to the next, busier than ever, but we never come out. This war was the entrance into a world with no exit. Those who oppose the war and those who support it are alike in feeling a vast demoralization. And if it remains true that, of Americans, the literal violence of the monster consumes only the uniformed young, the rest of us have begun to devour ourselves." | "Purposeful walking is the opposite of panicked flight. That is why labyrinths are on the floors of cathedrals, not prisons. To find the way into the heart of the labyrinth is, simultaneously, to find the way out. The labyrinth, therefore, answers the maze. How do we leave Iraq? By reversing ourselves and simply leaving."
+ InnerFrontier offers "Creating the Future: Joseph Naft's Inner Work for Week of October 10". Excerpts: "Our primary responsibility as human beings is to create a better future, for ourselves, for our children, and for the generations of coming millennia. The future that will take care of itself would be immeasurably impoverished compared to the future we might intentionally create. An immediate difficulty, though, lies in how to define a 'better future.' Because of the wide disparity among people’s views of this and because our personal situation is best known to ourselves, we can only look to our own conscience for decisive guidance on the choices we make and the approaches we adopt." | "Choice, decision, practice, repetition, commitment, adaptability, intelligence, and passion are the means for creating the future. We make choices and decisions affecting the future. We carry these into the future through practice, repetition, and commitment, all tempered by the unexpected developments we encounter." | "For this week, examine your own relationship to the future. Are there decisions you are neglecting to make or to carry out?"
+ Only the very rich are benefitting from the current "boom." Maybe it's time to change our priorities moving from bigger to better. TomPaine offers "Gross Domestic Politics" by Jonathan Tasini. Excerpts: "Whenever I read the newest figures on the rise of the Gross Domestic Product, which in the past few quarters has been used by the administration to trumpet a “growing economy,” I’m reminded of the wise words of the 19th Century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli who said that there are, “Lies, damn lies and statistics.” If we’re trying to figure out what’s happening to the average person, we’re looking at the wrong indicators." | "(The Gross National Product figures don't) tell the underlying story of the distribution of wealth in society. As The New York Times’ David Cay Johnston reported this week, data from the Internal Revenue Service shows that, 'the share of income going to the richest slice of Americans—the top tenth of 1 percent—grew significantly in 2003 while the share going to 99 percent of Americans fell…' "
+ Saying a mantra is an important devotional tool. Dharma Haven offers "Om Mani Padme Hum: The Meaning of the Mantra
in Tibetan Buddhism". Scroll down to a great story on "The True Sound of Truth."
+ Bill Moyers is speaking out again. TomPaine offers "Caring for Creation," a speech Moyers delivered to the annual convention of the Society of Environmental Journalists in Austin, Texas, on October 1, 2005. Excerpts: "If the Green Revolution is a bloody pulp today, it is not just because the environmental movement mugged itself. It is because the corporate, political and religious right ganged up on it in the back alleys of power. Big companies fund a relentless assault on green values and policies. Political ideologues launch countless campaigns to strip from government all its functions except those that reward their rich benefactors. And homegrown ayatollahs are more set on savaging gay people than saving the green earth." | "I felt the knife’s edge some years ago when I took up the subject of pesticides and food for a Frontline documentary on PBS. My producer, Marty Koughan, learned that the industry was plotting behind the scenes to dilute the findings of a National Academy of Science study on the effect of pesticide residues in children. When the companies found out we were on the story, they came after us. Before the documentary aired television reviewers and the editorial pages of newspapers were flooded with disinformation. A whispering campaign took hold. One Washington Post columnist took a dig at the broadcast without having seen it and later confessed to me that he had gotten a bum tip about the content from a top lobbyist for the chemical industry and printed it without asking me for a response."
+ Al Gore is speaking out again. TomPaine offers "Our Democracy Has Been Hollowed Out," speech Gore delivered to the The Media Center's We Media conference on October 5, 2005 in New York City.
. Excerpts: "It is important to note that the absence of a two-way conversation in American television also means that there is no 'meritocracy of ideas' on television. To the extent that there is a 'marketplace' of any kind for ideas on television, it is a rigged market, an oligopoly, with imposing barriers to entry that exclude the average citizen. The German philosopher, Jurgen Habermas, describes what has happened as 'the refeudalization of the public sphere.' That may sound like gobbledygook, but it's a phrase that packs a lot of meaning. The feudal system which thrived before the printing press democratized knowledge and made the idea of America thinkable, was a system in which wealth and power were intimately intertwined, and where knowledge played no mediating role whatsoever. The great mass of the people were ignorant. And their powerlessness was born of their ignorance." | "The coverage of political campaigns focuses on the 'horse race' and little else. And the well-known axiom that guides most local television news is 'if it bleeds, it leads.' (To which some disheartened journalists add, 'If it thinks, it stinks.')"
+ I hate to bring up the subject of the Columbine High School Massacre but I think this is important. AlterNet offers "EXCERPT: The Scene of the Crime Was the Cause of the Crime" By Mark Ames, AlterNet. Excerpts: "Klebold and Harris weren't the only victims of bullying. Debra Spears, whose stepsons attended Columbine in 1994-1995, said, 'It was relentless. The constant threats walking through the halls. You had a whole legion of people that would tell you that just going to school was unbearable.' Her stepsons both dropped out and never earned their diplomas -- Columbine essentially destroyed their lives." | "Regina Huerter, Director of Juvenile Diversion for the Denver District Attorney's office, compiled a report on Columbine's 'toxic culture,' as Dylan Klebold's parents later described it. One Jewish student she interviewed told how jocks threatened to 'build an oven and set him on fire,' and how, during P.E. basketball, each time someone scored a basket, the bullies would cheer, 'that's another Jew in the oven!' The student complained over and over, but, he said, the school administration not only didn't punish the jocks, they 'did everything but call me a liar.' " | "Students and parents all complained of Columbine High's exceptionally brutal culture, but the administration did nothing about it. Some who worked in the school district told Huerter that they kept mum about the bullying because they were afraid for their jobs. As Brown noted, 'The bullies were popular with the administration.' "
+ Common Dreams offers "Fossil Fuels Set to Become Relics, Says Research Group" by Abid Aslam. Excerpts: "Energy drawn from the wind, tide, sun, Earth's heat, and farm waste is poised to begin replacing oil and other fossil fuels, a prominent research group said Wednesday in a wake-up call to industry executives and government officials worldwide." | "'Energy markets are about to experience a seismic shift,' Christopher Flavin, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Worldwatch Institute, said in a speech to oil executives and energy ministers in Johannesburg, South Africa, site of the 18th World Petroleum Congress. 'The question for oil executives is whether you're in the oil business or the energy business.'"
+ Common Dreams offers "It's Better to Cry Wolf Now Than to Wait Until the Oil Has Run Out" by George Monbiot. Excerpts: "No one knows how much is left, but humankind can't wait any longer before coming up with alternatives." | "Are global oil supplies about to peak? Are they, in other words, about to reach their maximum and then go into decline? There is a simple answer to this question: no one has the faintest idea. / Consider these two statements: 1. "Last year Saudi Aramco made credible claims that as much as 500bn-700bn barrels remain to be discovered in the kingdom." 2. "Saudi Arabia clearly seems to be nearing or at its peak output and cannot materially grow its oil production."
+ THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (USA) offers the final report of the Peace, Unity and Purity Task Force. This TF was charged to lead Presbyterians in an effort to discern what can keep us together and united and reduce the divisiveness and bitterness which has plagued Presbyterians and other mainline denominations for years.
+ THE DOOR offers "What's Mine Is Yours" by Ole Anthony, Publisher with Skippy R. (In which our publisher comes out as a recovering Sodomite), Issue #165, July/Aug. 1999.
+ LINK TV offers "Lunch with Bokara: Peace Through Dialogue." This TV program and web page deals with the need for inter-faith understanding as a major way to bring peace to the planet. Here's an excerpt from the web page:"In Peace Through Dialogue, as host Bokara Legendre sautés pine nuts and herbs for her up-coming garden-lunch pasta dish, she brings forth a more serious tone than usual:
"At the end of the Cold War, all of us thought that we were going to have a peaceful world. But in fact, we don't. Fifty-nine wars are presently being fought, and of these, many of them have to do with differences in religious faith. Many books have been written about the clash of civilizations and today all over the world religious leaders are trying to lead inter-faith dialogues to improve the situation."
This unique, timely program brings together two internationally- renowned leaders in conflict resolution - one Muslim and one Christian, to discuss the possibilities for inter-faith dialogue and peace. Professor Abdul Aziz Said is the Director of the Center for Global Peace at American University, who meets here for the first time, Episcopal Bishop William E. Swing, Director of United Religions Initiative, an international inter-faith peace program.
"Most of us learn religion in a tribal setting. I learned it in an Episcopal tribe. You might have learned it in a Muslim tribe. And that's fine as long as we are living in tribes. But now that we live together side by side, all over the world we have to learn God not just in a tribal sense but in a global sense, and in a universal sense."
"What we call fundamentalism operates both on the political and religious level. We see it on the religious level when people are threatened. They take their belief system - be it Islam, Christianity, or Judaism reduce it to a narrow formula, to separate themselves from others. On the political level, when a people or a nation finds itself hegemonic - as we are we practice political fundamentalism. We take our general belief system,
- Western Liberalism and reduce it to a narrow formula to justify our own hegemony. So for me, it is a perception of threat, which is really a
function of not having discovered one's genuine spirit."
+ Common Dreams offers "Those of Us Who Know That America’s Worth Fighting for Have to Take It Back Now from Those Who Don’t" by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. This is a speech delivered at the Sierra Summit 2005, San Francisco, California
September 10, 2005. RFK Jr. has become increasingly frustrated with the government's protection of those who pollute rather bthan protect the environment. He also is frustrated with a media which is keeping most Americans ignorant.
+ IMPORTANT! Take the Katrina Pledge initiated by SOJOURNERS. The poverty we have witnessed in devastated Gulf Coast communities is morally unacceptable. It's time to take action, starting with a renewed personal commitment to overcoming poverty in America.
+ AlterNet offers "The Religious Left Fights Back" by Van Jones. This was followed up by "Readers Write: The Religious Left Fights Back" by Jackie Mauro. A Progressive Spiritual Political Movement is growing. This is essential because a political movement which is not based on prayer is doomed to fail.
+ I just found this on a progressive Christian list:
"The national government will maintain and defend the foundations on which the power of our nation rests. It will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality.
Today Christians stand at the head of our country. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit. We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theatre, and in the press -- in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during recent years."
-- Adolf Hitler (in his first radio address to the German people after coming to power July 22, 1933; from My New Order, The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1, pp. 871-872, Oxford University Press, London, 1942.)
Scary, isn't it?
+ Common Dreams offers "9/11 And The Sport of God" adapted from an addresss by Bill Moyers at Union Theological Seminary on September 9th. He deals with the growing threat of a theocracy in America as the historic wall of separation between church and state continues to be breached. This is a call to action. Christians who believe in progress and science and logic and justice and peace need to take the threat of the fundamentalists seriously.
+ When I wrote about blog entries being rare for a while, I didn't know that the next post would take nearly 3 months!! Here it is, finally!
+ Cindy obviously got to Elizabeth Edwards, wife of 2004 Dem VP candidate. I can understand why. Like Cindy & Elizabeth, I grieve the death of a son. My son, Andy, was born in 1977 and died in 1994 of a brain tumor.
It has long troubled me that Bush goes out of his way not to listen to those who disagree with him. He will spend hours listening to clergy who support his policies and totally ignores requests for dialogue from clergy who disagree including the leadership of the National Council of Churches. Tony Blair at least was willing to listen to the many clergy who opposed the attack on Iraq.
What really amazes me about Bush is that he stands to gain politically by simply listening to Cindy for a few minutes. Or is he that beholden to the extremists of the Secular and Christian Right?
Isn't dialogue and conversation and sharing a good thing? Sometimes I think the Secular and Christian Right are hoping that the rest of us will just disappear. Or, maybe they will disappear in the rapture!!! And then the rest of us can get on with creating a more peaceful and just world.
+ SOJOURNERS offers "Bush's Calvin College surprise" by Jim Wallis. Here's an excerpt: "The events at Calvin, along with the growing crowds at our events around the country, are visible signs that the Religious Right does not speak for all Christians, even all evangelical Christians. What I hear, from one end of this country to the other, is how tired we are of ideological religion and how hungry we are for prophetic faith. The students and faculty at Calvin College are the most recent sign of that hunger."
+ The Beat, a blog from THE NATION offers "Limbaugh vs. Moyers" by John Nichols. Here are 3 excerpts: "Bill Moyers says that journalists have a responsibility to question those in power.
Rush Limbaugh, speaking for the economic and political elites that currently occupy positions of authority, responds by charging that Moyers is 'insane.'" / "The difference between Limbaugh and Moyers is as profound as the difference between FOX and PBS. One man plays by the 'rules of the game,' the other sticks to principle. One man defends a corrupt status quo, the other seeks to expose it. One is a master propagandist, the other wants to break the stranglehold of 'The Big Lie.' One fears the damage done by the practice of journalism, the other knows that great journalism is the essential element in the making of great nations. One is a Tory who serves his King George, the other is a rebel against the throne." / "It is not a fair fight. On one side are Limbaugh and his Tories, with all of their economic and political might. On the other are Moyers and his media reformers, with only the truth -- and the echo of Tom Paine crying across the centuries: 'O Ye that love mankind! Ye that dares oppose not only the tyranny but the tyrant, stand forth!'"
+ Chuck Currie offers "Deal Kills 'Nuclear Option' Supported By Religious Right; Allows More Bush Nominees To Move Forward." Chuck says: "Many Christian Groups Stood up For Democracy And Against The Religious Right’s Partisan Political Agenda." I contributed a comment.
+ Seven courageous Republican Senators struck a blow for true democracy tonight. They let Bush & Cheney & Rove & Frist and Delay know that the country is more moderate than conservative. I knew the moderate Republicans would make a stand sooner or later. This compromise is really good news for everybody. /
Polling shows that about 45 per cent of Americans regard themselves as Moderates, 33 per cent as Conservatives and 21 per cent as Liberals. Those 7 courageous Republicans stood up for the nearly half who are moderates and pragmatists. Ideology has a place, of course. We need the ideas of the Left and the Right. But the most progress gets made when we stay pretty close to the center and that's what this compromise is all about. For the first time since the election, the Christian Right, a minority in this country, got a big setback. As a Christian who has been dismayed by their political power grab for the last couple of decades, I feel at least a little relief. Maybe this is the beginning of a new chapter in the culture war, perhaps even the beginning of a peace treaty which will end the culture war. / The seven Republican Senators and 7 Democratic Senators who fashioned this great compromise are true leaders who represent the best of our country's traditions and hopes. Hopefully, more and more Americans will follow their lead and work hard for compromise and respect and trust in the political process. They showed us how to be civil, polite, courteous, kind, gentle, peaceful. This is true Christianity, true any religion, true humanity.
+ CommonDreams offers "Sticks and Stones and the 'Secular Left'" by David Benjamin. Here's an excerpt: "This emergence of 'secular Left' as the Right's preferred pejorative for both Democrats and liberals is remarkable, if only because it suggests that Republicans and conservatives appear to have absorbed themselves, willingly, into the narrow faction of the 'religious Right.' After all, if everyone west of the political center is now the 'secular Left,' then everyone right of center must be the 'religious Right.'"
+ I just discovered PollingReport.com, a website which covers polling data from many sources. I think the American people are clearly not represented well by the Bush administration and the Republican majority in both houses of Congress. Check out the polls on such topics as Gay & Lesbian Marriage and Civil Unions, Abortion, Bush Judicial Nominees and Senate Rules (the current filibuster debate), Social Security, the War in Iraq, and Clinton's popularity compared to George W. Bush. The GOP better pay attention because all of the polls are now showing that the Democrats could regain control of Congress sooner (2006) rather than later. I know Rove and others still have the money and influence to manipulate public opinion and prevent Democratic gains in 2006. Sooner or later, however, the people will stop being fooled.
The polls do not show that Americans support the Left or the Right on most issues. Most Americans are in the Center and want results. Most Americans are pragmatic and not ideological.
+ The Bruderhof Daily Dig offers "God's History" by André Trocmé which is excerpted from JESUS AND THE NONVIOLENT REVOLUTION which is available FREE in e-book format. Here are 2 excerpts: "To my knowledge, all the religious, philosophical, and political doctrines that affirm the inevitable use of violence also acknowledge that it is secondary. Violence is only a means of reaching a desirable end: justice and peace. But peace is nonviolence. In this sense all agree that nonviolence is their final aim. Consequently, those who abandon nonviolence – the supreme goal of human endeavor – by participating in certain “necessary” violent actions in order to fulfill their human duty, are not exhibiting a genuine sense of history." | "Unfortunately, the Christian faith is still plagued by the victory of Greek philosophy over Jesus’ Jewish roots. The idea of establishing the kingdom of God sounds as foreign to our modern ears as it did to the Greek contemporaries of Jesus. It is no wonder that the early church’s compromise with Plato shrank Christian hope for this world down to almost nothing. Spirit and matter were separated."
+ AlterNet offers a speech by Bill Moyers addressing "the PBS coup." Here are 2 excerpts: "One reason I'm in hot water is because my colleagues and I at NOW didn't play by the conventional rules of Beltway journalism. Those rules divide the world into Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, and allow journalists to pretend they have done their job if, instead of reporting the truth behind the news, they merely give each side an opportunity to spin the news." | "These "rules of the game" permit Washington officials to set the agenda for journalism, leaving the press all too often simply to recount what officials say instead of subjecting their words and deeds to critical scrutiny. Instead of acting as filters for readers and viewers, sifting the truth from the propaganda, reporters and anchors attentively transcribe both sides of the spin invariably failing to provide context, background or any sense of which claims hold up and which are misleading."
+ TruthOut offers "Horror of USA's Depleted Uranium in Iraq Threatens World" by James Denver, VIVE LE CANADA. Here's an excerpt: "Over 200,000 US troops who returned from the 1991 war are now invalided out with ailments officially attributed to service in Iraq-that's 1 in 3. In contrast, the British government's failure to fully assess the health of returning troops, or to monitor their health, means no one even knows how many have died or become gravely ill since their return. However, Gulf veterans' associations say that, of 40,000 or so fighting fit men and women who saw active service, at least 572 have died prematurely since coming home and 5000 may be ill. An alarming number are thought to have taken their own lives, unable to bear the torment of the innumerable ailments which have combined to take away their career, their sexuality, their ability to have normal children, and even their ability to breathe or walk normally. As one veteran puts it, they are 'on DU death row, waiting to die.'"
+ TruthOut offers "Jesus Was No GOP Lobbyist" by Jack Hitt of the Los Angeles Times. Here's an excerpt: "The Jesus who speaks in the Gospels is nothing like the fuming Republican Jesus I see on TV now. Jesus was a leader who understood that ambiguity and doubt are not to be feared but are, simply, facts of life that a great teacher exploits to guide his followers on their own paths toward conviction and belief."
+ Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow interviewed Jim Wallis of Sojourners yesterday (April 26) focusing on the effort by the Christian Right and Senator Bill Frist to label most Democrats and liberals as anti-faith. Here's an excerpt:
+ Alternet offers "The Future of Eco-evangelism" by Matthew Sleeth. Here's an excerpt: "Evangelicals believe that God not only made everything, but that he loves his creation, enjoys it, and claims ownership of it. Yet for the past two centuries Christians and non-Christians alike have taken God's creation for granted or, worse, seen it simply as a resource to be exploited. Evangelicals cannot claim to love God and not love what he loves. It is true that God gave humans dominion over the earth, but many evangelicals have come to recognize that we must face the meaning of this mandate."
+ CommonDreams offers "What I Heard About Iraq" by Eliot Weinberger. Here's an excerpt: "In February 2001, I heard Colin Powell say that Saddam Hussein 'has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.' / That same month, I heard that a CIA report stated: 'We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox to reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction programs.' / Two months later, I heard Condoleezza Rice say: 'We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt.' / On September 11, 2001, six hours after the attacks, I heard that Donald Rumsfeld said that it might be an opportunity to 'hit' Iraq. I heard that he said: 'Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.' / I heard that Condoleezza Rice asked: 'How do you capitalize on these opportunities?'"
+ RottenTomatoes offers excerpts and links on a must see movie: HOTEL RWANDA now out on DVD/VHS. This movie reveals the heroism of hotel manager as he saved many lives during the horrible genocide of 1994. There were not too many scenes of horror. Just enogh to make the point.
+ Chuck Currie offers a post on NBC's REVELATIONS show which was broadcast last night. I watched for about 20 minutes and was outraged as I anticipated I would be. It is so disheartening to see the Book of Revelations in particular and the Bible in general be so distorted and exploited.
+ The Witherspoon Society offers information on our health care crisis including a link to "Ailing Health Care" by Paul Krugman, a NY TIMES columnist on economic matters. Here's an excerpt: "Those of us who accuse the administration of inventing a Social Security crisis are often accused, in return, of do-nothingism, of refusing to face up to the nation's problems. I plead not guilty: America does face a real crisis - but it's in health care, not Social Security. Well-informed business executives agree. A recent survey of chief financial officers at major corporations found that 65 percent regard immediate action on health care costs as 'very important.' Only 31 percent said the same about Social Security reform."
+ The Christian Science Monitor offers "It's better to be poor in Norway than in the US" by David R. Francis. Here's an excerpt: "Except for the citizens of a few tiny oil kingdoms and Luxembourg, Americans on average live better than anybody else. Germans? Forget it. Americans' standard of living is 30 percent higher. The British? The gap's even wider. But if the United States is so rich, critics ask, how come its poor are poorer than almost anywhere else in the developed world?"
+ I didn't want to watch it but I thought I should! I'm referring to a FRONTLINE show about Karl Rove which was broadcast this week.
+ As a progressive Protestant Christian, I disagreed with Pope John Paul II often and vehemently
not when it came to basic peace and justice issues.
The media will point out that he challenged Nazi and Communist domination of Poland and other countries. You will not hear, or you will hear rarely, that he challenged excessive American capitalism and militarism, that he spoke up over and over again for the poor and oppressed.
+ I just found a fascinating guest post at the Progressive Protestant Blog. It's entitled "something a little out of the ordinary" by Korina. Here's an excerpt: "Can we take a step back and say that the Christian myth is just that - a viable religious myth and still consider ourselves Christian if we try to live in Jesus’ example? / To me, the central part of Jesus’ message has always been love. Love for your enemies, for the downtrodden, for those less fortunate, and just for general humanity. I don’t think we can put God in a box. How can you limit a divine being who is all powerful to one denomination or religion. God is love, and sometimes, that’s what it all boils down to. It is not about following rules, but about searching for the truth. Jesus preached a message of love and equality - and that’s what we should follow."
+ This fool is launching a new page, the Abundancetrek Prayer Page which will hopefully become very interactive. Please add your prayers. The best way is to join the TNC4TNA (The New Church for the New Age) egroup and post your prayers there from time to time. I will add them to the prayer page.
+ Aren't we really fools every day?
+ I hope I'm a fool! St. Paul wants us to be foolish in order to become wise! See 1 Corinthians 3:18-19. William Willimon preached a sermon called "Fools for Christ" on March 2, 1997. Here's an excerpt: "On Good Friday, 1994, Father Carl Kabat, dressed as a clown, hopped a fence and hammered on a Minute Man II missile in North Dakota. For his clowning around, Father Kabat got five years in prison. / 'Do you know my pastor?' asked the Duke undergraduate. 'He’s wonderful! He calls me about once a month and we have a great conversation. He’s the perfect pastor — car always a mess. Can’t even get in without his moving all these papers and books. As far as we know, he’s never been on time for a church meeting. Forgets many of them. As I said, he’s your typical perfect pastor.'"
+ A couple of days ago I wrote a new MESSAGE FOR THE TREK. Here it is:
I wonder who will win the "culture war"? Or, how will it be resolved? How will it finally become a chapter of American and world history? I'm sure it can't go on forever. Maybe the Right Wing will prevail. Maybe the Left Wing will prevail. Maybe the Center will prevail. Maybe nobody will win as we destroy each other with our lack of civility.
I use the labels of Right and Left and Center for convenience. They rarely apply in real situations. There are many, many sides in the "culture war." let's just stop this "war," stop the death and destruction. Let's find a way for all sides to win as we create peace in our society.
We hear a lot about a "culture of life" these days. It seems to me that each side is promoting death, not life, by being unkind, impatient, intolerant and disrespectful toward those with whom they disagree. Not all are this way but there are far too many who are on the Left, on the Right and even in the Center.
I would like to think that we could learn how to be civil ... polite, considerate, respectful, kind, gentle, humble. I think a couple of comedians who are popular right now are possibly helping people realize how important it is that we become civil: Left-leaning Jon Stewart (Comedy Channel 11pm EST) and Right-leaning Dennis Miller (CNBC 9pm EST). I know that both of them pander to their base from time to time but at other times I see them making valiant attempts to be respectful and appreciative of people with whom they disagree. I think we could all benefit immensely if we would develop our sense of humor as we approach these difficult issues.
None of the sides in this current culture war are very convincing when they claim the moral high ground while saying disrespectful and hurtful things about people on other sides. If the Right or the Left or even the Center wins without becoming kind and gentle and humble and respectful toward others, than we will all be the losers. Our society will become more and more repressive. We will end up destroying ourselves.
Let's work on this. A truly free and open and loving society should not be afraid to let every one speak and be heard and be respected and appreciated even when there is profound disagreement. All of us need to learn how to see the world from the other person's point of view. This is hard work. It is worthy work.
+ The Daily Dig offers "The Last Hour: Thoughts on Dying - and Letting Go" by Johann Christoph Arnold. Here are 2 excerpts: "In past centuries, warfare, famine, and disease decimated whole towns and cities, and sooner or later every family was touched. Babies routinely died in infancy, and sometimes their mothers were lost with them. As writer Philip Yancey has pointed out, 'No one could live as if death did not exist.' Nowadays, thanks to modern medicine, improved nutrition, public sanitation, and greater life expectancy, death no longer seems such an unavoidable reality." | "It is important to consider a dying person’s surroundings. A hospital may be best for recovering from surgery, but it is hardly the ideal place to die. For one thing, it cannot possibly match the familiarity and comfort of a home; for another, visiting hours do not allow for the spontaneous coming and going of close friends and family members."
+ The TalkingPointsMemo.com blog has led me to the NewDonkey.com blog which offers "The Schiavo Case: Law, Fact, Dogma" by the blogger. Here's an excerpt: "Best I can tell, the Catholic teaching that withdrawal of nutrition from a brain-dead person represents "euthanasia" is relatively new, laid out in 1995 in the papal encyclical "Evangelium Vitae. / "As explained by Father Thomas Williams, dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome, the encyclical draws a very sharp distinction between 'an action or omission which of itself and by intention causes death, with the purpose of eliminating all suffering,' which is murder, and the 'decision to forgo so-called 'aggressive medical treatment,' in other words, medical procedures which no longer correspond to the real situation of the patient, either because they are by now disproportionate to any expected results or because they impose an excessive burden on the patient and his family.' The latter decision is morally fine, even upright. 'That distinction is subtle but extremely important from a moral perspective,' said Fr. Williams."
+ Progressive Christian blogger Chuck Currie offers "Remember Asia During Holy Week." The
National Council of Churches offers a bulletin insert (PDF format) on the tsunami tragedy and the continuing response of the churches and other organizations.
+ Progressive Christian blogger Chuck Currie offers "Church World Service Partners with WorldManna.org in Groundbreaking Interfaith Initiative to Eradicate World Hunger." The
WorldManna.org website offers information on this initiative.
+ CommonDreams.org offers "Iraq Checkpoint Killings Unchecked" by Jeremy Scahill. Why are the major media outlets failing to investigate all the death and destruction caused by our military in Iraq and other places? Here's an excerpt: "The recent killing of an Italian intelligence official and the wounding of an Italian journalist by U.S. forces in Baghdad highlights how out of control the climate of impunity has become. It should serve as a wake-up call to the dangerous reality faced daily by thousands of Iraqis and by unembedded journalists."
+ AlterNet offers "For the Soul of the Church" by Ethan Vesely-Flad. Ethan Vesely-Flad is executive director of the Episcopal Church Publishing Company and editor of The Witness, a social justice publication founded in 1917 to address issues of faith, conscience and justice. The Witness publishes voices of progressive Christian and other faith-based activists from across the globe online at www.thewitness.org..
+ The following DVD/VHS movies now available are considered fresh tomatoes by scores of reviewers as compiled by Rotten Tomatoes:
+ I have begun to collect a lot of quotes. You can see them at the Abundancetrek Quotes Page.
+ Here's a great quote:
+ In my continuing quest for wisdom on the practice of devotion, I just discovered a website devoted to THE PLATFORM SUTRA OF THE SIXTH PATRIARCH OF ZEN: Here are 2 excerpts from the Introduction: "There is a famous Zen teaching (Koan): “If you see the Buddha, kill him!” This may seem shocking to many, but this is the great warning that our image of the divine will become our final obstruction to a religious experience. The image of the Buddha may be a fine meditation device, but if we cling on to the image, we will start to think that Buddhahood is something somewhere else, while all the time all we have to do is to see our true nature within, which is our Buddha nature." | "It is fundamental to Zen Buddhism that all things possess Buddha nature. In our deepest beings, we are all Buddhas. The problem is just that we are not aware of it, and it is because we have all kinds of deluding passions like greed, hatred and delusion which blind us from the truth. The way of Zen is to allow you to see pass all your deluding passions and realize what you really are. You are a Buddha, from the very beginning of time till the ends of the worlds. There is nothing you can do to become it. There is nothing you can do to get rid of it. You are it. So why not realize it?"
+ I just found lots of wisdom at the LizbethSlair.com quotes page.
+ Spirituality&Health offers this soul booster on the practice of openness: Doubt is a state of openness and unknowing. It's a willingness to not be in charge, to not know what is going to happen next. The state of doubt allows us to explore things in an open and fresh way.
+ SoulForce is planning a rally in Colorado Springs on May 1. It's an an organization devoted to nonviolence and promoting justice for all including the GLBT community. There is a booklet at the website which refutes James Dobson's claims regarding GLBT issues.
+ Spirituality&Health offers a book review of How to Solve Our Human Problems: The Four Noble Truths by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Don't miss the excerpt on patience.
+ CommonDreams offers "Why Bush Will Fail in Europe" by William Pfaff, a Guardian (UK) commentary.
The President has an enormous political gulf to bridge. The trouble is, he doesn't even know it's there.
+ CURSOR offers: With the Kyoto Protocol set to go into effect on Wednesday, a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed, arguing that "it is already too late to prevent global warming," warns that "rising sea levels and more weather-related disasters will be a fact of life on this planet for decades to come, and we have to get ready for them."
+ In my contiuing quest for wisdom on the practice of devotion, I just discovered a new article at InnerFrontier called "Living As Intention" by InnerFrontier host Joseph Naft. Here are 2 excerpts: "To rephrase the Zen teaching: when eating, eat; when sitting, sit; when walking, walk; when talking, talk; when thinking, think; and when doing anything, do that very thing. Keeping our attention to the task at hand is only part of this: we also continue intending the action." | "Intention in action, moment-to-moment intention, brings us into that invisible stream of will, closer to who we really are, to our own “I am.”"
+ My cousins set up a webpage for memories of their father, my uncle, Lamar Knight who was born 100 years ago today. I added mine yesterday.
+ Bruderhof offers "Living Lent" by Barbara Cawthorne Crafton. Here are 2 excerpts: "We didn't even know what moderation was. What it felt like. We didn't just work: we inhaled our jobs, sucked them in, became them. Stayed late, brought work home - it was never enough, though, no matter how much time we put in." | "How did we come to know that we were dying a slow and unacknowledged death? And that the only way back to life was to set all our packages down and begin again, carrying with us only what we really needed?"
+ In my contiuing quest for wisdom on the practice of stillness, I just discovered the Fellowship of Contemplative Prayer website with stillness and silence and Perennial Philosophy (Mysticism) resources.
+ Alternet offers an interview with Amy Goodman. She hosts DemocracyNow! Here are 2 excerpts: "The government needs journalists more than the journalists need the government. The journalists should be standing up and not acting as a megaphone for those in power. I mean, that's not our job, there's a reason why our profession, journalism, is the only one explicitly protected by the U.S. Constitution. Because we are the check and balances on government, we are supposed to hold those in power accountable, not cozy up to them." | "I also think that Bush not finding weapons of mass destruction exposed more than the Bush administration — it exposed the media that acted as a conveyor belt for the lies of the administration. It's not just Fox that was alleging it, it was CNN, it was MSNBC, it was NBC, ABC, it was The New York Times, it was The Washington Post, day after day, front page, above the fold, lead stories in the newspapers and television about weapons of mass destruction."
+ Sojourners offers a Commentary: "Privatizing Social Security: If a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes accepted wisdom" by Harry C. Kiely. Here are 2 excerpts: "If we pay attention to our common life, we know that if a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes the accepted wisdom. Such has been the case with Social Security. For 20 years, the Wall Street investment industry has been disseminating reports about the imminent shortfall of Social Security when the baby boomers start retiring. So pervasive has been this disinformation campaign that reporters for the mainstream media treat it as common knowledge. Today, many workers under age 40 believe Social Security will not be there for them when they retire." | "Why Wall Street's sudden interest in ordinary people, including the millions who have been kept out of poverty through Social Security support for seven decades? The answer is simple: profit. Servicing the accounts made possible by partial privatization would net the investment firms many billions of dollars."
+ The GUARDIAN offers "How I entered the Hellish World of Gunatanamo." Martin Mubanga went on holiday to Zambia, but ended up spending 33 months in Guantanamo Bay, some of the time in the feared Camp Echo. Free at last and still protesting his innocence, he tells the full story to David Rose. We must continue to speak out against this continuing human rights horror show our government is sponsoring. This policy certainly does not help us win friends and influence people. This is a sad, sad episode of American history and it's happening now.
+ Sojourners offers "The Bush Doctrine" by Jim Wallis. Here are 2 excerpts: "For an evangelical Christian, George W. Bush does not seem to have a well-developed sense of sin - at least as far as the nation is concerned. " | "If the war in Iraq is the 'practical' expression of George Bush's theology of liberty and freedom, the world is in serious trouble."
+ CommonDreams offers "Spearing the Beast" by Paul Krugman, an op-ed piece in yesterday's NY TIMES. Here are 2 excerpts: "President Bush isn't trying to reform Social Security. He isn't even trying to "partially privatize" it. His plan is, in essence, to dismantle the program, replacing it with a system that may be social but doesn't provide security. And the goal, as with his tax cuts, is to undermine the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt." | "The attempt to "jab a spear" through Social Security complements the strategy of "starve the beast," long advocated by right-wing intellectuals: cut taxes, then use the resulting deficits as an excuse for cuts in social spending. The spearing doesn't seem to be going too well at the moment, but the starving was on full display in the budget released yesterday."
+ Bruderhof offers "A Matter of Conscience" by Kevin Benderman. Sgt. Kevin Benderman (40) is a U.S. Army mechanic with ten years of service under his belt, including a role in the assault on Baghdad. While there, his outfit was ordered to open fire on children who were throwing rocks at unit personnel. Troubled by this and other similar incidents, and facing a second tour of duty in Iraq, Benderman applied for conscientious objector status in December 2004. Here are 2 excerpts: "As I went through the process which led to my decision to refuse deployment to Iraq for the second time, I was torn between thoughts of abandoning the soldiers that I serve with, or following my conscience, which tells me: war is the ultimate in destruction and waste of humanity." | "I cannot tell anyone else how to live his or her life, but I have determined how I want to live mine - by not participating in war any longer, as I feel that it is stupid and against everything that is good about our world."
+ WitherspoonSociety offers "An open letter on the integrity of science" by The Rev. Herbert Valentine, former Moderator of the PC(USA) and signed by many clergy. Here are 2 excerpts: "We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist." | "To argue that Gods loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris."
+ StarTribune offers "There is No Tomorrow" by Bill Moyers. He considers the current obsession with the rapture and the end-times a huge threat to our future well-being. Here are 2 excerpts: "One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington." | "I'm not making this up. Like Monbiot, I've read the literature. I've reported on these people, following some of them from Texas to the West Bank. They are sincere, serious and polite as they tell you they feel called to help bring the rapture on as fulfillment of biblical prophecy. That's why they have declared solidarity with Israel and the Jewish settlements and backed up their support with money and volunteers. It's why the invasion of Iraq for them was a warm-up act, predicted in the Book of Revelations where four angels "which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of man." A war with Islam in the Middle East is not something to be feared but welcomed -- an essential conflagration on the road to redemption. The last time I Googled it, the rapture index stood at 144 -- just one point below the critical threshold when the whole thing will blow, the son of God will return, the righteous will enter Heaven and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire."
+ Zmag offers "End-Timers and Neo-cons: The End of Conservatives" by Paul Craig Roberts. He was a Reagan administion official who now feels betrayed by the current "conservative" onslaught. Here are 2 excerpts: "America has blundered into a needless and dangerous war, and fully half of the country's population is enthusiastic. Many Christians think that war in the Middle East signals "end times" and that they are about to be wafted up to heaven. Many patriots think that, finally, America is standing up for itself and demonstrating its righteous might. Conservatives are taking out their Vietnam frustrations on Iraqis. Karl Rove is wrapping Bush in the protective cloak of war leader. The military-industrial complex is drooling over the profits of war. And neoconservatives are laying the groundwork for Israeli territorial expansion." | "The Iraqi War is serving as a great catharsis for multiple conservative frustrations: job loss, drugs, crime, homosexuals, pornography, female promiscuity, abortion, restrictions on prayer in public places, Darwinism and attacks on religion. Liberals are the cause. Liberals are against America. Anyone against the war is against America and is a liberal. "You are with us or against us."
And in so many ways
While others cease to be
So every day we Do
+ Tune into yesterday's edition of DemocracyNow! for interviews with some people in Iraq who are not buying the propaganda of the US and its puppet regime.
+ Don't fall for this hoax circulating on the internet:
+ S&H offers a review of the great new bestseller GOD'S POLITICS by Jim Wallis. The book is subtitled: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It.
Here are 2 quotes from the book: "The truth is that most of the important movements for social change in America have been fueled by religion — progressive religion. The stark moral challenges of our time have once again begun to awaken this prophetic tradition. As the religious Right loses influence, nothing could be better for the health of both church and society than a return of the moral center that anchors our nation in a common humanity. If you listen, these voices can be heard rising again." / "The best response to bad religion is better religion, not secularism."
+ I was driven to rent A RUMOR OF ANGELS (2001) at our DVD store yesterday.
It's about the grieving process and our hope in eternal life and about the mysterious and miraculous connections we have with those who have died and with those who are alive.
+ MSNBC offers "Dream On America" by Andrew Moravcsik (Newsweek International)
. Here's an excerpt: "For years, much of the world did aspire to the American way of life. But today countries are finding more appealing systems in their own backyards."
+ WitherspoonSociety offers "A call to follow ... and a time to withdraw," a sermon by Jake Young about the Inaugural Address and the Sermon on the Mount. Here's an excerpt: "In different circumstances, I might approach this topic from a church pulpit with fear and trembling. After all, don't we observe a separation of church and state in this country? But this is a President who openly professes to being a born-again Christian and invokes the name of God with some regularity in relation to his role as President. It is our role then, as Christians - and indeed as citizens of a democracy - to closely scrutinize our leader's words and, more importantly, his actions. / Mr. Bush did not invoke the name of Jesus Christ on Thursday, but he did invoke Jesus' Sermon on the Mount as containing the truths upon which our nation is based. Therefore, being good Christian disciples, let's look at what Jesus said there."
+ Sojourners offers "The 'Democracy Option' disappears in Iraq" by David Batstone. Here's an excerpt: "How chilling that the Pentagon is seriously considering a plan to take us back to those dark days. According to Newsweek, "the Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support, and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria...."
+ In my continuing quest for wisdom on the heavenly state of abundance, I discovered a sermon called "Abundant Abundance" preached by Susan Andrews at the 216th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Here's an excerpt:"Friends, God does not sprinkle us with grace — God drenches us with grace. God's meal is not a snack to tide us over. It is a feast that can feed us for the rest of our lives. And so, let us come, not because we are worthy. Let us come because our generous God loves us and invites us and wants to fill us to overflowing."
+ You can hear World Party, the Grateful Dead, the Who, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, U2, Van Morrison, the Cranberries, Tori Amos and many more wonderful musicians on the ABUNDANCETREK RADIO STATION.
+ CommonDreams offers "What is Wrong with Torture?" by Jonathan Schell. Here's an excerpt: "Torture destroys the soul of the torturer even as it destroys the body of his victim. The boundary between humane treatment of prisoners and torture is perhaps the clearest boundary in existence between civilization and barbarism. Whether the elected representatives of the people of the United States are now ready to cross that line is the deepest question before the Senate as it votes on the nomination of Alberto Gonzales."
+ I wrote a new message for the trek. Comments welcome! Here's an excerpt: "Do you often experience life as a feast? I do. I didn’t always but now I do. It takes fasting and other kinds of purification. It takes meditation and contemplation and prayer. It takes all kinds of experiences and relationships. I got to this point through many years of spiritual effort. Now I am writing about the abundance and joy I am experiencing. Possibly this will be helpful to you. My growing awareness that life is a perpetual feast is based profoundly on the practice of stillness. Over and over again, I need to be still and allow my body, mind and soul to become centered and grounded again. I have resisted mightily and I still resist but I have gotten past many of the blocks and I’m getting past a few more as I continue to be on this journey of discovery and delight. / In stillness I come into contact with everything there is. It’s awesome. It’s amazing. It’s fantastic. It’s delightful. It’s heaven. Yes, it’s heaven. I’m in heaven and I’m enjoying being here in heaven a lot. Are you?"
+ Today's Daily Dig offers an article about a prophetic Jew who predicted unending violence if Zionist policies continued. He said this way back in the early 20th century.
+ I'm glad we are dealing with the issue of American generosity. Clearly, we are coming through in the aftermath of the huge tsunami disaster. But I believe that our overall giving could be improved a lot. I think it could be demonstrated that we are taking from the rest of the world more than we are giving to it which would hardly make us "the most generous people the world has ever known" as so many would like to believe. At Christianity.About.com, Charles Henderson deals with the question: "Are Americans Stingy?" He offers some much needed perspective. Here's an excerpt: "The truth is you can't take the measure of the soul of a people by massaging fact and figures, averages or statistics. And in the end the question of whether we are "generous" or "stingy" is quite beside the point. The real question for readers of this article is this. How do you stand with respect to your own charitable giving? What contribution are you making toward the relief of suffering around the world? These questions are ultimately ones that can be answered only in the conversation that takes place between you and your own conscience."
+ Here are some of the tunes played on the abundancetrek radio station tonight: Rolling Stones - Long Long While; The Cure - In Between Days; The Cranberries - Pretty; The B-52's - Private Idaho; Todd Rundgren - Compassion; Joni Mitchell - Number One; Big Country - Fields Of Fire (400 Miles); The Ramones - Pet Sematary; The Who - Sally Simpson; Kate Bush - Moments Of Pleasure; Nirvana - All Apologies; Bob Marley - One Love / People Get Ready; U2 - All Because Of You
+ CommonDreams offers "Empires Prefer a Baby and the Cross to the Adult Jesus -- From Constantine to Bush, power has needed to stifle a revolutionary message" by Giles Fraser. Here's an excerpt: "Every Sunday in church, Christians recite the Nicene Creed. "Who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven. And was incarnate of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary and was made man; was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried; and the third day rose again according to the Scriptures." It's the official summary of the Christian faith but, astonishingly, it jumps straight from birth to death, apparently indifferent to what happened in between."
+ CommonDreams offers "The Imminent Demise of the Republican Party" by David W. Orr. Here's an excerpt: "Having made the United States a large bulls’ eye for terrorists and malcontents, it may implode catastrophically taking much else with it. It may come undone more gradually, but no less catastrophically, as the economy sinks under the weight of war debt and foolish tax cuts."
+ I have come to believe that the denial of reality plagues Republicans in the same way the denial of faith plagues Democrats. We need a reality-based faith and a faith-based reality. Both parties don't get it!
+ CommonDreams offers "Where's the Miracle in a Tsunami?" by Marianne Williamson. Here's an excerpt: Those who died in last month's tsunami did not die in vain. For in their dying they helped to awaken a distracted and slumbering humanity (what symbolism, that the tsunami hit while we were literally on vacation). The only hope for the future of the world is that humanity will experience a change of heart; that we will awaken to the sanctity and fragility of life; and we will dedicate ourselves -- as we are dedicating ourselves now to the tsunami's victims -- to all who suffer and grieve and so need our aid. / And thus the miracle, if we choose it: that death itself can bring forth a greater life.
+ I just discovered a review by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat of an important new book:
+ Below are the lyrics to a song which was popular at the time of the death of my son, Andy, in 1994. It became very meaningful to his friends and family. A web page offers the music so we can sing along.
I Can See Clearly Now
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone
I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
Look all around, there's nothin' but blue skies
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone
+ Yesterday, I said: "My respect for O'Reilly dips to a new low." MediaMatters.org offers many examples of O'Reilly putting people down. If O'Reilly continues to get away with this bullying, then I fear America will be going down the road of dictatorship / empire (see previous post). A republic needs civil dialogue. We need to disagree without being disagreeable.
+ CommonDreams offers "Riding the Polarized Express" by Steven Laffoley. He suggests that we are approaching a fork in the road which will determine whether we reclaim our republic or become a dictatorship / empire. He compares our situation with France in the 1890s.
+ BASIC PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT is a website with tools and ideas for developing our energy body.
+ WikiCities.com may be a huge breakthrough in cooperation and collaboration on the web.
+ Here is a poem by Bill Wiser found in today's DailyDig:
What if we grasped the moment that is now
What if the Hindu fishermen
What if the Tamil Tigers
What if in the USA
What if the Laskar mujahedeen
Why can't it happen now
Or will our hands and hearts and minds
What if we grasped the moment that is now
+ Here is today's DailyZen:
+ Bill O'Reilly is attacking a hero of mine, Bill Moyers, the highly respected journalist who recently retired from the popular PBS program, NOW. My respect for O'Reilly dips to a new low. MediaMatters.org reports:
+ Here is today's DailyZen:
+ I know that many of you might be focused mostly on promoting peace and justice while others may be focused mostly on the spiritual journey. I think we need to pay attention to both. Don't you? Gandhi, a great spiritual leader said that religion without political activism was not a true religion. So, I will continue to find resources and develop ideas for the spiritual journey and for the promotion of peace and justice through political action.
I need your prayers and encouragement. I love feedback if it is constructive. You can be as critical as you want to be but please do it in a spirit of love and joy.
+ MediaMatters offers important analysis on the subject of American generosity. Why do we have to keep telling ourselves we're the best when the evidence simply doesn't back that up? We certainly should give plenty because we sure know how to take a lot!
+ I belong to an egroup which includes a peace activist from Buffalo who wrote a letter to the editor of the Buffalo NEWS which I found compelling:
I am one of the protesters who picket at the recruiting offices in Lafayette Square. My purpose in being there is not to express nonsupport to those who are fighting in Iraq, as a recent letter writer suggested. It is to express nonsupport for the war. It is also to express concern for the well-being of young people who are considering joining the military. It is to encourage them to seek out other alternatives, preferably ones that do not involve killing and dying far from home.
When I protest the war in front of the recruiting offices, I am saying that I object to state-sponsored killing. I am saying that I object to the use of depleted uranium, which poisons everything that it touches for many years. And I am saying that I object to the concept that my freedom can be protected by the use of guns, tanks, bombers and missiles. To quote Edward Everett: "Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army."
I will continue to protest because I believe that the only person who
can protect my freedom is me, by exercising my right to speak out and
express a dissenting viewpoint. Freedom doesn't mean anything if
people won't speak out, for fear of being called un-American.
+ From CommonDreams: With Bill Moyers retiring from his PBS show, Helen Thomas is lamenting the increasing loss of liberal voices from the mainstream media. | READ ARTICLE
+ The tsunami may lead us to think about God's involvement or lack of involvement in the natural order. Peter Sawtell, the Executive Director of
Eco-Justice Ministries has some important thoughts on the subject in an article entitled "Earthquake, Tsunami and God". | READ MESSAGE
+ I went searching for some celtic music on the net and found CelticGrove.com.
+ SOJOURNERS offers results of a Zogby survey on values which shows that Kerry actually gained votes after voters heard messages from conservative religious groups on abortion, stem cell research, and same-sex marriage. Also, abortion, stem cell research and same-sex marriage rank far below other moral issues. These surprising findings tell me that progressives simply need to get our message out. People respond very positively to progressive values once they are informed. | SEE ZOGBY RESULTS
+ Thanks to a recent post by PostModern Pilgrim, here's the complete serenity prayer:
+ Jim Wallis of SOJOURNERS has written and spoken extensively about moral values and how both Democrats and Republicans get it wrong including a recent op-ed piece in USA TODAY. Here's an excerpt:
+ The Jakarta Post offers another article with a different perspective on the Acehnese rebellion in the aftermath of the tsunami. The death toll in Aceh is approaching 100,000. I did not know about the rebellion until hearing Democracy Now! today. Did you? | READ ARTICLE
+ The Jakarta Post has numerous reports on the tsunami including an article about the armed rebellion in Aceh against the Indonesian government. The death toll in Aceh is approaching 100,000. I did not know about the rebellion until hearing Democracy Now! today. Did you? | READ ARTICLE
+ There is so often more to the story than we get from our standard media sources. Democracy Now! reports today that the Indonesian Army is a major hindrance to aid for the people of Aceh so devastated by the tsunami. I decided to find more info on the net and came up with acehnet.tripod.com which offers an article explaining why the Acehnese are seeking independence from Indonesia. The Indonesian army has been very oppressive toward all Acenese who want independence. They have continued to conduct raids on Acehnese villages since the tsunami hit. | READ ARTICLE
Click on it and buy it from northernsun.com.
RECENTLY DISCOVERED WEBSITES AND BLOGS:
United for Justice
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| BEAUTY | LOVE | TRUTH |
| PEACE | JUSTICE | FREEDOM |
which we experience and enjoy
as we embrace our fantastic journey,