Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Interfaith Crossing

 I was recently in a motorcycle accident - last Friday and in the trauma center recovering.  It happened on a winding road in Pennsylvania and not sure if it was a malfunction of the bike or my clicking of the gears. The vintage motorcycle was restored and over 18 years old was given to me. Unfortunately it will need to be scrapped after all the effort but fortunately my body survived the wreckage. Anyway, I was in the trauma center recovering from a midlife crisis moment and met a woman who was an interfaith minister. It was like meeting a sister the bond was almost immediate. We prayed briefly to the Father as the minister led the prayer and we basically prayed for healing and peace.
 This interfaith crossing was rare as she was the first interfaith minister that I had the chance to pray with. What interfaith is may be somewhat different to one being as it is to another. We talked about the uniqueness of each persons faith and character. We talked about Jesus and his perfect love. It was a crossing of minds but could just as easily been a Catholic priest, Methodist minister or Hindu guru. Our uniqueness does not diminish the power of prayer it only strengthens it.
 My guess by talking to this minister is that she may have come from a Jewish background and pursued interfaith. Regardless it was a good crossing of faith and communication. We sometimes get lost in a belief system and trying to name or bring God into our chosen template instead of just reaching out together in faith. I pray for all those who suffer in body and mind, for those seeking God in the spirit of truth needing comfort. I pray this world becomes a better place by our understanding of one another. That we have peace throughout the world and that extremist do not sway the believers into committing acts that are not of God. That we all learn to live together on this planet not just as religious persons but as humane persons. More importantly is that this peace that passes all understanding is obtainable, is near.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Milk Boy

 It was June 17th, 1964 in Windsor Twp New Jersey that I received my first ever compensation of wages for 1.00 USD. Signed by Kathryn A. Mullen the 3rd grade teacher and principal of the school for service as the milk boy during lunch hour. It was an old 3 story brick school that housed only grades first to third. On the school grounds was a tiny house with tiny doors and windows. It was the home of a dwarf that kept the school grounds. The whole place seemed magical to me and would be the basic building block of my education.
 Mrs Mullen was a stern but kind lady about in her sixties as I remember. She was a widow and I did not know of the circumstances perhaps a war widow. If we put our hands in our pockets she would stitch them shut as to make us proper gentleman. She would also use the ruler when necessary and make us stand in the hallway if we talked during class. I do remember she was very keen on reading and read often classic literature. I truly respected her and she always had a smile in spite of her stern disposition.

 Here we are almost 50 years later and still remember her and thankful for the time she took to make us all gentleman. I owe her a bit of gratitude and never cashed the check even though it could have purchased a lot of candy or perhaps a few comic books. It seems appropriate that if ever my life amount to anything, in my memoirs or poetry you be given credit.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanks for giving

 A special thanks for the American Indians for giving us insight and knowledge to get through the harsh realities the forest and the new world we now call America. Teaching the Europeans how to grow native foods , fertilize and cultivate them. Especially the harvest grains of corn and various vegetables. The herbs used for healing and the story tellers that gave us comfort like the parables of old.
 We often remember the pilgrims who came to this land but forget the millions of those that already inhabited the forest and used their canoes to navigate the rivers. When we think of the thousands that remain in the worst poverty on reservations we call them nations within our nation. All subject to a life of dependency on the US government. Millions died of small pox and other diseases this was the tragic reward for peace with the Europeans whose culture was to kill millions of buffalo and let them rot for their carcass.
 Yes - I am thankful for having a roof over my head and food but will remember the other cultures that were willing to share despite our religious indifference. I will remember the prayers of the Lakota and the people of the Wolf, Bear, Deer and Turtle. Having so much affinity to the land and the native wildlife. We are finding the storytellers had much to share around the camp fires , perhaps not written to papyrus but on cave walls. I am oft reminded that Jesus was also a story teller and never actually wrote a book. Perhaps he would have enjoyed the native Indians tribes and sharing a campfire story with them.

-peace and blessings.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


 Desires are something that have often sent us along a crooked path. Would we still arrive at the ultimate destination with our desires intact? In the buddhist beliefs we should empty ourselves of desire, since it leads to suffering. I do agree in part with that but would add also that good desires must be also be planted to replace the weeds with flowers.

Desire for Peace:
 We are asked to love even our enemies ,  that kind of love is not a result of religion. Contrary to what some may believe religion does not bring love into the world. In fact a lot of the worlds wars are over a difference in religious beliefs. What is planted in ones heart must first be a desire for peace. Then a desire for love , Yes - it would be easy to sit effortlessly in a cave to find individual peace with no suffering, or on a mountaintop. Buddhists are finding that the world will eventually engulf them and they cannot stay hidden forever. It is better to grow the desire for peace even if it means making yourself known to the world. Suffering cannot be avoided if we pursue the desire for peace.

 In the Christian faith suffering for peace sake is acceptable. I do agree with the Buddhist that the cause of suffering is desire, but there is sometimes a need for good desire. There is a saying no good deed goes unpunished, I am not sure if it applies in karma but do know a lot of times it seems that way. I remember various times trying to do a good deed and found myself with a flat tire or wrecked car perhaps these would have happened anyway but in the good deed mode thought invincibility should be granted, ha  ha ! Do not be dismayed if you seem to be suffering for a cause it is par for the course. 

 God does promise to give us the desires of our heart but we are not invincible. We are in Grace , though some believe they are not subject to gravity or nature. Actually if you ask the Buddhist monk they have issues also. All fall short - it is our reaction to these shortcomings that makes the difference. What separates the Christian from others religions and the so called world is Grace. There are peaceful Christian sects that do not believe in going to war , but even the Buddhist realized it was necessary to defend oneself against an attack , uh (kung fu).

Do the Jews desire peace? Does the Muslim?  I think we all do deep inside but the desire must be there. Why they continue to fight each other for thousands of years makes the rest of us question the far left and far right of both of these world religions. Extremism is counter productive to peace on earth and can be found in all religions. Which is why I strongly belief in separation of church and state, especially in mixed cultures. I would ask a person who is religious if their desire is to promote peace or religion if the answer is clearly for peace they have the Truth, blessed are the peacemakers.

Desires for Change:
 I try to avoid politics but sometimes if we do not voice our views and let the far right or left have their way it will eventually come back on us or our children. A belief system does not mean giving up your opinion or common sense. We should be grateful for living in a democracy that gives a voice rather than being dictated to. We desire safe playgrounds for our children, and decent wages. Perhaps just basic food and shelter that is affordable. Being told how to dress or to follow laws that condemn a man for drinking a soda or coffee. A man or woman that builds faith or spiritual bridges does not mean they can build a real road or bridge to travel on. They each have a distinct purpose not to belittle one or the other.

 I honor Gandhi who was a Hindu but through peaceful revolution brought about change. He had a desire for change and was willing to suffer for it and even do it peacefully. We will probably see one Gandhi in a thousand years if we are lucky but there are many out there that share the same views. How many Christs will there be just one or many. I believe though one Jesus Christ, many actual persons with the nature of Christ. Even though Jesus came to bring peace we still see wars and division , so the desire for change continues whether a Hindu or a christian.

 Maybe your desires are not their desires or perhaps we need to set an example. Presenting an olive branch was often a sign of willingness or desire for peace. Peace can never be gotten by forcing a religion over another that Yes- teaches peace. Most wars do not end by force either , if so it is temporary, to have peace there must be a desire.

 Desires are not necessarily sin or contrary to inner and outer peace - good desire is needed for  healthy changes to society and to promote peace.

- amen.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

All fall short


 We are often reminded that all fall short of the glory of God and must rely on grace. From our favorite General to the best Golfer. The greatest Coach or the Evangelist even a President or Priest - the list goes on and on. That is why we are to not look up to men but only one man stood the test of time Jesus Christ. Even as perfect as Jesus was he said only one was good his father who was in heaven.
 I would find no fault in him declared the magistrates but still he was crucified. It seems unjust but a lot of good people suffer and some die early. Some from disease or some in war time, some die because of stress just trying to survive. My hope is that we grow in understanding grace even if we fall short. Perhaps you have a loved one that seems messed up and it would be easier to judge them.
How about telling them about God's grace instead of putting them down.
 I believe more than ever we are reminded we are human not perfect. It seems there is always a gossip out there or some poison to fill our ears. We are reminded of the three monkeys hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil. How can we escape from from evil by denying its existence or not partaking in it like the three monkeys. Bad news always seems to sell more than good news, frequently we are drawn into gossip. Jesus said "judge not less you be judged".
 I believe the year 2013 will be a year of rebuilding , faith will be tested but prevail. As we saw the dictators and wars come close to an end in 2012. It will be a new age of nation building , some will reconstruct their financial futures others their basic freedoms.
-peace .

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hurricane Sandy and Nature

 Taking a little break from the spiritual blog format to contemplate on nature. The past week has been hectic evacuating my elderly father-in-law to my home in central Pennsylvania. He was living in Cape May county, NJ. Also had my mother-in-law in a hospice care home only a few miles from the storms center where it reached landfall. It seems those in the center were not hit as hard as the outer bands where the higher winds and surges actually occurred. Just today returned back home and little damage was done to their home but trees were on houses and power lines lost around them. I had to upright a shed and put the contents back in place - just basic cleanup.
 Moved my mother-in-law to a long term care facility as her health had improved and she is out of hospice care, thank God. In the end all the prayer though beneficial was nice but she needed nutrition and nurses helped with that. I even stayed and hand fed her a few days which was a different experience , she was always the one preparing the Thanksgiving meal or making breakfast for everyone. It was time for payback and she certainly deserved it. Nutrition is so important though we cannot live by bread alone, we still need food. Jesus always made sure that people were fed along with spiritual teaching.
 Nature often can remind us that things are temporal. There were a lot of beautiful homes along the oceanfront destroyed in the hurricane. Many thought they would just retire and enjoy the beach with nice homes and cars. It only takes a storm to bring us to the reality of this temporal life. Nature and all the common disturbances of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes often serve as a time for reflection. I myself once had a tornado completely remove a roof and destroy all our belongings years ago. We were homeless for awhile but rebuilt and survived. Hurricane Sandy was only a category one but hitting major populations and the vast size of the storm made it much worst than anyone realized. I have to give the weather persons credit for giving precise landing points and excellent information on which to base decisions.
 One thing we see a lot of in human nature , even though people are warned and given plenty of notice they ignore the warnings. They make foolish decisions based on pride or possession instead of letting go and just seeking higher ground. Many lost their lives trying to hold on to property which is nothing compared to life. My birthday was actually the day after the storm passed and it was over shadowed by the storm but will be one to remember.
-peace and love.