Thoughts


With free trade coffee, free trade clothes and free trade jewerly, what would be next but… Free Trade Music.  I came accross a great website called http://www.noisetrade.com.  It is a great one for connecting with some new artists.

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If after two plus years of political banter and debate you still cannot decide who to vote for I am providing a myriad of options for you to use in today’s election day decisions.  

The, “I Like That Name Approach”:  FOR THOSE WHO FEEL THAT A NAME SPEAKS A THOUSAND WORDS

This is simple.  See a list of names and pick the name that you like the most.  It may remind you of your favorite aunt, your first girl friend or your favorite car.  Oppositely, some names may remind you of the girlfriend who broke your heart or the gym coach who embarrassed you in front of the whole class.  In this way, a pick between Angelica Fortunato(note the hint of angel and fortune) compared with Kermit Steel(with the hint of a puppet and thievery). Now who wouldn’t vote for a Angel of Fortune rather than a thieving puppet frog?  This method does not bode will for Barak Obama for obvious reasons.

R-D Approach: FOR THOSE WHO FEEL A BALANCE OF POWER IS IMPORTANT

This technique, although simple, provides a great balance of power.  Simply done one starts at the top of the ballot and checks R-D-R-D.  For good measure, and usually only once on the ballot one should vote I (independent).  This keeps the Joe Lieberman’s in political power.  One could also start with D-R-D-R if one felt so disposed. 

First is best Approach: FOR THOSE WHO FEEL IN FATALITY, DESTINY OR THE WILL OF GOD

This technique is to vote for the first person under each category that is listed.  This is really relying on fatalism to choose our leaders.  Under this approach all the Ashes, Ashcrofts and Albarez will likely be elected while the Zebedee, Zaft’s and Young’s will be sitting it out until the next election.  Again, M is before O and so Obama is left out in the cold again.

Self Centered Approach:  FOR THOSE WHO WANT PEOPLE LIKE THEM IN POWER

Again this technique is simple.  Vote for the person who is most like you.  If you are male, you only vote for males, same for a female voting only for females.  If you are middle class you only vote for middle class people.  If you are Caucasian you only for for fellow Caucasians and if you are black you only vote for black candidates.  Some would call this racism.  And it is.  The only unfortunate thing is that I think that this is the way most people do vote.  Who is most like me.  

Honestly, if you are going to vote today.  All the above options are viable options, except the last one.  Don’t vote based on who is most like you.  That is plain selfish.  If you tend to vote this way, I would recommend changing styles and at least going with the R-D-R-D approach.  I will trust fatalism to selfishness any day.

Happy voting.

One of the most powerful moments come in our lives when we discover that greed pervades all aspects of life’s self expansion.  The opposite of greed is not moderation, but trust.   Mistrust of God’s good intentions is the source of all wanting and greed.  We must experience a God expansion and see that he has given all we need for life and godliness.   Until we see that God has given us all things that we need, we will always look outside of God for things.  Trusting is Jesus is not the currency to buy a relationship with Jesus, but rather trust is the beat of a heart that acknowledges each moment as being full and complete, lacking nothing.

Below is a prayer from The Gentle Weapon: Prayers for Everyday and Not-So-Everyday Moments by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.

Dear God, 

save me from wanting 
what is not mine. 
Protect me from my own jealousy, 
from desiring 
the money or the possessions, 
the position or the honor 
that belong to another. 
Let me trust in You 
enough to believe 
that what is meant to be mine 
will come to me. 
Let me trust in You 
enough to be satisfied 
with all that I have 
today.

Did you see Barack Obama’s infomercial last night?  What did you think?  Was it on the level of selling the perfect set of ginsu knives promising the impossible?  Or did it provide you with some hope. Some sense that things could be different.  

Maybe cynicism has creeped in for some of you.  Thoughts of why try… why when we know that politics is a mire of muddy pigs dressed up in fancy suits. To be honest, I don’t know if the next president, whoever it may be, can bring true reform and change.  But one thing that Obama’s hopefulmercial gave me back again was a sense of hope in relation to the Church. 

Hope, is the possibility of seeing what God sees and having God’s thoughts, feelings and actions infiltrate into the core of my being.  

The question is, do I have hope that things can be different?  Can there be communities who reflect the image and character of God?  Will there be people who stand for radical love, inclusive hospitality and social reconciliation.  

Has middle classness, individual consumerism, safety and security so inoculated the christian church that we have become blind to the calling and dream of God in this world.  Maybe.  My resposnse out of fear is… why even try.  “Give in to the dark side, Luke”.  Just stay on automatic pilot in my individual world where safety and security are the throne and scepter of my life.  

But then Barack Obama’s pirated the network airwaves to spread his message of “What if…”.  And this is the reason I feel that Obama will win.  There are enough Americans who are willing to let a relatively unexperienced person be president because we want some with enough resonance and vision to dream “What if”.  But i digress onto my political soapbox.

“What if…” there were a people who took the words of Jesus seriously and practiced with their lives…

-RADICAL HOSPITALITY

-INCLUSIVE LOVE

-PEACE AND LOOKING FOR GOD’S JUSTICE IN THIS WORLD OF INJUSTICE

-REDEEMING RECONCILIATION

-DOWNWARD MOBILITY

Hope says, God sees all of these things and today I want to see my world and my culture as He sees it.

Hope says, that God has called out a people to live out this radical and subversive life as a light to all the world of what God’s Life looks like in a world of flesh and blood, suffering and pain, failures and disappointments.

Hope speaks.  What is Hope saying to you today?

On the way home from ballet last night, my 5 year old daughter Charlotte came out with her pick for the 2008 Presidential election.

She is voting for the one with the star.

This is how it came about.  We drove by the typical sign plastered highway corner and she says to me.  “Dad, I am going to vote for the one with the star.”  I asked her why.  She did not give me her blistering opinion of abortion rights, gun control, taxes, ear marks or budget cuts.  She said, “Well Dad, I like the star, and Dad I am going to vote for them even if it is not Obama.”

Funny story huh.  Simple and direct.  She votes out of her heart, not her head.

I wonder if we voted with our hearts instead of our heads.  What if Republicans would not vote based upon the sole issue of the right to life, gun rights or taxes and instead voted with their heart on a leader who extolled the attributes of compassion, mercy and love.  What if Democrats would not vote on abortion rights, big government and union rights but instead voted for whom their heart rings of integrity, honesty and hard work.

So as we are deciding whom to vote for on Nov 4 can we try to vote out of our hearts?  Voting out of the knee jerk reaction of red and blue, donkey and elephant may be appropriate in an election of the class clown but is of little value in election of local and national officials.  

So I too join my daughter in voting for the the one with the star, voting from the basis of my heart.

 

In the midst of some turbulent financial times I am going to post some relevant thoughts.  I really would like to hear from people on how they are living more contentedly, simply and within budgetary restraints.  I do believe it is exactly in these times that the Church needs to be vocal and prominent in their communities bringing hope in the midst of despair.  So please share on any thoughts or community ideas that you are trying or would like to try.

I am thinking of putting on a seminar that would deal with some of the more practical things in relation to hard times.  So any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

An Excerpt from Contentment: A Way to True Happiness by Robert A. Johnson and Jerry M. Ruhl

Robert A. Johnson and Jerry M. Ruhl explore a seemingly rare state of being — contentment. In this excerpt they explore the pattern of inflation and deflation and posit that contentment lies in the middle way.

“Inflation is a distorted sense of who we are. Modern people have a psychological tendency to inflate like a balloon. The slang expression ‘he is just full of hot air’ captures this experience. When inflated, we think and act as if we are more than we really are; we are filled with high expectations, sometimes even arrogance. Anything that interferes with our willful desire feels like a disappointment.

“Modern life pushes us to inflate. Our progress-orientated, ‘bigger is better,’ consumer-driven society celebrates ‘too-muchness.’ A recent bumper sticker was succinct in expressing this attitude: ‘The one who ends up with the most toys wins.’ The West has been busy for decades teaching the world how to inflate; in some ways this has become the essence of being American. It is hard to part with something so ingrained as our power stance. . . .

“Any time we puff ourselves up — whether to gain attention, power, status, monetary reward, or love — there is a price. Every inflation is followed by a deflation, and then the hot air balloon comes crashing down. A deflation is thinking and acting as if you are less than you really are, a feeling of “not-enoughness.” . . .

“Inflations and deflations turn life into a wild ride of ‘too-muchness’ followed by ‘not-enoughness.’ They undermine our capacity for contentment. Contentment can be found only in the middle place, the point where you are neither inflated nor deflated. It requires you to be who you are, no more and no less. . . .

“Buddhists speak of the middle way and call this balancing act ‘walking the razor’s edge.’ It is precisely that middle place, where you are neither more nor less than you are, that is the holy place. Most people in the West don’t believe that the middle point is the solution; instead we want to inflate, grab hold of emotional ‘highs’ and force reality to go our way. But our appetite for ‘too-muchness’ only brings us ‘not-enoughness’ and keeps us in a painful cycle.

“To realize more contentment, it is essential to begin each day by reminding yourself to be just who you are — no more and no less.

I am wearing socks today.  The northwest chill has set in upon us.  The sun’s effervescent warmth has betrayed me.  The majority of Me is pretty good with this change, all except one part, my feet.  Unlike the fall, spring’s thaw comes the joy of new footwear .  Gone is the restriction of shoes and socks!  In comes the revolution of foot freedom… flip flops!

Ahh yes, once summer hits, nary a sock needs to be cleaned in my wardrobe.  The clickity-clack of my flip-flop sound can be heard as the drum beat of my summer soul.

But now fall is here.  The socks on my feet bring a needed warmth, but also a stark reminder of what was lost. The cold must be combated. Yes, I could live in mental rebellion to the frozen feetsies.  I could be as some are, flip-flop warriors, wearing them in the middle of the arctic tundra just because they can.  Guess I am getting too old for that kind of demonstration wear.

And so I will change with the season.

Now this does not mean I round up my flip flops and burn them in a giant heap of protest, chanting and dancing around the toxic billowing smoke shouting, “The Day of Flip Flops are over, today is the day of the sock and shoe!!!”  I probably would have done that at some point in the past.

But today, I have learned that seasons change.  Times change. And so the spiritual act of storing the flip-flops away in my closet is no longer a resignation that summer has been lost, but that summer will come again.

I wonder if that is the role of the Prophet in the church today.  One who is able to see the changing in the season a little sooner than most and speaks out that the leaves are changing color and that the first frost is near.

BTW, today did warm up a little, maybe I could even sneak the flip-flops out for one more hurrah!

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