HOW Did We Get Here?

I am up and awake . . .
feeling down and overwhelmed with despair
at the blindness of people who claim to be
God’s children,
followers of Jesus,
but do not seem to know Him—
so lacking in compassion and
so ready to sling mud and insults and
judge anyone
who does not agree with them.
(Jesus—Seeing the people, HE FELT COMPASSION
for them, because they were distressed and
dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.
Matthew 9:36)

DIVISIONS seem to be encouraged, pointed out
and promoted these days –
discussions,
respectful discussions do not seem possible.

Whether it is about
-a border wall to block people fleeing violence in
other countries
(some claiming it is to protect against immigrants
they perceive as a threat),
-social programs
(taking care of the poor and elderly with tax dollars), or
-tax cuts for the rich
(paid for by the middle income folks),
the hard lines and the labeling
come almost as soon as any exchange begins!

We “line up” as card-carrying members
defending divisions
we think make us better than “non-members” . . .
• religious groups – Christian (with its MANY divisions—
evangelical, mainline, Catholic, Mormon,Jehovah’s
Witness, etc.), Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist,
agnostic and on and on…
• political parties – republicans, democrats, independents,
socialists, green party and on and on . . .
• philosophies – liberal, conservative, moderate, ultra-liberal,
ultra-conservative, capitalism, socialism and on and on . . .
• ethnicity – race (white/non-white), religion (hundreds),
poor, rich, upper class, middle class, lower class, caste
and on and on . . .
• “fire” words – pro-life, pro-choice, sexual orientation,
gender preference and on and on . . .
• hate groups – white supremacists, fascists, nazis,
anti-Semitists, hate groups against Latinos, Hispanics,
Asians, and on and on . . .
• sports teams – competition of all sorts bring serious
confrontations, often deadly interactions and on and on . . .
(“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but
for those also who believe in Me through their word;
that they may all be one;
even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You…”
John 17:20)

HOW can we not see ourselves?
finding no Well of Life to draw from
finding no solace in a heart drained
finding no Hope in deepening darkness

SO . . . HOW have we reached this point?

I believe it is because we stopped listening to GOD
and
started listening to what others told us GOD meant—
a dangerous practice.

Right after Jesus affirmed His position as “Son of God,”
He said: ”… the sheep follow him because
they know his voice…”
(John 9:35-10:9)
and in verse 11 said “I am the good shepherd”

Do I know the voice of the Shepherd,
do I know GOD’s Word or
do I just repeat what others tell me GOD said
because it sounds good to my human reasoning?
(For the time will come when they will not
endure sound doctrine; but
wanting to have their ears tickled,
they will accumulate for themselves teachers
in accordance to their own desires, and
will turn away their ears from the truth and
will turn aside to myths
2 Timothy 4:3-4)

GOD . . . OPEN MY EARS TO YOUR WORD . . .
DRAW ME TO BE ONE WITH YOU . . .
HELP ME TO HEAR YOU . . .
help me to see how I got here!!!
=======
HOW have we reached this point?
disregard for human life, disrespect for anyone who disagrees, disgust for “them” (whoever that is), and general hatred and anger not defined, just there . . .

HOW did we get here?
rudeness, name calling, ridiculing, insults, mean-spirited loud tirades, and physical threats . . .

HOW are we so full and empty at the same time?
full of fear and empty of compassion, full of hate and empty of understanding,
full of darkness and empty of light . . .

HOW can we not see ourselves?

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7×7-Step Focus Plan – thoughts

Week One—SEEK GOD (I Surrender All)

what if as babies we are held in the heart of God, existing in His Presence and we know Him as our Father, our spirit is born of His Spirit so our spirit possesses attributes in common with God, a bonding that is not ever broken and plants a yearning for reconnection that eventually draws us back to God, back to who we are . . . then we are born and we forget who we are, where we came from, but the bond of our spirit with God’s Spirit never stops drawing us, creating a feeling that “something is missing” until we reconnect with “God who gave it.”

Week Two—CHOOSE DIET (Sweet Hour of Prayer)

“Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer! That calls me from a world of care, And bids me at my Father’s throne Make all my wants and wishes known. In seasons of distress and grief, My soul has often found relief, And oft escaped the tempter’s snare, By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!” (William W. Walford, 1845)

If we truly understood the temporary nature of our experiences, we would more carefully choose our diet to include that which feeds our spirit and leads us to trust more through those difficult times—we are what we eat, what we consume, what our hearts reflect in our actions. Listening is not hearing . . . unless it reaches our heart. Seeing is not seeing . . . unless it opens our heart. Our “diet” nourishes our inner self, the essence placed by God in His creation . . . and God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living being.”

Week Three—FAITH

After 7 days of a focus on “faith,”
I am left only with questions I need to pursue much further . . .
WHAT do I believe?
WHY do I believe it?
HOW do my beliefs impact my life?
WHEN do I change my beliefs?
WHO do I believe,
WHO do I believe in,
WHO determines what I believe?

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UNITY . . . Where Do I Start? violence – belonging

NO OFFENSE INTENDED—JUST SHARING MY OPINION
With all that has happened lately, my heart has been heavy . . .
why is violence the answer to frustration . . .
how can anything make it right to take someone else’s life . . .
WHY can’t we instead join together in the areas of beliefs we share:
• we believe in ONE God,
• we trace our history to Abraham,
• we consider it important to observe God’s commands
to the best of our understanding & ability
• we want to preserve & protect our families & our way of life

We have common concerns:
• what is going on with our children
• what lifestyle is growing in our society
• how can I protect my family
• can I live according to what I believe

With such strong areas of common belief in groups,
even though all may have violence in their history,
they do not teach violence as the answer to life’s issues—
why can we not work together to find the answer
to give to those who are being drawn into groups
that offer violence as the answer.
If the answer is wrong,
maybe we are not asking the right questions . . .

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7×7-Step Focus Plan – 49 days

RESOLUTIONS & REVIEW 2018
This time of the year, it is hard to resist making “new year resolutions” or “reviewing the past”
with both offering pitfalls leading to unrealistic expectations or depressing regrets and impeding any long-term personal growth . . .
so today I am making a public commitment to a
7×7-Step Focus Plan
which uses one point of focus each week for seven weeks to examine
myself, my path, my beliefs, my core values and to dig into the why behind my choices and exploring what has led me to and through:

Week One – January 7, 2o19
Step One—SEEK GOD

Week Two – January 14, 2019
Step Two—CHOOSE DIET

Week Three – January 21, 2019
Step Three—FAITH

Week Four – January 28, 2019
Step Four—HOPE

Week Five – February 4, 2019
Step Five—LOVE

Week Six – February 11, 2019
Step Six—TRUST GOD

Week Seven – February 18, 2019
Step Seven—PEACE

Day 50: February 25, 2019

In Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and Taoism,
a God or Spirit is regarded as being a Potent, Ultimate Reality—
perhaps that is a good place to begin my journey . . . the Ultimate Reality:  GOD

thoughts: Winter Solstice—December 21, 2018

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Happy – what does it mean?

IF we strive to be HAPPY
by filling the silence of life with
SOUND,
[IF we strive to be] PRODUCTIVE
by turning all life’s leisure into
WORK,
and [IF we strive to be] REAL
by turning all our being into
DOING,
we will only succeed in producing a hell on earth.
If we have no SILENCE, God is not heard in our music.
If we have no REST, God does not bless our work.
If we twist our lives out of shape in order to fill every corner
of them with action and experience,
GOD will seem silently to
withdraw from our hearts
and leave us empty.
—Thomas Merton

HAPPY . . . so much of today’s marketing seems to be
based on selling me something to make me happy, BUT
what does it take to make me “happy”? What does “happy” mean?

some synonyms listed for “happy”: joyous, joyful, blithe, cheerful, merry, contented, blissful, satisfied – favorable, propitious; successful, prosperous – appropriate, fitting, opportune, pertinent

SO . . . what does “happy” mean to me? I guess that really changes
based on what is going on at any particular time:
–if I am hungry, food can make me happy
–if I am cold, clothing can make me happy
–if I am lonely, people can make me happy
–if I am threatened, safety can make me happy
and on it goes . . .

SO . . . what does “happy” mean to me?
cheerful? successful? prosperous?

Right now, in this time of my life, I am more inclined to desire strongly
“integrity” . . . the lining up of my inner self with my outer self,
more of the peace in accepting that my perceived imperfections
are a part of my journey to “integrity,” wholeness being a process
with life as a classroom drawing to “integrity” with a definition that
changes as I am open to deeper exploration of an ever-expanding
vision . . . beyond me, yet in me . . . Integrity, Wholeness, ONE . . .

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Unity in Diversity

PLANTING SEEDS encouraging violence, directly or indirectly, is
SO wrong–using the “divide and conquer” approach will
work in our country if we do not stay focused on what message we should be sharing . . .
we need to focus on:
-learning to communicate,
-learning to speak AND listen,
-respectfully exchanging diverse opinions
about important issues,
-listening to others with the same respect we want
for ourselves
-opening our minds and hearts
BEFORE opening our mouths

this is not easy and we need to work hard to exchange
OPINIONS and to remove the emotionally-charged,
insulting, rude words and degrading labels from
our speech

social media has often, unfortunately, driven many good
individuals to leave that medium because of the
hatefulness and intense judgements expressed by some
on their “friends” list and that decreases the number of
moderate voices being heard (I had an exchange the other
day with someone who had experiences with health care
that were the opposite of my experiences, but it did not
wind up with insults or harsh words. We just expressed our
opinions and we are still “friends”–this is as it should be – communicate, but don’t judge)

we do need to share our opinions and thoughts so that
we can come to better decisions about how we need to
resolve problems, BUT we need to review and improve
our communication skills FIRST and we need to remember
. . . we are ALL people, flawed perhaps, but people and we
ALL need to be heard in order for us ALL to live on this earth

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Ego – Shadow – Integrity

thoughts . . .

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