Saturday, August 25, 2007
“God’s Warriors,” produced and recently aired by CNN should serve as a wake-up call to anyone wondering why the world is in such a state of political, social and religious turmoil. Based upon interviews conducted by Christiane Amanpour who traveled the globe to talk to Jewish, Muslim and Christian “warriors,” the documentary exposes why organized religions are one of the major divisive forces on the planet.
As the show stated, in their drive to save the world, these religions have caused deep divisions. While emphasis was placed upon the fundamentalist elements of these faiths, it is clear that even the mainstream is just as responsible for the great religious divide. According to Amanpour, fundamentalists in these various faiths have become a political force with the aim of re-making society in their own image and to bring God back into power over the affairs of man. With a campaign against the “evils’ modern secularism, their activities have created unprecedented fear and division.
The basic questions raised are obvious. If God does not impose its will upon humanity, what makes these people think they should do it for God? If each is acting according to some divine will, then why are they killing and condemning each other? Is there more than one divine will? In his review of the novel, “Waking God,” Christopher Friesen of BookPleasures.com asked, “What if every Truth you had ever been told was really a mosaic of falsehoods? What if every religious institution that preached salvation was actually an agent of oppression?” These topics are the focal point of that novel and they are the focal point of Amanpour’s reporting in “God’s Warriors.” It is taught that you cannot take heaven by force, yet, that is exactly what fundamentalists seem to be preaching.
What about the mainstream faithful? In each religion extremism is denounced by religious leaders. They say that they abhor the violence. While the words of denouncement come easy, you can certainly know them by their deeds. What are religious leaders doing to stop the violence and hatred? It would seem that very little is being done. If Muslim leaders condemned extremists’ actions and threatened to remove those guilty of such actions from the faith I would imagine we would see a great reduction in terrorism. If evangelical ministers proclaimed violent actions a sin and actively condemned such actions, perhaps there would be a little less hate. The problem is that both Christian and Muslim leaders are seeking to spread their ideas and impose their version of moral authority on the rest of the world. Judaism departs from the others in this category. In an essential elitist fashion, Jews do not seek to convert others or to spread their faith. They really just want to be left alone to live in peace in what they claim to be their Holy Land. Yes, they commit violent acts but not with the intent of converting the world to their faith.
In a book titled, “When the Church Leaves the Building,” by David Frederickson we see that there is a growing movement from those who are spiritually oriented to abandon the religions of their fathers. It is asked on their web site, familyroommedia.com “Is it possible that the Church Christ promised to build looks different than much of what we call 'church' today?” It is estimated that millions of former churchgoers have left the building in search of a more meaningful and personal relationship with their God. The growing disdain for the violence perpetuated by extremists and the lack of action to prevent such action by religious leaders may one day be their undoing.
Amanpour says that we must take note of the actions of religious extremists because they have infiltrated and in many cases control the political debate in many nations. In my mind, there is no question that she is right. These institutions are pitting brother against brother in a power struggle aimed at molding the world in their image. Their actions and words imply that Divine Intelligence is incapable of dealing with the affairs of man or that they are the arm of that Intelligence as “God’s Warriors.” What kind of God needs warriors? What kind of God would sanction car bombing women and children or blowing up health clinics? And, which God is right: the God of the Jews or the God of the Muslims? It makes no sense.
Bestselling author and inspirational speaker, Dr. John Demartini, in an interview printed in the new book, “Jesus Taught It, Too: The Early Roots of the Law of Attraction” had the following to say about religions: “When we subordinate ourselves to the religious system, we basically stop opening our religious heart. If there is a divine order, divine intelligence and divine love and divine wisdom and beauty in everything, then where is God not?” It is clear that “God’s Warriors” do not ascribe to this philosophy. Their passion for violence, hatred and contempt for those of differing opinions are typified in their actions and deeds. It is clear that we need to listen to the message that was contained in the CNN report. These people want and have power and will do anything to spread and impose their views on others. As a major character in the novel, “Waking God” says, “It is not about saving humanity and never has been.” What is required is a ‘great awakening’ where humanity begins to take responsibility for the world in which we live.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Arrest me now. I may not be Arab, Muslim, or male but I do fit the profile of the two schmucks currently being much maligned by the FBI and the local papers for their “suspicious activities.” You see, I once lived in a fundamentalist Muslim country and was married to a Palestinian. I grew up in a small southern town where the tallest building was the Merchants and Farmer’s Bank and so I often stare up at the buildings in Seattle and any other large city I happen to be wandering. I was a civil engineer in my previous career and find myself fascinated by bridges, viaducts, railroad bridges, locks, dams, and other key pieces of urban infrastructure. I sometimes go on line to study architectural drawings. I have even been known to photograph these critical pieces as well as churches, mosques, and even the airplanes on the tarmac at SEATAC. I live on an island and yet I am still fascinated by the roar of the engines and the speed of the water as it rushes beneath me on the ferry. I still take pictures of the skyline, the Colman Docks, the stern, the bow, the galley, and other urban places that interest me on the ferries that come and go from our bucolic little island port. I once took a picture of the cute little coast guard fellow on the ramp leading to the boat because he was just cute as hell in his battle dress. I feel guilty as hell for all my subversive activities! Where do I turn myself in and to whom? The FBI? The Port Authority? Screw that! Send me the hotties from the Coast Guard!
There are more subversives in my family to arrest as well. Consider my son who is a commissioned officer in the US military currently training at a prestigious flight school sponsored by Uncle Sam. Seems to me he should be an object of great concern. Could he, an Irish/Cherokee/ Scottish/Arab American, be a deeply embedded covert Al Qaeda operative? Due to his deep-seated ancestral roots steeped in carnage and jihadist tribal behaviors could this red-blooded Arab American boy turn? Could he possibly be pre-programmed from infancy to ride his aircraft into a large building all in the name of Allah? Why else would he have gone to university to study to be an aviator? Why else would he have joined the military? He has to be a mole for Osama and the Boys!
How did the Arabs become the bad guys? When did we become so steeped in this new brand of ignorant isolationist bigotry? Islam, Muslim, Arab, Jihad. These words strike fear into the hearts of the ignorant masses of our country. FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, Patriot Act. These are the words that should strike fear in our hearts. They are the weapons of Mass Destruction. Being scared all the time and spying on my neighbors doesn't seem to be a real productive way to live one's life. Less than a century ago some of the finest men in the world fought against this same oppressive behavior in places called Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches along the coast of Normandy. Have we as a nation forgotten the nationalistic behaviors of the Germans as they sought to rid themselves of their Jewish population? Jews were different looking and accused of manipulating the world monetary institutions thus causing the great depression so they could profit and grow their ambitions. The NAZI party was a small but vocal group that instituted a system to spy on and seek out subversives who were Jewish or Jewish-looking. Photos and drawings were circulated to help the common folks identify potential suspects. Watched, photographed, and finally the leadership, knowing what was best for the “real” Germans, instituted a plan to take care of their “Jewish threat.” Their initial solution? Isolated “work camps” in other countries where Jews and non-conformist others (gays, lesbians, jazz musicians, gypsies, the mentally handicapped, and pacifist clergy to name a few) were sent for further interrogation and evaluation. This was all done in the best interest of the German people by their government.
Need we forget our own colorful past rampant with bigotry? I am a child of the south and frankly, I do remember White only/colored only washrooms, drinking fountains, and theatres. I lived through the hangings, the cross burnings, integration and George Wallace. I can remember a hot August when the local sheriff was up for re-election and all the local kids white and black were at the market getting an ice cream. One of the white kids stole a piece of penny bubble gum and slipped it in the shirt pocket of one of the “colored” boys. The minute the black children left the store the kid who planted the evidence said, “Mister, that nigger stole some gum and stuck it in his pocket!” The store owner ran out, confronted the boy, and held him until a deputy showed up. Cuffed, searched, and crammed in the back seat of the squad car he was driven away. The next day the headlines of the local paper screams, “BLACKS RESPONSIBLE FOR SMALL TOWN CRIME WAVE!” The arrest of an 8 year old child sparked near riots in the black community. There were those in the white community who called for a hanging but the prompt gun wielding riot gear clad sheriff’s response quashed the uprising. The grateful white population promptly re-elected the overweight tobacco chewing uneducated bigoted lawman.
If our reason for profiling is to stem terrorism then we better expand the list! Guantanamo will have to be enlarged to house our home grown redneck militia members who have attacked such auspicious government and private sites as the Oklahoma City federal court house, abortion and Planned Parenthood clinics. We should also create a special section on the base for the members of ELF who target the EPA and other environmentally linked facilities.
In the interest of saving the rest of the world from terrorism we better round up and tag all South American communists, Basques, Japanese Cult members, and Irish people. They have a propensity for blowing cars, buses, and trains up as well as carefully placing biological agents. Maybe these are all Al Qaeda satellite organizations that act as cells or Mastermind groups for the mass destruction of those who do not follow Sharia!
So, the next time you are on the Washington State Ferry and notice a skinny, red haired fellow with bad teeth and an Irish accent taking photos, detain him! Notify the authorities! You will only be doing your civic duty and saving us from the Celtic arm of Al Qaeda!
Saturday, August 18, 2007
First pet food, then people food and toys; what’s next? You have to love globalization and all of its wonderful ramifications. Actually, when I first heard of globalization I thought it was a wonderful concept. The idea that trade barriers between nations would disappear opening the doors to an infinite array of goods from other cultures and nations appeared exciting. In the absence of high tariffs exotic products from around the world would be at our fingertips.
What got lost in the translation? I guess others had an entirely different view of globalization in mind. To the corporations, it meant being able to hire children and adults for pennies a day in order to make their goods. Without high taxes and in the absence of foreign environmental and labor laws, companies could now produce products for little cost abroad and get them back here cheaply. Rather than importing foreign products, we began to import our own products to the detriment of domestic labor.
Of course, not only did it hurt U.S. workers, it opened the door to massive abuse of labor abroad. Hungry for jobs, foreign governments courted American producers at the expense of their own people. And, now, as we all know, the majority of products that we buy are made in China or other Asian and Latin American countries. To keep costs low these nations have few laws protecting their workers and little in the way of environmental rules or product safety standards. We all know the old adage; “what goes around, comes around.” So here we are, dead pets, poison in our foods and now lead in our children’s toys.
Of course, these are only the things that have been discovered-to date. What other product safety issues are lurking in our future? What else are we using or consuming that may harm our future generations? Isn’t time to say enough? As a product of the 60’s and 70’s I was hooked on the “small is beautiful” concept. Local produce, local jobs, local supplies of energy and local cultures all interacting to create a wonderful whole was very appealing. We need to return to this concept.
Energy issues must be addressed regionally and even locally. In some places the answer may be hydro, or wind or solar while others may see biomass or other alternatives. Those that can work everywhere can be shared but solutions cannot all be universal. Even from an energy safety perspective, differing systems are easier to protect than one large grid. This also holds for food production. The conscious effort to destroy the family farm was the worst decision to ever hit our agricultural system. I want beans and carrots from Maine, not Mexico-no offense intended. Corporate farming is a bust. The food supply is too concentrated in the hands of the few. Further, if bad weather or disease strikes these corporate farms, our food supplies are gone. Local food means a safer supply and one that can be closely monitored. Who knows what has been put on peppers from Latin America or put into beef from Argentina?
Look at the recent snafu in the housing market. Why should a credit squeeze in the U.S. send Asian stocks tumbling? We know the answer and the answer highlights the problem. Who wants their mortgage held by a bank in Hong Kong? Why are we permitting stock markets to merge? Why are we allowing the continued concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few?
We need a new concept of globalization. It should come to mean a world that shares ideas, cultures, information and solutions. Globalization must bring people together to find common solutions to common problems and not the continued exploitation of the many by the few. A “small is beautiful” concept with a global perspective is the only way we will get through these troubled times. It is time to wake up people. If we do not approach the coming changes with a renewed sense of cooperation instead of competition, we will get what we deserve.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
THE 11TH HOUR
Drought. Famine. Severe flooding. Record rainfall. Hurricanes. Acid rain. The highest average temperatures in recorded history. Catastrophe is reported on the nightly news as isolated incidents. But are these incidents isolated, or pieces of a larger global puzzle that could unlock humanity's future? In the history of the planet, humanity's time on earth has been short--but powerful. The human drive... See Full Description
Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min.
Release Date: August 17th, 2007 (limited)
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild disturbing images and thematic elements.
Distributors: Warner Independent Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures International
Weather calamities seem to have an eye for Asia this summer although many other parts of the world are far from immune to “Mother’s” growing chaos. In case you do not follow the weather news, here are some of the latest headlines:
“Romania on Flood Alert”
“South Asia monsoon toll passes 2,000.”
“At least 13 dead in Pakistan rains.”
“Rivers above alert levels as rain subsides over central Europe.”
“Storms batter Ohio.”
“Extreme floods hit 500 million people a year.”
“Floods, landslides kill 35 in China.”
“Floods show need for disaster risk reduction: UN.”
“Hong Kong issues cyclone warning.”
“Did global warming cause NYC tornado?”
There are a lot more headlines dealing with the tornado in Brooklyn, rising death toll in Asia due to flooding, sweltering heat that is still rampant in parts of the U.S., deaths from flooding and starvation in Vietnam, deaths from storms in the Philippines, a ‘mini-tsunami’ in Algeria and an announcement by the UN that many parts of the world have confronted record breaking heat waves, floods, storms and cold snaps including snowfall in Africa.
What is evident from many of these stories is that governments are not ready to deal with repeated natural disasters. In 2005 an agreement, the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, was signed by 168 countries in Kobe, Japan. Between 2001 and 2005 84% of deaths due to natural disasters were caused by flooding. It is clear that, like many well meaning agreements, that many governments have not taken their commitments to heart. Given that more and increased flooding is inevitable, what will governments do to prevent further loss of life and property? When will governments get their heads out of the sand and realize that climate change is a much bigger threat than terrorism?
The ISDR says that modest investments in early warning systems, evacuation plans, public education and better building standards can greatly reduce the loss of life and property. Unfortunately, many nations are too poor for even these modest efforts and if disaster strikes, limited funds must go to relief. The richer nations have tended to take an “It won’t happen here attitude” and the effects of that line of thing have been clear in the U.S., England and central Europe.
One must keep in mind that much of this flooding is due to heavy and long rains and does not include what may happen in terms of hurricanes and monsoons. Add to these equation problems from heat waves, earthquakes, droughts, freak snows and tornadoes hitting the downtown areas of cities and it is evident that we could be facing some real problems. All of these natural disasters are costing billions of dollars in property loss, disrupting economies, creating social chaos and costing lives. How deep are the pockets of relief agencies and charitable organizations?
We are standing in the middle of the environmental highway and Mother Nature is driving right at us. There is a lot of talk and very little action. Policy makers are still acting like we have scores of years to “begin” to solve these problems. Perhaps it is so out of hand that governments fear telling people how bad things may get. Panic is not a pretty sight. It has been said that disasters can bring out the best in people but events in Pakistan and India have put that notion to a severe test; the grade is not encouraging.
It is a little easier to offer assistance when only a relatively small or remote population is affected by disaster. When disaster is widespread, however, disaster brings out the worst and not the best of human nature. As the American economy begins to falter under the pressures home foreclosures and increasing debt, will the U.S. be so generous to foreign lands drowning under monsoons and other environmental disasters? When we face another Katrina, how much will be left for others particularly when we do know how to effectively and efficiently deal with such issues? As it is said in the “11th Hour,” the clock is ticking. What is in your weather forecast?
Friday, August 10, 2007
A Secret Scrolls message from Rhonda Byrne,
Creator of The Secret
"How do I stop my negative thoughts?" - is a question that I have been asked many times. If you have ever asked this question then you will feel such enormous relief in knowing the answer, because it is so simple. How do you stop negative thoughts? You plant good thoughts!
When you try to stop negative thoughts, you are focusing on what you don't want - negative thoughts - and you will attract an abundance of them. They can never disappear if you are focused on them. The "stop" part is irrelevant - the negative thoughts are your focus. It doesn't matter if you are trying to stop negative thoughts or control them or push them away, the result is the same. Your focus is on negative thoughts, and by the law of attraction you are inviting more of them to you.
The truth is always simple and it is always easy. To stop negative thoughts, just plant good thoughts! Deliberately plant good thoughts! You plant good thoughts by making it a daily practice to appreciate all the things in your day. Appreciate your health, your car, your home, your family, your job, your friends, your surroundings, your meals, your pets, and the magnificent beauty of the day. Compliment, praise, and give thanks to all things. Every time you say "Thank you" it is a good thought! As you plant more and more good thoughts, the negative thoughts will be wiped out. Why? Because your focus is on good thoughts, and what you focus on you attract.
So don't give any attention to negative thoughts. Don't worry about them. If any come, make light of them, shrug them off, and let them be your reminder to deliberately think more good thoughts now.
The more good thoughts you can plant in a day, the faster your life will be utterly transformed into all good. If you spend only one day speaking of good things and saying "Thank you" at every single opportunity, you will not believe your tomorrow. Deliberately thinking good thoughts is exactly like planting seeds. As you think good thoughts you are planting good seeds inside you, and the Universe will transform those seeds into a garden of paradise. How will the garden of paradise appear? As your life!
The Secret... bringing joy to billions.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
There are 10.4 million sites on the internet devoted to the Law of Attraction and 168 million sites devoted to the topic of Jesus. Is there any relationship between these two phenomena? In the book and movie, “The Secret” it is claimed that the Law of Attraction has been kept secret for millennia. Is this true?
The answer to that question is a definitive yes, and no. The Law of Attraction, if you follow the claims of “secret societies,” goes back to ancient Egypt. It takes some careful analysis but the claims are essentially correct, in my opinion. However, what is more certain is that this concept has been in plain sight for over 2,000 years. Like the proverbial purloined letter, the Law of Attraction has been in millions of homes around the world in the teachings of Jesus.
All too often, the sayings of Jesus are taken out of context. It is rare to actually see what he had to say in the complete context of his teachings. If you examine his whole “stream of thought” on a topic, what results is a meaning and idea that frequently goes against what is taught as religious dogma. This is the case with the Law of Attraction. Given that many Christian “hard liners” spoke out against the concepts presented in “The Secret” and the Law of Attraction, I decided to take a closer examination of the actual sayings attributed to Jesus as they may relate to this subject. What I found, and have documented in my recently released book, “Jesus Taught It, Too: The Early Roots of the Law of Attraction,” was that Jesus was a strong advocate of this principle. He further talked about what has commonly been termed the “create your own reality” ideology and he actually introduced what I have termed, The Law of Responsibility.
Many have argued that these so called “laws” are not at all scientific and have no basis in the physical sciences. Equal arguments have been put forth by some scientists that they are, in fact, physical laws. That is a debate best left for others but recent advances in quantum physics at least suggests that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to how energy forces in the universe are organized and manipulated. To avoid that debate, let us just say that these are “spiritual laws.” I would have to say that few could argue with the basic premise, not including magnetism or electricity that like minded people tend to aggregate together. People join in groups, unions or marriages because they share similar interests. Animals form herds for mutual benefit, “birds of a feather flock together,” and even microscopic creatures form colonies. Is this a physical law? Perhaps it is but at a minimum the concept cannot be ignored in dealing with the notion that “like attracts like.” From political parties, book clubs, ethnic clubs, sports teams and other social groupings, the operating principle is that similar ideas are attracted to one another.
After all, does not religion spread because people come to share a common theology? It seems that whenever someone in the pulpit teaches the words of Jesus, it is always in the context of serving the church, not sinning, being faithful to god, worship and other concepts that perpetuate the need for the pulpit. What is not usually taught or examined is that Jesus taught about how to live your everyday life. He knew people were concerned about putting food on the table and a roof over their head. He saw that people were ill, poor and lacking in personal freedom. It is in this context that he put forward sets of principles and formulas that would enable people to live a happy life and not one of poverty stricken servitude and mindless worship. Jesus taught that the “fields were already white with harvest” and that the “guiding intelligence” of the universe saw to it that all needs and desires are met. These promises, contrary to what some would have you believe, were unconditional and required no servitude or worship. They only required an open mind that could pierce through the cloak of ignorance and blind obedience in order to see the light of truth.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
This was sent to me and I think it is worth a look!
The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read straight through, and you'll get the point.
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.
How did you do?
The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Acheivements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.
Remember those people who have made a difference in your life. "Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia."
Friday, August 3, 2007
A new book, “Jesus Taught It, Too: The Early Roots of the Law of Attraction,” by Maine author Philip Harris says they have a lot in common. In his new book, released in both Canada and the U.S. by Avatar Publications on August 1st, Mr. Harris claims that the contentions made by Rhonda Byrne in the film and movie, “The Secret” are largely correct. “The often commented upon Law of Attraction does indeed go back at least 2000 plus years and were widely taught by Jesus,” according to Harris.
The new book takes a different approach in examining the words and teachings of Jesus. Rather than examining one saying at a time, Mr. Harris puts the words into a stream of thought that appear throughout the four Gospels. “When we look at what Jesus had to say on a topic in isolation, one story or interpretation emerges,” said Harris. “But when you examine all that he says on a given topic, you get a new stream of thought that is often ignored.” This “stream of thought” would indicate that Jesus not only taught the Law of Attraction, but also laws pertaining to manifestation and a newly discovered law, the Law of Responsibility.
Mr. Harris says, “When the words of Jesus are interpreted out of context they can be used to justify many contradictory concepts. In JESUS TAUGHT IT, TOO: THE EARLY ROOTS OF THE LAW OF ATTRACTION, Philip Harris examines over seventy quotes from the Master and shows that, contrary to recent claims and "revelations," the Law of Attraction has not been a secret at all. Instead, it has been there for all to see for over two thousand years.
This is Philip Harris’ third published book. His first novel, “Waking God” was released in 2006 and his second, “A Maine Christmas Carol” came out in February, 2007. His next non-fiction book, “Raping Louisiana: A Diary of Deceit” is in editing at Cambridge Books and advanced copies will be available late fall.