Posted in Environment

Can You Save Our Planet?

trees save our planet

To save our planet is a tall order.  In fact, individually it would seem a pretty silly idea.  It is a big world and you have a relatively small impact upon it.

There are a lot of people out there that would have you completely change your lifestyle in the effort to stem the tide of habitat destruction.  They say that you should not drive your car, that you should drive a car that is too small to serve your needs.  They would have you ride public transportation that is inadequate and rife with dangers such as theft and bodily harm.  They would move you into little cubicles, sleeping above and below others who have different schedules and different priorities.

There are those on the opposite end of the spectrum that tell you  that what you do doesn’t matter and that you are free to do as you please, fulfill all of your wants as well as your needs and the hell with the impact on the habitat and the people and species around you.  They would tell you these things in order to fulfill their own lavish desires with no thought to the effect on those around you.

Somewhere in the middle of all this exists a way in which you can have what you need while avoiding the destruction and degradation of the natural world that feeds and clothes and nurtures us.  It boils down to a matter of choice.

Individual choice is a universal trait that exists in all of us.  Education, or lack of it, is the driving force behind the impact of our choices.

The blurring of the line between needs and wants is resulting in the rapid degradation of our own habitat, and the habitats that are needed by many of the species that are critical to our long term health and survival in this perfect system that was put here for us.

Whether you believe in God, in whatever form, or the idea of accidental creation does not matter in this discussion.  If we are proper caretakers of that which sustains us then it will replenish in a never-ending bounty that supplies us with all that we need to live in safety and comfort until the natural forces dictate otherwise.

If we continue to ignore the warning signs we risk losing our place in this paradise in an accelerated manner.

If you want to make an impact on this trend of habitat degradation you will do it through education.  Often in our modern mindset, indoctrination has replaced education.  Nowhere is this more evident than in our schools, whose curriculums have been hijacked by ideologies and opinions rather than facts.  Too often our children are fed a strict diet of the views of the prevailing political ideologies.  Facts are too often sorted and presented or hidden to promote a selfish agenda, and this is such a disservice to young, developing minds.

Our news services have become outlets for various political groups with a mindset to promote their own self-serving agendas, ignoring truth in order to turn minds in a predetermined direction.  This has nothing to do with promoting education and without being educated on a subject you have no choice.  Do you really want someone who sells themselves to the highest bidder/campaign contributor to make your decisions for you?

Educate yourself.  Seek out truth.  Seek out facts, filtered through your own intellect and common sense.  Too often we accept that which, in our hearts, we know to be skewed but we feel unqualified to judge for ourselves.  We are only unqualified when we do not follow our conscience, when we don’t seek the unfettered truth, when we allow ourselves to excuse and justify.

If we allow ourselves to be steered one way or another, we have given up that innate ability to choose.  Allowing ourselves to be blown this way or that by the prevailing hot air winds of blowhard extremists in any direction will prevent real solutions for the real problems that we confront.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan said “You are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts.”  I like that.

The more you know the better equipped you are to make your own choices rather than being the mouthpiece for regurgitated sound bytes.

Don’t accept someone’s opinion.  Check them against the facts.  Explore them from all sides without a preconceived notion if possible.  Be willing to change your mind as those facts dictate.  Don’t hide your head in the ideological sand.  Seek out the truth on your own terms, not someone else’s.

You will learn what you can do to save our planet.

Posted in Inspirational

(Poor) Judgement

The nature of judgment is on my mind.  The ways in which we judge each other and the events and natural elements around us; what constitutes good or bad in our eyes and how that differs from the way in which God judges.

God judges us knowing our hearts and our minds.  He knows our innermost thoughts, desires and fears.  He understands our motivations and can see the outer forces that affect those motivations.  He knows all of our pain and all of our joys because He came to us in human form through His son, Jesus, that He would experience all of these things on a human level, our level.  God is love and good and He would not condemn us whom He created and who He loves without knowing us fully and without understanding the way that we see.

He did not send His Son to provide a perfect example that we could never hope to emulate, but rather that we have a path to a relationship with Him face to face.  We are allowed, through Jesus, to look into the face of God, and to know that He knows.  His judgment is based upon truth, not perception.  His judgment is based upon who we are, not who we appear to be.

Our judgments of good and evil, what is right and what is wrong, is always based upon our perception of reality.  We judge the value of elements in the world around us as we perceive that they affect us individually.  If we are not happy with an outcome or encounter we judge it to be bad or evil, and if it brings us pleasure or gain we deem it as good.

How often have we deemed something good and later found that we suffer from the choices we’ve made?  How often throughout our lives have our opinions of things changed as we gather more information and experience?  How often do we suffer for the poor judgments of our youth, and how many of our loved ones and those around us suffered as we bumble through our lives, sure of ourselves until we aren’t?

And yet still we press on, confident in our own righteousness.  God tells us not to judge.  How much hurt and pain would be avoided if just one of us were able to fully follow that tenet?  As I look back on my own life and the countless misjudgments that I have made, based upon how I felt at that particular point in time, I can honestly say that the pain and hardship that I could have spared myself and more importantly those around me is massive.

I cannot counter that with the good that I have done or even the good that I think that I have done but again only in my present awareness (that “good” still has time to prove itself not).

In reality, I think that I am not qualified to pass judgment on anyone or anything.  A bee stings me and I deem it as bad, but that same bee pollinates the plants that bring life-giving nourishment and oxygen for my consumption, and some create sweet honey, and others help to recycle dead and decaying that, if left, would foster disease and death and instead turn it into life giving nutrients that enrich the soil and allow things to grow and flourish.  A wolf attacks a farmers livestock, harming the farmers livelihood and threatening family pets, but in the absence of the wolf the deer and elk overpopulate and become sick and diseased and eventually die off while smaller predators flourish and eradicate other species which renew and replenish the natural habitat.

Our judgment of good and bad is so subjective that truth is split into billions of pieces as each of us sees good and bad as how it affects us individually and those that we care about and even then our judgments for the good of those dear to us are different than their own judgments.  Feelings are hurt, families are torn asunder, communities argue, and wars begin; all because of our feel-good judgments.

What if we spent the energy and time that we waste on subjective judgment on learning about the things that we are repulsed by?  What if we left the judgment to the One who has the knowledge to make a decision of such impact and instead spent that effort in understanding that which scares or repulses us?  What if we could know why something hurts before we reject it as useless or evil?  Isn’t it easier to avoid the pain if we know why it hurts?  Sometimes it hurts to save us.

There are, by the best counts, over 7 billion people on the earth today.  There are over 7 billion stories to learn, over 7 billion sets of motivations to account for, over 7 billion different sets of eyes seeing the world from a unique set of circumstances, with different ways of judging the events and concerns that confront us.

Can we really pass judgment on any but our own actions from our own puny experiences, from our own little lives?

Only God sees each of us as truly a unique and worthwhile individual and only He who possesses the insight and wisdom can truly make an informed judgment on the worthiness and validity of someone’s concerns and fears.

We really don’t (or perhaps can’t) often make the right choice for ourselves without a sometimes painful process of trial and error.  How do we deem ourselves qualified to tell someone else that their pain, fears, or concerns are invalid?

Posted in Inspirational

Lessons On Relationship From “The Shack”

I have been re-reading “The Shack” (by William Young) and it is giving me some powerful new thoughts about my own relationship with God, the people that I love, and the people that I am around as I go through my daily life.

I am realizing that the politics that I have been so passionate about recently are really no more than distractions from the things that I should be focusing on.  Relationship.  That is what should be driving my life and the things that I do.  My relationship with God through Himself in the form of Jesus His son, who came to earth to be a man that I could know Him and through Him know the Father.  My relationship with Jesus, if given the proper importance and time would result in a much stronger relationship with Rhonda and my children, My mother and my sisters, and all of my family and friends, and it would also drive me to build relationships with others that I hardly know now and that I have yet to meet.

I do not elevate “The Shack” to divine status, or accept its premises as truth, but use the thought-provoking ideas within, concocted by a Godly man who has studied theology, as a jumping off point to open my exploration of how to strengthen my search and my understanding of God and the nature of His Son who was sent to bridge the void between The Father and me.

The book is based upon the premise of The Trinity and the relationship that exists between these three embodiments of the divine.  Separate and yet unified by nature, one in human form, one as spirit, and one as Most Holy God, They work in relationship, serving each the others in a model of what He intends for us, without need for authority or rule or law between the three parts of the whole as we could be if we followed in reality the tenet of “Love one another as we love ourselves.”  Care for each other as though we were caring for ourselves.  Want for each other what we ourselves have.

I want to do a lot more study into the nature of The Trinity and how God has created such a perfect way in which to reconcile and redeem us in spite of our desire for autonomy and self-determination.  In our desire for independence we shackle ourselves with chains intended to protect what we perceive as the freedom and happiness that we desire without realizing that these are the very things that separate us from each other and from our Creator and keep us enslaved to desire rather than fulfillment through the relationships that were designed to meet our every need.

We judge those around us before we ever know them and by the time we are able to learn who they are we have hopelessly altered our perceptions until at times we can never find the true person behind the misconceptions offered by appearance.  How many times might I have met someone truly amazing had I not looked and judged?

We are afraid to give because we struggle so hard to get, yet the effort given to the getting is often what keeps us from actually receiving.  So many times something that has consumed my time and effort, once obtained, turns out to be so of so much less value than the time and energy spent.  How much have these useless rewards diverted me from what I could have had, had I been less focused upon what I thought that I needed.

Relationships take our focus from those temporary things of narrow view and broaden our sight, often revealing what we have searched for all along.

God intends, I think, for relationships to provide us with all that we need.  Our relationship with Him and through Him our relationship with each other.  When we look past appearance and build a relationship, we find where the true value of our lives lie.

Many things keep us from looking beyond what we first see in each other.  Mostly these things boil down to a single word; fear.  Fear of losing something that we value, fear of rejection, fear of looking foolish, fear of bodily harm.  We see someone or something different from what we are used to and we fear that whatever change comes about, and there is always change when you enter into a relationship with someone, will be harmful or unwanted.  We fear that our expectations will not be met, or we fear that they will.

Relationships require faith.  A relationship with God requires faith.  That relationship will bring about change, and yet God does not require change in order to have relationship with Him.  A relationship with God will simply bring about change.