31 March 2017

Embrace What Is New, Remember What Is Old, And Live

Street Light Or Natural Light?

I'm reading William Watt's book “Muslim-Christian Encounters:Perceptions and Misperceptions” for the second time through (although I've reread certain chapters / portions several times).

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the subject matter, for it speaks to so many other issues besides what the title speaks to.

It mentions the earliest parts of the church and how they differed, according to their cultural backgrounds, in their interpretations of the Mystery of God in Christ; and thus God in you!

It also speaks to the origins of Arab perceptions of Christianity, based on the differing Christian perceptions, and how these gave rise to many misconceptions of Christ (and Christianity) in the Islamic religion.

It's been nearly a year since I first read its contents, and reading it through once again I find it quite refreshing and also detailed in that I am finding some things I either overlooked or wasn't ready to realize the first time through.

I've learned that, in order to speak to other people about their beliefs, perceptions and ideas, one has to learn about them and those ideas.

Watt's approach is quite respectful and as objective as one could be to the discussion.

While holding his personal thoughts, I can see how he does make the effort to address the subject matter in a way that considers the evidence despite his opinions or belief about the evidence or the other side's claims.

I guess only a secular person, or someone who denies God, would do a better job at being objective, but even such a person can still have a bias when discussing their findings and sharing their opinions.

As an example of a secularist or atheist approach to a similar matter, some have theorized that Jesus / Yeshua / Isa never existed.

This opinion, after all historical evidence is considered, is one that is so far from the findings of what the majority of scholars (of varying backgrounds and both religious and non-religious beliefs) have concluded, it is preposterous.

Not that majority opinion or consensus shows the way to truth, but when comparing how the past is understood, and in this case whether or not any single person existed or not, the argument in denying that Jesus existed is a desperate one.

To deny Jesus as simply a mythical figure or something completely made up, is to question all the ancient peoples / characters that have been written about when only a single line in a single source mentions them.

The majority of past persons / characters have been accepted to having existed even with a single source pointing to their existence.

When several ancient secular sources record a reference to Jesus, it is actually a greater proof of solid piece of evidence that such a person existed (despite the beliefs about them, which is a secondary issue to the fact that such a person existed).

It is a similarly extreme claim (like the denial that Jesus existed) which I find reflected in the Islamic perspective on Christ, Christianity, history and knowledge of all things non-Islamic.

This is this a very clear point Watt clarifies in this particular book: Islamic thought has, since the inception of that religion, rejected all things non-Islamic.

Only when / if ideas or concepts were perceived to be compatible with Islam, or the Quran and the religious ideas derived therefrom, were such ideas accepted and weaved into the thought process.

All other concepts, ideas and notions were / have been systematically rejected as nonsense or not valuable.

Part of this attitude derives from the concept that Muhammad was the last prophet of God, and that the call to the world is to submit to Islam.

However, as history paints a clear picture of secular governments encroaching on the archaic methods that religion implies, the effort is anything but submitting to the Islamic mode of life.

Mostly recently, as Watt's points out and contemporary history shows, inroads have been made in providing dialogue between the schools of religion and the cultural disparity.

Islam sprouted in the Arabian peninsula late 7th century.

When one considers the level of advancement (and the lack thereof) in that culture as a whole, its societal development, the similarities or differences in overall development when compared to contemporary civilizations, the effort to reject the idea of novelty (or anything new not evidently reflected in the Quran / Islamic religion) is clearly evident... and has left the regions where that ideology has encroached in a lurch of sorts.

This is not to imply that the modern manner of life is better, efficient or more highly desired, but to point out the lack of development in many areas of life.

Although the Islamic culture can be applauded for a list of certain advancements in ancient times, stagnation was the eventual result of the rejection of all things non-Islamic.

I don't think this is unique to the Islamic culture, but simply a human issue.

The human tendency to reject things not initially perceived to be a part of us, or from ourselves, or resembling what we know and understand, is something we struggle with individually and according to our specific ideology.

To accept a new idea that initially conflicts with our perceptions is to not desire the internal conflict such ideas may conjure in our mind, psyche and heart.

Yet as any of us individually may conclude; it is through internal conflict from challenges (or ideas arriving from outside our spherical perceptions), that give rise to actual development in us and causes us to grow, mature and develop...or in some cases to fail, break down and retreat.

A voice that identifies with Islam, while also growing up to the rest of the world, is the voice of Dhiyaa al-Musawi; a writer, politician, thinker and progressive voice within the Islamic world.

Read some of his insightful quotes here.

When a society is accustomed to developing along with changing times, then such a society is capable of advancing and meeting those challenges in stride.

Such a society doesn't have to reject their customs to find their similarity with the rest of humanity.

When a society is not accustomed to change and adaptation, but is rather accustomed to always holding onto the past (again as many of us may have or do on occasion), the evidence of such resistance is quite obvious.

Such a society seems incapable of breaking down the walls of hostility and indifference, which are walls of ideas and not reality.

30 March 2017

Do You See Yourself In The Reflective People?

1 Corinthians 13: 11-12

My earliest memorable encounter with a person with questionable mental health was at a magazine rack in a grocery store my mother would frequent.

The magazine rack was a welcomed stop for me after following my mom around the store in boredom while she picked out food items.

I would on occasion find an older woman replacing the magazines in their proper location.

Customers sometimes do not return a magazine they rifle through to its ordered place.

I first thought the woman worked there.

But after hearing her making a particular noise in her mouth without much expression on her face as she managed the magazine rack, I thought twice.

Some years later while attending a public school, I would see a group of children being taught separately from the rest of us.

These had their unique mental health challenges.

On one occasion, while out on the field doing some physical activity for gym class, I saw off in the distance a very tall and lanky kid running away from one of the special education teachers, yelling out that she was going to kill him.

It was initially laughable, but as I watched them meander all over the football field, I realized it wasn't a game he was playing with the teacher, but somehow he did believe to be in fear for his life.

It seems the older I get, the more mental health issues I see in people I come across.

Where I currently reside I see many people who may have fallen out of society due to drug abuse, or previous abuse of some kind, or perhaps they had been challenged their entire lives.

There is one small community that caters to such individuals.

I think it is an extension of the type of situation I saw in school.

These residents are supported by the government and live in a particular apartment building.

But this example is such a small number compared to the many people I see out and about, seemingly out of their minds or on the brink of such madness.

What is interesting and arguably unfair is how a person's mental idiosyncrasies are judged according to an economic bias.

The unusual billionaire is sometimes labeled an “eccentric” while the unusual homeless person is a “lunatic”.

One may be surrounded by servants looking to prevent the next lawsuit or to cover up the next aggravated assault, while the other is possibly the victim of and also purveyor such activities.

When one begins to look closely at the manner everyone speaks, or views the world, or expresses their value sets, and mentions the things they believe to be true or false, it is possible to conclude that many more individuals suffer from some level of mental challenge.

I think that mental health is a sliding scale and we may all be on some place of the spectrum.

No single person is absolutely immune from any affect the world, their parents, society or the environment has had on them.

If we include our own idiosyncrasies, our questionable rationality or dubious perceptions, we may find ourselves being one of the multitude of cracked porcelain as we arrogantly lament over the obvious broken pieces on the ground.

28 March 2017

Homeless Caravan

Notice the litany of prescription pills in the undercarriage of this homeless man's caravan.

The following was my public response to a dialogue regarding government's role in welfare and suspicion of repeated top-down methods from the wealthy (top) with those subject (bottom) to working or existing in the culture managed by the wealthy.

My personal take is that regardless of the label attached to any government system, the rich continue to rule over the poor, and the weak are subject to the powerful.

I don't see this as evil or good, but simply the reality of the world.

It is the manner that people are treated and brought into the fold of society that would show the ethical and moral approach of those who manage such systems.

To the issue of central government's effort to address homelessness, or economic lulls, or generational welfare in certain demographics of society:

There is a time to give charity, and then there is a time to call people to do their part.

Even the king has a role and part to play, not simply sitting aloof in his castle, but representing an ideal of generosity, honor and integrity.

The king is actually the greatest servant if he knows the enormous responsibility of his role.

It is the king who manages his estate's affairs in a kind and humane manner, not treating his subjects as commodities, but as fellow brothers and sisters.

Although the greater context of the following excerpt can be argued to be speaking to a specific issue, the reality of what is being expressed is very much still contextually relevant, even Today:
For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 
We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Yeshua Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. 
- 2 Thessalonians 3: 7-13

Lots of people hate what the bible has to teach for a variety of reasons known and unknown to themselves, but they have a difficult time refuting the manner the lessons and realities still speak to generation after generation.... and the lessons are rational, timely and carry with them solutions.

27 March 2017

Breaking Through Walls When Breaking Bread

I wonder: what is more joyous than breaking bread with good friends, family and people dear and near to your heart?

There is something about eating and drinking with people who like and love one another that is phenomenal.

The heart is touched and the smiles convey things that words sometimes cannot fully express.

I recently had a get-together with some people I care about.

Afterwards, I was nearly emotional remembering their faces, the conversations, the smiles and the appreciation my heart felt in having them all together.

The occasion was a preemptive celebration; a great expectation soon to arrive.

The reception was surprising to me, and I could see God's grace in the turnout and people's responses and gratitude for the invitation.

My heart was full of gratitude as well and I'm grateful for the dynamic of interpersonal relationships.
How good and pleasant it is 
  when God’s people live together in unity! 
It is like precious oil poured on the head, 
  running down on the beard, 
     running down on Aaron’s beard 
  down on the collar of his robe 
It is as if the dew of Hermon 
  were falling on Mount Zion. 
For there the Lord bestows His blessing 
  even life forevermore. 
- Psalm 133

25 March 2017

Building Without Wooden Planks

I have a friend who is under the impression that members of most other religious group (outside of his) are wrong, and by extension condemned...according to certain Scriptures he cites.

Yet when asked if they are all condemned because of their identity, or affiliation, or individually, or what they've done in their lives, he changes his thoughts accordingly and then resubmits his premise on the grounds of other certain citable Scriptures.

When I point out his contradiction, he goes on to cite yet a few other Scriptures, adjusting yet again his earlier blanket condemnation, now stating that the individual will be judged not according to the some silly things they may believe beyond what he considers important to be believed.

A casual listener to this banter may conclude it is the Scriptures that are contradicting one another and not this friend of mine, but is that truly the case?

There is yet another Scripture regarding arguing over words and contaminating a hearer's ears.

It is all a matter of interpretation and the individual's heart.

Is the individual attempting to bring others into the fold of something beyond their conception, or are they actively dividing others in the futile attempt to 'see' what is unseen?

Is entrance to paradise based on your knowledge of Scripture?

Are anyone qualified for salvation according to knowing the 'right' things and disbelieving the 'wrong' things?

What is right for one person is wrong for another person, and both are thoroughly convinced in their own mind and heart about the matter.

Of course, “we” think we are correct when we pass internal judgment on another person (our judging thoughts, not verbal words).

It is always the other person, religious group, or ethnic group, or nation, etc., that is 'wrong'.

Regarding religious beliefs, some make a great effort of trying to point out what is wrong with others (not what they are called to do), while rarely actually doing any good thing for others (what they are actually called to do).

They resemble more the accuser than the Savior, yet to convince them of this stark contradiction in their manners and words is a futile effort since they are so judgmental, even glorying in their hostility and lack of patience for others and the things they do not yet understand.

This is what the monkey sees and thus what the monkey does; men following men, but not what is Perfect and from Above.

This is the case in practically every religion and culture of man.

This is the methodology of the political system as well; one side always criticizing the other but never doing any constructive work themselves... and if or when they do, the other side criticizes and people look to the criticism and ignore the work.

Such has been the case with the religious, especially the religious of similar groups.

But humanity has not been called to be like these divided people.

Humanity has been called to realize their oneness with others and with He who is from Above; the maker and Creator of their lives and the correct and unifying identity.

Since we are all human beings (and thus our nature is less than perfect), to find error in others and their systems of belief is an easy task.

What are the likenesses?

What are the unifying factors?

Where is your humanity just like theirs?

How are they like you and what do you have in common?

Yes, they fall short of perfection as you do, but how do they desire that perfection as you do?

For some sad individuals, all they do is find error in others...and sometimes they seem to ignore the great error in themselves and in their hearts.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 
- Matthew 7: 1-5

24 March 2017

Chasing Butterflies And Hurricanes

Matthew 7: 12

Science is quite the useful tool of thought.

With science, the unseen has been made 'visible' in terms of conceptualizing what is not seen.

When considering chaos theory, specifically the butterfly effect, science explains the possibility that a very small, seemingly insignificant occurrence, may determine a larger outcome.

In short: the flapping of a butterfly's wings can give rise to a hurricane.

Taking this idea in relation to human beings, one could argue that what they do and think while alone has no influence on others.

Is this true?

We sometimes hear: who am I hurting?

Science is explaining what the faithful have long argued: we are all connected in some way, typically in ways we yet to do not fully understand nor comprehend.

The individual who practices their craft for hours on end, maybe a musical instrument, or dance, or perhaps not an art form, but the scientific study of business models and concepts, for example, can have a great impact on those around them.

Although the work is sown alone at times, when the effort is harvested the product can be quite amazing, influential and evident for many to see and realize.

What if the sowing is something that can be arguably bad, wrong, negative or detrimental?

Can it be argued that their solitary practice(s) will not have an eventual impact on the world outside?

The pervert who does what they do alone; can their inverted manners have an eventual impact on another human being?

The religious fanatic who does much study and forms a specific view of the world; can their efforts leave an impression on others?

The business master mind in the making; can their eventual effort of building a little empire for themselves have any effect on others down the road?

We may think our solitary activities cannot directly touch another if such activities or thoughts are never mentioned or outwardly evidenced.

The science behind the theories and concepts mentioned show these suppositions to not be true.

Surely we all influence the world around us on a daily basis, even if we were never to leave our homes.

Whether we take our own life, another's life, hurt a life, an animal, a tree or an insect, our ecosystem beyond the material is beyond our periphery.

From the air we breathe, the food we eat, the things we say in person or via the internet, we are leaving a road map of our lives for others to eventually happily discover, or be appalled by, or some other lasting outcome.

21 March 2017

To Disbelieve Is To Not Be

Separating The Waters From Above And Below

When considering what has been written around the belief in God (what some label religious writings), it seems some people and / or religions have sown doubt by challenging the simplicity of what God has ordained and established by His Word.

For the secularist / atheist, the world around them must be put into logical and reasonable terms.

Logic and reason is of the utmost importance.

Yet mankind still finds the world and its events at times unreasonable and illogical.

By simply identifying, defining and explaining 'how' things work...does such an effort fully answer 'why' the world and universe functions as it does?

If it did, the new ideas from a secular point of view would have already defeated the old secular ideas, or the belief that God is behind all things.

By math, men have been able to measure great and minute distances.

This same math has revealed a world full of patterns, design and perfect agreement between energy and matter...and also a world unseen and still unperceived by man's math, yet science proposes something greater and immeasurable in the invisible outweighs and outlasts the visible and measurable realities.

I'm sure you've heard this rudimentary argument or something similar: if a computer were to be found on a populated world without technology, would the discoverers think the computer came about by chance or evolution of some sort, or that it was possibly fashioned by a rationale and intelligent mind? (excluding 'aliens' as an answer, yet God and His mind is alien to many)

Some argue that the revealing of patterns and signs of design is only by 'chance' and not good evidence that order and wisdom preceded creation; the premise that God created and initiated all things mankind is realizing according their limited logic and always edited scientific effort.

For some people, to believe God can do anything by simply speaking it into existence is not difficult to accept.

So if or when they experience an event that falls outside the laws of nature penned by man's mind, they do not have difficulty accepting the event as actual...them now seeing beyond the veil that the secularist / atheist is hidden behind.

Isn't it no surprise that those who decide not to accept that God is present don't ever seem to experience anything beyond the typical?

For others (trying to look through their religious veil), only what their religion says God 'has' done is acceptable.

To believe that God would humble Himself and become a man (while never vacating heaven nor the universe nor the places beyond the universe which He saturates), and walk the earth, is immediately denied because they've been taught to deny and scoff at such a thought.

The same can be said about the argument made against the notion of God and the manner the world is explained according to man's mind, which again is still growing, learning and correcting past misconceptions.

The person who identifies as an atheist has also accepted a particular religion; the religion of denial of God and in its place the acceptance of all ideas which never answer 'why', but simply explain how.

Many religions in fact exist when one person's personal thoughts and rationale is the manner they live their life: their specific religion being their specific view of the world.

Regarding God becoming a man and walking the earth, the ancient testimony states that God's footsteps were heard in the Garden of Eden, yet these details are missed by blind eyes and deaf ears.

For some others, their thoughts only go as far as their mind's perception goes...and that isn't too far looking at the manner people live and treat one another.

Hasn't man realized how limited his logic is and that new ideas typically retire old ideas?...showing the old ideas, previously perceived as true and factual, now being false and miscalculated.

Ironically, it is sometimes the most religious of people who are accustomed to cast doubt on what God has established, or what God can choose to do...and the atheist / secularist is of the most religious people found on earth, holding onto their thoughts and concepts for dear life it seems.

The fact is that God is not any religion, for God transcends such a concept.

This is why God became a man; to correct the misconceptions of the religious (pagan, secular or following religious rules) and to declared in-person what men couldn't understand otherwise.

The God that created us in His likeness...also became the image that revealed His heart. 

16 March 2017

Choosing The Rest Of Your Life

Where I was sitting as my clothes washed at the laundromat when Mike thanked me.

“I appreciate you wouldn't enable me.” - Mike

My friend Mike whose put himself through quite some trials.

This touched my heart when Mike spoke these words to me.

He had just shared with me about a job he was excited about starting.

He'd been hustling on the street doing things that are mostly illegal, being reluctant join his dad in his business, clean himself up and get an honest job / vocation / means.

I can relate too well with some of Mike's past.

I had befriended Mike despite his gangster swagger and tattooed face and body.

After handing him funds on two occasions when he asked for a handout, I corrected his third request.

At first his reaction had a touch of anger and sense of being insulted.

I added that he needs to consider where he will be in a few months or years from now... and that continuously asking for money, or hustling on the street while making excuses and blaming others, is not much of a future nor a solution to remedy his present situation.

It wasn't easy refusing his request, for one never knows how anyone will react when confronted with some hard truths and firm words no matter how kind and lovingly the message is delivered.

So recently after Mike shared his joy and surprise that he landed a decent paying job complimenting the skills he learned in the Marines... and thanking me with his words I quoted above, I felt the kiss of God's grace upon my lips.

When we reflect the popular culture around us, whether it is sagging our pants or repeating a low-brow vernacular, we shouldn't be surprised when opportunities for serious employment (or interaction with mature people) seem to pass us by.

Certain life lessons have yet to be learned.

When emulating a depraved culture, one shouldn't be surprised when the affluent avoid you like the plague... perhaps out of fear of not knowing one's motives, or maybe because your exterior represents a troubled culture.

The promotion of rebelliousness makes evident the depravity in popular culture.

This common denominator of banal humanity is sadly continuously marketed, emulated and honored.

I was once there myself.

No single individual experienced a perfect upbringing (childhood), since we are all humans and humans are fallible.

Our parents / guardians made mistakes although some of them arguably always did their best.

Sadly some parents neglected their children, or were more harsh than gracious... and the list can be never-ending counting the grievances a child may have against their parent / guardian.

We are the product of our upbringing in every way.

We are also the response to and reflection of that upbringing.

Although we as individuals usually reflect our upbringing in our character, external blame can only go so far.

We eventually have to take responsibility for our thoughts, words and actions.

Yet we may find ourselves still, even after a long life of living, somehow blaming others (or making excuses) for our fragmented character or current life result.

I remember realizing this stark reality when at age 16 my aunt told me “okay, so now that you know, what are you going to do about it?”

I had lamented to her that I realize my character traits and faults are a combination of the traits learned from my mom and dad.

When she taught me this eye-opening lesson with her words, one which I am forwarding and will repeat in this blog post, I also had a tough time wrestling with anger and insult.

But she wasn't insulting me nor trying to make me angry.

She was telling me her honest observation and what she had also learned in her life experience before me.

The truth of the matter is what caused me to emotionally respond as such.

The reflection in the mirror wasn't pleasant at first.

One can only blame their parents for so much, and sure it is tempting to scapegoat parents or others for the rest of one's life and for one's problems... but that is not only unfair, it is absolutely unreasonable considering we have choice and life is about learning and growing.

My aunt clarified that I simply cannot continue to blame them for the choices I was to make from that moment of understanding forward.

I continue to learn that I cannot blame anyone (the government, popular culture, etc.) for my current situation when I have the choice to watch television or read a book, or choose a certain employment over another, or do something on my own.

Although we had no choice in being born, or the upbringing (relatives and cultural situation) we experienced, we do have choice in the kind of friends we have around us.

Only in prison, for example, do you have little to no choice the kind of people who are around you... yet even in prison you have a choice regarding who YOU become and what thoughts you allow to filtrate through your psyche and which you disallow.

I surely cannot blame anyone now that I am an adult and have my choices and subsequent consequences to deal with.

So it was quite a personal moment of gratitude from my heart to the Lord God Almighty when I heard that “thank you” from Mike.

May the Name of the Holy Father be forever praised!


15 March 2017

A Future Fund And Rate

1 Thessalonians 4: 11-12
I think there exists today a monopoly over the money, its issuance and its supply.

A similar system existed in Rome when people had to pay their taxes in Roman coinage, stamped in gold, for example, instead of rough pieces of gold.

Some view this as wrong, or evil, while others view it as typical or simply the way things are...the rich or powerful ruling over the less rich or less powerful.

An idea can be like a seed that becomes a strong tree, towering over all previous ideas.

For the sake of understanding, instead of labeling the current money system as wrong or right, evil or good, I'd like to simply identify it for what it does and is while introducing an idea.

Read what a monopoly means.

I call it a monopoly because the entity is the sole issuer of money which chooses to charge interest and how much...and this entity answers to no one in these matters.

I do perceive the charging of interest as evil, plainly and simply.

This practice only enriches the few while taxing the many...being akin to the definition of tribute despite any modern justification echoed by economists.

It is evil because it adds to the weighted effort of existence, contributing nothing but to the acknowledgement of one man's power and position over another man.

I think if people are subject to such a system with their labor being valued as a commodity, one usually has to play according to the rules set by such an entity...unless they figure out another way.

New ideas, or an alteration of a previous idea, may bring forth a change.

What if the common man, since he has to deal with the charging of interest for the money he must utilize in order to pay a mortgage, rent, food and taxes, can also benefit like the issuing institution and its banking affiliates?

Aside from issuing one's own money / currency (an idea I've written about in the past), what can be altered within the current money model?

Two antonyms (opposite meaning) of 'monopoly' are “joint ownership” and “sharing”.

Does it sound reasonable for an individual, such as yourself, to be able to share the responsibility of money management and enjoy the benefit of joint ownership of the money supply that you currently support with your efforts?

What if everyone were issued a certain amount of credit at birth?

What if this amount can never be lost, but only accounted from a credit to a debt and back again?

The Basic Income is a similar idea.

What if you / we / human beings were actually the new currency?

This isn't a 'new' or novel idea, but an ancient idea being once again mentioned.

Some argue that today's fiat currency is supported by human beings, since this 'money' is not attached to a tangible commodity like gold coins of the past (the money being made of gold, thus having a value found in the gold and the coin), for example.

This makes one wonder if the people are the actual commodity the fiat money is attached to.

If this is so, then why not also have all human beings starting with an equitable economic value in terms of this material world?

I warrant the phrase 'material world' because human beings – all having a divine design while some having divine origins – are in my view beyond material valuation (priceless in another word).

What if each person born into the world starts off with a certain amount (a “fund”); let's say about $1 million (or an adequate amount that, if invested in a lifelong government bond or similar, would pay off a supporting income to a disabled person)?

This idea wouldn't make everyone a millionaire instantly just for the sake of enrichment, but would provide a coffer to draw / invest from over the course of their lives, according to their knowledge and ability, to grow this amount in support of themselves and their activities.

During an individuals formative years, the parents / guardians of that child may sign the fund into growth investments on behalf of the child, with the parents being restricted from utilizing the proceeds or principal for themselves.

When the child reaches maturity, they are now the signatories for their fund, and the fund can be withdrawn from or grown further.

The fund is issued as a credit and can be used, a portion at a time or more, according to the individual's abilities or immediate need.

In case of misfortune, the fund can be utilized as support in a time of need.

When an investment opportunity arises, the fund can be utilized to invest in that opportunity (venture capital, loan, etc.).

This fund would be a different model than the typical credit / debt money in circulation today.

The monies can never be lost but simply moved from the credit side to the debt side of the financial statement, for a time, until they are returned to their owner.

Since the money in the fund is actually owned by the individual and not by another entity (the Federal Reserve), the individual has ultimate management control over their monies, whether they are accounted as a credit or a debt on the ledger.

In other words; if an investment does not work out, the individual being the core creditor will eventually be made whole again after the debt is retired.

In an honest economy built on trust between individuals (the goal of any just society), the promise to pay will be realized until the last penny of a debt is paid back.

In the world of investing, money is never 'lost', but simply exchanges hands (usually from the loser to the winner).

With this idea, all people will win (or be eventually made whole) regardless of how an investment goes.

With this idea, the accounting of these monies are traced throughout their economic journey and will always find their way back to the originator, or the individual's fund from which they are derived.

With this idea, individuals can choose to lend their monies directly to others for the purchase of a home or something else...and at their discretion they can choose NOT to charge interest in a loan.

The wisest people will most likely invest their monies into income-producing assets; on the low end something like government guaranteed bonds, or something riskier yet more lucrative like like real property or business(es)... building forward from these.

One caveat would be that the fund can never be withdrawn for simple consumption, but can only be directed into something that pays a dividend or a return.

In other words: only income producing assets or items of retained or growing value.

Perhaps this idea is the wish that social security of last century had, but now being directed by both individuals and professionals in their respective fields.

The amount per person would be in addition to the value / money already accounted for in the real world; property values, merchandise, etc..

This money would be valued on par (1=1) with the current currency.

The only difference would be that this particular money is again actually owned, whether as a debt or credit, by its corresponding living being.

Once that individual passes into eternity, only their accumulated wealth (or tangible assets) would pass to whomever they have appointed as heirs.

The fund, however, would not transfer onto children, for the children already have their own fund to their name.

As food for thought, take a look at this annuity calculator.

Fill in 1,000,000 in the field “Starting Principal”.

Fill in 0 in the field “Annual Addition”.

Fill in 0 in the field “Monthly Addition”.

Fill in 1 in the field “Annual Interest Rate”.

Fill in 18 in the field “After”.

Click “Calculate” to find what a $1 million dollars pays at 1% interest over 18 years.

By reinvesting the yearly proceeds ($10,000 the first year and compounded thereafter), when a child turns 18, they would have an additional $196,147.48 to the original principal of $1,000,000.

The 1% is the interest rate the Federal Reserve decided to charge recently.

The rate can automatically adjust in the people's fund to compensate for inflation or unjust enrichment on the part of those who manage the heights of finance.

If the people are charged interest, why not grant the people an equitable mechanism to benefit from the charging of interest?

Imagine investing not for the charging of interest (for money lent), but investing in a business venture for a service / product people actually desire with returns much higher than 1%.

Imagine taking control of your finances, your fund and your future.

13 March 2017

Karate Chopped Michael

Hebrews 12: 5-11

I was learning karate in 2nd grade.

I do not recall the particular subgroup of martial art.

A karate instructor was teaching the art for free at the local Elk's Lodge where my dad was a member.

The sensei didn't believe in profiting from forwarding the art to others.

He had received his first degree black belt and I recall him sharing how he'd have to travel to Japan for the second degree.

As a thank you, my dad took him (and I) up for a flight in a Cessna for his birthday out of Compton Airport, where my dad had a hangar and was building his first RV-4.

He was grateful for the journey overlooking southern California.

The karate lessons didn't last more than a year.

My sensei received a job offer that had him move out of state.

One rule of his was that the art was never to be used in an offensive manner, but only in defense.

If he were to find out we were exploiting our training, we would be excommunicated and expelled.

So when I found myself one an early morning in the middle of an insult match with a fellow schoolmate, I failed to obey this very simple rule.

Michael was one of 40 students in my grade at the Catholic school (St. Matthias) I attended.

I don't recall being physically attacked by him, but when he mentioned my mother in a slanderous joke, that was enough to trigger me to violence towards him.

I wasn't afraid of Michael, and this was partly the motivation in responding as I did.

Some of the other boys in the class I was intimidated by, so even with my 'training' I wasn't confident with the thought of being in a fight with them.

The moves were swift, quick and about three in count...and Michael was on the floor.

Unbeknownst to me, Mr. Brunetti the 4th grade teacher witnessed my momentary rage.

Mr. Brunetti was a giant of man in the eyes of any 2nd grader.

He was a college athlete, having once played football.

Out of all the administrators and teachers at that grade school, Mr. Brunetti was (to me) the most authoritative.

Only the priest (Rowdy Gorman) and perhaps the principal (sister Mary Lucy) were scarier to me than him; the elderly nun due to her old age, position and religious dress and the priest due also to his dress and position.

I figured if I disrespected these individuals my eternal fate may be in jeopardy.

And by 'scarier' I mean I respected them possibly more than I did my own parents...maybe only my grandparents did I respect more.

So when Mr. Brunetti grabbed me with his index finger and thumb behind my neck (as was his custom with any rowdy and undisciplined child), I was afraid for my life.

My 2nd grade teacher was his wife, Mrs. Brunetti.

My perception of her was the complete opposite of her husband.

My experience with her was one of kindness and patience.

I recall her not giving me a failing grade for a workbook that happened to have been doused in pancake syrup.

I thought surely she would have to grade me for the missing work, but she was sympathetic to my distress from the ruination of that workbook, and I didn't receive a mark for the workbook's absence.

I had a large wooden chest full of toys in which I also would occasionally place some schoolwork items.

Not sure how syrup ended up being poured into my toy chest; perhaps a vengeful sibling or some freak accident, I don't fully recall.

The morning I hurt my classmate Michael with the art of hand-to-hand combat, I was tossed into the classroom of my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Brunetti by her husband Mr. Brunetti and his two fingers.

I'll never forget the confused look on her face, and the manner she rested her head on her hand with elbow planted on her desk while looking at me and the manner her husband handled me.

The verbal exchange between the two of them I don't remember, only the particular visual highlights from my frightful experience and me most likely crying in fear.

The thought of me sharing any of that day's events with my parents was out of the question.

I never did share it with them.

I feared for my dad's life if he were to confront Mr. Brunetti, thinking my dad was no physical match for Mr. Brunetti's six-foot stature and 350 pounds.

I also knew my dad had quite the arsenal at home and I couldn't have Mr. Brunetti's blood on my hands.

Unfortunately, I had a negative perception of Mr. Brunetti from the outset, most likely due to his authoritative demeanor, ominous voice and grand presence.

I know I was an undisciplined child that would do any and every thing to undermine any teacher's authority.

My misbehavior was why I was made to be an altar boy.

Church service was something I did take seriously.

My continued misbehavior was why the 6th grade teacher, a first-year nun, scheduled an appointment with myself, my parents and the priest.

And when the priest recommended military school to stamp out my waywardness and rebelliousness, it is no wonder I had a certain view of some individuals who desired to reign in my bad behavior.

I can only imagine the likes of Mr. Brunetti having to handle several dozen brats like me on a daily basis.

God bless Michael, Mr. and Mrs. Brunetti, Mr. Gorman, sister Mary Lucy and sister Mary Francis.

08 March 2017

Sickness & Remedy

Last week I developed a cold.

I hope I didn't pass it on to others.

You know you have good friends and acquaintances when, seeing you sick, they each have a different remedy to suggest.

I love and appreciate them so very much.

Each of us have a particular method of combating a cold or the flu.

Mine is drinking lots of fluids, mainly tea with honey and lemon if possible, and resting while watching lots of movies at home ;)

Chicken soup, or its hot liquid alternative is, a mainstay.

But what others passed onto me reveals how they consider me.

Their kind gestures and advice touched my heart.

In contrast, last week was quite challenging besides the discomfort of being sick.

Although I have been largely ignoring the political discourse since summer of 2015, my ears keep hearing the regurgitated instigations of both the media and those in political circles.

The response to hatred is even more hatred.

Although political tastes may be the same, or religious, the ethnic background and skin-tone still plays a role in people's attitudes towards those not similar to them.

The same repetition of racism between the Plebeians vs Patricians in ancient Rome, or the racism from Arabs vs non-Arabs started in the early Muslim state (and still existing today), or any culture's ancient or modern equivalent, is sadly still present Today.

I hear the racism, prejudice and violence that politics and media promote on a regular basis...firstly in America since this is where I was born, have been influenced by, and currently reside.

While regular people are going about their daily lives, doing their best to overcome the indifference and racism their cultures have programmed onto them, they are being assaulted by those whom still suffer from the planted seed of racism, indifference and hatred.

Sadly, these prejudices and racism have long been programmed onto people's hearts and subconscious for as long as people conceived themselves to be of another tribe or family unit from others.

I've heard personal insults directed at me last week more than usual; regarding what people think I am or assuming what my values are.

Although I know some friends and acquaintances are simply helpless in their current state of mind, I realize there is hope for them because I have experienced hope in my life.

I also grew up with the same divisive narrative that this country projects onto its citizenry through its history books, media and its people...yet hope has changed my heart.

Yet I have experienced a re-programming of sorts.

My new programming is to forgive always regardless of what my flesh or emotions desire...because I also sometimes experience the temptation to be prejudice.

The sickness that has been rampant from early on, sowed into practically all peoples and nations since ancient times, also has its remedy.

As I've received a variety of methods to help remedy my temporary fleshly sickness, so also there are a variety of ways to address the sickness all around us.

But the true remedy for this sickness I speak of comes down to one cure: love.

Regarding my fleshly sickness, I felt love and applied some of the friendly advice.

Regarding the mental sickness that causes hate in one's heart, I felt fear and ignorance (from others).

I felt love in the words of my friends, and the friend who went out of their way to bring me some soup.

I sensed goodness from their hearts, and sensed emptiness from those who verbalized their twisted programming.

It is love, the Great Love, this magnificent Love from Above, that is the backstop remedy for the sickness that has infiltrated many hearts and minds the world round.

There is still hope despite the ignorance.

There's still goodness despite the madness.

There is still love despite the programming of hate.

Let us forward this love even when our flesh becomes weak and is tempted to respond adversely due to mistreatment from others.

07 March 2017

How World Cultures Change & Develop

The Proverbs 31 woman is also an ancient development now 'modern' again.

Stopping by a local pizza restaurant to grab something to eat last night, I notice a sports game on the flat-screens overhead while waiting for my order to be cooked.

The game is baseball between Chinese Taipei and Israel and they are in tournament.

The tournament is the World Baseball Classic, started by the MLB (Major League Baseball).

As cricket followed the expansion of the British empire everywhere it spread over a century ago, “America's past-time” has also seen a broad-reach according to similar and different influences.

Baseball developed in America from cricket...similar to how soccer has developed in several forms and manners in other places for centuries...China being one place alongside Greece's form of what became modern-day rugby.

Even the food I was about to eat (hotwings and salad) is a cultural world development.

The modern pizza idea (the term and popular notion) is believed to be from Italy.

However, similar methods of baking bread with certain things atop them is quite ancient.

The hot wings are claimed to be a specific American development of late last century.

But I do think people the world over have been eating chicken prepared with herbs and spices for centuries, but perhaps not deep fried.

As for the salad, eating lettuce with fruits and other fixings is as ancient as mankind's journey on earth...after all, man's first residence was in a garden...the Garden that God planted.

As cultures change, imitate, adopt and transfer away from previous influences, it seems that vegetation (salad), meat (chicken), bread (pizza) and games (exercise and fun) blend and flex to man's constant appetite for life.

The culture that flourishes is the one that explores and grows along with what has come previous, or has been established in antiquity (prescience).

The cultures that do not adapt and grow are those which can be seen dark at night from satellite imagery...and some of these are missing out on pizza, hot wings, baseball and women reflecting Proverbs 31's prescient reality.

06 March 2017

Divinity Within Humanity

Be transparent like a window, reflective like a mirror, so God can establish His purpose through your life.

We are the same, yet unique.

The similarities outweigh the differences between human beings.

The differences are not always opposite or opposing views, but usually varied perceptions.

When looking closely at the disparity, we can also identify with the common humanity.

To err is human...” someone wrote, and usually only the first portion of that quote is remembered.

When considering an opposing view, either side(s) of the argument can relate with the other's humanity.

To justify one's point of view is human.

To stay opposed according the disparity is also human.

What does the rest of that famous quote coined by Alexander Pope say?

“...to forgive, divine.”

Why do you think Mr. Pope referred forgiving others (and their humanity – errors) as “divine”?

If any of us have been wronged by another human being (and who hasn't?), we know how difficult it is to consider forgiving the person.

We question if they 'deserve' to be forgiven.

We also wonder if forgiving them would be granting them permission to hurt us again, and many other things our emotions lead us to think.

It is our human nature to desire justice; to see a misdeed corrected and our hurt and injury recognized and recompensed.

It is human nature to hurt back.

Some people view forgiveness as weakness, or a matter that doesn't result in the fruition of justice.

Some folks blame religion for the problems of society, while others recognize that religions have formed society and have explained (or manipulated) and defined (or obstructed) the concepts of forgiveness and justice.

The swimming fish is inseparable from its environment (the water), so are the concepts of God (religion) inseparable from societal ideas such as justice and forgiveness.

The inner struggle to surrender one's anger at a wrong inflicted, to release the desire to return harm for a harm done, is what the author of that famous quote is speaking to.

For those who believe that forgiveness is their primary effort, and justice is the effort of another, this is that inner struggle.

It is quite interesting that the culture that has grown around the idea of forgiveness over seeking justice also has remedies for injuries done; an earthly method to realize 'justice'.

There is a culture not represented by a political system or state, and then there is an obvious political entity that encompasses this unseen culture.

I speak of the kingdom of God, which is not represented by a physical and obvious group, yet is found within such groups the world over.

We see other cultures pursue earthly justice more than forgiveness, and we can see how they have developed and how they contrast from the effort of forgiveness.

I speak of the governments of men, whether secular or religious, that fail to capture what Mr. Pope mentions as divine.

For those who believe what is divine, we can recognize the obvious incentive to forgive:
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. 
- Matthew 6: 14-15
And regarding justice, and taking justice into our own hands (whether through government or 'rights' and human allowances), we see the teaching calls us higher from what our mere humanity provides:
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is Mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: 
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; 
   if he is thirsty, give him something to drink 
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 
   Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 
- Romans 12: 17-21
Whether 'justice' realized on earth will be done through a secular government, by other human means, or eventually in the heavenly courts, the disciple of Christ is called to look at the divine teaching and the perfect example of Christ...and obey it.

The man / woman of peace is called to seek forgiveness before justice, allowing the latter to come about according to methods beyond our personal will...for it is our choice to forgive.

To do otherwise is human, and to err, but to forgive is something otherwise divine.

02 March 2017

Be Like Water And See

John 17: 20-21
The logic a human has in understanding God's mystery can be explained with water.

Although the spirit is not as matter, it cannot be measured like energy can be measured though unseen, this poor example can assist one's understanding.

Water exists in three states: as a solid (ice), a liquid (liquid) and a gas (vapor).

Some may have argued out of ignorance many years ago, knowing only water as something they drink, that there is no possible way that water can be a solid (ice) nor a gas (invisible vapor).

Prior to any man visiting the snow (for example, peoples who have lived their entire lives in the African central region, or perhaps in the vast desserts of the Arabian peninsula who have never traveled to a mountain top and seen snow), the idea of ice prior to the modern age would be an impossibility.

Maybe when first visiting the snow, or seeing ice, they would wonder how water can become a solid or return to being a liquid.

The same can be said regarding water as a gas (vapor).

Since a vapor cannot be seen, some people long ago may have been apt to say once water is gone (evaporates) it doesn't exist anymore...but today we know different.

Mankind has come to realize, understand and declare that water (as with energy) doesn't simply 'die' or go away, but simply changes form...or its state of being.

The same can be said when the carnal mind considers the mystery of God in Christ, and God in man; the revealing of God as more than what humans would typically consider and accept.

Why is this?

These are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit. 
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, 
“Who has known the mind of the Lord 
     so as to instruct Him?” 
   But we have the mind of Christ. 
- 1 Corinthians 2: 10-16

So just as the person who has not been given ice in their water glass, or hasn't learned that the ice first becomes water and then turns to a vapor (or vice versa)...only to repeat the process elsewhere, so the person without God's gift of faith (the Spirit) cannot understand and fully comprehend how God can become a man without becoming divided into two or three (when considering His Holy Spirit), for all these three states of God have always been One, as water is always one while existing in three states at all times.

01 March 2017

Patterns Appear In Broken Windows

1 Corinthians 6: 8-11

In recalling the past, I sometimes tend to avoid delving too deeply into things I am now ashamed of.

This reluctance isn't always an issue when having a conversation with someone.

As long as a hearer is listening, I may keep sharing.

Yet the valve of “too much information” does have its limit, even in open conversation.

It is the writing experience which is more controlled and easily censored.

My reluctance is that I worry I will reveal too much in my writing.

The fear is acknowledging my carnality, which is exactly what another human being easily identifies with.

I am a man and thus I have failed.

I notice the cracks in the armor when I discuss my past professions, occupations and jobs.

I highlight the shiny while conveniently omitting the embarrassing.

The cracks are sealed when my narration weaves in the grace along with the gore, for the grace is always realized after the fact, not during.

I've done shameful things and I still wrestle with my humanity.

I still struggle with prejudice and racism.

This was a battle I believed I had overcome at some point.

But the temptations persist.

The battle can be continually won when humility to one's past is heeded.

The cultural programming has yet to be completely removed due to years of subconscious uploading.

Although I can identify the false narratives in the media, my mind at times repeats these falsehoods when I witness something in the real world...and the battles commence.

So recently when I noticed a man had a drug problem, I too reflected on my past substance abuse.

Yet I was reluctant to delve too far into the mud of past failures while writing about it.

To acknowledge I was self-destructive isn't too Christian-like, especially after having come to know God and what He did for me through Christ...then walking away and giving up on any external effort.

I wasn't literally trying to kill my person (maybe not consciously, but the results were showing otherwise), because the manner I was living was quite dangerous and destructive.

When I was sleeping around with several women without using protection, it seemed I was asking for an affliction in my flesh and I was being careless with their health.

But no such affliction occurred.

When I gambled money lent to me by a relative, and other monies I had stolen, it seemed I was asking to be caught and found out.

But that never happened.

When I got into that fight with an ex, and I struck her in the side, and she and her sister later lied to the police about the entire ordeal and I found myself in the back of a police vehicle with handcuffs for bracelets (a first), it seemed I was finally going to receive what my bad choices and rebellious ways had wrought.

Yet I was let go minutes later after her record was perused by the police while I had none to read about.

Still, all of my good deeds and good intentions went to nothing because I continued using that woman only for her sex and nothing else.

When I struck her in her side it was to my shame that I had lost control and fallen to the level of yet another sad statistic of domestic violence.

The pattern of mankind is no surprise when we speak, listen, read or write the experiences of our humanity.

Yet it is scary recollecting or reading the dark paths we've once treaded, maybe due to fear of repeating the course.

It is the breaking of patterns, breaking the chains, that release us from the destructive path that is so common.

Part of the process is confessing our failures and shortcomings.

Revealing what is dark so the light can shine where the darkness had its stronghold.

Doing so enables us to realize the grace that was there all along...and sparks gratitude and thanksgiving to He has been calling us heavenward all the while.