Community Category


Debate

Debate

“I’ve never been happier about being a Canadian.”

I received this text message from a friend this morning to which I replied:

“And I’ve never been sadder to be an American.”

Before I even received her text, I woke up crying. I did not watch the debate between Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump. Too much seemed to be at stake, so I prayed. I did not need to watch what I knew would be a loathsome and spiteful performance by Mr. Trump.  My friend’s uncharacteristically insensitive comment only added to my grief and quite frankly made me feel angry—no, not just angry … F***ING pissed off!

I could not imagine what would cause her to be this flippant.  I do not know the circumstances surrounding her citizenship status and have never thought to ask. I never saw her as “Canadian.”  I thought we were beyond labels. Our friendship is based on a spiritual kinship of caring for all God’s beloveds. We have discussed politics and share the same progressive bent, but her statement felt like she was kicking me when I was down.

In what identity of separation did I appear to be caught?

Her sentiment seemed to be lacking in awareness, compassion and kindness. What does one say when tragedies happen anywhere around the globe? When the building exploded in Syria, would one say “I’ve never been happier about being a (fill in the nationality)?” Does one think one’s citizenship or lack thereof will save him or her from dying of COVID? Would anyone really state he or she is glad to live on the east coast of the US while the west coast is awash with devastating conflagrations?

This is the problem! Too many people continue to see through the eyes of judgement and condemnation, as if one nationality, or ethnicity, or religion, or gender or any imagined identity of separation is better or worse than another—they are all delusional anxieties. Tragically, the US has a “leader” who inflames those labels of separateness and alienation to his demonic-like pleasure.

Some of you may be thinking that I prayed for Mr. Trump to lose the debate or that I prayed for Mr. Biden to win. I did not pray for either of those short-sighted and limited  outcomes! I prayed for the eyes and minds and hearts of all people to be open and to really see Mr. Trump’s true character.  I did not differentiate my prayers based on anyone’s citizenship or nationality.  I prayed for Mr. Biden to endure the onslaught of Mr. Trump’s satanic-like attacks—which Mr. Biden did with decency, empathy and great feeling.

I prayed for the choice that is before us and how our nation will move forward after all the votes are counted.  This 2020 US election is not about making America great again.  God forbid.   This election is about reducing/eliminating world wide suffering because Trump, like any despot, is utterly unaware of the interconnectedness of all of God’s creation.

My tears were a mixture of many feelings–tremendous relief that the debate was over. I was unaware of how much tension and disquietude I was holding within my spirit.  Millions of lives quite literally hang in the balance as we await the results of this upcoming election.  Another feeling was doubt. Can the hardest of hearts be softened? Can blind eyes really be opened? Can ignorant minds be unlocked? I do not know.  I am heartbroken and bewildered that any American needs to be convinced that Trump is not fit for office.

Mostly I cried because it is all so painful. We are a nation in mourning. Hell, we are a world in mourning and the last thing we need is a bully kicking sand in our face.

In the meantime, I’m going to talk to my friend, I’m going to celebrate the little things in life, and I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing—listening, praying, grieving, healing, being …

… that is more than enough for the times in which we are living.

I already voted, that was easy!

COVID

COVID

Mr. President,

Should I become sick with COVID and/or die as a result of becoming infected, I will hold no ill-will against you; but you would be responsible–as you are for the 6.75 million COVID cases and the 198,000+ resulting deaths in the US.

If I became sick I would let you off the hook, NOT because you deserve it or have done anything to have earned it, but because you have no idea what you are doing–it’s called Grace.

You believe in an illusion and you are not even aware that you are completely unaware. You have believed and continue to believe in something that simply is not true—that we are separate from God and separate from each other. You have put your faith and trust in wealth, fame, sex, power, and all manner of man-made, ego-centric delusions and ideologies.

You hold a Bible in your hand in front of a church to make people think you are a moral man, all the while your misogyny, bigotry, and blatant racism increasingly informs and inflames social, economic, and political division. You pander patriotism while holding illegal rallies, criticizing peaceful protestors, and kowtowing to Putin. You claim to be pro-life, while threatening to rescind healthcare, deregulating hundreds of environmental laws, and reinforcing intolerance through violent “Law and Order” tweets.

I can only imagine the pain and hurt you must have endured and carry with you to go to such extremes in building irreverent walls that only reinforce your separation from all that is holy and sacred.

You are blind to the interconnectedness of all of life which is why you use and abuse anything and everything in your way. Because you fail to see the eternal value of all God’s beloveds, people become a means to an end in your over-indulgent, one-man narcissistic and morbid theatrical performance.

There is a better way! Unfortunately, I fear your heart is so hard that you cannot hear Her calling you.

place your trust in Allah. Surely, Allah loves those who place their trust in Him.” (Q. 3:159)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. [One] experiences [oneself] . . . as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of [one’s] consciousness. . . . Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. —Albert Einstein

Since tomorrow only exists in theory, it is not too late for you to change, to come to terms with your pain and heal, to let Light and Love flow into your heart in order to begin the awakened journey.

Your pattern and past practices of selfish, self-absorbed behavior, however, suggest this may not be possible.

I can only hope for your sake that when you die—because all would-be tyrants do—somehow your eyes will be open and you will recognize the Divine and accept the mercy that is freely available to you even now.

With respect to the office you will hopefully be voted out of,
Susan Fridinger

Deceived

Deceived

“Both North and South looked to God for meaning, and each side believed—with equal fervor and certitude—that God was on its side.“ Harry S. Stout

Feeling rather plucky, I took the MSN.com link to an article by The Hill, entitled “Billy Graham’s Granddaughter: Evangelical Leaders are Failing Us by Supporting Trump,” and copy/pasted it in the comment section of one of Mr. Trump’s posts on his FB page.

This is not the first time I have stepped out of my comfort zone, of flying under the radar, and making a ‘controversial’ comment. A person responded by writing one word, “Deceived.” I did think of replying, “yes, you certainly are” but thought my snarkiness was best left unsaid.

Who is deceived? Is she deceived or am I deceived? Or are we both deceived? If there had been social media during the Civil War, would Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, or Robert E. Lee have been accused of being deceived? I wonder.

But more importantly, if someone is deceived, what is the deception?

“Jesus said repeatedly to defend the poor and show kindness and compassion to those in need. Our president continues to perpetuate an us-versus-them narrative, yet almost all of our church leaders say nothing,” Jerushah Duford

This statement seems perfectly reasonable to me. Where is the duplicity?

According to Mr. Stout and other historians, both the North and South believed God was on their side. Does God even take sides? If so, how does She decide who is right and who is wrong? If not, then why are we as a nation so divided?

“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not survive.” Matthew 12:25

God does NOT take sides, we do.

We may not be divided geographically—north and south–for this upcoming election, but it certainly appears we are extremely divided religiously and/or politically. If Mr. Trump is to be believed, everything wrong with the country is the Democrats’ fault. From the Government sites I researched, it seems the failure is with the Republican led Senate, namely Mitch McConnell. Have I been deceived by reliable and trustworthy sites, or have others been deceived by the “completely unbiased” Fox News, Breitbart or Prager University?

Back to my original question, who is deceived?

All of us, unless we remember otherwise!

Because “in the beginning” humanity believed the lie that we are alienated/separate from God. As long as we continue to believe in this illusion, the more deluded we will become and the “us-versus-them narrative” will continue unabated.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 38-29

There is no ‘us’ or ‘them,’ there is only God.

“The orphan is not a cause. The orphan is not an issue. The orphan has a human face, and that face is Galilean. Jesus tells us that when we see the poor, the weak, the vulnerable, the tossed aside, we see Him there.” Henry Harry Duke of Sussex

… or everyone else, for that matter.

“We believe that God sees us from above, but He actually sees us from the inside.” Shams Tabrizi

Shouldn’t this knowing be the fundamental justification for all our decisions?

https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/life/entertainment/story/2019/nov/23/both-armies-civil-war-god-churches/508964/

http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/nineteen/nkeyinfo/cwsouth.htm

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/billy-grahams-granddaughter-evangelical-leaders-are-failing-us-by-supporting-trump/ar-BB18mBCW?ocid=sf

Decisions

Decisions

Have you heard anyone say the following?

“I decide who I’m going to vote for based on how the person stands on abortion and what they believe about marriage.”

Do you have an understanding of your own decision-making process? Or what is the underlying motivation for it? In other words, on what are your decisions based?

“We make thousands of choices every day. It’s estimated that the average adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day. Each decision, of course, carries certain consequences with it that are both good and bad.” Science.unctv.org

If a person is pro-life concerning the issue of abortion and stands with the traditional definition of marriage—including being against gay marriage, does that necessarily make them a morally ethical person?

President Trump claims to be pro-life and anti-gay marriage, and I certainly do not believe he is a morally ethical person. In fact, I dare say he is morally reprehensible! And yet, many people voted for him in 2016 and will do so again in 2020 simply because of where he seems to stand on these two issues.

Do these two issues take precedence over all the other complex concerns the US is currently facing? If so, why?

“Of about 6 to 10 million currently existing species, we have still only identified 1 million; we know more about vertebrate species than we do about plants and insects. But for groups that we know well, knowledge of very recent species extinctions — and for current species, their ranges and the threats to them — allows us to be certain that extinction rates are comparable to those of the great past extinctions.

For example, for birds, of about 10,000 species worldwide, at least 128 have disappeared in the last 500 years, about 1,200 are currently seriously threatened with extinction (all but three from human activities); there is a real prospect of the loss of 500 bird species within this century.” Daniel Simberloff

Does human existence take priority over all other existence? If yes, why? Does the dominion given to humans in the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis of the Old Testament mean we have the freedom to treat all creation any way we want? Are we called to harsh and evil rule or for benevolence and grace?

For all intents and purposes, it appears to me we have ruled over the earth with the harshness and greediness of an evil king bent on destroying everything that does not serve his very own personal wish and whim.

Acrimonious and disgraceful leadership and example is not a sound basis for decision making.

Again, I ask you, on what do you base the myriad of decisions you make in your life, especially those that can and do affect so many people and other life forms either negatively or positively?

I am a follower of Christ and registered as a Democrat and I believe it would be just as morally impoverished to vote against Mr. Trump as for him simply because of his abortion and gay marriage stance.

Extreme, ignorant and black and white thinking is selfish, narrow-minded, hard-hearted and shows a lack of awareness, and/or intelligence. Individuals who live their lives in such poverty are lost—lost in their own merciless illusions of judgement, wrath, and anger. I pity these folks because they must be enduring a lot of pain or fear in order to want to build walls around their hearts and country rather than become pathways for Light, Love, health and healing.

Do you really want to see the abortion rate drop? Then provide women—ALL women, not just women with economic advantages but poverty-stricken women, women of color and all women everywhere–with educational and economic opportunities so they do not have to see men as their only way through this world. Until we do that, we are faced with a patchwork of limited programs that barely if at all meet their physical and/or emotional needs, much less the needs of children born into trying and disadvantaged circumstances.

Abortion and sexuality are just two issues among many others where people want to impose what they see as right for their own bodies and lives onto others by taking choices away from anyone who disagrees with them. How can the difficulties and challenges different perspectives on these issues raise be addressed through impoverished, black and white thinking? They can’t.

And since collective answers to complex and multidimensional concerns are never straightforward, how can choosing a leader based solely on those two issues regardless of your faith or spiritual practice be so neat and tidy? It can’t.

Not all decisions we make are weighted equally and the results and outcomes can range from inconsequential to life threatening. Within such a broad and seemingly unlimited range of possible results, what becomes our basis and motivation for deciding? What are the things that must be considered?

“Before you speak, THINK. Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”

This saying could easily translate to decision making. To it I would add, do my decisions judge others, life and the world in the light of love?

Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” not “force unto others.”

How will you choose?

My choice? I just want to help people—I don’t care about their gender, their sexuality, the color of their skin or anything else that may be used to make us believe we are separate.

I just want to help and be a pathway of Light and Love.

I Really Want to Know

I Really Want to Know

Mr. President,

I am just going to get right to the point.

First, rather than browbeating school districts to reopen by threatening to withdraw Federal funding, why not take those funds and invest in laptops for every student in the United States and take measures to assure all students have a good and affordable broadband connection? This proposal would open other avenues for learning particularly for students who may not do well in traditional classroom settings. Textbooks and other educational resources could be fully on-line thus eliminating educational inequalities.

Secondly, why have you systematically dismantled over 100 laws and regulations designed to protect the environment? Instead of rolling back these directives because you view them as economically restrictive, why don’t you use them as an opportunity to create new technologies, which would in turn create jobs? Why do you insist on destroying our planet rather than thoughtfully managing our ever-limited resources? The earth simply cannot sustain the human population without reflective stewardship strategies for future generations.

Third, you have taken an adamant pro-life stance on abortion. How do you propose to enforce laws against abortion? Do you intend to incarcerate the women who have an abortion? Should you not also incarcerate the men who impregnate them? Will there be stricter laws for women than men, or vice versa, and why? Since you seem determined to legislate women’s bodies, should you not also regulate the number of ejaculations men are permitted within a certain time period? What are your proposals to support women’s healthcare, or do you continue to just see us as a bunch of pu**ies you can grab?

Fourth, what are your ideas for law enforcement reform? Why do you insist on militarizing our police rather than looking for creative ways for ‘law and order’ that bring about community connectiveness?

This list of issues is in no particular order and is certainly not a comprehensive inventory of the vast obstacles, conflicts and inequities the United States is facing as a nation. I haven’t even mentioned your complete mismanagement of the Pandemic and the lies, delusions and propaganda you have used to try to convince people it will just ‘go away.’

Frankly I am writing this letter because I am completely worn out by and disgusted with your rambling, hatred-filled rhetoric. The United States has many serious and complicated issues and your way of dealing with them has been and is to use labels and words to polarize its citizens and dehumanize those who do not fit your white male patriarchy privileged viewpoint.

Creative problem solving and caring conversations cannot occur through such a limited, deluded and punitive mindset such as yours.

Finally, rather than spending your campaign funds creating advertisements that try to discredit and defame your opponent, why not generate commercials that answer my questions. I really want to know!

With respect to the office you now hold,
Susan Fridinger

History

History

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

The wall built in 1961, separating Easter Berlin from West Berlin, served to further prevent the mass exodus of East Germans seeking democracy’s freedom in West Germany. The barbed wire barricade stood in history as a symbol of the Cold War between the US and USSR. Republican President Ronald Regan commanding General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, to tear down the Berlin Wall is a pivotal moment in history.

Should this obstruction have remained standing? After all, it was history.

There are a number of concentration camps in Europe open to the public—among them are Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau—that serve as memorials for one of the most horrific events in our world’s history. After visiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC when it first opened, I could not begin to imagine the emotional impact of walking on what one might say is consecrated ground.

These sacred spaces remain as a narrative which we dare not repeat.

The United States of America and its capitol, Washington, DC, are full of memorials—placards, statues, buildings, walls, paintings, museums full of historical artifacts, icons and images—of a seeming contradictory and enigmatic history full of paradox. Some events to be celebrated and others to be forgotten—but which is which?

What makes one historical symbol more valuable to celebrate than another? What are we believing and is it helpful?

Some additional questions to ask ourselves regarding monuments and memorials as we watch statues being toppled and portraits being removed, or perhaps before doing so, are these:

What is its message, and how is it received…?

Does it attempt to avoid the real or full history and outcomes of the person(s), action(s) or event(s) it seeks to memorialize…? Does it attempt to rewrite that history or gloss over it…?

Does it include or imply a message in regards to the truth of what it is about…? In other words is the message helpful to all, that is pro-life (in the large sense of this term), or is it harmful and anti-life, anti-human, arising out of and/or supporting extreme beliefs in separation and alienation…?

Is the monument or memorial honest and helpful in its attempts to reveal the truth behind what it attempts to memorialize, whether it be person(s), actions(s)or event(s) that it is about…? And if the event(s) and/or actions(s) represented were anti-life, anti-human, and arising out of extreme beliefs in separation, does the monument help people see that it must not ever happen again…?

Do not some monuments, for instance memorials to the holocaust, and recently constructed monuments to slavery and lynchings, seem to score high grades in response to such questions…? And for that matter, though maybe to a lesser degree, are not monuments to Lincoln, Washington, Ganhdi, and Martin Luther King, Jr similar, in the sense of pointing and remembering in positive life-affirming ways…?

George Santayana, “philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist” is credited with saying “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

I have mixed feelings about the progress we, as a human race, have made in these regards.

This morning I was reading about Joshua from the book of Joshua in the Old Testament. The story begins after the death of Moses who had led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt where they had been enslaved for hundreds of years. Prior to entering the land that God had promised them and before his death, Moses laid his hands on his apprentice conferring leadership to him, and Joshua was filled with the “spirit of wisdom.”

Preparing Joshua for the challenges ahead, God tells him three times to be “strong and courageous” before leading the Israelites across the Jordan River, which was at flood stage. God told Joshua to tell the priests to carry the Ark of the Covenant into the river. As soon as their feet touched the water, the river stopped flowing and the priests stood on dry ground while the water flowing down stream “piled” high like a wall just upstream from them.

Approximately 40,000 Israelites crossed from one side of the river to the other on dry ground. Prior to this monumental move, God had instructed that twelves stones be collected from the middle of the river, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. After the priests, being the last to cross, set foot on the promised land shore, the river returned to flood level flowing.

Those twelve stones, which they had taken out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal, saying to the Israelites, ‘When your children ask their parents in time to come, “what do these stones mean?” then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel crossed over the Jordan here on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you crossed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we crossed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, and so that you may fear (be in awe of) the Lord your God forever. Joshua 4:21-24

Joshua had a very clear-cut answer to the question “what do these stones mean?” Do we as a nation have such unequivocal and precise answers for our children? Is it really enough to say “it’s history” and leave it at that as we decide to keep or remove our nation’s “stones?”

In light of what is currently happening worldwide and in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, we as a nation and as a human race are being given a wonderful opportunity to examine the above questions and our motivations.

We may not see eye to eye, but that is okay as long as our discourse is done so within genuine and sincere respect for one another as children of God.

… this is my hope.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_National_Memorial_for_Peace_and_Justice