Tuesday, December 30, 2014
I generally try to stay out of political arguments. However, some recent comments about President Obama have made me angry. I believe that some of those statements aren't based on facts and may, in fact, be racially motivated. Some of the facts, which are easily available via reliable Internet resources, indicate that President Obama has led us well. When President Obama was chosen by a majority of our citizens for the office of President, our country was involved in a two front war in Iraq and Afghanistan during which 6,717 Americans would die. According to a Harvard study, the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost us citizens, 4 to 6 trillion dollars, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade of fighting. $6 trillion dollars is a 1/3 of our nation's present debt of $18 trillion. The emotional and mental costs for the families of the wounded and those who have died are incalculable. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were a response to the lives lost when the planes flew suicide missions into the Twin Towers and our country was confused and panicky. President Obama has thoughtfully and deliberately led our country out of those wars. During President Obama's tenure the Dow Jones has risen to an all time high. President Obama's health care initiative, properly entitled, The Affordable Health Care Act, has not only given 500,000 Kentucky citizens health care insurance but statistics indicate that 4 million United States citizens now have access to affordable health care insurance which was financially prohibitive previously. I'm grateful that in God's providence, Barack Obama was chosen to lead our nation during these time. I've prayed for every President regardless of their political party and whether or not I agreed with all of their proposals and plans. In fact I've never agreed with every proposal of any President including President Obama. I've tried to be very careful about any public criticism because that individual is not only our nation's President; he is also my President.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
On December 10, 1989, the Dalai Lama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. In his acceptance speech he said, "The problems that confront us today are created by man, whether they are violent conflicts, destruction of the environment, poverty or hunger. These problems can be resolved thanks to human efforts, by understanding that we are brothers and sisters and by developing this sense of fraternity. We must cultivate a universal responsibility toward each other and extend it to the planet that we have to share." (My Spiritual Journey, Dalai Lama and Sofia Stril-Rever.) If we thought of and treated a young man in Ferguson, MO and a gentleman selling cigarettes on the street in New York as my brother, it would surely make a difference. If we treated policemen in New York city or any other city as our brothers and sisters, surely that would make a difference. We really are brothers and sisters.
Today is the winter solstice. The shortest day of light in the year. Beginning tomorrow we journey back toward days of more sunlight. It really is a 'turning of the corner' and heading toward days of longer sunlight. That pleases me because I do better with lots of sunlight. Tonight our Church will host a Service of Remembrance for those families who have lost a loved one this past year. There will be families who have experienced death along with those who have gone through divorce. We will read scripture, pray and light candles. There it is again--'light as a sign of hope.' Our neighbor has sold her house and moved. She lived across the street for about 30 years. She had some unusual patterns of behavior; for example, she would never let anyone inside her house. Another neighbor purchased her house and has begun to remodel. His first task was to bring several large dumpsters into which were shoveled old papers and magazines. Our long time neighbor was a hoarder. When I asked the purchasing neighbor how things were going, his response was "We're cleaning out everything so we can get some light into the house see what we've got to do." There is "light" again. Light is crucial for our lives. Light helps many out off winter's 'depression'. Light can gives us hope in times of darkness. Light can help us see our mess and what needs to be done. Jesus said that he was the light of the world. We celebrate Christmas because the light is coming into the world. That's really good news!
Sunday, December 7, 2014
My Dad practiced optimism. He never said a lot about such an attitude; however, he always saw the good in whatever was happening. When he was elderly, living within dementia in a Nursing Home, he was fond of saying that with his present mental ability he could really enjoy an Easter egg hunt. He would say that he could hide the eggs in the evening, go to sleep and in the morning he wouldn't remember where he had hidden them so he could really hunt for the Easter eggs. He would laugh as he told this story, and he told it frequently because he couldn't remember that he had already told it. Optimism is a good trait and I hope that we have it all of our life; not just in our elder years. Optimism helps when we are working together on projects or on a team. The lack of optimism makes us critical of everyone else and their ideas because we'll think that my ideas are the "right way" to do things and everyone ought to understand and agree.