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As soon as I read this, I thought “this looks like a manual for discipleship.”

Dare to fight back.  Dare to lend a hand. Dare to do.  Dare to heal.  Dare to make someone smile.

Come on.  I double dare you.

–SueBE

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I’ve got an out-there theory about that 80s pop song that won’t get out of my head. I think it’s an alien radio wave, cleverly disguised as the Eurythmics. After all, what are light years to aliens? They call it, yesterday. My guess is that they experience everything all at once: past, present, future, and have only one tense in their language – “init,” meaning you’re in it – all time, at all times. 

I’m fascinated by news related to science, if only because it allows me to use my imagination. It also takes my mind off the rest of the news. Why is it that the only time an event makes its way into the headlines – and into our collective psyche – is when it’s something terrible? You almost need a red button of sorts to warn you. This is bad for you. It will add nothing good to your life.

I’m not saying that journalists shouldn’t cover actual news stories that impact our lives, but I haven’t read anything in the news today that improved my life for my having read it. Not one blessed thing.

Maybe that’s the real issue here. Not one blessed thing was in the news today. Only the cursed things. The things that make us cry and curse and shake a fist in anger. Maybe no news really is good news. Or at least fewer negative news stories. Finding positive news online and in life is possible. You just have to adjust your antenna.

When we were kids, my best friend and I would announce it was “opposite day” and turn our jackets or sweaters around backwards.  Who knew that this silly childhood game would become a national pastime.

Did someone there on the right disagree with me?  Sorry, couldn’t hear him.  I’m already running my mouth again or jabbing my phone to post a snippy response on social media.

Step back.  Take a deep breath.

If this is something you truly believe in, leave off the snotty Facebook posts. Look for a protest march to join.  Write a letter to your Congress people.   Mine is going to include a quote from Romans.  A slightly longer quote than the one used to justify the abuse of children.

Yeah.  I said it – abuse.  But it isn’t a term I selected in anger.  Being slow to anger doesn’t mean ignoring wrongs.  It just means you need to hear them out in good faith.  Then you get to have your say.

–SueBE

These young ladies know the power of team work and use being part of a time to spread light and love throughout their community.  A lesson for all of us on how to do it right.  –SueBE

Not happy with how things are in this world?  Tired of the swirling chaos and negativity? Thoughts and words, my friends.  Both have a huge impact.

I’m not saying that there aren’t bad things that need to change. There are.  Just this week, two workers died in St. Louis, Mo where I live.  Somehow the cage they were in while working in an elevator shaft disconnected from the safety line and fell.  It is horrible and the cause of the accident is being investigated.  Yet I saw that someone today is using this event to “prove” that elevators are unsafe.

The scariest part?  Watching people jump on her bandwagon.  She says elevators are unsafe.  Doesn’t that make it so?

Can I issue everyone who reads this a challenge?  For a day, when you don’t like something and the world seems bad, step back and look.  Are you creating negativity?  Making something worse or bigger than it is?

The world is  complicated place.  Acknowledge the impact that your thoughts and words have on how you see things.  Why not look for God’s light instead of the Darkness?

–SueBE

 

When I read about missionaries overseas, I’m of two minds. Appreciative of anyone lending a hand to those in need, but ambivalent about the fact that it comes with a price tag. Listen to a sermon. Follow this religion. Do things our way.

To me, the essence of the gospel is outreach that makes a positive impact for someone in a negative circumstance and expects nothing in return. This church initiative in England that asks congregants to use an app to report slavery at car washes is a good example.

The phrase, “of two minds,” came to me again as I read about the cancellation of Roseanne Barr’s sitcom re-boot in the wake of her racist tweet. Several years ago, I wrote an article about the Secret, a new-age philosophy and film. I contacted celebrities who’d commented about it, one of whom was Roseanne.

“The Secret is based on Abrahamic meditations, and should be used only to bring peace and blessings to the mind, and NOT for material gain, which will make it backfire,” she said in an email. It wasn’t her agent or assistant, but Roseanne, responding to me directly. I noticed two things: she doesn’t have a handler and she has strong opinions. She’s of two minds. Seeker of spiritual truth. Spewer of hate speech.

I’m of two minds in terms of what to do with notable figures who go off the rails in this way. On the one hand, what they’ve done is inexcusable. On the other, isolating them in perpetuity won’t rehabilitate them, or make the issues go away. I really wish there were an app for that.

A collection of crows is called a murder. A clutch of kittens is called a kindle. So what do you call a group of human beings?

The answer, at least of late, and (gratefully) in a minority of instances, is to call them animals. Those gang members are animals. That person is an animal.

This is all very easy and very satisfying. It makes sense to separate these people from our own species, to make them less like us. It creates a comfortable distance and encourages us to not bother treating them as we would other human beings. It gives us license to dismiss them. Or worse.

But it is also very dangerous. For one thing, animals aren’t like people; in many ways they are better. They don’t rape and kill for power and position…or just for the heck of it. There were no muskrats or springboks eating from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Even if you only accept that story as metaphor, animals are clearly exonerated. When they kill, they do so from instinct — to eat, to protect their young. You won’t see any real wolves on Wall Street — or bulls or bears, either. Just humans doing human things, which are often greedy, self-motivated or based on the basest of emotions: fear or anger.

The truth is: Only human beings willingly choose evil. That is a frightening thing. But it is also a fact that we must look at, clear-eyed and without flinching. Only when we understand our complicity in evil can we start to correct it. But that understanding has to start in our own souls, because that is where evil hides out. None of us is immune to it. If we can call a person an animal, we can commit evil against that person. It’s a slippery slope, folks, lined with Slip ‘n’ Slides and plummeting down to the depths of human depravity. They may be on that slope, but so are we.

Every human being, no matter how unlike us they might be, is a human being. God made them. God made us. God made Liberals. God made Conservatives. God made gang members. There is never — ever — justification for treating someone as less than human, even if that person is choosing to treat me as less than human.

Let’s remember that the next time we feel the urge to other someone. And let’s respond in a truly human way — with hugs, not name-calling.

If you’ve looked at the headlines today, you’ve probably seen news about young children being taken from immigrant parents, complaints about President Trump, and his daughter Ivanka.  You have already spent some time thinking about other turmoils in this world – environmental problems, those seeking asylum and more.

Frankly, it’s overwhelming.

Take a deep breath.  Now raise up your eyes.  Above the turmoil and the crisis are a group of men and women who have heard a calling from God. They have signed on to serve their country.  You may not agree with where they serve or the actions they take, but these men and women are the bridge that carries many of us across danger.  

They fight our wars and offer assistance in natural disasters.  Their leaders have even petitioned the Federal Government regarding climate change. Memorial Day belongs to them.

–SueBE

I regard science with the same awe – and even reverence – that I do faith. I know that to some, they are diametrically opposed, but to me, both are suffused with magic and mystery. Most of it is over my head, but both of them fill me with a childlike wonder.

The first time I realized science and faith could co-exist was in high school. My favorite teacher was a former Jesuit priest, and he taught my English class, then later, I took his Latin class. He said that he believed that God created us through evolution, and that really made my head spin.

Ever since then, I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can on my own about space – both inside (the soul), and outside (the universe.)

Astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted a link to a survey that showed almost 40% of people think life wouldn’t be much different if science didn’t exist. He could have said, without science, there would be no treatment for HIV. No strides in cancer research. But he knew what would resonate with people these days. He said, “No science means no social media!”

I was fascinated to read about a newly-discovered galaxy that has almost no dark matter. If only we could say the same thing about life on Earth! No dark matter. A positive place with nothing to bring you down. “Based on the ratio in other galaxies, an isolated galaxy like NGC1052-DF2 should have about a hundred times more dark matter than ordinary matter. But this one appears to have almost none.”

Sounds like a pretty decent neighborhood! Maybe we’ll find a way to get there and build a colony filled with light and where everyone’s good to one another. Till then, I’ll keep looking toward the stars and following my heart.

Change is normal. Change is normal. Change? Still normal. 

Fingers crossed that I’ll chill if I keep telling myself this.  Long ago, I came to the realization that I’m okay with change if I’m the one making it happen.  Decide to paint my office door with chalkboard paint?  Good.  Also going to repaint my bathroom a new color?  Also good.  Discover a leak in our water-bed . . . whoa.  What?

Yes, not only do we still have a water-bed (remember, I’m iffy on change) but it has a pin hole leak.   My husband had already fixed it once.  Yesterday it started up again so it is time to face the inevitable.  We will be shopping for a new mattress.  And probably a frame.  And the carpet is in awful shape so we’ll pull that up.  And as long as everything is out of the room, we guess we should paint.

In 30 minutes, I went from being good with the changes coming in my life to really wanting to crawl under the bed but that’s probably not a good idea.  It is, after all, leaking.

At Bible study last night, we were talking about God’s assurance that he will be with us when we are suffering.  Not that I think I’m suffering.  I’m inconvenienced. I’m a tad overwhelmed.  Suffering?  Nope.  Suffering is knowing that you can’t keep your children safe from their own government.  Suffering is knowing that other countries will condemn your leaders, but take you in?  Thanks but no.  That would be too much change.

Change is normal.  When will we learn?

–SueBE

 

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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