Meditations of a christizen (christian-citizen)upon today's topics.
|I, Brother James, cultivated through my imagination and birthed via writing instruments (pen, laptop, etc) 'The Word Courier's Journal'. It is one of several literary efforts so conceived to include the "word", the mind altering, eye opening, life saving gospel of Jesus Christ into the every day conversation on those things deemed relevant to those readers who stumble upon my column. I and all other followers of the Lord are called to witness this message across the globe or at the very least to those around us. Jesus did say "Go therefore and teach all nations..." (see Matthew 28:19 KJV Holy Bible) Here lies my modest attempt to introduce the unknowing people to the Lord and immerse they who know Him in discussion with respect to His outlook on all that matters.|
The industrial world for centuries relied on the dead and dirty fossil fuels to enable modern livelihoods. Today, the more fortunate of world inhabitants stand poised to take advantage of live energy alternatives via technology. The live energy components are fast approaching the efficiency and expense needed to compete with fossil fuels to make life good in the industrial/information age.
The live alternatives are not buried. These exist all around us. Furthermore, the living sources are renewable. And, of course the living alternatives derive from life sustaining elements. The entities are the earth, wind and fire.
The big blue green rock that we inhabit is itself a source of energy. Gravity keeps us afloat or rather from floating away. The earth contains major energy resources. Energy is both within and on the earth.
We can sow and grow our energy. The ethanol used along with petroleum based gasoline stems from the fermenting process that converts sugars into energy that can power moving vehicles. American ethanol largely comes from corn, but it can also be extracted out of other grains such as barley and switch grass. Brazil has successfully used sugar from sugar cane (of course) to reduce their dependence on foreign oil. Trees, manure and even grass clippings provide sources of energy.
The fire that burns within the earth is power packed. According to the the Department of Energy,* (D.O.E.) the earth produces heat within that rivals that of the sun’s surface. This heat when tapped can be changed into steam or hot water. It is then able to transform into electricity. The heat burns on.
Water is a powerful force that effectively shapes the contours dividing land and sea. It can pummel rock into submission and much like the potter to his clay sculpts land surfaces to the figure it desires. Water flow is harnessed to help produce electricity.
The wind is neither earth surface nor sent by the sun. However, the sun does affect it. (more on that later) The wind along with water is a traditional energy source used when massive power is needed. Sailing throughout the ages has been accomplished via careful monitoring and use of wind patterns. Today, wind experiences a renaissance, an energy use revival. The D.O.E. predicted some years ago that energy could supply 20% of the nation’s electric energy by the year 2030. The force of moving air is a beautiful thing.
The sun is the ultimate power source. It can provide a six day energy output that is equivalent to the whole world’s coal supply. And, without the mountaintop blasting and carcinogens pumped into the atmosphere. Today, people use cells to capture the sun’s enormous vigor. The heat then can be converted to electricity.
The sun is at the center of live energy. Plants absorb its light to enable the process of photosynthesis. This is how plants convert the sun’s gift into the sugars of which bio fuels are derived. Trees in particular store the life given out by the sun, the release of which provides live energy.
The wind’s currents are determined by varying heat patterns on the earth’s surface. The heat that gives rise to these patterns is supplied by the sun. The sun plays an integral part in the hydro cycle that allows water to remain a renewable energy source. It evaporates water bringing it up to the atmosphere from where it will depart and return to the earth as snow and rain.
The live energy elements have been around always. These elements will continue to serve those who were given dominion the world if they will exercise that right correctly. The Bible states that God looked upon his creation and saw that everything was good. (Genesis 1:31) That which was good then is still good now.
* The U.S. Dept.of Energy has a very useful web site develped by its Energy Information Administration division. I receieved much (but not all) of the information from that source in writing this article. The link is http://www.eia.gov/
|The onset of mass scale industry hastened the use of polluting energy sources such as oil, gas and coal. People discovered that these elements could provide fast and relatively cheap energy sources for industrial demands. Today, these energy sources provide the bulk of America’s energy output. Coal, natural gas and the inherently hazardous nuclear power account for 85% of America’s electric power.
The energy elements, oil, gas and coal are referred to as fossil fuels because they derived from the remains of living organisms. The origins of these resources are long since dead. The deadness of fossil fuels prevents these materials from being reproduced. Instead, fossil fuels must be discovered and detached from their whereabouts. Fossil fuels come from the dead and as such are often buried. It isn’t a stretch to refer to theses as dead energy resources.
The dead also kills. The processes of excavating fossil fuel grave sites destroy natural habitats. Coal mining is known to use an aptly named process called mountaintop removal. Engineers send seismic booms down sea corridors to search for oil. The shocks are devastating to aquatic life particularly whales. It doesn’t get any better when the death reeks into the atmosphere. The air gets dirtied. The ozone layer depletion leads to global warming which wreaks havoc on the world’s climate.
Fortunately, there are live alternatives. The live alternative discussion continues in the next entry entitled “Live Energy; Earth, Wind and Fire.”
|It is hot as I write this. The time and temperature as this entry post upon “The Word Courier’s Journal” is about 6:30 a.m. and already over 80° F. The sun has baked us as of late. We have endured a recent heat wave that us sweltering. The heat wave is current but the heat isn’t new. Severe heat is a steadily growing occurrence particularly since the 1970’s decade.
Current Heat Streak
The following anecdotes provide examples of how America’s body writhes from a massive heat attack:
-The current heat wave according to a recent article affects 1/3 of the U.S. population.
- Colorado has suffered the ravages of wildfires. N.A.S.A. (the National Aeronautics & Space Administration) counts the number of large infernos dotting the state at eight as of June 28,2012. Wildfires have also scorched Utah, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona.
-St. Louis, a favorite weekend destination of mine and the home of my beloved Cardinals, is expected to reach triple digit high temperatures for the remainder of the week.
-Chicago recorded 12 90° days as of June 19th. The official first day of summer is June 20.
It is hot with no apparent relief in sight. The heat as they say is on a hot streak.
Each decade in recent history has been hotter than the last. This is a reality that has been evident since the 1970’s decade. Furthermore, the 10 warmest years on records have occurred since 1997. The most recent 14 years have produced the top 10 hottest years. The average temperature increased more in the past 50 years than it did in the nearly 100 years before the 1960’s.
The world is getting hotter. The evidence about that is beyond dispute. Scientist from organizations as varied as N.A.S.A. and the Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change (I.P.C.C.) recognize this fact. Similarly, the causes, chiefly the emission of gases derived from the burning of fossil fuels (i.e. oil, coal and natural gas) along with deforestation are agreed upon. Still, doubters remain.
The Rush Limbaughs of the world continue to deny what is before them. The atmosphere respectfully ( or not so respectfully) disagrees with their position. The air is hotter, the land surface is warmer and the ocean temperatures have climbed steadily.
The Lord has some words to say upon this subject. The first chapter of Genesis documents two statements that evinced God’s pleasure toward his creation. The 25th and 31stverses both state that God saw that his creation was good. The air he created did notsuffer from ozone level depletion. Nor did it contain greenhouse gases derived from fossil fuels. Indeed, the oil, coal and other fossil fuel elements are buried beneath waters, mountains and terrain. This is for a reason. The renewable energy sources i.e. the sun, wind, water and biomass are within reach without the need to dig. This is also for a reason.
The Bible clearly states that the earth belongs to the Lord. And, we just live here. Matthew Henry, the noted biblical expert, once wrote that our relationship with regard to the Lord and his earth takes upon the same role as tenants and their land lord. The land lord owns the property whereas the tenants reside there.
The tenants can not do anything they please. Similarly, we as people are to treat the world like it is a place where we currently live and should preserve for future tenants. The agreement is implied. I have never rented from a land lord who would allow me to burn the building to the ground. It stands to reason the Lord doesn’t want us to burn up his property either.
|Dr. Seuss scripted the best sales job in literature’s history. His story comprised few words. It involved only two characters, a seller and a buyer. The seller, Sam I Am, repeatedly harassed his singular targeted market. The buyer responded with an equally unwavering rebuttal to the prospect of dining on green eggs and ham. Finally, he relinquished simply to get Sam I Am to leave him alone. Sam’s persistence won out in the end.
The literary gem should be required reading for sales professionals. It shows that when one persists long enough, he can get anyone to accept anything. Similarly, people tend to believe anything as truth if its heard often enough. (One example of this is the theory of evolution-but that can be the subject of another column)
The myth that black people are cursed because of Ham still lingers. It is time to put the Ham scam to rest. The information that follows is not an earth shattering, never before told revelation. However, it will be new to some. The myth debunking begins with some background.
The slave masters and jim crow apologist of old perpetrated the Ham scam to justify their oppression of African-Americans. They would point to the Genesis account (Genesis 9:20-27) whereby Ham sinned against his father Noah. According to them, Noah retaliated by cursing Ham and his descendants who happened to be Africans. A critical look at the appointed verses reveals otherwise.
Noah actually cursed Canaan and his progenies. He vowed that they would serve the offspring of Shem and Japheth, Ham’s brothers. (Genesis 9:25-27) Ham sired four sons mentioned in the scriptures. The other three were Cush, Mizraim and Phut. The other three remained un-cursed.
Cush- It is written that Cush begat Nimrod who it is said was “a mighty hunter before the Lord.” Nimrod settled Shinar a region located within the borders of contemporary Iraq. Cush is used interchangeably with Ethiopia, the Greek term that translate to burned skin. The remaining descendants of Cush took up residence in the Middle East, Western Asia and North East Africa. Cush is apparently African but not cursed.
Mizraim- Mizraim is a Hebrew reference to the physical features that define Egypt and the Nile River. The African descendants of Mizraim established what may well be the most accomplished civilization in history. The Pyramids stand tall to remind people of ancient Egypt’s grandeur. Egypt played a key role in Israeli biblical history. Moses led the Hebrews out from under bondage to Egypt. Joseph escorted his wife Mary and the young child Jesus to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod. (Matthew 2:13-23)
Phut- The offspring of Phut settled into Libya. Simon the Cyrenian helped Jesus bear the cross on his march toward his temporary demise. Cyrene was a Libyan city.
Canaan gave rise to the Canaanites. The name/word Canaan indicates the colors red and purple. The color reference happens to identify a dye for which they were famous. The Canaanites mined the seas for this dye. It was held in high esteem and used to shade the fine fabrics of royalty.
The Canaanites appear frequently in the scriptures. They have often been the bad guy. For instance, the prophet Elijah fled Israel to escape Jezebel’s wrath. She was the Canaanite queen married to Israel’s King Ahab. She put a bounty on Elijah’s head. He then ran out to the wilderness and ironically made his way to a Canaanite city. The Canaanites were the proverbial thorn in Israel’s side.
The reviled Canaanites patrolled the Mediterranean coast as seafarers and merchants. They achieved a highly developed civilization. Yet, they practiced pagan worship. Baal was the chief deity of their pagan pantheon. He was believed to be the god of rain and fertility. The Bible states that the Canaanites dispersed throughout. (Genesis 10:18)
Where are they now?
The enslaved in the American continents, North and South were indigenous to West Africa. Today’s African-Americans derived from people who come from this area of the world. It is possible that some among the dispersed Canaanites found their way to that region. It is also likely that many of West Africa’s inhabitants did not descend from Canaan. The bible states that Ham and his brothers populated the earth. However, it did not specify all peoples’ origins in Genesis 10th chapter. For example, the people in the America’s before Columbus, also known as Native Americans, were not listed. The people indigenous to the Pacific Rim are not specifically identified either. This is the case for people in West Africa too. A definite lineal relationship between the cursed Canaanites and America’s slaves is not proven.
It is important for people to read the Bible for their own knowledge. Otherwise, God fearing believers will resign to a fate of oppression based upon the self-serving doctrinal twist of dishonest charlatans. The account recorded in genesis does not even hint of the erroneous claims made by the Ham scam.
Perhaps the second character in Dr. Seuss renowned tale should have refused the meal from which the story is named. Green eggs in particular sound nasty.
| Our Lord deems it important that we help the most vulnerable among us. He has a special place in his heart for them. How do I know this? Let me count the verses:
8- The number of scriptures that contain the words fatherless and widow.
23- The number of scriptural recites in which the words fatherless and widows (plural) are mentioned in the same verse.
55- The number of times the word fatherless is found in a biblical verse.*
The figures bear witness to the Lord’s concern for the needy. It stands to reason that the Lord desires us as individuals, communities and particularly churches to do our best to help those in need. Furthermore, the same would seem to apply to our government.
The government is the service mechanism that exists for the public good. A natural outcome of serving the public good would be to help those in need. Thus, the government that serves us should help the fatherless and the widows.
Who then are these named fatherless and widows? The fatherless include orphans and the children readily identified by the term. Widows are women who lost their husbands, but many who are single parents meet the same challenges as their widow counterparts.
A large slice of the Christian pie argues that it is the role of the church, family and community to help the needy whereas the government should not be involved. And, to a degree they are correct. The church of Jesus Christ, those who believe in salvation via faith in the risen Savior, has traditionally taken on this role. It continues today to provide relief for the burdened among us. Still, a case can be made for government funded and government regulated relief.
The government that serves should in some way reflect our values. The provision of relief for the fatherless and the widows demonstrates that core belief. Furthermore, we pay for the government. Jesus said that a man’s heart is where his money lay.(see Matthew 6:21) The disciples government should spend as our values would dictate.
The principle of a systematic method to provide relief on a mass basis is actually recorded in scripture. The Lord in the book of Deuteronomy 24:19-21 issued a manner by which the harvest should be shared with the less fortunate. This edict was Mosaic law that applied to individuals and given as a public responsibility.
Moses recorded these verses more than 3000 years ago. The notion of the public’s duty toward the less fortunate is by no means an invention of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal or a product of socialism.
The “M” word comes into play here. He repeatedly demands this of us because the fatherless and widows dependence on societal compassion parallels our own relationship with him. They need the public. And, to a greater degree we need God. He is just asking us to have mercy on others just as he has on us. The word mercy is found in 261 verses of scripture. The numbers don’t lie.
*I don’t know these numbers because I am such a stand out biblical scholar. Au contraire my few but loyal readers, I visited a web site that showed me the information. I simply typed in the various positioning of the words and clicked. And, voila (I have the French vibe going here) the verses appear with the number of times the varied word combinations are exhibited.
I used http://www.blueletterbible.org/ to look this up. It is a very useful site for all things biblical.
|I must confess. I have something that needs to get off of my chest. Confession cleanses the soul. Indeed, it lightens the heart's burdens. To those who know me, the following admission may come as a complete shock (or not): I am a square.
I remember when a former neighbor exposed me. She asked, already knowing,"so you just go to work and go to church right?" I had to admit that this was basically correct. I lived then and continue to live now the WWW lifestyle. Worship, work and write. I am square even by the standards of the Pentacostal church body to which I belong.
I am so square that:
-to me, a stiff drink is a hard frozen vanilla milk shake.
-my idea of a fast woman is a church matron who hasn't eaten in over 12 hours. Get it-"fast" woman.
-when I drive, I don't do u-turns, instead I do two "L" turns. (think about it)
You get the point. I revel in the shared squareness that links President Obama to myself. The following are excerpts from my "Gold Standard" article "Hip to be Square" (11/12/2008) written shortly after the election:
The choice of billionaire Warren Buffet and Hollywood celebrities is as square as a box.
I like him for what he is not. He is not a reformed thug, and better yet he is not an unreformed thug.
He is not hip hop, nor is he a jock, a mega church celebrity preacher, or some other assorted attention starved “name” that people have come to associate with successful African American men.
He is an idealist while cynicism is the cultural norm.
He unlike a certain saxophone playing former president is a family man who promises to be boring gossip magazine fodder.
He is so square that it’s cool.
|I recently completed my third field canvassing junket to Milwaukee. Our group of Obama supporters visited on this past Sunday. The nine of us went there with purpose knowing that Wisconsin’s gubernatorial recall election will be held today. Each of us is aware of the importance that Wisconsin replaces Gov. Scott Walker with his opponent, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett.* As a result, we spoke with every voter we could.
It was during the ride back home, amidst our discussions of all things political, that something occurred to me. The year 2012 marks my 30th anniversary as a grassroots campaigner. I began in 1982 beating the local precincts path in my mid-sized Illinois home town. Our candidate was a wonderful lady who was tragically killed in an automobile accident shortly after winning the Democratic primary to retain her county board seat. It gave me pause to think of former Will County board member Jane Mills Reed, the charismatic figure who introduced me to politics.
Thereafter, I would canvass by phone and in the streets on and off for the next thirty years. The campaigning included support of Jesse Jackson’s presidential bids in Iowa’s first in the nation caucuses while a college student and recent graduate in the 80’s. I also have walked the wards of Chicago, hosted and attended phone banks and toiled the fields of various Midwest states.
The campaign experience has showed me a thing or two. It may sound corny but democracy revolves around these people power efforts. The technological changes that have taken place from 1982 until now have completely altered our world. Yet, for all the tweeting, texting, friending, blogs, television and money, one thing remains clear: word of mouth never goes out of style. Conversations still matter.
Wisconsin’s people brought about today’s election despite facing a pair of billionaire brothers and their Tea Party flunkies. The demonstrations, marches, and picketing have held steadfast against Tea Party tyranny. To end oppression, to preserve liberty, and attain all these other lofty aspirations it boils down to one factor: someone must care.
People who care enough to volunteer following an eight hour work day surrounded by one hour commutes, parents who alter their life schedules for the cause and students who add canvassing to the pressure of a full class load are just a few examples of the grassroots soldiers that man (and woman) the trenches in the war to combat tyranny and enable the survival of democracy. I am truly thankful for those who care.
*See previous journal entry for a brief background of events leading up to the election
|Tuesday June 5, 2012
The following is a reprint from Gold 2.(see title page) I refer to reprints like this one as 'gold dust'.The original rant was screamed into print in January 2012 and provides a backdrop for today's Wisconsin gubernatorial election.
Praise the Lord! The people of Wisconsin have spoken. The proud inhabitants of the badger state voiced their disgust towards the Teapublicans working family un-friendly policies with 1 million signatures attached to petitions demanding recall elections for Gov. Scott Walker and Lt.Gov Rebecca Kleefisch. They far exceeded the minimum 540,208 valid signatures required to bring about Gov. Walker’s recall election and the 845,000 needed for Rebecca Kleefisch. The voters also stamped more than 80,000 name imprints split among four petitions to force a recall vote on Teapublican associates in the state senate.
The Teapublicans set the tone last year with their brazen attack on public employees. The legislation, popularly known as ‘Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill’, restricted collective bargaining for most employees* and eliminated this basic right for University of Wisconsin employees among others. The Budget “despair” bill includes a provision to choke off union funding by prohibiting payroll deduction of union dues. It also slashed public school funding to complete the rancorous seasoning to the cocktail of toxic stew cooked up for Wisconsin’s working families.
The Teapublicans affront was met by resistance. A series of skirmishes ensued throughout the year:
The entire Democratic Party’s state senate delegation hastily retreated south of the border into Illinois to prevent the necessary quorum to vote on a spending bill. The Teapublican Senators retaliated by taking the spending options out of the package. The legislation went through in March.
The debate surrounding this law like much of America’s debate found its way to court. Initially, Dane County Circuit judge Maryann Sumi ruled against the assault on working families. She reasoned that the process by which it was enacted violated Wisconsin’s open meetings requirements. The Wisconsin Supreme Court over ruled her decision less than three weeks later.
Fall (of some Teapublicans)
The ‘good guys (&girls)’ did however narrow the Teapublicans state senate majority to one vote via recall election efforts that culminated in the autumn.It worked so well that a grass roots group called United Wisconsin along with the Democrats, unions and other people tired of balancing budgets on the backs of working families and children who attend public schools decided to go for the Governor.The process began on November 15, 2011 and incidentally but not coincidentally closed out on January 15 2012.
The Drum Major
The above date is the 83rd anniversary of the birth date of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is remembered as a “civil rights” icon but first and foremost he was a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He looked upon his extraordinary efforts as simply doing the ministry that God called him to do. He walked the trail begun by Old Testament prophets and Gospel disciples who cried out against injustice and oppression. See Amos 4:1-2, Malachi 3:5,Isaiah 1:17,and James 5:4.(Holy Bible) He wanted to be remembered as a drum major for justice, for peace and for righteousness. I do believe that he would have liked this birthday.
*Police, firefighters and state troopers have escaped the Teapublican wrath for the moment.