By Example

“You lead me along the right paths, those of your own choosing, that I might serve you there. Even now, this very day, you are preparing the future before me, even in the presence of my enemies. Your word and your example strengthen me.”

In my world of Unorthodox Christianity,  Jesus becomes my Example, not by his divinity, but by his perseverance. I remember a sermon given on a retreat that was based on a very simple concept. “Isn’t the blood of Jesus enough?”  I don’t need divinity to sway my opinions, I need example. Mentorship has always been about example. Jesus’ example was to follow the teachings that he had been given over the years via the mentorship of those that GOD (LOVE) had placed before him for that very purpose.

“Even now you are preparing the future before me…”  He had a unique vision of his place in the journey of the world and that future was based on an all abiding faith in LOVE. If only all of us could learn from his example. Not fixated on the Cross but abiding in our own resurrection. His example of persevering on through the challenges of life in spite of setback (in his case quite extreme, as was the result for many others) becomes my example when the hardship that I perceive in mine pales by comparison.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled for thou are with me…….”

Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord (LOVE) forever.” 

Who has GOD led you to be a mentor for? There is no coincidence, just a curve or right turn along the way. Why else do you think your here? Your spirit has been given eternal life, use it wisely and, yes,  it will be challenging. Appreciate it and you will be blessed beyond your own belief. Not by “divinity” but by being led by example.

The “American Supremacist” Culture

Following on the lines of Simply Love One Another.
Would you be so kind as to hang in there with me here.

There has been a considerable amount of press and activity lately centered around the term “White Supremacy”, and it’s preponderants  called “White Supremacists”. In regards to the currents ‘news’, I have to sympathize with the ‘other side’ because I am white, and not much of a “Supremacist”.
If there is one thing that I have never been much of it is “Supreme”. As a member of the simple working class, I have experienced quite an interesting diversity of “Supremacy” over the years. Because of this, I have a Dennis perspective on how our country has become so divided along the lines of “Supremacy”.

Much like I look at religion, I find “Supremacy” requires a huge caveat along the lines of “Truth in Advertising”.

No news has been written much about German Supremacy, or Black Supremacy, or Asian Supremacy. (There are more potential Asian Supremacists in the world than any other cultural group, but I just never hear about them). You get the idea.

I have seen many I call the “EDUCATED SUPREMACISTS”. They carry a degree in their back pocket that qualifies them to be  “SUPREME”, ( do you know any of these people?) They can be recognized because laws do not apply to them unless accompanied by a police car with lights on top.

On any given day, I hear or read about the Democrat Supremacists or the Republican Supremacists and why one is better than the other, irregardless of their color.
I, unfortunately, remind you that I am not supreme. Consequently very little that I get involved in matters much in the scheme of things, but my Senator or city council person is close to GODLY in his (or her) impact in the daily world.

I will defer the “RELIGIOUS SUPREMACISTS” to another writing.

And all this has yet to deal with two huge competing segments of “AMERICAN SUPREMACISTS”.

Women and Men.

Women and men I have discovered come in all kinds of colors and cultures and often find themselves in positions of “Supremacy”. I guess the “White Supremacist” example has not been wasted on many of these. It is just that this supremacy is hidden in the background, much like the now infamous “Gay Closet”. This level of Supremacy needs to be brought out of the closet and examined for what it also has become.  This kind of “Supremacy” also results in acceptable bullying, abuse, condescension and the general overall air of “My Success at YOUR Expense”, that often is shared as the American “Dream?”

Asked the other day about my culture in a meeting that included primarily Latino people, I mentioned that I was classified as WHITE. The response clarified the question as to what Nationality was I. I responded that I was WHITE. I have never been asked on an employment application if I was Swedish, or German, or Irish, or Scottish (all of which I am). I had no other reasonable option but to list “WHITE”. I even have a tan from the El PASO sunshine, but automatically I am addressed in English vs Spanish. I have never been listed as a member of a “preferred hiring” group. I have never been listed as a member of a preferred educational assistance group. I have never been involved in a “WHITE HISTORY MONTH, DAY or YEAR.” I have yet to see a “WHITE ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS” or “WHITE MUSIC PERFORMING ARTS AWARD” show on TV. I have never been acknowledged as being German, or Swedish, or Scottish, or Irish, I have always been WHITE. I have never been “SUPREME.”
Yet what many in America now see is Dennis the “WHITE SUPREMACIST.”

The mysterious “They” never seem to see a “FEMALE SUPREMACIST” or a “MALE SUPREMACIST”. I have had many male and female teachers, instructors, bosses and bullies cross my path whose attitude has been to be “Supreme”.  I have never met a “BLACK SUPREMACIST” but I am familiar with the “BLACK POWER MOVEMENT”. Those who have, seen, know of, and have themselves been bullied and bossed by those in their own BLACK community. I have had bosses and co-workers that have crossed all sexes and cultures and they seem to be competing with the WHITE SUPREMACIST culture to succeed in the workplace as well as the political arena.

WRONG IS WRONG.

I have heard terrible stories of the (ANY CULTURE) teachers and coaches (ANY GRADE) that bully their students because they feel that they can because they feel it is free of charge because of their “Supremacy”. These people are no different than the “White Supremacist” of the daily news. The police officer who bullies people because they feel empowered to by their position making it free of charge are no different than the “White Supremacist” of the daily news. Thankfully I know of many more policeman and military personnel who I admire more than all others because of their sacrifice who are getting lost in the “POLICE SUPREMACIST” movement of some of their peers that is all over the daily news. These few “Supremacists” create a “POLICE SUPREMACIST” model that also needs to be acknowledged and acted upon. Often the model comes from the top down.

WRONG IS WRONG.

I have actually known some awfully bad people of all colors and cultures who should just be called BAD PEOPLE. These I would classify as “BAD PEOPLE”.  NOT to be confused with SUPREMACISTS.

I pray the day is coming when the applications simply ask:
“Check here if you are an “AMERICAN.”
You see all of the above people whom I have known have been “AMERICANS”. The ones who have had Pakistani roots, they are AMERICANS. The ones whose color was different than mine have been “AMERICANS”. The GOOD people as well as the BAD people have been AMERICANS. What AMERICA needs to do to become GREAT (not Again, but the FIRST TIME) is go back to our roots and evolve along with our nation. All men (and women) created equal. One nation, indivisible, melting pot of the world’s cultures, doing unto others as they would have them doing unto themselves, in LIBERTY and with JUSTICE FOR ALL.
Ellis Island should not be a figment of our imagination, it should be the bulwark of our success. At some point in time in our “American History” (for all but a select few of our citizens by number) Your family and culture came here through Ellis Island or similar port of entry, they signed their name, they took a pledge of allegiance, and they started contributing.
Some President once said “Ask NOT what your country can do for you, Ask what YOU can do for your country.”
History would record that that concept was beyond most of our citizens abilities of comprehension.

What America needs to be GREAT is AMERICANS.

Not WHITE AMERICANS. NOT BLACK or LATIN, or GERMAN or SCOTTISH or ASIAN AMERICANS, or MIDDLE EASTERN AMERICANS.  JUST AMERICANS. One of my great acquaintances is an AUSTRALIAN AMERICAN. My partner is a CANADIAN AMERICAN. It has taken all of these AMERICANS to get AMERICA where it is today. The railroads were not built by just “WHITE” Americans. The Cotton and tobacco was not picked by just “WHITE” Americans. The clothes were not sewn by just “WHITE” Americans. The more AMERICANS the better, following John Kennedy’s dream. It is the desire for too many of us to be “SUPREME” that is getting in the way of America becoming “GREAT”. The problem is that we learn by example, and the examples can leave a lot to be desired.

Look at your neighbor for what your neighbor is: AMERICAN.
If your neighbor is not an AMERICAN citizen help them become one.
If we are worried about them taking advantage of America and the benefits it has become accustomed to providing, because of a lack of their citizenship, make a Presidential Decree and make them all citizens. Then they will all qualify for just what the rest of us Citizens qualify for. (Apply this to Congress also.)
When we deny the “DREAM” to one, we have denied the “DREAM” to all.
WE NEED AMERICANS. Not “Supremacists”. We have enough of the “SUPREMACISTS” already.

dw9-8-17

Great Again Revisited

From 7-15-2016
What day are we to strive for that we are going to base the idea of ‘again’ on?
Of the people, by the people, for the people? Is that the day when we were great once? Is this the day we are striving to attain?
Was plantations and slaves the day that we were great once? Is this the day we are striving to bring back ‘again’?

Back in July of last year I posted Making America Great Again – Really? An excerpt of which is above. Little did I know how quickly I would be answered. Life can be scary.

The last few months, culminating in Charlottesville of last week, has developed a pattern of what “AGAIN” means that seems to be developing in America “Again”. The excerpt above seems to nail it. Was plantations and slaves the day that we were great once? Is this the day we are striving to bring back ‘again’?
1859 nails it.  Just before the Civil War. Seems to fit perfectly. A little prior to Nazi Germany, but right (pardon the pun) on for the white supremacists. It was also a perfect time to be great again if today you benefit from stock in large corporations or invest in business or have a similar situation that would profit greatly by it. A time before income tax, minimum wage, OSHA,  big government, No health care, no clean air, no unemployment, no benefits, rules or regulations. Slavery was the order of the day, (I guess a case could be made for free board and room by the Washingtons and Jeffersons and Jacksons of the day. All of whom who shared the Presidency with our current “leader?”
The conflict between the North and South was as similar to Republican vs Democrat then as it has now become. The theft of private property then is very similar to the “Eminent Domain” of our present day cities, or counties or states to find the property to assist the owners of the campaign PAC’s who supplied the money to put them or their ‘charge’ into office, to have a convenient and cheaper way to satisfy their need to make money out of a location that merely housed ‘people’ rather than add to their financial success. The American Indian can forward a discourse on the World of Rich Business of then, vs now. I remember the music of the day referenced by a song from my generation “Owe my soul to the company store”.  Of course our modern CEO’s eliminate employment by moving employment totally out of the country for what conforms to the Great Again theory of “FREE” “profitable” business. The law of the land was Success AT ANother’s expense. Which still reigns supreme in America. Low wages and no benefits  = bigger profits and a testimony that says “I made myself a Billionaire all by myself.” Patriotism and profit are not considered to be the course of action for “Great Again”. Making America Great Again is not as important as making MYSELF wealthier again.

The news of the era that comprised the Civil War made American Armament (and European) makers discover the profitability of war and the weapons to wage it that has carried forward to this day. Business has found war quite economically advantageous. And the ‘bully pulpit’ of present day world leaders. When Health care became a burden, the country seems to have divided over the merit of concerning itself with taking care of its citizens, or for some of our citizen’s the answers would be to kill or deport as many as necessary to make it less of a burden on others apparently.
This is the seed of news media. Of our social media, and of too many who owe too much to the powers that put them in office. A swamp that rather than being drained is merely being covered by algae, and tweeting birds.
More than any, I would like to see America the Great. We were headed toward great at one time. The Civil War began a movement toward a level of Civility in the United States. But that Civility was extinguished almost immediately with the assassination of a President whose name is held up as GREAT and invoked often by those who seemingly have no knowledge of what made him great. It was not division that made him great, it was the pursuit of UNITED that made him great. UNITED is what will make us GREAT. It seems Great AGAIN is confused AGAIN.

dw

Perfect ???

PERFECT?

As a REALTOR® I sell homes. Primarily, I sell brand new homes. When I am talking to customers I try and stress the fact that even brand new homes are built by humans who are not ‘perfect’ and subject to some occasional problems. In a similar conversation with a vendor, he made the comment “Only GOD is perfect.”

I quickly responded by saying, “I disagree….God made me, and I am not perfect.”

Not being perfect should relieve a lot of stress that seems to be put on us to be ‘perfect’ by others. A perfect attendance record. A perfect writing, or memory, or performance. A perfect shape, haircut, makeup, wardrobe. Why do I need to be ‘perfect’ when the one who made me obviously is subject to difficulties in manufacture.

Certainly there are facets of life that we can not control and these facets of life cause lots of stress. The checkout bill at the grocery store is stressful. The envelope that cries out, “I am your bill for ______” causes stress. The doctors office, the dentist? Life is stress. Often times it is compounded by a feeling that one is alone in the stress of life. And one of the largest stresses I have found is “PERFECT”.

It is important to me that I take GOD out of the “Perfect” realm. That the universe of creation is much larger than anyone can conceive, especially those responsible for much of our religious interpretations. So too our concept of GOD must go beyond what we can understand. Jesus tried to emphasize that GOD is a separate entity from our Earthly kingdom. GOD thought highly enough of this planet and it’s ‘people’ that GOD is constantly helping and encouraging us to become better stewards in the universe. It is our designed lack of perfection that creates achievement. More things have been discovered through our lack of perfection than our firmness of knowledge (e.g. the Earth is flat).

Perfection is a cruel host and causes many psychological and physical issues in and of itself. GOD may be “perfect” in GOD’s own way, but God’s Own Way is not to be confused by mankind’s concept of what ‘perfect’ is.

I am not perfect. GOD made me that way on purpose. Not being perfect causes me to ask why, and why not. Had I been born perfect, where would I have ever gone to achieve? What would I have done in my life?

It is helpful to know that we are all in the same boat. It is also the measure of GOD to know that GOD has assigned a helmsman to the boat that we are in, who sometimes falls asleep on the job, but always gets up in time.

I can handle that. GOD BLESS.

The Real Jesus

From 4-10-2007 (brought up to date)

The whole scene of Jesus has been so distorted in our minds eye by grand movies with huge sets and fancy settings. Where we see Jesus Christ Superstar, a handsome movie star in a clean white robe, the people saw an itinerant street preacher who was ‘despised’ and rejected of men, not comely to look at. Thin and ‘average’.
Without the miracles, Jesus would have lived, preached, and died without much notice. No new calendar, no Christians, probably no Koran, no crusades, and a completely different history.
We have created a legend that has become pretty and acceptable. We can not understand why anyone would not jump on the Jesus bandwagon. The walking was down crowded alleyways in Middle Eastern Earth, dusty, dirty, and smelly with no deodorant, no shaving cream, and no breath mints. There probably wasn’t a closet full of clothes to take a clean robe from daily. The beds were blankets on the ground or in hard bunks. It is said that the man himself was born in a stable. Standing in the presence of Pontius Pilate was a man who probably did not look much different than a thief or, at best, the most common of commoners. When Jesus spoke he was a carpenter’s son and not a priest.

His message was beyond radical, it was crazy. LOVE ONE ANOTHER was not going to save anyone from the Romans, or the tax collectors, or the Priest who sat in the seat of honor. ‘Kiss my ring’ was not invented by the Pope or some French King, it was a traditional realm of power, a perk of status.
Jesus would have been seen as a commoner in the temple, expressing ideas that were so far out in left field, and then slowly but surely, over 3 years it got worse. Now a bit of a politician, a teacher proclaiming a kingdom of GOD radically different than that espoused by the priests, a position also in opposition to the Sadducees, the politicians of Jewish society. Worse yet, he was gaining a following. Think of John the Baptist in the wilderness, wearing animal skins and eating locusts and wild honey. They thought Jesus was the Baptist. This is not the image of a handsome Hollywood actor who just walked onto the set and then retreated to his trailer. Everyday, 24/7, healing the sick, preaching a message of LOVE in a world of hate and prejudice. Every rumor of healing threatened the seats of power. Every healing brought 100’s more to the neighborhood to be healed. Some out of desperation, some out of greed, some out of love for others. Think of the reactions among the priesthood upon hearing of a crowd of 5,000 men (plus women and children), not once but at least twice. The stories we read about are merely highlights out of a life of touching the sick, the unclean. To the traditional Jew, Jesus would have been the uncleanest of the unclean, the commonest of the common, and the least likely to be a Messiah.

Inside of this man, though, resided a very special spirit that was recognized almost immediately by others. Fishermen debated with him until he proved that what He said had an other worldly prophetic power.

“Cast your nets there,” Jesus said to a group of fishermen headed by a scurrilous old salt named Simon (to be called Peter).

“Been there, done that, ain’t there,” responds the tired fisherman.

“Just try it,” responds Jesus. Somehow the authority in his voice commanded a respect that one wouldn’t expect from this Simon. We are told Simon went back out, did as was asked, and couldn’t reel in the haul without breaking the nets.

In the end Simon and his brother follow this teacher and become “Fishers of Men”.

I tried to find a picture of this real Jesus on the web to put at the top of this post (looking under ‘Jesus Images’) and could not. If you have an idea, feel free to forward it to me.

So all that said, in today’s terms, was it all fake news? I believe because of what the followers did. They risked their lives to spread his simple message. They would never have thought of doing that had there not been substance to the stories. No magic publication of a million copies to change the world. Just the sayings of a carpenter’s son spread by word of mouth. I wonder how Twitter would handle “Love One Another” today.

Try it and see what happens.

Fake News

Much of recent history discusses ‘Fake News’.
As Bill Clinton might say, “I guess that depends on what ‘Fake News’ means”. That in and of itself depends on what ‘Fake’ means and what ‘News’ means.
Fake: Not the truth? Imagined? Artificially fabricated? Speculative?
News: Information on a recent event. According to witnesses. Substantiated.

It is interesting just how much “Fake News” is about THE NEWS lately. I can not recall a time in my lengthy past where the “Fake News” was so much of “THE NEWS”. When I was young it was also referred to as “yellow journalism”. News that had been manufactured by the creation of events that became news by themselves. It is tough enough to watch the news in general, be it local or national. Now I have to figure out what “Real’ news is.

Yet I do know something about people.
If you do not want to get a speeding ticket, drive the speed limit. Often I see the privileged fly by me down a side street only to see the brake lights come on suddenly and then, oddly, I see a police car drive by from in front of me. I have to guess that they really knew the speed limit, they just ignored it because they were, how would I put it, special, or perhaps they felt that they were exempt. I had friends who were never so dressed up as the day they went to court. Why, all of a sudden, did they appear with short hair and a suit? Who were they trying to impress and why? Couldn’t they get by being the who they were every day? Is that like “Fake News”? Is like “Fake News” only viable when you get caught breaking a law? No one has ever gotten a speeding ticket for actually driving over the speed limit, have they? They must all be victims of a cruel society that picks on them because of their cultural status, color or race? Is it “Fake News” when the reality is too harsh to become “REAL NEWS”?

I have read a lot about “FAKE NEWS” lately. I have also discovered that “FAKE NEWS” has also been called “LIES” in the past. It knows no political preference, no cultural preference, no financial status preference and is not exempt from its own natural results. No wonder America Being Great Again is such a challenge to our politicians. They are totally unaware of what “Great” means. I would even settle for “GOOD” news.

Oh, BTW, there has been “GOOD NEWS” in the past. I believe it’s purveyor’s name was Jesus…something. They would have us believe that his news was “Fake News” also…..

The Gepetto Syndrome

THE GEPETTO SYNDROME

I believe that it will be impossible for people to get beyond the Gepetto Syndrome; that is, GOD the puppeteer, controlling our lives as with strings, or as I often hear, GOD bringing good and bad things to us as individuals.

I hear the preacher talking in terms of GOD providing this and that, and testing this and that and I find myself praying for “preference” for my friends and relatives as though GOD would show some sort of preference for one entity over another. I feel we have created a GOD who chooses one sibling over the other, a cosmic “GOD ALWAYS LIKED YOU BEST”. GOD always gave you more, better, wealthier, better job, better status, more opportunity. GOD dealt out more talent, or perseverance or, gave more and better gifts on your birthday. GOD will personally attend to one more than another.

Jesus, when asked about the kingdom of GOD, always related to this ‘kingdom’ place as a place of LOVE. We pray out of love and compassion for our fellow friends, associates, relatives, countrymen. It is the power of unified LOVE, not a mystic sibling preference that drives this power of the universe. I pray out of compassion and love for a fellow spirit on the journey. I don’t realize it, but that is the kingdom, that attachment through the spiritual emotion that is the unifying life force.

This is why it is so difficult for people to grasp the kingdom and the teachings of Jesus, because we are seeking and expect to receive some sort of spiritual preference from a father who loves one of his children more than the other. We have created a spiritual warrior who will be on “our side” and “fight the good fight” against his very own children because we have prayed enough; or one who quickly abandons us because we have not prayed ‘enough’. This is not the GOD of Jesus. Jesus did not bring a warrior GOD, Jesus brought the KINGDOM of GOD. This kingdom is comprised of LOVE and COMPASSION. This GOD is a unifying force that treats all equally. The key to peace, and the key to bringing that kingdom upon the EARTH requires all to LOVE ONE ANOTHER. It is no wonder the kingdom may be a place one forever aspires to and never attains, and the utopia of literature rather than the reality of our existence.

Over and over again, the spirit is on a journey to establish, or to find this kingdom on EARTH, or wherever the journey takes us, in whatever form, in whatever place it finds itself in. No wonder the spirit seeks it so fervently in its wanderings in this place.
Enjoy the journey and make it your best journey yet.