One Race

September 2, 2009 by  
Filed under Beyond The News

I love God. I love exploring big ideas and deep philosophical questions. I love seeking a deeper understanding of what’s going on here on our beloved blue ball and how it all fits in with the larger story that The Author is writing. I also love science. I love how new information can stretch the mind and explain things.

Now I’m not one of those people who believes that science and God are “mutually exclusive.” I don’t think you HAVE to choose. What I DO think is this: If you refuse to choose between science and God — if you accept that both can coexist — well, it opens up new doors into your faith. At least it does that for me. It makes me expand my idea of God. It makes me connect dots that may not usually get connected — but once connected, they make me say, “Of course!”

Take for example the National Geographic Channel’s special “The Human Family Tree.” In a nutshell: Geneticists collect DNA samples using oral swabs from a diverse group of people in Queens, New York. With it, they can

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trace your lineage back THOUSANDS of years. To be clear: It won’t give you specific data about your personal lineage; but it will tell you that somewhere along the way, your DNA has genetic markers that match genetic markers of people from central Africa, New Zealand and Central Asia. Check your local listings to find out when it’s airing again. It’s worth watching.

Among the more interesting concepts (and I’ve only seen the first half):

  • Everyone alive on Earth today are descendants of “Genetic Adam” and “Genetic Eve” who are from Central Africa.
  • Drastic climate changes once narrowed the human population down to about 2,000 people. We were an endangered species.
  • There are more than 3 BILLION genetic markers that we all share. Only a handful account for the differences of pigmentation that we call “race.” Watch this video:

“The genetic changes responsible for our varying shades of color are miniscule. Just a handful of mutations out of the 3 billion letters that make up the human genome form the basis for our entire concept of race.” Let’s add this up:

Science says we’re virtually identical, genetically.

Jesus says “As you do unto the least of these, you do also unto me,” which implies that he viewed us all as part of a larger whole.

It’s time we start counting the ways we’re alike instead of the ways we’re different . . .

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Preaching Prosperity? Or Pimping the Pulpit?

August 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Beyond The News

Today, I read this interesting post by Sarah Gilbert about so-called “prosperity gospel” over on Walletpop.com: God says: You’re not rich (yet). She was commenting on this story in the New York Times about Kenneth Copeland’s Ministry. Good stuff to read.

As for me, I think the most important part of this is to expand our definition of what prosperity is. Of course, most people identify the concept with money and lots of it. I once heard a minister say: “If you don’t like people with money, you’ll never be one of them.” Soon as I write that, I realize it sounds like she’s about to pass the plate around. But within the context of that message, what I got out of it was: it’s incongruent to have a negative attitude about money (or anything you want) and expect to attract it into your life. Her lesson to us that day was to pay attention to our thoughts.

Back to the broader definition of prosperity. My definition is this: Simply to have enough of what you need when you need it. Not too much. Not too little. Enough.

Think of a plant. It needs both sunlight and water to grow — to prosper. Too much or too little sunlight or water, it withers and dies. Now, as it grows, its needs change — it will certainly need more water than it once did. But there is a balance it must strike in order to PROSPER. This is above “right” or “wrong” — this is Natural Law. It’s God in action.

So by the same token, there are a variety of things we need to prosper — clean air and water; shelter, nutritious food. Love. Family and friends. Other things that you and The Author agree upon for this part of your spiritual journey. And as Jesus taught us: As you sow, so shall you reap. So in prospering others, we are prospering ourselves. That’s Natural Law. It’s God in Action.

Like Sarah wrote in the above-linked posting, I don’t care for grifters who masquerade as preachers. Conversely, I do think a pastor can set a powerful example by living humbly and channelling large sums of cash into uplifting a community. That’s a ministry I could believe in. And they’re out there. Let’s face it: Churches (and their pastors) need money to survive, just like the rest of us. But as for my soul’s development, my job is to be a giver, and trust that God’s resources get to where they are most

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needed.

What do you think? Check out the poll below . . .

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Your World Is Calling . . .

July 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Beyond The News

Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist and author. I had never heard of his work before reading this commencement address he gave in Oregon in May, published on the progressive Web site Commondreams.org. I dare you to read this and not be inspired to leap into action. An excerpt:

Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course.

The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.

This extraordinary time when we are globally aware of each other and the multiple dangers that threaten civilization has never happened, not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand years. Each of us is as complex and beautiful as all the stars in the universe. We have done great things and we have gone way off course in terms of honoring creation. You are graduating to the most amazing, stupefying challenge ever bequested to any generation. The generations before you failed. They didn’t stay up all night. They got distracted and lost sight of the fact that life is a miracle every moment of your existence. Nature beckons you to be on her side. You couldn’t ask for a better boss.

The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hope only makes sense when it doesn’t make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run as if your life depends on it.

Our planet is calling  . . .

Paul Hawken’s Commencement Address to the Class of 2009 | CommonDreams.org.

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Michael Jackson — Man In The Mirror

June 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Beyond The News

“If you want to make the world a better place, take a look

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at yourself and make a change . . .”

“You better get it right while you got the time, cause when you close your heart, you close your mind . . .”

- f

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“Man In The Mirror”
Michael Jackson
August 29, 1958-June 25, 2009

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Prayer Request: Pearl Continental Hotel Bombed, Stormed By Gunmen In Pakistan

June 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Beyond The News

Hold a sacred thought and prayer in your heart for the victims and their families. And pray for those who committed this horrific act as well — they need prayer and forgiveness just as much. Post yours below . . .

Pearl Continental Hotel Bombed, Stormed By Gunmen In Pakistan.

God, please soothe and comfort those who were injured

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or lost loved ones in this attack. Please touch our hearts as well, that we take a stand for love and peace in our daily lives and in our world. Teach us how to disagree peacefully and how to meet conflict with love. Thank you and it is done. Amen.

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