Monday, April 27, 2015

Nepal Earthquake

Update 4/27/2015:

The death toll today has risen to over 3,800. Follow the link below to donate to Julian Lennon's White Feather Foundation Nepal Earthquake Fund. He will match donated funds.

April 26th: Yesterday Nepal suffered a tragic earthquake. This morning the death toll has risen to over 2,000. The initial earthquake was a 7.8-magnitude quake Northwest of Kathmandu. At 7 a.m. local time today, they had an aftershock of 6.7 causing additional misery.

The initial earthquake caused death and damage in four countries – Nepal, India, China and Pakistan. It caused avalanches on Mount Everest. Seventeen people have been reported killed in the avalanches including Google engineer Dan Fredinburg.

In addition to the many killed and injured in the earthquake and aftershocks. A number of Nepal’s ancient buildings were also destroyed. The Dharahara Tower, built in the 1800s, no longer stands.

Many countries have pledged aid including United States, Norway, Pakistan, China and India. Authorities hope to have the International Airport in Kathmandu ready to receive planes today. Also the high altitude and terrain will make the rescue efforts difficult.

Our prayers and sympathies go out to the survivors. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Road Rage and Rampant Anger in Society

Ohio, Photo by Bruce G. Smith
I think it is time to take a deep breath and relax. Everyone that drives needs to contemplate road rage. What is it that causes drivers to lose emotional control behind the wheel? Every day stories abound of drivers getting outraged over minor slights in traffic. Outraged enough to cause harm or kill other individuals.

Individuals who are typically nice people seem to take personal affront to another driver’s actions. Sometimes to the point, they will pull a gun and shoot the other driver. Why has society become so angry?

I’ve seen rage in the grocery line. People slamming each other’s carts to get one place closer to the cash register. It really makes no sense. Why has saving 5 minutes time become a higher priority than politeness and civility?

Anger increases stress. Anger is harder on the heart and the immune system. Every time you get angry, it shortens your life especially if the other person decides to become violent.

Remember the person you are bullying may be a bigger bully. Is ending up in the hospital or morgue worth shaving 5 minutes from your task? Death and dismemberment last a long time. Think about it next time you get angry because you are in a hurry.

Society needs to chill out and relax. People need to savor the moment and smell the flowers. Next time you get angry ponder this verse.

Turn from evil and do good:
Seek peace and pursue it.

Psalm 34:14 NIV

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Reading Eckhart Tolle

Lake Superior McClane Park
I’m currently reading Eckhart Tolle’s, A New Earth. Like most spiritual books, it is not an easy read. It may take several readings to gain an understanding of his message.

Tolle was born in postwar Germany, and grew up among bombed out buildings, despair and defeat. He did not get along well with his peers, and spent the better part of his childhood and early adulthood depressed and suicidal. At the age of 29 he went through an awakening.

He teaches the ego controls the actions of most people, but the ego is not the true self. It is a false powerful self that is difficult to overcome. It is only by overcoming the sham self through which awakening can occur, and true happiness obtained.

While some of what he says makes sense, I’m not sure I agree with everything. It makes sense that being in the now or the present, and not worrying about the next thing would reduce stress. Because the next thing never comes, it is always a new next thing.

However when you jump out of bed at 5 am, and your bare foot hits a pile of cat barf you’re definitely in the now and not worrying about the next thing. However, you aren’t happy. Tolle would say, do away with the negative thoughts associated with the event. Stepping in cat barf is just stepping in cat barf, and no need to attach negative emotion to the incident.

So I’ll keep reading, and attempt to not think negative thoughts.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

He has Risen

He isn't here!
He is risen from the dead!
Remember what he told you
back in Galilee,
     Luke 24:6

Friday, April 3, 2015

Christian Meaning of Easter

One of three sites believed to be Christ's Tomb.
It’s easy to miss the Christian meaning of Easter the Celebration. Many schools and offices are shutdown, and families go on vacation. Children receive Easter baskets filled with chocolate bunnies, jellybeans and dyed hard boiled eggs. The date generally coincides with the coming of spring, and people look forward to warmer weather and pretty flowers.

In Christianity Easter also signals a new beginning. In his 2009 Easter benediction Pope Benedict XVI said, “The resurrection of Christ is our hope!” It sends a message of new beginnings. Christ died on the cross for our sins. After three days he arose from the dead, and walked among the people. He met with the disciples and ate with them, and gave them instructions.

The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of the Christian faith. Theologians agree this is the most important event among Christian religions. The various denominations may not agree on how or when to celebrate Easter, but they all agree Christ was crucified, died on the cross, and after three days arose from the dead. In so doing, his giving forgave man for their sins, and offered eternal life.