All Things Bright and Beautiful

All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small
all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all!

About a week and a half ago, friend Stan Leece and fellow butterfly enthusiast Denise Duval gave a presentation about raising monarch butterflies to our DAR chapter. This was truly show and tell, as they brought in milkweed plants, caterpillars and even a caterpillar condo ready for sheltering hungry caterpillars while growing and chrysalis-izing (or whatever you call it when they spin a chrysalis).

Stan shared the wealth and sent interested members home with milkweed. I took two plants, one for myself and one for my sister-in-law. My daughter had scheduled Stan for the meeting and so was already well versed in his caterpillar escapades, but this was new to my son – who wound up with my milkweed plant to grow on his apartment balcony. So, off to Hebert’s Garden Center I went in search of more milkweed. I figured “oh, I’ll just get a plant for myself, and let nature take its course. I don’t have time to make a caterpillar condo…”

Bowls and finished “Diller Domes”

I should have known better. Just because I didn’t have a “‘diller dome” didn’t mean I couldn’t make one. Especially as Family Dollar had exactly what I needed: A pair of clear, cheap plastic bowls for each dome. A bit of hot glue, a couple of empty (washed) pill containers to hold milkweed clippings in water, a heated screwdriver for making ventilation holes and some binder clips later and I had diller domes for all budding butterfly enthusiasts in my neighborhood. I was ready for resident caterpillars.

The milkweed had plenty of tiny eggs, and within a day, I found a caterpillar on the plant. I scooped him up and moved him into his new home, and he was quickly followed by two more caterpillars. They began munching happily. (Well, I guess they were happy. They didn’t seem otherwise…) And sleeping. And pooping.

I quickly understood why Stan had said “you WILL run out of milkweed. Don’t panic!” I also understood the children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Good grief!! These little fellows were VERY hungry! They nibbled away methodically.

The biggest one eventually formed a J. I knew he’d be turning into a chrysalis soon, but didn’t realize the little sneak would wait until I was out of the house. I’d been gone an hour and a half, and when I came back I had two caterpillars and one chrysalis!

I sent Stan a photo. Yikes, that was quick! They’re fast, he said. And he was right.

Saturday, I was doing housework and checking on the other two caterpillars. They’d become J shaped overnight, affixing themselves to the top of the diller dome. I walked in to see the bottom of one turning green! He spun his chrysalis as I watched – and then the other one began as well!

Have you seen some of those shapewear ads on social media? You know, the one with a Rubenesque woman wiggling into spandex shapewear? Well, that’s what the caterillars reminded me of. The green sheath worked its way up those caterpillar bodies while they squirmed. The exoskeleton dropped off as the spinning was complete, but they kept wiggling for a bit, settling into their sleeping bags. I could still see their stripes for a while.

Sunday morning’s sunlight showed very little of the former caterpillar through the semi-translucent casing. I now have three beautiful jade-colored chrysali in my kitchen. In a couple of weeks (or less) they will be monarch butterflies.

I can’t help but think that God had a great time dreaming up this entire process.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

— Cecil Frances Alexander, 1848

Seek Good.

If the prophet Amos were around today and on social media, he’d probably be canceled. He lived in a time when the people of Israel were fat and happy, and pretty much living the high life. As long as they went through the motions of what God had told them to do, they could pretty much do whatever else they wanted. Amos called them out on it.


Seek Good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts…” Amos 5: 14-15a

A bit of good in the morning.

Some things never change. It’s been….oh, about 2700 years (give or take a decade or two) since the time of Amos, and we’re still dealing with the same stuff. We live in pretty cushy times, at least in our corner of the planet. While Christians and Jews (and anyone who truly values and lives by love and compassion) would all no doubt agree with Amos’ extortion to “hate evil, love good,” we don’t always agree on what’s evil and what’s good.


This isn’t to say we don’t know right from wrong; we do. But we’re busy, distracted creatures and so we tend to rely on institutions and “experts” to interpret things for us. We are told by media (traditional and social) and pundits how to be good. They may or may not have good advice, but how many follow along without truly questioning? How often do we really question whether or not there are diversionary tactics in play?


Life isn’t always as simple as “X is good, and Y is bad,” and most rational people would agree with that. Why, then, are so many quick to agree with statements and stances such as “guns are bad,” “unvaccinated people should be shut out of society for the good of all,” and “mask refusers are haters who want to infect us!” Oh, and let’s not forget “save the planet! Eliminate plastic waste!” Seriously, a quick perusal of Twitter or Facebook will show you all of these, and more, with “likes” piling up – often from those folks we thought were rational and could have at least a conversation on any one of those hot-button topics.


Such statements and responses aren’t hating evil. It’s more like division….and doesn’t Evil just love division?


Evil can masquerade as righteousness, charm and smile and make you think you are doing The Right Thing while you fall right into line. None of us are immune, and we must constantly seek good – especially when there’s no real cut and dry good vs. bad.


Besides, people have reasons for believing as they do. Wouldn’t it be interesting to have an actual conversation with an exchange of information? A friend recently told me (in reference to something related to CoVid) “I don’t know where you get your information, but….” I provided her with some of the information upon which I had based my decision – not to try and change her mind, but simply to show that yes, there is a lot of information out there and I wasn’t just being clueless or a selfish jerk. We can have different opinions based on the facts – but we are often exposed to different facts.


Amos summed it up simply. Hate evil. Do good. Maintain justice. (Real justice, not qualified justice.) Seek God, and seek knowledge and information with open minds and hearts.


Like Amos, our eyes will be opened to the hypocrisy in our world and in our country. We all wonder “how can we fix this?” The most important step is to bring God not just back into our lives, but back into our society. Amos saw this 2,700 years ago. We need to see this today.


Dive a little deeper. Be willing to have conversations. Recognize that it is the duty of each one of us to do what we can to bring God back into society. If you are at a meeting, request to start the meeting with a prayer. Give thanks before shared meals, even (especially) in public. Don’t let a few atheists get in the way of your civic display of faith. Support freedom. Be compassionate.


Even though it may be hard to discern, seek good.

First Christmas without….

There are many articles out there for dealing with grief during the holidays, as the holiday season is traditionally a season spent with family, loved ones, friends, and – well, tradition.  Everybody knows it’s tough facing Christmas or Thanksgiving without a loved one. This year has special meaning for me, as it will be our first Christmas ever without Pop. Sadly, I could name quite a few others who are going to experience their first Christmas without…. Someone they love.

I’ve found myself thinking back to the years I spent working as a Social Worker (LCSW – I keep my license current, though am not in full time practice) and things I learned from patients. (I worked mostly in oncology.)  I’ll share some inspiration I learned from those grieving (and a few ideas of my own):

~  Take the word “should” right out of your vocabulary. And don’t feel guilty about it.

~  Change things up. (If you don’t like turkey, maybe this is your chance!) In south Louisiana, food is sacred and this might be the year to switch to pork roast or turducken or brisket. What, you don’t know who’s going to make the rice dressing now that MawMaw isn’t here? Gather family members and learn how to cook it together. I remember a family who couldn’t imagine Christmas without MawMaw because she always cooked. It was an opportunity for them to gather at MawMaw’s kitchen and cook together (they’d been banished from her kitchen before as she insisted on doing everything).

~ Make a donation in honor of your loved one. If you find yourself teary-eyed while shopping and thinking how much “they” would like something, donate the money you would have spent to a worthy cause. Or be a “secret Santa” for a community or church giving tree.

~ If you can’t face a holiday dinner, consider volunteering at a local food bank or community kitchen.

~ If you do have the holiday dinner, remember your loved one and drink a toast to them. Have a slice of their favorite pie for them. They aren’t gone, they’re just quiet, in another room (and it’s a much nicer room that we can’t see on this earth).

~ Gratitude goes a long way. Find things to be grateful for, and start with the life of that loved one.

~ Cherish the memories, and cry when you feel like it.

~ Worship, whether with a community, with family, or just alone if you can’t face a crowd.

~  Remember that everyone grieves differently, in their own way, in their own time.

~Above all, try to focus on the hope of this season. Each year at Christmas, we are reminded that in spite of the fact that humanity is broken, sinful, and generally messed up, God still gave us the gift of his son Jesus. No matter what trials befall in this life, we have the promise of redemption. The miracle of the Incarnation is indeed a miracle; God didn’t have to do any of this. But what better way to show Divine Love than to take on human form, walk among us, and show in unmistakable ways how much we are loved?

We know this world is upside down, and the loss of a loved one only makes the feeling heavier.  We felt Pop’s absence at Thanksgiving, and will feel it even more sharply at Christmas. But I’ve been looking at photos of him from last Christmas and grinning.  I’ve been remembering being a child, waking him and mom up at 5 AM saying look what Santa brought and chuckling over his and mom’s bleary-eyed excitement for my brother and me. We had him for decades, and no amount of grief can ever take away my gratitude for having him as my father.

May God bless you and yours this beautiful Christmas season.

First and foremost?

My husband shared a webpage this morning that surprised us both. A page from his alma mater’s website stated, as a headline: “Solidarity with Black Lives Matter.” It went on to state “First and foremost, Black Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity.”

This comes from a university that has many students of multiple races. Black lives matter, before any other lives.

Is this not the very essence of racism? To place one race above all others? To value one race, first and foremost, above all others?

I don’t know what disgusts me more: Is it the fact that a public university stands with an organization that is dedicated to “keep dismantling the organizing principle of this society?” (BLM co-founder Alicia Garza, Maine Beacon, 6/28/19). (what does “stand with” really mean, anyway? You stand next to them? You make donations? You riot protest with them? Or you just say something because…well, you want to say something?)

First and foremost, all lives matter. There are those who might find my comment racist, “code,” or “dogwhistle” or some other insanity. But all lives do matter. We are all made in the image of our Creator, and therefore, all lives matter. Have we made mistakes as a society, as a country? Of course. And the greatness that is America means that we learn from those mistakes and try to right them. In a free society, we can do that.

To state that one race, first and foremost, is above all others goes against our belief in justice, equality, and freedom. It goes against all Christian beliefs and ethics. It goes against the beliefs of millions of non-Christians as well.

The mistake that many make is to assume that BLM is merely a movement to remind us that “yes, black lives matter!” And they DO matter; that should go without saying (yet I say it here to clarify). But the organization Black Lives Matter is founded by those drenched in Marxism and steeped in communist philosophy. Their goal is not to ensure equal opportunity and equal representation for anyone; it is to crush America and diminish other races. If you doubt that, you slept through much of 2020 and were watching Hallmark movies (or CNN, or MSNBC) instead of what was really happening as 140 American cities saw incredible damage, riots, fires and destruction at the hands of Antifa and BLM last year. Small businesses (owned by people of many races) were destroyed, all in the name of “dismantling the organizing principles of society” and in some warped idea of “justice.” Where is the justice for those who lost their businesses, their livelihoods?

I cannot reconcile a movement like this with Christianity. It makes no sense. I have a very hard time reconciling ULL’s (University of Louisiana, Lafayette) viewpoint on this. My husband only saw this today (on the English department page) because a friend sent it to him. A similar statement appears on the university’s history blog in June, 2020, so this isn’t exactly news – but it was news to us. We are saddened, as many of our family attended UL. There is a request for a donation on the kitchen counter. Or…there was one. It’s been filed in an appropriate place; we don’t support this type of thing.

First and foremost. Above all other lives, black lives matter the most. Everyone else – everyone – is a second class citizen. If that’s not what you meant, perhaps you should reword it. After all, you’re English majors…right?

September

September sucked.

That’s really the only word for it. September has been over for a month now, and I can finally write a bit about it and say briefly why it was such a rotten month.

In September, I lost two people that I love dearly. (And because so many people have asked, no. It was not CoVid.) A longtime friend and mentor, Deacon Diane, at the beginning of the month, is with her Savior now. If not for Diane, I would not have made (and hopefully will continue to do so) nearly as much music in my life.

In the middle of the month, I lost my dad.

He was always there for me, even when he didn’t quite understand why I was doing what I was doing. His love and encouragement made me who I am. Pop exemplified a father’s love. He nurtured his family and started a successful business. He was a man of faith, and never gave up on his dreams. He taught me to do likewise.

Both of these individuals are superheroes in their own right. I miss them dearly, and thank God for their beautiful lives.

Another Prayer.

Lord God, we ask your outpouring of grace, love, mercy and peace upon the families of Nicole Gee, Maxton Soviak, Kareem Nikoui, David Espinoza, Rylee McCollum, Jared Schmitz, Hunter Lopez, Daegan Page, Ryan Knauss, Darin Hoover, Johanny Rosariopichardo, Humberto Sanchez, and Dylan Merola; brave members of our Armed Forces who were murdered by a suicide bomber in Kabul.

We thank You for their lives, their courage, and their calling to be members of the United States Armed Forces. We thank you for their families and loved ones. Without men and women like this, our country would be in a less safe place. Have mercy, dear Lord, on their families whose anguish must be inconceivable to those of us who have never walked in their places. We ask for your love, support and grace for all families who lost loved ones in the bombing at the Kabul airport.

Lord God, we ask for protection for those Americans who still remain in Afghanistan. Shelter them from evil, and deliver them home safely. Let them know the grace and protection of the Holy Spirit. We ask, also, Your protection and deliverance for those Afghani citizens and all those who have aided and worked with Americans in Afghanistan. They are all in danger, and we beseech You to protect them and deliver them to safety.

Leaving. The question was not whether or not to leave, but how to leave. This departure was a disaster.

Lord, only You may judge and direct judgment upon those who do evil. Forgive me if I feel that I wouldn’t mind a bit if You unleashed your wrath upon those who ignore wise council and change plans for selfish and political purpose without consideration of those who lie in harm’s way. I wouldn’t mind, either, if You unleashed Your wrath upon the Taliban and ISIS.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. – Ephesians 6: 10 – 13

Lord, this is a struggle beyond flesh and blood. I truly believe it is a struggle against evil. Please guide our leaders to good judgment, and forgive me as I really don’t find that possible right now – only You know their hearts; only You know who stands for You and who stands against You. Give strength to those who stand with You; may they put on the full armor of God so that they may stand their ground. Give strength to all of us us to know truth and to do everything we can to stand for You.

I do know and believe that anything is possible for You, and Your solution will probably look very different from anything I could imagine. I give thanks that those who have died because of faithfulness to You and / or faithfulness to America are already in Your glory and are at peace. You have already given rest to the fallen; please give the comfort of the Holy Spirit to all who grieve and rescue to all those who live in terror.

In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

A Prayer

Lord God of all, we ask your grace, mercy and protection over all Americans and those who have helped us and are in danger in Afghanistan. Lend aid to those who would help them escape in safety, and let none be left behind. Strike fear into the hearts of the enemy, Lord; hold their fire and destroy their weapons so that our people may escape. I know that You are all powerful and all knowing, and ask Your protection for those who fight against evil and those who desire death. Amen.

I have been following the news of the American military’s abrupt withdrawal from Afghanistan with growing horror, disgust, and a feeling of utter helplessness.

While I can’t disagree with the need to get out of Afghanistan, I am astonished over the way it’s been done. I’ve asked a few military friends about their thoughts on the matter, and the answer was unanimous; this was NOT the way to do it.

A prayer from August 16 in my desktop Jesus Today calendar says “This world is increasingly dark, but the Light of My Presence is as bright as ever.” Well, the world is very dark for Americans and Christians in Afghanistan. Americans are being told to “shelter in place” and cannot be guaranteed to have safe passage to the airport. Another slap in the face is that the State Dept Overseas Security Advisory Council stated (August 14) that “Repatriation flights are not free, and passengers will be required to sign a promissory loan agreement and may not be eligible to renew their U.S. passports until the loan is repaid. Cost may be $2,000 or more per person.”

I call that adding insult to injury. Meanwhile, people from other countries pour across our southern border and are given free passage to various cities throughout the country. They don’t need a covid test, either. In what universe does all of this make sense?

Americans, as a kind and caring people, most of whom believe in God (or at least some sense of morality) can’t really wrap our heads around the fact that the Taliban think nothing like we do. This is a culture of death, where children are recruited as sex slaves or as suicide bombers. Immediate beheading is considered an appropriate punishment for possession of a Bible, and women and children are considered chattel.

Deep breath. Serenity prayer. OK. Right now, I have work to deal with. If all I can do right now is to work, do my job, and pray, I’ll do that and invite you to do the same.

Know thyself?

It was Socrates who said to know thyself was the beginning of wisdom.

Smart guy, Socrates.

How well do you think you know yourself? Are your ideas and opinions truly yours, or are they formed by random factoids and sound bites?

The average attention span has shrunken to equal about that of a goldfish. We’ve become a world where fakebook “likes” and similar responses form our outlooks. Journalism has become lazy, quoting Twitter as source.

Seriously? Twitter? The entity quoted may not even be human, for heaven’s sake!!

Are you sticking with opinions like “I’m for the little guy” and “everyone deserves help” (honorable and worthy ideals, to be sure) and letting that identity form your “opinions?” If so, you’re being lazy. Constantly looking inward as we learn and thinking beyond the sound bite isn’t easy. And yeah, we’re all busy.

The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Romans 12:3)

Think with sober judgment. Think with faith. Knowing yourself is key to not thinking more highly of yourself than you ought to. (Frankly, I think everyone in Washington, DC should take this to heart.)

BUT — and here’s where that measure of faith comes in — God gave you a brain, so USE IT! Don’t just respond to the headlines, because that will give you a very distorted view of things. Dig deep into the information. This goes for everything, whether we’re talking politics or scripture. There’s that old saying that even the devil can quote scripture for his benefit…keep that in mind.

This is on my mind today because of recent news that New Orleans (and they aren’t alone) wants to implement “vaccine passports” for public places. The military is requiring covid shots for all members. Certain private companies are doing the same. I’ve already heard the sentiment expressed that “I don’t think they should do that, it’s too much. Not that it really matters to me, I’m vaccinated, so I can go and do whatever…”

It should matter – deeply – to all of us, vaccinated or not.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

The founding fathers were well versed in the study of philosophy, and considered the writings of Locke, Rousseau, Hobbes and others while focusing on the ideals and values that would shape our country. It was John Locke who stressed that the NATURAL RIGHTS of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were present in the state of nature. These are, as Thomas Jefferson later wrote, inalienable rights. Also critically important were property rights.

What kind of property do you own? Does your body count as your own property? Of course it does. No one owns you. YOU own your body, and the right to treat it as you choose.

One could make the arguement that to legally require any kind of medical treatment, procedure, or shot infringes private property rights. And yes, I know that there are many vaccines that are required for children to attend school, and I think that’s a good idea; we’ve wiped out smallpox that way.

But covid isn’t smallpox, and those vaccines have mostly withstood the test of time. This is an illness with a 99% survival rate, and those at high risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from it can be identified.

The covid shots have never been through animal testing. WE are the animal testing. According to VAERS, over 10,000 shot-related deaths in the US have been reported, and many more adverse reactions were related. As of July 30, 2021, it was over 12,000. Source: https://www.openvaers.com/covid-data

Many people, wanting to do the right thing, got the shot early in the program, believing that it would indeed help to slow the spread, and protect their neighbors as well as themselves. Those with compromised immune systems got the shot, for good and understandable reasons. Many, many others went with the advice of their doctors.

There are also many doctors who are NOT sold on the shot…but that’s another story. And sadly, we are seeing that having gotten the shot isn’t necessarily protection. The CDC quit counting positive cases among those who were vaccinated.

The thing that ALL Americans, regardless of “vaccination” status, should be concerned with is the assault on personal property and individual choice. Do you truly believe that a government or a business should be able to require someone to accept a medical treatment in order to function as a member of society? A medical treatment that is still experimental? (Even if the FDA rushes an approval, the covid shots will still lack the years of investigation, trials and safety reviews that other vaccines have.)

Sure, one could say “well, you don’t HAVE to get the shot, you just won’t be able to go to restaurants, sporting events, weddings, funerals, your job or engage in interstate travel.” (yes, that HAS been proposed). Or, you COULD opt to get tested for covid every time you want to go somewhere. Translation: We don’t want you in society.

Your getting the shot – or not – is your own business. But having it (or a recent negative covid test) as a requirement for entry IS EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS.

Added to this kerfluffle is the fact that the PCR test commonly used in covid testing has been shown to be grossly inaccurate, resulting in a high number of false positives. Its EUA will expire at the end of this year. Meanwhile, a vaccinated individual can still TRANSMIT the virus.

There is no reason to require “proof of vaccination” do do anything. Life is a crap shoot. If you are severely immunocompromised, don’t expose yourself to large groups, and limit your interactions. Make up your own mind as to what you feel comfortable with. But to require something that may or may not work? Remember, we’re still in the testing stage here, and will be for a long time.

The Apostle Paul goes on to say ” For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (Romans 12: 4-5)

We are many members, and individually members one of another. I know that’s why many people, regardless of faith, got the shot when they could – to protect not only themselves, but others. Caring about neighbors is what we do. Now it’s time to do the same thing – protect your own liberty and freedom – and that of your fellow Americans.

Do you know yourself? Do you believe in personal liberty and your right to control your body (your most precious private property)? Don’t show your vaccine card, even if you have one. Let those who would infringe your rights deal with the lost business. Stand up for your own personal and property rights, because who knows what you’ll have to agree to next.

Friends

My friend Keith pointed out that August 1 is National Friendship Day. How timely! Over the recent years, many friendships (and family relationships) have been tried over deep divides in our country, many of them political.

It’s pretty insane, when you think about it. For decades, I never really cared that I have a lot of friends who are on the “other side of the aisle” from me politically. I still don’t. Politics has nothing to do with why I love them and consider them friends. There are more important things in life, and those are the things that we hold in common and that has led to our friendships.

Sadly, this isn’t always the case. My sis-in-law sent a link to a very thoughtful (and nonpolitical) article on the loss of friendships and family relationships caused by disagreement over CoVid. You can find it here: LOSING FRIENDS AND FAMILY DURING CORONAMANIA | by Mark Oshinskie | Jul, 2021 | Medium

I won’t tell you that I haven’t experienced some difficulties (and shunning) because of the Wuhan Flu. But what the hell are we doing here, letting something like this divide us?

I can hear some outraged comments: “It’s a matter of public health!” OK, fine, I don’t exactly agree, but that’s ok. I’ve written before about public mental health; suicide is a lot more deadly than the Wuhan Flu.

As people of faith, we must not give in to letting something worldly divide us. I have actually heard comments stating “well, I don’t feel sorry for so-and-so, s/he wouldn’t get vaccinated!”

Wow. Just…wow.

Sadly, I don’t think this mindset is going away anytime soon – but we can combat it by avoiding the trap of division.

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. ~ Mark 3:24 – 27

My friend Keith Horcasitas shares this invitation for August 1 at 7 AM in Baton Rouge:

National Friendship Day, August 1, 2021. With all the discord and polarity in the world, I have a modest proposal for fellow Redstick citizens – to tie in to the great “Let There be Peace on Earth” song which notes “…and let it begin with me!” A friendship Promenade for Peace, sponsored by Prayer Care, LLC – in line with social distancing and masking – will be held tomorrow, Sunday, August 1, 2021 – National Friendship Day, 7 AM, Baton Rouge City Park, starting by the City Park Labyrinth. Come out for a simple meet and greet as we, of all walks of faith and life, come together as friends to exercise and encourage one another to promote peace in our hearts. And please bring your 4 legged friends, who sometimes help us at meeting and greeting!

This is a 15 minute walk with unitive prayers and songs. If you can’t be there in person, be there in spirit, and let the Spirit remind you of what is truly important.

Woke?

Jesus was “woke.” Or…was he?

According to that bastion of knowledge, Wikipedia, “woke is a term referring to awareness of issues that concern social justice and racial equality. Originating in the United States, it has also been used to refer to awareness about broader social inequality on issues such as gender and sexual orientation.” Wikipedia, accessed 7/6/21.

Well, Jesus was certainly concerned about unqualified justice and equality. As for prejudice, well, just ask the Samaritan woman. According to this definition, Jesus was a pretty woke guy.

So I wonder how he’d feel about so many corporations and highly visible individuals who fall over one another in order to display their wokeness (or would that be wokedness)? I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty tired about reading that “Company blah blah is proud to support fill-in-the-blank.” Well, goody for them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all against corporate (or other) donations, and they certainly deserve to have a thank-you sign or banner at the ball game or their name on a teeshirt or a big thank-you plaque. I also really appreciate that some companies have causes that are sincerely close to their heart, and they spread information about their causes through their business (such as the Dave Thomas Foundation and Wendy’s Hamburgers).

But I roll my eyes when wokeness is clearly an afterthought. I wonder about those company board meetings: “Quick! Who’s in the such-and-such category can we give some money to so we’ll look like we’re not the robber barons that take home millions in bonuses every year? How fast can we get it on the Twitter feed?”

Jesus spoke about this:

“When you give to needy people, do not announce it by having trumpets blown. Do not be like those who only pretend to be holy. They announce what they do in the synagogues and on the streets. They want to be honored by other people. What I’m about to tell you is true. They have received their complete reward. When you give to needy people, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Then your giving will be done secretly. Your Father will reward you, because he sees what you do secretly. “When you pray, do not be like those who only pretend to be holy. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners. They want to be seen by other people…

Matthew 6:1-5, NIRV

Do not be like those who only pretend to be holy.

Wise words from the original “woke” guy.