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Daily Reflections Earth Healing

Daily Reflections
by Al Fritsch, S.J.

A series of written meditations and reflections

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Table of Contents: Daily Reflections

November, 2011

Copyright © 2011 by Al Fritsch


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Goldenrod at Bernheim Arboretum and Forest  
Late Goldenrod, Solidago gigantea.
(photo: Janet Powell)

Reflections November, 2011

      November conjures up thoughts of darkness, dampness, defoliation, heavy frost, and the smell of rotting leaves.  Are these really depressing or comforting?  We now hear sounds one couldn't hear when the leaves covered the trees;  we traverse the landscape without fear of snakes and the bother of mosquitoes; we discover the shapes of trees that foliage so often hides.  The garden has salad greens of many varieties and plentiful root crops (radishes, carrots, onions, and turnips) to fill the storeroom. We look about and find black walnuts (if we beat the squirrels) and the last of the autumn pears.  Yes, let's be thankful that not all the birds have flown south for we still have colorful cardinals. 

     November abounds in good things:  pumpkin pie, hickory nuts, winter squash, fresh-pressed cider served piping hot with a dash of cinnamon, tangy endive, spicy mustard and super-nutritious kale, Thanksgiving turkey and dressing, soups on chilly days, mosquito-less mornings, brisk outdoor exercise, and sacred memories of past heroes and heroines.  As in every month, some days are quite inviting and some try our patience.  This is the end of the growing season and the start of a new Church year, much behind and ahead to be thankful for.

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Prairie tall grasses / Bernheim Arboretum, Kentucky
Prairie tall grasses at Bernheim Arboretum, Kentucky.
 (*photo credit)

November 1, 2011   Saints: Mortal and Immortal Models 

     All Saints' Day is a perfect time to measure our relations with people who exceed us in virtue and yet whom we still strive to imitate.  The democratic spirit of this day rests in our extending sainthood to many of the uncanonized or to those recognized within faith communities.  Even regarding some who passed on as having special favor with God (and able to seek special favors for us) is a position held within the Christian world and a little beyond.

     A few decades back, a volunteer arrived exhausted from biking several hundred miles to our place.  He was sorely disappointed because he had stopped at the home of a noted Kentucky author and took the fellow's photo even though told (though the volunteer did not hear it) that no photos were allowed.  My only comment to the disappointed volunteer was "Don't ever canonize living people;  wait until after they have passed on."  People are not perfect, nor do they act the way we want them to in every circumstance.  After they have died we tend to smooth over existing rough edges and elevate them to higher positions with the passing years.  Mortals can hardly be acclaimed in that fashion because they have some imperfections that are clearly seen before their last breath. 

      Withholding canonization is still good practice -- but maybe with some modification.  We can recognize limited virtue in others who can become our living models.  Why not?  Just don't idolize living human beings.  In an NPR program on the myth of Robert E. Lee one caller told of her grandmother whose dad had been a close associate of the noted general; her grandmother idolized Lee.  The caller expressed some misgivings over such attitudes, and we all know of many people who idolize celebrities and accomplished artists and leaders. 

      We are people who are in need of models who show us how to act in a dysfunctional society.  Our times are tough and we thrash about for those who handle similar situations with apparent ease.  When we look about we discover many caregivers and humble folks who inspire us through their love and fidelity.  It is up to us to accept them as models with qualification but NOT to idolize them.  I am very uncomfortable when I see shrieking adolescents before a  rock star or noted novelist.   

      Folks, reserve your enthusiasm; restrain your emotions; don't demean the person at the center of attention for he or she is still human.  Rather, let's emphasize the good and know that it can be better.  Maybe we all crave models, and by discovering multitudes of unsung and uncanonized ones who have passed on, we have many to choose from.  Frankly, they make better models than mortals with their imperfections that reporters scramble to unveil and the Internet retains in an unforgiving fashion in public view. 

      Prayer:  Lord, direct us to those who have lived in unsung ways and yet through happenstance we have become acquainted from others' testimony, writings, or our own happy remembrances. 







Twisted tree
Twisted tree at Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary. Franklin Co., KY.
 (*photo credit)

November 2, 2011       We Poor Souls 

    After this Judas took a collection from them individually, amounting to nearly two thousand drachmae, and sent it to Jerusalem to have a sacrifice for sin offered, an altogether fine and noble action, in which he took full account of the resurrection.  For if he had not expected the fallen to rise again it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead, whereas if he had in view the splendid recompense reserved for those who make a pious end, the thought was holy and devout.  This is why he had this atonement sacrifice offered for the dead, so that they might be released from their sin. (2 Maccabees 12:43-45) 

      On All Souls' Day we pray for the holy souls who have not yet arrived in eternal bliss.  Our communion with the many who have passed on before us is especially felt today on this special day for remembering the dead.  We may know of many who had their imperfections, some burnt off in this life, and some who did not have sufficient time or opportunity to do so.  We may even know a few and (without severe judgment) must admit that they appeared to have some pretty rough edges at the moment of their untimely passing to eternal life.  We conclude that they need our prayers, for they are still on the road to God. 

     Poor souls among the suffering.  I do not want to deny that category of the unfinished and the uncut diamond with its rough edges.  However, there is another category of those who, regardless of early life, seem to be suffering greatly towards the end of life.  Those who suffer on Earth can be regarded in so many cases as enduring a purgatory, and thus have undergone purification before their final breath.  So regarding purgatory as extending to the hungry and ill, the thirsty and those without homes, those with sleepless nights for fear of personal dangers, and who fret as to how to feed their family -- all are included in the mortal "poor souls" who are living among us.   

      Poor souls among the compassionate.  Let's extend this community once more, and include those of us who are attempting to be compassionate or to suffer with the sufferers of this Earth, with our suffering brothers and sisters.  When we are in total solidarity with the poor around us and at a distance, we become neighbor to them and members of the same community.  Their poverty extends to us provided we do not allow our riches (material or spiritual) to distance ourselves from them.  Rather we enter with them into an atmosphere of utter and radical sharing.  Now it is not "they the poor" but "we the poor."  Only through such an identification can we find true compassion.  Only now can we be in full communion with the holy souls who are regarded as "poor" in their lack of something they deeply desire, namely eternal bliss.  We share in their lack for we too are striving for the same goal.  

      Prayer: Lord, remember all of those who have passed on before us.  Eternal rest grant unto them and let perpetual light shine upon them. 








Prairie, sp.?
Proof of autumn.
 (*photo credit)

November 3, 2011  HERE, NOW, WE: Resurrection-Centered Spirituality 

      The call to be earthhealers is an invitation to enter the ecological fray.  For those of us who are spiritually inclined, this is a spiritual call; for believers in a personal God, this is a call from the Spirit.  For Christians, the Spirit is a divine person.  Thus Earthhealing is a spiritual calling experienced by all people of good will, and so we look at its basic elements:  

     HERE: The environment or proximity of creatures to us colors the manner in which we respond to our calling.  Each of us is in some specific place on our Earth, and the more we are rooted in this given place, the more we are in tune with our environment.  Our given local environment includes landscape and its features, waterways, wind direction, seasonal and weather conditions, and neighbors human and otherwise.  "Hereness" includes a local community (with its flora and fauna) that impacts life, attitudes, and even the way we act.  HERE gives individuality to our callings. 

      NOW:  Upon reflection, we discover urgency to our calling.  This moment is unique in a cosmic space/time continuum, which shapes our ultimate response.  If our location is deeply wounded by human misdeeds, then our response expresses a sense of concern.  Our wounded Earth strikes our sensitivities, and we soon learn that historical conditions brought about these forms of degradation.  Each of us yearns for healing of our wounded Earth in the near future, though we experience our individual powerlessness to effect needed change at such a vast level. 

     WE: Current needs give reality to the local scene and urgency to the global situation, of which I am unable to make real change while acting alone.  In a profound state of discomfort, each of us reaches out and discovers others are in a similar condition.  By grasping hands we can work together in solidarity.  The distances of concerned individuals and kindred spirits find comfort and solidarity with an underlying spiritual power that can catalyze action at broader levels.  Place gives us uniqueness; time gives us a common urgency.  See Reclaiming the Commons on this website for a deeper exploration of these ideas.  Our solidarity founded in compassion allows us the openness to seek divine assistance.   

      Resurrection-centered spirituality: To focus totally on the HERE is being creation-centered with its good aspect (a feeling for all other neighboring creatures); however this approach is more cerebral and even focuses globally, but lacks down-to-earth action.  To focus on the urgency of the times makes needed salvation (primarily my own) a primacy that can be somewhat self-centered. Such redemption-oriented ways of thinking omit the grander global view leading to authentic concerted action.  Ecology calls for balance, and thus acting and thinking must be in tandem.  Our work is a shared vision of new life empowered by the Risen Lord.  See Earth Healing: A Resurrection-Centered Approach on this website.  

      Prayer:  Lord, help us to find our place, time, and people.   









Unidentified fungus, autumn's "bloom".

November 4, 2011         So Long, Barefoot Days 

      One of the great joys of my youth was going barefoot, and this opportunity was one I enjoyed when the weather warmed enough to do so.  Really, November was the cut off month, the time when getting the cows in the coolness of evening made my bare feet chilled to a noticeable degree -- and thus the need for shoes for the colder times.  Even to this day, on rare occasions in the winter months I still attempt for short periods to prove the freedom of the shoeless outdoors just as practiced indoors in heated rooms.   No parent or others told me to go without shoes or to put them back on;  it was spring's beckoning warmth and autumn's impending coldness.  Putting shoes back on was the definitive sign that the freedom of summer was gone for a time.  How horrible! 

      Bare feet are a mark of solidarity. I get a monthly copy of Kentucky Explorer and view the photos of nineteenth century school, church, family and civic gatherings with the contributor asking whether people in the picture can be identified by some viewer.  The interesting thing is that in half the photos the kids are barefoot for these 1800s (and well into 1900s) images.  I always feel akin to these long lost subjects of formal picture-taking.   

      Bare feet express communion with Earth.  We tell who we are by the feet we show off on the well-worn pathways of life.  In so doing we tell our message to the world:  stay close to Earth at all times and learn its feelings through one's feet.  The rhythms of Earth are best felt through hands working the soil and feet pressing in a passing footprint upon it. 

      Bare feet are healthy (outside of thorn patches).  The bare foot is not subject to skin rashes coming with moist or sweaty socks. Feet toughen and bear marks of health as much as rosy cheek. 

      Bare feet reflect an affirmation of freedom on the part of the shoeless.  How nice to have our feet touching and communicating with Earth in its most humble form, and we are proud of it.  It seems to me that most of the shoeless subjects of the photos bear a sense of dignity and destiny resulting from being shoeless. 

      Bare feet save shoes.  That was one of the requirements in those earlier depression and poverty-laden days in our past-- but this scarcity of supplies exists in today's world as well.  Let being barefoot remind us of a disparity in wealth. 

      Bare feet remind us that we are made for summer weather.  We can become more thankful if barefooted when we see that freedom is part of human life.  We strip ourselves of equipment required in harsher times.  Shoelessness opens us to future conquests.

      Prayer:  Lord, teach us to bare ourselves before you, to know our humble role in this world, and to be satisfied that in touching our little part of this Earth we are in communion with the entire planet in some fashion.  Let our bare feet lead us on the way.  







Sericea Lespedeza, Lespedeza cuneata
Sericea Lespedeza, Lespedeza cuneata, a least-wanted Kentucky plant.
 (*photo credit)

November 5, 2011     Let's Keep the Clocks Unchanged 


DO IT?  Everyone prefers one or other time; "switching to or from daylight saving time from or to regular time ultimately pleases no one.  Late tonight, all perfectionists will promptly rise and set the clocks back after repeating the mantra "fall back and spring ahead."  But why clock changes?  Granted this started as a method to give time in the Second World War for workers to spend evening in their victory gardens.  However, an hour in morning cool is worth more than an hour in the heat of the late summer afternoon.  Gardening can be done on either end of the day and mornings are as ideal as evenings.  Again, why the change?  Some will talk about school kids being made to travel in the dark of winter mornings.  Administrators could adjust school schedules, not national ones? 

      Many people in other nations think this American clock-changing exercise is somewhat odd -- and so do many of us Americans.  I am not against time zones in a broad country like ours, but even that bears its own inconvenience.   The clock time is somewhat relative to start with;  we may prefer the eternal NOW of God, but then we have our everyday schedules that must be met.  When preparing for distant trips we are left with the need to add or subtract those hours depending on the shifts in standard to "daylight saving time."  What does the term even mean?  I have never in nearly eighty years ever saved any time during one part of the year.  I suspect that those who rise with the sun may have some annual energy savings, but that is highly problematic as well.  For those of us who rise before first light and come to rest after sunset, the entire saving bout is fiction.     

       Personally, I do not even have a time preference (thus irritated by both switches) -- just keep it the same year round.  Of course each day's light span will differ from yesterday's and tomorrow's in areas away from the equator.  In our mid-temperate zone we know that each month an average light span gains or loses by approximately one hour and that gives us the hour span as we know it.  We calculate nine hours of light span in winter (around December 21st) and fifteen hours in summer (around June 21st).  Thus, we can estimate how much sunlight each day will have by an easy calculation.  Changing the clock adds a complication that does not need to be there in the first place.   

      By the way, remember that there's a time change at 2:00 am tomorrow in most, but not all, parts of the United States -- states do the deciding.  Be a good player;  smile when you set the clock back.  Then ask yourself the question: Have you really had any daylight savings in the past seven months? 

      Prayer:  Lord, give us patience with the things we do not like or understand, and in fact with life itself, for life contains many aspects that truly baffle us. 







Droplets of water magnify leaf details.
 (*photo credit)

November 6, 2011       Awaiting the Expectant One 

     Resplendent and unfading is wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her.       She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire;  whoever watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate.  (Wisdom 6: 12-14) 

     Today some parents and friends are awaiting the return of their loved one from Iraq and harm's way.  They have prayed for months, followed the news accounts in the area where he is stationed and, after each casualty listing and no visits by a military unit, have breathed a sigh of relief.  That has been going on for months and now the tour of duty is ending -- and they await the expected one in rapt anticipation.

      November is a transitional period when we end the "ordinary" year of liturgical readings and await the coming of the Advent season.  We listen to St. Paul (Thessalonians 4: 13-18) talk about the end of time, and regard this as a fitting subject after the feasts of All Saints and All Souls.  November reminds us that it is salutary to think occasionally about our own passing from this life.  Even the Earth will pass away in order to give way to an anticipated New Earth -- the timing and nature of which is somewhat idle speculation.  Paul speaks of the voice of an archangel and of a trumpet of God.  We do not know how this scene will unfold.  We certainly can wait with expectation, but to suppose that some will be more able to visualize that happening is not scriptural.  We are not divine mind readers.  As high as the heavens are about the earth, so high are my ways above your ways. (Isaiah 55: 9) 

      The Gospel (Matthew 25: 1-13) is about the ten virgins; the wise five virgins take sufficient oil to keep their lamps burning.  The ten do not know the hour the bridegroom is coming.  The oil of the foolish ones runs out and, when they go to buy some, the doors are closed.  Some conservationists may liken the current oil economy to this parable.  In fact, it sounds somewhat applicable since the parable says we are to conserve our fuel (trim the wicks) and take the amount needed (for keeping the lamps lit) for the task ahead.  However, an over-application could encourage a sense of selfishness, if one applies the parable to oil reserve storage by the wealthy at the expense of those who do not have the added resources to develop a petroleum reserve.   

     Let's pass over the temptation to talk about oil consumption and focus instead on the need for vigilance in the expectation of Christ's coming in our lives, and the growth of the Kingdom of God in this world around us.  Expectancy makes us work more diligently in preparing our Earth for the Lord's coming, which is surely to happen in due time.  All we know for certain is that we are 2000 years closer to the final day than was St. Paul.   

      Prayer: Lord, prepare us for your anticipated but unpredictable coming, and help us act accordingly. 








*photo by Dennis Pennington, Michigan State University Extension.
(Creative Commons, Share Alike License)

November 7, 2011    Switchgrass and Future Biofuels

      Switchgrass is truly an American plant, but the hope by renewable energy optimists is that it will lose its American "weed" status and become a commercial crop in the near future.  President George W. Bush asked an Alabama legislator while preparing for his state of the Union message, "What is this switchgrass?"  Advocates wanted him to include this mention for renewable energy promotion. The president's was an honest question of which only a few Americans could at that time have given a correct answer.  In the ensuing years switchgrass has become less mysterious but is still a few years away from production as a replacement for corn, some 40% of this year's corn crop is being diverted into biofuels. 

      Each year, the goal of working with switchgrass as a corn alternative is being delayed and pushed back.  This perennial grass can be grown on currently unproductive land and requires little fertilizer and less energy to use as a crop.  Some researchers suggest all kinds of benefits if less productive corn cropland were turned to switchgrass and other cellulosic feedstocks for making ethanol as a biofuel: more ethanol yields per acre, higher overall corn yields, less fertilizer runoff, less carbon dioxide emissions, reduced nitrogen leaching and thus better groundwater quality.  <http://news.illinois.edu/news/11/0712switch_EvanDeLucia.html>

      The difficulty emerges that the commercial transition to switchgrass requires some planning and preparation.  One does not simply go out and start harvesting any old weed, for there are critical density requirements as well as the entire infrastructure for harvesting, transporting, and preparing the ethanol from the stalks.  Predictions of millions (much less billions) of gallons of ethanol from switchgrass is still years away -- but it cannot come too soon. 

      Changing to switchgrass is not a "shell game;"  rather, it ought to be a major priority in the world of energy alternatives.  The subsidies given for growing corn for biofuels are in the process of being removed but should not be hidden in debt reduction strategies but rather transferred to encouraging the switch to switchgrass and other cellulosic renewable alternatives.  A further incentive is that switchgrass can be grown on lands that extend beyond the traditional Corn Belt and include southern and western marginal lands.  The crop is more drought resistant than corn and can endure some of the warming summers now experienced. 

      Efforts to grow more switchgrass extended to my home Mason County in recent years.  Financial aid has been given to farmers in the Buffalo Trace area of Kentucky to convert to five-acre plots that have yielded five to six tons per plot.  Cost of establishing the switchgrass plots have been about $200, but the hope is the perennial will have a payback in a few years.  Great expectations! 

      Prayer:  Lord, encourage our people to become more willing to make the changes that enhance the health of our troubled planet. 









Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) // [NOT Eastern Gray Treefrog, Hyla versicolor]
Embracing life: Northern cricket frog, Acris crepitans.
 (*photo credit)

November 8, 2011  "Pro-Life and Anti-Environment" is an Oxymoron 

      On this Election Day, many life-long pro-lifers ask ourselves what next year's election will bring.  Will we have to make decisions among candidates who do not totally satisfy our expectations and who call themselves "pro-life" and yet do not really know what the term means?  Will we hear the encouraging words of friends saying to vote for this environmentally-inclined candidate over another?  In some cases, heavens forbid, will we hear moral leaders say to vote against "pro-choice" people who actually posses excellent environmental records?  Dilemmas will undoubtedly surface for candidate choices, provided all other things are equal -- though this is hardly the case in real life.

      While some pro-life agencies predicted that this existing federal Congress would be the most pro-life U.S. Congress on record, others have differing definitions -- and some of my colleagues call it the most "pro-death Congress" on record once considering its environmental record.  At the end of July the League of Conservation and Congressmen Henry Waxman and Edward Markey listed all 110 anti-environmental votes (still more in September and October).  Those votes included:  22 to defund or repeal clean energy initiatives; 20 votes to block actions to address climate change including votes to deny that climate change is occurring; numerous votes to block EPA from regulating carbon emissions from power plants and refineries; other votes to regulate carbon emissions from motor vehicles; 42 votes targeting the Environmental Protection Agency; 24 votes targeting the Department of Energy; and 20 votes targeting the Department of Interior. 

      The anti-environmental climate in the House of Representatives may very well extend into next year's election arena.  That raises a question as to the pro-life primacy of environment.  As many, like the late environmentalist Jim Berry argued: "We cannot have pro-life issues without a living planet on which to live."  Let us take this a step farther.  What if one candidate professes to be pro-life and yet overlooks pronouncements by the major part of the scientific and moral community saying that humans are causing major climate changes?  What if his or her opponent is pro-choice to one or other degree and yet is pro-environment?  Dilemma, right?   

      All things presumed equal, please note that the first candidate in being anti-environmental is simply not pro-life on a major and defining issue;  this person perhaps has other unresolved issues.  The second candidate may call him or herself pro-choice but considers that environment is within the realm of governmental voting issues, whereas much (though not all) of the abortion problems are outside the federal legislative realm and policy.  For whom do you vote?  The "seamless web of life" includes our defense of the fetus, elderly, death row inmates AND Earth herself.  Issues are sure to surface hot and furious in 2012. 

      Prayer:  Lord, help us to be conscientious in choosing people who will promote the seamless web of life.     





Occupy Wall Street Special Issue Reflection Become Reclaimers of the Commons

      OCCUPY WALL STREET FOLKS: Become Reclaimers of the Commons 

         The old order changeth, yielding place to new,

           and God fulfills himself in many ways,

           lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

         "The Passing of Arthur" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson 

     The current economic order is dysfunctional.  Autumn demonstrations in at least eighty American cities, and in other countries as well, are calling for something new, but what?  Is this an unformulated cry around the globe?  Fidelity to the American Spirit and to our founders could be channeled in two routes: making profound and global change (not tweaking an outdated system); and addressing the 1787 proposal by elder statesman Ben Franklin to limit wealth.  Reclaiming the Commons (please download free from this website) describes a collective work in progress.  This may take a longer-range political action on the part of all. 

      Economist Jeffrey Sachs, in his recently published and quite lucid The Price of Civilization, says on page 8, "I have no quarrel with wealth per se."  One response is "Some do quarrel with it -- and our numbers are growing."  Wealth uncontrolled tends to become excessive and the wealthy corrupt government, pay legislators, buy a political party or two, canonize billionaires (when a billion people throughout the world go hungry), subvert laws, create corporate persons with undue influence, demand lower tax rates, control the media, encourage the have-nots to crave to be wealthy through unrealistic dreams of lottery jackpots, label the prophetic word "sharing" as unpatriotic, and promote an entitlement of wealth nobility deserving of Jefferson's blunt words against King George. 

      Fair taxes are championed in our third draft of Reclaim the Commons, but frankly these will not solve a dysfunctional economic system, nor be secured by the current dysfunctional Congress.  A new constitution must limit wealth and encourage the formation of a world government, which promotes the welfare of all people.

   This Constitution must state that the time-honored goal of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" include guaranteed livelihood; ALL have a right to health, education, and employment -- not just the privileged few.  Perhaps, this could permit as large a salary as one's ego and luck allows but, after reaching an arbitrarily set limit, return the remainder to the commons.   

      In turn, commoners must be responsible and assist in monitoring governmental agencies' performance as part of a civic duty.  A future global structure might control resource use, protect wildlife, promote renewable energy, encourage small enterprises and farms, and redistribute the estimated 11- to 14-trillion-dollar tax haven loot to agencies working on basic needs.  


That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to abolish or destroy it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

                    Declaration of Independence


Read more!

OCCUPY Wall Street and Prepare for a Constitutional Convention
A Special Issue by Al Fritsch
Click here to access









Childhood revisited
Autumn in southern Kentucky.
 (*photo credit)

November 9, 2011  Balance Material/Spiritual Growth 

      In auditing an economics course offered by The Teaching Company, Why Economics Rise or Fall, by Peter Rodriguez, it strikes me that economic "growth" always assumes material growth -- and yet available global resources at any given time are a limited pie.  If all seek a bigger slice of a finite pie in a limited time frame, then conflicts arise, because the more powerful will quickly get the bigger slice and little folks will lose out.  Any fixation on macro-economic growth of two percent per year or even one percent annually could quickly become unrealistic from a social justice standpoint if strict equality in society prevails.   

      Should we not move away from the standard economic set of measurements for growth (away from dollar or physically measurable amounts) to a new growth, namely spiritual growth?  However, the spiritual aspects are often hidden, complex, and quite subjective.  The spiritual includes mental advancement, human well-being, a hope-filled future, and a dependence on God for assistance.  Spiritual growth includes meeting essential demands for a quality of life (essential food, lodging, health, recreational, and educational needs) and so is not removed totally from physical or material growth.  These essential components for quality life cannot be met when uncontrolled material growth allows the powerful privileged to squander resources in wasteful ways, and use these to attempt to satisfy their insatiable wants -- a rouse of the devil. 

      Is an economics based on satisfying the wants of everyone simply dysfunctional and unsustainable?  Does an economics based on sharing with everyone in the world have a chance in this limited world in which we find ourselves in the twenty-first century?  Growth then can be measured as an increment of shared benefits for all, not health or benefits for the few.  Thus we must challenge any materialistic economic model in its very structure;  to accept these premises leads to a world of haves and have-nots.  The haves may surrender holdings voluntarily or expect that an aroused citizenry will remove excesses by means of taxation. 

      Ought we to await the action of the privileged who will most likely surrender very little voluntarily?  Is it enough to suffer the world to the hands of the greedy -- and await a final correction at the hand of God at an indefinite future event?  Christian action calls for initiating a process of sharing  material goods with all people -- and the more balanced the sharing the greater the growth together with others.  Astoundingly, for the first half of unicellular life on this planet, the coming together in groupings was for the mutual benefit of each.  Unity and sharing became a necessity that finds its greatest expression in the  Eucharist.   

      Prayer:  Lord, teach us to grow, not by grabbing for material things, but by sharing what is available;  give us the understanding that to share is to grow spiritually for the benefit of all. 










Old mining camp
Glass fragments from old mining camp.  Harlan Co., KY.
 (*photo credit)

November 10, 2011  Tea Party! Target Public/Private Privileges  

     During the night of December 16, 1773, a group of Boston citizens disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians; they raided ships containing tea on which duties were to be imposed, and they threw 342 containers of tea into the harbor. The tea was owned by the East India Company (the world's first multinational corporation) and protected by England (the foremost maritime power of the time).  The party people were the oppressed little folks who were not duped by the propaganda of the time and saw things clearly. 

      Fast forward to the twenty-first century.  Many of us, especially we fiscal conservatives, never venture into debt nor hold credit cards.  We discover that many fellow citizens have been hoodwinked by big privileged holders of half the wealth of this nation with fourteen trillion dollars salted away in tax havens in various lands.  The wealthy elite instigate governmental protection by propagandizing the public with "no taxes," when true tea party advocates ought to call for "fair taxes" from the privileged privateers tied in with governmental officials. 

     Recall that President Eisenhower's concern about the military/industrial complex was quite valid and it has now come full term:  it has evolved into a big business/big government materialism, whether western capitalistic (Bush instigation and Obama tolerance) or Communist/Capitalistic in America by its two-trillion-dollar-debt stakeholder, China.  Real tea party people ought to be against the imposition of unfair tax burdens by the combination of big government/big business who have absconded with the wealth of our people to protected tax havens.  Certainly we need responsive governmental agencies to assist the little people to get back what is rightly ours.  Rather than equating eighteenth-century oppression with our indebted and overspending government and its military appetite, let's put the finger squarely on the industrial portion of the complex --on the privileged billionaires and millionaires who inordinately influence our government.

      Thomas Jefferson set the call for revolution in the eighteenth-century and his words in our Declaration of Independence.  These words calling for profound change involving a dysfunctional relationship of big government and privileged corporations that can so suppress the people that they can hoodwink them into defending privilege through a fading hope of someday winning a lottery.  Taxation without representation is NOT "no taxation," but "Fair Taxation." Preserving our democratic government is more demanding than some flippant tea party folks think.  We need a system to catch thieves and return the commons to the people.  See Reclaiming the Commons:  Taking What is Rightfully Ours on this website.  Your comments are always most welcome.

      Prayer: Lord, enflame us with righteous anger so that we will ignite a change that opens the financial resources now in tax havens, and loosen the funds so that our long suffering unemployed may find work opportunities and livelihoods for their families.  








Snail, ID pls
A closer look at the forest floor.
 (*photo credit)

November 11, 2011  Remember Veterans in Tight Fiscal Times 

      Following the Second World War, our country has given veterans special consideration for sacrifices they performed for our country.  Eventually, the thirteen million veterans of that war were augmented by veterans of conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan, the last two still generating veterans.  The millions of these generous people receive benefits in education (GI Bill), retirement payments, and medical treatment.  The costs of benefits mount and is drawing the attention of fiscal watchers. 

      The outgoing Secretary of Defense Gates said early this year that medical costs were the primary driver of military expenses.  At this time, the debt commission figures that curbing Pentagon expenses is half of monetary savings demanded.  Such attention makes us wonder whether the axe will fall more heavily next month on individual veterans who lack the influence of the military/industrial complex.  Will veterans' health be sacrificed in order to save the likes of F35 aircraft and other weapons of "no need but great profits."  The attention in times of cuts is to shave the ones with least voice and leave little touched the ones protected by powerful lobbyists . In this either-or battle of cuts, the public must speak up for reasonable veteran benefits. 

      However, some of us working fully beyond retirement cut off years consider that military retirement with full benefits after twenty years are excessive.  This allows some in their forties to be fully funded military retirees -- and that is unfair.  Believe me, any veteran of a conflict with a health impairment ought to be fully supported;  however, a person in full health does not need benefits until later in life and should thank God for good health.  Just expanding the years before retirement benefits kick in would be a massive saving -- and this ought to be on the table. 

      Having said this, we return to the military cuts now being considered in the special congressional committee appointed for debt reduction.  Why more aircraft carriers?  Why NATO defense against a Soviet that does not exist?  Why all the troops in Korea or Okinawa or Germany some sixty six years after World War Two?  Why all our far flung military bases when quick reaction teams can fly into any part of the world on hours notice?  Why the nuclear bomb stockpile and production outrage and the costs of research, development and protection of these weapons of mass destruction?  Why engage in the current wars of the Middle East and all their ongoing expenses?   

     Answering these questions ought to be the focus of attention before cutting benefits to veterans who have few to speak in their defense.  Let us all defend the health and educational benefits for veterans and do so with vigor since they richly deserve it, but be mindful that the military budget must be trimmed very soon.   

      Prayer: Lord, help our country get its priorities straight and to cut its military expenses in this age of austerity. 









Barbed wire
Barbed wire merges with cedar. Woodford Co., KY.
 (*photo credit)

November 12, 2011  Dress Warmly Indoors and Lower Room Temperature 

      The weather is cooling down, and we are beginning to experience the sharp winds of late autumn.  Winter preparations are in order.  However, from previous reflections on general energy conservation we emphasize once more:  save energy by dressing warmly and turning down the thermometer.  Room heat depends on time of day or night of occupation.  In virtually every circumstance people could get along with better health by keeping the room temperature lower, certainly a little lower than what is expected by air conditioning in summer (say by an additional five degrees).  Try allowing sixty degrees Fahrenheit or even a little above the pipe freezing -- provided no resident needs elevated temperatures. Some energy conservation suggestions include: 

     * Adjust thermostats.  Attempt to reduce the outdoor/indoor temperature differential as much as can be allow for health.  Overheating the room will be less healthy than underheating it to a reasonable limit -- but don't let the pipes freeze.

     * Dress warmly and comfortably.  Lighter weight but layered clothing is often superior to heavy single layers.  Accept the need to dig out the long underwear and heavy socks even when you do not wear shoes indoors.  Learn to imitate your grandparents.   

      * Establish unheated areas.  Bedrooms need not be heated at all, for the speed at getting into a well-padded and covered bed will do far more than a heated room with light coverings in winter. 

      Adjust living and work areas.  Know the warmer areas of home or work place.  There are undoubtedly warmer areas of a residence or work space, and choices ought to be made according to demands of fellow residents and workers.  Consider that keeping coats on in public meetings has been and ought to be an acceptable practice.  

      Joint Decisions:  Talk over the heating practices with all parties.  Many are unaware that heating costs are as high as they are, or that closing off unused areas could be cost saving, or that heating on a portion of day or week is an economy measure.  There is no need for 75 degree Fahrenheit rooms; champion lower room temperatures as a way to reduce winter colds and flu.   

      * Wear warmer clothing boldly.  Some may wear knit caps or other outdoor gear to prove the point that it is too cold indoors.  Fingerless gloves may have a place here, and this may require no excuses or the false incentives arising from failing to heat to everyone's liking. 

      * Choose warmer fabrics well.  Many new synthetics can beat heavy wool as indoor winter wear; this may mean new purchases but the payback in energy savings is enormous. 

      Prayer:  Lord, give us a sense of well being that also allows us to realize vital and welcome energy savings this winter. 








"X" marks the spot
Cave Run Lake, Kentucky.
 (*photo credit)

November 13, 2011      Creative Fidelity with Talents Given 

     Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you.  For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.                                           (Thessalonians 5: 1-2)  

     We continue the theme that we treated last week and listen to the reading from St. Matthew's Gospel that follows the parable of the wise and foolish virgins; this immediately precedes the famous passage on the judgment of the king, which we will reflect upon next Sunday on the feast of Christ the King.   This week's parable tells of the three persons who were entrusted with talents, and two made good on investments according to the amounts given.  The third buries his talents and refuses to use them for good, and thus is called a wicked, lazy servant by his master. 

     Jesus is telling us to use our talents well and in a creative manner.  Perhaps we take our talents, (physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental) for granted.  On the other hand, we may invest them creatively according to time and circumstances.  Yes, one can call "fidelity" the use of a Latin liturgy that is 1,700 years old -- Greek predated it by 300 years, -- or a Genesis creation story of seven days about 6,000 years ago.  But that may not be creative fidelity, and it might disturb people who want more meaningful liturgy or who prefer a more theological interpretation of the Scriptural Genesis account.  For the former, the Liturgy is something to be lived in today's world; the account of Earth's origins are found in geology and further back still in cosmology and astronomy.  It is somewhat desecrating to make the Scriptures into a pseudo-planetary science.  Fidelity means retaining devotional meaning and theological understanding.   

     Burying our talents and not allowing them to benefit others is a form of legalism.  This is built on fear of what could possibly happen or on a lack of freedom of choice, which is so necessary in our seeking to be genuinely free people.  Burying talents happens when people deny a calling, excuse themselves from personal responsibilities, or escape to drugs or other allurements. Truly, doing something creative with talents involve a risk:  we might have to face harsh reality; we may fail in trying; we may discover that using talents takes an enormous commitment of time and energy. 

    Creative commitment impels us to choose what is right no matter how uncertain the outcome.  Our fidelity is reinforced by hope; we risk loving and that extends to all.  Creative fidelity involves the interaction of faith, hope and love, not one or other alone.  Our lives are short and these are always the last of times;  thus our use of talents includes an element of urgency.  We are aware that the evaluation of others may be negative or that the journey may not give immediate results even in our lifetime.  But the Lord calls and we must act now. 

      Prayer: Lord, help us always to remain faithful.  









Near the KY-TN-VA borders
A rural barn in Lee Co., VA.
Color version of photo from ASPI Simple Lifestyle Calendar, previous year.
 (*photo credit)

November 14, 2011        Focus on Fitness: Spiritual, Mental, Economic, Physical

      The ASPI Simple Lifestyle Calendar has an annual topic that features some aspect of Appalachia (in 2011 it has been barns, cabins and covered bridges).  Check the website for details about the 2012 calendar now on sale; the upcoming calendar features Appalachian elders.  Also each day of the year has a noted point worth considering, whether a saying by someone or an idea worth reflecting upon for the day.  Today's contribution is the title "Focus on fitness."  Using this for today's reflection we realize that fitness includes spiritual, mental, economic, and physical abilities to do the tasks before us in such a manner that we can attain a better quality of life.   

       Spiritual fitness includes a number of reminders during our daily routines -- to thank God on occasion when the cool breeze blows or we enjoy some food or a drink of fresh water;  to pray during the early part of the day for our needs and those of our loved ones; to say a blessing before a meal; and before retiring to review the actions of the day.  We ought to include next weekend's liturgical celebration as part of spiritual fitness as well.. 

      Mental fitness is of utter importance for peace of mind and social presence to others.  Though mental health is a God-given gift of which we are deeply thankful, still we can assist in enhancing it in several ways -- stay abreast of basic news and happenings in our area, region, nation, and world;  do some reading and even writing each day, discuss serious matters with others, and dismiss stressful distractions and any anger or festering of resentment by the actions of others.  Stay cheerful, smile and cultivate a sense of humor when possible.

      Economic and political fitness includes planning what needs to be purchased, a willingness to avoid credit cards, awareness of how much is being spent this month, and a desire for longer range anticipation of how to budget next year's income.  Related political fitness includes doing our civic duties and keeping tabs on what our elected representatives are doing.  Such a concern requires reading and listening to news broadcasts and discussing economic and political matters with others. 

      Physical fitness is often regarded as the fullness of fitness.  To stay in good physical health may not always be under our total control, though our avoidance of substance abuse, our daily physical exercise, our obtaining of plenty of rest, and our proper eating are all part of the regime of the "fit" person.  Will power is required to meet physical exercise needs each day.  Amazingly, perhaps the majority of Americans, youth and adults, do not reserve one hour a day for physical exercise.  This is an area that is allowed to slide very quickly.   

      Prayer:  Lord, give us the ability to focus on our fitness, so that what we do may be for the better service of all.









Late Summer - Mid Autumn
Look closely for ants in exploration of goldenrod.
 (*photo credit)

November 15, 2011   Biophilia:  November's Hidden Blessings 

      We must love nature in order to be fully human. E.O. Wilson 

     On America Recycles Day we may find it proper to live modestly within and imitate nature in some ways.  We ought to recycle our materials -- thus showing our respect for nature in deed rather than mere words.  You and I know many people who love the outdoors, who like to hike and camp, who enjoy birdwatching and gardening, and poets who enjoy experiences of serene mountain scenes and placid shimmering lakes.  Thus love of nature includes our duties to keep it pristine and our expression of admiration. 

      Perhaps you prefer to talk about a love of nature in spring's floral beauty, summer's glorious sunsets, or winter's new-fallen snow.  There is a time for everything, even to love nature, but this is most trying in gray November than any other month.  However, love is tried amid fallen and decaying leaves and new-found frost and skims of ice and surviving garden crops.  Lovers of nature are not confined to a single season, if they are willing to look out and see God's glory all around.  

    If this is a harder time to elicit such love, maybe it is best to discover that the struggle makes the heart grow fonder.   However, while difficult, let us all strive to find good in every month, even November.  

                November's Hidden Blessings 

      Gray is hardly a color to inspire our chores

        in clouds and mists and hidden cloaks

      that envelop our sensual desires within,

        and lessen our footsteps out-of-doors. 

     This month has little to give in new enticing ways,

        causing us to doubt spontaneous blessings,  

      rolling off our spirit as receding tide,

        and yet something makes us pause to praise. 

     The month no longer has the colored leaves,

        and now heavy frost coats the faded mums,

     and tropical songbirds long ago took flight,

       leaving us with crows and chickadees. 

     November makes the heart grow fonder,

        for springtime's showers and sparkling sunlight,

     but wait, we now find joy a little deeper,

       in nature's subtle gifts that we can ponder. 

      Prayer:  Lord, give us the grace to open our eyes to see new sights, to smell the scents of the seasons, to hear the rippling brook, to feel the brisk weather, and to taste autumn treats. 








Late Summer - Mid Autumn
"Tunas" - fruits - of the native Kentucky plant, prickly pear cactus.
 (*photo credit)

November 16, 2011    International Day for Tolerance 

      This is a day that is most needed as anti-immigration issues arise both in the United States (e.g., Arizona, Georgia, Alabama) and in emerging right-wing parties in Europe and other places.  Massive numbers of job seekers are reaching the shores of Italy and Greece; these anxious immigrants cause irritation in border lands on the direct routes from opportunity-hungry Africa to Western Europe.  In our country we desperately need national immigration laws to protect the hard-working people who often lack proper papers.  We see our sense of tolerance tested when some target newspapers in Denmark due to cartoons, others apply blasphemy laws against Christians, and some protest where to build a needed mosque. 

        Americans, we must take note;  at the 911 site in New York or in Tennessee where Muslims seek worship space, tolerance is called for and must be reaffirmed against agitators with political points to make.  Within the growing controversies over minority rights and the manner of treating migrants, a sense of fair play and tolerance is food for thought.  By fair play is meant some nations should not be allowed to be intolerant against their own minorities, and yet seek tolerance for coreligionists in other lands.  Fairness must become a global issue and it is expected that all nations examine practices within and come to terms with  intolerance at home.   

      Random acts of intolerance should not be allowed to set the tone, for then agitators are able to paint a region or nation as intolerant even when their numbers are few.  The Norwegian massacre in July showed a people unwilling to be so painted or to allow the culprit to have free reign of the media, which is what he wanted dearly to have.  What that episode taught us all is that misdeeds ought to be kept within media control boundaries.  Merely creating stories as a way to gain popularity becomes the intent of the perpetrators of intolerance; sadly the car bombers and other terrorists include killing innocent children to make a headline.   

      We need to realize the potential for rising intolerance in ages that include financial difficulties and political tensions.  It is imperative that counter measures be taken to contest the rising tide of hate and innuendo.  It is not enough that we are quietly tolerant; we must speak up in the broader arena of our political and economic world.  It is important that we focus attention on the causes of unrest in order to root out violent reactions before they occur.  This is even more demanding on the part of Europeans than in this country with essentially two political parties.  However, Americans should not be caught off guard. In the troubling times of the past, discrimination erupted against minorities.  We must all be vigilant and expose acts of intolerance whenever and wherever they arise. 

      Prayer: Lord, give us the grace to be tolerant and to look into ourselves to find and root out any vestiges of intolerance. 








Homeless. Photo by Kacie Lambert, Creative Commons.

November 17, 2011   National Homeless Awareness Week 

      No one knows the number of Americans who are presently homeless, though some give estimates of hundreds of thousands or even one million.  Whatever the number, it is too high, for all people have a right to decent and affordable housing for themselves and their families.  We prefer not to consider the global homeless situation -- and yet millions are in transit, in refugee camps, or engaged in trying to make ends meet in inadequate housing.  

      If you are like me, there are times in travels or hiking when we are temporarily lost and do not know the way.  The fear and panic that sets in is a form of discomfort we do not wish on others.  What about many homeless people -- many because some may actually choose the homeless condition even when alternatives exist?  Homeless folks often cover up their situation by bathing at libraries or public restrooms and try to look neat and clean after restless nights of partial terror and sleeplessness.  Many homeless people hide their condition and maintain jobs during the day. 

      Besides the traditionally understood homeless often with a substance abuse problem, America today has entire families where un- or under-employed breadwinners simply lack the funds to rent a place for the family.  Some stay in cars or campers; other reside temporarily in camp sites or at storage places; still others park a vehicle and make the best of a night in the vehicle with all the discomforts associated.  Still others do not even have a precious vehicle to call their own, and are subject to the elements.  This category of people suffer from lack of affordable housing in the areas that they live but do not "reside."  Funding for public housing at decent rates is often in short supply. 

     Globally, serious housing problems exist.  At the time this was written in mid-summer, demonstrations were occurring in Israel due to high rent taking half or more of the income of residents.  When one considers that increased food costs burden many modest to low income earners, they have little left for lodging rentals.  The vast migration has occurred in recent decades from rural areas of existing (even though often inadequate) housing to urban locations without proper water, sanitation, privacy or safety;  this exacerbates housing problems for as many as a billion people.  

      Often young members of homeless families are hurt most: lack of proper education and unhealthy sleeping conditions; disrupted social life; lack of a sense of community; and need for recreational opportunities enjoyed by those with fixed residences.  Many times the stress is expressed in lower grades or added health burdens, by concerned parents, or by being forced to hide the actual conditions from educators or those who could help.  Homeless children ought to be discovered and, with millions of empty foreclosed homes, they deserve a roof over their heads. 

      Prayer:  Lord, the fleeing of the Holy Family to Egypt reminds us that homelessness is to be addressed in many places.  








Picture 1523
Making re-use of a chicken coop as storage shed for tools.
 (*photo credit)

November 18, 2011    The Practice of Using Less Stuff 

      On this Use Less Stuff Day we need to reaffirm two points:  "contrasumption" championed here goes against the thrust of our consumer-based economy; and we all need to consider the multitude of items we acquire and consume in some fashion. Yes, it is patriotic from a global and national standpoint to curb consumption of items that are not essential for ourselves or for those we service.   

      Our emphasis ought to be to expand consumption opportunities for people who are destitute or are on the low end of the global economic scale.  Those people need more adequate nutritious food, expanded agriculture, water purification systems, affordable and safe housing, and educational and health related materials.  In fact, bringing the low-consuming end of the world population up to an adequate degree demands expanded production of many items.  At the same time those seeking to acquire luxury and non-essential materials ought to have a consumption tax that helps pay for the elevation of that lower income group of people. 

      Further reflections focus on our consumption of material goods out of need or want.  Let's ask ourselves some questions:

      * Do we consume major portions of food (animal products and processed foods) on the higher end of the resource chain?   

     * Do we use numerous electronic devices, electric lights, and keep computers on standby overnight? 

      * Are we trying to moderate year round room temperatures (slightly hotter in summer and cooler in winter) and strive to reduce air conditioning use?

     * Do we drive less and only when necessary?  Do we keep tires inflated?  Do we drive defensively and in moderate speeds?  Do we choose to walk or bike if and when opportunities afford this?  Are we members of a carpool or use public transportation? 

     * Do we have items in the home or office that are unneeded and could be recirculated through swapping or yard sales or some forms of barter?

      * Do we think twice before we make purchases to see whether we really need the particular item?  Do we recycle unused materials in a proper manner?  Do we ever challenge others as to whether they need items or about the possibility of down-sizing their own lifestyles? 

      * Do we grow some of our own food supply? 

      Prayer:  Lord, teach us to use less material things and to encourage others to do the same, so that all of us can become less materialistically oriented. 







Late Summer - Mid Autumn
Man at rest, enjoying autumn view.
 (*photo credit)

November 19, 2011       International Men's Day 

      Considering International Men's Day is a challenge especially since this causes discomfort to many of us.  Is there a problem?  A crisis?  A hidden agenda?  And if some difficulties arise with males, are they truly global or culturally conditioned?  The one international issue that stretches across many lands, races, ages, and social conditions is that of meaningful employment or its lack.  Often women tend the children, the homestead and even the crops and men are expected to hunt or work wherever possible and that is often at a distance from the residence.   

      Male distant employment has many bad effects such as being away from one's family for a length of time or lack of proper safety or adequate wages.  However, a far greater ill effect is not having work at all, whether local or distant.  Added tension  settles in when the unemployed (male or female) know their life is ebbing away and an income needed for a livelihood is being denied them;  yes, this is denial for they are part of a dysfunctional economy that prefers unemployment pools to keep wages low and profits for the captain high.  Earlier this year Newsweek had an article dealing with the "beached white male" or middle income former employee who cannot get a job.  The condition becomes more desperate when employers decide only to hire current employees from other companies and pass over the ranks of the unemployed. 

      Potential work positions exist by the millions -- to rebuild infrastructure, establish small farms, irrigate land, reclaim damaged areas, teach the illiterate, build affordable housing for two billion people, and on and on.  This world is brimming over with work needs and potential opportunities to make a livelihood.  For the greater part the male (and female) population has willing workers who seek a just wage.  However, this world is overloaded with profits salted away in trillion dollar tax havens that need to be invested.  The privileged are unwilling to open the coffers. The rest of us are unwilling to challenge the system through fair taxation.  The unemployed of this world have the RIGHT TO WORK, and a democratic society must take the means through fair taxation or more forceful means to see that financial resources are available.  

     Encourage the men (and women) who march, protest, lobby, call out, and encourage others to this cause of universal work opportunities.  This will do more for men than any think tank directive or Internet course or academic lecture.  Employment is the key word -- and our distracted governments ought to realize that they are the means of last resort.  Of course we do not deny private enterprise, but this does not bring full employment to our world.  To reduce the stress and tensions of the unemployed, we don't need park benches for them to sit around.  We need tools, directions, places to work, and the profits turned into wages.  Only then can we celebrate International Men's Day. 

      Prayer: Lord, help us be honest with the unemployed and allow all men (and women) to be occupied through dignified work.







Late Summer - Mid Autumn
Silhouette of leaves against abundant sky.
 (*photo credit)

November 20, 2011       Help Establish Christ's Kingdom 

     For I was hungry and you gave me food. (Matthew 25:35) 

      We hope and pray the Lord will someday say these words to us. Jesus, as King, invites into his Kingdom all who give food, drink, lodging, and clothes to other fellow human beings who are in need.  People who see the needy but do nothing for them retard the establishment of the kingdom.  People suffer, are hungry and homeless; those sensitive to these suffering souls, and who assist in whatever way they can, see Jesus in the suffering.

     We can receive this message either as individuals or as communities.  On the individual level, we can ask ourselves about our own callousness and insensitivity due to a self-centered focus and the quest for comfort.  Do we forget those who are in dire need because we are taken up with wants that we deceive ourselves to think are legitimate needs?  The dramatic needs of people who lack everything are pointed out in times of national or global disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes.  However, the less dramatic conditions of famine are often overlooked.  Do we turn our heads when the TV shows photos of a starving child in the Horn of Africa?

     The King addresses all those with some level of affluence in all parts of the world -- we must overcome unnecessary wants and become sensitive to the needs of the poor or we will lose our individual soul or collective faith.  Material affluence can overwhelm either possessors or those striving to become so.  Actions that are insensitive and self-centered lack compassion and a radical desire to share with others, a mandate that involves salvation of individuals and our nation.  To paraphrase Lincoln, we cannot continue in a world half slave and half free, half of haves and half of have-nots.  Insecurity will abound.  In order to cope we will maintain a military machine to protect those resources required to keep our affluence intact.  In an atmosphere of affluence the global situation grows intolerable.  Is climate change a sign of the times to which we must attend?

     Christ is our King.  If we invite Christ to lead us, we will be able to respond by helping to establish his Kingdom here and now.  If we honor Christ above all as Lord of the universe, we will restore a sense of respect within our world and enthusiasm for the mighty works that need to be done in this time of famine and suffering of every type.  As the church year is now coming to a close and we prepare for the new one next week, let us do some soul searching.  Should we continue to tolerate existing needy conditions existing today or pressure for fundamental change?  The railroad employees charged with shipping prisoners to the World War II concentration camps remained faithful by asking no questions.  Ought we to break our silence in this similar circumstance? 

      Prayer: Lord, we are haunted by what questions might be asked at our judgment; give us grace to prepare ourselves for that moment through the deeds we are called to perform here and now. 








Turkeys, crossing a rural road.
 (*photo credit)

November 21, 2011     Are Wild Turkeys Really Wild? 

      At the start of the week with "Turkey" Day, we imagine a plump domesticated turkey sacrificed for the Thanksgiving meal.  In so doing we anticipate the comfort of eating well and having a filled stomach.  For some animal lovers, the sacrifice of such life for our satisfaction seems disconcerting.  As a restricted meat eater (on occasions with others in social gathering) ambivalence prevails for some of us.  There is one way to mitigate though not necessarily resolve differences with vegetarians.  We could declare so-called wild turkeys as a menace, and put a bounty on the thousands of them to thin their numbers -- and use the harvested turkeys for the Thanksgiving meal.   

      We say "so-called" wild turkey (mellagries gallopavo), because many state game and sporting groups have introduced mixed breed turkeys that are larger than the original wild turkey as game for hunters -- and these have taken over the landscape.  The menacing comes from the enhanced appetite of the so-called and highly proliferating wild turkey.  They sound like a threshing machine or combine as they come through and consume the forest understory, impacting the areas due to appetite and in larger numbers than the land can bear.  Turkeys are omnivorous, eating virtually anything (nuts, berries, roots, insects, lizards, snakes, grains and grasses).  Ginseng enthusiasts speak of the so-called wild turkey consuming the red ginseng berry in mid-summer and crushing it in their gizzard, thus rendering it unusable for germination.  On the other hand, many smaller birds swallow the ginseng seed and emit it whole for future germination.   

      When I was young I never saw wild turkeys (the population in the United States dropped to as low as 30,000 during that period), and yet they or their damage are seen now in our forested and cultivated areas quite frequently (current estimated U.S. population is seven million individuals and expanding).  This growth has happened in the last two decades, and continues in much of the continental United States as well as Canada.   

      Hiking this past spring, I happened upon a congregation of these birds making a deafening noise in their gathering together in mating season.  They are taking over the countryside -- and dare you to come near a nesting turkey for you may be challenged.  In order to preserve the flora balance in the understory, the vast proliferation of wild turkeys in much of the continental United States must be halted and a major portion harvested.  This is because they are found inundating areas where wolves, foxes and other carnivores who traditionally established natural balance have been removed or are in short supply.  Coyotes are filling some of the niche in nature but not all of it. Harvesting helps reestablish the balance needed today. 

      Prayer:  Lord, give us a sense of nature's balance and inspire us to contribute through wise practices to upholding that balance in the world of our threatened flora and fauna. 









Picture 1535
Asters coated with November frost.
 (*photo credit)

November 22, 2011      When Is Affluence Excessive? 

      Ever since I wrote The Contrasumers in 1973, the linear span from destitution at one end and excessive and greedy affluence on the other has contained indefinite boundaries.  It is easier to approximate the lower end of the scale where essential food needs for individuals of a given age, weight, and activity can be determined.  Such approximations extends to clothing, water, fuel, and lodging needs, and so parameters are drawn up by public and private aid agencies for the destitute and the marginally poor.  Health and safety issues help set minimal perimeters.   

      The other end of the consumption spectrum (the over affluent) is more difficult to define for fear of being called judgmental.  We all know that the affluent have to be impossibly slim to pass through the eye of a needle.  We can establish levels and degrees of essential needs based on culture, temperament, health conditions, climate, etc.  That is the reason for an indefinite border on the continuous resource spectrum;  a certain leeway is deliberately indefinite to allow for individuals to distinguish their own needs from wants.  We must be cautious, for guidelines are necessary;  otherwise, the materialistically-saturated society can easily influence consumers to want ever more things. 

      In distinguishing needs from wants we ought to ask:  Is food wasted at a meal or in ordinary preparation procedures and little effort made to curb the waste?  Are the impulses to buy beyond one's financial means to be curbed in an easy-credit-card world of massive consumer debt?  Does the residence contain excessive and wasted space so that inhabitants ought to downsize in order to live within ordinary means?  Is the individual so taken up with self-needs that an insensitivity prevails in outlook?  Is there some space in a noisy world for reflection and prayer?  Is charity an integral part of the life of the person?  Does the person work excessively so as to lack time for self and family emotional needs?

      Answering these questions may bring possibly one to understand excessiveness.  Certainly a comparison when a world of famine and homelessness is within view on the TV news, makes many pause at least for an instant.  However, the willingness to continue a reflection depends on the degree of affluence and one's sensitivity to a world in need.  Here, social addiction becomes a condition that colors one's judgment.  Determining excessive affluence is NOT simply the judgment of the wealthy -- for their decision is too biased.  Citizens in democratic societies are far better suited to such decision-making, especially the poor and lower income who lack essentials.  The assumption that the affluent's answers are key is not right; the citizens' court of opinion is necessary and judgment can be made that the commons is being infringed upon by excessive affluence that requires governmental regulation to curb. See Reclaiming the Commons on this website.  

      Prayer:  Lord, teach us to know excessiveness where it exists and to point it out to regulators and to culprits alike. 









Summer into Autumn
Silver maple leaves on farm fence.
 (*photo credit)

November 23, 2011  The Myth of Thanksgiving for Better or Worse   

      Myths keep us going, and national myths help mold our diverse people into a single nation.  Perhaps no myth is stronger than what we will observe tomorrow, namely Thanksgiving Day.  In some ways this celebration has too many good qualities to call for any critical evaluation.  We are called to give thanks to God for the gifts so generously given to us as a people.  We do this in the context of a meal in which a scattered family and others come together and enjoy the bounty provided. Yes, and furthermore, we actually have fashionably accepted dishes (turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and other goodies) that are American- grown and native in origin.  To this degree the myth is salutary and reinforcing what is so important for our national mystique.  We share in common.  This day becomes a national liturgical event.  

      However, myths often have imprecise origins or could even be false (Washington cut down no cherry tree even though his honesty needs not be questioned).  What comes as a shock is that the first thanksgiving event may never have occurred, or if it did there was a quality to it we would just as soon forget, namely, celebrating a genocide of a small New England Native American tribe. (See Godfrey Hodgson, A Great and Godly Adventure: The Pilgrim and the Myth of the First Thanksgiving," New York: Public Affairs, 2006).  Why tell Americans there is no Thanksgiving mythic event when it means so much to them? 

      Truth leads to a deeper spirituality.  By correcting false portions of the Thanksgiving myth we are more able to enhance the spirit of true thanksgiving -- that comes from the exhortations of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  The act of thanksgiving must be humble;  however, that original myth of Pilgrims getting together with happy Indians and all enjoying turkey and cranberry sauce is simply a self-righteous fabrication overlaid on the humble thanks that we need to practice.   

      The arrival of the Pilgrims had shades of gray.  We ought to recall the extermination of a contesting residential tribe that survived the massive death rate due to the diseases brought from Europe of which the Native Americans were not immune.  Hodgson points out a celebration did occur after the Pequot Massacre in May, 1636, through a punishing expedition (for past conflicts) led by John Endicott from Massachusetts and John Mason from Connecticut.  "Within a half hour hundreds of Pequots -- men, women and children -- were dead.  Estimates of their number vary from 400 to 700, but only seven Pequots escaped" (Hodgson, p. 124).  He adds that the English settlers destroyed this nation as thoroughly as the Romans erased Carthage from the map.  Was this the historic grounds of one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations?  Again, myths can show a need for forgiveness AND ongoing thanksgiving. 

      Prayer:  Lord, let us teach our people to forego triumphalism and to become humble, giving thanks even when undeserving of the many gifts given. 









Summer into Autumn
A modest harvest of native Kentucky wild grapes.
 (*photo credit)

November 24, 2011     The Habit of Being Thankful  

      Why on this Thanksgiving Day ought we to give more than that pre-meal thanksgiving for all good gifts?  This needs be more than an occasional prayer or utterance; it is an art that endures throughout the year.  To be more precise, we ought to be practiced in the habit of giving thanks for all parts of life: thanks for the deeds done by another for us; thanks when another calls or greets us; thanks spontaneously to the Lord when good experiences are registered; thanks for living through the night on waking; thanks at the end of the day for the things achieved during that day.  If thanks are on the tip of our tongue, then we are learning personal gratitude -- and the world is better for it.  

      Giving thanks.  We don't deserve what we receive, and so gratitude is based on knowing that what we receive in life is pure gift, worthy of response.  We are too often in a world of demands from all around us, from sales agents to the traffic cop.  I sometimes forget to include an added "thank you" even when not needed, but in afterthought I regret not saying something, especially when frustrated or provoked.  We ought to have a sense of gratitude that is forthcoming at all times, but being on the tip of the tongue comes with conscientious practice. 

      Receiving thanks.  There is something more.  We ought to help others to take on a thankful attitude.  At this season of gifts and giving, some recipients act as though they deserve gifts given.  Should we remind them to say thanks?  Much can be gained by asking the recipient, "Did you forget something?"  "What?" asks the startled gift recipient.  My favorite response is "Oh, I am hard of hearing but I didn't hear you say thanks."  One of my pet peeves this time of year is giving and the recipient seizing a gift without a word of gratitude.  In fact, unless we confront this, we are furthering the cause of materialism in our culture.  So to elicit thanks is part of giving, even when we know there is a social justice issue here, and not just a charitable deed.  Justice demands its own expressed gratitude in order to further respect.  

      Institutionalizing thanks.  Some will say, don't express thanks if you do not mean it.  Perhaps, but I would rather say, let the habit be so deep that we do not avert to saying thanks at all times.  Institutional requirements assist us.  A required or expected thanks helps us grow in our sense of gifts given to us at all times.  Others do unsung service for us, and we could express gratitude to clerks and waiters and ticket agents and post personnel.  I like to whisper a thanks to the servers at the Liturgy even though that is not part of the service as such -- but it ought to be.  If they assist in an exercise of gratitude, then we ought to verbalize this in some small way. 

      Prayer: Lord, thank you for everything that you give us from this day of life to the air and water and food and friendship and safety and on and on.  Let our praise be filled with gratitude. 








Mercer County, Kentucky farm.
 (*photo credit)

November 25, 2011 Combat Economic Dysfunctionality: Buy Nothing Day 

      In grade school days those with nickels and dimes in their pockets (mine never jingled throughout the depression) could, and did buy yoyos and squirt guns.  By the time I raised the capital to follow suit it appeared the item was out of fashion and a new one was popular.  Finally, I came to the insight to avoid the rat race and stay contented with make shift toys and personally popular items of interest.  All that is a propos for today's "Black Friday," or the day after humble thanks.  Are we to return to the borrow-and-spend fashion that is driving our nation into bankruptcy at a relentless rate of four billion dollars a day?   

      Buy Nothing Day is an opportunity to save.  How about sending the savings to a favorite charity that is giving essential services and goods to those who are in greatest need somewhere on this wounded planet?  In so doing, the global economy will benefit equally to what it would if we spent on non-essential items for Christmas or for private satisfaction.  Others can be ushered into a better quality of life.  Our decisions help make the difference.  We will feel better in the act and thus the day will improve the quality of all people's lives through radical sharing including our own.  Now sit down and write the loved one or special friend and tell them what you just did in their name.  Believe me, they will appreciate this "material" gift given to one in greater need as much as if you gave them something they do not need or have to pretend to need. 

      Some would say this day's celebration is unpatriotic, for purchasing items of whatever type on this day is an act of supporting our country's economic system and consumer culture.  Granted some salespeople are assisted by a good record of customers coming and spending on this day.  However, the counterpoint is that there are other ways of improving the American economic situation.  One would be to enact a fair set of taxes so that those making over $100,000 would be required to share their excess income with the others of this country and the world.  The expanded revenue could be used in numerous ways:  building and repairing roads, bridges, airports, and public rail systems; subsidizing caregivers who tend elder and ill relatives; enhance educational programs for the disadvantaged; health research; install renewable energy facilities; and reclaim lands that have been damaged.  

      Buy Nothing Day counters a prevailing materialism that is never satisfied and which can bring ruin in excessive extraction and pollution to our troubled world.  Work opportunities need not be associated with materialistic attempts as personal satisfaction, which are never fulfilled.  Such practices are the play of the immature, of children wanting the next squirt gun or yoyo, except adults want the newest electronic devices or vehicle or house or boat.  It is time to change, for Advent is coming! 

      Prayer:  Lord, give us the grace to check and change our spending habits so that others may have a better quality of life. 









Autumn treats
The maturing of the goldenrod.
 (*photo credit)

November 26, 2011   Citizen of Heaven and Earth: Stay Alert  

                    Stay awake, we do not know the hour. 

      Tomorrow is the beginning of Advent, a season when the hymns and scriptural texts tell us to stay alert during this time, a period of expectancy.  Should our spiritual admonitions be extended to everyday life as well?  This is an opportune time to discover a new form of alertness for every day of Advent.   

      Alertness to personal needs.  Take a moment before descending stairs to know where to step.  Think twice in rising from bed.  Give plenty of time for today's tasks.   

      Alertness to neighbor's needs.  This is leaf-falling season.  Is the sidewalk cleared for the neighbor's walk.  Looking out for others addresses the litigious culture in which we are immersed.

      Alert to reckless behavior. Taking care to avoid temptation includes avoidance in being reckless -- tending to enter where angels fear to tread.  This may be approximate occasions to sinful misdeeds, or it may be the recklessness of excessive exercise or driving practices, all of which relate to physical dangers.   

      Alert to becoming soft or self-serving.  Too often we tend to exaggerate our own importance, or excuse ourselves in saying we need to do this "for others" and mean "for me."   

      Alert to self-importance.  Imagine the world going on tomorrow without our mortal presence.  It may be humbling to know that most things will continue at their own pace and, though we may be missed immediately by a few, that won't be the case in a short while.  Things will return to normal all too soon.  

      Alert to opportunities:  All too often we could help others but deliberately close ourselves off from the public and social occasions when assistance can be given.  The points made on Thanksgiving Day are especially to be observed this weekend. 

      Alert to elected representatives:  Keep looking at the voting records of those we elected.  Are elected representatives voting conscientiously, or for those to whom they are financially beholden? 

      Alert to assist those confused.  Tomorrow, the Liturgy in the Church changes for Catholics, and this may be somewhat bewildering and confusing.  Our kind words, smiles, and sense of humor may make such situations easier for those around us. 

      Alert to signs of our times.  Is this time similar to that of the decline of the Roman Empire?  How are we to convince others of serious, human-caused climate change?  

      Prayer: Help me, Lord, to stay awake when I must, and to rest when I ought so that my alertness will shine when needed. 









KY Winter Sky
Almost-December sky.
 (*photo credit)

November 27, 2011  Introducing Changes in the Church's Liturgy 

      Today, on this First Sunday of Advent we are starting a new church year.  New starts are always times to initiate change, and such is the case in 2011.  As we prepare for the coming of the Lord as Christ, we take this season of profound change to heart.  As individuals, we reflect on ways of improving our lifestyle and religious practices through personal reform.  However, institutional changes are occurring as well. Today, in the English-speaking Catholic world, the faithful who attend Liturgies will use responses that are unfamiliar to many, especially the younger generations.  However, older folks recall responses after "The Lord be With You," as being "And with your spirit."  This return to past wording in the now introduced Third Edition of the Roman Missal is really closer to the official Latin version.  

       All said and done, many people liked the less formal previous edition, and have voiced their dissent rather strongly in church circles.  I am not in sympathy to their discord, for it is not well founded and is often the latent desire to keep matters to what is familiar.  I am a champion of the Principle of Subsidiarity or doing at the lowest level what can best be done at that level.  However, communications, especially global communications, must be done at a broader level so that we can all communicate with each other.  Our Roman liturgy is global in scope and so the Church is right in giving the final decisions to commissions representing ALL the English-speaking nations: US, England & Wales, South Africa, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, and the Philippines.    

      The reasoning in part by the official liturgical commissions was that others of the hundreds of minor languages often take their translation from English as second hand, and not directly from Latin;  translating skills for Latin are sparse in many parts of Africa, Asia, and Oceania.  The arguments to stay closer in English does make sense, for we have the privilege of a "universal" tongue and part of the privilege includes accepting a formality of a liturgy to be used by all the people.  In my opinion, the opponents of this translation are too sophisticated and narrow in their world view.  Are a few word changes so utterly disturbing?   

      Lighten up!  Remember that others find translations from informal language far more difficult than from formal text.  Besides, trying to be closer to Latin makes chanting, which we are encouraged to do more, somewhat challenging but easier to achieve.  I am not a liturgically inclined person but seek to do what is expected, since the symbol of togetherness is utterly important.  I will change as best as an old person can do with only possible success.  We hold that inadvertent mistakes are made up by the spiritual treasury of the Church -- and that is a good feeling for one nearing eighty and told to change familiar phrases. 

      Prayer: Lord, give us the grace to be able to change with a sense of humor, and may this extend to everyone else as well.








2011 Calendar Pics
Quiet time near sunset.
 (*photo credit)

November 28, 2011    Reflect on Ways to Be Less Violent 

      On this National Stop the Violence Day we wonder about the summer violence in England.  The country seemed shocked, but why the surprise?  With a world of haves and have-nots one expects violence.  Underprivileged youth see little hope and thus thrash out.  Many subtle forms of violence also exist:   

      * Violence to self.  Many of us have habits that go unreflected and yet involve overeating, lack of rest, failure to take a needed break, or substance abuse.  In our daily examinations, we need to occasionally review our lifestyle for that could uncover hidden forms of violence.  

     * Prescription drugs.  America and many of its states could enforce stricter drug prescription requirements.  Some of the elderly with pain medicine are waylaid after purchases or in their homes.  Add to this the habit of allowing drugs to get into the wrong hands through multiple prescriptions and sale of drugs on the black market and we discover multiple drug problems. 

      * Smoking in homes.  One in five Americans continue to smoke and they do violence to self and to those who are unfortunate enough to live near them; those non-smoking residents often have little say about being forced to breathe secondhand smoke.   

      * Violence at the domestic scene. Domestic quarrels arise over drinking, drugs, or unemployment -- and then the guns and ammo appear, brought out by those proclaiming the right to bear arms.   

  * Violence to a good name.  We can easily violate another in so many ways, and this may prove easier now that Twitter and Facebook have so many followers; the impulse to spread a rumor and shatter another's good name may be an overwhelming temptation.    

     * Violence in excessive competition. A fight over or within a ball game, or rough housing within or outside of competitive sports is where physical violence can arise and take its toll. 

      * Violence or unsafe driving.  How can a little chat on the cell phone be an act of violence, or the other distractions that we associate with routine trips to and from work?  Think about it! 

      * Violence includes our part in the arms race.  Many weapons of all sorts are exported as part of the American economy.  The military/industrial complex is alive and strong, and it needs to be curbed in many ways.  Fiscal care may be one of these.  

     ...And then there are many other sources and occasions in which violence may occur. 

      Prayer:  Lord, awaken within ourselves and our world a need to become non-violent in the manner in which we treat those with whom we come in contact. 








Autumn treats
Sunflower seeds to nourish birds over winter.
 (*photo credit)

November 29, 2011   Mesmerized by Stock Market Numbers 

      For us avid National Public Radio listeners to workday hourly news bulletins, about one-quarter of the five-minute segments are devoted to Wall Street numbers.   Have you noted that at some times the numbers will come early and then again at the end of the short segment.  Don't forget the early morning news is consumed by rises and falls in Asian market reports and then the European ones as well.  In the evening, the news time is filled with daily summaries of these numbers; late at night futures, for the next day are reported.  Why these numbers?  What is it doing to us as discerning people?  How can we break away from the pervasive economics? 

    It becomes evident after a multitude of numbers that this is deliberate, not that we non- or small-investors are inherently interested;  we are being subjected so as to make us faithful adherents to the global capitalistic system.  We are being taught to enjoy the rises and falls of each day's stock report, and thus the numbers are a type of indoctrination into the system of which some of us would like to be removed.  The stock market ups and downs reflect a national mental or emotional state.  We are expected to enter into communion with investors (generally wealth holders of the global system) and to cheer when there are rises and get depressed with the falls.  Our compassion for the wealth holders is supposed to grow with each numerical report.   

      This brings us to the role of the media in propagandizing and preparing us through "news."  The waxing and waning of Wall Street enters our world and our collective minds.  We cheer and thus become supporters of an economic system where the rich are unchallenged in their continued growth in wealth and power.  We are expected to cheer rising numbers and groan at downswings.  In a short while we are addicted to numbers and can approximately quote yesterday's Standard & Poor's total.  We are being badgered and feel a sense of joining the multitudes.  We are mesmerized and hardly know it -- through numbers that are almost incomprehensible until we learn more and more.  Now we are hooked by the social addiction (see Appendix 1 in Earth Healing: A Resurrection-Centered Approach on this website). 

      The fans of any of the TV cable channels, radio networks, newspapers or periodicals, or Internet services soon learn that media play a role in the way we perceive and pay attention to stock market numbers.  It is so often like taking a sip of liquor and another and another until we have become inebriated by sheer time and sips.  If we pray that the numbers come DOWN, DOWN, DOWN, we are regarded as disloyal and a saboteur of the system calling out for our constant applause and concern.  Perhaps we could turn off daily news reports or complain that the stock market reports be made less frequently.  The response is "The viewers want this."

      Prayer:  Lord, teach us to know what others are doing to us, and to choose to break loose from the clutches of Wall Street and the numbers racket. 








Autumn treats
Reflections of November.
 (*photo credit)

November 30, 2011      Sharing Land with Others 

     The problem with land is that they stopped making it some time ago.
              Mark Twain (on his 176th birthday)

      Ought we to end the month with a look at Earth's limited land?  Actually we may agree with Mark Twain in the limited nature of land on this planet;  we have the distinct possibility before us that rising oceans may reduce that amount of land in areas of dense seacoast populations.  With an expected global expansion of two billion people before 2050 we might expect the amount of usable and available land per person to decrease by one-quarter or more.   

      Really talking about amount of land per person is not helpful since about half of Earth's land (mountains, deserts, Polar Regions, certain forests, and other fragile areas) is not inhabited and has no possibility of being so in the foreseeable future.  Thus the far narrower expanse of fertile or scenic land must be shared by more and more people.  Rather than potentially divvying up uninhabitable land on some sort of equitable basis (that really doesn't exist), let's share existing accessible land more fairly. 

      * Expand park land especially in or near metropolitan areas with easy public access; let's institute good policing of these lands so that they are not trashed and are used with least human impact by larger numbers of people;

    * Remove fragile and wilderness areas from immediate human intrusion, and filming these in ways that virtual travel may be possible by larger numbers of the public instead of small numbers of the privileged who can afford physical on-site visits;

      * Limit private holdings that make it a trespassing offense for others to enjoy their scenic sites.  Turning these private estates into publicly-policed areas is a way to share that does not include merely dividing large into unmanageable private plots;

      * Manage land to grow two crops rather than one in territories that are experiencing extended growing seasons;

      * Regard unused and underused land especially in high density areas (idle plots, roofs, expansive lawns, brown fields, rights-of-way, abandoned rail lines, military bases, and airport bordering space) for limited and controlled cultivation in the form of community gardens or edible landscapes;

      * Upgrade forest areas so that the timber harvested will be of a better grade, and new growth can be encouraged;

      * Encourage efficient and well-supplied small farms in areas where large-scale agriculture has reigned as king;  this is especially so in developing nations where small farming has traditionally been the practice for obtaining food supplies; and

      * Promote solar water desalination projects for agricultural irrigation in areas of limited, lower quality water.

      Prayer:  Lord, teach us to share our limited land with those who are landless and currently unable to enjoy land viewing, beauty, privacy, and contact. 

Copyright © 2011 Earth Healing, Inc. All rights reserved...

Earth Healing team:
Albert J. Fritsch, Director
Charlie Fritsch
Janet Powell
Mark Spencer

Excerpts from the JERUSALEM BIBLE, copyright © 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd. and Doubleday & Company, Inc.  Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

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