Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Resolving a Global Problem

From David and Kathy Simpson comes this very contemporary message of concern from Bulgaria:

“Don’t worry.  Children adjust to these things.”  A church leader whispered these words to me after my prayer request for a suffering family.  A 42 year old woman recently died, leaving three children, who now live with their grand-parents and great-grandmother in a two-bedroom apartment.  The logistics are trying; the grief is agonizing.  But five weeks after the loss, this person apparently thought the time for mourning had passed.

“An otherwise physically fit 43 year old man explained to the church that his blood pressure was dangerously high and his physician hadn’t been able to find a medicine which was effective for him.  Obviously distressed, he asked for prayer.  Instead of truly acknowledging the concern, a leader publicly replied, “Almost everybody has blood pressure problems.” 
If these were isolated incidents, it wouldn’t be so disturbing.  But over and over we see church members minimize the anguish of others.  It is difficult for us to understand the responses, and painful to see individuals rebuffed.  Someone recently reminded us, “It’s easy for Americans to be open.  But our ancestors were slaves to the Ottomans for 500 years, and we were oppressed by the Soviets for 45 more years.  We had to learn to hide our emotions.”

“We realize that, in general, Bulgarians do not easily show their feelings.  We’ve also learned that many Christians here view the expression of intense sorrow as a lack of faith.  We have repeatedly asked ourselves, “Are we trying to force our own cultural expectations on others, or is the heartfelt display of concern and support an essential component of Christian living?”  We have seen the seeming lack of empathy inflict pain and damage relationships in our fellowship. We are convinced that compassion must transcend culture; it is the way of Christ.

“We can’t count the number of times we have addressed this issue in sermons, Bible studies, leadership meetings and individual conversations.  Please lift up the grieving family and the man with the blood pressure problem, and also pray for us to persevere with “…compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (NASB) 

“Perhaps the folks our age and older cannot learn a new way, but we cannot give up.  We will continue to encourage the established members, while focusing our efforts on discipling younger believers. We want to challenge them to live lives which are consistent with the character of Christ.  Among other things, they need to understand that David wept, Jeremiah wept, and Jesus himself wept.  We too must sometimes weep, both for ourselves and for others.  We hope one day to see an authentic Christian community – a fellowship of Bulgarian believers who will, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15 (NASB)”

Not only is this a problem in Bulgaria; it is a problem in America and I experience it when I attend my local small group meeting. It is in fact a problem which I too find difficult to cope with. While some find it easier to share emotionally than others, the problem remains universal. So, is there a solution?

If the teachings of Jesus the Christ teach nothing else, the Bible and especially the New Testament affirm one central teaching that all believers can biblical affirm: love God supremely; and, love your neighbor as yourself. In practicing this core teaching of Jesus, Paul instructs us to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2 NKJV).

I wonder … What would happen if we applied this practice to Beltway politics and the healthcare debate? ... What would happen if we applied this to the UN resolution regarding the crisis in Syria? ... What might happen if we began applying this principle to our foreign diplomacy? ... What might take place if we began practicing this reconciling principle to American church life? ...  How might you and I make a difference walking in each other’s shoes today?

From Warner’s World, this is walkingwithwarner, 

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Psalm 24 makes a simple declaration that is in conflict with much of the modern world, especially the world of commerce (business). The author opens with a strong proclamation of God’s sovereignty over the earth and everything in it. Elsewhere, he acknowledges “the earth hath he given to the children of men,” (Psalm 115:16),  BUT the common claim throughout the Bible is God’s claim that the earth and everything in it is his by his act of creation (cf Psalm 50:10). How we take care of our earthly resources is a theological issue with far deeper moral and ethical implications, rather than just being politically corrects or incorrect. 

If you happen to be the CEO of an oil company or an energy corporation, you will likely challenge this, because you operate from a utilitarian basis of the “bottom line.” Your only concern is, is it profitable? The business world will accept a certain level of ethics in business,  and you will even find courses that teach business ethics, but the driving force of business is profit and ethics is acceptable only as long as it does not interfere with profit.

I’m concerned, for example, HOW the profit motive is allowed to convince corporations that their “ownership” of certain lands gives them inalienable rights to use that land any way they choose, or from my perspective, abuse it. I’ve been seeing a rash of TV commercials that do what is “greenwashing”.  According to the New Oxford American  Dictionary, greenwashing  is “disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.” Energy companies do not want to change their modus operandi, so rather than change the kind of energy they produce, they “greenwash” coal, convincing us it is clean energy, when we know it is anything but clean.

Currently, Oil Companies promote natural gas as a suitable substitute to abundant clean energy. Natural gas is clean-er than coal, but insisting on greenwashing  is a delay tactic to avoid going to renewable energy, AND increased investments in natural gas are only a bridge to a hot and dirty future. Oil Companies have discovered abundant natural gas available through a process called “fracking”. The Oil Company says they can do this safely. THE TRUTH IS, whether they can or not remains questionable; THE TRUTH IS although we have certain laws guaranteeing the public clean drinking water, in 2005 VP Dick Cheney, working with Oil Company Lobbyists, got an exemption to the SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT for the Oil Companies called the Cheney or Halliburton Loophole. This keeps federal regulators  from enforcing the protective regulations of the SAFE WATER ACT.

The result is that fracking has exploded in 28 states. Fracked wells increased 41% across the country and shale gas fracking has gone up from 1% to 20%. Wells in Pennsylvania increased 600% from 2008 to 2010 and in Texas 3,000% from 1998 to to 2007.

WHAT IS FRACKING? Briefly, fracking is injecting a mix of water and poisonous chemicals into the ground that break up the Shale and rock to obtain gas that was not available to drillers until they learned this newer process.  Now remember, drillers already have the HALLIBURTON LOOPHOLE, which means the public does not have the protecting regulations of the CLEAN WATER ACT being enforced.The chemicals used in fracking are kept secret from the public and local officials but analysts have identified 41 known chemicals with extreme toxicity (poisonous), 75% of which affect skin, eyes, sensory organs, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. We are angry with Syria for using chemical welfare against innocent people. Well, how about fracking chemicals in your drinking water?

Radioactive wastewater from fracking has been found in the Monongahela River, threatening hundreds of thousands of innocent people in WVA, W. PA. In late 2011, explosions of earthquake proportion happened  near certain Ohio drill sites. Fracking sometimes utilizes underground chemical “bomb-like” explosions and a single frack can require more than a million gallons of water, not to mention the injection of the chemicals that potentially threaten our water supplies. If we go to the trouble to recycle and avoid putting “hazardous wastes” into the earth so they do not disturb our water resources, why inject chemicals that will sicken people, even kill them? Certain people in PA even found their water on fire, coming out of the kitchen faucet.

How right is it to use our earth resources to endanger people’s health and very lives? How ethical is it to “greenwash” or spread information via advertising to convince people that an untruth is true? The last I knew that was called lying and no society can long survive when we can lo longer believe each other. How right is a profitable bottom line that creates people suffering headaches, experience blackouts, causes asthma sufferers to multiply, horses to go blind and cows to drop dead? A house in Pennsylvania blew up and killed three people. AND ALL THIS CHEAP NATURAL GAS IS TAKING INVESTMENT MONIES AWAY FROM RENEWABLE ENERGY AND FURTHER DELAYING OUR TRANSITION TO LEGITIMATELY CLEAN ENERGY.

The next time you hear DRILL, BABY DRILL! stop and think about who owns all of this, which I believe should determine how it is ultimately used. From Warner’s World, I am