22 June 2017

Living Beyond the End… Chapter-Teaser

The following is a teaser from one of the chapters of the book I’m currently writing.
Sitting in the lecture hall for art history, Danielle was ruminating on how lucky she was to have found such good friends in her life as her class wrapped up. – in truth, they all felt like the family she’d always wished for herself. Art history was one of the two classes Annabelle took with her. However, Annabelle was unexpectedly absent today. She’d woken with a nasty stomach bug. Shrugging on her cornflower-blue short trench-coat, Danielle determined she would just have to brave the walk across campus on her own this time. Slinging her backpack across her shoulder, the belt of her coat left undone, Danielle hurried to keep up with the crowd of students filing out of the lecture hall. As she neared the short corridor leading out of the lecture hall, someone bumped her backpack and it went tumbling off her shoulder, spilling half the contents down the steps. The flow of students widened around her and the mess, but continued out of the hall, with no one pausing to help.

She picked up and reorganized the mess of papers and supplies, fitting them back into her backpack. Looking around, Danielle saw her earbuds case a few steps below where most of the pack had tumbled out. She picked up the backpack and started down the steps for the case. Before she reached it, the lights in the hall went out, leaving only the safety lighting along the floor of the aisles. She was mildly unnerved and tried to steady herself with controlled breathing. Then she heard it… IT was the sound of villainous degradation… it was the sound of indecency. It felt like every nerve in her body was set on fire hearing that wheezing cackle that she would never forget.

The earbud case abandoned, Danielle whipped around in time to see the door leading out of the hall closing, with an echoing, thunderous finality, cutting off the light from the exit corridor. She could just make out the scramble and thump of someone moving in the darkened rows of seating above where she stood. A darker shadow was just discernible climbing over the back row of seating. That savagely perverse laugh raked across her nerves again and she knew Jorge was toying with her. She turned, dropping her backpack, and raced down the steps, heedless of her scarf fluttering off her neck and into one of rows of seats. She was also unaware of the earring that fell off her earlobe at the bottom of the stairs. She stumbled down into the lecture gallery below, but held to her feet, hoping to reach the door the she knew led to a hallway of teacher’s offices. She could hear Jorge’s barely hurried steps gaining on her. The merciless malevolence of his laugh was very near. Danielle felt something snatch at the belt of her coat and it pulled free as she barreled through the door into the office corridor. 

Danielle ran into the first open office door and gave in to the overwhelming urge to scream bloody murder, much to the shock of the middle-aged, balding professor who had been lightly snoozing at his desk.

16 June 2017

Lost In Your Calidity

A color may evoke a feeling, an emotion, a remembered experience. Can you name the color to which this poem alludes? Hint: It is NOT the color in which the text is displayed.


Ahhh… love… to rest a kiss…
‘Pon the fullness of your lips…
T’would be my life’s vitality.
Come, my love, with me,
To the florid depths of rapture.
Walk with me in the glow of love,
The blush of life all about us.
Lie with me among the fragrant
Dew-kissed silken petals.
Together, we’ll revel
In the fervency of passion.
Let me be lost in your calidity.

©D. Denise Dianaty
10 September 2014

15 June 2017

Seasons of Love

An allegory of Life’s journey to forever love…
We may love deeply and sincerely even when that love doesn’t last or is misplaced. The seasons of love have something to teach us. The lessons we learn along the way, if we take them in, will teach us to not only discern True Love, but also how to make it a forever love.

Soft and gentle Summer love…
When did share love’s first kiss…
‘Pon my lips flutter as wings of a dove.
We shall always remember this.

Autumn come with love’s deep need…
A space… a while… a hand I grasped…
To stay a time, yet end and heed…
’Tis not he will share thy days unto the last.

Winter heart too cold… too cold to sing…
In sun too dim, and dark too bright…
For Greed has no love to bring…
And Love for Greed will give no light.

But, ah-h… at last comes vernal relief…
A tender bud laid in the heart of winter…
When true love blooms in heartache’s release…
And deliver Love’s Spring in our forever…

© D. Denise Dianaty
23 August 2014

13 June 2017

Through True Love’s Eyes

True love is generous and supportive; it will always set itself apart with a joy that, in comparison, exposes the manipulative self-obsession of users whose interest only ever serves themselves.

I’ve been through fire… left alone to dance…
Been pulled from the ash heap of romance…

At last set free in joy, a gift from above…
To share the soul mates’ journey of true love…

For him and me, a promise… not of ease,
But, we’ll not go alone through life’s unease.

And here you come, thinking that hope to dash,
But, I see true… your words are blackest ash…

With smiles struggling through my tears…
From new eyes I see your barren fears.

You dole out handfuls of mediocrity…
While true love is lost in your superiority.

Your every cause only kindling trauma…
Your Shanghaied pain is naught but drama…

You are nothing…raping, stealing voices of pain
From some other heart’s regret. Your pleas I disdain.

©D. Denise Dianaty
31 August 2014

10 June 2017

So Far Away

A poem about not being taken back in by the wrong person, and of what's to be gained by embracing the right one. It’s specifically about the last boyfriend I had, and the healing love of my husband.

Stolen… lost moments…
Deep hidden places…
Secret longing ache…
Rising ‘pon the precipice… falling…
Undulating, rushing sound…
Wall of music… rising pain…
Feeling like it’s all been done…
Got to go through Hell
To get to my Heaven
So far away…

I heard you crying loud…
Wailing outside my door…
Stealing voice from my pain…
Never thinking…
Of how things might’ve been.
Taking me… taking me down…
Tearing me apart.
Was it just a game for you?
Making me a fool… lost…
So far away…

To this door you have no key.
It’s closed to you forevermore.
My wounded heart bides
In this sweet healing space.
What you lost, he gains…
Through trust… and gentle knocking…
Healing drams of love…
Laid at my feet, softly waiting.
Opening to love, I give my hand…
He whispers me a kiss…
Far from you… from pain… he takes me
So far away.

©D. Denise Dianaty
27 August 2014

03 June 2017

Kathy Griffin’s Terroristic Sensationalism

Why We On The Left Should Be Leading The Outcry Against Kathy Griffin
Yes, the hypocrisy from the right is mind boggling and outrageous. And, yes, Trump is blight on our entire world. But this decapitated effigy of Trump stunt by Kathy Griffin was filthy and vile. It is indefensible. It is abhorrent! How can we hold the moral high ground when we defend people, supposedly on our side, who do the same things, but just targeted at the Right? Wrong doesn’t stop being wrong because your tribe perpetrated the wrong. 

Let us ask ourselves: When they strung up and burned an effigy of Obama, was that terroristic sensationalism by any stretch of our reason and imagination defensible or justifiable? If our answer is that is “no…” If our answer is that it was wholly unjustifiable… Then our answer to Kathy Griffin’s terroristic sensationalism should be identical. Any other response is pure tribalism. Wrong is wrong even when your tribe behaves badly. In fact, I would say that our side is MORE wrong for justifying this vile display precisely because WE KNOW IT IS WRONG.

We must be better.

The Left Should Be Leading The Outcry Against This Terroristic Sensationalism.
That’s what stunts like this are – terroristic sensationalism. Any defense or justification of stunts like this is social poison. I have read a few defenses and reams upon reams of justifications on behalf of Kathy Griffin over this. In my estimation, the Left’s defense and/or justification is more wrong than were the right wing stunts with Obama or Clinton effigies – because we on the left know the pain and disgust those stunts cause. If we defend and/or justify the same types of stunts just because it’s our own side, we are all the MORE in the wrong.

What do we stand for? 

These kind of tactics are evil. If we use tactics as vile, as evil as those we decry from the other side, what good can there be in our side? You cannot create good by doing evil. The defenses and justifications try to ameliorate her vile actions in light of the other side’s evil by decrying the hypocrisy of the Right who are condemning her vile stunt. We excuse her because they did it first – that, folks, is the height of hypocrisy from us!

Pure Unadulterated FACT: 
Kathy Griffin’s stunt with a Trump effigy was no less vile and filthy – no less evil – than the Right’s stunts with effigies of Obama and/or Clinton. The source of inspiration is no justification. That the other side has done similar things is no justification. That the other side is hypocritical is no justification. There is no justification. 

This horrific stunt and Kathy Griffin should face the same social ramifications as we on the Left wanted to see the Right face for their heinous, acts of terroristic sensationalism against our side. The undeniable hypocrisy of the Right decrying this woman of the Left in tone-deaf ignorance of their own side’s perfidy in no way lessons the perfidy of Kathy Griffin’s disgusting, socially and morally degrading stunt.

These kinds of stunts are indefensible – no matter who perpetrates them. Something like this is like standing up in a crowded theater and yelling “FIRE!” These kinds of inflamatory are flat-out inhumane, degrading, and can only foment more fear, hate, bigotry, tribalism, and even violence in response – such acts are evil. They are incitement to hatred, fear, and violence. Evil can only ever render more evil. I don’t care whose hypocrisy is perceived as worse. It is hypocritical of the Right to have defended or justified their side’s poisonous stunts.
IT IS EVEN MORE HYPOCRITICAL OF OUR SIDE TO DEFEND OR JUSTIFY SIMILAR TERRORISTIC SENSATIONALISM. I don’t care if it’s the Left or the Right who is responsible. Every single time something like this is done, it poisons our society. If we cannot be better than what we abhor, we are lost, already damned. We must be better.

Many of the anti-Trump feeds are defending and justifying Kathy Griffin’s behavior with this stunt. Most are trying to justify not condemning her or her for no other reason than the hypocrisy of other side. They may not be defending her actions, but they are justifying NOT condemning those actions. 

The right-wing’s hypocrisy or past actions should not have a thing to do with condemning such terroristic sensationalism and the person (in this case, Kathy Griffin) who uses our precious right to freedom of speech to inflict it. We shouldn’t be pausing to castigate the Right, as if they have no right to their outrage and anger because “they did it first.” The only thing we on the Left should be hearing and saying about it right now is that she was wrong and that she does not speak for our side. The Left is SUPPOSED to be the side of sanity.

Permit me a crass analogy: If you’re standing between two groups of monkeys and they start flinging feces at each other, will it matter which monkey’s shit stinks worse?

Moreover, the justifications I’ve seen are painfully similar to justifications made by thoughtful and moderate conservatives/republicans trying to justify not condemning people on their side who took their protest and anger too far. I know many republicans who said the effigies of Obama were horrible, but in the same breath justified it as an unfortunate extension of how angry people were.

We on the Left are all righteously angry right now. But, if our anger leads us to evil acts, we have abandoned righteousness and embraced evil.

We must be better.

WE MUST NEVER BECOME WHAT WE ABHOR!


29 May 2017

Prayer: Live In Gratitude

Holy Father,
All glory and honor and praise
Belong to only you,
Master and Creator of Life
Author of all that is good in the Universe

Your kingdom is above creation
And, if we only let your will lead us,
we find your kingdom
in our heats and all of life around us,
from a child’s laugh
to an old man’s tears of remembrance

We ask Lord for what we need today.
Help us Lord to recognize and respond to need in others.
We beg forgiveness of our sins.
Help us be understanding
and forgiving of others
even when their actions have hurt us.

Teach us to be just and compassionate
When trouble or temptation arise
Let us remember Christ, our example
and to be like him
because all are your children
and the chosen stewards of your creation.

Teach us Lord to be worth of that stewardship
Open our eyes to Your every miracle.
Help us see the smallest and the least of Your wonders.
Fill up our minds with Your Promise.
Swell to over-flowing our hearts with Your Grace.
Let our tongues forever sing Your praise.

May our hands ever work to Your Glory.
With every waking hour let us live in gratitude.
Upon our bowed heads, and bended knee
Lay your perfect blessings.
Hold us always in Your Hand.
To You we give all thanks and praise.
In the name of Christ Jesus, we pray.

©D. Denise Dianaty
06 January 2015

28 May 2017

Forgiveness

With Him there is forgiveness
By the blood of His covenant
For many, for all… He was poured out

For the forgiveness of sins
When we are ever unworthy
By His blood we are redeemed

When we only believe…
By the grace of God… By the mercy of the Lord…
We unworthy receive forgiveness

Eyes are opened to the darkness
We see the darkness of life without Him
We are turned from darkness to the Light

From the Satan’s power to the glory of the Lord
Not by our own will – not by our deeds
We are forgiven… We are cleansed… We are sanctified

Our place by His side is assured
In our faith we shall testify of His Grace
With all our soul we shall praise and adore

In our hearts shall we magnify His Holy Name
Upon our heads the Holy Spirit rests

God encompasses… God among us… God within


(FROM THE NIV) – FORGIVE AND BE FORGIVEN


Mark 3:28 "I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them.”

Luke 5:20 “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven.'"

Romans 4:7 “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered."

2 Corinthians 2:10 "If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven--if there was anything to forgive--I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake,”

Hebrews 10:18 "And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.”

James 5:15 "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.”

1 John 2:12 “ write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.”


©D. Denise Dianaty
08 January 2015

05 May 2017

Faith-Centered Leadership

Jesus Washing Feet by Simon Dewey 
Christ’s leadership example is always and ever about serving the underserved. 

I’m not a theologian nor a pastor. What follows is just my perspective on what Faith-centered leadership should look like in our secular world. As Christians we should know that Jesus Himself, as always, is our example of how to live out all aspects of our Christ-centered Faith. 

Jesus himself was a leader and called his apostles and disciples to be leaders – Christ modeled leadership and challenged His Apostles and indeed all His disciples (i.e. ALL Christians) to strive to live out his example of leadership – that example is to lead with a sacrificial heart and to serve the needs of those most in need, to raise up the marginalized, to treat the lowliest equal to everyone else. He didn’t come into the world to bring down the wealthy and privileged; but, my understanding when I read the Scripture is that He did come into the world to raise up the underserved and all people, regardless of the superficial status we humans accord each other. Christ is our leadership example of that in every word and deed recorded of Him, from him telling Peter and us in John 21 to “Feed my sheep” to His own humbling example of washing the Apostles feet in John 13, and more. Christ’s leadership example is always and ever about serving the underserved. 

Matthew 4:19 “Come, follow Me, Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 

Matthew 20:25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. 

John 13:12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as i have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. 

John 21:15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” 

James 2:5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong? 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.

There are many other passages teaching leadership in both the Old and New Testaments; I find the most meaning in the above Scriptures. What these passages mean to me are basic guides, listed below, for how to live out a life of Christ-centered leadership. And, again, Christ’s leadership example is always and ever about serving the underserved. 

Christ led with a focus on those most in need – the underserved in our societies. He never valued a rich man over a poor man. He didn’t spend His ministry raising the privileged even higher – He spent his ministry raising up the down trodden. 

Christ led with a sacrificial heart of service focused on those most in need, and He sent others out to share His example of leadership, raising others to their best potential. 

Christ showed us that we must understand those we want to help and be understood by them. He talked to the people in need and He heard them, healed them, filled them with hope. As leaders, we have to begin by listening and understanding in tolerance and compassion for all, to recognize and serve the needs of others without judgment. 

Jesus taught us by His every Word and by the example of His every deed how to live out a life of leadership through service to those most in need. And, He taught us that we all stand equal before God. 

Moreover, Christ shows us that our notions of serving status (i.e., the interests of the wealth, privilege, and of corporations – an entirely humanistic leadership viewpoint) are counterproductive to Christ-centered leadership and His commands that we love one another and care for those in need. 

His example also taught us to work together, even as He sent His disciples out into the world in teams to work together. Even the blessing of the Holy Spirit is an assurance that we are not alone in whatever mission God has for our lives, that we will always have a partner working together with us when we work for God’s will. 

Christ’s message is always of hope for all people equally. His example of leadership is always and ever about serving the underserved. His hope isn’t reserved for the privileged or the powerful. 

Jesus’ message is of hope for all people everywhere – to me, that is a Christ-given directive found in His message and in His example of DIVINE EQUALITY. That is Christ’s shared inspiration for Faith-centered leadership. 




Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. 


John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

03 May 2017

Perseverance

FOR MY SON
“Perseverance, character, and hope…” –Romans 5:4


“…and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” –Hebrews 12:1

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” –James 1:4


Perseverance
Never give up… Never give in…
With determination and perseverance you’ll win.

Boredom saps your drive and makes you lame;
You’ll never lie down to win your game.

Stand fast, play hard, loyal and true…
Only perseverance can carry you through.

Wildness and abandon will take you away;
From your right path you’ll be led astray.

Steadfast and thoughtful you always must be.
Persevere in the right and stand tall as a tree.

Self-serving and callous will gain you no true friend;
Alone and struggling may be your end.

Choose loyalty and honor with all whom you know;
Persevere in good company, your best character show.

The world will carry you along and diminish…
Your every word and deed darkly tarnish.

Persevere in the race and the hope of God’s Grace
Will complete and assure His Grace shines from your face.


by D. Denise Dianaty
© 21 August 2014

Pick up your own copy of my first
book of poetry at My Life In Poetry

24 April 2017

Proverbs 24 – Wisdom sayings

1 Do not envy the wicked, nor desire to be with them; 2 for their minds devise violence, and their lips talk of mischief.
3 By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; 4 by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
5 Wise warriors are mightier than strong ones, and those who have knowledge than those who have strength; 6 for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
7 Wisdom is too high for fools; in the gate they do not open their mouths.
8 Whoever plans to do evil will be called a mischief-maker.
9 The devising of folly is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to all.
10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength being small; 11 if you hold back from rescuing those taken away to death, those who go staggering to the slaughter; 12 if you say, "Look, we did not know this"— does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it? And will he not repay all according to their deeds?
13 My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, you will find a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
15 Do not lie in wait like an outlaw against the home of the righteous; do no violence to the place where the righteous live; 16 for though they fall seven times, they will rise again; but the wicked are overthrown by calamity.
17 Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble, 18 or else the Lord will see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from them.
19 Do not fret because of evildoers. Do not envy the wicked; 20 for the evil have no future; the lamp of the wicked will go out.
21 My child, fear the Lord and the king, and do not disobey either of them; 22 for disaster comes from them suddenly, and who knows the ruin that both can bring?
23 These also are sayings of the wise: Partiality in judging is not good.
24 Whoever says to the wicked, “You are innocent," will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations; 25 but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.
26 One who gives an honest answer gives a kiss on the lips.
27Prepare your work outside, get everything ready for you in the field; and after that build your house.
28 Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips.
29 Do not say, “I will do to others as they have done to me; I will pay them back for what they have done."
30 I passed by the field of one who was lazy, by the vineyard of a stupid person; 31 and see, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down.
32 Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction.
33 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 34 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want, like an armed warrior.

26 March 2017

A Foray Into Existentialism…


Blue is red…
        And green is true…
                Dark is dread…
                        And light is through.
                                I am… I am… am I?

                                        ‘Pon wing-ed thought, I fly!


22 March 2017

Why Do I Question?

Cappella della famiglia Gregorini Bingham
Storia e Memoria di Bologna
 storiaememoriadibologna.it

Humans are curious… We question, always seeking answers, ever finding more questions. Curiosity is integral to our human existence – to question is to breathe.


Questions and questions and questions
Changing moments, days, and years
Human existence is change…
But to ever what purpose?
Ahhh… the questions, always seeking
Seeking the answers, finding questions

What is my purpose?
What should be my plan?
Where shall I go?
Who can help me understand?
Why do I ask the questions?
Why do they plague my mind?

Every question is an offered path.
Each answer is the road taken.
As the chrysalis holds the secret
Of the worm’s metamorphosis,
So every riddle spoken holds
The answer to my queries.

While I breathe, I think… I ponder,
Forming catechisms of every aspect
of this life… then and now and when…
Living, growing, always in this
Always never ending inquisition…
This interrogatory examination of Life.

Questions and questions and questions…
Changing moments, days, and years…
Human existence is change…
Evolution is Life.
But…
Changes bring questions.
When I have no more questions,
I know, it only will ever be because
I no longer have breath to ask them.


by D. Denise Dianaty
© 06 October 2014

Dream… A journey of growth

A poem of self-empowerment

Creating… creating myself anew…
In cacophany… embrace the silence.
Take in my hands the moment…
And be renewed.

Dream…
  Learn… 
     Do…
        Become…
             … More.

Transform… be transformed.
Illuminate the melancholy spaces.
Give room to the radiance.
Receive Astraea’s bounty.

Dream…
  Learn… 
     Do…
        Become…
              … More.

Keepsakes spun out for tomorrow…
Be challenged… challenge the now.
Dream and inspire… be inspired…
Be inspired to rise and live.

Dream…
  Learn… 
     Do…
        Become…
              … More.
Guerdon gifts of destiny to come…
Of dreams illuminated beyond darkness…
In every field of ebon night…
A point of light for all the morrows…


by D. Denise Dianaty
© 05 September 2014


10 March 2017

Deuteronomy 10:16-20 – Justice & Equality for the Underserved

NRSV Deuteronomy 10:16 Circumcise, then, the foreskin of your heart, and do not be stubborn any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, 18 who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. 19 You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20 You shall fear the Lord your God; him alone you shall worship; to him you shall hold fast, and by his name you shall swear.

I understand this passage of Scripture as telling us to demand justice for the underserved; to love the stranger (in the NIV translated as “foreigner”) which can only be interpreted as neighbors and immigrants; and to provide help to those underserved members of our society and to strangers, to fight for their equity of opportunity to gain those abilities to provide for their own success in our world. 


"May the meditations of our hearts
be acceptable in Thy sight,
Oh Lord, our strength and our redeemer.”
~In Jesus’ Holy name
We pray all believing,


Amen

NRSV James 1:12-18 – Personal Responsibility

NRSV James 1:12 Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 No one, when tempted, should say, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. 14 But one is tempted by one's own desire, being lured and enticed by it; 15 then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved. 17 Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

This is what – to me – the entire passage tells us: Our own temptation and the responsibility for resisting wrong and doing good lies entirely with our own choices. We are admonished not to let ourselves be led to wrong by anyone, but especially not by our own selves. And we are reminded that God loves us and that the fulfillment of His purpose is to be in right relationship with Him. To me, the entirety of The Book of James is about responsibility for ourselves and living out our Faith in the full self-determination to live out a Christ-centered Faith.


"May the meditations of our hearts
be acceptable in Thy sight,
Oh Lord, our strength and our redeemer.”
~In Jesus’ Holy name
We pray all believing,


Amen

You Say They Won’t Cut Our Safety Nets?

I can only hope you’re right… 

We’ve all heard those folks who say the government won’t tear down our safety nets. I can only hope they’re right and that the GOP will see sense. But, the truth is that all our civil rights gains of the last seventy years are under assault. This regime is going to make us refight every battle of the last seventy years.

The GOP has already repealed the ACA and their “replacement” plan specifically targets people like me. I’m over 50 and will be hit hard by that age scale (age tax, more like). My son is on Medicaid and will surely lose his coverage with the Medicaid rollback. CHIP has been in place since the 90s and has covered millions of children every year, but was included in the repeal of the ACA. 

There have been plenty of examples over the last six years, since 2010, of the GOP-held government cutting those safety nets. I personally know people who’ve lost such support. I know many families who’ve been pushed from free school meals to reduced, or off the meal support altogether. And, don’t forget, the Congress, in their first few days this year, cut funding for school meals AGAIN! That’s CHILDREN having their access to meals eliminated.

Moreover, the GOP’s primary thrust of their healthcare is going to be tax credits on a by-age sliding scale – which even the AARP has roundly condemned – and health savings accounts. Do you have money to put into a health savings account? I don’t. I don’t know about you, but we already receive the maximum tax deduction each year. Tax credits will be meaningless for us.

As for those rising insurance costs, that has nothing to do with the ACA and everything to do with the GOP and the boards of those insurance companies. Did you know that Paul Ryan has personally taken over $4 MILLION from the insurance industry? Were you aware that Mitch McConnell took upwards of $6 million? And, the CEOs of those insurance corporations make more PER DAY than most of their customers make per year! If the CEOs are making that much, you can be very sure there’s not a person on their boards making much less than their CEOs. Today’s GOPers are not people who care about us – these are mammonites who care only about increasing their own wealth and their own self-aggrandizement. We are just fodder for their wealth engines. 

Immigration is particularly under assault. My son and my naturalized citizen husband already have been impacted by the visa-waiver exclusions for dual nationals passed by the GOP last year; my husband and son are Iranian-American dual nationals – not by choice but because Iran does not permit anyone to give up their citizenship and automatically deems their children citizens too. And, this president has a particular burr under his backside about Iranians. We have several acquaintances who were stymied by that stupid first ban, left hanging in airports around the word when their legitimate visas were denied – that’s violating the civil rights of completely LEGAL immigrants. I’m haunted by what this presidency will mean for my Iranian-American husband and son.

Both the president and the GOP-held congress have rolled back clean air and water protections already and are steam-rolling the end of the EPA, our environmental safety net. They’re eliminating the tax credits and subsidies for converting to or installing clean energy and are trying to actively kill wind and solar to favor fossil fuels. They block wind and solar fields yet promote fracking and strip mining and deep-sea oil rigs. They pass laws and policies to allow coal ash dumping in waterways and more…

It’s naive to think these GOP theocratic corporate extremists will not strip away everything that helps the working poor. They are not the republicans of Lincoln’s party; they’re not even the republicans of the 1950s. The entire party has become increasingly radicalized, starting with Nixon’s Southern Strategy. Today’s GOP does not care about the working poor. They do not work for us. They work for corporations who keep turning in those record breaking profits while complaining that they cannot afford to increase wages and even trying to convince us that there doesn’t need to even be a minimum wage. And today’s GOP embraces the racism, bigotry, misogyny, sexism, and xenophobia of the alt-right (white nationalists and white supremacists) by the expediency of their refusal to turn their backs on such evils for the sake of their own political greed.

I understand those who feel they need to stay away from the political fight. But, it is a fight, a fight for the very survival of democracy in the world. Our own constitutional democratic republic is being systematically supplanted for the GOP’s theocratic corporatist vision. Add to that the fascist and would-be tin-pot dictator that is our groping bigot-in-chief and the danger to freedom in the world becomes glaring and imminent.

I’m sick and crippled. I’m not young. I’m poor. I’m married to an Iranian immigrant. I don’t expect to survive this presidency. But, I’m going to fight to the last for whomever comes next – especially for my 13-year old son.


04 March 2017

A Few Scriptures On Peace from the NIV Bible

Proverbs 12:20 There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace.

Proverbs 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Proverbs 17:1 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.

Ecclesiastes 3:8 …a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given… And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 48:22 "There is no peace," says the LORD, "for the wicked.”

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Romans 2:9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil… 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good…
Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Romans 14:19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

03 March 2017

Love Your Neighbor – Scripture


RSV Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sad'ducees, they came together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. 36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" 37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."

Mark 12:28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."

Luke 10:27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." 28 And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live." 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, 34 and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" 37 He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

James 2:5 Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you, is it not they who drag you into court? 7 Is it not they who blaspheme that honorable name which was invoked over you? 8 If you really fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well.