A Merry (?) Christmas

terrorist_doll

Many in the world are buying Christmas presents for their kids…

When I was small, I had a few guns to play with…

Now, kids can have full virtual environments in which to practice killing…

World-wide, people are killing each other and bloggers are reporting and commenting on it. This post’s intention is to wave a flag of warning about what we teach our children. Also, I want to introduce you to Global Voices. In their own words: “Global Voices aggregates, curates, and amplifies the global conversation online – shining light on places and people other media often ignore.”

Here’s a recent post from the site:

Palestine: Terrorist Dolls Not the Best Stocking Stuffer

Thursday, December 11th, 2008 @ 13:47 UTC

by Maya Norton

This post is also available in:

“What could be more enjoyable for your kids this year than a doll resembling an Al-Qaeda terrorist?” asks Palestinian-American blogger Nawal of Bloggin’ Banat.

“It comes fully accessorized too (which is awesome cause that’ll save you money during this financial crisis). It comes with hand grenades, a pistol, an assault rifle and the all too important rocket launcher (awesome, huh?). And just so you know, there’s a Nazi major figure also. You know, just to even out the indignation.”

Humorous and appalling… The doll is made by BrickArms of Redmond, Washington (USA).

The Spiritual Quote below is addressed to mothers but I want to say a word to fathers:

My dad abused me with his tongue but his  father physically beat him. I found this out when I was in my 30s and it helped me release the hate I had for my dad—helped begin a process I’m still engaged in—freeing myself from the influence my father had on me, well before I could use my mind to counter it—to struggle to stop repeating his less than humane mistakes.

May we all give our children the gifts of love, compassion, understanding, and tolerance . . .

Spiritual Quote :

“Let the mothers consider that whatever concerneth the education of children is of the first importance. Let them put forth every effort in this regard, for when the bough is green and tender it will grow in whatever way ye train it. Therefore is it incumbent upon the mothers to rear their little ones even as a gardener tendeth his young plants. Let them strive by day and by night to establish within their children faith and certitude, the fear of God, the love of the Beloved of the worlds, and all good qualities and traits. Whensoever a mother seeth that her child hath done well, let her praise and applaud him and cheer his heart; and if the slightest undesirable trait should manifest itself, let her counsel the child and punish him, and use means based on reason, even a slight verbal chastisement should this be necessary. It is not, however, permissible to strike a child, or vilify him, for the child’s character will be totally perverted if he be subjected to blows or verbal abuse.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 125

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Youth and The Future of Faith

Deutsche Welle has a recent article, Religion Stronger Than Ever Among Global Youth, that reports on the results of a survey by Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation that discovered, “Young people in developing countries and Islamic states are just as religious as adults… In Morocco, about 99 percent believe in God and life after death. Among Brazilians, Turks and Nigerians, 90 percent are believers and even in Israel, Indonesia and Italy, the rate is 80 percent.”

This is heartening news for those who feel religion is the premier guide for living on this earth.

For those who are suspicious of religion’s influence on culture and individual behavior, I present my own experience: born to two ministers—mom and dad; surrounded by plain folk trying their best to do what other folk claimed was what God desired. Knowing something was amiss when I got home and my ministerial father would turn cranky and treat my trusting mother like she mattered less than his automobile…

It took most of my 62 years (and many tragic mistakes) to work out the supreme conflict between my father’s religion and my mother’s faith. May God bless both their departed souls…

There are many movements afoot on our beloved earth trying to bring the Spirit back to the bleeding body of Religion. Many sincere people, meeting in each other’s homes or the local school auditorium or the woods—people trying to ignite the spirit that moved the earliest believers of our World’s Faiths—actually the One World Faith in God that has had many incarnations, many progressive Revelations of our Creator’s wisdom and guidance.

It’s just so sad when mere mortals get in the way of the flame of true faith, subvert it toward ends that serve egos more than souls…

Today’s quote is from a man, Head of a World Faith, who in 1926 called for just such a heart-deep, faith-fresh religious morality that could help youth avoid the worst options in a world gone insanely materialistic.

“…the dangers facing the modern youth are becoming increasingly grave, and call for immediate solution. But, as experience clearly shows, the remedy to this truly sad and perplexing situation is not to be found in traditional and ecclesiastical religion. The dogmatism of the church has been discarded once for all. What can control youth and save it from the pitfalls of the crass materialism of the age is the power of a genuine, constructive and living Faith… Religion, as in the past, is still the world’s sole hope, but not that form of religion which our ecclesiastical leaders strive vainly to preach. Divorced from true religion, morals lose their effectiveness and cease to guide and control man’s individual and social life. But when true religion is combined with true ethics, then moral progress becomes a possibility and not a mere ideal.

“The need of our modern youth is for such a type of ethics founded on pure religious faith. Not until these two are rightly combined and brought into full action can there be any hope for the future of the race.”

From a letter written on behalf of Shoghí Effendí to an individual believer, April 17, 1926, Bahá’í Youth, pp. 8-9 (Lights of Guidance, p. 630)


Perfectionism . . .

My father was obsessive about doing things “right”. I think quite a bit of my rebelliousness from 18 to 42 was stimulated by the primal urge to break the hold of my father’s perfectionism. He was so right in a multitude of details and processes yet so wrong in the wide and deep arena of simple humanity…

As a writer, I’ve long since realized that my eyes and brain need help (other eyes or computer programs) to rid my words of flaw and imprecision. I also indulge in the sub-domain of poetry: here is where the perfect phrase breaks the rules and the clearest statements drip with emotion…

Various blockages to creativity and productivity begin with statements like: “I’d better wait till I know for sure.” or “Maybe they won’t like it this way.” or “I don’t think I can get away with it.” Certainly we need to be aware of all the pertinent facts before acting. We need to consider the effect of our actions on others and act with honesty.

Still, perfectionism can take the most common common sense and warp it into uncommon hindrances.

Life isn’t black and white, either/or, cut and dried.

It’s infinite shades of grey with colorful glows swirling inside. It’s both/and. it’s alive and kicking!

Human growth is a process, not a set of rigid rules. If Perfectionism was the Rule, Forgiveness would not exist . . .

“All beings, whether large or small, were created perfect and complete from the first, but their perfections appear in them by degrees. The organization of God is one; the evolution of existence is one; the divine system is one. Whether they be small or great beings, all are subject to one law and system. Each seed has in it from the first all the vegetable perfections. For example, in the seed all the vegetable perfections exist from the beginning, but not visibly; afterward little by little they appear. So it is first the shoot which appears from the seed, then the branches, leaves, blossoms and fruits; but from the beginning of its existence all these things are in the seed, potentially, though not apparently.

“In the same way, the embryo possesses from the first all perfections, such as the spirit, the mind, the sight, the smell, the taste — in one word, all the powers — but they are not visible and become so only by degrees.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 198