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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The Losers of Every Battle . . .

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This post was written about the Georgian conflict but the message applies to the Gaza conflict as well…
> Use this link to see all our posts about Gaza <

Wars are fought for many reasons but they can’t protect the civilians in the cross-fire. The Georgian conflict is purely political—adult children fighting over land and prestige.

From the International Crisis Group: Human Cost of Georgian Conflict “The number of civilian casualties has yet to be independently established. Moscow claims 2,000 people were killed. US-based Human Rights Watch has said this cannot be independently verified.”

From the Los Angeles Times: Georgian refugees’ plight is grim “The Georgia-Russia conflict is estimated to have displaced as many as 100,000 people, many of whom are yet to receive any aid.”

From the Kansas City Star: Amid the chaos in Georgia, Missouri doctor perseveres “Trish Blair, the founder and president of the nonprofit ACTS International, has been helping the people of Georgia since 1992.
“The refugees will need medical care, she said in an e-mail.
“With a decision that has simultaneously horrified her friends and made them proud, the former trauma surgeon chose to stay.”

If you believe in a Life after this one on Earth, you must wonder how the people killed in war are received by those who passed on in comfortable, serene surroundings.

Some believe that death is birth into the Next Life—graduation from this school that tests and develops our virtues.

To those left behind, children with no mother, mothers with no children, the anguish is not easily abated by thoughts of the reward their dead have received—their escape from thismortal coil . . .

“Ye observe how the world is divided against itself, how many a land is red with blood and its very dust is caked with human gore. The fires of conflict have blazed so high that never in early times, not in the Middle Ages, not in recent centuries hath there ever been such a hideous war, a war that is even as millstones, taking for grain the skulls of men. Nay, even worse, for flourishing countries have been reduced to rubble, cities have been levelled with the ground, and many a once prosperous village hath been turned into ruin. Fathers have lost their sons, and sons their fathers. Mothers have wept away their hearts over dead children. Children have been orphaned, women left to wander, vagrants without a home. From every aspect, humankind hath sunken low. Loud are the piercing cries of fatherless children; loud the mothers’ anguished voices, reaching to the skies.
“And the breeding-ground of all these tragedies is prejudice: prejudice of race and nation, of religion, of political opinion; and the root cause of prejudice is blind imitation of the past — imitation in religion, in racial attitudes, in national bias, in politics. So long as this aping of the past persisteth, just so long will the foundations of the social order be blown to the four winds, just so long will humanity be continually exposed to direst peril.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 247

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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)


WOMAN SNAKE DEATH = LIFE by Robin Easton

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6 May 2008

WOMAN SNAKE DEATH = LIFE Grass Snake

Posted by Robin Easton under: Hobnobbin’ with Robin .

Once a six foot Red Belly Black snake (on the Australian Dangerous-to-humans list) came right at me while I squatted to pee. He was fleeing from something else and ran smack into me. Already frightened and worked up, he reared up and lashed out three times in a false strike inches from my face.

It was my first encounter with a deadly snake and if I hadn’t just peed I would have. Amazingly I shocked myself by staying outwardly calm. If I panicked and jumped back he’d surely strike. I was already in a squatting position and couldn’t even tuck and roll fast enough to get away. Even if I could have moved snakes can strike faster than the human eye can follow, and at six feet long they have a lot length to whip out. But I knew that frenetic movement from me would be the worst thing to do, any movement would spell disaster. It would startle and rile the snake even more. If I remained still he might not strike. He might calm down. He had to know that I was no threat to him, that I was no more than a log. When I didn’t move, didn’t even breathe, instinct made him freeze immobile in hopes that I would no longer see him. Camouflage was his best defense against such a huge opponent. We were face to face, inches apart. Time stopped and down in the dark pit of my gut primal knowledge uncoiled from eons of dormancy and rose to consciousness. Like my ancient hunter gatherer ancestors I wanted to test myself. I thought, “Here it is, the single event you’ve feared might happen. He’s so close now, what do you have to lose but your life? And death is already here. So why not try and relax. See if you can communicate with him.”

Everything in me slowed way down and in that space I heard for the first time another specie’s thoughts. I understood that he would not slither away until I looked away. He feared I would follow him or strike out and crush him; he couldn’t afford to take his eyes off me. I had to trust him with my life. Slowly I rolled my eyes away from his space, slooooowly I turned my head inch by inch. In less than two seconds he whipped his body around faster than my eyes could follow and vanished into the bush.

That day many years ago I learned with my entire body that we ARE connected to all life. If we slow down and listen we can hear the thoughts of other species. I learned that every visitation meant something, told me something. Each being was a teacher. And if I listened to my teachers I would be blessed to experience the extreme intelligence of wildlife. To be in that heightened state where we hear another animal’s thoughts is one of my most treasured gifts from the wild. I am changed forever.

Although it can sometimes be hard to hear another’s thoughts. To hear the thoughts of the bush lark while the python swallows her alive, to hear the thoughts of the Ulysses butterfly when he is snapped up in the flycatcher’s beak, to hear the thoughts of the honey bee while the praying mantis eats him alive, to hear their desperate pleas, to hear them cling to sweet Life, to hear them beg me, life, anyone for help…to save them…and then for me to NOT intervene was sometimes hard. But I did not intervene because the honey bee is the life force of the praying mantis. The lark is the life force of the python. The ulysses butterfly is the life force of the fly catcher. Life flows into Life. Imagine a force so in love with itself that it continually devours itself to create more Life.

I would always fight fiercely to stay alive, as do most wild creatures. But with time in the forest I learned that death was not what I once thought. Close to the land, foot and hand dug into dirt, soul sunk into Mother Earth I am embraced by the thing I love most. Although always careful and aware, if I died on the land I would be with that which is most familiar to me. That which IS me. I am part of a massive self-sustaining organism eating itself alive out of sheer lust to create more Life.

From my heart,
Robin

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PS: I’ve decided that instead of a blog roll or even a links page, that each week I will try to honor a link or a few links. They will not be done in order of any importance. They are all simply done as blogs/people who I respect. I chose these five this week as I felt they related to this post. There are other nature blogs that relate and are equally as good. I will cover them next time, and then more after that. I am blessed to have many wonderful friends and hope to get to each one over the weeks and months. Please bear with me. You have all touched my life.

DEDICATED TO THESE NATURE BLOGS:

A FOCUS ON THE WILD Stacey Huston’s wildlife photos are remarkable and at times almost ethereal. They reflect her inseparable connection to Mother Earth’s vulnerable wild creatures. Stacey also works with falcon rehabilitation. She is a very sensitive and aware human being, just like her wild friends.

EARTH & ECONOMY I respect them for their work in creating environmental awareness. If you are wanting to help protect our planet this site has hundreds of resources for positive change. Earth & Economy is a tireless and astounding effort to protect the planet. You will be amazed at the information available. Please go to this site and make use of the invaluable information they have given us.

HIGH COUNTRY ARCHER This is some of the most beautiful nature writing I’ve read. High Country Archer has a voice that is raw and wild like the land. He is knowledgeable in survival and the ways of our wild brethren. His writing is so fresh that is still smells of the outdoors, of autumn rain, muddy tracks and the scent of passing elk.

ONE MAN’S TRAVEL LOG Graham’s blog is fascinating as it combines a deep and intense love of nature with travel. He is an excellent writer and the site is just bursting with vitality and warmth. It’s also honestly thought provoking in a v rey human and every day kind of way that I really like and relate to.

SANDPIPER’S PLACE Sandpiper’s photos are simply crystal clear and make me feel like I am standing in the woods right next to the wren, the woodchuck and the flowers. Every time I open this blog I catch my breath at the beauty. It is truly stunning. If you love nature you will oooh and aaaah over this site.

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