Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Blessed Thankgiving

I have been reading a captivating book, “The Business Solution to Poverty,” by Paul Polak and Mal Warwick.  It’s about helping the 2.7 billion people on our planet who exist with less than $2.00 per day (included in that number are about one billion people who exist on less than $1.00 per day).

Here in the United States we must all give thanks in so many ways as we have so much compared to those described in the book.

I read the story of one poor family in a village in India.  They worked very hard and saved as best they could, with the dream of buying a water buffalo to help till their small rice field.  Over time, they were able to realize that dream.  Even better, they became able to let their children stay in school as long as they liked–even through college.  But most children in that region only attend through the fifth grade.

We must give thanks to God for our abundance, not just our material means, but our freedom and so much more.  One reason freedom is on my mind is that this past weekend, I hosted the president of the Cuban Council of Churches, an organization that represents about a million members.  After the weekend with me in New Orleans, he was to head to San Francisco.  He asked me if he would be able to visit Silicon Valley.  I quickly said, “Yes, it’s a free country.”  I could tell by his deep reaction how much that surprised and moved him.  Freedom is just not present everywhere.

I’ve been to Cuba on seven separate mission trips.  There the income of people is as desperate as what is described in the book I’m reading.  I’ll never forget the time I was asked to bring nails–that’s right, nails–in my suitcase because they couldn’t even buy such basic items.

I also took this fine Cuban minister to Walgreen’s for him to get a medication for a colleague.  He was amazed at the vast selection of items just a few blocks from my home.

Yes, give thanks America, for our means, for our freedom and the realization that free enterprise was essential for our nation to reach this stage of affluence.  Central planning did not work in the twentieth century, nor is it working now in Cuba and North Korea now.  This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for my country, flaws and all.

Things that Matter

I am reading “Things that Matter,” by Charles Krauthammer.  I appreciate this book’s  conservative viewpoint.  I look for my inspiration in reading and reviewing this deep, thoughtful book.  Optimism and idealism can be effective if you combine them with President Reagan’s famous slogan, “Trust but Verify.”

I think of what Socrates wrote, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  We must not live our lives that way.  Values such as truth, honesty and empathy are vital to worthwhile meaning and purpose for all of us.  These positive values matter.  What else matters?  When we count our blessings this holiday season, consider the intangibles such as positive values.

Gratitude

I wrote this blog just after I got home from Sunday school about a month ago.  The teacher ended saying, “We ought to focus on God.”  I disagree.  Almighty God and God within all of us is just incomprehensible to all of us.  But we can try, try, try to seek God’s calling(s) for us moment by moment, day by day, lifetime by lifetime.  It’s what we say and do that counts.

Saying and doing the right things can be developed by cultivating a strong set of values.  The loving religions of the world encourage very similar values.  And, while we can’t really understand Almighty God and our “little piece of God,” we can be thankful to God for all that has been given us.  Following God’s calling is part of how we can show our gratitude.

A Message of Hope and Optimism

The key to a heaven on earth lies with us and God – and I believe both humankind and certainly God are up to that enormous journey through the Innovation Age to the Spiritual Age – Heaven on Earth.

With humankind, it is incumbent on all to teach, practice and live by the wisdom-associated values while ridding ourselves of those negative values.  Why do I think it can be done – my belief in God and humankind’s ability to improve and innovate in our own selves, one by one, million by million, billion by billion.

Honesty and kindness toward ourselves and others are important ingredients to this wonderful journey.  Such qualities don’t happen overnight, especially when one considers the whole planet.

But technologically we now have the capability to spread this ray of hope in a way not possible previously.

We each have an important role to play in this heavenly trek.

Heaven on Earth is and will be a loving destination, full of goodwill, cooperation, creativity – so many magnificent manifestations of God’s love.

It’s too easy to be cynical and pessimistic.  But I sincerely believe that the Innovation Age – far from the caves – allows us to progress in an amazing fashion.  We just need to have the will and God’s enduring, steadfast love.  My faith tells me – deeply – that both of those essential components will be there – in abundance.

Optimism, not blind optimism, but the sort that guided President Reagan to such stupendous feats as economic  revival lasting for 25 years and a BIG victory in the Cold War which brought democracy to so many millions.

Motivation!

Motivation!

Motivation!

 

Self-reliance is key to our goal of Heaven on Earth!

“I will try to love and help create a Heaven on Earth.”  With God’s enduring, steadfast love we can do it.  But I worry about trusting government too much rather than self-reliance.

After World War II, too many people in the Western world assumed that governments could solve our problems.  Some leaders, such as President Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, knew better.  But the pendulum has swung so far toward government solutions, especially in Japan, Southern Europe and the United States, that too much of the world has enormous national debts and obligations.

But at the same time, humankind has progressed enormously, not just in technology, but in more democracies, abolishment of slavery in the United States, and practically all the world, women’s suffrage in the United States and elsewhere and even animal rights.

I heard in India recently that they expected the United States to be about 40 percent vegetarian in the future.  People think green in many aspects of life and many governments are reflecting this movement.

The key to the future is not in technology.  It’s in us.  We must work and play and love with the passion for all—living by The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The Bloated Federal Government

We have a bloated Federal Government.  Believe me and a host of others.  I spent twenty years as a federal employee and I believe a reduction in Force (RIF) could be done in a kind way like good citizen corporations operate when they need to terminate people.

It should work like this – hire independent human relations people to help out-placements with resumes, employment, occupational interest tests, and ability test (all optional and also available to the general public).

But concurrently with obvious RIF’s an intense study of laws, regulations and organizations should be conducted to attain efficiency, simplicity, and greater productivity in both the government and private sectors.  It can be done and it would, if done right, greatly enhance our economy.

The other major initiative should be a reform of entitlements.  Everyone in Washington knows this is desperately needed.  Take courage – Democrats and Republicans.

The status quo in Washington is dangerous, currently or at some point in the future.  Wise, capable and honest leadership is sorely needed in this process.

The Wonder of Reading

I am now taking great pleasure in reading Charles Krauthammer’s new book, “Things That Matter.”  The title of the book is quite apt.
    I’m just at the beginning and it’s so interesting and human that I relish my reading.  I’m also studying this work–as a writer–because it is a wonderful example of the art of writing.  As I’ve said before, knowledge and human adacement is  very important in order for humankind to stay ahead of the advancements in technology.   Atificial intelligence is on its way.  Reading, which to me is a very enjoyable pursuit, can allow us to keep leaping ahead.
    Each one of us in free countries can read whatever we select, providing, of course, that we are literate and ambitious in the field of self illumination.  “Things That Matter” is a wonder waiting for all in free nations, certainly in the United States.