Sunday, May 3, 2020
I am doing quite well, at the moment.
This pandemic, and the resulting economic strains, it has put on some people has not affected me the way it has many others. I have been collecting OAS and CPP along with the guaranteed income supplement, so my income has not changed. The fact that I am getting the supplement shows that I am in the lowest bracket for those who depend on those age benefits, but it is enough and I believe I am living better than I ever did while employed. I have always lived below the poverty line, but I have never faced starvation and was only homeless for short periods. When it comes to government handouts, I am satisfied with what I have, and I really do not need more. At a time of crisis, let us concentrate on everyone having enough before we go on demanding more.
It seems that a time of crisis brings out the best and the worst in people. Many are working hard to bring this crisis under control. People are struggling and others are helping. People are risking death to keep others from dying. Some are doing without so others will have enough. These are the selfless ones that put others before themselves.
On the other side, we see the greedy. These ones are only concerned with their own well being and could care less if you starve or die of the pandemic. They are the ones who have earned and saved enough, often at the expense of those less fortunate, that they can now afford to go out and hoard goods so they will have plenty at a time of shortage. This action has effected a shortage, so they have caused the event that they prepared themselves for. Our economy is based on supply and demand, so, when demand is high, prices will naturally increase. The ones who could not afford to hoard will now have to pay higher prices if they can get their supplies at all. Manufacturers will benefit from this as the public turns from asking, “Can I get this at a good price?” to “Can I get this?” In this way, we see money siphoned from the poor into the hands of the rich.
Greed also appears among many as they attempt to seek financial benefit from the pandemic. If others are getting aid, they feel they are also entitled, although they do not really need it. It seems strange that those forced out of employment should get more from staying home than those on a fixed income, but, perhaps, their needs are greater. Since I live on a fixed income, I am renting a townhouse with low rent that is within my means. Someone who is paying a much higher rent, or paying off a huge mortgage, may be at risk of losing their homes. They may need temporary help in dollar amounts more than my fixed income. Perhaps, when they are back working again, they should be required to pay a little back each week, but first, let us get through this crisis and see where we stand at that time.
One common thing about people who have succeeded in the financial world is that they tend to turn setbacks into opportunities. Perhaps we do the same with a pandemic. If I start a charity to help those in need, I will look like I am a great guy, and I can pocket some cash myself. That sounds like a win, win situation. Therefore, many false charities arise that earn a lot of money for the charity, but very little gets to the people who need it. This is the epitome of greed. These are ones who take advantage of the disadvantaged for personal gain.
For everything, there is a purpose. Many times, we do not realize what is happening until we analyze it later. During a crisis, our energies are bent on ending the crises. After it is over, we can take time to reflect on what we have learned from it. If we learn our lessons well, the test will not need to be repeated. Unfortunately, humans can be slow learners, and it will take many disasters before we learn our lessons. My greatest fear is that we will not learn what we must at this time and other pandemics, much worse than this one, will fall upon us.
Scripture has foretold of times like these. As I was writing about how this crisis is bringing out the best and the worst of human nature, I could not help but think of the following scripture.
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, “Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?”
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.”
Then shall they also answer him, saying, “Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?”
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25: 31-46)
God already knows our hearts. This dividing is for our benefit. By looking within our own hearts, we learn of our true nature, and, if we are wise, we will learn from it before it is too late. We must examine our every action and determine our motivation for such action. Are we working toward self-benefit or are we doing what needs to be done to help everyone? Are we willing to sacrifice to help others or do we expect others to sacrifice for our benefit? Do we see ourselves as individuals or are we a part of a greater whole?
This is not meant to be an easy test where everyone passes. It is tough and it will determine if we have made the grade.
Saturday, March 28, 2020
The Common Enemy
Nothing unites people faster than having a common enemy. Today, we have that. It is so small we can’t see it and so horrible that it kills without remorse.
Mankind has had wars and rumours of wars. Although one country, established by war, has been at war through most of its existence, they could find no enemy worse than themselves, and it was the civil war in the 1860s that caused the most devastation to themselves. But have we learned our lesson?
Throughout the world, we have seen war and disaster. Both natural and manmade catastrophes have caused mayhem in various areas. Yet many of us were comforted by thinking, “It can’t happen here.” Now there is a virus. It started in a small area but has spread worldwide. It is happening everywhere, and if there are pockets of people that have not been affected, they are consumed in the fear of it.
I am not sure what is worse, the virus or the fear of it. I am more afraid of the fear and what that has done, and may yet do, to people. The fear has led to panic and panic leads to doing unreasonable things. At this time, it is more important than ever to remain calm, so I am not going to talk about the evils of this enemy, but I want to concentrate on how it is bringing us together in a world unity never before seen.
What has kept me calm is the knowledge that God is in control. Yes, I may catch the virus and I may die, but this life on earth is for a short time and we have eternity to think about. When God decides that it is time to call me home, I will be thrilled to go.
Yet, such days as these have been prophesied in the traditions of most religions. It is a sign of God’s displeasure. At a time when so many have turned their backs on God, when some deny His existence, and others start wars in His name, is it not the time for a wakeup call? He has, more recently, sent us a message of love and unity. He has told us he doesn’t want us to fight and that we must learn to get along together. Those of us who have heard the call have been given the task to spread it to others. Yet denial and stubbornness have resisted the call, and apathy has caused us to turn elsewhere for answers.
Have we finally reached the days of Armageddon? We were expecting a great foe but not one that was so small we couldn’t see it. We did not know it could hide on friends and relations. Those on the front lines of the most dangerous war we ever fought must constantly screen themselves to be assured that the enemy is not taking a ride on their own bodies. Without training, they are finding themselves thrust to the front line fighting an enemy that they know little about.
This is an amazing unity that the world has never seen. All over the world, the scene is being played out. Doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and everyone else in the medical profession has been called to the front to combat the enemy. All others stand in support of these fighters. In this, the whole world stands as one. Yet there are a few who would sow seeds of dissension. I have heard the rumors of conspiracy, seen the actions of greed, witnessed panic-stricken individuals out the protect themselves without thought of how it would affect others. But let us not concentrate on that. These are seeds sown by the enemy. We need to stand united to win this war. This time it is the entire population of the earth that is under attack and we must unite in our efforts if we want to eradicate the enemy.
In Matthew 24 verse 22 we find these words of comfort. “except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” We know that God loves us. Although we may be witnessing the results of our error, we know that God will intervene and protect us from our own selves when necessary. He is patiently waiting for us to return His love. Unless we love Him, we can never feel the love He has for us.
Social distancing means that we can no longer gather for prayer, but we can still pray. More and more online prayer meetings are being arranged, so we can still pray together. Those who have been housebound due to injury or illness, and not been able to attend physical meetings, can now join us.
This current crisis has given us an opportunity to unite. Let us now take advantage of this so we can shorten the days and prevent future crises.
Friday, January 4, 2019
As Humans, are we spiritual beings with physical bodies? Many believe that, yet, to often, the spiritual nature of mankind gets neglected.
To make any significant change in the progress of humanity, we must begin with prayer. True prayer is communicating with God. When we couple prayer with the reading and meditation of Divine Revelation, we both talk to God and hear His Word. If we eliminate selfish desire and pray purely for the Betterment on the World, we will see results beyond our imagination.
Thus, I am starting an interfaith prayer group where we can join together in prayer and the study of God’s word. Everyone is invited, regardless of religious affiliation, to join together in UNITY in order to bring together the opposing factions of humanity and make the world a planet of peace and understanding. This will not be a venue to push one’s understanding of God on another, but one where we can all strive to understand each other’s point of view. In this way, it is hoped that we will all come to a clearer view of what we believe while allowing others to pursue Truth on their own terms.
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Hopefully, Peace Fest will be revived in 2019. I will be living in Forest, Ontario at that time so I will scout out a nice park and hold Peace Fest there. Hopefully, friends and strangers will join me to promote peace across the planet.
June 29, 2019, will be a Saturday, so it should be a good day for a great get together.
Leave comments if you have any ideas for the event.
June 29, 2019, will be a Saturday, so it should be a good day for a great get together.
Leave comments if you have any ideas for the event.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
With May fast approaching I am thinking about June 29 and Peace Fest. I usually hold this event in a local park on that day every year. The last couple of years I was very disorganized and I was the only one who attended.
This year I am not even certain that I will be in London, Ontario on that day, however I can celebrate Peace Fest anywhere. I you are interested in celebrating with me, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment here.
On June 29, 1912, 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave a Unity Feast in New Jersey. During his speech, he stated that his very words would be repeated in assemblages held in the future to commemorate that event.
Below is a translation of the entire talk.
29 June 1912
Talk at Unity Feast, Outdoors
West Englewood, New Jersey
Notes by Esther Foster
76.1This is a delightful gathering; you have come here with sincere intentions, and the purpose of all present is the attainment of the virtues of God. The motive is attraction to the divine Kingdom. Since the desire of all is unity and agreement, it is certain that this meeting will be productive of great results. It will be the cause of attracting a new bounty, for we are turning to the Kingdom of Abha, seeking the infinite bestowals of the Lord. This is a new Day, and this hour is a new Hour in which we have come together. Surely the Sun of Reality with its full effulgence will illumine us, and the darkness of disagreements will disappear. The utmost love and unity will result; the favors of God will encompass us; the pathway of the Kingdom will be made easy. Like candles these souls will become ignited and made radiant through the lights of supreme guidance. Such gatherings as this have no equal or likeness in the world of mankind, where people are drawn together by physical motives or in furtherance of material interests, for this meeting is a prototype of that inner and complete spiritual association in the eternal world of being.
Rejoice, for the glance of the Blessed Beauty, Bahá'u'lláh, is directed upon you.
76.6Rejoice, for Bahá'u'lláh is your Protector.
76.7Rejoice, for the everlasting glory is destined for you.
76.8Rejoice, for the eternal life is awaiting you.
76.9How many blessed souls have longed for this radiant century, their utmost hopes and desires centered upon the happiness and joy of one such day as this. Many the nights they passed sleepless and lamenting until the very morn in longing anticipation of this age, yearning to realize even an hour of this time. God has favored you in this century and has specialized you for the realization of its blessings. Therefore, you must praise and thank God with heart and soul in appreciation of this great opportunity and the attainment of this infinite bestowal -- that such doors have been opened before your faces, that such abundance is pouring down from the cloud of mercy and that these refreshing breezes from the paradise of Abha are resuscitating you. You must become of one heart, one spirit and one susceptibility. May you become as the waves of one sea, stars of the same heaven, fruits adorning the same tree, roses of one garden in order that through you the oneness of humanity may establish its temple in the world of mankind, for you are the ones who are called to uplift the cause of unity among the nations of the earth.
76.10First, you must become united and agreed among yourselves. You must be exceedingly kind and loving toward each other, willing to forfeit life in the pathway of another's happiness. You must be ready to sacrifice your possessions in another's behalf. The rich among you must show compassion toward the poor, and the well-to-do must look after those in distress. In Persia the friends offer their lives for each other, striving to assist and advance the interests and welfare of all the rest. They live in a perfect state of unity and agreement. Like the Persian friends you must be perfectly agreed and united to the extent and limit of sacrificing life. Your utmost desire must be to confer happiness upon each other. Each one must be the servant of the others, thoughtful of their comfort and welfare. In the path of God one must forget himself entirely. He must not consider his own pleasure but seek the pleasure of others. He must not desire glory nor gifts of bounty for himself but seek these gifts and blessings for his brothers and sisters. It is my hope that you may become like this, that you may attain to the supreme bestowal and be imbued with such spiritual qualities as to forget yourselves entirely and with heart and soul offer yourselves as sacrifices for the Blessed Perfection. You should have neither will nor desire of your own but seek everything for the beloved of God and live together in complete love and fellowship. May the favors of Bahá'u'lláh surround you from all directions. This is the greatest bestowal and supreme bounty. These are the infinite favors of God.
('Abdu'l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 213, 215)
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
I have just released my second book. It contains the short story, "SINGING IN THE CHAPEL," along with the play by Jason Rip, "MY NAME IS MARGARET HARMAN." Jason started with my story and went a different direction with it. Ordering information is at www.singing.9li.ca.