27 March 2017

Breaking Through Walls When Breaking Bread

I wonder: what is more joyous than breaking bread with good friends, family and people dear and near to your heart?

There is something about eating and drinking with people who like and love one another that is phenomenal.

The heart is touched and the smiles convey things that words sometimes cannot fully express.

I recently had a get-together with some people I care about.

Afterwards, I was nearly emotional remembering their faces, the conversations, the smiles and the appreciation my heart felt in having them all together.

The occasion was a preemptive celebration; a great expectation soon to arrive.

The reception was surprising to me, and I could see God's grace in the turnout and people's responses and gratitude for the invitation.

My heart was full of gratitude as well and I'm grateful for the dynamic of interpersonal relationships.
How good and pleasant it is 
  when God’s people live together in unity! 
It is like precious oil poured on the head, 
  running down on the beard, 
     running down on Aaron’s beard 
  down on the collar of his robe 
It is as if the dew of Hermon 
  were falling on Mount Zion. 
For there the Lord bestows His blessing 
  even life forevermore. 
- Psalm 133

25 March 2017

Building Without Wooden Planks

I have a friend who is under the impression that members of most other religious group (outside of his) are wrong, and by extension condemned...according to certain Scriptures he cites.

Yet when asked if they are all condemned because of their identity, or affiliation, or individually, or what they've done in their lives, he changes his thoughts accordingly and then resubmits his premise on the grounds of other certain citable Scriptures.

When I point out his contradiction, he goes on to cite yet a few other Scriptures, adjusting yet again his earlier blanket condemnation, now stating that the individual will be judged not according to the some silly things they may believe beyond what he considers important to be believed.

A casual listener to this banter may conclude it is the Scriptures that are contradicting one another and not this friend of mine, but is that truly the case?

There is yet another Scripture regarding arguing over words and contaminating a hearer's ears.

It is all a matter of interpretation and the individual's heart.

Is the individual attempting to bring others into the fold of something beyond their conception, or are they actively dividing others in the futile attempt to 'see' what is unseen?

Is entrance to paradise based on your knowledge of Scripture?

Are anyone qualified for salvation according to knowing the 'right' things and disbelieving the 'wrong' things?

What is right for one person is wrong for another person, and both are thoroughly convinced in their own mind and heart about the matter.

Of course, “we” think we are correct when we pass internal judgment on another person (our judging thoughts, not verbal words).

It is always the other person, religious group, or ethnic group, or nation, etc., that is 'wrong'.

Regarding religious beliefs, some make a great effort of trying to point out what is wrong with others (not what they are called to do), while rarely actually doing any good thing for others (what they are actually called to do).

They resemble more the accuser than the Savior, yet to convince them of this stark contradiction in their manners and words is a futile effort since they are so judgmental, even glorying in their hostility and lack of patience for others and the things they do not yet understand.

This is what the monkey sees and thus what the monkey does; men following men, but not what is Perfect and from Above.

This is the case in practically every religion and culture of man.

This is the methodology of the political system as well; one side always criticizing the other but never doing any constructive work themselves... and if or when they do, the other side criticizes and people look to the criticism and ignore the work.

Such has been the case with the religious, especially the religious of similar groups.

But humanity has not been called to be like these divided people.

Humanity has been called to realize their oneness with others and with He who is from Above; the maker and Creator of their lives and the correct and unifying identity.

Since we are all human beings (and thus our nature is less than perfect), to find error in others and their systems of belief is an easy task.

What are the likenesses?

What are the unifying factors?

Where is your humanity just like theirs?

How are they like you and what do you have in common?

Yes, they fall short of perfection as you do, but how do they desire that perfection as you do?

For some sad individuals, all they do is find error in others...and sometimes they seem to ignore the great error in themselves and in their hearts.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 
- Matthew 7: 1-5

24 March 2017

Chasing Butterflies And Hurricanes

Matthew 7: 12

Science is quite the useful tool of thought.

With science, the unseen has been made 'visible' in terms of conceptualizing what is not seen.

When considering chaos theory, specifically the butterfly effect, science explains the possibility that a very small, seemingly insignificant occurrence, may determine a larger outcome.

In short: the flapping of a butterfly's wings can give rise to a hurricane.

Taking this idea in relation to human beings, one could argue that what they do and think while alone has no influence on others.

Is this true?

We sometimes hear: who am I hurting?

Science is explaining what the faithful have long argued: we are all connected in some way, typically in ways we yet to do not fully understand nor comprehend.

The individual who practices their craft for hours on end, maybe a musical instrument, or dance, or perhaps not an art form, but the scientific study of business models and concepts, for example, can have a great impact on those around them.

Although the work is sown alone at times, when the effort is harvested the product can be quite amazing, influential and evident for many to see and realize.

What if the sowing is something that can be arguably bad, wrong, negative or detrimental?

Can it be argued that their solitary practice(s) will not have an eventual impact on the world outside?

The pervert who does what they do alone; can their inverted manners have an eventual impact on another human being?

The religious fanatic who does much study and forms a specific view of the world; can their efforts leave an impression on others?

The business master mind in the making; can their eventual effort of building a little empire for themselves have any effect on others down the road?

We may think our solitary activities cannot directly touch another if such activities or thoughts are never mentioned or outwardly evidenced.

The science behind the theories and concepts mentioned show these suppositions to not be true.

Surely we all influence the world around us on a daily basis, even if we were never to leave our homes.

Whether we take our own life, another's life, hurt a life, an animal, a tree or an insect, our ecosystem beyond the material is beyond our periphery.

From the air we breathe, the food we eat, the things we say in person or via the internet, we are leaving a road map of our lives for others to eventually happily discover, or be appalled by, or some other lasting outcome.

21 March 2017

To Disbelieve Is To Not Be

Separating The Waters From Above And Below

When considering what has been written around the belief in God (what some label religious writings), it seems some people and / or religions have sown doubt by challenging the simplicity of what God has ordained and established by His Word.

For the secularist / atheist, the world around them must be put into logical and reasonable terms.

Logic and reason is of the utmost importance.

Yet mankind still finds the world and its events at times unreasonable and illogical.

By simply identifying, defining and explaining 'how' things work...does such an effort fully answer 'why' the world and universe functions as it does?

If it did, the new ideas from a secular point of view would have already defeated the old secular ideas, or the belief that God is behind all things.

By math, men have been able to measure great and minute distances.

This same math has revealed a world full of patterns, design and perfect agreement between energy and matter...and also a world unseen and still unperceived by man's math, yet science proposes something greater and immeasurable in the invisible outweighs and outlasts the visible and measurable realities.

I'm sure you've heard this rudimentary argument or something similar: if a computer were to be found on a populated world without technology, would the discoverers think the computer came about by chance or evolution of some sort, or that it was possibly fashioned by a rationale and intelligent mind? (excluding 'aliens' as an answer, yet God and His mind is alien to many)

Some argue that the revealing of patterns and signs of design is only by 'chance' and not good evidence that order and wisdom preceded creation; the premise that God created and initiated all things mankind is realizing according their limited logic and always edited scientific effort.

For some people, to believe God can do anything by simply speaking it into existence is not difficult to accept.

So if or when they experience an event that falls outside the laws of nature penned by man's mind, they do not have difficulty accepting the event as actual...them now seeing beyond the veil that the secularist / atheist is hidden behind.

Isn't it no surprise that those who decide not to accept that God is present don't ever seem to experience anything beyond the typical?

For others (trying to look through their religious veil), only what their religion says God 'has' done is acceptable.

To believe that God would humble Himself and become a man (while never vacating heaven nor the universe nor the places beyond the universe which He saturates), and walk the earth, is immediately denied because they've been taught to deny and scoff at such a thought.

The same can be said about the argument made against the notion of God and the manner the world is explained according to man's mind, which again is still growing, learning and correcting past misconceptions.

The person who identifies as an atheist has also accepted a particular religion; the religion of denial of God and in its place the acceptance of all ideas which never answer 'why', but simply explain how.

Many religions in fact exist when one person's personal thoughts and rationale is the manner they live their life: their specific religion being their specific view of the world.

Regarding God becoming a man and walking the earth, the ancient testimony states that God's footsteps were heard in the Garden of Eden, yet these details are missed by blind eyes and deaf ears.

For some others, their thoughts only go as far as their mind's perception goes...and that isn't too far looking at the manner people live and treat one another.

Hasn't man realized how limited his logic is and that new ideas typically retire old ideas?...showing the old ideas, previously perceived as true and factual, now being false and miscalculated.

Ironically, it is sometimes the most religious of people who are accustomed to cast doubt on what God has established, or what God can choose to do...and the atheist / secularist is of the most religious people found on earth, holding onto their thoughts and concepts for dear life it seems.

The fact is that God is not any religion, for God transcends such a concept.

This is why God became a man; to correct the misconceptions of the religious (pagan, secular or following religious rules) and to declared in-person what men couldn't understand otherwise.

The God that created us in His likeness...also became the image that revealed His heart. 

16 March 2017

Choosing The Rest Of Your Life

Where I was sitting as my clothes washed at the laundromat when Mike thanked me.

“I appreciate you wouldn't enable me.” - Mike

My friend Mike whose put himself through quite some trials.

This touched my heart when Mike spoke these words to me.

He had just shared with me about a job he was excited about starting.

He'd been hustling on the street doing things that are mostly illegal, being reluctant join his dad in his business, clean himself up and get an honest job / vocation / means.

I can relate too well with some of Mike's past.

I had befriended Mike despite his gangster swagger and tattooed face and body.

After handing him funds on two occasions when he asked for a handout, I corrected his third request.

At first his reaction had a touch of anger and sense of being insulted.

I added that he needs to consider where he will be in a few months or years from now... and that continuously asking for money, or hustling on the street while making excuses and blaming others, is not much of a future nor a solution to remedy his present situation.

It wasn't easy refusing his request, for one never knows how anyone will react when confronted with some hard truths and firm words no matter how kind and lovingly the message is delivered.

So recently after Mike shared his joy and surprise that he landed a decent paying job complimenting the skills he learned in the Marines... and thanking me with his words I quoted above, I felt the kiss of God's grace upon my lips.

When we reflect the popular culture around us, whether it is sagging our pants or repeating a low-brow vernacular, we shouldn't be surprised when opportunities for serious employment (or interaction with mature people) seem to pass us by.

Certain life lessons have yet to be learned.

When emulating a depraved culture, one shouldn't be surprised when the affluent avoid you like the plague... perhaps out of fear of not knowing one's motives, or maybe because your exterior represents a troubled culture.

The promotion of rebelliousness makes evident the depravity in popular culture.

This common denominator of banal humanity is sadly continuously marketed, emulated and honored.

I was once there myself.

No single individual experienced a perfect upbringing (childhood), since we are all humans and humans are fallible.

Our parents / guardians made mistakes although some of them arguably always did their best.

Sadly some parents neglected their children, or were more harsh than gracious... and the list can be never-ending counting the grievances a child may have against their parent / guardian.

We are the product of our upbringing in every way.

We are also the response to and reflection of that upbringing.

Although we as individuals usually reflect our upbringing in our character, external blame can only go so far.

We eventually have to take responsibility for our thoughts, words and actions.

Yet we may find ourselves still, even after a long life of living, somehow blaming others (or making excuses) for our fragmented character or current life result.

I remember realizing this stark reality when at age 16 my aunt told me “okay, so now that you know, what are you going to do about it?”

I had lamented to her that I realize my character traits and faults are a combination of the traits learned from my mom and dad.

When she taught me this eye-opening lesson with her words, one which I am forwarding and will repeat in this blog post, I also had a tough time wrestling with anger and insult.

But she wasn't insulting me nor trying to make me angry.

She was telling me her honest observation and what she had also learned in her life experience before me.

The truth of the matter is what caused me to emotionally respond as such.

The reflection in the mirror wasn't pleasant at first.

One can only blame their parents for so much, and sure it is tempting to scapegoat parents or others for the rest of one's life and for one's problems... but that is not only unfair, it is absolutely unreasonable considering we have choice and life is about learning and growing.

My aunt clarified that I simply cannot continue to blame them for the choices I was to make from that moment of understanding forward.

I continue to learn that I cannot blame anyone (the government, popular culture, etc.) for my current situation when I have the choice to watch television or read a book, or choose a certain employment over another, or do something on my own.

Although we had no choice in being born, or the upbringing (relatives and cultural situation) we experienced, we do have choice in the kind of friends we have around us.

Only in prison, for example, do you have little to no choice the kind of people who are around you... yet even in prison you have a choice regarding who YOU become and what thoughts you allow to filtrate through your psyche and which you disallow.

I surely cannot blame anyone now that I am an adult and have my choices and subsequent consequences to deal with.

So it was quite a personal moment of gratitude from my heart to the Lord God Almighty when I heard that “thank you” from Mike.

May the Name of the Holy Father be forever praised!


15 March 2017

A Future Fund And Rate

1 Thessalonians 4: 11-12
I think there exists today a monopoly over the money, its issuance and its supply.

A similar system existed in Rome when people had to pay their taxes in Roman coinage, stamped in gold, for example, instead of rough pieces of gold.

Some view this as wrong, or evil, while others view it as typical or simply the way things are...the rich or powerful ruling over the less rich or less powerful.

An idea can be like a seed that becomes a strong tree, towering over all previous ideas.

For the sake of understanding, instead of labeling the current money system as wrong or right, evil or good, I'd like to simply identify it for what it does and is while introducing an idea.

Read what a monopoly means.

I call it a monopoly because the entity is the sole issuer of money which chooses to charge interest and how much...and this entity answers to no one in these matters.

I do perceive the charging of interest as evil, plainly and simply.

This practice only enriches the few while taxing the many...being akin to the definition of tribute despite any modern justification echoed by economists.

It is evil because it adds to the weighted effort of existence, contributing nothing but to the acknowledgement of one man's power and position over another man.

I think if people are subject to such a system with their labor being valued as a commodity, one usually has to play according to the rules set by such an entity...unless they figure out another way.

New ideas, or an alteration of a previous idea, may bring forth a change.

What if the common man, since he has to deal with the charging of interest for the money he must utilize in order to pay a mortgage, rent, food and taxes, can also benefit like the issuing institution and its banking affiliates?

Aside from issuing one's own money / currency (an idea I've written about in the past), what can be altered within the current money model?

Two antonyms (opposite meaning) of 'monopoly' are “joint ownership” and “sharing”.

Does it sound reasonable for an individual, such as yourself, to be able to share the responsibility of money management and enjoy the benefit of joint ownership of the money supply that you currently support with your efforts?

What if everyone were issued a certain amount of credit at birth?

What if this amount can never be lost, but only accounted from a credit to a debt and back again?

The Basic Income is a similar idea.

What if you / we / human beings were actually the new currency?

This isn't a 'new' or novel idea, but an ancient idea being once again mentioned.

Some argue that today's fiat currency is supported by human beings, since this 'money' is not attached to a tangible commodity like gold coins of the past (the money being made of gold, thus having a value found in the gold and the coin), for example.

This makes one wonder if the people are the actual commodity the fiat money is attached to.

If this is so, then why not also have all human beings starting with an equitable economic value in terms of this material world?

I warrant the phrase 'material world' because human beings – all having a divine design while some having divine origins – are in my view beyond material valuation (priceless in another word).

What if each person born into the world starts off with a certain amount (a “fund”); let's say about $1 million (or an adequate amount that, if invested in a lifelong government bond or similar, would pay off a supporting income to a disabled person)?

This idea wouldn't make everyone a millionaire instantly just for the sake of enrichment, but would provide a coffer to draw / invest from over the course of their lives, according to their knowledge and ability, to grow this amount in support of themselves and their activities.

During an individuals formative years, the parents / guardians of that child may sign the fund into growth investments on behalf of the child, with the parents being restricted from utilizing the proceeds or principal for themselves.

When the child reaches maturity, they are now the signatories for their fund, and the fund can be withdrawn from or grown further.

The fund is issued as a credit and can be used, a portion at a time or more, according to the individual's abilities or immediate need.

In case of misfortune, the fund can be utilized as support in a time of need.

When an investment opportunity arises, the fund can be utilized to invest in that opportunity (venture capital, loan, etc.).

This fund would be a different model than the typical credit / debt money in circulation today.

The monies can never be lost but simply moved from the credit side to the debt side of the financial statement, for a time, until they are returned to their owner.

Since the money in the fund is actually owned by the individual and not by another entity (the Federal Reserve), the individual has ultimate management control over their monies, whether they are accounted as a credit or a debt on the ledger.

In other words; if an investment does not work out, the individual being the core creditor will eventually be made whole again after the debt is retired.

In an honest economy built on trust between individuals (the goal of any just society), the promise to pay will be realized until the last penny of a debt is paid back.

In the world of investing, money is never 'lost', but simply exchanges hands (usually from the loser to the winner).

With this idea, all people will win (or be eventually made whole) regardless of how an investment goes.

With this idea, the accounting of these monies are traced throughout their economic journey and will always find their way back to the originator, or the individual's fund from which they are derived.

With this idea, individuals can choose to lend their monies directly to others for the purchase of a home or something else...and at their discretion they can choose NOT to charge interest in a loan.

The wisest people will most likely invest their monies into income-producing assets; on the low end something like government guaranteed bonds, or something riskier yet more lucrative like like real property or business(es)... building forward from these.

One caveat would be that the fund can never be withdrawn for simple consumption, but can only be directed into something that pays a dividend or a return.

In other words: only income producing assets or items of retained or growing value.

Perhaps this idea is the wish that social security of last century had, but now being directed by both individuals and professionals in their respective fields.

The amount per person would be in addition to the value / money already accounted for in the real world; property values, merchandise, etc..

This money would be valued on par (1=1) with the current currency.

The only difference would be that this particular money is again actually owned, whether as a debt or credit, by its corresponding living being.

Once that individual passes into eternity, only their accumulated wealth (or tangible assets) would pass to whomever they have appointed as heirs.

The fund, however, would not transfer onto children, for the children already have their own fund to their name.

As food for thought, take a look at this annuity calculator.

Fill in 1,000,000 in the field “Starting Principal”.

Fill in 0 in the field “Annual Addition”.

Fill in 0 in the field “Monthly Addition”.

Fill in 1 in the field “Annual Interest Rate”.

Fill in 18 in the field “After”.

Click “Calculate” to find what a $1 million dollars pays at 1% interest over 18 years.

By reinvesting the yearly proceeds ($10,000 the first year and compounded thereafter), when a child turns 18, they would have an additional $196,147.48 to the original principal of $1,000,000.

The 1% is the interest rate the Federal Reserve decided to charge recently.

The rate can automatically adjust in the people's fund to compensate for inflation or unjust enrichment on the part of those who manage the heights of finance.

If the people are charged interest, why not grant the people an equitable mechanism to benefit from the charging of interest?

Imagine investing not for the charging of interest (for money lent), but investing in a business venture for a service / product people actually desire with returns much higher than 1%.

Imagine taking control of your finances, your fund and your future.

13 March 2017

Karate Chopped Michael

Hebrews 12: 5-11

I was learning karate in 2nd grade.

I do not recall the particular subgroup of martial art.

A karate instructor was teaching the art for free at the local Elk's Lodge where my dad was a member.

The sensei didn't believe in profiting from forwarding the art to others.

He had received his first degree black belt and I recall him sharing how he'd have to travel to Japan for the second degree.

As a thank you, my dad took him (and I) up for a flight in a Cessna for his birthday out of Compton Airport, where my dad had a hangar and was building his first RV-4.

He was grateful for the journey overlooking southern California.

The karate lessons didn't last more than a year.

My sensei received a job offer that had him move out of state.

One rule of his was that the art was never to be used in an offensive manner, but only in defense.

If he were to find out we were exploiting our training, we would be excommunicated and expelled.

So when I found myself one an early morning in the middle of an insult match with a fellow schoolmate, I failed to obey this very simple rule.

Michael was one of 40 students in my grade at the Catholic school (St. Matthias) I attended.

I don't recall being physically attacked by him, but when he mentioned my mother in a slanderous joke, that was enough to trigger me to violence towards him.

I wasn't afraid of Michael, and this was partly the motivation in responding as I did.

Some of the other boys in the class I was intimidated by, so even with my 'training' I wasn't confident with the thought of being in a fight with them.

The moves were swift, quick and about three in count...and Michael was on the floor.

Unbeknownst to me, Mr. Brunetti the 4th grade teacher witnessed my momentary rage.

Mr. Brunetti was a giant of man in the eyes of any 2nd grader.

He was a college athlete, having once played football.

Out of all the administrators and teachers at that grade school, Mr. Brunetti was (to me) the most authoritative.

Only the priest (Rowdy Gorman) and perhaps the principal (sister Mary Lucy) were scarier to me than him; the elderly nun due to her old age, position and religious dress and the priest due also to his dress and position.

I figured if I disrespected these individuals my eternal fate may be in jeopardy.

And by 'scarier' I mean I respected them possibly more than I did my own parents...maybe only my grandparents did I respect more.

So when Mr. Brunetti grabbed me with his index finger and thumb behind my neck (as was his custom with any rowdy and undisciplined child), I was afraid for my life.

My 2nd grade teacher was his wife, Mrs. Brunetti.

My perception of her was the complete opposite of her husband.

My experience with her was one of kindness and patience.

I recall her not giving me a failing grade for a workbook that happened to have been doused in pancake syrup.

I thought surely she would have to grade me for the missing work, but she was sympathetic to my distress from the ruination of that workbook, and I didn't receive a mark for the workbook's absence.

I had a large wooden chest full of toys in which I also would occasionally place some schoolwork items.

Not sure how syrup ended up being poured into my toy chest; perhaps a vengeful sibling or some freak accident, I don't fully recall.

The morning I hurt my classmate Michael with the art of hand-to-hand combat, I was tossed into the classroom of my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Brunetti by her husband Mr. Brunetti and his two fingers.

I'll never forget the confused look on her face, and the manner she rested her head on her hand with elbow planted on her desk while looking at me and the manner her husband handled me.

The verbal exchange between the two of them I don't remember, only the particular visual highlights from my frightful experience and me most likely crying in fear.

The thought of me sharing any of that day's events with my parents was out of the question.

I never did share it with them.

I feared for my dad's life if he were to confront Mr. Brunetti, thinking my dad was no physical match for Mr. Brunetti's six-foot stature and 350 pounds.

I also knew my dad had quite the arsenal at home and I couldn't have Mr. Brunetti's blood on my hands.

Unfortunately, I had a negative perception of Mr. Brunetti from the outset, most likely due to his authoritative demeanor, ominous voice and grand presence.

I know I was an undisciplined child that would do any and every thing to undermine any teacher's authority.

My misbehavior was why I was made to be an altar boy.

Church service was something I did take seriously.

My continued misbehavior was why the 6th grade teacher, a first-year nun, scheduled an appointment with myself, my parents and the priest.

And when the priest recommended military school to stamp out my waywardness and rebelliousness, it is no wonder I had a certain view of some individuals who desired to reign in my bad behavior.

I can only imagine the likes of Mr. Brunetti having to handle several dozen brats like me on a daily basis.

God bless Michael, Mr. and Mrs. Brunetti, Mr. Gorman, sister Mary Lucy and sister Mary Francis.