The upside of a short attention span

A child’s inability to focus long enough to put their shoes on or hang up their coat can be deeply frustrating for parents, but

this wandering attention is an important part of the learning process — one that helps them make sense of an uncertain environment,”

writes Rachel Fairbank in Lifehacker. In a recent study, a group of adults and a group of 4- and 5-year-olds played a computer game in which they had to distinguish between two types of creatures. Halfway through the game,

the feature that differentiated these two creatures changed without the participants being told that the rules changed,”

writes Fairbank. The adults, who focused on the game more intently, took longer than their preschool counterparts to catch onto the unannounced change.

“Having an attention span that wanders all over the place helps them notice all sorts of details”

that help children operate in an unfamiliar world. [Lifehacker]

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From a polio stricken lady about wheelchairs and freedom

Terry Austin received his first wheelchair as a gift from the United States nonprofit organisation March of Dimes that works to improve the health of mothers and babies.

Growing up, going to church every Sunday was one of those never-miss activities for her family. She loved church because that’s where her friends would be. Her father was always her pastor.  Her father was a large man. He fought with the Marines in World War II and was wounded in the battle of Iwo Jima. He was the strongest man she ever knew, and she had a healthy fear, whether he was around or not.

When she was so young that the doctors had no conscience memory in her adult brain, she saw so many. Her earliest memories were of Dr. Matchett, an orthopedic surgeon who was assigned the task of helping her regain what she had lost to polio. She says

I remember him because of his gruff bedside manner. His training included treating wounded soldiers on the European battlefield during the war. {Prescription for the Church}

She dreaded visits to Dr. Matchett because he scared her.

His grey hair was perfectly coifed into a one-inch flat top, and he barked out orders to his nurse as if he were still a Colonel in the Army. Every time he saw me, he would grab my crooked foot, twist it straight, and say to my mom,

“This is the way it should look, and when he’s old enough, I’m going to fix it.”

It was painful; I hated it. When I turned 17, he did what he promised and fixed both of my feet, and made it possible for me to wear normal shoes. Prescription for the Church

Several years later she recognises

As painful as it was visiting Dr. Matchett if it were not for him repairing my feet and other stuff he did with my spine, I wouldn’t be here today. He knew what was needed for me to live to old age. The gruff doctor had a special place in our family, and we learned that when he said something was needed, we should listen. Years later, when he died, my mother sent his obituary to me, and I’ll admit, I grieved. Prescription for the Church

It was a few days before she started first grade in the small town of Eads in southeastern Colorado that she received her first wheelchair. Up until that time, the only way she could move around was to crawl on the floor or have someone carry her. Even having a wheelchair, she did not experience complete mobility. Stairs were always a problem, and her polio-weakened arms didn’t allow her to get too far away or traverse difficult terrain.

She writes

Things improved some when I was eleven and began walking on crutches. I continued to use a wheelchair for school and other times that required walking long distances, but now freedom was greater. Whenever Sharon would drag me shopping, I often waited in the car, which could be a long wait. When we went to the mall, I would typically walk in and find a central location where I could watch other folks shopping. {How to Live Free}

For her freedom came in the form of an electric wheelchair.

For the first time in my life, I was free to go places without help, without stopping to rest, and without worrying about a fall. Freedom is great. I didn’t especially enjoy shopping, but I did enjoy following Sharon up and down the store aisles and wandering around the mall. Conference Centers and parks were now a part of my world. Freedom is a great thing. {How to Live Free}

Read more: > How to Live Free

In that article she directs our attention to what we call the “Ten Commandments” within the context of freedom. She agrees that it seems strange to associate freedom with what we have always understood are binding rules. She writes:

Every preacher, worth his weight in communion wafers, has preached a series of sermons on keeping God’s commandments with a heavy emphasis on obedience. Obeying them certainly brings blessings, but they are still rules.

But let’s rethink this for a moment. The Israelites had been enslaved people for ten generations. They knew how to live according to rules imposed on them by a master. The last thing that would have interested them was more rules.

Jesus specifically did not come to “abolish” what they considered the law. He was there to “fulfill” or complete it. In other words, to bring it to complete fulfillment. Listen to what He said. Free people don’t murder because they have no need to be angry. Free people don’t commit adultery because they’re free from the lust after another man’s wife. Free people have no need to lie because the truth is enough. Free people don’t need revenge because God has given them everything they need.

When we are free from stuff, we are free from greed, anger, covetousness, and all the other emotions that separate us from others. We like to tell people that God is all we need, yet we live as if we are enslaved to other stuff. It’s inconsistent to say God has set me free, but it really makes me angry when you disagree with me, or I’m jealous of what you have, etc. We find ourselves living like the Israelites after leaving Egypt, wishing for what we left behind. {How to Live Free}

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Climate justice & Rich people who do not want to share

2022 came to show once again what a huge gap there is between people who have next to nothing and people swimming in money. The latter have seen their wealth grow exceptionally this year as their energy shares soared.

This year, we could see how warfare brought a lot of damage to people and nature. Our earth also had a lot to endure because man did not do much to stop global warming.

Climate justice is about creating a better future for all of us. It’s about giving everyone the ability to live a life of dignity, joy and safety. This better world is possible, but only if we all fight for it.

We have to recognise that there is a very small percentage of extremely rich people whose interests side with and profit from our collective destruction. The fossil fuel execs, the billionaires, the Rishi Sunaks only make up an absolutely tiny percentage of the population. We cannot let them dictate whether we live or die. We cannot let them force millions of us in the UK and billions of us all over the world into struggle, multiple crises and instability just so they can continue to be outrageously rich as a result of the work being done by the many. We outnumber them.

We have to fight back and demand more. We have to support unions striking for better conditions for all of us.
The fight against the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis has to be connected. We have a whole world to win if we come together rather than letting those who don’t have our interests at heart divide us.


Enough is Enough is a campaign to fight the cost of living crisis.

We were founded by trade unions and community organisations determined to push back against the misery forced on millions by rising bills, low wages, food poverty, shoddy housing – and a society run only for a wealthy elite.

We can’t rely on the establishment to solve our problems. It’s up to us in every workplace and every community.

 

Green duotone photograph of General Secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) Mick Lynch. With the text: Mick Lynch says Enough is Enough! It's no good just being pissed off. You've got to say, I'm going to turn that into an organisation with a set of demands and a way to fight for them.

You can join the Enough Is Enough campaign here

You can find mutual aid groups to support here

A guide to finding a climate group here

A guide on why we need unions is here 

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Antrodia Camphorata

to remember:

  • Antrodia = genus of fungi in the family Fomitopsidaceae = effused-resupinate = lie stretched out on the growing surface > hymenium exposed on outer side + turned out at edges to form brackets.
  • Most species found in temperate & boreal forests > cause brown rot.
  • Antrodia includes some medicinal fungi >  Antrodia camphorata = highly valued medicinal mushroom in Taiwan (known as Niu-Chang), where it is commonly used as an anti-cancer, anti-itching, anti-allergy, anti-fatigue, and liver protective drug in Taiwanese Traditional medicine.
  • three distinct phylogenetic lineages with the Antrodia genus

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Preceding

Antrodia mushrooms a well kept secret

Antrodia Camphorata , harta karun dunia

Antrodia is a genus of fungi in the family Fomitopsidaceae. Antrodia species have fruiting bodies that typically lie flat or spread out on the growing surface, with the hymenium exposed to the outside; the edges may be turned so as to form narrow brackets. Most species are found in temperate and boreal forests, and cause brown rot. Some of the species in this genus are have medicinal properties, and have been used in Taiwan as a Traditional medicine.Contents [hide]
1 Description
2 Medicinal properties
3 Classification
4 Distribution
5 Species
6 References

Description

Antrodia are effused-resupinate, that is, they lie stretched out on the growing surface with the hymenium exposed on the outer side, but turned out at the edges to form brackets. When present, these brackets are typically white or pale brown. The pores on the surface of the hymenium may be round or angular. The context is white…

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Antrodia mushrooms a well kept secret

Polypores (Ganoderma sp.) growing on a tree in Borneo

In our previous posting we had it about different sorts of birches. Today this brings us to the birch polypore, birch bracket, or razor strop, and other fungi on birches. Polypores belong to a large order of pore fungi within the phylum Basidiomycota (kingdom Fungi) that form large fruiting bodies with pores or tubes on the underside. there are about 2,300 known species.

The inedible birch fungus Polyporus betulinus causes decay on birch trees in the northern United States and is a common bracket fungus and, as the name suggests, grows almost exclusively on birch trees. The brackets burst out from the bark of the tree, and these fruit bodies can last for more than a year.

By the genus Ganoderma several species, including the well-known reishi, or lingzhi, mushroom (G. lucidum), are commonly used in traditional Asian medicine and have received growing interest by researchers for use in the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

牛樟芝1.jpg

Antrodia cinnamomea, a fungus species described as new to science in 1995.

For hundreds of years, the Taiwanese have used antrodia mushrooms harvested from high-altitude Cinnamomum Kanehirai trees to treat a variety of ailments. Studies show that compounds in antrodia mushrooms fight biochemical radicals, boost energy levels, and even give powerful support to a multitude of biochemical processes that naturally take place across your entire body.

The flat, ruffled orange mushrooms grow far away on high-altitude Cinnamomum Kanehirai trees in Taiwan, where locals have treasured their incredible health-enhancing effects for hundreds of years. Antrodia cinnamomea has been found to produce anti-obesogenic, anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic effects in high-fat diet-fed mice.

The annual market is worth over $100 million (US) in Taiwan alone. 

 

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Dramatic winter displays

Subsequent message:

Antrodia Camphorata

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Dramatic winter displays

There is a magic-lantern show happening in your outdoor space right now, because the sun is sinking a little bit lower day by day. It is slanting through the garden, picking up intricate detail and deepening colour as it goes. From Asian and Himalayan birches to dogwoods and winter grasses, Val Bourne suggests options for a dramatic winter display.

Many trees shine at this time of year, but Asian and Himalayan birches stand out above all the others. Their pale bark has a silky sheen in winter light, especially if the trunks have had an autumnal wash and brush-up with tepid water. There are bumps and lumps, officially known as lenticels and pores, and these dots and dashes come to the fore in winter as their bark peels at the edges. It’s a natural version of morse code on papyrus, and birch trunks feel warm to the touch – the garden equivalent of a hot-water bottle.

The birch, (genus Betula), genus of about 40 species of short-lived ornamental and timber trees and shrubs of the family Betulaceae, distributed throughout cool regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

Gray birch (Betula populifolia), paper birch (B. papyrifera), river birch (B. nigra), sweet birch (B. lenta), yellow birch (B. alleghaniensis), and various species of white birch (notably B. pendula and B. pubescens) are the best known. {Encyc. Br.}

Birches are easily grown, although care must be taken to water these shallow-rooted trees in their first year or so. A can of water twice a week, during the growing season, is the way to go. They will also need staking when planted, until their roots get into the ground.

Read more: The best trees, shrubs and seedheads for a magical winter garden

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Lots of news demanding attention

The news has been absolutely frantic of late, and very demanding, with events in Iran, Ukraine, Brazil, the United States, Great Britain, Pakistan, and others. The day before yesterday I had a long talk with a brother from Kenya where they had not seen a drop of water for a year. From other places in the world we hear how there is too much water, killing so many animals and people. Now it is generalised that storms receive names, we encountered Eunice, Fiona, Kay, Merbok, Nanmadol, Noru and could hear about the disastrous damage tornados and typhoons caused. There is so much happening in the world we can’t hardly keep up with what’s going on in the world.

To add to it, we provide a daily update and bring you a view of our world on “Some View on the World“.
Do you already know that site? If not yet, don’t fail to visit this news overview website. It is even made easy for you to subscribe to it so that you can receive daily reports at your home in your e-mail box. Just subscribe.

If you think our work is important, you can help us by letting others know about our publications, too. Furthermore, you can also always indicate your appreciation of texts and mark them with the “Like” button.
But do you also know that all our work has a certain cost? To cover our costs, you can also help us move forward. Indeed, financial contributions are also always welcome. Deposits can be made to the Belgian bank account, for example BE37 9730 6618 2528, BIC ARSPBE 22

 

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That Tiny Eyes Girl

ishambhavirhyming.wordpress.blog

That tiny eyes girl
Shrinks it more and stretches lips fore,
When her huge heart blooms with happiness.
In solitude!
That tiny eyes girl
Shrinks it more and rolls down the pearl,
As the pursed pain unfurl.

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Ruins of Time 🪄

ishambhavirhyming.wordpress.blog

On Time Can One Trust?

Under the spell of wanderlust,
A traveller embarked, thereon commenced the quest… On time can one trust?

Swirled round the globe!
Glided through the howling gales,
Amidst melancholic silence and melodious wails.
Under the spell of wanderlust,
Probing, if on time one can trust.

Exhausted of the expedition landed at the New land,
There stood a mighty woman with a torch in her hand.
Her name “Mother of Exiles”,
They flaunt her as an icon of their virtuous profile.
This show has been going on since a long while.

She had promised to embrace the huddled masses longing to breath free and let them what they yearned to be.
The flame of the torch is imprisoned lighting yet gloomier than brightening.

They boast themselves as champions of liberty,
Maybe, they don’t know that ideals need to be cherished in the time’s race to infinity.

With…

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Culture War Christianity in American history

In this article, you might find our comments on our previously published articles about Culture War Christians

What Are The Culture Wars?

A History Of The Culture Wars

A Theology of Culture War Christianity

Beyond the Culture Wars


 

What are the Culture Wars?

Think of “culture” as a way of life. It is the sum total of all values, beliefs, and practices making up a communal existence. When God commissions newly formed humanity in Genesis 1 to “fill the earth and subdue it”, he sets men and women into the world with a cultural mandate. His plan was for a human society, united under his rule in the world, ruling with him over the Cosmos as his vice-regents. {What Are The Culture Wars?}

Karl Marx saw how main religion tried to lure people in the ban of the church by false doctrines. It is because the majority of people did not take the time to read the Bible that so many religious groups were able to get people following their false doctrines.

Regularly, people were so prayed for by those doctrines of those churches that they no longer faced the real thing because they preferred to float on those ideas of those churches. It had become so bad that Marx also realised that for many, religion was like an ‘opium for the people’. In lots of Christian and Islamic denominations, their church leaders managed to have their followers, following and worshipping a wrong god and not following the real Christ. since his time still not much has been changed, and there are still lots of false teachers and false prophets around. Marx was disturbed by the knowledge that he saw so many people around him falling for those false human teachings and giving their money away to those churches when there were so many people around them suffering. Marx also noted few dared to question, let alone challenge, church doctrines.

It also bothered several thinkers in the 19th century that the church made no attempt to defend the majority of their churchgoers or parishioners, and did not stand up against the exploitation of parishioners. For far too many centuries, the Roman Catholic Church itself had done everything possible to trot out money from the poorer population.

The German revolutionary, sociologist, historian, and economist, Karl Marx and his closest collaborator, the German socialist philosopher Friedrich Engels’ answer to the ills of society was according to some, just the opposite of the utopian dreamers’ answers. Mainly this, because the ideas of utopists (like Mr. Ampe) seem for many too far-fetched and unreachable. Though Marx and Engels found enough people who, like them, believed that one could change the way people lived and could come to a better world with less inequality. They, too, went for a better world.

Since World War I the world has evolved incredibly on all levels. Politically it was a time of trying out several political systems, getting more than once in a lot of problems and crises. The Western world clinched at the industrialisation and experienced mixed economies floating between all kinds of political thoughts. Even as the western world became less religious and the church got less of a grip on its citizens, the rich continued to control everything and did everything they could to maintain their power.

For

For him it is clear that Christ should be at the centre of Christianity. But he also expects something for those who call themselves Christian. He

When Jesus prayed,

“on earth as it is on heaven”

he was indicating his expectation and desire that the culture of Heaven becomes the culture of Earth by way of his Church. But does Culture War Christianity, the sort launched in the ’70s, contradict the nature of Jesus’ Kingdom?

So many people had looked forward to the 20th century, hoping that because of all the new inventions, brought forward by the Industrial Revolution, they would be able to create a world where everything would be much easier and giving them more time to relax. The century opened with great hope but also with some apprehension, for the new century marked the final approach to a new millennium. For many, humankind was entering upon an unprecedented era. The English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian H.G. Wells’s utopian studies, the aptly titled Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought (1901) and A Modern Utopia (1905), both captured and qualified this optimistic mood and gave expression to a common conviction that science and technology would transform the world in the century ahead.

Already before the seventies of the previous century there was something going wrong in the industrialised world. Even though many countries were allowed to offer independence back to their colonies, they continued to exploit people in their own countries. Even when churches wanted to present God in different ways over the years, people should know That God never changes. He will always be the same and keep to the same Plan He had already from the beginning of times.

The American pastor and current PhD candidate in Theological Ethics at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, Jared Stacy 
wants to call our attention to this basic theological ethic:

The work of God’s rule spreading throughout the world in individual lives and communities will never contradict who God is.

We would have loved that, but reality shows something totally different. For centuries, the main Christian churches have chosen another path than the disciples of Christ. The majority of people preferred to keep to their heathen traditions and festivals and the Catholic and several Protestant churches followed them and made Jesus Christ (the Messiah) their god. As such, we must say there is a lot of contradiction in what people say God is. For many, He is not the God of Christ, Who is the God of Israel, but is a god who is part of a three-headed godship, the Trinity.

It is not just that difference of who God is and who Christ is that has brought division in the world of believers. The diversity of religious groups has also brought both confusion and discord. Coming closer to the 21st-century tension or strife resulting from a lack of agreement came to bring even more separation between the true followers of the Nazarene Jewish masterteacher Jeshua  ben Joseph (Jesus Christ) and the name-Christians who worship Jesus as their god and do not shy away from also worshipping all kinds of people they call saints, this while the One True God desires full recognition and worship.

We have the impression that the blog writer who also writes for platforms like NPR, the BBC, Current, and For the Church, does not see (or does not know) the multiple camps in Christendom. He only mentions two of them. He writes

To speak generally, mischaracterizations come from two camps. Let’s call one group “conscientious objectors” and the other, “vocal advocates”.

Some accuse conscientious objectors to the Culture Wars of believing that Christianity should have no influence in the public square. They slander these conscientious objectors as faithless & godless, or misrepresent them as conspiratorially hypocritical, secretly harboring a progressive political agenda.

On the other end of the spectrum, some conscientious objectors accuse vocal advocates of conflating Christianity with cultural power. This often leads them to slander vocal advocates as compromising sell-outs, or mischaracterize their advocacy & well-connected influence as grounded in an inherently complicit conservative agenda. No doubt, I believe there are instances of legitimate criticisms from boths sides in Christian spaces. But polarity abounds.

For him the polarizing gap between vocal advocates and conscientious objectors reveals a vast “no man’s land” in American evangelicalism. This is why he believes his series has pastoral and personal implications for all of us.

Because either you or someone you know is wandering the no man’s land as a refugee from the Culture Wars.

Many American evangelicals are proud that they (so-called) keep to The 10 Commandments, though all of them already sin against the first commandment, not keeping to The Only One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah of hosts, the God above all gods.

David Hansen correctly says

“The majority of Americans will tell any pollster that they believe in the Ten Commandments. But only a small percentage of those people could even recite the Ten Commandment; and even a smaller percentage have any genuine interest in following them.” {The 10 Commandments in American Culture}

Lots of North Americans should seriously think about their religion and their faith. About that faith Stacy says there is a danger.

On a day of hope, we need a fresh reminder of the danger inherent in an embrace of Christian faith. {The Danger of Faith}

He points out the trap many Americans have fallen into.

It is American consumer Christianity that invites us to “make Jesus Lord of our lives”. This pitch makes Christ a commodity, leaving us—the consumer—with control. The resurrection and ascension is a coronation that happens apart from our consumer choice & control. {The Danger of Faith}

1909 painting The Worship of Mammon, the god of material wealth, by Evelyn De Morgan

The great part of the US population, as well as in other developed countries, is that believers have deviated from Biblical truth as well as become wedded to matter and thus actually honour the god Mammon. Several denominations in the United States make clever use of asking people for money all the time, pretending that they will then have a better life. It has also become so ingrained in people that one can only be successful if one has acquired a lot of money. Consequently, many do everything possible to be as rich as possible (on the material plane) while completely neglecting spiritual wealth. Many have forgotten that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.

Stacy writes

It is hard to deny today that for many, the supposed downfall of America is synonymous with the collapse of Christianity. Jesus confronts this idolatry with his Kingdom. {The Danger of Faith}

Lots of Americans are even not aware of how they participate in idolatry, which they prove by continually clinging to pagan festivals such as Candlemas, Easter, Halloween and Christmas, to name only the main ones, and to cling to money and material gain.

He reigns over a Kingdom that cannot be shaken through the rising and falling empires of this world. {The Danger of Faith}

And throughout history, many kingships or kingdoms and principalities as well as republics have risen and fallen. Never before has man succeeded in creating a nation or empire in which everyone was comfortable and where justice was done to everyone. Several Christians, in imitation of Christ, have tried to make people understand how best to live in unity with fellow human beings, plants and animals.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (Leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial) - NARA - 542010.tif

The 1963 March on Washington participants and leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, as mass protest movement against racial segregation and discrimination in the southern United States that came to national prominence during the mid-1950s.

When we look at the German culture struggle of the 1870’s (kulturkampf) it’s clear that the American Civil Rights movement was a “Culture War” too. King’s commitment to non-violence laid a distinct Christian foundation for the Civil Rights movement. But white evangelicals of the time either distanced themselves from King, or denounced the Civil Rights movement entirely, with calls to “just preach the gospel.”  {A History Of The Culture Wars}

writes Stacy.

But not many white Americans were really willing to go to preach what was really written in the gospel. They prefer just to take some phrases out of context to repeat them so that people come to believe them.

The forty odd years from this origin point until today witnessed the end of the Cold War and an insurrection at the US Capitol. Between these bookends, Culture War Christianity made itself known & felt in American society through movements. (See, Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Jesus and John Wayne; Stan Gall, Borderlines: Reflections on Sex, War, and the Church; Frances Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals; Tim Gloege, Guaranteed Pure; historical treatments on these movements) {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Stacy reminds his readers:

The arguments and relationships in the antebellum South were transported via Lost Cause theology 100 years into the future, seen in white evangelical responses to the Civil Rights Movement. But these leaders could not ignore the impact of King’s kulturkampf. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

He assures his readers that

Culture War Christianity started after the Civil Rights Movement, not before. It borrows the playbook of the CRM. Ironically, it thrives on a sort of “persecuted minority” mindset, borrowed from the Civil Rights movement, but not actually indicative of the communal experience in its main constituents: white evangelicals. A minority mindset is a prominent characteristic of God’s people in the Scriptures. However, this mindset is not characteristic of evangelical experience in the United States. Race relations and evangelical’s historic participation in the moral establishment offer two historical keys that present a necessary critique of modern Culture War Christianity. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

He believes it is impossible to understand the history behind Culture War Christianity apart from race relations in the United States. So, we begin where we left off, with this statement:

The Culture Wars began when white American evangelicals took the activist playbook from the very Civil Rights leaders they opposed, to advance a moral agenda they could support.

Some were overtly political, like the Moral Majority or Christian Coalition. Others would serve the notion of family values, yet retain political influence, like Focus on the Family or Promise Keepers. Local churches and expansive media (books, radio, television) formed the local grassroots communities made these movements possible.

While this all may seem quite familiar, especially if you inhabited spaces within white American Christianity during the last 40 years, a history of the Culture Wars would be best served by going back 2 centuries to look at the phrase “Culture War” itself. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

In his blog he then goes back to the 19th century, across the Atlantic Ocean where the Germans provide us with a glimpse into a framework upstream to both the Civil Rights Movement and “Culture War Christianity” at a time when a new world order was being born. In that era, he recognises the central position of the Catholic Church, facing new threats to its grasp on power.

From the political power of the nation- state to the intellectual frameworks of liberalism and Darwinism, the winds were shifting. In response, the Church produced a flurry of theological statements and denouncements meant to stem the tide of ideas that threatened its hold on the Old World Order. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

File:Portrait pius ix.jpg

Portrait of Pope Pius IX circa 1864

The Holy See under Pope Pius IX on 8 December 1864, brought an appendix to the Quanta cura encyclical, with a syllabus where the church wanted to have the people see that it was with the times and recognised 80 of the

“principal errors of our times.”

As the errors listed had already been condemned in allocutions, encyclicals, and other apostolic letters, the Syllabus said nothing new and so could not be contested. Its importance lay in the fact that it published to the world what had previously been preached in the main only to the bishops, and that it made general what had been previously specific denunciations concerned with particular events. Perhaps the most famous article, the 80th, stigmatising as an error the view that

“the Roman Pontiff can and should reconcile himself to and agree with progress, liberalism, and modern civilisation,”

sought its authority in the pope’s refusal, in Jamdudum Cernimus, to have any dealings with the new Italian kingdom. On both scores, the Syllabus undermined the liberal Catholics’ position, for it destroyed their following among intellectuals and placed their program out of court.

The Church denounced religious liberty, the nation-state, and other consequences stemming from the “threat of liberalism.” {A History Of The Culture Wars}

For some time there had been bumbling or difficulty in having a good relationship with the Catholic Church. More thinkers also came to speak out about the huge profits the Church was making on the backs of the faithful. Increasingly, there was also the idea of going back to the basics of Christ’s teachings where simplicity was preached and people were taught how to stand up for and care for each other. In the gospel, Jesus set a good example of how not only Christians should live, but actually every human being.

In the 1870’s, the German people, specifically within the Kingdom of Prussia, found themselves in conflict with the Catholic Church over their own Reformation roots and a rapidly secularizing order. This conflict had ramifications for both the Church and the separated German states. As a result of this conflict swirling around the German peoples, individual German States united along highly Protestant lines under Otto Von Bismark of Prussia. (See, Helmut Walser Smith, editor, The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History) This period of conflict and change was given a name: Kulturkampf, or “Culture Struggle”. This German kulturkampf shows us how struggles between competing visions for human existence are sparked by complex reactions between religion, politics, and power. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

It is the clash between people of the common people, as well as philosophers and political thinkers, with the church, that caused very animated conversations in several places in the German Empire about faith, church, and the way we as human beings should choose to arrive at a better world.

After World War II several American religious groups tried to have the power over the American people. They tried to convince them that they were the sole church which preached the truth. Some even went so far to tell the people they were chosen by God and that their church is the only one that can bring them in heaven. For those churches, it is certain that one can only be accepted by God if one follows their rules. Of course, such a saying is absurd, but a large majority of Americans follow that false statement. In the life of faith, it is also certain that no particular church by Jesus was ever designated as the only one to follow.

By studying German kulturkampf, we can begin to see the American Culture War’s false claim to exclusivity and authority by claiming itself to be the sole representative and defender of orthodox Christianity. When we realize this — that American Culture War Christianity is not the single defender of the faith —  it trains us to adopt a healthy critical filter every time a Christian leader describes the “very survival of Christianity at stake” as a smoke screen for unChristian agreements with power. On the other hand, conscientious objectors to Culture War Christianity would do well to consider how “culture struggle” might be a positive expression of Christian faith. There is space to consider positive “culture struggle”. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

King’s kulturkampf was rooted in Christian principles, and sought to dismantle the injustices of racial segregation, subjugation and discrimination within America. With the upcoming of the more conservative Christians, and/or conservative evangelicals, the position between coloured people worsened again and nationalism and (far) right-wing ideas came to the forefront in the States, the same way they did in the 1930s in Europe. Thus, from Europe, we could see the very dangerous development of right-wing rule and the glorification of such despots as Donald Trump, who is a danger to the world.

What would come to define and shape Culture War Christianity in 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s in the US is not at all what King and several serious preachers had in mind. The growing conservatism by the Americans brought forward people who are against equality and who find the white man is the pure race. Even Billy Graham came to criticise segregation but also denounced the non-violent demonstrations as contributing to further violence.

Others denounced calls for desegregation entirely. Back in 1960, Bob Jones Sr. took harder lines at Christians supporting an end to segregation by referring to them as “religious infidels”. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Several pastors of mega-churches, especially in white neighbourhoods, succeeded in shifting all the faults of the system onto the backs of the blacks and refugees who just’ came and invaded America’, without the government doing enough to stop them. One would think the religious leaders would have their moral reasoning to flow from a theological calculus, but it (for sure) did not come from Biblical teaching.

Stacy writes

Charles Ivory’s masterful Proslavery Christianity examines the white evangelical relationship with black evangelicals before the Civil War. He looks at how these interactions between white and black Christians, slave and free, actually came to shape the white evangelical theological defense of slavery. If we want to understand the Culture War Christianity of Falwell, and other white evangelicals, we need to examine their response to the Civil Rights Movement. I believe their response has its source in the theological calculus of white evangelicals in the antebellum South. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Ivory writes it was not uncommon for white and black evangelicals to worship within the same church. Indeed, the revival of the late 18th century did not discriminate on the basis of cultural background. But the theological conflict in evangelical churches pre-Civil War centered around conversion. Namely, does Christian conversion necessitate manumission? Today, Christians would argue chattel slavery is indefensible regardless of a slave’s conversion to Christianity. Humanity is not property. However, the historical context of the time made the question of conversion and manumission the frontline theological conflict regarding chattel slavery within evangelical churches. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

In West Europe the people had gone already through that process, knowing that slavery was something one could not accept in a civilised society. On this, several speakers came to draw attention to a system to bring more equality among all people. The road to socialism and communism was thus promoted by several enthusiasts.

Culture War Christianity has long since ossified into the de facto expression of faith for many white American evangelicals.

But those white American Christians have come to love themselves more than someone else and consider themselves as the only ones worthy to govern America. They do not have an eye at all for the indigenous people, because they consider themselves as the rightful founders and owners of America.

For 200 years, white evangelicalism has been an insider. No where has the minority mindset been more pervasive in our modern conception of Culture War Christianity than rhetoric. Phrases like “drain the swamp”, “make America great again”, and “take back America for God” in evangelical politics go right next to “that’s too political” and “just preach the gospel” in evangelical churches. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

We can wonder from who those evangelicals have to take back ‘their country’! Those evangelicals seem not to have any idea what the ‘founders’ of America had in mind and why they wanted religion and government separated.

While separation of church and state was federally enshrined in the Constitution, it did not play out in those strict terms in state and local governments. This changed in the early 20th century, when the Scopes trial, New Deal politics, and internal theological warring between fundamentalists and modernists left a vacuum in American society that evangelicalism used to fill in common culture. Neo-evangelicals like Billy Graham emerged in this vacuum. But for the long of American history, Christians have not only been influential, but privileged.

How can a privileged majority come to see itself as a minority? Culture War Christianity accomplishes this in part by dressing itself in the Biblical and theological concept of a remnant. A faithful few of God’s people who remain loyal to God and his ways in a foreign, godless land. But this theological adaptation does not line up with the historical participation of white evangelicals in the moral establishment of the United States. Yet, the drums of Culture War for white American Christians implied a greater enemy beyond its borders. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Though the big problem of those Tea Party and conservative or fundamentalist evangelicals is that they are not at all remaining “loyal to God and his ways in a foreign, godless land” they even have betrayed God and His son on several levels. They have created some three-headed god (or three-une being) and political leaders such as Trump as their gods, and consider their American flag as their religious symbol even a Christian symbol. For sure they can not belong to the faithful few of God’s people, because they do not believe in the Only One True God and because they do not act like People of God. They themselves are part of that ‘dark world’ the Bible is talking about. And now in those times that darkness and of gloominess can be seen everywhere, they also do everything to create division and spread hate, instead of spreading the love of Christ and his great message of a world full of peace. Those evangelicals with other name Christians have made it a sport to make fun of, blacken and curse true Christians. They do everything possible to get people away from those true worshippers of God. They also have some sort of paranoia and consider all people from abroad as dangerous suspects. They fear those coming from outside America would destroy their freedom.

Stacy remarks

the drums of Culture War for white American Christians implied a greater enemy beyond its borders. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

and also see what happened under the influence of certain political figures.

The Culture Wars of white American evangelicalism was not the reaction of the minority against the majority, but the majority against a imagined majority. It is hard to avoid this conclusion given overwhelming support for President Trump. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Stacy continues writing

In the place of Jesus’ active reign today, we find American Christians given to other reigning power structures: nationalism, racism, misogyny, and bigotry. They are discipled by political—not resurrection—power. This is partly the reason why Culture War Christians took greater issue with Kaepernick’s supposed desecration of the flag than they might with his concerns over police brutality against image bearers. They operate in a power structure other than the Kingdom of Jesus. {A Theology of Culture War Christianity}

Stacys wonders

What if Culture War Christianity long ago bowed the knee to a nationalist, secular conservatism? One with its law & order politics, reticence on issues of race, and idolatry of country? {Beyond the Culture Wars}

Ans says that he has argued this in his series.

Long before white evangelicals told MLK to “just preach the gospel”, there has always been a Christianity domesticated by, and deployed in defense of, the status quo in this country. Frederick Douglass called it before any of us. And in this sort of Christianity, “make disciples” has too often been code for “make people like us” not “make us like Jesus”. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

There lies one of the biggest problems in American Christendom. The majority of Americans does not take time enough to seriously study the Scriptures. For most of them the Bible also only means the New Testament. Lots of those evangelicals also do not understand what that sacrificial offering of Jesus, letting himself be nailed at the stake, means. For them it is very difficult to grasp how a man of flesh and blood could give himself as a lamb for whitewashing the sins of many.

Some of those white evangelicals living in the United States of America are convinced they are the only ones who can  Make America Great Again and build up the most correct state. They forget how so many people before them have tried already to construct an ideal state. They should know it shall only happen under Jesus Christ that we shall be able to live in a perfect world.

Let us also not forget Niebuhr’s saying,

“any good worth doing takes more than one lifetime.”

According to Jared Stacy

This should give us pause before we entertain pragmatism to bring about change in our lifetime. It was Jesus who said,

“what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul?”

This should give us pause as we count the cost of pragmatism to reveal the Kingdom of God. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

He ends his article series by saying

After all, the cross is not a symbol of cultural superiority for white America, but of surrender and sacrifice in the Kingdom of God. We must measure our motivations by the Cross, and our methods. Take it from me. A millennial. The generation who was born in and shaped by the ‘Jesus & John Wayne evangelicalism” in its prime. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

And recognises the problem

Culture War Christianity allows you to have a Christian worldview and reject the Cross.   {Beyond the Culture Wars}

By which he hopefully means: rejecting the ransom offering of that Jewish Nazarene master teacher, Jeshua ben Josef, or Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

It substitutes other, more pragmatic means to really get things done. But in the Kingdom of Jesus the only strategy available for implementing a Christian worldview is the Cross.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

We have to do away with the false teaching in Christendom and have to go back to the Biblical teachings and keep to them, adhering to Biblical Truth and not human doctrine.

We should recognise the danger of that growing conservative evangelism.

For all it’s posturing about the morality of America, Culture War Christianity has stopped its ear to calls for ethnic & economic justice. Has tied its hands in response to sexual scandal and abuse in its ranks. Yet expresses incredulity when the world fails to take its sexual ethic seriously. Culture War Christianity can only provide more entrenchment, more combat, and more pragmatism. But crucified Christianity is growing the world over, and—as it has always done— turning the world upside down.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

Writing from Scotland, the author of the mentioned articles, wants to suggest a simple but humble invitation to venture into the wilderness as an act of faithfulness. For him,

the wilderness meant stepping out of the American pastorate, and out of America. This was my move made in faith. An attempt to combat the rise of cynicism in my own spirit, channeling it into meaningful, faithful action.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

From Moses, to Elijah, to Christ. Perhaps the wilderness is the place for those disenchanted and disillusioned, those disowned and disinherited from Culture War Christianity, to begin to see the Cross not as a symbol storming the US Capitol, but again as a place where our power grabs go to die. And where there is death to our ability to bring about change, God brings resurrection that changes everything.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

The Austrian philosopher and Roman Catholic priest known for his radical polemics arguing that the benefits of many modern technologies and social arrangements were illusory and that, still further, such developments undermined humans’ self-sufficiency, freedom, and dignity, Ivan Illich illumines what it is to be in the world, but not of it — just like Jesus.

Jared Stacy offers his words as a simple reflection in the conclusion to his series:

It is astonishing what the devil says: I have all power, it has been given to me, and I am the one to hand it on — submit, and it is yours. Jesus of course does not submit…Not for a moment, however, does Jesus contradict the devil. He does not question that the devil holds all power, nor that this power has been given to him, nor that he, the devil, gives it to whom he pleases. This is a point which is easily overlooked. By his silence Jesus recognizes power that is established as “devil” and defines Himself as The Powerless. He who cannot accept this view on power cannot look at establishments through the spectacle of the Gospel. This is what clergy and churches often have difficulty doing. They are so strongly motivated by the image of church as a “helping institution” that they are constantly motivated to hold power, share in it or, at least, influence it.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

++

Please also do find to read

  1. Utopism has not ended
  2. Looking at an Utopism which has not ended
  3. My faith and hope
  4. Utopian dreams
  5. Are Christianity and Capitalism Compatible?
  6. The Upbringing of Ideas and the Extrapolation of Capitalism
  7. A famous individual by the name of Jesus of Nazareth
  8. 19th and 20th Century Shifts in bourgeoisie
  9. All that is solid still melts into air.
  10. Intellectual servility a curse of mankind
  11. The New Imperialist Structure
  12. Is Christianity a Greedy Religion?
  13. Should church members question preachers about the doctrine that is not in the Holy Bible?
  14. A History Of The Culture Wars
  15. Unhappy people in empty churches
  16. Gradual decline by American Christians
  17. Christians are increasingly mixing and matching their faith in unexpected ways
  18. Being Christian in Western Europe at the beginning of the 21st century #1
  19. The decline of religion in the US continues unabated
  20. Liberation, salvation and the Latin American voice entering the Vatican
  21. Eyes on pages and messages on social media
  22. Troubles testing your faith and giving you patience and good prospects
  23. The Most Appropriate teacher and Scoffers in our contemporary age
  24. Social media for Trumpists and changing nature of warfare
  25. Blinded crying blue murder having being made afraid by a bugaboo
  26. False teachers and false prophets still around
  27. The Field is the World #4 Many who leave the church
  28. Unhappy people in empty churches (Our World)
  29. Hardships for choosing to follow the real Christ
  30. Church indeed critical in faith development
  31. Crises of Real, Imaginary, and Symbolic Money
  32. International Proletariat
  33. The killing of capitalism
  34. The Principles of Communism – Friedrich Engels
  35. Ability
  36. Ability (part 2)
  37. Ability (part 3) Thoughts around Ability
  38. Ability (part 4) Thought about the ability to have ability
  39. Ability (part 5) Thought about the abilities to be under God’s Spirit
  40. To whom do we want to be enslaved
  41. Compromise and accomodation
  42. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  43. Not saying Jeshua is God
  44. The 17th annual White Privilege Conference a militantly Christophobic conference held in Philadelphia
  45. Faith, storms and actions to be taken
  46. Christ’s ethical teaching
  47. Obeying God rather than man & A Time to Act
  48. Entering 2022 still Aiming for a society without exploitation or oppression
  49. News that’s fit to print
  50. Beyond the Culture Wars
  51. January 6: A Failed Apocalypse
  52. Hope For, But Not In, Evangelicalism
  53. Presbyterians and Reformed Christians, membership and active involvement is part of a congregation’s DNA
  54. The Guardian’s view on the world 1st week of June

+++

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Cutting costs by discounted produce

As inflation in Great Britain reached 11.1pc in October, with food prices soaring even further – fuelled in particular by a significant rise in the cost of dairy products such as cheese and milk, as well as pasta, eggs and oils supermarket Tesco found it appropriate to have their customers looking at their reduced prices goods in a different way.

The third-largest retailer in the world measured by gross revenues and the ninth-largest in the world measured by revenues, the British multinational Tesco, headquartered in Welwyn Garden City, England, renamed the “Reduced to Clear” section of their supermarkets to make it more appealing to customers, as a growing number of shoppers look to discounted produce to cut costs.

Tesco

The new permanent signage will be installed in 100 stores by Christmas Credit: Tesco/PA

The look of the chain’s “Reduced to Clear” areas were found to have put buyers off the same as we can find it here in Belgium when chains mark their goods with “Reduced in price due to out of range” or “Nearly out of date”.

When the supermarket indicates that a product has expired, hardly anyone wants such a product. But if a product is close to its expiry date, this does not mean that the product (with its shelf life) is bad then or even in the first few days after. The bottom line is that we should be much more careful with our food and not just throw it away when the so-called safety date has passed.

As we have seen the prices of gas, electricity, petrol, petroleum and food skyrocket in our parts in recent months, consumers have resolved to get their supplies as cheaply as possible.

Of those who tend to look out for marked down products when out grocery shopping, a lot of customers look for reduced prices. In Britain 71pc said it’s a cheaper option when they want to eat the food straight away, whereas 51pc seek out discounted foodstuffs to stock up the freezer.

Tesco’s rebranded “Reduced in Price” section aims to accommodate customers by offering cheaper alternatives. It will

“offer reassurance that these products are just as nice”

as the non-discounted ones, the retailer has said.

Tesco offers fresh produce such as salads, meat, bread and sweet treats which are close to their expiry date at a discount to get them off the shelves – which the company says also helps to reduce food waste.

Shoppers can also pick up marked-down end-of-season produce or discontinued grocery items.

Meat products were the most popular items in the “Reduced to Clear” section, followed by ready meals, vegetables and then desserts.

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Concerns about puberty blockers

It seems that the prescribing of puberty blockers to kids nearly always sets them on the path to cross-sex hormones and surgery. In the US, they can be given to those as young as eight or nine.

These drugs have been described as reversible (although the NHS is not so sure), lifesaving and as giving children a pause to work out who they are. They are part of the “trans affirmative” healthcare demanded by activists and to question this is to be deemed transphobic. The more children who identify as trans, the more these drugs that block the production of oestrogen or testosterone are given out.

In the UK, there have been worries about brain development, and after Dr Hilary Cass’s review, the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock – which had seen a huge uptick in the number of girls being prescribed blockers – was shut down. She said that instead of buying teenage girls time to make a decision, “puberty-blockers may disrupt that decision making process”.

After years of demonising ‘terfs’, the New York Times, a bastion of liberal thought, finally accepts that more research is needed on puberty blockers.

Read more about it: Even the New York Times is waking up to the truth about trans

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Planting in a border to get a stunning showcase next year

Autumn is a time to reflect on the garden to remind ourselves of the successful ideas of the past year, as well as those areas in which we need to take a different tack. Although tulip bulbs have been in garden centres for a number of weeks, November is an optimum time to plant as the weather is colder, which deters the disease of tulip fire.

If you have suffered with tulip fire in the past, then would suggest that you avoid planting tulips in that area for a few years and grow your tulips in pots. After a few years, the fungus will die off due to a lack of a host, and then you can start tentatively to introduce tulip bulbs to your borders again.

Tulips are sun worshippers, so for the best results plant your bulbs in a sunny position, whether that’s in a border or container. Tulips detest a damp, waterlogged soil, so those of us with free-draining soil tend to be more successful at growing them in borders. If your soil is heavier and prone to winter waterlogging, then try growing them in containers where the soil can be controlled, as can the watering regime.

Read more top tips for planting in your border, getting the key to a stunning showcase next year, and follow these top tips and how to make your own tulip tiramisu.

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Impossible not to dream

Poetry from John Looker

From time to time, I have been posting a poem from my book The Human Hive. This one is taken from Part 5, ‘States of Mind’:

DANCER

She turns and takes a final look at the room:
the mirrors across the wall, the well-sprung floor.
If you ignore the lights, it’s like a womb
where music finds embodiment in dance.
Re-living the last half-hour, she shuts the door. 

What did they think of that?

This was the feared audition, the longed-for chance.
Those weeks, let’s say the years, of preparation
had worked their alchemy: as though entranced
her mind and the music fused, her body became
line and shape, gesture, and lightness of motion. 

Surely they will recognise, at last,
my true potential?           

She feels so alive! She wants, she needs, this same
exhilaration daily in her life,
to burst out from the chrysalis…

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Where The Lost Things Are

Poetry from John Looker

.
Where The Lost Things Are

.
At the back of the west wind,
where the evening sun wakens a bird-rich isle:
that’s where the lost things are.

Where the hummingbird
quivers at a trumpet dripping with nectar
and clouds of scent rise over a turquoise sea,
that’s where they are, the things that can’t be found.

The golden sovereign that slipped between
the boards in the Tudor Hall; the Hall itself lost at cards
in Venice on the long Grand Tour;
they’re here; this is the spot.

Even the daughter, forswearing carriages and
pianoforte, who was carried away in steam and smoke
for love; and the son gone surfing in foreign lands;
they too are here. They all come here.

And therefore you.
You’ve raced across the foot-burning sand
to float like a starfish in the clear lagoon,
your tequila-on-ice waiting you back in the shade.

If only mine…

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A cloudy morning

George Shetuni

A sagging sky,
It’s so ugly, it’s beautiful.

I was happy once
Ah, to be young and in love…

A dreary wet morning,
Tea alone on a lounge chair

A thunderstorm last night
An open window, a thunderstrike

So loud, so near, so terrible!
That it’s beautiful

The windows left open
Rainwater gushes in.

Ah, to be young and in love…
O what beautiful dark days of youth.

I was happy once,
I was sad at once

This? What is this?
A sagging sky, so dark, so ugly,

That it’s beautiful?
This is nothing!

Lonely. I must write!
The End

Nje Mengjes me Re (Albanian)

Një qiell i varur,
Është aq i shëmtuar, sa është i bukur.

Një herë isha i lumtur
Ah, të jesh i ri dhe ne dashuri

Një mëngjes i zymtë i lagësht,
Pi caj jashte, i vetëm në një karrike të varur

Një stuhi mbrëmë
Një…

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The fall of love

George Shetuni

I want to travel back in time
to the best time of my life
I want to travel back in time
to the time I was young and in love

winds clearing branches of their leaves
The yellow, the red, the brown leaves
Temperatures falling,
A sign that fall again is here

it has come around again,
Just as it did when I was young and naive
It caught me by surprise and off my guard
And before I knew it, I fell hard

Fall would be the season I would fall in love
It was a regular, ordinary day like any other
Made the most significant day of my entire life
I remember the time, the place, the earth-shattering revelation

I could tell you the time, the place, the girl
But then again, why?
It was so long ago, why should I even care?
It may as well be…

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I Have

George Shetuni

I have once lived.

I have once loved.

I have once felt.

But that was a long time ago…

But what a time it was!

I have once lived.

I have once loved.

I have once felt.

But that was when I was young…

But what an age it was!

I have once lived.

I have once loved.

I have once felt.

But that was not to be…

But what a dream it was.

I have lived once.

I have loved once.

I have felt once.

I have…

And that makes me happy.

this poem was excerpted from my book Poems for a Good Occasion

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Voorbij dit aardse leven!

Foto & tekst credit: “Return To Eden” op Facebook

“Je *moet* je ogen ver *buiten de aarde verheffen
en erkennen waarheen je pad na dit aardse leven leidt,
zodat je je tegelijkertijd bewust wordt waarom
en met welk doel je hier op aarde bent!”- De Graalsboodschap “In het Licht der Waarheid” http://grailmessage.com/en/about/

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Vertaling van Beyond this earth life!

Voorgaande

Het doel van dit glorieuze leven…

Alles op aarde heeft een doel…

Dromen en doelen met Focus op groei

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Beyond this earth life!

Preceding

The purpose of this glorious life…

Dutch translation / Nederlandse vertaling:

Voorbij dit aardse leven!

Purplerays

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Photo & text credit: “Return To Eden” on Facebook

“You *must* lift your eyes far *beyond the* earth and recognise where your path leads after this earthly life, so that at the same time you may become aware of why and for what purpose you are here on earth!”
– The Grail Message “In the Light of Truth” http://grailmessage.com/en/about/

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