One Minute for Peace…..

If Only we in the U.S. spent even a minuscule amount of  what we spend for our wars to promote peace…

I want to direct you to a website promoting peace instead of war.  OneMinuteForPeace.org from the American Friends Service Committee. As the site states in the previous year the United States has spent over $1 trillion of military spending. That comes out to almost $2,000,000 every minute! It is sad to say but we spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined and many many times more to fund our wars than we do to promote peace.

The graph above from their website shows the total U.S. discretionary spending. It is shameful that our war machine takes up so much of our spending.

The AFSC is part of the Quaker faith tradition and is world famous for their peace initiatives. In fact they have received a past Nobel Peace prize for their activity. They go throughout the world helping those who are destitute and/or ravaged by wars. They are trying to raise the amount of just one minute’s U.S. military budget for those initiatives. Please consider giving them some of your resources. It is too bad that small organizations like the AFSC must do the bulk of the peacemaking work when so much is spent of war and destruction.

I find it amazing that many in government say we are spending our grandchildren into poverty while at the same time putting the biggest budget item in the “no cuts” category. It saddens me more to know that so many people who call themselves Christian seem to celebrate that fact. If only we in the U.S. had even a small fraction of our passion for peace that we seem to have for war we could indeed call ourselves our brother’s keeper.

And the journey goes on….

The Bi-weekly Haircut…..

I just got a haircut recently and a memory came back to me from my childhood. In order to get it back where it belongs on the far fringes of my memory I have to post it here. I don’t have nearly as much hair as I did back then and I get it cut much less frequently now. But it was a tradition for several years that I always got my “Hollywood Burr” hair cut every two weeks. It was a neighborhood tradition for several years.

The man living just behind us named Mr. Harmon was a barber in the army so he knew a thing or two about cutting hair. The first thing was to cut it quick and the second was to cut it short! I guess in order to supplement his income, although I don’t know what he did for his main job, he opened his garage every Saturday morning and all the neighborhood kids would line up for their 35 cent haircut. I think he managed to buzz through about twelve kids an hour. Mr. Harmon always told the parents “if it is not short enough bring them back and I will make it shorter at no expense.”  I know Mr. Harmon had two boys himself and it seemed their hair never grew by more than an eighth of an inch before they were in the chair. It is strange that I don’t really remember much about his boys but I remember him with his hair trimmers in hand every Saturday.


Above is a picture from those days. I don’t seem to have any pictures of Mr. Harmon or his kids but I did find this one of me and my brothers and a friend a couple of doors down named Denny Cannon. I’m not sure what we were celebrating but it looks like we were having a pretty good time. That’s me the third one from the left. Notice my freshly cut hair; the photo must have been taken on a Saturday 🙂 Notice the brick wallpaper in the background; that was quite the thing in those days. Ok I think I have penned enough here to safely put this memory back where it belongs.

And the journey goes on…..

Washington DC

We took a trip to Washington DC and the surrounding area in 1988. Let’s do a series of pictures from that trip. This picture is of me recreating my high school picture of 1965 except without my classmates and twenty three years older.

I Believe…

  • I believe that Jesus should be a model for living rather than an object of worship.
  • I believe that  affirming our potential is more important than condemning our brokenness.
  • I believe that reconciliation should be valued over judgment.
  • I believe that  inviting questions should be valued more than supplying pat answers.

My High School Years…..

 

This is my first post about my high school years. Since I want to make this a series I will only give you a small slice of those years here. I went to high school in the small town of Monrovia Indiana. I started there in the eighth grade in 1960. Before Monrovia I went to a Catholic school in Indianapolis. I can still remember the culture shock I faced those first days of school! I quickly realized that these were not nuns who were teaching me now.

First of all the school I was starting in was built in 1893. The steps and many of the corners of the hall way walls showed the signs of the thousands of kids who had preceded me into the building. There were simply no sharp corners left in the building. Everything had been rubbed smooth by the previous generations. I learned later that you just couldn’t sneak around between classes as you eventually stepped on a floor board that would make a load creak.

My first and probably the most dramatic episode involving culture shock occurred as the student hall monitor was taking me to my first class. We were walking down the first floor hall. Since it was during class hours we were the only ones in the hall. That is until I heard a door slam open and a student desk come flying out into the hall. That would have been traumatic enough but there was a student in the chair at the time! It seemed that Mr. Schuler, the local farmer/history teacher just could not tolerate anyone sleeping during his class. If you did you were quickly shown the door with your desk and all!

In the years that followed Mr. Schuler proved to be one of my favorite teachers. I certainly learned to appreciate history under his tutelage and have been regularly reading books on it since those years. But he just could not tolerate people who slept while he was trying to teach them. Once I adjusted to the new culture level of a rural public high school I had many memorable moments in the creakity old building. A few years after I graduated they built a new high school and the old building, my alma mater, became a place to store hay. That is before they finally tore it down. Go Bulldogs!!!

And the journey goes on….

Wisconsin Dells

The Wisconsin Dells is a very interesting place. The rock formations are awesome.  We visited there in 1987. As usual I have put in a picture of my “dearly beloved”.

Born Deaf vs Late Deafened…

I think of my deafness as an affliction that I must daily try to overcome in order to go about my business in the hearing world. That is not the case with some, perhaps most, who are born deaf. They claim they celebrate their deafness to the degree that they deem giving any child who is deaf a cochlear implant is child abuse! A cochlear implant is a device that is surgically inserted into a deaf person’s hearing system to allow many of them to hear.

The deaf who strongly identify with their deafness are know as the Deaf Culture with a capital “D”. As I said above they celebrate the deafness and do not wish to join the hearing world. In large population areas they, like many minorities, tend to associated primarily with others like themselves. Where possible they shop at deaf retailers, get their haircut from deaf barbers, etc. There are some who are late deafened who choose to join the Deaf culture but they are by far the minority of that culture. In fact many who are born deaf hold an animosity towards those of us who went deaf after being fully associated with the hearing world. One of the reasons for this is that we use English Sign Language instead of ASL. They say we are polluting their language by putting it in an English word order. Don’t get me wrong; those who have an animosity toward other deaf people are an extreme minority of the population much like the 9/11 terrorists are an extreme minority of the Muslim population. (I am definitely not saying the Deaf culture folks are terrorist so please don’t go there.)

In my experiences many in the Deaf Culture crowd see their population constantly dwindling each and every year due to cochlear implants and other medical advances. They seem to see the writing on the wall that soon, probably within a couple more generations, they will be a much smaller group than they are today. This greatly threatens their way of life. In that regard I can understand their feelings and have a degree of compassion for them. But life must go on and in the hearing world.

And the journey goes on….

If Only We Had Taken Jesus’ Words Seriously

When Jesus was on this earth he told us numerous times to be one as he and the father were one. If only we had listened and taken his words and life’s lessons seriously.

I read recently that the very popular Christian author Ann Rice is giving up on all current Christian denominations. In the interview she stated that she is not giving up on Christ, just the present day organizations that espouse to follow him. She also said that there is just too much of a tie between Christians and worldly kingdoms; particularly those in the U.S. I personally went through much the same search that she has. I have searched and searched for a group of Christians who can separate their political beliefs from the Christian principles. Far too many entangle them together to the severe detriment of both.

As mentioned before I spent four years studying scores of denominational theologians to try and discover if any of them strictly followed the actual words of Jesus as recorded in the Bible. To my dismay I found almost the opposite to be true. Some prominent religious authors from today’s largest Christian denominations believe that every word in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments were the direct words of God and therefore are literally true and without a single error. They go on to say that none of the words in the Bible more important than any other. When I talk about the words of Jesus I frequently get the same mantra, “all the words are the words of Jesus”. But in studying the words of Jesus, he himself  showed us that that is just not the case. He frequently used the comment “You have heard it said (meaning it is in the Jewish bible) but I say to you”. In other words Jesus was saying the their current bible was wrong and he was about to set them right.  He had his harshest words for the religious establishment of his time. I think he might have similar words about much of the religious establishment today. I’m sure he is truly saddened that we Christians have divided into over 35,000 separate groups/denominations since his time. I take the Bible seriously, at least the New Testament part, and I believe those who meld the words of Jesus with all the others do more damage to his teachings than they realize. The words directly attributed to our creator must take precedence over even the most fervent followers that came after him.

If only we were one as Jesus told us to be. This saddens me greatly.

And the journey goes on…..

Learning Responsibility…


I grew up in a small town in Indiana and spent my summers putting hay in farmer’s barns at ninety cents and hour. But it wasn’t until my college years that I started learning real lessons in responsibility. Dad had tried to teach me about responsibility but like most teenagers then and now I didn’t really want to know that much about it. I started my first year in college with almost enough money to get me through the first semester. Where the second semester and beyond money would come from I had no idea.

Dad was a milkman at the time and simply didn’t have any extra to give me. I had tried the scholarship and student loan route but since my mother’s then husband made so much money I officially did not qualify for a loan. It didn’t matter that Mom had abandoned us years before and just didn’t seem to be in the mood to help me out with any of my college expenses. So, for the first month or so of college I was looking around as to where I might be able to get a job to pay my college bills. A guy down the hall in my dorm worked in the dormitory cafeteria and suggested I try there. I was a very shy kid back then so it took me another week to get up the courage to go in and apply for a job as a waiter. To my surprise they actually thought I could do the job and they were willing to pay me $1.10 per hour to do it!

This was probably the first time in my life that I felt responsible for myself. Before that Dad always took care of things. It is true that I had to earn my spending money from a young age but I always knew that Dad was in control of the safety net that provided me with a home and food. At the time I really didn’t understand just how tenuous that safety net was and how many time it was almost broken. But that is another story.

By taking this job I was indirectly acknowledging that I was now responsible for my own circumstances. In order to make enough for my expenses I ended up working about forty hours per week in the kitchen and then various full time jobs in the summer. Forty hours proved to make it almost impossible to carry a full academic load so I ended up taking five instead of four years to graduate. But I did make it to that fateful day of being the first one in our family to graduate from college. Those years at college were some of the toughest times but they were also some of the most enjoyable. I didn’t have much time or money for socializing and I missed out on all the political unrest of the 60’s college campus but I did learn my lesson of responsibility that would stick with me for the rest of my life.

And the journey goes on…