Monday, 27 July 2020

Hutterite, eh?

Hutterite, eh?
I went to the market in Blairmore. First, I wore a mask. I could see that no other people wear a mask, but the guy who sells birdhouses had one on a birdhouse that looks like an old man. A few teenage girls made eye contact with me and one smiled like she felt sorry for me. I took the mask off. We have no cases, right?
The “market” is such a community event here, and I like to take part. I always buy something, mostly things that I don’t need. When I came the full circle of venders I saw tacked away out of the shopper’s traffic the familiar Hutterite stand. They are not strangers, they have been coming here for years. I often bought from them and always enjoyed the experience. Their stock is good and they treat us with respect. Now they looked shunned. Stories are circulating about them being responsible for spreading the dreaded COVID since many colonies participated in a funeral for three teenaged girls who drowned in a boating incident.
I see flashbacks of all the young people partying without exercising social distancing. I see parks full of people and beaches with thousands acting as if we have nothing to worry about, and airlines reopening without social distancing, but the Hutterites are taking the brunt. Well, it will take some pressure away from the Chinese who are being blamed by the US president. Around me now there are some seniors wearing masks and I put mine back on. Social pressure has a way with people.
Hutterite people originated in the Tyrol, a mountainous area in Austria. My grandparents on my father’s side were from there. Occasionally, some people said that I look like a Hutterite. I put myself in their shoes. They are as Canadian as you can be, but now in this mess of people who aren’t careful about spreading the pandemic, they are being singled out for discrimination. I feel bad. They don’t watch TV and may not be aware of the news.
I just heard a story from Claresholm of a Hutterite being chased out of a drugstore trying to get his medication. In my drugstore, in Blairmore, hardly anyone is wearing a mask. Well, you can tell who is Hutterite by their clothes. They don’t wear $200 jeans with built-in holes in them. The bread they sell is homemade, the produce is not produced by abused foreigners and their woman sew the modest clothes that they wear.
At the beginning of Alberta, the government made a great effort to settle the West. Religious groups like the Mennonites, Hutterites, and Mormons were invited to come in. They were mostly simple, honest, hard-working people, and their community-oriented social system greatly increased their rate of success. The Anabaptist groups, of Germanic origins, were ideal settlers and didn’t make much effort to evangelize others. By economically acting like corporations, they increased their value and contributed. They were also self-sufficient.
In the nineteen fifties to the seventies, we witnessed resentment building against the Hutterites in Alberta. Land was no longer free or cheap and industrial farming was decimating the small family farms. Who is easier to blame but the pacifist communes who weathered the storm better than most? I found headlines in the Lethbridge and Calgary newspapers condemning Hutterites.
The prime reason the Anabaptists were chased out of Europe and later harassed in America, including Canada, is the fact that they will not join the Army or fight. They keep their old german language since they preach old historical sermons in the original tongue. This is true for many religions. Catholics used to say mass in Latin even when I was young. Right or wrong, they are not trying to be unpatriotic, only to be true Christians.
I visited some Colonies and was impressed by the simplicity, and sparsity displayed in the way of life. Here are people who refuse to compete to be better than others and wish to show care for all the community. They take care of each other from cradle to the grave, I can’t help thinking, we could be much better off if we believed as they do that all humans matter.
I know some people around who have Hutterite neighbours. They always talk about the Hutterite being helpful and efficient, hard-working, and simple. I did some research and often when there are floods, fires, and other natural disasters the Hutterites show up in force to help.
In my studies, I learned that the difference between Canada and the US is our ways of treating minorities. We even have a safety mechanism built into our political system to make sure that there is no tyranny of the minority groups by the majority. America is the melting pot and Canada is the mosaic. Our strength, which is so obvious on the international stage, is our ability to benefit from our differences. Every now and then it is threatened by some, but the Canadian advantage prevails. There are always more of us who remember why we are Canadians, and we are proud of it.
Our “reality” is built around an invented system called Capitalism, which propels us towards overproduction and environmental abuse. The basic Christian communities and more primitive cultures are leaning towards less affluence and more community-oriented systems. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and both treat a pandemic less seriously than what they should.
For years we have been championing “safety” and “saving lives” as the most important virtues. Now when it is costing money or making us change our ways, we are faltering and looking for scapegoats.
I think we should take a deep breath, evaluate our real motives and beliefs, and wash our hands for twenty seconds or more.
Here is a link to my blog:  Feel free to check other articles and comment.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Do I surrender my freedom by wearing a mask?

Do I surrender my freedom by wearing a mask?
I grew up in the middle east, but I never saw a veiled woman. It was in Calgary in the late nineties that in a major mall I came across a well-dressed lady wearing a veil. I looked at her in wonder and she met my gaze defiantly with beautifully made-up eyes. I couldn’t help but think she must be beautiful. Why is she hiding it?
After ten years in power, the Stephen Harper government declared before elections that they would block any woman wearing a veil from citizenship in Canada for “security reasons.” The Liberals chose the opposite way and won the elections. In Quebec, the fight was raging about religious symbols.
Now I find myself obligated to wear a mask in public. The governments of all stripes are making a strong effort to convince the population to wear masks because of the Corona Virus threat to people’s health and life. Here it became a sign of caring about each other. We are reminded often that you wear a mask to protect others, just in case that you may carry the virus. Some countries, like Viet Nam, where people wore masks religiously and followed doctors’ orders, are returning to normal. I silently think, Vietnam 2, USA 0.
The United States is our biggest trading partner. Wearing masks became a statement for them, not a safety issue. Over there the government politicized mask-wearing and they can’t dig graves fast enough to bury their dead. I remember when we acted that way. In the late Eighties, Albertans were divided about seatbelt legislation. I still remember people angrily declaring on TV that their personal freedoms were being trampled and they would never wear seatbelts.
Common sense is not the same for all people. Change is always resisted, and it is very hard to determine if a change is warranted or not. Often I witnessed people making changes simply to prove that they have the power to do so.
There have been a few cases of people murdering employees who told them to wear a mask. South of the border if you belong to one political party you deny that there is a deadly pandemic and if you belong to the other you wear a mask. Politicizing important social problems is very dangerous, and costly.
That brings me to my greatest worry. There is a problem with how we manage the world economy. Humans have the means to feed and house all the world’s population, to provide basic education and reasonable health care to all. We don’t have the ability to make everyone rich, or even hand all people full-time year-round jobs. However, if we consider how people lived throughout most of history, we are all rich in the developed modern nations.
There are various ways to handle the problem. We can do what we are doing and force people to work towards an ever-growing economy. We use more materials, energy and human effort towards a race to the top that only a few may win. It will come to an end.
The other option is to use what we already have and know, towards making this a better world for all people. If all the people reach literacy, including girls, the population levels will stabilize. Most people would like it, but seeing others much better off will tempt them to do better. (Lead us not into temptation. From the Lord’s prayer.)
I have a degree in history and I learned about revolutions, fights for independence, and the way ideas spread often leading to violence and the destruction of great civilizations. I can see clearly that we have politicized our opposing ideas of economics and so far managed an uncomfortable balance or a temporary truce. Both fundamental ideas we are following, Liberal and Conservative, are faulty. We need a new one.
I live in the woods slightly higher than Blairmore. This year there are a lot of mosquitoes. I do what I can to be protected from the blood-sucking insects and venture out. When the conditions favour them, I barely manage to do my work and they come in large numbers and chase me indoors. I think to myself, that if we don’t resolve our social problems, we will be overrun by the huge number of people who are not sharing in the Earth’s bounty.
There are seven and a half billion people now. We can describe only less than half a billion as well off. We saw that the West using combined forces could not win a war against the poor worn down country of Afghanistan, or any other poor country including Vietnam. Never mind winning against a reb+ellion of our own poor citizens within. Our option is to act now and reduce the significant gap between the haves and the have nots. We also must show the young people clearly that we will not destroy the world they must live in. In addition to it we must prove to the aging population that they/we will not be discarded to save a failing economic system. The time is now, and the place is here.
The Bible shows that when people disobey God, he sometimes destroys them to teach a lesson. I believe in God and I assume that I am witnessing warning signs. Call me superstitious if you want. I see floods, fires, wars, plagues, social unrest, and a comet. Instead of goodwill, I see digging in and attempts to force people not to complain about injustice. It scares me.
There is a new fashion developing selling masks. People are fighting about which historical figures should be honoured and which should not. Politicians are called to task for influencing who will make money on public projects. The country is using its vast resources to save its people. I see nothing wrong. Great sorrow for the victims, but joy for some long overdue changes. God is constantly creating and we his creatures are evolving.
Here is a link to my blog:  Feel free to check other articles and comment.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Discrimination, the hardest thing to beat.

Discrimination, the hardest thing to beat.
Who is not against discrimination? I can imagine all who read my words here saying, I hate discrimination. But…..and here comes a list of reasons why discriminating against others is justified. Often it is the people from the group suffering from discrimination who speak most loudly against their own kind. We tie discrimination to people’s status and those who achieved a better status put down the rest who didn’t. I think in the bible there is a saying about the worst slave master is one who used to be a slave. I heard some of the best jokes about colored people, gay people, and women from gays, blacks, and girls. I repeated the stories. I am as guilty as any.
When I was young, I was a Christian kid in Israel and most people were survivors of the holocaust. Naturally, there was discrimination against Christians and my adolescent mind rebelled against being a Christian. When the teachers spoke about the cruelty of Christians, I hated it.
I arrived in high school about two months after the school year began, since we just moved. I came to the classroom, and the teacher introduced me and said pick an empty seat. There were three to choose from. One was beside a boy my age who by his features was obviously a Palestinian. I thought quickly that he looked most like Christ would and sat beside him. Later I learned that he was a Christian Arab. The other kids didn’t think I made a good choice.
Christ was not a white person, and Mary and Joseph were brown as well. Now some people are talking about removing statues and paintings that are not historically correct. Those who cry that we can’t destroy or remove our history only wish to preserve historical images of white heroes but not show the historical truth. They don’t like to worship a brown Jesus.
The popular outcry is that by acknowledging discrimination against darker hue people we are creating reverse discrimination against whites. Sad for them that also includes the females of the white society. If we look closer, we see that discrimination includes much of the white population. Gays, people of lower IQ, people with mental illness, some religious affiliations, and most of the poor, all suffer from discrimination. It is in the schools, at work, in the courts and even in some families. We find ways to make others inferior to us and keep them that way.
A white friend said to me, I am not responsible for my people benefiting from discrimination 200 years ago. You are right, my friend. I am innocent of Christians discriminating against Jews in Europe also. So why were the Israeli kids not sitting next to a Christian Palestinian in school?
We are preconditioned to fight for higher status from kindergarten on. That is our motivation for working harder and achieving a better life. We cannot do it without someone else being in some way lower than ourselves. It is very obvious in kids of High School age. You can just observe them wearing expansive popular fashions. We make a show of those who run or swim faster or get higher grades. Everyone wants to be a high achiever and many make a living by teaching courses or writing books about getting ahead of other people. 
It is great to be singled out for winning but those who lose, often born disadvantaged, are sharing our world. There are always many who are kept down by systemic discrimination. However, the world is waking up to it. I see more white than black people demonstrating wanting justice for black people. The world of tomorrow is going to be different.
First, there is growing momentum for saving the Earth. Young people are educated enough to understand that we are settling them with a huge deficiency. It is not the national debt of each country owed to banks; it is a carbon and pollution debt. They are demanding air, water and food for themselves and their kids.
Second is our focal point, which must change from animal to human. In nature, the strongest and largest dominates and eats the others. We were blessed with a higher level of knowledge. By having language, humans are able to communicate complicated ideas and act as a society not based on the strongest individual. Some of our most valuable thinkers are humans who couldn’t survive without the help of others.
Third, we are aware of the existence of an internal force we have named a soul or consciousness. A large majority of humans in the past and present sensed the soul and placed it higher than the physical animal body. It is the observer of the material world who is capable of love, hate, and so on.
The world is facing a new enemy. It forced us to fear for our lives and destroy the system we call our economy. It proved that we can live without everyone having jobs and forced us to function with money playing a new role. We are keeping ourselves alive and ignoring who will make money or not. It is working. The goal is to keep humans alive, not to get to the top by killing our humanity in the process.
I can’t believe what I am seeing. People are getting to know their families. Pollution is down, wildlife is rebounding. Politicians (aside from some,) are concerned with the wellbeing of kids and the elderly. People are demonstrating care for others by wearing masks. People relearned how to bake bread and visit places in their own countries. It is a new world we are waking up to.
I never thought that in this lifetime I will see the day when in front of the white house and the richest neighborhood of the world the street will display “Black Lives Matter” signs. There are many sides to history but the fight is ours.
Here is a link to my blog:  Feel free to check other articles and comment.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Big and little bullies.

Big and little bullies.
The year was 1958, and the world was changing as it always does. My parents moved from the farm to a new town and I discovered bullies. I was a skinny tiny kid with a heart condition, (no running and jumping) with a name that singled me out as a minority. By the end of the first day of school, the two worst bullies in the class were already competing for the title of who will harass the new kid worst.
One day both were on me twisting and punching when a young soldier on leave from the army scattered them and lifted me up. We sat down under a tree and he gave me some advice. Those guys will not leave you alone, he said. But my mother said not to pay attention and tell the teacher, I sputtered. Does it work? My big new friend asked, and I shook my head from side to side. It doesn’t he said. They pick on you because it’s easy.
Bullies, my friend went on, will pick on you and other little kids until they are made to pay a price. But, I have a heart condition, I mumbled, and he reached over pinching the skin on my belly hurting me and said with a cold, stern voice, they must pay a price. I am small, I answered, how can I hurt them back? He answered. God will help you will find a way. There are many.
The young man stood up, and I noticed the confidence and power in him. Thank you, I started saying, and he cut me off. Don’t thank me, he said, only make a promise. When you get rid of the bullies, you will help others do the same, as I am doing here. We, the little guys, must help each other, and he was gone. My life was changed forever.
The year now is 2020. I lived my life trying not to abuse or bully others, and I always stood up to bullies and made them pay a price. To change someone’s behavior, you must first communicate in a language that they can understand. Bullies only understand hurting. After that, you can be a Christian and forgive, help, and forget. It works with humans and even with animals.
I watched a Canadian TV show interview John Bolton, the now fired national security advisor to Donald Trump. The interviewer asked what should we do about China’s retaliation for Canada arresting Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of the U.S.
Bolton replied in a way that reminded me of the Godfather who said, make them an offer that they can’t refuse. He bragged about what the US is doing for Canada, including “protecting us.” The US made us renegotiate NAFTA to give them a better deal at the expense of our people. They slapped tariffs on our products and tried to force us to spend more money on USA made weapons. What is he saying?
Looking at his eyes squint above his famous mustache, I realized. The bully is hinting that if we don’t pay for protection, (against whom?) something will happen to us. Perhaps Trump and Putin may divide Canada between themselves or even just take away the “northwest passage” which in the future could make us a lot of money. Bolton did say to think about our next step hard and long. He doesn’t remember that Canada went to war ahead of the US after Pearl Harbor.
I look at the world today and count my blessings that I am not the Prime Minister. All three major world bullies are sitting on us, each wanting us to take their side or they will hurt us. There is no-one bigger who can step in. I go back to the advice I received as a child. “God will help you find a way.”
The major powers are all being hit hard by a pandemic and their haste to save their economies set them back significantly. All have serious internal rifts with their own compromised populations.
The soldier who saved me from the bullies in fifty-eight said that the little guys must help each other and stick together. I don’t have a crystal ball, but the picture is becoming clear. It is one possibility out of many, but it can happen.
The US, European Union, China, and India who are made of many nations are all erecting borders within. The Soviet Union and the British Empire are gone. We should fear great wars flaming up, but something else is happening.
People all over the world are restlessly demonstrating against governments. I read their signs and a new reality is emerging in my mind. They are fighting now for equality amongst humans, for a cleaner environment, for freedom from oppression imposed by the old ruling elites. There is even sympathy in Canada for the native population demanding decision power over the lands we permitted them to keep.
Surely there are many who wish to keep the advantages they gained by force, but the less powerful are waking up and gaining momentum. Scores of white people are supporting “Black Lives Matter” and churchgoers are speaking for gay rights. Old religious institutions are struggling with women clergy filtering in and young people are fighting for the welfare of handicapped old people to live with dignity and receive care.
As the symbols of old-world oppression are being toppled, there is a feeling of “resurrection” in the air. People armed with new technologies, disillusioned with the consumerism fake rewards and the short-lived pleasure of vacations, are demanding a stop to the culture of bullying. There is a yearning for a solid wholesome simple life instead of a “chance” of being like the Trump family.
“But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.”   Micah 4:4
Here is a link to my blog:  Feel free to check other articles and comment.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

What is happening to us?

What is happening to us?
Humans are unique. We can see things through dark or rosy glasses, but we must maintain a balance. If you go “all-out” either way you lose credibility. I  see the slogan “No justice, No peace” and it scares me. A historian knows the price of revolutions and wars. There is a peaceful solution available to those who listen, not just talk. It makes Heaven available on Earth.
I go outside and look around. There are flowers in the forest, purple, yellow, white, and pink. The birds are chirping and a squirrel is running up a tree. I see a doe with two spotted fawns and another laying down on my lawn observing my wife trimming bushes. On the edge of the hill, a fox is trotting busily, going somewhere. Above is the forest crowned by mountains. I can hear a train disappearing in the distance and when it has gone, the rushing water of the river.
What I see and hear is most beautiful, but it is only a tiny part of reality. I am living in a country that most people envy. The world itself is improving as I look. People live longer than ever; poverty is being reduced and hunger is no longer rampant as it used to be. There are no major wars and technology connected us all together. I am alive to see this paradise thanks to medical advancements. Am I grateful? I say yes with all my might. The overall picture is better than I could ever even imagine in my youth.
I remember listening to a preacher some years ago. He was describing Heaven, but he didn’t have it right. His paradise couldn’t be reached in this life, but here it is. The only difference is that his was perfect with no possible improvements and ours here always leaves us with something to strive for. I think it’s good.
I blink and look again. My perfect world is threatened by a deadly virus. People are suffering and many are dying. Fear is paralyzing the economy while politicians strongly influence events to solidify or gain power. I see people around me destroying nature for profit or simply to change God’s creation to satisfy some personal needs or wants. Some people can’t leave anything alone.
Generations before me fought against slavery and genocide, while my generation battled to eradicate inequality. I observe a perfect world, but it looks as if we must fight a lot more or return to slavery and servitude. In the preacher’s Heaven, it is not so. Heaven is perfect and poses no challenge. Is that what I want?
I seek a place where people like me, born without privileges and perhaps marked by racial disadvantage could be happy and not feel inferior. Why is it not happening I ask? The word on the airwaves is “systemic discrimination.” It is most obvious when based on skin color but spreads to most people. What is it? In my mind, it is a system that favors some people ahead of others without being obvious, so people accept it. I am looking for an easy example.
I could use the example of the US breaking a peace treaty with Iran and forcing Canada to treat the Chinese as criminals for doing business there, but it’s too complicated. Let me use an example from here.
When I first saw Blairmore in 1995, it was a thriving little town. Mountain sheep and deer were wandering around, tourists were walking the streets and most downtown stores had little businesses. There was also a little indoor mall and two local newspapers. What we didn’t have were corporate franchises. Look at the town now.
We have two quaint little coffee shops owned by locals employing locals. They suffered greatly from the Corona related shut down and may survive if we support them. In comes an opportunity to help them. The Alberta government purchased too many disposable masks, out of our money, and decided to distribute some free back to us. A noble gesture, if you ask me. However, the government could have helped our private little coffee shops by letting them distribute the “free” masks and give them some free advertisement, but instead, they chose to support the Tim Horton’s chain. They forced us to wait in drive-through line ups. Most people who waited bought their daily coffee in the outlet they waited in line for.
This is just one minor example of how the powerful who are rich already receive benefits from our taxes while the hard-working family-owned businesses make do with the crumbs. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of our elected members who made the choice own  places that distributed “free masks.”
I have conflicting emotions about the News these days. The pandemic is a horrible thing that has killed some of my friends and is a great threat to me and those I love dearly. At the same time, it did some good. It showed us truths that were hidden. We can feed ourselves and keep the country going while producing much less pollution. We discovered that the primary engine of our economy are the low wage essential workers, not the great money traders and investors.
It has exposed the abuse of our seniors in care homes for what it is. Austerity measures against the most helpless often by those proclaiming to be the best Christians. Society realized the actual value of educators and childcare workers. We found out that our food is produced by foreign workers who can’t be replaced by our citizens who will not endure the low pay and poor living conditions.
Systemic discrimination is affecting most of us and must be dealt with, not by more policing but by balancing social powers. I only hope that it can be done peacefully. I wish for heaven on Earth made by our choices, not by a miracle or by force.
Here is a link to my blog:  Feel free to check other articles and comment.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Stars above or below.

Stars above or below.
Most of the people in my social circle pride themselves on how many places in the world they visited. There is a competition to tell where you have been and where you are planning to go next. My daughter talks about holidays versus “airplane holidays.” I understand. Society shapes us from an early age and we don’t realize that we do what is expected of us, often to line the bank accounts of others with money that we borrow. Lately, we found out how much of our economy is fed by tourism.
I have another way to enjoy my time on Earth, which doesn’t cost money. I enjoy looking at the stars. Those shiny specks above me that are visible at night fascinate me. We call famous people in entertainment and sports stars, but they are far from it. Often I will look at the stars above Turtle Mountain and move my gaze to see more. There is always more.
Most of those shiny pinpoints of light are far in a hostile universe. An unprotected human can’t survive away from Earth. Seven are planets, many are stars like our sun and many more are galaxies made up of billions of stars but visible as one speck of light. Recently we the humans figured out that material which we call matter can’t accelerate faster than the speed of light. Building spaceships and rockets will not take us to the stars. Also, if we managed to go, time would work differently. By the time we would return, the world we knew would be forever changed.
I look above me and think, most of the visible universe is no longer the way I see it. It takes light so many years to travel to my eye and what I see has changed by the time I see it. If I could travel faster than light, much faster, I would not find the stars I am looking at in the same place. Are there other planets like earth somewhere out there? Possibly, but there is only one planet that can sustain the kind of life that we know exists. It is Earth and we believe (mostly) that it was created by a deity we named God.  
I couldn’t find any records of ancient humans who didn’t believe in God. The modern-day atheists talk about Karma referring to what we used to call God. We have a great wealth of prehistorical and historical records of very advanced civilizations on our planet. The Babylonians and Sumerians seem to be our ancestors and they recorded some beings called Anunakies. Those are depicted in ancient art as having wings, and our Christian angels have wings. Our most holy people are recorded ascending to the heavens above. Of course, we could say that they went down depending on which side of the earth was up. People built the tower of Babylon to get closer to heaven. It is always people trying to get higher up, to be closer to God.
Why do people who are supposed to be made in the “image” of God wish to go “up” and be like God? He, or some say she, is almighty and eternal. We are told that He creates things out of nothing. All of us would like to have those qualities without considering that we would all be God like and we are not smart enough to deal with that kind of power. In the meantime, we just work to get higher and higher like a moth flying into a flame.
The most sophisticated existing thing that we ever observed is the human brain. We know relatively very little about our brains, but we are trying to increase its natural power by using Artificial Intelligence. We know that we are consciousness and there is a power greater than what we understand that we call subconsciousness. It operates our bodies and possibly the universe. If it evolved or was created it is superior to the part of our brains, we know how to use.
Biblical stories often refer to dreams. In dreams, humans interacted with God. Primitive people were using natural substances to heighten their natural abilities and even travel out of the body. As we gained scientific knowledge, we neglected the study and even killed those who specialized in the arcane before they could pass on their knowledge. The modern “science-religion” won over the old science of Shamanism spiritualism and magic, now considered primitive. An age of consumerism triumphed. We lost important supernatural know-how in favor of owning lots of manufactured “things” and airplane trips. Was it a good trade-off?
I think that the God part that is in us permits us to create and to travel to and beyond the stars. What we need to do is shift our great potential power to another channel and work in the right direction. There is no need to own a lot of useless material things at the expense of poor people who make them. We don’t need to always be in another place than where we are either. It consumes our resources and destroys our only world.
Instead, we have the option of working towards improving the lives of all who are around us, providing what they need to simply live an enjoyable life. It will bring down the ever-increasing population numbers.
There is an option to study the human God power inside us and the mysterious consciousness which never dies. It can change as we see in dreams and hypnosis or under anesthetics, but it is spiritual, not material. The soul which is the real us can travel to the stars and we can be more conscious of it than we are if we try.
My soul, which I  call “me” is able to grow me a body, travel, and according to my religious faith, be with God. I don’t need to be dead for it to happen, but I need more effort to discover its mysteries.
Here is a link to my blog:  Feel free to check other articles and comment.

Monday, 15 June 2020

Social Rebirth.

Social Rebirth.
I feel privileged to be able to communicate with my chosen community in the Alberta Rockies once a week. I am blessed to have a limited space of half a page in a local newspaper and I hear comments from readers all the time. I don’t mind doing the work, it’s a pleasure, but I have a hard time choosing the most relevant topic.
My favorite subject has always been something philosophical or spiritual, but events hijack my focus. Politics and economics are so important yet often ignored. The state of our world, be it peace or war or environmental justice must be dealt with or there will be an end to God’s creation as we know it. It may happen in the lifetime of my precious grandchildren. COVID attacks people, the economy is in ruins and politicians are demanding air time in the name of Democracy.
My fingers holding the pen above the paper, or something like that, and I am ready to write about “towers and the holy spirit.” I have been preparing for that. NO! The hand of God waves back and forth, ordering me to change the subject. I am an obedient guy, so I switch my computer screen to news and see what the Lord may want.
The world is up in arms about a well-publicized killing of a US citizen in the hands of police. The video is horrific. It shows a very tall, muscular African American submitting to police in every way, killed slowly. No mistake here. This is police brutality. Soon there are more videos surfacing and other cases are brought into focus.
In the last few years, I watched a constant increase in civil unrest. People seem to have reached a point in which they say enough is enough. Personally, I interpret the impatience as discontent with the way things are, based largely on the obvious and ever-increasing inequalities in society. I could be wrong.
The day after President Trump’s inauguration, we witnessed the largest women’s protest ever. The Black Lives Matter has been steadily growing. A “Me Too” movement sprung up when some very influential people were named for abusing girls and there is economy based unrest. People all over the world, especially in the US, are protesting measures designed to prevent or influence voting rights and the appointment of judges is being questioned.
Here in our province, we saw a great reaction to the way the government treats education and health professionals. In Ontario, the Premier reversed course and now people are talking about the New Doug Ford and the Old Doug Ford as if they are two different people. It is obvious that people no longer believe that the regular methods of advancing social change are working for their needs.
George Floyd’s funeral was televised everywhere. Many thousands of people in other parts of the world, including Canada and America, were protesting his killing, often facing police violence themselves. Some used the opportunity to create additional mayhem by burning and looting. George’s niece, a pretty girl who looks sixteen gave an emotional speech about the gentle giant who cried for his mother as they choked his life out of him. She said in a husky teen girl voice full of tears, “no justice, no peace.” The huge cathedral was full of silent Americans. They all looked human to me and I was thinking, their lives matter, as any human life.
Later a golden casket was carried by a horse-drawn carriage through the streets of Houston lined with people. I found myself thinking, here is a man who died for $20.00. Will the billionaire now in the White House have as many people at his funeral? I remembered the words I heard on June 5th, 1970, from Apollo 13th. “Houston, we have a problem.”
“When the US catches a Cold, Canada sneezes.” It looks as if people in both countries are ready to explode. I remember the sixties and the seventies very clearly. We had what became known as the Middle Class. Then something changed. No one event riled people up, only slow change. Here we had the usual switching over between Liberals and Conservatives every few years and so did the US, but life changed. 
One day my kids were grown and starting families and I noticed a significant difference. In the seventies, working folks could afford an education, keeping up with inflation, and even saved towards retirement. Some of us even managed to work a four-day workweek and most had delightful holidays. Slowly but surely the working class lost ground while earth-shattering profits of Corporations rose. Some people tried to protest, so they equipped the police with riot gear and ordered to fight the poor. We are a land of law and order, said those who purchased lawmaker’s positions. The laws favored the powerful, not us, in the name of “jobs.” 
People were ready to rebel as soon as they would find a just cause and now they do. What could be more just than systemic discrimination, first towards minorities but also against an entire class of people? Some educated people are predicting another vast setback for the working class after the COVID crisis. Together we who work make a majority and now can all see it.
I feel sorry for the righteous people who have the job to police this mess. They are being hit from all sides. The left fights them, the far-right fight them, and they are often punished for following orders. In New York, a whole lot of officers resigned already.
The way we do policing will change now by public demand. What we need is to bring those brave men and women back into the fold. They are like us, the lost middle class. We should all be working together to fix a system that no longer serves us. I urge people in my community to step over towards any of our police officers, even if he/she gave you a ticket, and say: thank you for what you do.
Here is a link to my blog:  Feel free to check other articles and comment.

Hutterite, eh?

Hutterite, eh? I went to the market in Blairmore. First, I wore a mask. I could see that no other people wear a mask, but the guy who se...