God’s plans give us hope and a future

Jeremiah 29:11-13
New International Version
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Read at Bible Gateway
Read all of Jeremiah 29

We are the World! Happy New Year!

Praying for blessings to all of you around the world. May we all come together to find what is best in each of us. Love surely is better than hate. Working together, standing together, loving together will make the difference. If you are upset about something, find your voice. Go on Twitter, Facebook, start a Website, care and share positive ideas and progressive thinking instead of crying in a corner. We can all light the place where we stand and that light will shine enough to change things.

Be blessed with much love, joy, and happiness!

Sharon & Erick

We are the world!

There comes a time when we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And its time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on pretending day by day
That someone, somehow will soon make a change
We are all a part of Gods great big family
And the truth, you know,
Love is all we need

We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So lets start giving

Losing my religion for equality

Although this article was published in 2015, when I discovered it today, I thought it important to share. ~ Sharon Rule

Jimmy Carter
Published: April 27, 2015 – 11:12AM

Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.

I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.

In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.

The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.

It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices – as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.

I understand, however, why many political leaders can be reluctant about stepping into this minefield. Religion, and tradition, are powerful and sensitive areas to challenge. But my fellow Elders and I, who come from many faiths and backgrounds, no longer need to worry about winning votes or avoiding controversy – and we are deeply committed to challenging injustice wherever we see it.

The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: “The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable.”

We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasise the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world’s major faiths share.

The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place – and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence – than eternal truths. Similar biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.

I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.

Jimmy Carter was president of the United States from 1977 to 1981

May 4 2015

Want equality for all? Then spurn organised religion.

This story was found at: The Age

Christmas

So happy to be sharing this amazing day with all of you. Hoping you are having a wonderful, blessed, full-of-love day. If any of you are alone today, we reach out to you to let you know you are never alone because we love you and are with you in spirit. Remembering those who are no longer with us and feeling the loss of their presence. Sharon and Erick

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Why I love Christmas

When Christ was born, so was our hope! This is why I love Christmas. The event invites us to believe the wildest of promises! He did away with every barrier, fence, sin, bent, debt, and grave. Anything that might keep us from him was demolished.

He only awaits our word to walk through the door. Invite him in. Escort him to the seat of honor, and pull out his chair. Clear the table; clear the calendar. Call the kids and neighbors. Christmas is here. Christ is here. One request from you, and God will do again what he did then. He’ll scatter the night with everlasting light. He’ll be born in you.

Let “Silent Night” be sung! Every heart can be a manger. Every day can be a Christmas.  The Christmas miracle—a yearlong celebration! ~Max Lucado

The Heart of the Human Problem

The sinful nature is the stubborn, self-centered attitude that says, “My way or the highway.” The sinful nature is all about self: pleasing self, promoting self, preserving self. I have a sin nature! So do you. Under the right circumstances you will do the wrong thing. You’ll try not to, but you will. You have a sin nature. You were born with it. The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart!

Christmas commemorates the day and the way God saved us from ourselves. The angel speaking to Mary in Matthew 1:21 says, “. . .you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Each of us entered the world with a sin nature. God entered the world to take it away!

~ Max Lucado

In Memoriam – Victims in the Oakland Fire

My note: Because we live in the area, I think this nightmare has affected us more than maybe some of you. Nonetheless, I am sure as you read this memoriam, and look at these beautiful faces, you will be unable to not feel it personally.

These victims were going to, or teaching in, schools in the Oakland Area, as I understand it. One of the victims was a student of Professor Chris Johnson at California College of the Arts. (My daughter graduated from CCA, and Professor Johnson has had a major influence in her life, and ours.)

Tragedy occurs when one least expects it. I imagine these victims were either living in this warehouse, or attending the party. I can envision them…artists, musicians, students, and educators–immersed in their life’s dream, creativity running rampant, determined to pass on the gifts they had been given by sharing their unique ability to see the world just a little differently than most.

Our hearts are aching for the losses their families and friends are feeling. Our prayers are covering all of them.

Let us remember these people–their names, their faces. We will keep them in our hearts forever.

 

Oakland Fire Victims

  • askew
    CASH ASKEW
  • emb
    EM B
  • bernbaum
    JONATHAN BERNBAUM
  • barrettclark
    BARRETT CLARK
  • cline
    DAVID CLINE
  • danemayer
    MICAH DANEMAYER
  • dixon
    BILLY DIXON
  • dolan
    CHELSEA DOLAN
  • ghassan
    ALEX GHASSAN
  • gomez-hall
    NICK GOMEZ-HALL
  • gregory
    MICHELA GREGORY
  • hoda
    SARA HODA
  • hough
    TRAVIS HOUGH
  • igaz
    JOHNNY IGAZ
  • jo
    ARA JO
  • kellogg
    DONNA KELLOGG
  • kershaw.jpg
    AMANDA KERSHAW
  • lapine
    EDMOND LAPINE
  • madden
    GRIFFIN MADDEN
  • matlock
    JOSEPH MATLOCK
  • mccarty
    JASON MCCARTY
  • mcgill
    DRAVEN MCGILL
  • mendiola
    JENNIFER MENDIOLA
  • morris
    JENNIFER MORRIS
  • pines
    FERAL PINES
  • plotkin
    VANESSA PLOTKIN
  • Wolfgang Renner
    WOLFGANG RENNER
  • ruax
    HANNA RUAX
  • runnels
    BENJAMIN RUNNELS
  • siegrist
    NICOLE SIEGRIST
  • sylvan
    MICHELE SYLVAN
  • tanouye
    JENNIFER KIYOMI TANOUYE
  • vega.jpg
    ALEX VEGA
  • wadsworth
    PETER WADSWORTH
  • walrath
    NICK WALRATH
  • wittenauer
    BRANDON “CHASE” WITTENAUER

 

Change Is Our Choice: Creating Climate Solutions

12/06/2016 Climate ChangeThe science has long been settled: climate change is real and it’s happening all around us right now. Our new five-session discussion course on climate action will help you take action to increase resilience and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Presented in an interactive ebook, this new discussion course experience integrates video, audio and printed content with action plans that help you roll your sleeves up and get started taking action toward a better tomorrow.“Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up. In contrast to optimism or despair, hope requires that one actually do something to improve the world. Authentic hope comes with an imperative to act. There is no such thing as passive hope.” – David Orr, introduction to Hope Is an Imperative: The Essential David Orr

The science has long been settled, climate change is real and it’s happening all around us right now. Our lifestyles are not only a contributing factor, but the root cause, despite what many politicians and talking heads would have us believe.  Those of us hoping for real solutions often despair at the unnecessary political gridlock and the lack of traction for widespread solutions.But there is reason to hope: many ordinary citizens desire to make positive change in their daily lives, in their communities, and in the world at large.

Yes, climate change is already happening. Yes, it is getting worse. But people working together to take action can find real solutions.The choice is ours – take action now or react to even larger systemic problems later.Climate Change link

Source: Change Is Our Choice: Creating Climate Solutions