The People Of Neverwhere

(I’m actually posting this on both of my blogs)
 The BBC did a miniseries called “Neverwhere” a number of years ago that was written by Niel Gaiman and Lenny Henry.  It was a very good scifi series that mainly dealt with a fictional underground world in London. One of the lines one of the characters said had to do with how we really never notice people and how quickly we forget about many of the people that we do see, especially those that are homeless.
  As I watched more and more of it, it make me realize how we really don’t notice and ignore those that are homeless. We go about our merry way in our own lives and some will even criticize them saying how they need to get a job, stop living off of the government, that they actually have fancy cars and homes, and how they really need to try harder. For some of the homeless that we do see this is true, but for many they are trying but the truth of the matter is that because they are in truth unseen by most they don’t get the chance to change their situation. 
 People are critical of the unemployment rate during the term of the current President saying that it is higher than what is reported because people have stopped looking for work, when the truth is that  it has always been that way regardless of who that President is. As long as it has been possible, people have tried to live off of the government, in some cases it has been been businesses. Now the businesses that I am referring to are not small ones, but ones making billions of dollars a year in profits. Money like this is going to oil companies and companies that own large and profitable farms among others.
 But yet we as a nation are more concerned about a small group of poor people who are ripping the  government off and not the big businesses that truly can afford to survive quite well without government help. I learned something the other day that I had not realized, that being when Walmart began to get bigger and bigger, their aim was to hire people who only needed to have a little extra income, mainly housewives who were looking for something to do during the day. FedEx  was designed to be for College students to help them have spending money through college. There are many cases like this throughout the country, but things like this have changed because people were not making the money needed to be able to pay for just basic needs to survive.
 We often simply ignore people who clearly need our small change in order to even get something to eat. Now I am not saying that we all should be giving our change to all of those who claim to be homeless and need money, but I am sure that you have seen people sleeping at night in a doorway or elsewhere outside. Why not bring that “doggy bag” of food that you didn’t finish and leave it with them? Think about it and the Bible Story of the Fish & Bread. Think about yourself if you were in that position. I have some friends who carry non-perishable items in their cars and when they come across people begging in traffic for money they give them a small bag of the foods. This has helped some of them when they have had car trouble and a person whom they have help have come over and helped them. I helped to start a weekly lunch program that gave bags of food to those in need at a park. I would take some of the bags to other areas where I knew homeless and needy were and would give them to people there. As the people got to know me, they would talk with me and tell  me their story. Their were those that were addicts, just gotten out of prison and many others, some of  whom would say that when they were in a better position that they would looked down upon those that were homeless.
 I had gone over to San Francisco one evening, and had a box that contained some of the left over lunches and did my usual bit of just walking around. Before I knew it, it had become dark so I decided that I would head back home and give the lunches to the people in the area that I knew were  homeless. With the ones that were in my neighborhood, I knew that many of them ate on a daily basis, but I would give them one as a knew that it could help them stretch their food for a meal longer. As I walked down Market Street (the major road in San Francisco,) I saw people laying in doorways and beside lampposts sleeping. After passing a few it hit me that I had more lunches in my bag than I really needed, so as I would pass someone, I would drop off a bag. Before I knew it I was down to just two bags. I thought about the people in my neighborhood and knew that their were a couple of people who always had a hard time finding something to eat, so I would save those bags for them. As I continued to walk there were a couple of guys pushing a shopping cart full of their possessions. They seemed to be acting a little crazy, and it appeared that most people were stepping as far as possible away from them, but I didn’t as I could tell that they were harmless and that these were just a couple of guys enjoying life even though they were living in the streets. I asked one of them if they were hungry, and he said that he was, so I gave the two of them the last two bags. As I rode home I felt a little bad, for I didn’t have any for the main two people that I was planning on giving the bags to, but figured that I would stop at a place and get them something to eat when I got into the neighborhood. Much to my surprise, when I got home I found the two of them eating a hardy meal. A few weeks later I had to go into San Francisco for something, and as I walked down Market Street, the two guys I had given the bag to walked up to me and thanked me for being so kind and giving them the food.
 I have looked closer into the world that the downtrodden live in, and it is a fascinating world. The barter system us highly used in many ways. Most people think that they are  mainly using the money that they are begging for to buy drugs and alcohol (which some do use the money for,) but much of it is used to buy the basics. Items are traded with each other in order to survive. They are living in a world that many humans either do or have lived in.
 The people in our Neverwhere world take care of each other in that they make sure that for those who don’t cause trouble or problems within it are taken care of . While being in  and around those living in Neverwhere, it makes me wonder what the country would be like if we went and learned from those living there. We have “Experts” in this country who go in and try to “fix” the problems within Neverwhere, but they don’t talk about the things that they have learned from the people in there. The “experts” come in with a preconceived idea on what should be done, but they really aren’t willing to listen to the needs and desires of the people. They aren’t willing to watch and see what really goes on that they can bring to the rest of the country that would truly make things better for all of us. 
 With the group I was with that was doing the lunches each week, we started in many ways like we had  solutions to some of their problems, but once we changed our outlook and began to ask them what they needed, things became great between them and us, in that we became one community. They stopped looking at us as though we were coming to fulfill a need to help the pitiful, but that we looked at them as fellow humans. They would do their best to protect us from the bad events that could and did occur.  At first the police would come by and watch. The police would slowly drive by and look. Finally one day I walked up to one of the officers and explained to him who we were and what we were doing. I didn’t realize as I was walking up that this was a commanding officer, and after I explained things to me he said that he wondered, then thanked us for what we were doing and said that he had wondered why problems had stopped there during the time we were there. He must of informed the others, as they stopped coming by and watching. 
 Some of the people began to turn there life around. Some stopped drinking, doing drugs, committing crimes and would jump up and help us with stuff even though we never asked for it. When kids where there they would make sure that they were the first to be given food, and the same was true with the elderly and physically handicapped. Now think about how often you would see that among those who have wealth.
 So the next time that you find yourself  looking down upon those in Neverwhere, or simply walk past them only to know that you will forget about them real soon, as yourself what you can learn from them that will make you a better person.
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The People Of Neverwhere

(I’m actually posting this on both of my blogs)

The BBC did a miniseries called “Neverwhere” a number of years ago that was written by Niel Gaiman and Lenny Henry. It was a very good SciFi series that mainly dealt with a fictional underground world in London. One of the lines one of the characters said had to do with how we really never notice people and how quickly we forget about many of the people that we do see, especially those that are homeless.
As I watched more and more of it, it make me realize how we really don’t notice and ignore those that are homeless. We go about our merry way in our own lives and some will even criticize them saying how they need to get a job, stop living off of the government, that they actually have fancy cars and homes, and how they really need to try harder. For some of the homeless that we do see this is true, but for many they are trying but the truth of the matter is that because they are in truth unseen by most they don’t get the chance to change their situation.
People are critical of the unemployment rate during the term of the current President saying that it is higher than what is reported because people have stopped looking for work, when the truth is that it has always been that way regardless of who that President is. As long as it has been possible, people have tried to live off of the government, in some cases it has been been businesses. Now the businesses that I am referring to are not small ones, but ones making billions of dollars a year in profits. Money like this is going to oil companies and companies that own large and profitable farms among others.
But yet we as a nation are more concerned about a small group of poor people who are ripping the government off and not the big businesses that truly can afford to survive quite well without government help. I learned something the other day that I had not realized, that being when Walmart began to get bigger and bigger, their aim was to hire people who only needed to have a little extra income, mainly housewives who were looking for something to do during the day. FedEx was designed to be for College students to help them have spending money through college. There are many cases like this throughout the country, but things like this have changed because people were not making the money needed to be able to pay for just basic needs to survive.
We often simply ignore people who clearly need our small change in order to even get something to eat. Now I am not saying that we all should be giving our change to all of those who claim to be homeless and need money, but I am sure that you have seen people sleeping at night in a doorway or elsewhere outside. Why not bring that “doggy bag” of food that you didn’t finish and leave it with them? Think about it and the Bible Story of the Fish & Bread. Think about yourself if you were in that position. I have some friends who carry non-perishable items in their cars and when they come across people begging in traffic for money they give them a small bag of the foods. This has helped some of them when they have had car trouble and a person whom they have help have come over and helped them. I helped to start a weekly lunch program that gave bags of food to those in need at a park. I would take some of the bags to other areas where I knew homeless and needy were and would give them to people there. As the people got to know me, they would talk with me and tell me their story. Their were those that were addicts, just gotten out of prison and many others, some of whom would say that when they were in a better position that they would looked down upon those that were homeless.
I had gone over to San Francisco one evening, and had a box that contained some of the left over lunches and did my usual bit of just walking around. Before I knew it, it had become dark so I decided that I would head back home and give the lunches to the people in the area that I knew were homeless. With the ones that were in my neighborhood, I knew that many of them ate on a daily basis, but I would give them one as a knew that it could help them stretch their food for a meal longer. As I walked down Market Street (the major road in San Francisco,) I saw people laying in doorways and beside lampposts sleeping. After passing a few it hit me that I had more lunches in my bag than I really needed, so as I would pass someone, I would drop off a bag. Before I knew it I was down to just two bags. I thought about the people in my neighborhood and knew that their were a couple of people who always had a hard time finding something to eat, so I would save those bags for them. As I continued to walk there were a couple of guys pushing a shopping cart full of their possessions. They seemed to be acting a little crazy, and it appeared that most people were stepping as far as possible away from them, but I didn’t as I could tell that they were harmless and that these were just a couple of guys enjoying life even though they were living in the streets. I asked one of them if they were hungry, and he said that he was, so I gave the two of them the last two bags. As I rode home I felt a little bad, for I didn’t have any for the main two people that I was planning on giving the bags to, but figured that I would stop at a place and get them something to eat when I got into the neighborhood. Much to my surprise, when I got home I found the two of them eating a hardy meal. A few weeks later I had to go into San Francisco for something, and as I walked down Market Street, the two guys I had given the bag to walked up to me and thanked me for being so kind and giving them the food.
I have looked closer into the world that the downtrodden live in, and it is a fascinating world. The barter system us highly used in many ways. Most people think that they are mainly using the money that they are begging for to buy drugs and alcohol (which some do use the money for,) but much of it is used to buy the basics. Items are traded with each other in order to survive. They are living in a world that many humans either do or have lived in.
The people in our Neverwhere world take care of each other in that they make sure that for those who don’t cause trouble or problems within it are taken care of . While being in and around those living in Neverwhere, it makes me wonder what the country would be like if we went and learned from those living there. We have “Experts” in this country who go in and try to “fix” the problems within Neverwhere, but they don’t talk about the things that they have learned from the people in there. The “experts” come in with a preconceived idea on what should be done, but they really aren’t willing to listen to the needs and desires of the people. They aren’t willing to watch and see what really goes on that they can bring to the rest of the country that would truly make things better for all of us.
With the group I was with that was doing the lunches each week, we started in many ways like we had solutions to some of their problems, but once we changed our outlook and began to ask them what they needed, things became great between them and us, in that we became one community. They stopped looking at us as though we were coming to fulfill a need to help the pitiful, but that we looked at them as fellow humans. They would do their best to protect us from the bad events that could and did occur. At first the police would come by and watch. The police would slowly drive by and look. Finally one day I walked up to one of the officers and explained to him who we were and what we were doing. I didn’t realize as I was walking up that this was a commanding officer, and after I explained things to me he said that he wondered, then thanked us for what we were doing and said that he had wondered why problems had stopped there during the time we were there. He must of informed the others, as they stopped coming by and watching.
Some of the people began to turn there life around. Some stopped drinking, doing drugs, committing crimes and would jump up and help us with stuff even though we never asked for it. When kids where there they would make sure that they were the first to be given food, and the same was true with the elderly and physically handicapped. Now think about how often you would see that among those who have wealth.
So the next time that you find yourself looking down upon those in Neverwhere, or simply walk past them only to know that you will forget about them real soon, as yourself what you can learn from them that will make you a better person.

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What Happened?

 I know that I have blogged about this before, but after watching what goes on at the Bellagio during the water show I feel that I need to blog about this again.

 What ever happened to the Patriotism that was so high here in the USA? Seriously, it seems to of vanished. My job requires that I stand in the front of Ballys, which is nice as I get to watch all of the tourist go by and I get to see the water show that Bellagio’s does. One of the things that they normally start off with is the National Anthem of the United States. I normally stand there and watch the show and quietly sing along.

 I was standing there not to long ago while the anthem was being played when one of the people that I work with came and stood beside me. As the Anthem came to an end, I leaned over and said to him that it was amazing that nobody was stopping for the National Anthem. He look around and said that I was right.

 So what has happened to all of the “Go USA” stuff that was going on in this country after September 11, 2001? I mean one couldn’t walk down the street without seeing the flag of the country. People were driving down the street blasting “Born In The USA” from their cars, businesses and homes. People had their flags flying from their places. What I found interesting was that over the years the only people that I saw flying the flag of the USA were people who had immigrated here from other countries.

 I also noticed that when people from other countries would get out and protest about immigration issues, some people in the USA were getting upset because the protesters weren’t waving the flag of the USA. Personally I witnessed several of these protest and would see people waving the USA flag, but the reports given by the media never showed that. Still I looked around and noticed the lack of people flying the flag outside of their homes.

 The thought of the flag and patriotism didn’t come to mind again until I saw what noticed with people and Bellagio playing the national anthem. Now I am not saying that these people are Republicans, Democrats or belong to any other political party, as I am sure that they belong to them all, but I am sure that some of these same people get into political debated about how one party is more “American” than the other, but yet when the National Anthem is being played they continue walking along. I bet if they thought about it, then they may wonder how “American” that their claims may be.

 Like some people, I support my country, the President, the Congress, etc. I may not always agree with the things that they have done or the direction that they take the country, but I awake every morning knowing that I am living in the land of freedoms that others don’t have.

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The Same But Different

 My church life has been interesting since moving to a new diocese. My involvement in the church has basically vanished outside of  going to church and sitting in the pews each Sunday, but after going to three or four different services each Sunday along with being in other churches during the week, it actually feels good to just be a “Pew Sitter” each week.
 What I find really interesting now is how I notice things in churches. Well let me put it this way in that I really notice more how different congregations do the same church service. My mom was somewhat amazed that I choose  not to goto her church, but that I choose to go to a church that has a much smaller congregation. For me, the size of the congregation really didn’t matter, but I had learned from a sermon that a priest had given that helped me to understand some as to why we choose the congregations that we attend, and as I think upon things I understand why we can lose people from the church.
 I believe that it was during the last General Convention it was decided to put a committee to “rethink” church and how we do things. In reality this is nothing new as congregations have been thinking about this and doing it for as long as the church has existed. Now I am sure that they will come up with great ideals, but I am hoping that they always remember that having a “one size fits all” conclusion is not the thing to come up with in the end, but I am sure that is what will happen.
 The problem that I see is that the group will come in with “experts” who will basically tell them what to do. Oh sure there will be surveys done, but my belief is that even though they may try to survey all, most Laity will not be informed of what is going on, for in many cases we are a church of solos. I have noticed that many clergy don’t communicate things to there congregation about what is going on outside of it in that they fear that the people might find something that they like better. This is part of the problem, as when youth leave for university elsewhere they come upon new ways, and many times it’s in other denominations. 
 Wondering what they are finding in the other churches? It is real simple in that the Holy Trinity moves them. This is  also the same reason that for many of us were attend the congregation that we do. The congregation that my mom attends is very ceremonial, whereas the congregation that I attend isn’t. Some people need all of the “Smells and Bells” and to feel as they are in an important place, whereas others just need something that is real simple. What I also find is that some are so strong in their convictions on how things should be done, that they do what it takes to force change and think that everyone will see the  ”light” and believe the same way that they do. These people fail to realize that they are driving people away. In the congregation that I was in, in my previous diocese. I watched as someone came in and killed the Spirit of the place. It was sad to watch as more and more people left the place.
 Now I am not saying that change is a bad thing,in fact  I really believe that  change is  healthy for a  place and for the church. My problem is with those who have a vision and are  unwilling to be  open to the visions of others. A vision within a  congregation needs to be the vision of ALL, not just a few. The church will only suffer and become damaged if the vision of the future of the church is not decided by the many, but still each congregation needs to make up its own mind as to its own future ways.
 I also believe that in order for the church to survive, the group that is putting together and thinking about how the church should be in rethinking the church needs to be mostly full of the youth and young adults from within the church. Yes some of the seats need to be reserved for those who have been in the pews for a long time so that we don’t lose all of the traditions that we have, but we must also incorporate new traditions so that the church can survive.
 One thing that I must say is that I have been lucky over the years when it comes to Bishops. I went from one great Bishop who moved me spiritually in ways, to another great Bishop who has moved  me in other ways.
 So tell me, what is it that keeps you in the congregation that you are in?
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It’s Christmas Time In The City

I don’t know for how long this has been on my mind, but it has been for at least the last decade or so. Have we forgotten the meaning of Christmas?
Every year on December 24 & 25, we celebrate the birth of our lord Jesus Christ. We gather with friends and family, exchange gifts, and get involved with all of the hoopla that goes with it, but isn’t the truth is that we celebrate this birth all year long? Seriously. Think about it. Every time that we gather together for our services, what we are doing is celebrating the life of Jesus from birth through death, and his resurrection.
What makes it more interesting is how business has done its best to take this celebration for the reason of making huge amounts of money. Every year on the day after Thanksgiving stores hold what is referred to as “Black Friday” sales. This is a day where after marking the prices to what the suggested pr manufacturers ice, they put this stuff on sale that they really should have been in the first place. The store are opening up on Thanksgiving itself now, the day that we should be with our friends thanking the Holy Trinity our families and friends and families, but it has now and turned into a day where we show in droves that for many their God is Money.
What I do find interesting his how early stores put out their Christmas decorations for us to buy. How often has it been that you have bought any prior to Thanksgiving? One of the major chains started their Christmas push during the summer. They said that they were really pushing the fact that they were bringing back their “Lay Away” department, but the truth of the matter is that their aim is for you to have to come back during Christmas and not only get what you have put away, but to get more money put of you by having you buy more stuff.
Oh sure I know that those of you who may read this may not be Christians and will comment about it, but think about the season and why you go out and spend so much money. In your religious beliefs, what does going out and buying and getting things really mean as far as your religious beliefs are?
I’m going to give you a challenge. I challenge you to give to any Non-Profit organization (like the Episcopal Relief and Development, The Red Cross, The Village Project of San Francisco, or any that you support,) the same amount of money that you spend this time of year for gifts. Now don’t be one of those that says that the Non-Profit that they are going to give it to is themselves, but give it to one that you know will help the homeless, abused, needy, etc. If you get money as gifts, then take 50% of it and give it to a charity.

 I hope and pray that you have a joyous and safe holiday season, and that you are a blessing to others who could truly use your help.
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They Work Hard For The Money

 Where I work there are a number of street performers around. There are some who are in costumes, others who play music, some who dance and some who do other things. I have gotten to know some of them a little outside of there act, and they are all really nice people. Most of them come out daily and take photographs with the tourist in town (locals sometimes will take pictures with them, but mostly it is visitors.)
Now the city doesn’t pay these people, but they do help to promote the city and make people smile. For the ones who are in a costume, they will spend hundreds to thousands of dollars for them. I was chatting with one guy who is on of the many Elvis impersonators here,and he is a young guy who is going to college and he does it to pay for his schooling and extra money. I asked him how much the costume cost, and to my surprise he said it was around $1,200 dollars, and that he had bought the cheapest one that he could find. It took him a while to make that much in tips, but he them said that when he looked around not that long ago, the cheapest one that he could find was over twice what he had paid.
Another person has a Mickey Mouse outfit, which ran him almost $700 when he got it, and that it took him nearly 6 weeks in tips to be able to cover the cost of the outfit. I also see women dressed in “Showgirl” outfits, and I am sure that they spent a great deal of money on them. I see a bunch of different outfits which I am sure cost the people a lot of money.
The thing that bothers me are the tourist that come here. Now I am not saying this off all the tourist, but there are a number of them who will come up and take a picture with these folks and not even bother to give them people, who gave them a moment of joy, a single dollar. I watch as people walk along and pull out there cameras and snap a photograph. I notice that people get upset when the characters turn away from the camera. I watch as people will rush up to snap a picture while someone who has tipped was getting their picture taken, and I am sure that many of these pictures are being put onto “social networks” with these strangers being in them. Now because of where I stand, I am sure that I am in pictures on the Internet in the background, but I don’t worry about that.
Now one of my favorites is a guy called “The Stone Arts Man”, who has no big problem with the ones who don’t tip, but with those who do tip him,he makes them feel real special. Yes I have heard about the people in costumes who get very rude and swear at people who don’t tip, but there are a large number of these people that are getting shafted who treat people with respect. This reminds me of something from the Bible and that can be found in other religions as well. “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Now would you like to go out and spend a bunch of money for a costume, stand out on a busy street, have people come along and take pictures with and of you, then not offering a single dollar?
With the two ladies in the “Fashion Show” outfits. As I left the office I grabbed two bottles of water and gave it to them as I left. It brought smiles to their faces.

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The Need To Cuss

 I have never really understood it, and maybe someone will write in the comments below this blog, but I really don’t understand the need and desire to cuss during normal conversation. As I write this, there is a beautiful female sitting a couple of rows behind me that I was working up the nerve to talk to, who got a phone call and during the conversation got to cussing during it.
I remember as a child me and my best friend at the time would go into the den of my parents house. My father had this big thick dictionary that for some strange reason we decided to look through one day. We came across the word “Daddy Long Legger ” and thought it was the dirtiest word that we had ever seen. We knew that if our fathers were to catch us looking at the word that we would be in BIG trouble. Seriously.
With the woman that basically held my heart for a long time, the one thing that I really admired about her was the fact that she never swore in any way. I had never noticed it until a group of us were together and instead of using a swear word, she used a word that was more kid friendly. We laughed when she said it, then she said that she never used swear words. I thought about it and realized that I had never heard her swear.
My parents took us to a basketball game at the Philadelphia Spectrum, and there were a couple of guys sitting behind us. Time and time again these guys would swear as the game was going on. After a bit of time of these guys swearing over and over again, my father turned around and asked them to stop as he didn’t want his kids hearing it. They stopped with the swearing.
I worked for a company and a group of us always sat and ate lunch together. As apart of the conversations that would go on, swearing would go on. I don’t recall how to topic came up, but somehow we got into the topic of swearing. One of the people suddenly looked at me and said that they had never heard me swear. I said that I saw no point into swearing in normal conversation. They all said that it was a strong way of getting a point across, and I explained that in my opinion that when one uses it in normal conversation that the power of the swearing became lesser and lesser. I did tell them that I do swear, but because when I do it is so rare that the power of the words meant something at that point. The person of the group who swore the most looked at and said that I wttas right, but continued to swear as part of normal conversation. A time did come where I did swear and it came to such a surprise to them that they saw how powerful it was.
But I still don’t understand the point of doing it during normal conversations. What point does it serve doing it? I can somewhat understand why teens do it, as it makes them feel like adults, but after a certain point it serves no real purpose.
I would love to read your comments below…

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 I had gone to the inauguration of someone who was elected Mayor of Oakland California about 6 years ago. Even though I did vote for the person, I really wasn’t a fan of this person. Oh he did a number of wonderful things when he served in the US Congress, but for some reason I just didn’t like him.
As I sat and waited for things to begin, I saw people wearing bluetooth pieces in an ear, and suddenly I began to wonder who these people were. Yes having a cell phone is nice, but I was wondering how important these people with the bluetooths must think that they are? Were their calls so important that they couldn’t shut off the phone for this event?
As time went on over the years, and seeing more and more people wearing bluetooths, I began to wonder if wearing one causes people to call you more often? I mean hardly anyone ever called me, and when I called people they would be upset that I hadn’t called in a while. When I would say something about the fact that they could of called me, they always had (and still do) have worthless excuses as to why I should be calling them instead of them calling me. Are these people really that important? Anyway, back to where I was actually headed.
I went and bought me a bluetooth for the phone that I had at the time. I noticed something. The number of calls that I got didn’t increase. I wore the thing religiously like I saw others doing for a few months, but the number of called that I got didn’t increase. The hook that I had to help keep it in my ear broke, and I simply stopped using it. In fact I had even forgotten where I had put it for a while until I happen to discover it while doing something.
I started paying attention to the conversations that we going on with people who have cell phones, then I realized something as I would “ear hustle” from time to time. I don’t think that I heard anything that was so important that it couldn’t wait until people were face-to-face. In fact, I would hear people talk about stuff that they really shouldn’t of been talking about in public. I have heard all kinds of secrets being talked about, where the people would say,”Don’t tell anybody about this”, and the person is saying this on a crowded bus. For all that one knows, a friend of that person or the person themselves could be not far away hearing what you are saying.
Now I am not saying that the world should get rid of cellphones, in fact I find it interesting that because of them we are seeing less and less pay phones (when was the last time that you saw and actual phone booth, you know the kind that had the doors?) My thought is that we have become to reliant one them. How many conversations do you have on them when in reality you could of waited to see the person and had a “face to face”?
As I think about this, I think of the problems that the USPS is having money wise. We have become so reliant on calling someone on our cellphones, or even emailing them, that I think that it is part of the reason that the USPS is having money trouble. When was the last time that you sat down and wrote a letter to someone or even received a letter from someone? I know, I know, it is so much easier now, but wouldn’t it put a smile on someone’s face if you wrote them a letter? Now because we are in a world where we no longer remember such things are people’s telephone numbers and addresses, I say that you write yourself a letter and give it to a friend, and to tell them to hold on to it for a while them mail it. In that letter give yourself positive reinforcements. Have your friend address the envelope to you so that you may not realize who it is coming from. I bet you will feel great once you read that letter from yourself.
Anyhow, really think about how important that cellphone call is that you are about to make when you are out somewhere. Maybe spend that time looking at the beauty that this universe has to offer, as I am sure that you will see things that you have never seen before that you had passed many a time.

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The Death Of A Nation

I guess that it really became noticeable right after the tragic events that killed so many people on September 11, 2001, but it seems as though the United States is in the process of heading towards its end. Now I don’t expect it to happen in the next few months, nor in the next few years, but there is a divide going on in this country which is killing it.
Even though this country has been divided over many issues though its existence, we are seeing a divide that is almost to the level it was before the Civil War. If this country should go into a Civil War again, it won’t be two sides, but three, and even then there will divides among the three. The divide with the second three will result in squabbling, among them, but no huge battling between them like the first three.
The war that will take place will be between the Conservatives, the Liberals and the Moderates. The Moderates really won’t want to be involved, but the other two sides will give them no choice in the matter.
We are seeing the early stages of the war no. If you watch the news, and especially if you watch the political talk shows, you will see the battle between the main two sides. The Conservatives will spend their time complaining about the Liberals, and the Liberals will spend their time complaining about the Conservatives. When they are together, they will spend their time bashing each other. Each side is so determined to prove that they are right that they fail to find what they have in common and work on trying to bring all sides together.
How will this war end? It will take other countries to slice the USA up into parts and into new governments to run the countries. Take a look at the now defunct USSR and you will see how the USA will be. Canada will have new territories, Mexico will get back some of the land that they once had, but the USA as a whole will be a thing written about in history books far into the future.
How can we stop this from happening? Put and end to people giving “Talking Points” and the people of the country really need to stop voting for people who mainly talk about how Conservative or Liberal they are, but are willing to work towards things that will benefit ALL of this country.

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The Radical Church

 I was born into a family that attended the Episcopal Church, and most likely I will die as a member of the Episcopal Church.
 I felt that I needed to make that statement so that some who may question the things that I say means that I am unhappy with the church. I love going to an Episcopal service, and even though there are other denominations around whose services are similar in style, it doesn’t mean that I desire to attend them.
But over the years that Episcopal Church has had problems in that it has been shrinking in its membership size. Now this is true with many of the long established churches, but I have never really been involved with them in a deeper level.
 Now the church has tried things to get people to attend, but for the most part it has failed. As I think about it, I think one of the reasons has to do with the service and the lessons that are read each week. Seriously. If you were to take a look at the Book Of Common Prayers that it has used, even though a new one will come out every so often that contains changes, the service has really stayed the same. But if one were to look even deeper, one will see that the church has not really changed either. Even though women are now being ordained as they should have been all along, what the church teaches has remained the same with no real things to be thought about.
 Now you may be wondering what I mean by that. The church operates on a 3 year cycle on its calendar. In that cycle the lessons never change. Now with some of the different points in the year, I can understand why the church would want to use the same lessons, as they are fitting. But we are in a time of year right now where things could open up a bunch.
 I think that one of the things that gets people into other denominations and away from the Episcopal and others is that many of them actually go through the entire Bible. Imagine if the Pentecost Season were to be like that. Now I am not saying that each congregation should go out on its own and pick stuff to use, but the national church picks what is read each week in a way that through a period of time takes use through the entire Bible. Now I was lucky in that the Bible Studies that occurred at the congregation that I was in when I lived in the Diocese Of California, the upcoming weeks lessons weren’t used (as it is in many congregations,) but an entire book/letter was chosen by the group and each week they would pick up from where they had left off the previous week. Imagine if the whole church were to use a model like this. Imagine the conversations that will happen under something like this. Imagine Episcopalians actually wanting pick up and read the Bible before church and at other times. But to do so would require change, and change is something that the people of the church seem to fear (both Laity AND Clergy.)
 But sadly I can hear the reasons on why we can’t now. Oh those excuses that would be given. But if the church really wants to grow, it has to make changes that will get some upset, but it is time for the church again having to buy more pews to be able to sit those who come, not to be selling them because nobody is sitting in them.
 So what are some of the ideas that you have that you think will help the growth of the Episcopal Church which are radical? Please post them in the comments here.
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