Mother Earth Under Assault

Daily God’s creation is under assault but our earth has rights. Many persons are increasingly cognizant of the increasing harm inflicted on Mother Earth. Because of these afflictions, people all over the world suffer and die. They suffer by storms, pollutants, toxic waste, and ultraviolet rays. Humans are presently exposed to thousands of man-made chemicals in the air and waterways. These concerns have become prevalent in the following ways:

The greenhouse effects of gas emissions

Global warming

More infectious diseases

The depletion of the earth’s gaseous shield

Ultraviolet radiation

Flooding, forest fires, drought and malnutrition

The effects of breathing contaminated air

Diseases from animal waste

Proliferation of housing developments in forested areas

Damaging dam constructions

Contamination of air

Through pollutants in water systems

Wernher Von Braun (1912 – 1977), German aerospace engineer and space architect, observed, “Finite man cannot begin to comprehend an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and infinite God … I find it best to accept God through faith, as an intelligent will, perfect in goodness and wisdom, revealing Himself through His creation.” It’s clear by the way mankind is treating God’s creation appears as though not much thought is given to the wisdom of protecting our earthly home, which God has so graciously created, for us to inhabit.

What are we doing?

There have been calls from prominent environmentalists for mandatory cuts in air pollution, but such warnings haven’t really worked too well. The Bering glaciers in Alaska are being ruined. Airplanes’ exhaust emissions although improved, have continued to cause global warming. Dianne Feinstein (b. 1933), senior United States Senator from California and member of the Democratic Party, remarks, “Global warming is real. It is happening today. It is being charted by our satellites. It is being charted by our scientists. It is being charted by those of us in this body [senate], and I think the real key is if we are ready to admit that fact and take the action to make the necessary conversion.” Yet, there are some who deny there’s this phenomenon. But since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, attempts have been made for Americans to purchase efficient housing, cars and appliances.

Jane Goodall (b. 1934), English primatologist, ethologist and anthropologist, feels, “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” If, according to her, everyone impacts our environment, it is therefore be necessary for each of us, to be responsible for making it more habitable, and not sit back with the earth abused.

Still, our air in some cities are being filled with pollutants, which cause a decrease in lung function, and make breathing difficult. Persons attempting to exercise in these conditions are doing so at their own risk, for air pollutants can lead to cardiovascular disease, and eventual death.

We face problems also with pollutants in our waters. Such waters are contaminated with organic materials, suspended solids, bacteria and toxic substances. Not long ago in Mexico City, untreated waste waters were being used to irrigate croplands. In the past, fleets from the cruise industries were known to dump oily waste at sea. There were beaches which had to be closed because of hospital waste being washed up on shores. Disposal of toxic waste in our waterways from some livestock operations have even made residents sick.

Eva Morales (b. 1959), Bolivian politician and cocalero activist, thinks, “Sooner or later, we will have to recognize that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.” It’s therefore mandatory that we begin treating the earth – God’s great gift to us, with respect and dignity, so it will be well again.

Precious Gift

Our charity of understanding encompasses differences in love. Some religious personalities have even committed themselves to various gifts as missionary love. Their actions embody God’s mercy which brings about healing for themselves and others. These are their attempts to showcase the good news about the Gospels. Margaret D. Nadauld (b. 1944), Eleventh General President of the Young Women Organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, observes, “Our outward appearance is a reflection of what are on the inside. Our lives reflect that which we seek. And if with all our hearts we truly seek to know the savior and to be more like Him, we shall be, for He is our divine, eternal Brother.” Seeking to know Christ and truly accepting him as our divine gift, causes us to give him praise, and be thankful.

But there is much more to the story, according to Ellen G. White (1827 – 1915), prolific author and American Christian pioneer of The Seventh-day Adventist Church, who saw, “In the consequences our limited ideas of the sufferings of Christ, we place a low estimate upon the great work of the atonement. The glorious plan of man’s salvation was brought about through the infinite love of God the Father. In this divine plan is seen the most marvelous manifestation of the love of God to the fallen race.” It’s enlightening to know that God’s love doesn’t discriminate, reaches all men, women, and children. We live under his protection in loving him and our neighbors.

Real Christian Joy

Some may ask how can people find real Christian joy? Thomas S. Monson (b. 1927), religious leader, author, and sixteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, explains, “Finding the real joy of Christians come not in the hurrying and scurrying to get more done, nor is it found in the purchasing of gifts. We find real joy when we make the Savior the focus of the season.” This happiness is found during all seasons – not only at Christmas, but as we focus praise and thanksgiving, in worshiping Christ.

Our love for him may be revealed in our professions when we do volunteer work, through building bridges to the poor, and destitute. As God’s co-creators on earth, we bless, uplift those in need, and pay homage to his glorious cross. Noam Chromsky (b. 1928), American linguist, philosopher, and social political activist, thought, “Changes and progress very rarely are gifts from above. They come out of struggles from below.” A great deal depends on how people view their struggles. It is often best to offer them up to God as gifts in prayers. Soon, God’s wondrous love takes shape and new opportunities reveal themselves. Hard work is necessary, but Christians must place their dependence on God, who makes all things possible. It is a mistake to underestimate what he can truly do for us.

His Divine Gift

Our divine gift is marvelous and free. All we have to do is to seek God’s blessings as we pursue his will. Much of what we end up receiving is based on hard work. We do so through persistence, our beliefs, and by faith in a loving God – our Heavenly Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is the Almighty One, who knows all things, and gives us the very best there is. That is, his divine love.

Early Radio-TV Ministries

From the early 1930s to 1980s, radio and television ministries blossomed and flourished in America. By the 1930s, radio developed a reality that was unknown at the time. Father Charles Coughlin ushered in a weekly broadcast on social justice. These themes reached a rather small audience since radio was in its infancy. It however recognized then that radio could reach a much larger audience. It had joined forces with other media like religious newsletters, newspapers, and magazines.

With technological developments and Federal Communications Act of 1934, more radio sets were sold and the audience was larger. This paved the way for Rex Humbard, who built a ministry on radio and TV in 1952, known as the “Program Cathedral of Tomorrow.” His operation grew to the point that it distributed programs to more than 600 stations. He envisioned the future when he invested in a 5,000 seating mega-church.

There was trial and error during religious ministries’ growth. Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900), Irish author, playwright, poet, and one of London’s popular writers, remarked, “Experience is simply the name we give to our mistakes.” Humbard gained experience and vision through planning, trial, and error, during the infancy of Christian media’s growth.

Bishop Fulton Sheen – An Evangelist’s Dream

The 1950s through 1960s, TV had become an evangelist’s dream. This was especially so, if a preacher was compatible with the medium. At this time, TV preachers would have learned a great deal from past radio ministries. TV demanded compelling images which were the backbone of the medium. There arose televangelists to fit such a role.

After World War 11, Roman Catholic bishop Fulton Sheen was most successful in his ministry. He and his professional staff inaugurated the program, “Life Is Worth Living” and later the “Bishop Sheen Program.” Although TV was most expensive he was able to attract a large enough audience to sustain these programs. His producer-director was skilled in integrating live pictures of the televangelist, with video footage, audio, special effects, and graphics.

Bishop Sheen’s message was simple and he implored his flock to have faith. His topics emphasized the working of the Holy Spirit, heaven, eternal damnation, judgment day, healing, wealth, prosperity, and being a born again Christian. Much of what he was preaching could well be likened to Francis of Assisi (1181 – 1226), Italian Catholic friar and preacher, founder of the Order of Friars Minor, who encouraged his followers to: “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Bishop Sheen always envisioned us as going beyond ourselves in knowing Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Through the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, other successful evangelists followed Bishop Sheen

Billy Graham celebrated his “Hour of Decision” shows and international crusades.

Oral Roberts built Oral Roberts University (1963) and the City of Faith Medical and Research Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, known for “The Hour of Power.”

Pat Roberson created the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) – “700 Club” with CBN University (1971), and “Flying Hospital.”

Robert Schuller, author of Christian self-help books was known for the “Hour of Power.”

Jerry Falwell, founder of Liberty University (1971),“Old Time Gospel Hour,” put in motion the “Moral Majority.”

Jimmy Lee Swaggart of the “Jimmy Swaggart Telecast” founded the Family Worship Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

By the end of 1980s, there were an estimated 1,370 radio and more than 200 religious TV stations in America.

Americans & Cultural Awareness

There are certain things missionaries to other cultures should know. These tips are essential for they will help prepare them in beneficial ways, to experience, and proclaim the Word of God in far away places. The list that follows are also meant for Americans who adopt children from foreign countries:

  1. Make sure to do your research and learn about the background of the natives. Know about their husbands, wives, friends, and neighbors. Find out more about their origin and gain insights about their customs and language.
  2. Be sure to visit your subjects of interest and interact with them at festivals, bazaars, fairs, and, in community groups.
  3. Be certain to engage them in conversation, remembering that communication is essential, and be sensitive to their verbal and nonverbal language.
  4. It’s necessary to treat persons of other cultures with respect and try never to denigrate them. Your job is to learn more about their country.
  5. By exposing yourself to their educational system, meeting with support groups, pay attention to similarities, and differences of nations.
  6. Because you’ll be professing the Christian faith, be sensitive to religious differences. It’s for you to be open-minded about their religious faiths, e.g., Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism, etc.
  7. Avoid condescending and derogatory remarks. Instead, focus on your mission by emphasizing what’s important. It’s for you to take the high road.
  8. Be accepting of the ways natives view themselves, don’t make judgments, based on your own background.
  9. Respect their ceremonies and rights of passage, seeing the strengths in each, and not being hung up on weaknesses.
  10. Be aware of their foods and dress. Understand how they are part of their mainstream of culture, e.g., the Italian pasta and Mexican sombrero.
  11. Through the images of native peoples portrayed in the mass media, try to know more about your country or region of interest. By doing so, be vigilant, and be able to separate sensationalism from reality.
  12. When opportunities arise, travel, and learn first hand what cultures are like. It’s always best to experience a culture in its own environment.

It’s good that the Nationality Act Amendments of 1965 (Hart-Cellar Act) abolished the system of national origin quotas, which were in place in the United States, since the Immigration Act of 1924. This act of non-differentiation will go a long way towards the promotion of equity of basic human standards, and in helping to foster multicultural living in the United States.

One in Christ

Missionaries and parents must bear in mind we’re One in Christ. In the United States and abroad, it’s important to bring this good news to people. Inevitably, recognition of these rights can only come to fruition if a country proclaims this truth.

Bhumibol Adulyadej (b. 1927), King of Thailand known as Rama 1X, ninth monarch of the Chakri Dynasty, observed, “A good person can make another person good; it means that goodness will elicit goodness in the society; other persons will also be good.” Goodness is able to transcends cultures. It sees Christians reaching out to help their fellowmen and women, wherever they may be. But, it often goes further than this. Ken Robinson (b. 1950), English author, speaker and international adviser on educational arts to governments and non-profit organizations, says, “The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued.” This is what we should do in experiencing foreign cultures. These proposals promote the development, of justice, and peace for all. There’s still a great deal we can learn from other cultures, although America sees itself as a diversified society, with various cultures.

The Disabled Enrich Our Lives

It is wise to view disabilities, mild or acute as gifts. These impact us socially, emotionally, physiologically, and psychologically. What’s important for such persons to know is that they aren’t spiritually disabled. Stephen Hawking (b. 1942), English theoretical physicist, author and Director of Research at the Centre of Theoretical Cosmology with the University of Cambridge, explains, “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things that your disability doesn’t prevent you from doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.” His advice and comments ought to be taken seriously by all of us.

Christian Perspectives

According to Jewish laws, lepers were considered unclean. They lived in segregated communities and were seen as outcasts. Jesus broke this stereotype when he socialized with them. His relationship with afflicted persons, angered the religious leaders of his day, for he healed many with maladies.

Paul, one of Jesus’ leading apostles, grappled with his own affliction. He was truly grieved and was in anguish by a thorn in his flesh, was never relieved of suffering, although he earnestly prayed. He was told that God’s grace was enough. This shows how we must look at afflictions which befall us. Christian theologians speak about the redemptive nature of suffering. Believers, walking in the light, offer them up to God, as substitutes for a world riddled with sin.

Images of the Disabled

In some films and TV programs we often see emotionally, and the physically disabled, portrayed in negative ways. What makes it worse are scenes which show them involved in criminal activities of sexual abuse, violence, theft, and murders. We often see depictions of those with deformities portrayed as freaks. However, socially responsible programs, seriously deal with issues show caregivers, mental health workers, drugs and alcohol addiction specialists, helping deal with these problems. Often, the disabled are referred to as victims, but they don’t see themselves this way.

Eva Mendes (b. 1974), actress, model and singer, believes, “People are incapable of stereotyping you; you stereotype yourself because you’re the one who accepts roles that put you in the rut of this stereotype.” This performer was reacting to the roles in which she found herself. But what about the those who have no say about the negative images about them in the mass media? It’s hoped producers and directors become more sensitive to their plight.

Understanding of the Disabled

From time to time, there’s a ray of hope about these disadvantaged persons. Telethons take the lead in raising money for their causes. Some public-service programs focus on finding cures, for diseases, e.g., cancer, HIV-AIDS, Parkinson’s , and sickle cell anemia. Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797), Anglo-Irish statesman, author and political theorist, stated, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” He was looking at the situation where some professionals take the low road in exploiting the disabled, as opposed to building them up.

Like citizens in democratic societies, the mass media has a social responsibility to its audience. It ought to reach out to every segment of the population. Such action has ramifications for media professionals to provide healing for the afflicted. Daniel Day-Lewis (b. 1957), English actor, observes this, “ In a landscape, which every single day of my life is enriching.” This hope is when we realize our world is blessed with talented and disabled people. It’s for them to bring their gifts to the salad bowl, of our local, national, and international culture. Their gifts enrich our lives.

Summits & Mountains

Live wisely and with dignity. In the right way keep up with the Joneses. Seek riches which are the best. Look for excellent personalities to model your life after, pay attention to what you’re fed, especially information by the mass media. It may be a blessing, or curse, so select wisely.

In wrong ways people may keep up with the Joneses. Our lifestyle is a matter of choice, so be careful what you choose. Pay attention to the Joneses, but don’t be attracted to their earthly possessions. Look at how they live and notice the good they do. Are they respectable people? Are they sincere in their Christian walk? In time of need, can you depend on them to lend a helping hand? Do they flaunt their wealth? What are the neighbors’ opinions about them? Make it your goal to emulate their good qualities. Irish playwright and founder of the London School of Economics, George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) wrote, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” By modeling what’s best of neighbors, that’s the way you begin creating a new lifestyle for yourself.

Alluring Desires

Around every corner there are alluring desires. Persons only have to switch on their TV sets to be bombarded with multiple images. Whether TV, computers, Smartphones, or some other media, there to greet us are a myriad of good and bad pictures. Some visuals are ads which seduce Americans by telling them how better they will be when they use certain products. Sex, riches, beauty, speed, and money are frequent themes in these pitches. It’s wise for us to remember money and power portrayed so blatantly are nothing more than false idols. Move away from bad choices which harm you and your children. Be aware of products promoting self-centered lifestyles. Life is about helping others in the right way, not selling them alcohol, and stimulants to drown their sorrows.

Danish philosopher, theologian, poet and critic, Soren Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855) observed, “Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.” The impressions we ingest, become how we value society. These creations take center stage in our lives. So a proliferation of crimes, disasters, betrayals, embezzlements, social revolutions, and wars tend to dominate our imagination and beliefs. Worldly power is centered on atrocities and countering them. English Catholic historian, politician and writer, Lord Acton (1834 – 1902) noted, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It’s wise therefore to avoid images which corrupt our minds.

Defeat & Failures

Often entanglements with earthly deceptions lead to a run in with the law of the land. Good citizens entrapped in vicious cycles are dishonored and their names dragged through dirt. We often witness news reports about crashes, bankruptcies, crime and violence. The tourism industry, prostitution, and other vices, lead to an exacerbation of our well being. Poor nutrition and lack of exercise make people experience the throes of life which contribute to more health problems. Persons lose hope because they are crushed by life’s troubles of pits and bogs. By living wisely we are enabled to avoid trouble, in taking positive steps, actively work in fending off defeats, and failures in our lives.

Climb Mountains

When in valleys set your eyes to mountain tops. A good way to do so is by actively embracing Christian principles and by accepting our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let him be your model for bearing your cross and transformation, for only through him, are you able to be wise. He’s the abundant One. With such perspectives you will view life differently. It’s renewed through faith in him, conversion, experiencing joys, and suffering.

Publisher and author, William Feather (1889 – 1981) wrote, “One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” In your journey, you will now live more compassionately, and after departing this world, be enjoying eternal salvation. This is how to have a purpose-filled life, for you would have ascended the summits of mountains.

People & Cultures

It’s recognized that some Godly nations have a variety of cultures. In this mix, there are identifiable characteristics in languages, ethnicity, social classes, status, and rank. But a commonality with these cultures is that they worship the same God, although not necessarily Christian, like those in the West. They are also diverse groups in cultures which share common characteristics. These aren’t homogeneous and may not be in the United States.

John Thune (b. 1961), U.S. senior senator from South Dakota and member of the Republican Party, observes,” I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it.” Although America is a predominantly Christian nation with diverse groups – some of which live in distinct ethnic areas, viz, Jewish, Italian, Irish, Hispanic, or Black, citizens still rally under its flag.

A Culture of Different Faces

American culture is exported around the world and global experts see it reaching a community of nations. One way it’s exported is through the mass media which not only present news and information 24/7, but sports, and Christian programs. These are via print, viz, books, newspapers, magazines, and newsletters – electronically, viz, satellite, radio, TV, cable, and the Internet.

With these media, America is able to share and exchange values about serving God, with other countries. Because of this phenomenon, tourism is flourishing, and citizens are able to communicate globally. Some visit religious and historic sites, worship in churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples, walk on beaches, play sports, and give thanks to their God.

Leslie Jamison (b. 1983), American novelist and essayist, feels, “Armchair poverty tourism has been around as long as authors have written about class. As an author, I have struggled myself with the nuances of writing about poverty without reducing any community to a catalog of its difficulties.” It’s true that some may see poverty stricken communities as problematic, while others rattle off statistics as though they know about poverty first hand. Poor people have going for them an important attribute, their love of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Travel and People

Saint Augustine (354 – 430 AD), early Christian theologian and philosopher, whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity, stated, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” It’s also true that if a person lives in one place he or she dwells in all places. Some monks, nuns, and hermits live austere lives locked away in monasteries and convents, worshiping, and serving their God. With the Holy Spirit, these blessed individuals are still enjoying fully their God-given lives on earth. Such devoutness are mystical experiences in a broken world.

In industrialized nations, travel is encouraged, and citizens take advantage of it, because it’s affordable. There are constraints on most of the more than 7.3 billion people worldwide, who live in villages, shanty towns, ghettos, rundown communities, and blighted urban areas. These poor people are concerned about the basics, like food to eat, clean water to drink, and in having homes. Some of the fortunate ones who are aware of these needs, may even decide to curtail their travels, and contribute their talent and treasure, to help the less fortunate.

Transportation and the Poor

It’s true that by adequate transportation, citizens are able to move from one place to another. In our modern world and even in America, some persons lack having adequate transportation, and aren’t able to pay the fare. Corrine Brown (b. 1946), U.S. Representative for Florida’s 5th congressional district, remarks, “States get to improve transportation infrastructure; that creates economic development, puts people back to work and, most importantly, enhances safety and improves local communities.” Everyone benefits from good infrastructure. Adequate public transportation especially, will go a long way in helping poor people and the unemployed. These improvements may well mean that they will be able to have work opportunities some distance away from their neighborhoods where they live.