Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Joel Osteen in Yankee Stadium: A Night of Hope

A week or so ago, I watched Joel and Victoria Osteen at Yankee Stadium in their "Night of Hope." Tonight, the program is being re-aired. So many things come to mind as I watch programs of this sort. I have made it a point lately to watch several TV pastors to find out what their messages are during these times in which we are being bombarded with negative news and these times in which some of us fear the direction of slavery into which we see our nation moving. All - each and every pastor of every ethnic ancestry that I have watched - each one has a message of hope. They all have a message that we can all forgive those who may be our detractors or those who may somehow wish to control us or have been abusive. They also have a message of forgiveness. We are humans and, for myself, I am weak and not nearly strong enough to see through the abuse. It has been my experience to try to look at it differently and to try to find another way to change my attitude and know - through faith - perhaps there are other issues in play that I cannot know and don't need to know. It is difficult to avoid having negative attitudes but maybe when you find yourself confronted with detractors, you may be providing them with the one place or person they can attack with impunity. You have given them a "mission" which is to detract you. Perhaps that is the time to consider that your work provides them with a place where they can vent their general anger and frustration. You may just be their release valve; their life preserver to hang on to because of the "cognitive dissonance" that must be bothering so many at this time. I am reminded of a lady who rented apartments and rooms back when the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed. She was happy as were many of us. Her problem came when a white couple wanted to rent one of her apartments. She was furious to learn that they had "civil rights" too and, yes, she had to rent to them. Off topic - maybe not. When we place our "hopes and dreams" on government, we soon learn that government has a vested interest in "keeping us down and divided." But back to Joel and faith... Joel is speaking of finding our individual "divine destiny." And that is to find support through faith and recognize when to overlook the detractors because it is easy to find fault with each other whom we know personally, and it is easy to take out our frustrations upon those whom we know personally and it is easy for those who know us personally to hurt or attack us personally. But we each need to "step into our destiny", forgive our detractors, and carry on. So, I have a request for those of you in New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Finland, Denmark, Japan, South America, North America, and Christians in Indonesia especially who are suffering mightily - those who are being oppressed and some even being destroyed - continue your struggles if you can for the continuation of your culture and on a personal note, for my friend who lost her husband last year and for my friend who lost her daughter to her daughter's confusion and suicide, and for my dear friend who lost her daughter a few years ago - I don't have the words - I hope you are finding the strength through family and friends to see you through. Recently, a personal friend lost her husband of many years. We all learn to cope as best as we can. I cannot use the names of the people I'm going to mention now but I ask you to keep them in your prayers: First is a lady whose name begins with the letter "J" - she and her husband faced her diagnosis of breast cancer a few years ago. The doctors did their best and the lady went through therapy. The cancer was gone. And now, just recently, "J" and her husband learned that the cancer has returned. The prognosis is not "good." Another is a young woman whose name begins with "S". She was diagnosed with cancer and doctors at MCV said they would not treat her because her case was "terminal" but they would give her the name of a local oncologist who might want to try. This woman doctor said, "We'll try. Let's try therapy for one round and see what happens." Somehow, the tumor coming through my young friend's back and also the tumors in her lungs shrunk. "S" is doing better but still there is no telling if the treatment will continue to be successful. And finally, I have a friend whose name begins with a "W". He has a wonderful wife and family who provide the best support that they can. "W" is receiving therapy treatments and he is a humbling example of courage and faith. To be with "W" and his wife is an honor and a joy. The therapy is working. The miracle is that "W" is a model and an example for everyone who knows him and comes into contact with him. His physical condition is not the center of his life. He is kind to people with whom he comes into contact and he has an inner strength and humility that is apparent in his eyes and upon his face. To know this man and his wife is an honor, a joy, and humbling. Doctors and research doctors are working to find and to develop the means to "cure" cancer in all of its varieties. But their success will not and cannot come through research alone - even Steven Hawking said something to the effect that there was more in this universe that could not be explained. I don't recall if Hawking said there is a God but I seem to recall that the highly insightful scientists or mathematicians or researchers seem to acknowledge that there is something greater than themselves and greater than what they can explain. The friends I mentioned need our prayers, just as do the friends of yours who are challenged; and the medical researchers - especially those who do not see beyond their research - need prayers that they will be given the insight and the inner direction to use their training and, yes, their intuitive guidance coupled with that training and expertise, so that they can be led to the cures to cure so many diseases that cause so much suffering. And don't overlook the insight found in "dreams", the insight that wakes you up in the middle of a sound sleep, and the light goes on and says, "Yep, that's it." Some people see the hand of God around us; some people don't - but whether a person does or whether a person doesn't, that does not prove that God does not exist. When our detractors come as they certainly will, to point out our errors and to find fault with us almost to the point of fixation, I am reminded of what a friend once said, "If you are distracted by minute things that are easy to criticize, you may be missing the point." Thank you for the prayers you might pray for my friends. I hope you and your friends have support that helps you in times of challenge. If you have the time and inclination, watch Joel Osteen in Yankee Stadium for his "Night of Hope." He may have a word or two that will be uplifting and motivating for you. And from Beer N Sandwiches, another video: A Factory for Jihad Fighters. Why do I include this here in this "Night of Hope" - to illustrate a stark contrast between the message of "A Night of Hope" and the message of one imam's view of the mosque as the "factory of Jihad fighters." How do we reconcile these views and how do we meet the hatred? How do we move forward with faith in the face of such hatred directed at us? Joel Osteen says, "Share our gifts with the world." He is speaking upliftment, not hatred or fear. How do we maintain our freedom and how do we face the hatred? Prayer and faith plus action? Action based in faith? None of us are perfect... It may be difficult for some to imagine that before the 650's AD, the lower Mediterranean was primarily peopled by Christians and those of the Hebrew / Jewish faiths. It was not until Mohammed found after 10 years or so of trying to recruit converts peacefully that he needed to change his tactics for bringing people to Allah - he found tribal warlords who liked to join forces for pillage and plunder and he changed to "conversion through the sword." Of course, no religion is free from blood-stained hands. We all know that. I read recently in the Economist that the 21st Century was to be one of bloodshed and warring of religions. We need to find upliftment. Joel also says now, "Don't allow your friends to drag you down." We have challenges before us... God bless you and keep you safe... Joel is also saying, "Keep your heart open to God in your life..." Like generations before us, we face challenging times but there are ways through. I have moved a bit on topics but I find them all inner-connected. Today has been a day of a blinding and pain-filled migraine. Nothing I can do about them; have had them for decades and they will run their course. I hope that if you are able to read this near stream-of-consciousness, you will know that we have to find ways to cope, to face those who would harm us - especially here at home - and we can see this through. As a "friend" pointed out to me recently, this little blog is meaningless and useless; my life and energy spent here is not important - don't I know that people die and their lives make no difference - that I should "lighten" up. I wish I could lighten up like Ann Coulter does. Now she is down-right funny. But today is the migraine's day. I only wanted to share with you that Joel Osteen's night at the new Yankee Stadium is being replayed and that we are finding ourselves targeted by some very radical folks who want to destroy us and they are serious and they are indiscriminate - they want to destroy us all: liberals, conservatives, straights, gays whom they simply follow the Quran on that issue, men, women, and children of the infidel. They are not opposed to taking the lives of innocent men, women, and children who are not infidels. We live in interesting times - so said by every generation. Taking heed of the good that surrounds us is not lightening up to me; it is being thankful. Sorry for the migraine but I've learned the hard way to let them run their course. Even they release their hold over time...

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