About Me

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Davison, MI, United States
I am a middle child,born to middleclass parents.Two older brothers,one younger sister.I am married,and have 3 children, Elizabeth who is married and has 3 little boys. She is lucky enough to be able to stay home with them. Her husband, Alan is a Dr. of Physical Therapy. Jonathan who is single and has just finished college and is still trying to figure out life. Katherine, who had a brain tumor and died at the age of 11, 18 years ago.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly...

I have been struggling with how to write this post for well over a week. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to write about this, but the longer I put it off, the more I felt convicted that I needed to share. I even spoke to my pastor about what I was contemplating writing about and I asked for his permission to quote from his series that he just finished. He told me to go for it, that he trusted me.

 I am going to look at the past again; however, there is a purpose to it. This isn’t just a nostalgic stroll through my memories. This one is serious, so if you are looking for a happy trip down memory lane, then you might want to change the channel today. Please come back another day. However, if you have an open heart and mind, then I want to share with you what is on my mind.

About a week ago, I was listening to Pandora Radio. (For those of you that don’t know, this is a program that you can download onto your computer or device of choice. You get to pick the music. If all you want to listen to is Irish Folk music, then that is what you will be listening to). Well, I was listening to a category that I had set up that played folk music of the 60’s. A song started playing-If I Had A Hammer, sung by Peter,Paul and Mary. I have a feeling that some of you have no idea who this group is or what they did. You may even know that they were a folk trio from a long time ago.  Others of you know exactly who I am talking about.
An article dated 6/14/2006 published by the Associated Press stated, “Peter, Paul and Mary didn't just have hits-they gave voice to a social movement and sang some of the most iconic tunes in pop history including Blowin' In The Wind; Puff, the Magic Dragon and Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”

The April 12, 1996 issue of Goldmine Magazine published an article titled, Peter, Paul and Mary-A Song to Sing All Over This Land by William Ruhlman. Here is an excerpt-
“They were present at some of the most defining moments of the boomer generation, including the March on Washington in 1963. This was to be remembered for Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s, I Have A Dream speech. The nation was recovering from the McCarthy Era, the Cold War was becoming a very real fear; the Civil Rights Movement had started and along came this folk singing trio.”

During a time when certain singers/song writers like PeteSeeger, were still being black-listed from performing on television and other venues, this little trio sang his song, If I Had a Hammer. “Their breakthrough was a rousing number with great hooks and a memorable chorus and also a definite (yet not threatening) philosophical and political edge.”-Bruce Eder, Rovi. –“Their first album, self-titled was released in March, 1962. By the end of spring Lemon Tree had reached #35 on the charts and If I Had a Hammer was #10. It won a Grammy in 1963 for best performance by a folk group.

So, why am I telling you this musical history lesson? What does this have to do with anything going on today? Why should I care? In 1962 I sat in my living room, watching television and being mesmerized by a trio called Peter, Paul and Mary. I remember Mary’s white blonde hair swinging all over as she sang Lemon Tree, Blowin’ in the Wind, WhereHave All the Flowers Gone?  They ended with If I Had a Hammer.  I had never heard music like that and I had never seen anyone sing like that.  I knew that those songs weren’t just pretty little songs. They were speaking to me in a way that music had never done so before. They made me feel-sad, angry and feeling the need to do something. Their songs asked questions:
“…How many years can some people exist before they’re allowed to be free? Yes, how many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn’t see? The answer, my friend is blowin’ in the wind.”-Bob Dylan
“Where have all the flowers gone? Girls have picked them every one…  Where have all the young girls gone? Taken husbands every one…  Where have all the young men gone? Gone for soldiers every one… Where have all the soldiers gone? Gone to graveyards every one… Where have all the graveyards gone? Covered with flowers every one… When will they ever learn?...-Pete Seeger
“…It’s the hammer of justice, the bell of freedom and love between my brothers and my sisters all over this land.”-Lee Hays and Pete Seeger

Imagine being a third grader and getting the messages that those songs were telling. They moved me. They sang to me as if I needed to find the answers to the questions I heard.  I felt I needed to do something.

My computer search to find when they were on television has come up empty handed. I was sure that it must have been early in the morning on the Today Show with Hugh Downs, but nope. I have checked every biographical site that I could find on the Internet. I do not know when they appeared or what show they appeared on. I only know that my third grade heart was opened up on that day to social action.

The hunger games have recently brought the subject of injustice to light through the entertainment world. It is a fictional story. However, the issues that are raised are many of the same ones that have been raised for centuries and are issues we look at today.

So, again what does this have to do with today? Pastor Phil Owen (my pastor) has spent the last month speaking to us about Enough. He based the series on the Bible verse, found in the Old Testament, Micah 6:8- He has shown all you people what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. I immediately thought of Peter, Paul and Mary and the questions that they were asking…

More than Enough
Pastor Phil spoke about Justice and shared with us that many people in the U.S. are just plain unaware of the problems that most of the world faces. He shared that most people listening would have one of three reactions- Ignorance, Despair, or Fear. Talking about the issues that he covered in the series, he hoped that he would see people change their reactions from Ignorance to Awareness, from Despair to Hope, and from Fear to Courage.

“Did you know that 75% of all soccer balls are built in Pakistan? The workers are paid three times less than minimum wage, work up to seven days a week and often have their children working beside them.”

“For many of us the conversation of ‘justice’ feels like a difficult one. The questions of ‘How’ or ‘What Can I do?’ can stop us and before we know it we’re back to the ‘everyday’ and ‘ordinary’." -Phil Owen

Enough Is Enough
“Injustice is defined as the abuse of power and/or authority; taking from others the good God intended for them-life, freedom, dignity, fruits of labor, and fruits of love.”

“Yes, there are lots of examples of injustice in the scripture and Pastor Phil shared many of them with us-Cain killed Abel. Egyptians took the Hebrews liberty, dignity & well-being through slavery. King David stole Uriah’s wife & life. Ammon stole Tamar’s dignity, well-being & personal wholeness by raping her. Herod stole the lives of all boys of Bethlehem 2 years & younger. Religious leaders in Jerusalem abused their civil-religious power killing Stephen.”

"Human Trafficking is estimated to be a 32 Billion Dollar Annual industry. An estimated 27 Million people are in slavery today. 99% of these victims are NEVER rescued."

“Regard prisoners as if you were in prison with them. Look on victim of abuse as if what happened to them had happened to you.”-Hebrews 13:3

God is a God of Compassion, Wrath, Rescue.

Not Enough-Hunger
“The planet population is divided into three categories- First World Issues, Second World Issues, and Third Word Issues. There are approximately 7 Billion people on the planet, with less than 4.5% living in the United States. We won the lottery by living where we live. Take 25 people to represent the world’s population: Give 1 person a great meal, 4 people a meager meal, and 20 people bread only. One in seven people are constantly hungry. 15 million children die of hunger every year. Malnutrition is the underlying cause of many other diseases.”-Phil Owen

“Water is a big issue. 90% of deaths from poor water are children.  Bad water kills more children than any war.  This effects everything. They are living on less than $1 a day. The women and children walk three hours every day to bad water, collect it and carry it back to their families, all the while hoping that that they don’t get hurt or attacked by others while collecting the water. Every 19 seconds, a child dies from water related illnesses.”-Phil Owen

The story of Feeding 5000 in John 6:3 is told to help us gain a different perspective. The disciples needed to learn a different perspective.   

The story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25 points out that the one who showed him mercy was the Samaritan. Jesus tells us to go and do likewise.  As a follower of Christ, we live with a different perspective.

Their trust should be in the love of God, share with others in need. Be generous, show mercy.
We are called to be people of action.

That’s Enough

Do what is fair. Do right in the eyes of God.

"When justice becomes personal, everything changes."  Linda and Tom Mulanix went to Africa and Linda came back with a dream to help the orphans that she met while there.  As a result, Compassionate Life Foundation was created. El Shaddai Children’s Home takes in children that have no other place to go. There are over 100 children in need of help. For as little as $3 a day, you can feed, clothe and house a child. Since then, many others from our church and others have gone to Africa to help with building, painting, providing medical care, providing needed supplies, and money to help the children in that area of Swaziland, not only at El Shaddai, but the surrounding area.

Pastor Phil talked about Moses who was rescued from certain death. His mother unselfishly gave him a chance to be rescued and brought up in a lifestyle his mother could never give him. Then as an adult he was called on by God to rescue His people.

I have to thank Pastor Phil Owen for this material. He said it and I am sharing it. Why?  Because I feel that it is one way of getting the word out that there are people who are suffering because of being forced to work in inhumane situations, being paid substandard pay. People are suffering from Human Trafficking, being sold by their own family member to get some money to feed the rest of the family, being kidnapped and forced into labor or prostitution or armies. A young adult going to the promise of a job that turns out to be something else. There are parents that are frantic but don’t have the resources to go looking everywhere to find that child, that teen, that family member that they love. People are suffering from hunger and lack of clean drinking water.  Parents watch as their children get sick and they have no way of helping them because there is nothing, no food, no water, no medical care.

As a third grader, I wrote a letter to Governor George Wallace about how he was treated the people in his state. Segregation was openly being practiced and I wrote him a letter telling him I thought he was wrong and that he should stop. I even remember looking up in the encyclopedia how to address the envelope and I gave it to my mother to mail. I did not find out until I was an adult, that my mother did not mail the letter. She was afraid of the repercussions that might take place. I can understand her fears. They were real. Businesses and homes were firebombed by vigilantes down south. She was concerned about her family. At the time, I felt proud that I had stood up to a fascist bully. I spent my childhood and youth helping in mission issues at my church. I felt the need to do something.

Okay, by now you have probably turned the channel on me because this sounds like a Sally Struthers infomercial. I do feel passionate about this subject. I spent thirty years working for the Department of Social Services meeting and working with families in our own communities that fell into Category two-meager meals, and I have seen women and children that have little or nothing. Yes, I have seen cheating, stretched truths, but believe me when I tell you that the poor are among us. I have seen mothers cry because the home that they thought was safe, gave their child lead poisoning and that child is forever changed.

I guess, more than anything else, I want you to think about what you have, what you can do for someone else, and do it.

I have a list of resources, again provided by Pastor Phil and a few that were added by me, that are found if you hit the tab at the top of the page. They are by no means a complete list. They are a beginning. Think about what you can do today.

You learn all the right words, but you do nothing about it.”- James 2:14

 Rescued people, rescue people. Faith and works; Works and faith fit together like hand in glove.

“Salvation if free but discipleship will cost you your life.” –Dietrich Bonhoffer


Shelly said...

This really touched my heart. I especially like the scripture from James. Thank you for sharing!

Jill said...

Thank you Shelly. I really appreciate the time you took to read it. As you can tell, I feel passionate about this.