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The moral character of our country is at stake and how YOU vote in November will speak volumes about you and your own character.

The following was written by John Pavlovitz who eloquently expresses my views.

VOTE

At times in this life, it can be a challenge to figure out who the bad people are, but sometimes they help you.

Sometimes they do the work for you.

Sometimes with their every vulgar, bitter word from their mouth, they testify to their personal malignancy and they make it easy to identify them.

Generally speaking, there are things that good people do and things good people don’t do.

Good people don’t refer to entire countries as “shitholes”—most notably countries that have given birth to our very humanity; ones that, for hundreds of years, have been colonized and poached and mined of their riches by powerful white men; countries whose people have been enslaved and sold and forced to come and build your country.

Good people by any measurement we might use—simply don’t say such things.

Of course, good people also don’t say they could grab women by the genitalia, either.

They don’t defend racists and Nazis and call them “fine people,” days after murdering a young girl and terrorizing an American city.

They don’t brag about their penis size during debates, or suggest protestors at campaign rallies should be roughed up, or crack jokes about captured war heroes, or make fun of the physically disabled.

They don’t.

Good people don’t tweet anti-Muslim rhetoric in the moments immediately following a bombing in order to bolster a position.

They don’t leave American territories filled with brown-skinned people without power for months upon months, after publicly ridiculing their public servants and questioning their people’s resolve.

They don’t pull children from the arms of their parents and place them in cages and detention centers.

They don’t erase protections for the water and the air for the elderly, the terminally ill, and the LGBTQ.

They don’t take away healthcare from the sick and the poor without an alternative.

They don’t gouge the working poor and shelter the wealthy.

They don’t abuse their unrivaled platform to Twitter-bait world leaders and to taunt private citizens.

Good people don’t prey upon the vulnerable, they don’t leverage their power to bully dissenters, and they don’t campaign for sexual predators.

But this President is not a good human being, and there’s simply no way around this truth.

He is the ugliest personification of the Ugly American, which is why, as long as he is here and as long as he represents this nation, we will be a fractured mess and a global embarrassment. He will be the ever lowering bar of our legacy in the world.

And what is painfully obvious in these moments, isn’t simply that the person alleging to lead this country is a terrible human being—it is that anyone left still defending him, applauding him, justifying him, amening him, probably is too.

At this point, the only reason left to support this President is that he reflects your hateful heart; he shares your contempt of people of color, your hostility toward outsiders, your toxic misogyny, your ignorant bigotry, your feeling of supremacy.

A white President calling countries filled with people of color shitholes, is so far beyond the pale, so beneath decency, and so blatantly racist, it shouldn’t merit conversation. It should be universally condemned. Humanity should be in agreement in abhorring it.

And yet today (like so many other seemingly rock bottom days in the past twelve months) they will be out there: white people claiming to be good people and Christian people, who will make excuses for him or debate his motives or diminish the damage.

They will dig their heels in to explain away or to defend, what at the end of the day is simply a bad human being saying the things that bad human beings say because their hearts harbor very bad things.

No, good people don’t call countries filled with beautiful, creative, loving men and women shitholes or do most of the horrible things he does.

And good people don’t defend people who do.

You’re going to have to make a choice here.

John Pavlovitz is a writer, pastor, and activist from Wake Forest, North Carolina. In the past four years his blog “Stuff That Needs To Be Said” has reached a diverse worldwide audience. A 20-year veteran in the trenches of local church ministry, John is committed to equality, diversity, and justice—both inside and outside faith communities. In 2017, he released his first book, A Bigger Table. His new book, Hope and Other Superpowers, arrives November 6th.

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Frankly I Wish you wouldn't - PIC

Bill Kemp
October 27 at 7:14 PM

Frankly, I wish you wouldn’t come.

We are in grief, here in Pittsburgh. Not just because of the number dead, or the fact that it happened during worship, but because many of us consider Squirrel Hill to be Pittsburgh’s most beautiful neighborhood — a short, busy strip of stores surrounded by places of worship, stately old homes, and the trees — yes, the trees — an arborist’s delight. Didn’t the killer know that when he entered the Tree of Life Synagogue, he was stealing this particular moment of beauty that all of us Pittsburghers share when fall arrives, and children rustle the yellow, red, and orange leaves; these gifts from previous generations who wisely respected God’s creation enough to plant trees.

Faith teaches us to put down deep roots into our respective traditions, but also to branch out in love for our neighbors. The block where Forbes and Murray meet, is lined with successful shops owned by immigrants from around the world. It is a community that mirrors Pittsburgh’s respect for diversity.

A mile away from the Tree of Life, a diverse group of medical researchers work together to bring about healing — a collaboration that depends upon a steady stream of talent arriving from Africa and the Middle East. At nearby Carnegie Mellon University, engineering classes focus on using technology to develop sustainable energy systems and efficient public transportation, things that don’t seem to interest you, Mr. President.

If you wish to continue to divide the world into winners and losers, Americans first and sh_ hole countries last, then please don’t come. You won’t understand the spirit of the place.

A few weeks ago, you declared yourself to be a “nationalist.” It seemed strange at the time. Obviously, you wanted the White Nationalist base of your party to notice. Well, one of them did. You may have many Jewish friends and even one as a son-in-law, but you haven’t bothered to learn the link between nationalism and antisemitism. Please don’t come to Pittsburgh and speak. Nothing you say will comfort us until you learn that words matter.

The news had barely sunk in and you were offering advice. You thought it made sense to support the death penalty. Most mass murders would agree with you. These shooters seem to desire to die in a blaze of glory, taking down as many first responders as they can in the process. You also said that there should have been an armed guard there. Like most religious communities, including some that I have served, Tree of Life, had less than one hundred in attendance. I can’t imagine the congregation’s leadership appreciating your input.

Before you come to Pittsburgh, at least take a moment to understand our history. We are in the heart of coal country. Our houses often settle and crack, or sometimes even collapse altogether, because coal mining companies have raped the very ground beneath our feet. As a child I suffered from asthma. Our region still has a high rate of respiratory diseases related to the burning of coal.

There was a day when laundry couldn’t be left out to dry on the line here, because coal dust would turn it grey. But we Pittsburghers have put those days in the past. We are busy growing green economy here, or haven’t you noticed?

You say today’s tragedy, as well as last week’s bombings, are the works of isolated mad men. We have read what they post on their social media accounts and what you post on twitter. It is hard to tell who is who, except they tend to spell better. Until you can see the connection between their madness and yours, please don’t speak to us.

Frankly, you scare us more than they do. We see you breaking things; big things like healthcare, nuclear arms treaties, international trade deals, and reasonable plans to limit greenhouse gases. I wish you wouldn’t.

Why don’t you stay home and read a book?

Sincerely,
Bill Kemp

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Is It Too Soon?

candle

Is it too soon to talk about gun control…?

or should we wait for the next mass murder?

VOTE

– like your life depends on it!!

May the eleven beautiful souls who were slaughtered in cold blood by a very bad man with a gun, rest in eternal peace. . .

 

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To speak truth to power takes enormous courage and strength because in front of you exists a mass of threat, abuse and hurtful lies against you.

In an attempt to silence you, you will be demeaned, undermined, attacked, blamed and ignored. Yet never forget…

“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world.”

 Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

 

I Was Molested at Age 15

I was 15 years old. I was at a relative’s wedding reception at the home of the bride. I was in an upstairs room viewing the gifts that were on display. I was alone. A man came up from behind me, aggressively turned me around and forcefully thrust his tongue into my mouth with a long French kiss. I was shocked at first and then tried to pull away, but he had a firm hold on me.

 

Upon releasing me he said, “Remember, this is our secret,” falsely implicating that I was a willing participant, and then he went downstairs to joyfully socialize with the married couple and their guests. The man was the Catholic priest who had just married them.

 

I was stunned. I stood there frozen with confusion, trying to process what had just happened to me. I couldn’t. It didn’t make sense. I remember going down the stairs, joining my parents and remaining silent. I watched the priest being adored by the people surrounding him. I remember the jovial social laughter. I remember feeling disconnected from it all as if I was in a bubble.

 

This salacious “secret” remained in that bubble for many, many years. I told no one, not even my closest friend or my loving, supportive parents. I wasn’t ashamed because knew I had done nothing whatsoever to provoke being molested, but for reasons I did not understand, I remained silent.

 

Perhaps it was the dominant male culture, or that he was a priest, or because he was loved by all or because there were no witnesses and it was my word against his, or because I was young and innocent to the ways of the world. I don’t know why I, a very independent, outspoken, confident girl (even at 15) remained silent…but I did.

 

In the many years following, I occasionally revisited that experience and when I did, I pushed it back into the protective bubble. It was not until the scandal surrounding the Catholic priests molesting children became public that a long held anger welled up within me. The bubble burst! Reality hit. I, too, had been physically and sexually VIOLATED! It was NOT okay and I would no longer remain silent.

 

I immediately called my relative, (the bride), and asked for the priest’s name and contact information and she told me he had died. It was too late to get him, but not too late for me to stand up for those who have experienced any form of sexual molestation.

 

I was one of the luckier ones. I was not raped nor did he attempt to rape me. I was not forced into other sexual acts like so many countless millions…yes…millions of others who have suffered at the hands of men who feel they have a right to use and abuse the vulnerability of others for their own satisfaction.

 

If you have never experienced any form of sexual molestation, and if you do not believe a woman remembers who did it, then you need to shut up and listen, because you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

 

I remember that priest’s face as if he were standing in front of me right now. He was a complete stranger, but I KNEW who did it. I do not remember arriving or leaving the reception. I do not remember anything more about the house and I have no idea of the address.

I do remember the stairs, the upstairs room, the wedding gifts on display on a large table, that I was wearing my favorite light blue dress, AND seared in my memory is the attack.

 

There is not a woman alive (or a man) who does not remember who violated them. You do NOT forget that kind of thing. You do NOT confuse that person with someone else. You KNOW who did it and you will remember him for the rest of your life.

 

I have not forgotten a vulgar, unwanted French kiss and I cannot imagine how anyone could have the audacity and ignorance to challenge the memory of a clearly courageous, credible woman who has experienced the violence of an attempted rape.

 

Virtually everyone who heard Christine Blasey Ford’s account of the sexual attack on her, admits that she gave a very credible, compelling accounting. She was not making it up. Clearly, it has had a profound negative impact on her life as her therapist notes from several years ago validate. There is not one single person on the Senate judicial committee who does not believe that she experienced a traumatic event.

 

To not believe her is like victimizing her all over again. I cannot even imagine how I would have felt  had I spoken up as a 15 yr. old and not been believed.

This is NOT a political issue for me. To politicize this outrageous, painful event is disgusting. To mock Dr. Ford publicly at a political rally as Trump has done is disgusting, But even more disgusting are the people who clapped and cheered in support.

Worst of all are those on both sides of the Senate (once deemed to be the most distinguished body of leaders in the world) who blatantly disregarded her testimony, some even before hearing her.

 

However, of the 51 Republican senators, it appears only 3 (two of whom are women) think she “might” be telling the truth when she identifies Kavanaugh as the attacker. All of the others believe she is confused, messed up, mixed up, or is lying for political purposes and is mistaken when she accuses Kavagnaugh.

 

Of the 49 Democrats, 46 of them believe her. Three (one of whom is a woman) are “unsure” of Dr. Ford’s testimony when she says she is 100% certain Judge Kavagnaugh was the sexual perpetrator.

 

I absolutely believe her. I KNOW you never forget someone who violates you, especially an attack like she experienced — in a locked room with two male predators, trapped beneath one who was sexually grinding against her while trying to remove her clothes…and covering her mouth so not only could she not scream, but also could not breathe. You do not forget who those people are.

 

YOU DO NOT FORGET!!

 

Do you remember who you were with when you lost your virginity? You bet you do and I hope it was a respectful, mutually condoned experience. Now, ask anyone who has been sexually molested (an extremely negative, sometimes terrifying event) if they remember who did it. There will not be one…not ONE (not even Kellyanne Conway) who will tell you they don’t remember, not ONE who will be confused or mixed up. They remember who did it. THEY KNOW.

 

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford KNOWS…

 

I KNOW…and I absolutely believe her.

 

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth against injustice and lying… If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”

William Faulkner

 

Please forward this to everyone you know!!!

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Gone, But Not Forgotten

I did not agree with a lot of John McCain’s politics. However, I have always respected him as a man who was dedicated to serve his country. He always put principle, duty and honor above party. He was honest, admitted when he was wrong and had a sense of decency.

 

As one who cared about the reputation and standing of the United States on the world stage, he did not regularly denigrate entire populations of specific countries or support white supremacists. He governed with integrity – not hate and fear.

 

He respected women and regularly mentored them to success. He never bullied people nor did he mock and bully the weak and vulnerable. He was a good and decent man with a conscience who lived with high moral standards.

 

John McCain showed more character in one day as a prisoner of war than Trump has in his entire life.

 

He asked that Barack Obama and George W. Bush speak at his funeral at the Washington National Cathedral and stated that he did not want Trump to even attend.

I hope you’re you paying attention to moral leadership my friends, because the Republican Congress is not.

 VOTE in November 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“The only time you ever have in which to learn anything or see anything or feel anything or do anything . . . the only time you ever have to express any feeling or respond to any event or any person, is this moment because this moment is all you ever get. You’re only here now. You’re only alive in this moment.”

 

 John Kabat-Zin

 

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

 

There are two days of the week which we should not worry. Two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

 

One of these days is yesterday, with all its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a single word we said.

 

Yesterday is gone forever.

 

The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow, with all its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance.

 

Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.

 

Tomorrow’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds – but it will rise. It’s guaranteed. Until it does, however, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.

 

This only leaves one day – TODAY. Any man can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you add the burdens of those two awful eternities – YESTERDAY and TOMORROW that we break down.

 

It is not the experience of TODAY that drives men mad – it is remorse and bitterness for something that has happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.

 

Let us, therefore, live but one day at a time.

 

~ Author Unknown

“Remember this . . . there is only one time that is important – NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time we have power.”

 

Leo Tolstoy

 

Thank you to Derek Bailey, for sharing this important message with us.

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“He was not bone and feather, but a perfect idea of freedom and flight, limited by nothing at all”
Richard BachJonathan Livingston Seagull

To Fly

To Fly…

Not as if to fly away,

But to fly with courage, strength and power.

Oh, To Fly…

Not as a small helpless sparrow,

Nor with the crudeness of a vulture.

To Fly…

As an eagle,

Graceful, beautiful and strong.

Oh, to Fly…

To laugh at the raging waters below,

To glide through the storms with the lightning and thunder.

To dance with the waves that crash on the shore.

To soar along the sweet fragrances of the flowers within the deepest valley floors.

Oh, to Fly…

Commanding respect from all creatures, both great and small.

O Friend, Dear Friend,

The future is yours,

Take hold of all the beauty, splendor and magnificence.

Come Fly…

Come taste the freedom and wonder.

Come Fly

Beyond your own narrow horizons,

Stretch your beautiful wings,

Discover the power and strength that lie within.

And when it’s time to rest and be still,

Hold your head high and receive the respect that is yours.

 

Remember my friend,

All the beauty, dignity and strength that is yours.

Do not be afraid to spread your beautiful wings to soar.

Fly…

Fly above and beyond,

Your future is vast, abundant and free.

 

The 1st Advanced Course    August 1-5

The 2018 Basic Courses:       Sept. 14. 15, 16 and 24/Follow Up night

                                                Nov. 9, 10, 11 and 26/Follow Up night

For more information regarding Self Mastery courses, email martha@marthaborst.com or call Martha @ (707) 433-2282

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