Youth Activism for a New Generation

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SAVE OUR EARTH!

On the Ides of March this year, young people around the world held climate strikes to protest what is happening to our environment on our beautiful planet.  It’s wonderful that today’s young people want to step up and do something to improve our beloved earth.  Certainly, our weary earth could use a little support together with some positive changes.  Along with the protests, I heard a few short clips of young people talking about why they were protesting.  Some of them said that climate change is the biggest current threat to human life.  One young lady was lamenting the condition of the world and her future.  She laid the blame on older generations and she said something to the tune of “We just want a world like you had.”

Her words struck me as (at best) uninformed.  Really?  You want the world that we had?  We had the Cuyahoga River filled with so much debris and pollution that it caught on fire.  We had so much air pollution that the skies over Detroit and many other major cities were red.  What we did not have was recycling programs or trash to energy plants.  We had Three Mile Island and superfund sites.  In our youth, we had rampant discrimination against blacks and lynchings.  We had Emmett Till, the Mississippi Burning civil rights murders, and the Birmingham Baptist Church murders.  Then we had the civil rights demonstrations where people were tear gassed and water cannoned.  We had the assassinations of Medgar Evers, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcom X.

We should never desire to go back in time or wish that we could have something other than our current situation.  Our generation made it possible for the new generation to worry about single use plastic bags, bottles, cups and boxes.  Our generation created recycling programs and trash to energy plants and closed down many nuclear power plants.  We demonstrated for civil rights and against the Vietnam War.  Although some of us embraced chemical fertilizers and GMO crops, others of us began organic gardening, seed saving and the Environmental Protection agency.  So, quit blaming the preceding generations.  Now it’s time for you to step up to the plate.

Your generation has awesome ideas.  Put all of your boundless energy to a positive use.  Many of your generation are creating ways to clean up the oceans, end the use of plastic bags in grocery stores.  Do some research.  Find out what the problems really are and create solutions that will not only work, but also add something positive to our earth.  Remember that you too will leave a legacy.  Leave one that you will feel proud of one day, and when your children reach their age of maturity, don’t let them tell you that they wish that they could have what you had.  Remind them that you had issues too and that you dealt with those issues and that they should not look back, but look forward and use their energy to solve the problems of their day.

Check out Regeneration International, a group that is not just going organic but is trying to leave the earth BETTER than it was before.  (https://regenerationinternational.org/)  We don’t have to continue to hack down our forests and destroy the earth with mountains of chemical fertilizers.  We can improve.  We can go one step further than previous generations.  You can.  You can do it, but don’t waste your precious energy blaming generations before you. They did their best.  They didn’t know what you now know about plastics.  Create something better.  It’s all inside you.  Let it grow.

A Cold and Snowy Winter

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This winter is keeping us on our prayer toes. Three consecutive Monday snow storms. So far I have missed teaching all three Mondays of my Monday/Wednesday evening class. That means nine hours of teaching time lost.  Even though it’s troublesome, the snow is beautiful. Perhaps these are some of the treasures of snow that God has reserved against the time of trouble. (Job 38 22) It is certainly unusual for us to have such a consistantly cold winter like this.

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Self Respect

I grew up outside of Detroit during the 50’s and 60’s.  When my sisters and I were young, my mother used to take us downtown Detroit once a year at Christmas time to see the window displays at the Hudson’s store, go shopping in the beautiful department store that Hudson’s was in those days and then to see a children’s concert.  My grandmother lived in Detroit then too.  She lived right next to the State Fairgrounds.  She had a beautiful rose garden and we loved to run around the slate paths in it and peer through the tall chain link fence into the fairgrounds.

Then came 1967 and the terrible riots in Detroit.  I remember being afraid when my dad went to get my grandmother and bring her home to stay with us during those terrible days.  There was so much destruction in Detroit then … and they never cleaned it up.  A few years later, my grandmother was able to buy a house in our small town and move out of Detroit.  Many other people had the same idea.  They called it white flight and my small town grew ever larger and wealthier as the white and the rich moved away from the city that had lost its self respect. Eventually, some sad young people started the horrifying tradition of burning houses on the night before Halloween, adding to the number of abandoned and uninhabitable homes in the city.

How can a city’s citizens have self respect in a city that has none?  People demonstrate that they have personal self respect by keeping themselves clean, dressing in a presentable manner, and behaving properly.  Why can’t a city do the same?  Detroit didn’t always have 78,000 abandoned buildings in it.  It started with a few hundred.  Why didn’t they clean them up before it got out of hand?  It’s demoralizing to live in a city that is so full of burnt out buildings.  How can people pull themselves up if everything around them is falling apart?

New York City at one time was not a pleasant city to visit.  It was dirty, sloppy and full of crime.  People had stopped caring.  Rudi Giuliani started aggressively cleaning up the city and focusing on crime reduction.  Some didn’t like it but eventually his policies paid off.  Detroit didn’t have a Giuliani to care enough about its people to clean it up.

Will a multi-billion dollar bailout help Detroit?  I propose that it will do nothing at all if no one in the city has enough self respect to clean it up.

I’m sure this is just one small aspect of a huge problem.  What do you think about self respect and how can Detroit get some?

Drought in the Midwest

The nightly news is replete with information about the record drought this summer.  It’s important to watch these stories because the reporters cover the story from a variety of angles. You can see many of the ramifications of such an historic summer.  As you watch the different segments of the story, it gives you ideas on who and what needs prayer.  The farmers, most definitely, but also the poor animals who are hungry and hot, the cows and the chickens.  Many professions are affected besides the farmers, including river boat pilots on the mighty Mississippi and other businesses that depend on it as a resource of some sort.  There is much to pray about this summer.

At the same time, we have to consider why this is happening.  Scripture tells us that the land is full of adulterers (it is) and that because of swearing the land mourns and the pleasant places are dried up (Jer 23:10).  In our modern world, our whole lifestyle is adulterated.  Even our crops are adulterated.  Scientists engineer the seeds that are sown in the ground and the companies that own the engineered seeds make sure that only their seeds are used.  God knows that the seeds were perfect and pure before all of the engineering.  He sees the bigger picture that the engineered seeds are not good for our bodies.  What is He to do?  He loves His creation but we are destroying, not only ourselves but others and the land with us.

The fertilizer required to maintain these engineered crops is running off into the ground water and in its turn is destroying the river that it runs into.  The mighty Mississippi carries this pollution into the Gulf of Mexico and vast regions of this beautiful body of water are now dead zones.  What is our Father to do?  You could say that instead of a green thumb, we have a black thumb that destroys everything that we touch.

God loves His creation the way He created it.  If you were God, what would you do to get the land to return to the way it should be?  So far, everything that mankind has tried hasn’t worked.  No one takes the naysayers and the protesters seriously.  Therefore, God HAS to send a strong message to the ones who are the most instrumental in its destruction.  What if the drought in the Midwest is actually a blessing?  An intial thrust of change in the way things are done?  God is certainly drawing attention to this most critical area of our country and showing us the value of this rich farm land.  We need to return it to its pristine beauty of only a few short centuries ago.  It is entirely possible to reverse what we have done to the land.  God always gives us a way out.  He tells us multiple times in the Old Testament that if we turn our hearts to Him, He will hear and heal our land.

God’s way is the perfect way.  His garden was the perfect one.  We can turn back the clock of destruction by turning back to our Father and letting His way be true.

The Solution to our environmental problems

A friend recently posted a very heart wrenching video on youtube about the environment.  As I write these sentences, more and more of the Amazon rain forest is being destroyed.  More of the world’s oceans are being polluted.  The runoff from the large industrial farms in the American midwest is producing dead zones in large sections of the Gulf of Mexico.  Right now, nuclear power facilities in Japan are in jeopardy of failing.  So much of what God created is being destroyed.  Many species of plants and animals are disappearing from off this earth forever.  The question is: what can be done about it?  Why don’t we try to stop it?

If you examine these problems and try to understand what is causing them, you have to see that they are all eventually caused by greed, selfishness and hate.  The greed of large corporations for more profits leads to a lot of our global pollution and environmental destruction.  However, it’s too easy to put all the blame on large corporations or some nameless face in the corporate world.  The greed starts here at home.  How am I still greedy?  How am I still selfish?  How much hate do I still have resident in me?  It’s hard to look at myself and see all of those things that I hate in others, but that’s where it starts and, as the famous phrase points out, ‘the buck stops here.’

Jesus told us to get the beam out of our own eye before we try to get the mote out of someone else’s eye.  How can I see clearly unless I get that thing out of myself?  Ultimately, I have no control over others.  I can’t force them to change themselves.  The only one I can change is me.  However, if we all take that step to get rid of the things inside of us that are in opposition to God’s heavenly kingdom, then that kingdom can be established on this earth.  Then we will see the deserts blossom as a rose and the knowledge of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror.  I’m asking him to change his ways and no message could have been any clearer.  If you wanna make the world a better place take a look at yourself, and then make a change.”  It’s too easy to sing the song and think that those are pretty words.  I think Jesus would agree with that, but he would say, Go out and DO that.  GO and sin no more.