Reflections for the New Year!


†††† It is the New Year, and our best wishes go out to all of you who have visited and share in our vision of peace and love.


†††† As we start this New Year, the fourth in the 21st century, maybe it is time to reflect on the directionwe as Americans have chosen to take.It would seem that in a nation which claims to be Christian (80% last poll I seen) that there is somethingvery wrong.It certainly seems that the message of Jesusí Gospel and the themes of the Christmas season are not the priority of a vast number of voters in this nation.†† There is a new sense of patriotism and pride in America, but is it the America founded in the ideals of justice, truth and equality for all men?


†††† This is an election year where we choose that which will represent our ideals.In looking at the past three years, we would be irresponsible if we did not challenge the moral and ethical leadership now in power.It seems that a great many Americans are being duped by a sense of patriotism that is being manipulated to serve ideals that are contrary to the American value system at the least; and, are an insult to the Gospel message preached by Jesus Himself.


††† The administration talks of values and morals and their reestablishment in government; but, they are chronic in their abuse of one of the greatest pet peeves of Jesus --- that being hypocrisy.They talk of freedom at home, but have done more to undermine freedom than any other administration in my lifetime.They talk of binging freedom to Iraq, but Bremmer oversees all that goes on, they invade homes, they dole out contracts to their supporters, and they dictate the terms of an Iraqi constitution.Seems they forget that Iraq is the cradle of civilization.They talk about caring for the average person, while their policies fuel layoffs, favor the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, create huge debt for the children of America, and ignore concerns for the environment.They sing the praises for our troops, but their fiscal actions towards veterans do not correspond with what they proclaim.They accuse others of lies, while they deceive themselves. They lay claim to the moral high ground representing freedom and goodness, but their legacy has been death, destruction and chaos as the result of their leadership.

††† And the deceit is an absolute outrage and yet the accountability is almost none.They led us into a war, where people still continue to die, with assertions and misrepresentations that cannot be substantiated.†† No weapons of mass destruction, no ties to 9-11, no nuclear program, and no serious threat to the American people.They mislead the people andthe congress.†† The price was lives, and yet hardly an eyebrow was raised, yet alone, any attempt to hold accountable the outrage of such immoral, if not in fact illegal, activity.

†††† They have used the tragedy of 9-11 to play on our fears.Used it to undermine constitutional freedoms, used it to invade nations,†† used it to shamelessly pursue their own agenda, and used it to label anyone who dares challenge their policies as unpatriotic.In many ways so many of us have given in to the terrorists who reeked havoc on that day, for out of fear we have allowed our way of life and our ultraistic ideals to be undermined seemingly almost without question.We stand by while corporations profit, some shamelessly, while our armed forces fight and die!


††† Until George W Bush, Americaís emphasis has always been based upon the principles of justice for all, innocence until proven guilty, and the equality of all men in the eyes of Almighty God. While they have not always been adhered to, those were the ideals most Americans strived to hold their leaders accountable for.We stood for diversity of thought and strived for a nation of tolerance toward all men, and tended to move in that direction in the 20th century. ††We stood for freedom and opportunity and welcomed those from other nations who sought out our way of life. Our stated policy was one of non-aggressive, defending our way of life only when attacked or asked to help others.We held our leaders accountable, and when we were led into a questionable war we challenged our leaders until they seen the error or their ways.We were respected and looked to as leaders of the free world, by nations all over the globe.Our ideals were promoted by example, our ingenuity, and our progress; not by our arrogance and military might. We were champions for peace, and strived to solve conflicts with intelligence and dialog over the sword.

††† Yes, these ideals were challenged on that tragic September Day, but it seems even more tragic that so many have turned to revenge, fear, and aggression as the answer to such hatred. That there are not louder voices defending justice and striving to hold this administration accountable for its misinformation and secrecy. Thousands have paid with their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq and hundreds of Americans in the pursuit of two men, one of which still runs free.ThePresidentwho proclaims the sacredness of families has turned them upside down by removing men and women from their children for military service that was not necessary,often creating economic hardship on them in order to pursue causes that were born in deceit and have not achieved any positive results.Afghanistan is in shambles,Iraq the same, and we are probably less safe now than before as we fuel the cause of hatred and play into thehands of the enemies of†† peace, freedom, and justice.

††† We call for justice about the events of 9-11, but what justice is there for the thousands of innocent people who have died in our revenge and conquest.Have we learned nothing from the Israeli conflict?Hatred only fuels hatred, and death and destruction only reaps more death and destructions --- in the words of Jesus, ďyou shall reap what you sow.

†††† For a man who once claimed Jesus to be his hero, one must ask the question:If Jesus were advising the administration, would he be advising the policies we have pursued?Spirituality is not about what we profess to believe in our words, it is about what we do in our actions!Godís will is not delivered through our weapons, but rather from our hearts and minds.The Christian ideal is not one of revenge, but one of forgiveness.Godís representative does not reside on Pennsylvania Avenue, but in the hearts and minds of those dedicated to peace, equality and love.

††† The problems that have been created in Iraq are not easily solved, but the present policy seems to be a folly.We need to work more closely with other nations of the world, particularly Arab nations that understand the culture and people of a land far different than our American culture.We need to listen as well as dictate.The real weapons against terrorists are in regaining American respect and in cooperating with the rest of the world --- in demonstrating our ability to truly respect and tolerate diversity --- in fixing the hypocrisy in our own land. †††


††† And at home what of our way of life.The standard of living diminishes for many Americans.Living wage jobs continue to disappear from our society and are replaced by exploitive low wage jobs.Educational costs continue to rise making them unaffordable to so many at a time when it is needed more than ever.Corporations pollute, price gouge in the food stores and gas pumps, and even exploit the taxpayer taking advantage of the conflicts which plague our nation. Census shows that the rich are getting richer and the numbers of poor and homeless grows. These things have nothing to do with people unwilling to try, but are more related to the ever decreasing opportunities.Tax cuts are useless to those who have no income to tax.Fiscal policy is geared toward those who ďhaveĒ with empty promises given to those who have not or just getting by!

††† We have been deceived into thinking the burdens of so many of the elderly have been lifted by new rules in Medicare, but let us use logic may friend, the burdens that remain are extensive for those who just pass the threshold of poverty.And, how many are neglected in our health care system because they fall between the cracks.†† We are spending hundreds of billions of dollars to kill people but cannot seem to find the money to solve our health care problems at home.

††† There is a lot of talk about the rights of the unborn, but what about the rights of the born!Children are homeless in America, many are unloved, many go to bed hungry every night.Children are deprived of their parents because of an economic system that demands both parents be out of the home.And, this is without even beginning to mention the conditions around the rest of the world.And how many parents have been deprived of their children due to the current conflict that was rooted in deception?And, what of the policies now in regards to the futures of our children --- their educational opportunities, their ability to earn a decent living in the future, the ability to drink clean water and breath clean airĒ?We owe it to our children to give careful consideration to what our leadership is doing and how it will effect them?


††† It seems that the ideal about looking out for oneís neighbor (by neighbor we mean fellow human being) has become a dying ideal in America.It has been replaced by a narcissism that eats away at the American Ideal like a cancer in our society.Yet, the cold truth is, we cannot ever begin to look out for our own interest until we consider what is being done to others; for the problems your neighbor has today could very well be yours tomorrow.

††† America, under the present leadership is becoming what we once despised.The leadership is arrogant and seeks to proclaim good and evil.Our president in so many words has proclaimed that those who disagree with our thinking are to be considered our enemies, yet, America was built on diversity of opinion.We have set the precedent to launch an aggressive war on suspicion alone.Our leadership waves the banner of freedom while they dictate how others are to govern themselves.At home, our freedoms continue to be undermined under the guise of our protection, and there is move underfoot to regulate certain personal sexual choices.Our government becomes more and more secretive limiting public scrutiny.Our media seems to question less and less often choosing the sensational over the relevant.


††† If we would only reflect, inform ourselves and look to history we would quickly recognize the danger signs that flash along the road we pursue.In the past, dictatorships were launched from the circumstances that surround us.When a country has a secretive and deceitful leadership with weak opposition you have a recipe for disaster.Despite appearances, no matter how we slice it, the current president was not duly elected --- but rather effectively declared president by the Supreme Court in a questionable election at best.


††††† As God loving people we have a responsibility to examine what is taking place: a responsibility before God, to ourselves, to our neighbor and to our children.

†††† A big part of the problem here is not in the support this man has, but in the apathy of so many voters.The simple truth is his supporters vote and to often those who do not support him remain silent.Such is the way of a democracy where corrupt governments are often born.

††† Another problem is that religions are often one dimensional in their support for a candidate.They only look to one issue like homosexuality, abortion, prayers in schools and such.While these items might be important to a particular faith, Godís will is truly manifested when the needs of people are served, when peace among all men is the objective, when there is opportunity for dignity for all human beings, when we respect and cherish all the creation that gives us life.We need to look for leaders that will work towards those ends the best we can in the framework of what we have built.The point is that we need to resolve this year to be informed and get out and vote, which is a responsibility to your faith as well as your country.†† If we truly love America we need to do our best to protect our freedoms and altruistic ideals.

†††† The greatest threat to any democracy often comes from within --- sometimes from its own leadership.It is born in the citizenís inattentiveness.The threat grows on propaganda and misinformation.It feeds on the peopleís fears, voter apathy, and a false sense of patriotism.It is a conqueror that has raised its ugly head in many republics throughout history.Unless citizens hold their leaders accountable, remain informed, demand openness, participate in elections, and remain diligent: people run the risk of loosing their freedoms they hold so dear.


††† We at the Eclectic Church pray that God inspires our leaders, current and potential, to change our direction to seek more honorable and loving goals.We pray for our men and women in the armed services who have given and risk their lives in a conflict that truly could have been avoided.We pray for those in need and ask Godís help in leading us to choose people who will serve their needs.We pray that as we move through this century that was born in bloodshed, hardship, mistrust,and fear; that we can move toward peace, brotherhood, and dignity for all the suffering peoples of the world.

††† Let us look for answers in the New Year for Godís words in our hearts not in the empty promises of men!


May you be blessed with health, peace of mind and prosperity in the coming Year!







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