Sunday, May 3, 2020

What Motivates Us in a Time of Need?

I am doing quite well, at the moment.

This pandemic, and the resulting economic strains, it has put on some people has not affected me the way it has many others. I have been collecting OAS and CPP along with the guaranteed income supplement, so my income has not changed. The fact that I am getting the supplement shows that I am in the lowest bracket for those who depend on those age benefits, but it is enough and I believe I am living better than I ever did while employed. I have always lived below the poverty line, but I have never faced starvation and was only homeless for short periods. When it comes to government handouts, I am satisfied with what I have, and I really do not need more. At a time of crisis, let us concentrate on everyone having enough before we go on demanding more.

It seems that a time of crisis brings out the best and the worst in people. Many are working hard to bring this crisis under control. People are struggling and others are helping. People are risking death to keep others from dying. Some are doing without so others will have enough. These are the selfless ones that put others before themselves.

On the other side, we see the greedy. These ones are only concerned with their own well being and could care less if you starve or die of the pandemic. They are the ones who have earned and saved enough, often at the expense of those less fortunate, that they can now afford to go out and hoard goods so they will have plenty at a time of shortage. This action has effected a shortage, so they have caused the event that they prepared themselves for. Our economy is based on supply and demand, so, when demand is high, prices will naturally increase. The ones who could not afford to hoard will now have to pay higher prices if they can get their supplies at all. Manufacturers will benefit from this as the public turns from asking, “Can I get this at a good price?” to “Can I get this?” In this way, we see money siphoned from the poor into the hands of the rich.

Greed also appears among many as they attempt to seek financial benefit from the pandemic. If others are getting aid, they feel they are also entitled, although they do not really need it. It seems strange that those forced out of employment should get more from staying home than those on a fixed income, but, perhaps, their needs are greater. Since I live on a fixed income, I am renting a townhouse with low rent that is within my means. Someone who is paying a much higher rent, or paying off a huge mortgage, may be at risk of losing their homes. They may need temporary help in dollar amounts more than my fixed income. Perhaps, when they are back working again, they should be required to pay a little back each week, but first, let us get through this crisis and see where we stand at that time.

One common thing about people who have succeeded in the financial world is that they tend to turn setbacks into opportunities. Perhaps we do the same with a pandemic. If I start a charity to help those in need, I will look like I am a great guy, and I can pocket some cash myself. That sounds like a win, win situation. Therefore, many false charities arise that earn a lot of money for the charity, but very little gets to the people who need it. This is the epitome of greed. These are ones who take advantage of the disadvantaged for personal gain.

For everything, there is a purpose. Many times, we do not realize what is happening until we analyze it later. During a crisis, our energies are bent on ending the crises. After it is over, we can take time to reflect on what we have learned from it. If we learn our lessons well, the test will not need to be repeated. Unfortunately, humans can be slow learners, and it will take many disasters before we learn our lessons. My greatest fear is that we will not learn what we must at this time and other pandemics, much worse than this one, will fall upon us.

Scripture has foretold of times like these. As I was writing about how this crisis is bringing out the best and the worst of human nature, I could not help but think of the following scripture.

    When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”
    Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, “Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?”
    And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
    Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.”
    Then shall they also answer him, saying, “Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?”
    Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.       (Matthew 25: 31-46)
God already knows our hearts. This dividing is for our benefit. By looking within our own hearts, we learn of our true nature, and, if we are wise, we will learn from it before it is too late. We must examine our every action and determine our motivation for such action. Are we working toward self-benefit or are we doing what needs to be done to help everyone? Are we willing to sacrifice to help others or do we expect others to sacrifice for our benefit? Do we see ourselves as individuals or are we a part of a greater whole?

This is not meant to be an easy test where everyone passes. It is tough and it will determine if we have made the grade.

Saturday, March 28, 2020


The Common Enemy

Nothing unites people faster than having a common enemy. Today, we have that. It is so small we can’t see it and so horrible that it kills without remorse.

Mankind has had wars and rumours of wars. Although one country, established by war, has been at war through most of its existence, they could find no enemy worse than themselves, and it was the civil war in the 1860’s that caused the most devastation to themselves. But have we learned our lesson?

Throughout the world, we have seen war and disaster. Both natural and manmade catastrophes have caused mayhem in various areas. Yet many of us were comforted by thinking, “It can’t happen here.” Now there is a virus. It started in a small area but has spread worldwide. It is happening everywhere, and if there are pockets of people that have not been affected, they are consumed in the fear of it.

I am not sure what is worse, the virus or the fear of it. I am more afraid of the fear and what that has done, and may yet do, to people. The fear has led to panic and panic leads to doing unreasonable things. At this time, it is more important than ever to remain calm, so I am not going to talk about the evils of this enemy, but I want to concentrate on how it is bringing us together in a world unity never before seen.

What has kept me calm is the knowledge that God is in control. Yes, I may catch the virus and I may die, but this life on earth is for a short time and we have eternity to think about. When God decides that it is time to call me home, I will be thrilled to go.

Yet, such days as these have been prophesied in the traditions of most religions. It is a sign of God’s displeasure. At a time when so many have turned their backs on God, when some deny His existence, and others start wars in His name, is it not the time for a wakeup call? He has, more recently, sent us a message of love and unity. He has told us he doesn’t want us to fight and that we must learn to get along together. Those of us who have heard the call have been given the task to spread it to others. Yet denial and stubbornness have resisted the call, and apathy has caused us to turn elsewhere for answers.

Have we finally reached the days of Armageddon? We were expecting a great foe but not one that was so small we couldn’t see it. We did not know it could hide on friends and relations. Those on the front lines of the most dangerous war we ever fought must constantly screen themselves to be assured that the enemy is not taking a ride on their own bodies. Without training, they are finding themselves thrust to the front line fighting an enemy that they know little about.

This is an amazing unity that the world has never seen. All over the world, the scene is being played out. Doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and everyone else in the medical profession has been called to the front to combat the enemy. All others stand in support of these fighters. In this, the whole world stands as one. Yet there are a few who would sow seeds of dissension. I have heard the rumors of conspiracy, seen the actions of greed, witnessed panic-stricken individuals out the protect themselves without thought of how it would affect others. But let us not concentrate on that. These are seeds sown by the enemy. We need to stand united to win this war. This time it is the entire population of the earth that is under attack and we must unite in our efforts if we want to eradicate the enemy.

In Matthew 24 verse 22 we find these words of comfort. “except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” We know that God loves us. Although we may be witnessing the results of our error, we know that God will intervene and protect us from our own selves when necessary. He is patiently waiting for us to return His love. Unless we love Him, we can never feel the love He has for us.

Social distancing means that we can no longer gather for prayer, but we can still pray. More and more online prayer meetings are being arranged, so we can still pray together. Those who have been housebound due to injury or illness, and not been able to attend physical meetings,  can now join us.

This current crisis has given us an opportunity to unite. Let us now take advantage of this so we can shorten the days and prevent future crises.  

Monday, September 23, 2019

What If?

When I wrote "THE ALTERNATIVE," my question was, What if one person did something differently? Could the USA Civil War have been averted? Since that time, I have been asked to write something about American Aboriginal History, but was waiting for the right "what if" question. Today it came to me. What if the Americas had discovered Europe? Perhaps the violent nature of the Europeans had caused a delay in the development of ships. Thus, one hundred years later, the American people had a shipping industry that could reach Europe. What would their impression be of these warring Europeans? Would these ones have aided the original explorers the way the original inhabitants of this land helped the first European settlers?

When I write, I must get into the heads of my characters. If I refer to actual figures from history, I must study their character and have them react to my fictional setting in a natural way. Thus, If I am to write a fictional history where the original inhabitants of this land conquered Europe, I would need to study the nature of the participants of the story and apply my what-if scenario then predict how they would react to that.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Many Newspapers consider this too dangerous to print.

Many Newspapers consider this too dangerous to print.
One newspaper told me that they would need to remove all religious messaging if they are to print it.
Why are they so afraid of God? Read and tell me what is to be feared.
Is the Fugitive Slave Chapel of London, Ontario worth saving? In the year 2013, a lot of people thought so. The Fugitive Slave Chapel Preservation Project (FSCPP) was formed on March 22, 2013, and financial support from the public was phenomenal. I was skeptical, but when I saw the huge army of God’s Angels who met in March of 2013, I soon joined their forces.
It is interesting to note that the building had been abandoned and forgotten about until James Donnelly, who owned the building and land it was on at the time, applied for a demolition permit. If he hadn’t done that the ancient edifice would likely have fallen down on its own. When news of the application was released, many Londoners immediately arose with the call, “Save the Chapel.”
Mr. Donnelly was very cooperative as he also has an interest in heritage. He very generously donated the building to Beth Emanuel Church with the stipulation that the Church would cover the cost of having the building moved. Beth Emanuel owned a lot beside the church and it proved to be an ideal location for a new home for the displaced building. Beth Emanuel Church had been built in 1869 at 430 Grey Street to replace the original edifice that was originally located at 275 Thames Street.
Early attempts at fundraising had raised a sizable amount, but not enough to move the building. By November of 2013, enthusiasm had waned and there were only three people left that were actively working on the project. A couple of months prior I had replaced the original chair of the FSCPP. We believed this project was in the Hands of God and through prayer, the two cents worth campaign was conceived. Many want to give their two cents worth so we would give them the opportunity. We translated the two-cent value to what it was worth in 1850 when the original chapel was built. Back then a labourer would work a twelve hour day for one dollar. With minimum wage being about $10 per hour in 2013, we estimated two cents in 1850 to be worth about $2.50 in 2013. The reaction was amazing. Cheques representing $2.50 per family member came from many families. The first day news of the campaign had been released, one lady donated $10,000 dollars to this worthy cause.
Is the Fugitive Slave Chapel worth saving? First came the outcry from the heritage community, then thousands joined in with financial support. Many Londoners and others from various places across Canada replied with a solid “YES.”
Early fundraising was very successful, but as enthusiasm waned, donations dwindled. Once the fundraising efforts were turned over to our Creator, the enthusiasm returned and money rolled in allowing us to begin making solid plans for the move in March of 2014. But just as fundraising effort had gotten bogged down in discussions of “How to raise the money,” now the final plans for the actual move were bogged down in red tape. Again, through prayer, the FSCPP broke through this barrier. Although solid plans seemed to be taking forever to formulate, things began to move very quickly in October of 2014. Prayer had brought us another angel in the form of Jordan Zekveld who became the project manager.
It was mainly through the efforts of Mr. Zekveld that all the resources needed for the move were brought together. Excavation began on October 20, 2014, and 23 days later, all was ready for the move. Mr. Zekveld personally set the forms for the foundation and the basement walls that the 164-year-old building was to be set on. He then acted as foreman for the pouring of the cement, working along with a group of volunteers that he had picked. None worked harder than Mr. Zekveld himself who had also volunteered all of his time.
Then, on November 12, 2014, the building was moved. This was a great day with lots of media attention. Television, radio and newspaper crews could be seen everywhere along the route. Plus an aggregate of Londoners filled the streets to watch this historic event.
Now that the Chapel is sitting on its new foundation it is again running the risk of falling apart due to neglect. Access had been given to many interested in the architectural design of this edifice and the physical aspects of the building have been well documented. Much money has been spent on engineering reports and architect designs needed to complete the project. However, the structure is still in need of repairs to prevent further deterioration.
The FSCPP, originally conceived as an advisory committee to Beth Emanuel Church, was taken over by some who were mainly interested in the physical attributes of the Building. Those who thought of the building as separate from its spiritual roots wanted the building and the committee removed from the Christian organization that now owned it. With this gulf forming between the church and the FSCPP, the church had no choice but to disband the committee. It was no longer serving their purpose.
Those of us who were involved from the beginning saw how things would quickly progress when we reaffirmed our belief that God was in control. I personally believe that the project will not progress without full acknowledgment of the Divine origins of the building. Those opposed to this line of conduct will point out that much government funding would be restricted to a religious organization and that many corporations will not donate to a religiously based group. On the other side, those who believe in an All-Powerful God know that He is capable to raise angels that will provide the funds and complete this project.
My personal belief is that we need to study the religious attributes of the people who built this edifice in 1850. It amazes me to know that people who were abused by members, and even leaders, of a religious organization, would profess belief in that same religion. I would like to know why? Many relied on a Christian God to deliver them from their persecutors and adhered more loyally to a purer form of Christianity than their persecutors did. To me, if we are to leave God out of the equation, we are completely missing the whole purpose of preserving this artifact. My God is strong enough to take over and bring this project to a glorious completion. My only fear as He will not have enough followers to make this matter.
The challenge now is to prove me wrong or prove me right. Whatever your opinion, take up the challenge and see this project through. Time will tell if we end up with an interesting piece of architecture or a divinely inspired Edifice.
Is the Fugitive Slave Chapel of London, Ontario worth saving? Many people think so and they have many varied reasons for thinking that. Whatever your reason you need to act and stay involved. To forget about this project is to let it return to neglect and disappear. Too much effort has been put into the project to let it fail now.
That is what I had sent to a London biweekly newspaper after they asked me to write about the Fugitive Slave Chapel. At present, it is with the editor and I was informed that, if they used it at all, they would remove all religious messaging. I am not sure what they mean by that. I was only stating facts as I saw them. The building was originally a Christian Church so it would be difficult to hide that from the readers. As I am not a Christian I do not feel that I biased the article toward or away from Christianity. I attempted to stay completely neutral on that aspect. You can comment on my facebook page or my blog. I would love to hear your comments.