Thursday, September 18, 2014

Anyone listening?

I get many visitors from around the world on this blog. Many readers but very few comments.  Since I have two ears and one mouth, I like to hear the views of others. Don't hesitate to tell me what you think. Is peace just a wistful thing that we keep at the back of our mind or is it something we can do something about? What do you think we should do?
I think talking about it is a good start, but a conversation needs at least two people. Anyone listening?

Monday, September 8, 2014

I have started a new Sowing Peace Initiative Members blog and an opportunity to subscribe to membership in the Sowing Peace Initiative. For more information you can go to the Sowing Peace Initiative Web Site.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Synopsis: The Alternative

Synopsis:  The Alternative
Author: George McNeish
London, Ontario
N6B 1H3
Genre: Fictional History
Word Count: 115,980
Number of Pages: 422
Line Spacing: Double
Font/Size: Times New Roman / 12

The Alternative

This fictional history is set in Louisiana USA in the 1800’s.

Truth is stranger than fiction. This book sets out to make more sense than the US civil war that started in 1861. It seems unbelievable that a country would do more damage to themselves than any outside force has ever done. The Alternative explores another possibility that would be more believable.

The story begins with the birth of the main characters. Chapter one covers the birth and childhood of Bobby Johnson and chapter two deals with the birth and childhood of Ruthie Lancer. Bobby was an only child who had a very kind father who was a slave owner. Bobby made friends with his father’s slaves and had difficulty understanding why they were treated differently. When the churches criticized his father for not whipping his slaves, Bobby was confused. He became more and more convinced that slavery was wrong and vowed he would never be a slave owner.

Ruthie’s mother died giving birth to her and she was raised by her father’s slaves. Her father is a very cruel master and he blames his daughter for his wife’s death. Ruthie has a very troubled childhood and tries to protect the slaves from her father. Her best friend is one of her father’s slaves, but it is not a friendship on an equal basis. Krissy is more like a favourite pet than a best friend.

Ruthie discovered that she was not an only child when she was fourteen. It was then that she found out that Sheila’s son, Willy, was her half brother and that her best friend was pregnant with her father’s child. Sheila was responsible for raising Ruthie from the age of three. When her father died Ruthie found out she had another brother that she knew nothing about. She finally met him in 1849 when she was 44 years old.

Ruthie and Bobby got married in 1825 after a very rocky courtship. Their attempts to get to know each other were hindered by Ruthie’s abusive father and the system of slavery. As they overcame one problem after another, the effects that slavery had on them and others was highlighted.

Although Bobby vowed not to be a slave owner, it is his best friend, Samson, who came up with the plan to end slavery. Samson was a sickly child. Since he wasn’t suited to plantation work he was kept as a playmate for Bobby. When Bobby came home from school each day, he would often play school with his friend and in that way Samson learned to read and write. Later, when Bobby went north to learn about Christianity, away from the influence of the southern preachers, he took Samson along and they both got a college education.

Samson’s physical strength was not great, although it did get better when he left the slave diet behind and got better nutrition. His real strength was in his mind and his unshakable faith in God. Samson married Krissy in a double ceremony with Bobby and Ruthie. Together the foursome went on to change the history of the south.

Would they be able to prevent a war? That question was not answered until the last chapter. The main characters struggled to put Samson’s plan into action and end slavery before it caused a civil war but the reader would never be sure if it could be done. Indeed, the author even had doubts while writing it.

The story discusses the advantages of a cooperative society over a competitive one while showing how love and kindness can triumph over hate and cruelty and how the actions of one man can have a ripple effect that changes the whole society he lives in. It also shows the evils of having different standards for black and white, male and female.

It contains emotional challenges, romantic struggles, humour and challenges to bigoted religious beliefs.
 Subjects addressed.

When a young man discovers that North American slavery is not the will of God, how does he have faith in the Almighty while the religious leaders and everyone else is telling him he is wrong?

We all have heard stories of the evils of slavery but in these pages we look at how it affects families of both colours. For instance, how will the daughter of the slave owner react when she finds out that her father is responsible for getting a slave her own age pregnant? How will a mother respond to news that she will gain her freedom if her daughter is still a slave?

Paul breathed out threatening and persecution of the Christians, Ichabod Kempler preached venomous words against the actions of Bobby, but they both had a dramatic conversion and became strong supporters of the causes they formerly opposed. The conversion of Ichabod was much more humorous as it involved, not a blinding light, but a stubborn mule.  

In this book I attempt to examine the emotional effects that slavery had on both the slaves and the slave owners. I look at the effects it had on families, the economy and the overall wellbeing of all the players in the drama. We get inside the heads of those who knew nothing but slavery, both from the slaves point of view and the masters point of view. The difficulty of changing a belief system that was taken for granted for 200 years is examined. Indeed, such belief could only be changed by the power of God, but my characters, although they have faith, are never sure that they are doing things the way God wanted. They were sure He wanted to end slavery, but perhaps by avoiding a devastating war there would not be enough retribution for the evils that had been committed.
Inspiration for the story.

When I became chairman of the Fugitive Slave Chapel Preservation Project in London, Ontario, my wife urged me to write a book about the chapel. In researching the subject I found that John Brown spoke at the Chapel the year before his attack at Harpers Ferry. This led to a study of the Civil War and when I learned of the devastation I began to wonder how a country could have done this to itself. I thought the true story was unbelievable and I set out to write a more believable fictional history of the era.

When reading about John Brown I came across a description of him by Frederick Douglass and was immediately impressed by  his perspective. I read everything I could find that was written by Douglass and became more impressed by his ability to see things from all points of view. Usually one needs to read many sources to get a complete picture, but Douglass, in his autobiographies, show how slavery was affecting both slave and master.

My writing has been greatly affected by the perspective of Fredrick Douglass who makes two appearances in the book. I have also been influenced by the writings of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Booker T. Washington and Solomon Northup.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Emancipation Day

Emancipation Day


The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 ended slavery in the British Empire on August 1, 1834. Emancipation Day is widely observed in the British West Indies during the first week of August.

Emancipation day is increasingly being celebrated around the world. In the past the horrors of slavery were too close and the pain of those memories was too hard to take. The perpetrators were in denial and the victims were in pain.

I am observing a growing tendency for the white community to now look into the conditions caused by the slavery system in the USA. Many among the black population still find it too difficult to face  what had happened to their ancestors, but the ancestors of those who inflicted such pain are now wanting to make amends and  are taking a look at the horrors of the slavery era.

Solomon Northup, a citizen of New-York, was kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana. He wrote and published a book the same year he was rescued.  Recently this book was made into a movie. Now people want to know about the horrors suffered by slaves and the injustices done to the African-Americans. The book sat on shelves collecting dust for years but, suddenly, everyone wants to know what happened in the 19th century.

Slavery directly caused the most devastating war in USA history. It would take until the 1970’s and the Vietnam war before the cumulative total of American lives lost in all other wars would exceed the number of lives lost during the four years of the American civil war. Thus the slavery system was the cause of devastation, death and misery to the whole American population.

Before the civil war many African lives were lost on slave ships and during the time of slavery. However a slave’s life was not regarded as important enough to keep track of numbers. Many were gunned down or torn apart by dogs while trying to escape. The law protected the master who went overboard and killed a slave while whipping him. Slaves were property owned by a master. The property owner had rights to his property, but the property had no rights. If one is foolish enough to destroy his own property his only loss is the property thus destroyed. There is no other punishment for such behaviour. Therefore, to kill a slave, whether by accident or on purpose, was not regarded as an event worth recording.

One only needs to look at the laws of the time to get a glimpse of the horrors the slaves must have endured. Slaves were the only livestock were the owner could provide his own stud service. A slave dare not refuse her master and the resulting children were chattels owned by the person who fathered them. Like any other slave they could be sold to the highest bidder and, having some white blood in them often made the slave more valuable.

Age did not matter. What a glorious system for the pedophile. The law would protect the property rights of such a person who could own as many children as he wanted, and since they were his property, he could do whatever he wanted with them.

Now we hear those who will say, “It didn’t happen very often.” To such ones I must ask, “How often does it need to happen to be of importance?” Let’s say it was only one percent. We will say, out of 100,000 slave children only 1,000 were molested and sexually abused by their masters. Does that make it okay? Even if it only happened once, would that not be enough to prove the law was wrong? Imagine, for a moment, that you are now living in the slavery system as a slave and only one pedophile is repeatedly abusing a little girl. That’s not very significant, but it is your little girl that is being abused. The law protects the abuser and if you try to do anything about it you will either be killed or sold to a distant place. Either way the abuse will continue and you will not be around to comfort your child. Indeed the pedophile would likely have been wise enough that he bought the child alone without any family to protect her and she will never know a mother’s love or a father’s affection. She will grow up knowing nothing but abuse. You do not know what is happening to your child, but when you saw the man that bought her and how  he was checking her out, you fear the worst, but she was taken from the auction house while you screamed for mercy, but all you got was a whipping for being too attached to your child. Oh yes. Slaves are just animals, so they should be okay with having their children ripped away from them and sold. A slave who tries to protect his or her child is not a very good slave. They should know they have no rights to their children. They are your owner’s property. He can sell them, rent them out, or do anything he wants with them.

We may think this is horrible, and we are right. We comfort ourselves by thinking it was in another age and it happened to other people. I am safe. It could not happen to me. Yet the old adage is that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Only next time the tables may be turned. I may find myself on the receiving end of the horrors. That is enough for me to do whatever I can to make sure this horror is not repeated.

Now we find comfort in the fact that slavery is illegal. Now a person can be charged for abusing a child. Society protects all children regardless of class. So we think we are safe.

Yes, slavery is illegal, but the mindset that was responsible for slavery is still rampant. Slavery was an ultimate example of a competitive society. A necessary part of competition is that there are winners and losers. We saw the extreme of that when the slaves lost and the plantation owners won, but, as a result, everyone lost. Society lost two hundred years of contributions from those who were not considered equal under the law. By forcing slavery on this class of people and denying them education, they were not able to contribute to the advancement of society. What little gains were made were wiped out by a civil war that was made necessary by the slavery system.

Have we as yet learned our lesson? Are we willing to give up a competitive system and work with a co-operative system? Those looking for a job will find the competition is fierce. One has to be fortunate to get a job. To find a job that is fulfilling and one that can be enjoyed is nearly impossible. There will be a few exceptions and a few do win this competition, but many more will be forced to work at a meaningless job. They will put in their time to earn their paycheque so they can pay their bills, but an uncaring employer could lay them off or fire them at any time. Perhaps the twenty lashes a slave would get was more humane. Now you are turned out to starve. Oh, unemployment insurance and welfare can help for a while if you know the system, but again, if you are not prepared you can lose. Many end up living on the streets after they have lost their housing. We can often find old men who have worked hard all their lives spending their last days on the streets because, at the end of the game, they were among the losers.

God created us as one humanity. The body of mankind can be likened to an individual human body. When we have competition it is as though the body competes for resources. Parts of the body obtain a surplus and waste much while other parts of the body are starving. The right hand competes with the left. It takes a hammer and smashes its opponent. Yes the right hand is the victor and the left hand has lost. There is pain and suffering as the loser becomes useless and no longer serves the body. But does the right hand not lose as well? The whole body suffers the loss of the left hand and therefore the right hand also loses. It must now work harder to do that which the left hand had done in the past.

In a co-operative society there are no losers. The whole body wins because the whole body co-operates towards the well-being of the body. Now, if any part of the body is not functioning and contributing to the whole, the rest of the body co-operates and aids it to heal so it can contribute. Not only is a job found for each member of society, but the right job that is suited to that part of the body is found so that body functions efficiently. If the left hand is trying to do work suited to the right hand while the right hand is labouring to do the job of a foot, the body does not do well. Once the jobs are matched up with capabilities, the body will function as it should. Thus it is imperative that the brains of the body assign jobs to each cell in the body so that every part does exactly what it should do and when it should do it. Now we have co-operation and the body wins. In order for the body to win, no part of it can be considered a loser.  

Until we give up our competitive nature, I do not believe that we have learned the lesson that slavery has taught us. Those who win the competition need to realize they are losing at life.

In my book, The Alternative, I examine the slavery system of the 19th century and show the effects it had on individuals. Although the story was totally made up, it was based on observations of historical figures such as Solomon Northup, Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. These ones saw slavery from the slaves perspective but also saw the effect it was having on the slave owning class. When Frederick Douglass observed, for his first time, the efficiency of labour in the North he was amazed at how the South had been blinded by the slavery system. Douglass observed, “An old ox, worth eighty dollars, was doing, in New Bedford, what would have required fifteen thousand dollars worth of human bones and muscles to have performed in a southern port.”[i]

Thus The Alternative explores what would have happened if the south became enlightened. Perhaps they would have done away with their competitive natures and introduced co-operation at an early time. If that had happened, society would be greatly more advanced than it is at present. Unfortunately we still have much ground to cover before we can rid the world of the evils that were around during the time of slavery.

[i] Douglass, Frederick (2013-04-28). The Frederick Douglass Collection: 8 Classic Works (Kindle Locations 4031-4033). Waxkeep Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Apathy, The Great Destroyer

Apathy, The Great Destroyer

When an enemy comes against us, it either kills us or makes us stronger. A friend should uphold us and support us. However, the most powerful enemy is apathy. Apathy hides among our friends so we cannot destroy it without hurting our friends. When a powerful enemy comes against us and we need help to combat it, apathy among our friends helps it to destroy us. When we are lying on the ground and being kicked, our enemy may have mercy and let us live, but apathy has no mercy. When we cry out for help, apathy tries to reassure us that we just need to try a little harder and we can make it on our own. Later, when we die, apathy will say, “I had no idea that he was in trouble.” The apathetic person will not respond to danger until he himself is endangered.

Thus I find an alarming trend on my peace blog. People from countries where there is war or civil unrest visit my blog. I suppose they are looking for answers from a peaceful nation, but the peaceful nation has a greater enemy, apathy, which cannot be destroyed until we too are at war. Yes, when our way of life is threatened and we have to struggle to survive, then apathy will give way to action. If only we could react before it is too late. If only we could work to preserve our peace. Perhaps then we could spread peace to countries were peace is needed. Perhaps we could become an example of how peace can be achieved. Yet we sit around and do nothing while our friends are being lead to the slaughter and we do nothing until our turn comes. We are like a herd of cattle in the slaughter house pen. One by one our friends disappear, and when our time comes we will say. “Oh, I had no idea that I too would be killed.”

Too those who are living in countries were peace is difficult to find, my heart goes out to you and I wish there was something I could do, but you see I face a greater enemy here in Canada. If apathy could be defeated we could help you.

Although many people from all over the world read this blog I get few comments. It would give me great pleasure it the comments on this post would come fast and hard to prove I am wrong. If apathy does not have you in her clutches, click on comments below and tell me what you are doing to promote world peace. I would love to hear from you and I will greatly relieved if my fears can be proven wrong.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mutual Respect Essential for World Peace

Mutual Respect Essential for World Peace

World peace is about mutual respect. Unity in diversity is the catch phrase. The human body has many different parts which function together as  a whole. When a body part is severed from the body, it dies. If an essential organ ceases to function, the whole body dies. If any part of the body is injured, the whole body suffers.

If we think about the body of humanity in that way, we can see, although different body  parts carry out different functions, the health of the body is determined by how well those parts work together. It seems everyone wants to be the brains of humanity, but if a heart where to become a brain, a body with two brains and no heart would die. Although the body can live without some parts, it becomes a cripple if it is missing a leg or arm, for example. In fact, the pain of the little finger is felt by the whole body. If there is pain in any part of the body of mankind, we all suffer as a result.

When there is mutual respect, we will respect all regardless of function. If the brain is to think it is more important than the fingers, then it should try picking something up without their aid. An act as simple as picking up a piece of garbage requires the co-operation on many parts of the body.

Thus when all humanity works together towards the betterment of society as a whole, we have world peace and the body of mankind progresses to levels never before imagined.

In my book The Alternative, I show how the development of the Southern states was delayed by the use of slavery. Because the African Americans were denied an education and forced into slavery, they were not able to contribute to the society in which they lived, and therefore the whole society suffered. Although slavery has been outlawed, the mentality around slavery has not yet vanished. Slavery was an ultimate example of exploitation of the work force, but those in the working class are still being exploited. There needs to be mutual respect between workers and management for the system to work efficiently. No individual human should be degraded or thought of as unimportant.

We all need to work in the field we are called to work in. Children need to find out early what their calling is. I was 62 years old before I realized I was called to be an author. I wasted a lot of time pursuing  other interests and I will not likely be able to reach my full potential so late in life, however I have a lot of good years ahead of me and I will do my best.

You can go to my Sowing Peace Web Site  to follow my activities and find links to my blogs. I would love to hear your opinions and will respect your right to express them even if I cannot agree. I am also sure that we can find some level of agreement if we look for it.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fugitive Salve Chapel

In reviewing my stats I am discovering an interesting trend. Not surprisingly most viewers are from the USA. Since the USA has the highest population of English speaking citizens, this is not surprising. However, finding France as the next highest with 2368 views is more surprising. Both the Ukraine and Poland have broken the 1,000 mark with Russia and China close behind. What I find most surprising is that Canada is in seventh place and that is mostly due to early visits when I first started my blog and was more actively promoting it to my friends.

 When we look at views over the last 30 days, Canada does not make the top 10. South Korea has an equal number to the USA and again we see we have gotten attention from our good friends in Poland and Ukraine.

This seems to indicate that a lot of other countries are much more concerned about world peace than Canadians are. The fact that I have been sidetracked by other projects may mean that I am just as guilty. Having gotten involved in the FugitiveSlave Chapel Preservation Project , I have not been putting as much effort into this blog, however I have found that we are getting a lot of local support for the Fugitive Slave Chapel. We are busy attempting to save and old Chapel that was built around 1848 by Fugitive Slaves and others. Those living in other parts of the world may not consider that old, but Canada had not even become a country yet when this structure was built, so to us it is older than our country. Thus it seems that Canadians are much more interested in saving Historic Buildings than in promoting world peace.

However; I must defend my involvement in this project. The Fugitive Slave Chapel represents a history of an oppressed people and an era were change was happening. It represents a recognition of Black People as being equal citizens which is an important part of world peace, and it is for this reason that I felt this project worthy of my time.

Although I am sad about the reluctance of Canadians to get involved in world peace I am very happy about the international attention and would love to work with organizations in other parts of the world. It could be that the relative peace we enjoy in Canada makes us less active in promoting peace but it is my view that if any part of the body of mankind is hurting, the whole body suffers. I have heard the saying that the pain of the little finger is felt by the whole body, and I liken the body of humanity to be like a human body. Thus, when you are hurting, I feel your pain. This is what drives me to attempt to heal the world. I have pledged myself to live at peace with all I come in contact with and I am aware of the challenges in doing this. I have met with people filled with hate and I can’t count the number of times I have had to defend those who are seen as wishing me ill.  The fact is that we are all individuals and, should your country declare war with my country, it is unfair for me to lump you in with your countrymen as being an enemy of peace. In fact, if you are a peaceful member of a warring country, I need to reach out to you and strengthen you so that the leaven of peace will grow and transform your country. As it appears every country has hateful and warring elements, we need to nurture and support this leaven of peace so the world can be transformed. If we meet hatred with hatred then hatred will win. When hatred is met with love, hatred is dissolved and transformed and love will win.

It is like the difference between darkness and light. If we view hatred as darkness and love as light we will soon realize that darkness is dispelled when a light is turned on. You can never go into a room filled with light and turn on a dark but as soon as you turn on a light in a dark room, darkness has lost its power. So the power is in love and hatred is only the absence of love.

God created us as social animals that are designed to help one another. When we don’t fulfill that purpose we become bitter and hateful. It may take a loving person to reach out to such a soul to shine the light of love on it in order for it to see its purpose, but many times the person discovers on his own that he can best help himself by helping others.

In my efforts I continue to reach out the best way I can. Since I know html I create web sites in my efforts to promote peace. You can go the my Sowing PeacePage for an example.

This blog was started to attempt to get a dialog of peace going and I appreciate comments and feedback on my posts. If someone is interested, a can also add you to my blog and allow you to make posts. I would want to see a couple of your posts first to be sure they are suitable so you can email your ideas first, and when I feel you are ready I will add you as a blogger.


Overall Stats

United States
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Last 30 days

South Korea
United States

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Humble Little Candle

The people aforetime joined partners with God, though they professed belief in His unity; and although they were the most ignorant amongst men, they considered themselves the most accomplished. But, as a token of divine retribution upon those heedless ones, their erroneous beliefs and pursuits have, in this Day of Judgement, been made clear and evident to every man of discernment and understanding.

                (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 124, from ISHRAQAT (Splendours))


Once we know everything we become very stupid. A person who knows it all has no need to acquire new knowledge. Being thus cut off from knowledge we soon become very stupid. There is, however, a bit of bliss, because we are completely unaware of our ignorance and sincerely believe we have all the answers.

It is easy to point fingers and recognize such traits in others but very difficult to see such faults in ourselves. “Those you think they know it all are a great irritant to those of us who do,” is often said in jest, but we must beware if we think it is true. It seems that God loves the humble seeker.

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

  (Matthew 18:4)

Once we become too sure of ourselves we soon fall. We must turn to God as a child turns to a parent. God, like a loving parent, allows us to help. There is nothing He can’t do, so He can do quite well without us, but He wants us to learn and be nurtured by our experiences, so He give us the duty to teach His Cause. He watches lovingly as we struggle to get it right. He wants to see his children cooperate and work together so he gives each of us a piece of the puzzle and together we can put it all together. If one refuses to help, our puzzle will have a missing piece.

We come together at feasts and holy days, at devotionals and study circles, at firesides and social gathering, and we rejoice in each other’s presence. How difficult it would be to keep true lovers apart, and since we are a community of lovers we cannot wait until our next chance to get together. We find ourselves sending emails, calling on the phone and dropping in for visits. The children and youth love to talk to the adults and seniors and the older members are amazed at the talents and dedication of our younger members.

Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.(John 13:34,35)

Every Christian and all men will be forced to see us as disciples of the returned Christ when they recognize this type of love amongst us. Christ loved without limit and not even death could stop His love, so when we love beyond the point where we are willing to sacrifice our lives for each other, all men will recognize that we are the disciples of God’s Holy Messenger. This was prophesied by Christ 2,000 years ago. We have the loving example in Iran today were our friends are sacrificing their belongings, their freedom and even their lives for love of us. Let us be bold in our efforts, yet humble in our approach, as we tell the world of this great love that will conquer the whole planet. Love is light while evil is darkness. When we shine brightly darkness has no hold over us. As candles, we will sacrifice our very existence to give our light.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

neither cast ye your pearls before swine

In the Sermon on the mount Christ is reported to have said, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”            (Matthew 7:6)

We also read in the Bible how Christ was accused of associating with sinners. “But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”      (Matthew 9:12,13)

It appears that Christ would give His Holy utterance and cast His pearls of knowledge to the sinners, but when these same words got to those who considered themselves righteous, they turned on His Holy Person and had Him nailed to a cross.

A few months ago I heard a radio broadcast about “Absolute Moral Authority.” The discussion on this subject involved instances where individuals or groups exercised such authority to the detriment of others. The residential schools in Brantford were cited as an example. In these schools, the government and churches joined forces and decided what was best for the aboriginal population. They enforced their plan with brutality and in the process damaged a society to the point where it will take many generations to heal. I was married to a product of those schools and witnessed firsthand the damage they had done. It is now recognized how this experiment went bad and steps are being taken to correct the damage, but those so damaged are unlikely to trust the judgement and the motives of a society that caused such damage. The leaders and organizers of this experiment meant well. There concern was the betterment of the people in their charge. Their only fault was in that they sincerely believed they had superior knowledge and absolutely knew what was best for another culture.

If there is any words I dread hearing said about myself it is, “He meant well.” Usually when you hear this phrase it means that somebody really messed up. However there is lessons to be learned. Just as the Scribes and the Pharisees during the time of Christ felt that they knew the absolute truth and therefore had no need of the teachings of Christ, there are many throughout history who took a similar approach and caused great loss to themselves and others. It is a continued reminder that we are fallible servants and God is the All-Knowing Master. When we start to believe we can act as gods and dictate the lives of others, we are in big trouble. We become the Swine that will turn and tear God’s Servant apart when we hear the Pearls of Wisdom coming from His lips.

Thus it is that we must take a humble approach when we disseminate the Teachings of God. We offer them as a gift to a king, and if it is not accepted, we move on. We know not who the swine are and it is not for us to judge, but if we try to force the Pearls of Knowledge on those swine, we risk being torn apart.

The scariest part of this is that those who fall into this category do not know and I must be on constant guard less I become one of the swine mentioned by Christ. If I find myself becoming so sure of myself that I turn in anger towards one who disagrees I may very well believe my knowledge is absolute. Instead I must take the approach that we must together look at the facts and determine the truth. If you believe differently than me, I must discover why you believe differently. Perhaps you have seen things from a perspective I haven’t. I need to honour your culture and your past that led you to such a belief, then together we can discover the truth.

The lady that first taught me the Faith of God taught me a pearl of wisdom. When someone would tell her that they did not believe in God, she would reply that she did not believe in the God that they did not believe in either. She would explain that, in order to not believe in God you must have some concept of God that you don’t believe in. Since this concept must be a distortion of the truth in order to produce a concept of God that one could not believe in, it must therefore be a false concept. She could now tell the person about the God she believed in without arguing if their God was real or not.

This is one example of how we can take the time to hear the other persons perspective before we judge them is being in error. If we start with differing definitions of key words we will never come to an agreement. First we must learn what a person means, then we can work on determining truth.

 “I know that you understand what I said. What you don’t understand is what I said is not what I meant.” This is a quote that I heard many years ago and have no recollection of where it came from, but it rings true very often. Let us first determine what we mean. Then the steps we can take to reconcile differences will flow more easily.

As I prepare to go for eye surgery, and for the first time in my life consent to have a part of my body cut by another person, one may wonder why I took time to write the preceding. I decided to join my wife at the church for prayer and she was leading a discussion on the Sermon on the Mount when I arrived. Thus, when I arrived at work and turned my thoughts to God, this was fresh on my mind.

Another interesting thing happened as I walked to the shop. As I walked I was distracted be something floating in the air. At first I thought it was a butterfly, but as it got close I recognized a leaf. Then, as it fluttered a few inches from my face, a sudden gust of wind blew it against my forehead. Being today, the first of April, it has been a long time since the season for falling leaves, but a few leaves always seem to hang on to the branches of trees throughout the winter. As I thought of such a stray leaf falling just at such a time to display itself mid air in front of me and then for this gentle gust of wind to cause it to touch my forehead, it made me think that perhaps I had just been touched by the hand of God. Perhaps, from the beginning of time, he had arranged things so that that leave would fall just as I was walking by. Many will think it was mere coincidence and that God is far to busy to pay attention to such details, but still, it makes one wonder.

As I have been blessed I will pray for the blessings of all. I hope today God will guide you in all you do. I pray that the hands and heart of my surgeon, and all other surgeons who are performing surgery today, will be guided by God’s will. Next time I see you I will actually see you instead of seeing a blur that resembles a human being.






Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Karen Schuessler Singers

It was fifty years ago today that the Beatles preformed live on the Ed Sullivan Show and the interest this aroused was not surpassed until last night when The Karen Schuessler Singers preformed their Road to Freedom concert at Wesley-Knox United Church as a benefit for the Fugitive Slave Chapel Preservation Project and Beth Emanuel BME Church.

Fifty years ago four young men coordinated their instruments and voices in front of cameras and a studio audience to create a sensation that is still remembered today.

Last night forty-four Choir members and four band members coordinated their amazing talents and, along with lead vocals by Denise Pelly and narrations by Bryan and Shannon Prince, created a flawless show that was both entertaining and informative. Although I attended this show with the highest expectations imaginable I was not able to imagine the stellar experience I witnessed. I am sure those in attendance will never forget the evening they spent with the Karen Schuessler Singers.

Having had the opportunities to witness live performances of Denise Pelly in the past I tried to imagine her varied styles of Jazz, Gospel and contemporary music combined with a large choir. My imagination failed me. What I witnessed Saturday February 8th, 2014 was far beyond what I could have imagined. The styles now combined with the talents of a professional choir were appealing to all ages and all tastes in music. Now again I am at a loss. Just as I could not beforehand imagine such a performance I now can find no words to describe it. This is something that one must experience for themselves.


George McNeish, chairman of the Fugitive Slave Chapel Preservation Project. February 9, 2014