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Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Homily – Luke 24:13 - 35 ©

The Gospel According to Luke – 2017.04.30


Where Can I See the Risen Christ?

The Gospel writers became confused with questions about who Jesus was, about how rank among the prophets, about his historical connection to Moses, about the proof of his ministry that was given in the scriptures/

In their confusion they began to make up stories to validate their claims, and this was all unnecessary.

Jesus did not perform miracles, to prove to anyone that he was a child of God. He stressed the fact that we are all the children of God, even the leper, and the thief, the unmarried woman and the outcast.

Jesus did not come to work magic, and give signs and wonders, because that is not the God, the creator of the universe, works in the world.

The core truth in this Gospel passage is not the long story about encountering Jesus, listening to him expound the scriptures, offering proofs and arguments.

The signal truth is this, “they recognized him in the breaking of the bread.”

They had the opportunity to see Jesus in the man they encounter on the road, but they did not see him in this stranger.

They had the opportunity to see him in the faith of the woman at the tomb, but they could not understand it.

Jesus was dead, and yet the way, which he personified remains, the way is the living witness of God’s intention for creation.

The disciples were finally able to see the way, when they broke bread with the stranger they encountered on the road.

They way is community. The way is sharing things in common. The way is love.


They Recognized Him at the Breaking of Bread

Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.

  Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’

  Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.

  When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’

  They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.


3rd Sunday of Easter

Emergence, In Fifty-five Words - Section Three, Earth; Part Sixteen, Existence, Collected Chapters




Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 113, April 23rd, 2017

Chapter One: Flesh

The flesh remembers.

The record of our experiences are pounded into our corporeal form, cell by cell.

Bodies change with every new experience, Each moment of perception is a new thread, engrams of memory, proteins woven into the fabric of life. Like a tapestry, they are an endowment, a heritage passed on to our descendants.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 114, April 24th, 2017

Chapter Two: Bi Pedal

The interactive relationship between the creature, the animal, its body, and the environment determined the spectrum of its consciousness.

Standing against the pull of gravity under the weight of Earth’s atmosphere, balancing on two legs, these differentiated human beings from every other creature, the pivot on a central axis, dancing on two feet, and walking.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 115, April 25th, 2017

Chapter Three: Stereo Hearing

Talking; the verbal sharing of ideas, feelings, perceptions, aural communications; the use of sound waves is deliberate. It is slow and luxuriant compared to the speed of light, which itself cannot compare to the instantaneous transfer of thought in a quantum field.

They are the crashing of waves through the body, adding depth to insight.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 116, April 26th, 2017

Chapter Four: Binocular Vision

Bands of light cross the full spectrum, piercing organic lenses from corner to corner, one-hundred and eighty degrees, light reflecting off of every object in the field of vision, light and shadow refracting in a wide array of color, creating depth by which we determine distance, and find our way through three dimensions of space.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 117, April 27th, 2017

Chapter Five: Hemispheric Brain

The brain was split in two, and this architecture served as kind of cognitive override.

If the messages from the brain stem flooded the organ with fear, desire, or any other strong feeling, the force of it was divided.

The human being was split down the middle, left for right.

It was an organic duality.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 118, April 28th, 2017

Chapter Six: Thirst

The human body is water.

The body needs water, as it needs oxygen to fill the lungs, fill blood cells racing through veins, into tissues.

To thirst is to know that the end is near. It will drive the average person mad. The knowledge that death is approaching, and the end of the body’s suffering.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 119, April 29th, 2017

Chapter Seven: Duality

The whole body is a cognitive organ, not just the brain, cerebellum, and cerebral cortex.

The body senses, and remembers.

The whole being is contained in the tiniest part, in the nucleus of every cell. It pushes us forward, a chemical drive feeding the quantum field of creativity, a neural net rooted in organic chemistry.

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Emergence 2.0

Section Three, Earth
Part Sixteen, Existence

Collected Chapters

01 Flesh
02 Bi Pedal
03 Stereo Hearing
04 Binocular Vision
05 Hemispheric Brain
06 Thirst
07 Duality

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Face Book Politics

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
04.29.2017

Last year I argued with a lot of my friends on Face Book. We argued a great deal during the primaries. We argued about Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, old BS, and HRC.
I was, and am a Hillary supporter, the nation lost out on a good leader when we failed to elect her.
I love to argue, I have an instinct for it, maybe an addiction. I find certain things in politics very hard to resist. I think it is a character flaw.
Ultimately, I had to result in a program of self-censorship. In an argument I can be aggressive uncompromising, this largely stems from my conviction that I am right (I am not giving that up). It also comes from my desire to cut back all the noise, to go for the close when I am in that argumentative mode.
As I have said, I have a character flaw, I love to argue. I like to win. I believe I am right, and I can sometimes be impatient.
These are all good reasons not to argue with people that I genuinely like, on Face Book.
Sometimes I cannot resist.
I waded into an argument yesterday. A friend of mine posted a link to an article by Harvard Professor, Dr. Cornell West.
Dr. West has been arguing for progressive thinkers and voters to abandon the Democratic Party. The basis for this is his interest in social justice. He believes that the Democratic party cannot cure itself of its racism, homophobia, militarism, or its alignment with big, banks, big agra, big oil, all of which perpetuate grave injustices on the people, but more importantly on those who are the most marginalized already.
While Dr. West sees the problem for it is, the Democratic Party, like the majority of Americans, is deeply tied to economic forces, those fears, those corrupting social issues, those matters of identity politics. He is right about that, but he is wrong, and absolutely wrong about the prescription.
My response to this post was simply to say that Cornell West is an idiot. That was not very nice, but it is true. When he, or anyone speaks about dividing the political power of the Democratic party, of abandoning it, they is being idiotic.
I quickly edited my response to remove the incendiary language. My edited comment read, Cornell West doesn’t know what he is talking about.” This is true. Cornell West, who has legitimate roots as an activist, who is a brilliant writer, public speaker, public intellectual, he is also someone who stopped living in the real world some decades ago. Because he is disconnected from the world, he finds himself, like Noam Chomsky trying to solve problems from his office in the ivory tower at Harvard square.
His answer to the real problems of social injustice have become, “take an ideologically pure position and make a lot of noise.” When the real solution has to be, “change public policy.”
The social injustices that beset the poor and the marginalized, are matters of law, and public policy. We cannot bring justice without changing law and policy. To make those kinds of changes, we need to win elections. We need to elect people to public office, at every level of government who will do the right thing. Put the bills on the floor, bring them up for a vote, and pass them into law.
I understand if people want to take umbrage with democratic lawmakers, and policy shapers, for being sellouts, and not being good at their jobs. Those individuals are a fraction of the party, the party is tens of millions of people, slightly larger than half of the electorate, spread throughout the nation.
When Dr, West argues that we should abandon the Democratic Party, he is saying, abandon those people. Stop working with them. The very people he purports to want to help.
Politics is a game of compromise, and compromise never satisfies anyone. Politics should be informed by idealism, but cannot be held hostage to it. Advancing public policy requires political legislative victories, and that requires victories at the ballot box. We on the left need to stay together, work together, collaborate and compromise if we are to have any hope getting control of the ship again.
Dr, West, Noam Chomsky, people like my friend who I argued with yesterday, they look right past this point. They want to draw power away from the place where it is most heavily concentrated, rather than add to it. They want to divide and diffuse it, because they believe that being right, is more important than doing right.

That is a shame.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Muse

Soft curving vision
Radiant with passion’s heat
Burning in the flesh

Spellbound in bright eyes
Depth without measure, reflect
Waves, and wind, and tide

Listen, a question
Voice, resounding and faultless
Eternal echo

She lifts and she falls
Her dance sweeps the horizon
Muse of the dark night

Siren of poets
Con-joined to the infinite
Fill the empty pen


Monday, April 24, 2017

A Homily – The Gospel of John 20:19-31 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2017.04.23


The Gospel of John 20:19-31
Gospel Acclamation Jn 20:29
Second Reading 1 Peter 1:3-9 ©
Psalm 117(118):2-4,13-15,22-24 ©
First Reading Acts 2:42-47 ©


Faith is Trust, Not Belief

The early Christian communities flourished because they believed in one another, The trusted one another, the relied on one another. They held their possessions in common and the lived according to their beliefs. They shared their food, their clean water, their way of life.

Because of their example, their communities grew.

It was not their faith in the risen Christ that caused their communities to grow, it was their faith in each other, strengthened by the example that Jesus had set which allowed them to flourish, and endure persecution.

This is not to say that the good news of the resurrection was not a binding doctrine for the early church, it was. But hat bound them even more closely together was the living witness to that teaching which they shared with one another.

The witness that God, the creator of the universe, is kind, loving, and merciful.

Jesus taught this above all things, and for a few short years this was the principle teaching of the Church he founded. Jesus taught that God is a loving father, abba, and God approaches God’s children in the spirit of love, always, even when God is exercising judgment, and administering justice.

The Church, like God, has no enemies.

God does not dwell behind the wall of a city, a temple, a cathedral a basilica.

There are no gates barring access to God, there are no barriers, in the world or in the mind, or in the true dogma of the church..

God is in all places, at all times and in the hearts of all people.

God does not favor one child above another.

God is a bringing of life, not death. God loves peace, not war.

Remember, God is the parent of everyone, the creator of the universe, and everything in it.

The resurrection of Jesus (if you believe in it) is a gift of hope. It is a reason to trust in what had theretofore been unseen, and what has been promised to everyone.

Whether we believe in the resurrection or not, this does not matter, the resurrection is the destiny that God has set in place for every person, not one of God’s children will be left out.

What faith in the resurrection does: it makes it easier to live the good life. When your belief in God’s love for you is firm, it is much easier to pray for those who persecute you, to love your enemy, to lead a just life, of kindness and sharing and mercy.

What faith in the resurrection is not: it is not an article of belief that a Christian holds onto, granting them access to paradise.

Faith will not protect you from evil, either from within or from without.

Be mindful of what Saint Peter taught, Peter is mistaken.

Peter praises the faithful for their love and devotion to Jesus, for their belief in Jesus as the Christ, as an object of devotion, as an idea fixe. This makes transforms our image of Jesus into an idol; calling Christians to give their love and devotion to an image, instead of to the way of life that he taught.

Peter is mistaken.

Do not tell people to be happy in their suffering, because they are suffering for a great cause. Do not tell them this. If a person is suffering something which they must endure, because they have no choice, so be it. Boost them up, support them, give them hope, but do not speak to them about the honor and glory of their suffering, and do not promise rewards for their suffering in the next life, do not promise these things in the name of idols.

When Christian faith moves away from the living tradition, and ceases to be way of life, when it stops being about people, becoming a partisan thing, a thing of ideology, and doctrine, then the way is lost.

The Gospel for the second Sunday of Easter moves us for away from the ministry of Jesus and into the life of the early church, into the era of partisanship.

John’s Gospel was written roughly one hundred-twenty years after Jesus died. This reading contains some fascinating glimpses into the life of John’s community.

John says that on the night Jesus was crucified the apostles hid in the upper room for fear of the Jews, indicating the deep division that had already taken place between the nascent church and the Jewish people who founded it.

Jesus and the apostles were Jewish. Ninety years before John’s gospel was written, Saint Paul was active in his ministry to the gentiles, arguing with St. Peter about the notion that gentiles must first become observant Jews before they could join the church.

St. Paul won that argument. The church opened to the world, and ninety years later it would come to see the Jewish tradition and its people as anathema to itself.

There was great concern for the church and its authority in this time. The image and understanding of who Jesus is changes. Jesus is reimagined as a priest doing priestly things; commissioning the disciples, instantiating their office, and empowering the to pass judgement on people, to forgive or not forgive sins as the disciples saw fit.

This flies in the face of the historical Jesus, a man who was not a priest, but was a prophet.

Jesus forgave sins, and encourages the disciples to forgive sins, not because they had the special power to do so, but because God, the creator of the universe, forgives sins. When the prophet proclaims absolution, they are not exercising a special power, they are proclaiming the will of God, and announcing something that has already happened.

This reading encourages the people to respond to mystical deeds and magical happenings; ghostly apparitions and visions, as if the claim that these supernatural events took place lent some greater authority to their work.

Many are taken in by this sort of thing, it is an appeal to magical thinking, but those types of appeals are always fabrications and lies.

In the final passage the gospel writer puts forth the notion that the miracles were real, they were performed so that people would believe that Jesus is (in a special way) the son of God, and that through this belief they would come into the church named after him, and thus become candidates for eternal life.

The construction of this ideology is: come to the church where the Gospel is given, learn the name of Jesus Christ, believe that he is the Son of God, receive that belief as an object or an article of faith, present that belief at the gates of, and be rewarded with eternal life.

The scheme of this tradition, which will be familiar to most Christians, this scheme is Gnostic.

The church rejected Gnosticism and these themes in the same era that John’s Gospel was written.
We should to.

The meaning of faith is trust; trust in God.

The meaning of faith is not belief, belief in a proposition or an article of dogma.

Christian faith is not; believe in Christ so that you can be saved. It is; trust God, that you are saved already.


First Reading Acts 2:42-47 ©

The whole community remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.

The many miracles and signs worked through the apostles made a deep impression on everyone.

The faithful all lived together and owned everything in common; they sold their goods and possessions and shared out the proceeds among themselves according to what each one needed.

They went as a body to the Temple every day but met in their houses for the breaking of bread; they shared their food gladly and generously; they praised God and were looked up to by everyone. Day by day the Lord added to their community those destined to be saved.


Psalm 117(118):2-4,13-15,22-24 ©

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

Let the sons of Israel say:
  ‘His love has no end.’
Let the sons of Aaron say:
  ‘His love has no end.’
Let those who fear the Lord say:
  ‘His love has no end.’

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

I was thrust down, thrust down and falling,
  but the Lord was my helper.
The Lord is my strength and my song;
  he was my saviour.
There are shouts of joy and victory
  in the tents of the just.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

The stone which the builders rejected
  has become the corner stone.
This is the work of the Lord,
  a marvel in our eyes.
This day was made by the Lord;
  we rejoice and are glad.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

Second Reading 1 Peter 1:3-9 ©

Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy has given us a new birth as his sons, by raising Jesus Christ from the dead, so that we have a sure hope and the promise of an inheritance that can never be spoilt or soiled and never fade away, because it is being kept for you in the heavens. Through your faith, God’s power will guard you until the salvation which has been prepared is revealed at the end of time. This is a cause of great joy for you, even though you may for a short time have to bear being plagued by all sorts of trials; so that, when Jesus Christ is revealed, your faith will have been tested and proved like gold – only it is more precious than gold, which is corruptible even though it bears testing by fire – and then you will have praise and glory and honour. You did not see him, yet you love him; and still without seeing him, you are already filled with a joy so glorious that it cannot be described, because you believe; and you are sure of the end to which your faith looks forward, that is, the salvation of your souls.

Gospel Acclamation Jn 20:29

Alleluia, alleluia!
Jesus said: ‘You believe because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’
Alleluia!


The Gospel of John 20:19-31

In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.’

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:

‘You believe because you can see me.

Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’

There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.

(NJB)



2nd Sunday of Easter

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Emergence, In Fifty-five Words - Section Three, Earth; Part Fifteen, Observation, Collected Chapters




Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 106, April 16th, 2017

Chapter One: The Paintings

The people drew pictures in the soil with sticks, mixed colors and painted, projecting images of the future on cave walls.

They carved their hopes, and fears into stones, and the faces of cliffs, the past also.

They depicted things no one living had ever seen, the memory of which they carried in their genes.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 107, April 17th, 2017

Chapter Two: The Music

The music of the people, the drums they beat, the rhythms they made, they pushed the stories of each tribe, each family, deep into the memory of its members. It changed them on the genetic level, setting up successive generations to recall them, relive them, to transform those stories into a part of their being.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 108, April 18th, 2017

Chapter Three: The Memory of Stars

Even before the eruption 72,000 years ago, the culture of these children of the Ancient race had devolved, falling from star-farer to cave dweller. Yet that culture retained a faint memory of its ancestry. through the stories they told and the engrams of memory encoded in their cells.

It was precious little to build on.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 109, April 19th, 2017

Chapter Four: Mutation

During their sojourn to Earth, the children of the Ancients determined what their physical needs would be before they arrived at their home.

They began to mutate their DNA, altering their genetic structure, allowing them to inhabit, and thrive on the wet-blue world.

Destination Earth, it was their last hope for a home and haven.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 110, April 20th, 2017

Chapter Five: The New Gene

Change begets change.

The Ancient spacefarers became humanity. Their ages-long sojourn across the galaxy had already caused them to modify their physical form in significant ways, long before they arrived on Earth.

They survived by mutation, and now their genes converged with the native life of Earth.

They became a new people; stronger, better, faster.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 111, April 21st, 2017

Chapter Six: Collective Consciousness

With subtle interventions from the Observer the human brain slowly mutated.

Receptors emerged in the organic structure, attenuating the higher order thought processes to the Earth’s magnetic fields.

It established synergy between every human being alive, turning the entire planet into a field for cognitive development.

In this way humanity became connected, through the nous-sphere.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 112, April 22nd, 2017

Chapter Seven: Synergy

Few humans were aware of the collective consciousness, or that they lived within the dynamic nous-sphere.

Everyone was entangled in it.

It permeated all things, as it was coterminous with the Earth’s electromagnetic field.

It drove many humans into madness.

It required the advent of written language, and thousands of years to figure it out.

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Emergence 2.0
Section Three, Earth

Part Fifteen, Observation

Collected Chapters

01 The Paintings
02 The Music
03 The Memory of Stars
04 Mutation
05 The New Gene
06 Collective Consciousness
07 Synergy

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day is my Birthday

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
04.22.2017

All of our eggs are in one basket.
We live here together and we have no place else to go.
The world is a big place and it can take a lot of damage, but our ecosystems are specialized and fragile, the world will survive many things that we cannot.
We are charged with the care of the world. This is a sacred imperative, presented in our sacred texts. This is a categorical imperative as well, if we do not care for the world, the world may just shrug us off, or shrug enough of us off in a calamity that will change us forever, our cultures, our language, even our DNA.
There are natural disasters built into the structure of the planet, into the mantle and the core. There are massive volcanoes, and there is continental drift. There are calamities heading our way, from sailing through the vacuum of space, on a collision course with earth.
There are asteroids and comments that we will collide with, if we are unable to work cooperatively to gain alter those eventualities.
Those things are baked in. They are existential threats, but they also represent opportunities for the advancement of science, and unification of the human race. Given enough time, it is possible that we could even harness the power of the greatest volcanoes, turn their destructive energies to the benefit of humankind, or move the near Earth from their path.
We face other threats right now, immediate threats, threats of our own making.
We are changing the climate. The planet is warming. The oceans are becoming more acidic. We are changing their salinity. We are filling the atmosphere with toxins. Glaciers are melting. Sea levels are rising We are polluting our freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams. We are losing topsoil, our forests, our reefs.
Our stewardship is failing. We are divided, against each other…greed drives a short sighted political mindset that seeks to turn the people against their long-term interests. Politicians and their wealthy patrons silence, and undermine our scientists, they cast doubt on any field of inquiry which might lead to a curtailment of their industry. Our stewardship is failing.

Earth Day 2017, all of our eggs are in one basket, the basket is fragile. There is no other.