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Dogs are spirit given to our lives…. they know us, help us and protect us… There’s nothing like a dame was once a famous song…(Ha! Now-a-days it might get the deep six, thumbs down action I suspect)… Well yes, I say, there’s nothing like a woman, but there’s nothing like a dog as well:-) Not to equate the two!)

This is my dog, Shadow, smiling bright.

Try dog ownership if you haven’t; your heart-felt energy will enlarge and your life will be a richer experience. Although there are studies that find people who own and love dogs live longer, better, happier lives than those who don’t, there are also similar findings when people who associate with horses or pets of all kinds are compared to those who don’t.

My daughter on her horse, Toby.

Just a guess, but I’m thinking people who open themselves up to loving any or all kinds of life around them find fulfillment in their lives, while those who don’t short-change the scope and breadth of what their own lives might be.

I float better with Shadow in the pool…maybe.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13: 3 (NIV)

It’s interesting that this idea be termed , ‘A new command,’ at the time of Jesus, as though the thought had never been expressed before.

The American Zen teacher John Daido Loori shows us that Zen practice should include not only meditation, the study of Zen literature and liturgy, and moral and ethical action, but should also manifest in work, artistic, and everyday activities….

Basically, you could pick any major religion throughout the world and find the same advice: love one another. But, to expand this thought, Jesus never said it’s okay to kick the dog as you’re busy loving people. No, everyone and everything is included in, “Love one another…” Of course, Native Americans understood that all of creation is sacred.

What about wars? Wars happen; people are far from perfect.

Empathy is a one to one ratio. The more we notice the life around us and it’s living condition, the more empathy we feel. Turning a blind eye to the suffering of our human condition and our Earth’s situation does nothing but blind us. None of us can solve the world’s problems alone, but the pebble thrown into a lake analogy certainly applies. Every good or bad action we do is that pebble, and the ripples that spread out from its splash may reach shorelines, people and places, we can’t even see as we throw that little stone.

My advice? Be kind to yourself: be as good a person as you can be. If you do this, you will sleep easier at night. I’m thinking if we do manage to strive to do our best (hey-I think that’s a Boy Scout motto?) then we are less inclined to worry about the future. That future will come as it may but when it does we will know we’ve done our best. No worries; you’ve done everything you could’ve to improve life.

Take that leap of faith in love.

Alfred E Neuman: what me worry? I loved Mad magazine as a boy (like now) and my Southern Baptist upbringing aligned my understanding of these words with the church teachings to not worry. Thing is, in truth, the history of Alfred E Neuman’s face and its historical meaning  is something different altogether. In fact, Neuman’s face has been used at least since 1883…and to sell mince Plum pudding.

And, later on…

Worse, another version of Alfred E Neuman’s face was used by the Germans during world War II and captioned, “Kill the Jews.” Honest. (Not the picture above.)

So, my interpretation of Neuman’s, ‘What me worry,’ illustrates how what we think about things is related to our preconceived notions, and those notions are usually based upon what we’ve been taught to think. Self realization derived from observation and deduction is a bit skewed now in the human experience. We are taught to be who we think we are. Often, this is not the case at all.  Most often, we are people just like most, people with needs, wants, hopes, dreams and empathy but we’ve been subtly taught to turn off this understanding. We’ve been encouraged to turn a blind eye to the condition of humanity and our earth.

It’s time to turn ourselves back on.

It’s time to be joyful.

My sister, Sharon Franquemont, published a book, “You Already know What To Do.” * This book, published in nine languages throughout the world, makes many points but my favorite is the concept that intuition should be taught in schools as a subject. This way, we might help our children get in touch with themselves, their inner sense of life’s order and magnitude, and how their lives relate to all growth. The world would be a better place if society expressed a true interest in our inner selves and how that inner self relates to the world around us. Point: Dogs help people do this.

Having a dog, or any pet, helps us express love for something other than ourselves and, in turn, that pet loves us back. This way, people learn how love flows from us and back to us. We learn how good this exchange of love feels. Soon, and not depending on the amount of LSD or pot you’ve smoked in the 70’s, the notion that loving the people, the animals , the trees or even the rocks we pass returns love to us becomes less remote and, in fact, a real life experience.

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Let’s put a bow on this. Yes, try loving your neighbor, but it might be mastering that process is easier done if you start with loving a doggie, or pet of any kind…. good luck.

Cheers, and I hope the ripples from my pebble reach you at a most fortuitous time and in the best of light. Namaste; to your light.

Franque23

 

*https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0874779464/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

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(Avatar Magic, by Gerald Franquemont, is out on kindle and it can be downloaded onto most reading devices.)

There are over 2 billion Christians in the world today, not counting an additional 14 million Mormons. Basically, believe it or not, Christians do believe that Christ was the Son of God. I only mention this since as a Sunday School teacher I was amazed to have several church going parents protest this truism. But this fact is fundamental to Christianity. To say this isn’t so would be the same as saying that belief in Joseph Smith was not a fundamental part and reason for  the Mormon Faith. Take away belief in  Joseph Smith and you don’t have the Mormon faith, but another widely accepted branch/denomination of Christianity; take away a belief that Jesus was the Son of God and you don’t have Christianity.

I’ve knocked around when it comes to organized religions. I was raised as a Southern Baptist which basically means by strictest of doctrine that  you’re going to hell if you’re not with me on this.  Enjoy your trip okay! That’s how I was raised to think. Over the course of my life I’ve dabbled in  the Catholic Church.  I dated a Catholic Gal for four years, but no way could my knees take the services so we broke up.  I attended the Lutheran Church.  I studied Native American philosophies and dated a Cherokee for three years (I see a pattern developing here). I’ve been a Trustee of a Methodist church for several years.  I graduate from Gettysburg college, a Lutheran College, and I was an active Sunday School teaching member of  United Church of Gainesville whose creed, God however known, made me feel comfortable. By the time my wife met me I’d read the entire 3000 word Buddhist text and was practicing Taoism/ yoga and pot. Whew, huh?

Now I’m a Minister of the Life Church. I officiated at my niece’s wedding in California and I love the all- inclusive doctrine that this religious group embraces.  In the bigger picture my mission in life is to help people. I work in a library helping people; I’ve written songs I’d hope would help people; I’m writing books now that I hope will help people and I write this blog  to help people, mostly-  Many of my Republican Family members may disagree with this last listing as I’m down with Obama. So wouldn’t it be nice if I got to the point of this blog and helped you to be done reading it?!?!

Why in God’s name has Christ ever been depicted as being white? This timeless colorful apparition of Jesus has a lot to do with The Church from 200 AD on. It’s possible pigmented colors cost more back then right? Call Jesus toned by politics if you like.  The point is I think it’s time the majority of the Western World’s Christians get over it and start coming up with a different hue for Jesus, a new slant on how he looked. Most of us would be amazed to look at the most recently published versions of how this man really looked. Get ready.

Richard Neave’s ( University of Manchester Professor) research involved extracting a skull from the 1st century using anthropological data to pinpoint which skull to use. Using a cat scan the team recreated the skin texture, tone, bone structure, eye set, nose, mouth and hair to come up with how Jesus most likely looked.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Neave

Here's looking at you! Paul hint's that Jesus' hair must have been short.

Here’s looking at you! Paul hint’s that Jesus’ hair must have been short.

Have you seen this guy’s face hanging on anyone’s wall? Didn’t think so.

Professor Vincent Wimbush, of California’s Claremont Graduate University, who is an expert on ethnic interpretations of the Bible, says the matter of the historical colour of Jesus seems to him a “flat, dead-end issue. He’s of Mediterranean stock, and it’s quite clear what that means. We see people like that in the world today, and that should end the matter. The fact that the debate rages on regardless is fascinating, he says, because of what it says about people’s other issues.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3958241.stm

Another version of what Jesus might have looked like came off the Shroud of Turin.

Reproduced from the reverse imaging of the Shroud of Troin

Reproduced from the reverse imaging of the Shroud of Turin.

This second image is close to many versions used in the Western World to replicate how Jesus looked  except his skin  is not white. The skin  here is more of a bronze tone. This choice of color may result from interpreted passages found in The Book of Revelations that refers to Jesus’  feet as being bronze colored. But I say good luck with translating Revelations. I’d have had better luck with that during the days I was smoking dubbies.

But why does any of this matter? Many people of faith point out that Jesus’ skin color is of no importance. Really? Just for kicks let me ask: what if Jesus were really white but for almost two thousand years artists and churches depicted him  as being black? See?  The truth matters. Some, however, say we’ll never know the truth. But I’ve heard since 1960 that solar power would never work and yet Germany produced power equal to twenty-two fully operational Nuclear Power plants in just one solar-powered plant last month. Things happen. Times change.

It’s time for a bazillion churches to get out their black paint toner.  Jesus needs a new portrait. Or, are we gonna stick with the old ones?

What's up baby?

What’s up baby?

I have to laugh when I remember that Jesus is said to have called people brother….wow. I hope I’ve helped you when it comes to the issue of how Jesus really looked.

And one foot note (sorta). I ran into this interesting article about an archaeological find that may be the world’s oldest known Christian church site-the first seventy may have use this site. Check it out:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/jordan/2106752/Worlds-oldest-Christian-church-discovered-in-Jordan.html

Franque23.

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