Walls may work temporarily in keeping people out, but it will never work in keeping prosperity within. Walls are self imposed sanctions. Keeping people out has never equated to keeping peace within. History teaches us that walls serve as accelerators to internal chaos. History further instructs that bridge building, not walls, create both peace and prosperity. A voice we never want to hear, America, “Tear Down That Wall.”
Hate inflames on both sides of a wall regardless of who builds it.
Walls generate division, exclusiveness, and strife. Minorities more than the majority are keenly sensitive to the detriments and ills of a wall. It is historically evident that no sustainable good will ever come from building a wall.
Walls kill, not on one side, but on both sides. History is replete with people and nations falling into a tempting mirage of wall building. Let’s hope that the “shining city on the hill”, America, avoids this fate.
It was 1978, a helicopter of geologists surveying the wilderness discovered a family of six.
Lost deep in the Russian Siberian wilderness, a family was found practicing the Christian religion utilizing a bible untainted from any modern version of the Christian bible. The discovery of this family not only proves the strength of the human spirit, but it underlines the strength of faith.
What I find interesting is the similarity in the practices of this family in the wilderness and the early Oneness Pentecostal Movement, in America.
“Beside a stream there was a dwelling. Blackened by time and rain, the hut was piled up on all sides with taiga rubbish—bark, poles, planks. If it hadn’t been for a window the size of my backpack pocket, it would have been hard to believe that people lived there. But they did, no doubt about it…. Our arrival had been noticed, as we could see. The low door creaked, and the figure of a very old man emerged into the light of day, straight out of a fairy tale. Barefoot. Wearing a patched and repatched shirt made of sacking. He wore trousers of the same material, also in patches, and had an uncombed beard. His hair was disheveled”
“The old man’s name was Karp Lykov, and he was an Old Believer–a member of a fundamentalist Russian Orthodox sect, worshiping in a style unchanged since the 17th century.
These “Old Believer” Orthodox Christians believe the incarnate Word of God is one person in two natures, both fully divine and fully human, perfectly God (τέλειος Θεός) and perfectly man (τέλειος άνθρωπος). Throughout the ages this has been a point of contention between schismatic Christian theological factions (heterodox) and the mainstream body of Christian believers (orthodox). Christ had a divine will, or set of desires and spiritual incentives, and a human will with fleshly drives. He had a human body, human mind, and human spirit able to be tempted with sin and to suffer the same way as we would. In this way God is said to have suffered and died in the flesh of Jesus, although the divine nature is itself impassible and immortal. Orthodox Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah of the Jews, the God of Israel come to be with His people, the Redeemer of the human race who saves the world from sin and its effects, the comprehensible self-revelation of the incomprehensible God, and the pre-eternal Son begotten of the Father before all ages: “the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (æons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father.” He is said to have been begotten timelessly as God without a mother and begotten in history as man without a father.
Orthodox Christians believe in the betrayal, trial, execution, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that he truly rose from the dead on the third day following his crucifixion. The feast of the resurrection of Christ, which is called “Easter” in Germanic languages, is known as Pascha in the Orthodox Church. This is a the Aramaic variant (the language spoken at the time of Jesus) of the Hebrew Pesach, meaning “Passover”. The resurrection of Christ is the Christian Passover. Pascha is called “the Feast of Feasts” and is considered the greatest feast of all the Church’s liturgical feasts, including the feasts of the Nativity (Christmas) and the Annunciation.
I found myself in one of those rare moments of screaming at my smart phone, “Have you, Bernie Sanders, ever seen a dying 7-year-old at the Helen Devos Children’s Hospital? What would that 7-year-old sitting in heaven, be thinking of you sitting here today, and how would she answer your question posed to Betsy Devos.
Nominated as Education Secretary, Betsy Devos had to face the music from an elite group of Senators. “How much have you donated to the Republicans over the years. Will you commit that you will not work to privatize, or cut funding” for public schools, “Guns, do they have any place in or around schools?”
With the rapidity of a machine gun, the questions kept coming, and with grace she answered politely. When Senator Elizabeth Warren asked, if she or any of her children had ever had to take out a student loan to help pay for college. “They have been fortunate not to,” DeVos stated humbly.
The elite attitude from a group of elite Senators was apparent today. Regardless of any position on school vouchers or gun control, the spirit of the questions, I think, were apparent and wrong. I hope that my thoughts are not skewed by my knowledge of the good Betsy Devos and her family have contributed to Michigan throughout the years, but there has to be a better way of asking questions apart from grandstanding.
Betsy’s biggest critics argue that she is for school vouchers. These are vouchers paid for by taxpayers, given to private companies, for public education. The detractors contend that taxpayer dollars should not be used for private companies, even it is for the intended public good. The greater fear of her opposers, perhaps, is that voucher policies will do away with public schools. It is a fair argument. Let’s have the discussion. The naysayers, also point to Michigan’s voucher policy implementation, utilized by charter schools, as an example of voucher’s inherent failures. Over forty percent, critics claim, of Michigan’s Charter schools are a dismal failure. Again, this is a fair argument. Let’s have the discussion.
I suspect further that many of her detractors are weary that she is a conservative Christian and is willing to force her views on others under the name of vouchers and private schools. Let’s have the discussion.
I am in no means advocating that the Senate shun their responsibilities as an advise and consent body, but it easy to be self-righteous, argumentative, and even fearful of another when you have not walked in their shoes. It is timely for the senators to be reminded of the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. “People fail to get along because they fear each other; and they fear each other because they don’t know each other; and they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
Well, I do know the Devos’s, and I suppose, like all of us, there is good at the very core. The good that I see coming from the core of Betsy Devos, I love.
TheDick and Betsy Devos website states, “Our faith motivates our giving; it is integral to who we are and what we do. Our giving is centered in cultivating leadership, accelerating transformation and leveraging support in five areas:
Justice: Fundamentally, we believe all people have the right and access to justice. We support organizations that help free, rescue, or provide access to the oppressed and the vulnerable.
Education: We strive to be a catalyst for positive change by expanding choices and improving access opportunities primarily in K-12 education.
Community: We endeavor to make West Michigan a desirable place to live by supporting efforts that lead to community transformation, improve community health and provide support for essential community needs.
Arts: Nationally and internationally, we build capacity in arts leaders and equip them to effectively manage and lead their organizations.
Leadership: With intention, we aim to train, equip, support and develop leaders.
Rather than screaming at grandstanding senators, that cannot hear me, it may be better for me to holler, and advocate until the words of Dick and Betsy Devos become reality.
It is true that Oneness Pentecostalism is a quandary to a lot of people. But where one finds Oneness influence there appears to be direct correlation to positive growth.
Ethiopia is the second-most populous country in Sub-Saharan Africa with a population of 99.4 million, and population growth rate of 2.5% in 2015. One of the world’s oldest civilizations, Ethiopia is also one of the world’s poorest countries. The country’s per capita income of $590 is substantially lower than the regional average (Gross National Income, Atlas Method). The government aspires to reach lower-middle income status over the next decade.
The economy has experienced strong and broad based growth over the past decade, averaging 10.8% per year in 2003/04 – 2014/15 compared to the regional average of 5.4%. Expansion of the services and agricultural sectors account for most of this growth, while manufacturing sector performance was relatively modest. Private consumption and public investment explain demand side growth with the latter assuming an increasingly important role in recent years.
Economic growth brought with it positive trends in poverty reduction, in both urban and rural areas. While 55.3% of Ethiopians lived in extreme poverty in 2000, by 2011, this figure was reduced to 33.5% as measured by the international poverty line, of less than $1.90 per day.
Oneness Pentecostalism, a religious movement that spawned between 1898-1906 with a handful of faithful followers, now has over 30 million members.
There is a glaring divide between Oneness and other forms of Pentecostalism, in that Oneness holds the dogma of the Oneness of God, and not a three-part God, better known as the Trinity; three Gods in one – God, the Father, God the Son, and God the Holyspirit. Oneness teaches that God is not divided into three Gods, but rather he is One; “Hear that the Lord your God is One.” (KJV)
Like the first century Christians, the Oneness Movement started out as a small band of men and women. Largely centered in Indianapolis, Indiana, the small movement had a group of passionate leaders committed to its first century Jewish founder, Jesus of Nazareth. The early Oneness movement leaders included Frank Ewart, Glenn Cook, Garfield T. Haywood, Iranian-born Assyrian Andrew D. Urshan, and Howard A. Goss.
Also, mirroring its 30 AD founders, the Oneness Pentecostal movement centered on a charismatic Leader, Garfield Thomas Haywood. According to Talmadge L. French in his book, “Early Interracial Oneness Pentecostalism” (2014), the African American Leader, Garfield T. Haywood was its primary architect and figures most prominently into the movements history, not only as one of its leading proponents, but as its central interracial voice, as well as its most renowned leader.
From its obscure beginnings the flourishing movement has spread globally and have entered a mainstream of spiritual, political influence. President Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States acknowledges to coming under the influence of the Oneness Pentecostal movement, during some of his most tumultuous times, and claims to have been greatly affected by the engagement.
“Hailemariam is from the Wolayta ethnic group of Ethiopia, an Omotic community which forms the principal population group in Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region. His family belongs to the Apostolic Church of Ethiopia, a Oneness Pentecostal denomination that is not part of mainstream Ethiopian Protestant Christianity (Pentay), which believes in Trinitarianism.”
Ethiopia is the largest African Nation in terms of population (102,374,044) and has all the potential to be a great Nation. Let us pray that a Oneness raised leader can make a difference.
Officer Michael Harris addresses the audience at a ceremony for his 2016 Maytag Dependable Leader Award at the Goei Center in Grand Rapids on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Officer Harris is receiving a $20,000 grant for his work with the Boys & Girls Club Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth. (Allison Farrand | MLive.com)
Today, the front page of the Grand Rapids Press highlights “Community Policing” entitling it “The Spirit of the law.” The article infers that crime in Grand Rapids is linked to a $2.5M community policing effort.
It is evident that the Grand Rapids police department believes that Black Lives Matter. To affirm that black lives matter does not presuppose that other lives do not matter. Community Policing appears to be having a positive impact in Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids Police Department have embraced the community that they now serve.
The news report has as its centerpiece Dallas Cowboy safety, and Grand Rapids native Kavon Frazier, as a glowing example of the impact of community policing. Kavon raised by a single mother in a poverty stricken environment, was headed in the wrong direction until encountering officer Michael Harris and the community policing efforts of Grand Rapids police department.
“I grew up around officers and some were like father figures to me,” Frazier said. “Having a relationship with those officers was good, because all them bad stereotypes about police officers, especially in the black community, it basically shut them down.”
They never gave up on anyone, Kavon tells Justin Hicks, a reporter at MLive. “Not all officers are bad people, and it hurts that this stuff is going on, especially how I grew up” referring to the recent increase in violence against police officer. The officers in blue, have become more than uniforms to Kavon. This is the true value of community Policing.
It is my contention, from experience in law enforcement, that in every community there is a small and same recurrent element that is responsible for more than 90% of the crime. Further, elements responsible for crime are birth out of poverty and despair. Additionally, of the poverty stricken criminal elements responsible for violent crimes, 90% have great mental deficiencies. The deviant behaviors from this small minority is a known element to most police departments. Among this group, no amount of community policing will suffice. Deviant personalities we will have with us always.
At the heart of the community policing philosophy is the belief that not all person in a community are criminals, and non-deviant elements should not be treated as deviant elements. Community policing also puts forth the fact that insulating violent criminals from non-violent criminals, via officer and citizen training alike, is a way of reducing crime and stopping the growth thereof. Further, it is critical to understand that bias and unfair sentencing laws targeted at non-violent criminals does not add to the reduction in crimes, but rather adds to it, and furthers the bottom line of private prisons and the justice system cottage industry.
The main goal of community policing is the re-directing of “non-violent” criminal behavior, and familiarizing every body with every other body; this is a powerful means of projecting a truth that all lives matter.
“I thank you my fellow citizens for making me the president of this beautiful country,” Mr. Akufo-Addo said at his swearing in at the Black Star Square in Accra on December 7.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was on Saturday January 7 sworn in as the fifth president of Ghana under the Fourth Republic.
Another peaceful transition of power for this African Nation, Ghana. President Akufo-Addo, a human rights attorney, is largely responsible for much of the calm in this Nation. Nana who ran in the two previous elections, contested the presidential election in 2008, 2012, but called for a peaceful transition and calmed the voices of violent protest in each of those closely contested elections.
Other Africa nations can learn valuable lessons from this stellar person.
Mary Blair and her husband wait for a doctor’s appointment at the Breathitt County Family Health Center in Kentucky, a state that has seen major changes through Obamacare. The future of the healthcare law is unclear. (Getty Images) The Chicago Tribune
Thirty-million Americans with pitchforks, half of which are the White working class, President-Elect Trump’s supporting block, will spring into action if their health insurance is taken away by the Republican controlled US House and Senate.
The repeal and replace drumbeat has persisted for so long that many low and middle class republican supporters have been deafened by the fact that they are benefiting from the very law that they are seeking to repeal. What is even more risky for these supporters is that their very life could eventually hinge upon Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) itself.
Thirty-million Americans are now protected against Insurance companies discriminating against preexisting medical condition persons. Children can now stay on their parents health insurance until age 26. Since the inception of Obamacare, healthcare spending has been on a downward spiral. Insurance companies are profiting and creating jobs. We are no longer an “employer based health insurance Nation.” Big business can no longer coerced employees to work under harsh conditions with the hanging threat of losing health insurance coverage.
A solid contra argument that Republican leaders use is that premiums of some Americans are rising. However, these premiums are not rising arbitrarily, they are being raised by these hugely profitable insurance companies. It is critical to note, that premium accelerations were happening prior to Obamacare and will continue to rise in a free market society, until the “invisible hand” of the market drives down and stabilizes prices. In any marketplace, prices are greasy going up and sticky coming down. So think it not strange that this occurs under Obamacare. These are the facts, not the hype.
Let me hasten to add, Obamacare is far from perfect. What is being lost in the mayhem is that the health of the healthcare market is far better than what it was prior to the institution of the Affordable Care Act. Nonetheless, most “parking lot” literal constitutionalist argue that the mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. It is a fair argument. We can also argue that Medicare and Medicaid are mandates and unconstitutional. The current Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act and it did not strike down the legislation as unconstitutional. Insurance companies are taking advantage of Obamacare by finding loop holes to undermined the law, and increase profits thereby. Markets always behave in such manners. We can contemplate instituting regulations to close loopholes, but it will be a temporary fixed until the market finds new loopholes in the new implemented regulations. No law is perfect. As mortals in a capitalistic society we must do the best we can in an imperfect democracy.
Inherently, health insurance is for people who cannot afford to pay for healthcare, therefore the risk is transfer to an insurance company to pay on the behalf of the wealth deprived persons. Billionaires and multimillionaires do not carry insurance. Trump and many of the inherited wealthy do not know what a healthcare card looks like. They don’t need it. When they get sick, or need a check up, they pay for it. Ninety percent of Americans are not so lucky. The constitutional argument is favorite of the privileged few, and they have employed healthcare carrying cardmembers to make their argument. Many of the working class faithful and strict constitutionalist are unaware of the true invisible hand in the insurance market.
It is fruitless to argue against healthcare insurance for yourself, unless you are one of the lucky wealthy not in need of insurance. Even more so, it is pointless and destructive to argue for the purity of a constitution that was created by impure mortals. We strive for a more perfect union, and it will always be a striving not a completion.
What are we to do with Obamacare? Fair-minded Democrats and Republicans alike both know that the Affordable Care Act needs care. The Republican Governor John Kasich rightfully stated “There’s room for improvement of Obamacare, but to repeal and not to replace?” he said Wednesday. “I just want to know what’s going to happen to all those people who find themselves out in the cold.”
So, Republican leaders, you now have Obamacare, you cannot pretend to repeal and replace, when you can only, at this point, rename and improve. To try anything more the working class pitchforks will be at your door.