Sunday, September 28, 2014

WOMEN SHOULD BE MAKING DECISIONS IN THE CHURCH: SCS No. 21

Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 21

(We at Project Dream Again hope these sermonettes bring some measure of peace to your soul and maybe spark a thought you then share with someone else in your life. Stoney Creek Sermonettes are not meant to replace your participation in a faith community.) 



Scripture Lesson for Today:

Galatians 3:28 New International Version (NIV)
28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 6:5-8 New International Version (NIV)
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,
8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

1 Corinthians 14:34 New International Version (NIV)
34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.



Sermonette for Today:

Carefully and thoughtfully read the three scriptures above and you would conclude that they all do not apply to the kingdom (church) of the present day.  The first in Galatians makes very clear that there is nothing that separates us.  It clearly states we are “all one in Christ Jesus.”  It does not surprise me that the writer of Galatians said such a thing since that is the way Jesus conducted His ministry.  There were women that were in the inner group that followed Jesus which was a highly unusual occurrence for the times in which He dwelt in human form on this earth.  Even Him speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well, shows He had no social walls constructed between Him and the female gender.

For those people who insist we take all the words of the Bible literally and apply them without regard for time, place or purpose then our Scriptures from Ephesians mean we as Christians should still be supporting slavery.  It would make us even more like other fanatical religious groups that violate human rights around the world.  Any reasonable person could easily see that our scriptures in Ephesians and Corinthians are time dated and not written to be used to suppress people thousands of years later.  Most people agree that is true about slavery.  Why does such a big segment of today’s church have such a problem seeing that about the female gender?

Male domination in the developed world is still a problem in evangelical and fundamentalist churches, but in developing nations it is even more of a problem. Patriarchy is hard to kill off.  I believe with all my heart that Jesus does not claim any church as His that keeps patriarchy alive. 

I know I cannot speak for Him, but I don’t think He came to earth and endured what He did to see His church continue to suppress what is over half the population of the earth because of what were social norms during the time the early church was getting started. We need to believe and put in practice that we are all “one in Christ Jesus.”     


 

Prayer for Today:

Our Heavenly Father, May we learn to see each other as equals and start to include all in our decision making process in your kingdom so we can find the purpose you have for us and live it to the fullest in honor of you and your Son. It is in His name we pray this prayer. Amen.



© Ed Cooper, September 28, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved

Thursday, September 25, 2014

HOW DECISIONS ARE MADE MATTERS TO COMMUNITY INCLUSION

Simone Weil  3 February 1909 – 24 August 1943) 


How decisions are made have made me angry all my life.  Growing up I lived in a paternal household.  My father would either get his belt or threaten to get his belt when I asked why I had to do something.  Our home was really his home because he made all the decisions. He decided where we would live and how we would live.  He decided what school and church we would attend.  When he decided to become a missionary to Africa, he decided which of his three children would go and which would stay in the states.  When my behavior became a problem to him on the mission station, he sent me home to one of my sisters who was in her final year of college to take care of.  I did not then nor do I now think I was part of a family.  I think I was a part of a paternal unit that people call a family.

When I got involved with the mental health system in 1965, there was nothing person-centered about the treatment I received.  There certainly wasn’t any during my military years in the late 1960’s. Carl Rogers had already been working on person-centered approaches, but they had not penetrated the system. Person-centered therapy (PCT) is also known as person-centered psychotherapy, person-centered counseling, client-centered therapy and Rogerian psychotherapy. PCT is a form of talk-psychotherapy developed by psychologist Carl Rogers in the 1940s and 1950s.

When I started getting involved with advocacy in 1988, I still did not find any true person-centered services.  In fact, over 25 years later I have never in my own treatment or in my advocacy work ever seen a person including myself receive services where the decision making was in the person’s hands or even equal.  Not on any Assertive Community Treatment Team or any peer delivered services or any other delivery system have I seen the person be the primary decision maker.   This is not to say it does not happen somewhere, but I have not seen it or experienced it.

Paul J. Carling wrote a book published in 1995 titled Return to Community.  The same problems he discusses in his book are alive and well today.  How do people with psychiatric labels or for that matter any person who is labeled different get to be part of the community?  It all boils down to how the decisions are made.  In a dictatorship or paternal society the chances are slim.  Even in a representative democracy married to capitalism labeled people who can’t produce will not become full members in the community.  What is the answer?

Something I call participatory communal democracy.  What does that mean?  The mystic and philosopher Simone Weil, who had helped the Spanish anarchists as a combat soldier, would later promote participatory democracy in her political manifesto The Need for Roots.  Participatory communal democracy strives to create opportunities for all members of a population to make meaningful contributions to the decision-making process, and seeks to broaden the range of people who have access to such opportunities. Only if you get to directly help make the important decisions about your life can you truly be a part of the community and rooted in it.  Sending people off to Washington, DC or a state capitol to make decisions for us is not a democracy.  I will never forget the first time I went to speak to the county commissioners in Broward County, FL.  You would have thought I was approaching the Pope at the Vatican in Rome.  These folks certainly did not consider themselves to be ordinary people and they did not consider me their equal.  Until we have a system where the decisions are made in the community in a way that folks are equal and have equal say some of us will always be uprooted.

© Ed Cooper, September 25, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee

    All rights reserved 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

PLEASE STEAL THIS IDEA



There have been many meetings on the church and mental illness this year and in years past.  This past spring Rick Warren held “The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church”.  A group of professionals on the subject got together in Texas this year.  What I have never heard of happening is a participatory gathering of people with lived experience to discuss what faith communities should/could be doing for people with psychiatric labels.

I know of surveys of people who identify themselves as being mentally ill.  LifeWay Research did such a study this year.  The main focus of the study was pastors, but some of them admitted to have a label.

The idea I wish someone would steal is to have a national meeting where there were no experts or big name speakers, but rather people with lived experience were brought together from all faiths to discuss what faith communities response should or shouldn’t be to us.  It would take some skill to lead a participatory meeting.  I have never seen a true one held in the years since I knew there was such a thing.

It is hard to bring a group of people together and let everyone there be equals and everyone’s opinion hold the same weight.  Such a meeting with a true representation of all faiths and all cultures is the only thing that would ever come close to answering this question.  I guess I can dream that someday it might happen on some level.  

© Ed Cooper, September 23, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee

    All rights reserved

Monday, September 22, 2014

MY EARLY MINISTRY

Maple Grove Baptist Church, Western NC

My first church in this country was at the Pharris Hill Christian Church outside Irving, Kentucky. I had preached at the primary (grade) schools around Mashoko Mission in Zimbabwe, Africa as a child on the mission field with my parents and was still a child when I took my first church.  I took the church while still in my last semester of high school and not yet 18.  In fact I would not be 18 until after I had left the church at the end of the summer. 

While still in high school the drive from Berea, KY to Irvine was not that bad, but I drove to the church the summer of 1966 from Louisville, Kentucky in a 53 Chevy pickup truck that I had bought from my Uncle Otis.  I picked up my pianist on the way to the church.  They did not get much of a minister, but I learned that being a pastor in this country was much different from going to the village schools in Africa and preaching with an interpreter. With an interpreter you have time to think about what you are going to say next while he is saying what you just said.  No crutch like that in an American pulpit.

The expectations were much higher also.  In Africa no one dared complain about a missionary’s sermon, but in this country people will tell you what they think or simply just not say anything and leave the church without speaking. Their silence can be more deafening than anything said or yelled at you.

I have not made a career of being a local pastor.  I have been a radio evangelist, preached in a number of churches and since 1988 have been the Director of Project Dream Again. I did hold a pastorate a few years back at Mountain View Christian Church in Marion, NC.  Overall, I have not found being a local pastor a very easy or satisfying job.  Mostly a thankless job.  The last time I tried it at Mountain View I did not take a salary hoping it would make the relationship better.  It did not.  You can listen to some of my sermons here.

I fear for the future.  The average age of pastors is grey.  I am not sure young people are attracted to it as a profession.  Where will the people come from to preach the Gospel?  We all need to become spreaders of the Word.

© Ed Cooper, 9/21/14,Stoney Creek, Tennessee

    All rights reserved

Sunday, September 21, 2014

SHOULD A CHURCH HAVE A BUILDING?: SCS No. 20

National Cathedral

Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 20

(We at Project Dream Again hope these sermonettes bring some measure of peace to your soul and maybe spark a thought you then share with someone else in your life. Stoney Creek Sermonettes are not meant to replace your participation in a faith community.) 



Scripture Lesson for Today: Acts 17:1-7 English Standard Version (ESV)

Paul and Silas in Thessalonica

17
1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. 5 But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. 6 And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7 and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”

Sermonette for Today:

I asked the question about whether a church should have a building because the question always comes to my mind when I think of the cost of these buildings.  Not just the cost of building them, but the cost of their weekly and yearly maintenance. The amount of money spent on them in this country alone is enormous considering there are suppose to be about 300,000 Protestant churches (excluding Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches simply because the study I have access to was done by a Protestant organization). 

The early church did not have buildings.  Church buildings began with the conversion of Emperor Constantine to Christianity.  When he built the Church of the Apostles in Constantinople, he surrounded a single tomb reserved for him with monuments to the twelve apostles clearly making himself the thirteenth and possibly chief apostle.  He built St. Peter’s over what was thought to be the tomb of the Apostle Peter in Rome and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem over what was thought to be the tomb of Jesus.  This practice of building structures over burial sites was a practice that Constantine carried over from his pagan days.

In our Scripture today Paul went into the synagogue and spoke with the people there.  He did not hold a church service in the synagogue as some people claim the early church did.  Our scripture does say, “These men who have turned the world upside down.”  The early church sat the world on fire starting on the Day of Pentecost and they did not have a building to worship in for over 300 years.  Let me make clear that the scriptures do not forbid churches from having buildings, but are they worth the expense.

In my opinion if you take the success pointed out in our scripture lesson and contrast that to the declining influence of the church today, I am not sure you can justify the expense of the expensive buildings, electronic equipment and paid staff that is the modern church.  I humbly suggest that we might consider returning to the model of the church presented in the 2nd chapter of Acts.

Acts 2: 42-47 (ESV)
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe[e] came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

All believers are to be ministers/servants of the kingdom to the glory of God and His Son.  I think we should try a church without buildings, but full of believers that are builders of their hurting and lost fellow sojourners.  That is my prayer for the modern church.
 

Prayer for Today:

Our Heavenly Father, May we learn to see each other as you see us and to find the purpose you have for us and live it to the fullest in honor of you and your Son. It is in His name we pray this prayer. Amen.



© Ed Cooper, September 21, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved


  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

HE WALKS EVERY PATH BESIDE ME: a poem by ed



There isn't any hope to be found,
in a broken brain, only pain.

You can cry out to the world,
but they are deaf to your despair.

Your soul will long for solace,
from the silent torture it endures.

Your eyes will remain as sad as those,
of an old hound alone on a front porch.

I have a friend who walks beside me,
so I never have to go it alone.

He walks every path beside me,
just as He hung on the cross for me.

He hung on the cross and arose for you too
so you don't have to walk alone either.

Just stop and hold the air in your lungs,
in that moment you will feel Jesus near.

Yes He will walk beside you down any path,
no matter how hard and painful. 

It will be better if you will only let
Him walk every path beside you.

© Ed Cooper, 9/20/2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved

Thursday, September 18, 2014

PATTY IS MORE THAN MY WIFE



Patty is my wife, my friend, my traveling companion and my therapist.

Some people will tell you that they want their friends to tell it to them straight. Well, I want a friend that will slant things in my favor sometimes so I can feel better about myself.  I don’t always want to hear the hard truth.  I need someone who will put a soft warm spin on reality for me.  Patty does that for me.  It is not that she will not confront me with the truth at times, but she seems to know when it is not the truth that matters but rather my feelings that matter most.

Some therapies are designed to help a person come to terms with the collective reality of society.  The objective seems to be to help a person function better by making them a clone of everyone else. Patty has worked as a social worker, but since she is my wife she is not bound by any code of ethics from being my friend.  One type of therapy among many that she allows me to use is to rewrite my own story using the truth as I know it not as anyone else thinks it is.  Can you imagine how liberating it is to write your own story the way you see yourself without other people putting labels on all your behaviors?

Yes, playing all the different roles is a big task.  She was asked once at a Veterans Clinic by a social worker why she wanted to be with a person like me.  I ask myself the same question.  The answer is simpler than you may imagine yet far more complicated than people think.  She wants to be with me because she loves me.  Love is a prison with unlocked doors from which one doesn’t want to escape.  She cannot escape so she has learned to make her environment as pleasant as possible by helping me to be as much of a person as I can be.

Patty the person builder is not just words.  She has helped me become more adjusted to a world I am ill equipped to live in.  I think more couples should look at their relationships and see what they can do for each other rather than looking for what they can take from each other.  If you are wondering what Patty gets, you will have to ask her.

© Ed Cooper, September 18, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee

    All rights reserved  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

SAFE NO MORE: a poem by ed


I could feel it near,
but had no idea
what the thing was.
All I knew was
I felt cold
deep inside
in my bones.
I did not move
frozen in place
in my bed
waiting
to see what
was about to happen.

Had my molester
returned for more?
Then the cold
turned to a glow
as Jesus sat down
on my bed
beside me.

Then the boy of four
woke from his dream
and felt the hand
not of the Master,
but of his molester.

The boy of four
was safe no more.

© Ed Cooper, 9/17/14, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
     All rights reserved

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

EPIGENETICS and MENTAL ILLNESS


One must be careful when using words that do not have an agreed upon definition.  Epigenetics is one of those words.  We have a fairly sound definition of genetics and we know that epi comes from Greek meaning upon or over. However, when the two are combined there is no agreed upon definition in the scientific community. 

The NIH "Roadmap Epigenomics Project," ongoing as of 2013, uses the following definition: "Epigenetics is an emerging frontier of science that involves the study of changes in the regulation of gene activity and expression that are not dependent on gene sequence. For purposes of this program, epigenetics refers to both heritable changes in gene activity and expression (in the progeny of cells or of individuals) and also stable, long-term alterations in the transcriptional potential of a cell that are not necessarily heritable. While epigenetics refers to the study of single genes or sets of genes, epigenomics refers to more global analyses of epigenetic changes across the entire genome."

As you can see the word has such a broad definition that it can cover almost any influence someone might think they have proved has occurred to a gene. Recently, the British Journal of Psychiatry issued a retraction concerning an article about the epigenetic aspects of bipolar disorder.  The problem seemed to be that one of the investigators fabricated some of his evidence.  That is called making the study show what you want it to.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Behavioral epigenetics is the field of study examining the role of epigenetics in shaping animal (including human) behaviour. It is an experimental science that seeks to explain how nurture shapes nature, where nature refers to biological heredity and nurture refers to virtually everything that occurs during the life-span (e.g., social-experience, diet and nutrition, and exposure to toxins). Behavioral epigenetics attempts to provide a framework for understanding how the expression of genes is influenced by experiences and the environment to produce individual differences in behaviour, cognition personality, and mental health.”  

This field of study is even more problematic than just plain epigenetics. They can’t tell you what social experiences produce certain behaviors much less what role a certain gene plays. I have no doubt that one day we will know a lot more than we do today, but I fear too many people read a headline and believe we are already there when we are not even at the starting gate yet.

My reason for writing this is simple.  I just want to say that the old saying that “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is” is wise advice to guide one in the ever increasing debate about mental illness.  You will hear everything from it was something made up by the pharmaceuticals companies along with psychiatrists to we need to make decisions for people too sick to know what is in their best interest.  Both sides quote studies and science. Both sides have a personal interest in winning this debate.

For what it is worth; this is what I believe to be as close to the truth as we know things today. I have a bipolar disorder that has a genetic and biological component that has caused me to develop serious psycho-social-spiritual problems.  These were not helped by severe childhood sexual abuse over years starting before I went to school.  Being in the Army Medical Corps during Vietnam did not help either.  Living on the streets in several different cities at different times did not either.  Being locked up at least 10 times did not help with the longest period being eight months.  So I get upset when someone says there is not any such thing as mental illness, but I also get just as angry when people think they have the right to violate the human rights and dignity of people and lock them up pretending they know best.

I wish there was a group that fought for our freedom without denying there was any such thing as a broken brain.  That fought for Our Right To Be Free unless we commit a crime and take suicide off the list of crimes and give us our bodies back.  A group that worried more about our right to be seen as fully human and treated as such than they were about the latest scientific fad.  I can keep hoping such a group will appear.

© Ed Cooper: Folk Philosopher, September 16, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee

    All rights reserved 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

LIVING STONES COMMUNITY CHURCH: SCS No. 19


Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 19

(We at Project Dream Again hope these sermonettes bring some measure of peace to your soul and maybe spark a thought you then share with someone else in your life. Stoney Creek Sermonettes are not meant to replace your participation in a faith community.) 



Scripture Lesson for Today: 1 Peter 2:1-10 English Standard Version (ESV)


1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—
3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,
5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture:
   “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
    a cornerstone chosen and precious,
    and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
   “The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,”
8 and
   “A stone of stumbling,
    and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Sermonette for Today:

I hope you don’t read the passage for today just once.  It is ten verses full of both theology and instructions for Christian living.  Peter tells us to get rid of the malice and a list of other things from our lives.  He also says to stop all evil speaking.  I thought about what Peter might be driving at here.  My best guess is that he is warning against going around behind the backs of others speaking untruths about them for your own purposes.

He says we should desire the milk of the word.  How often do you read and study your Bible?  How often do you stop and listen for God to speak to you?  Peter says we are living stones for a spiritual house of which Jesus Christ is the cornerstone. Read verse 10 again. 
“10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  

We were not living stones (a people), but now we are living stones (the true church) and our lives must show holy living.  Some of the words here are similar to words Jesus spoke to Peter years earlier.

Matthew 16:18-19 (ESV)

18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
    
The church built on a rock with living stones and Jesus as the cornerstone is a picture I love to think about.  I am afraid it is not the picture most people have of the modern church, but Peter clearly put forth what it would take to build a solid community of believers.  I will hold on to my picture of the living stones community church.
 

Prayer for Today:

Our Heavenly Father, May we learn to see each other as you see us and to find the purpose you have for us and live it to the fullest in honor of you and your Son. It is in His name we pray this prayer. Amen.



© Ed Cooper, September 14, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved




Friday, September 12, 2014

TRUTH IS ELUSIVE


THIS ENTRY FIRST ENTERED IN MAY 2007 But Still Relevant Today


IT ALL DEPENDS HOW CLOSE WE COME TO THE TRUTH

On NAMI New Hampshire Web Site we find the following:
"People with Mental Illness Enrich Our Lives"
Information about famous people throughout history who have been diagnosed with, or thought to have a serious mental illness or mood disorder.
Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States
The revered sixteenth President of the United States suffered from severe and incapacitating depressions that occasionally led to thoughts of suicide, as documented in numerous biographies by Carl Sandburg.
Winston Churchill
"Had he been a stable and equable man, he could never have inspired the nation. In 1940, when all the odds were against Britain, a leader of sober judgment might well have concluded that we were finished," wrote Anthony Storr about Churchill's bipolar disorder in Churchill's Black Dog, Kafka's Mice, and Other Phenomena of the Human Mind.
Does that mean that maybe the Civil War was caused by President Lincoln’s mental illness rather than slavery or states rights and secession? Is Storr correct that Churchill was helped by his mental illness or was it the cause of more evil?
In New York a state senator is holding hearings about how to make colleges safer. Newsday wrote it up this way, “College officials from across a broad spectrum said yesterday that campus security measures were intertwined with the mental health needs of students. It was clear at a legislative hearing, convened by state Sen. Kenneth P. LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) in the wake of a mentally ill student's deadly rampage at Virginia Tech, that students' mental health needs was an even bigger challenge for colleges than campus security. "This issue is broader than the security issues," LaValle said. John R. Ryan, outgoing chancellor of the 64-campus State University of New York, testified that the "numbers of students entering our colleges and universities with professionally treated mental health issues is increasing."
The public must be becoming very concerned. The truth is having a hard time getting through all the fear producing rhetoric and the politicians who want to seem to be doing something. Truth is a very hard thing to determine. Can you still remember why we went to war in Iraq? Were we told the truth? Was the war over when our President declared it so four years ago? If you were in a psychiatric hospital and your reality was being determined, you had better hope you would be closer to reality than our President was when he took us to war in Iraq or when he declared it over. My point is simple. Truth is illusive and we need calm and considered dialogue not fear producing journalism and politicians trying to score points.
The rights of all of us with a serious mental illness are on the line here. The outcome will change our lives and those of our families and loved ones either for the better or for the worse. It all depends how close we come to the truth.
© Ed Cooper, May 2007

Thursday, September 11, 2014

THIRTEENTH YEAR OF MOURNING



It seems like we as a nation have been mourning the horrific acts on that Tuesday on September 11, 2001 forever.  It has only been thirteen years in the life of the nation, but a violent thirteen years.  We should still be thinking about that day.  We should never forget it or the people who died on that day and their families.

I am sure many will disagree with me, but I think that our President had poor timing in picking the eve of the anniversary of 9/11 to announce an open-ended attack on the group known as ISIL or ISIS. The question is not whether this hit from the sky plan will ever work, but rather what should the President have been leading the nation in thinking about on the eve of 9/11.  I think he should have been addressing the wounds of our country rather than trying to drum up support for more violence that he or no one else has any idea when it will end or whether it has any hope of doing any good.

Today is for remembering and honoring.  It is not the day for planning for more destruction.  That could have at least waited another couple of days.  He had waited longer than many thought he should have anyway.  Some think he should not do it at all.

May God Bless this warring nation.

© Ed Cooper, September 11, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee

    All rights reserved  

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

WHEN YOUR WIFE BUYS A HORSE


When your wife buys a horse you soon find out your place in the order of priorities of what is important.  Even after the horse made a quick movement and dumped my wife on the ground, I still remain a second class citizen to a Tennessee Walker.  I guess I knew that was coming.  Her falling off the horse and me falling in ranking.  Oh well!  Such is the state of affairs on Stoney Creek.

Ed Cooper, 9/9/2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee  

Sunday, September 07, 2014

TO LIVE IS CHRIST: SCS No. 18


Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 18

(We at Project Dream Again hope these sermonettes bring some measure of peace to your soul and maybe spark a thought you then share with someone else in your life. Stoney Creek Sermonettes are not meant to replace your participation in a faith community.) 



Scripture Lesson for Today: Philippians 1:19-26 (ESV)

19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.


Sermonette for Today:

Paul was a prisoner in Rome when he wrote the words we read in Philippians.  After having spent two years in custody under Roman governor Felex, in about AD 60 he got lucky when the new governor Festus granted his appeal to Caesar and he was sent to Rome. (You can read the story starting in the 25th chapter of Acts.) He believes he will be released and be able to return to the church at Philippi.  He admits that if he had to decide between death and living it would be a hard decision.  He says if he is to live “that means fruitful labor for me.”

Paul wants “to depart and be with Christ.” The compelling reason holding him back he says is “more necessary on your account.”  Paul feels an obligation to finish the mission.  He wants them to be able to make “progress” and have “joy in the faith.”
It is easy to see why Paul was tempted to just want to go on and be with the Lord.  It is harder to see why he cared about a church in a far off place that was full of bickering and politics. (Read the book.)

We should take away from Paul’s words that he did not intend to shy away from God’s purpose for him because he was having a difficult time in his life. That is the example Jesus left us with and that is the example Paul shows us here.

God has a purpose for each person.  Living that purpose is not just our responsibility it is our path to a meaningful life now and a future life with Christ. So, to live is Christ through us for the world to see.

    

 

Prayer for Today:

Father, May we find the purpose you have for us and live it to the fullest in honor of you and your Son and it is in His name we bring this prayer. Amen.



© Ed Cooper, September 7, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved





Friday, September 05, 2014

JAFFE’S ORGANIZATION SHOULD MAKE the “HALL of SHAME”


In a piece written for Huffington Post.com Allen Frances, MD quotes DJ Jaffe’s list of organizations that have not done their job and Dr. Frances calls it “A sorry Hall of Shame indeed.”

Among the alleged crimes committed by such organizations as NAMI, the Bazelon Law Center, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and all the consumer organizations getting funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is that their sole priority is not the forced treatment of people with the one of the top two big psychiatric labels.

Dr. Frances is smarter than to align himself with an organization like the one run by Jaffe.  Dr. Frances at one time was the head of the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University which means he had demonstrated the ability to understand basic concepts.  At one time he was held in high regard.  Now he has aligned himself with an organization dedicated to using methods deemed to be against a person’s human rights by the United Nations.

Forced treatment is not just an immoral act that ought to be illegal; it is also the most ineffective type of psychiatric approach being used in modern times.  Therefore, Mental Illness Policy Org, the organization that Jaffe runs should be the only organization listed in the article to make the “Hall of Shame.”

To malign organizations for bringing attention to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury as was done by Jaffe and Dr. Frances is disrespectful to all our men and women who served and came home wounded.  They both ought to be ashamed of themselves.  That is not to mention countless other civilians suffering every day from these tragedies. To suggest that all our resources should be spent on locking up people with the big two is beyond ignorant.  It would solve nothing.

We need as a nation to start trying to see people with labels without their labels then we might recognize them as our family members, neighbors and at times ourselves.

© Ed Cooper, September 5, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved


 CONTACT ED HERE      

Thursday, September 04, 2014

THE FOG: a poem by ed



The fog had not lifted from my mind,
     but I could still see them clear
          as they came for my dear heart
               to cut it from my chest and sell it at market.


The fog grew even darker and more thick
     as my heart sat alone and apart from my body
          on that block were they sell hearts
               so the heartless can buy a heart for themselves.


The fog is not to blame for what the heartless do,
     but how can a heart bought at the market
          ever really love anyone?
               It died the moment they took it from me.


© Ed Cooper, 9/4/2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
   All rights reserved

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

EYE of a NEEDLE





I am not going to write a blog today.  I am going to give you a link to something I highly recommend.


http://northpoint.org/messages/be-rich-do-more-give-more/ 


You will find that this message also goes with a scripture you can find in the book of James.

James 5:1-6English Standard Version (ESV)

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 

Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.



Whether listening to Andy Stanley or reading James a person comes to better understand the words of Jesus when he said, "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24 ESV)

Ed Cooper, 9/2/2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee