|September 11, 2001|
#014, June 2002
HEADLINE: SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
It is not likely you actually would have found this headline in any of the newspapers around the world concerning the events of September 11, 2001 but you could have. According to the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), this is indeed approximately how many children died from conditions of starvation that day (Utne Reader, Nov. 2001, page 112 and Alternatives for Simple Living Update Fall 2001, page 3).
About the time I began this newsletter (early March 2002), I caught part of an interview Dan Rather was doing on one of the news magazine shows on TV. The fellow he was interviewing had a number of viewpoints I didn't care for at all, but one illustration he used really caught my attention. Basically he said -- suppose you took all the savings you had worked hard to set aside and went and purchased a very expensive luxury car you had always wanted. On the way home you stopped the car on a railroad track to get some fresh air (forget about the logic of this and just listen to the rest). As you walked a while along the track you spotted a train coming. You were only a short distance from your car but the train was coming too fast for you to get there and move it. Yet, as providence would have it you are standing right next to a track switch. If you throw the switch, the train will be diverted to the adjacent track and miss your brand new luxury car entirely. There's only one problem. A small child from Bangladesh is sitting on the other track whom you can also not reach. This child will most certainly die if you choose that the train will miss your car. What would you decide to do? Will you save the thing you have worked hard, dreamed, and scrimped for, or will you spare the life of the child?
As indicated in the interview, most certainly all but a few truly hard hearted souls would declare that they would sacrifice the car, sparing the life. Yet we make this decision every day, as Americans, utilizing far more of the world's resources for our desires, and sometimes just whims, than our proportional population would justify. Simply because we are powerful enough to do it.
"For every person in the world to reach American levels of consumption would require four more planet Earths." (Edward O. Wilson, How To Save Biodiversity, quoted in the Nature Conservancy magazine, Spring 2002 issue.)
Now, I am not in any way suggesting even the slightest justification for the murderous acts which took place on September 11, 2001. There is none. But before we take the journey of cowboys and Indians again, putting on our white hats, and charging our cavalry all around the world so certain of our righteousness, we may want to consider a bigger picture. Allowing the past to teach us as well. Remember the Cherokee history lesson from the last newsletter? And how about a world history which teaches that though we may be the biggest and strongest guy on the block right now, nobody remains so forever.
Is it not in our own best interest to try to create a world in which a Harmony Ethic is the norm? Where fairness and sharing are rules of the day. Rather than continue on a road which only waits for the day when somebody else becomes bigger and stronger than we. But we cannot play pretend that this is the way we already function.
"From everyone who has been given much, much
will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much
more will be asked."
If you are among those who attend a church, it is quite likely you have spoken the words "by what we have done, and by what we have left undone," and/or "we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves," as a part of a confession of sins. Do we hear what we are saying? We have been incredibly blessed. Our egos would try to convince us that whatever we want is OK, we have done it all ourselves, we've earned it. But I don't recall earning the right to be born an American, at this time in history, any more than you likely do. Many people around the world will work every bit as hard, or harder, and never come close to being able to do what we do -- have what we have. We cannot even claim we walked through a war torn homeland, on our own as youngsters to get here, as the Lost Boys of Africa could. Yet today we are clearly positioned to lead. And all real leadership is by example. Which road? Which track will we really choose? The choice is yours -- the choice is mine -- every day!
(My poem "God's Holy Garden" was included as a part of this newsletter)
"People may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do."
From the "Indian Quarterly" newsletter put out by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights
A Vision to a New World Perspective
Can we imagine a world where human and civil rights are thoroughly respected, where each individual, as in all life, is sacred? Where human beings are appreciated and treated for the diverse gifts that they possess and not seen as illegal or inferior? Where our freedom is not dependent upon someone else*s oppression? A world where human sovereignty, freedom and understanding reign? The human sovereignty we are born with, not granted? The freedom of expression we inherit, not imparted? The inner understanding of our creation accepted, not convoluted?
When we, all of us, get caught up in the details of our everyday lives, we tend to lose the perspective of the bigger picture. Jesus personally spoke about whatever we do to the "least" we are doing to him. But, even beyond that. Can we not be mindful that all creation is God's creation. He didn't just make you and I, and the rest simply showed up by chance. All people, all creatures, all things, are created by God, not just some. And whether you subscribe to a biblical model or scientific model, God had already done a whole lot of creating before He did man. The self-centered ego says God made me and all the rest is adornment. The fear centered ego says look at what the other guy is doing. I recently had someone tell me, genuinely believing, that "those" people (Muslims) are being trained from childhood to kill. Even if that were true (which as an across the board statement it isn't), how would that change what Jesus said for us to do? Person or beast, plant or mineral, anything that is, God made. He loves it all. Should we do any less? Is there any other real answer?
who the first time they heard poetry said what is it?
I love that description of poetry (and the poet) and how it might appear to someone unfamiliar with the expressive freedom inherent in the poetic form. So I hope you like my line. But even if you donít, it was great fun just cutting loose. I highly recommend it. If thereís space, Iíll print the whole poem later.
Well, hello again! Where it says on page one that "SHARING is sent periodically," I guess that really means annually, or many times even less often. At least thatís the way itís been working out for years. Maybe it means just often enough to let you know that I am still here, if you are not local enough to see for yourself. Anyway, just like usual itís been a while, so thereís a little bit of a whole bunch Iím going to try to pack into the next few pages.
I think I might have already mentioned this change in a flyer, but I had a note to myself in my newsletter file to let you know that the poetís circle discount for items purchased at Cherokee Billís Trade Center is now a flat 10% across the board. Itís much simpler than trying to figure individual discounts on each product as I used to do. It bears repeating even if I said it before.
There was an item in the news several months ago about a janitor cleaning up a room full of trash at an art museum in England only to learn that the entire room was actually an exhibit. They painstakingly put every item back where it had been. While something like this seems quite humorous to most of us, it got me to thinking.
Part of understanding my role and relationship to the Center is to realize that the whole thing is like a giant work of art, as opposed to a business endeavor. I felt lead by God to create it, and to continue to create and maintain it until it becomes clear whatever purpose it serves is completed, or I am told to move on to something or somewhere else.
It was highlighted quite dramatically recently when a personal friend offered me a part-time job at the warehouse which he manages. The pay was good for the work to be performed and he said I could set my own hours. We agreed that it would be an experiment that we wouldnít feel locked into. So I couldnít find a reason not to take it. A reason quickly appeared though as things started to back up significantly here. Even I hadnít realized how much passes through the course of my normal routines, until I tried to take 4 to 5 hour chunks out of it for that job.
Other than just another road God was opening for me to go down, what was the enticement for the warehouse job? Money. To have a personal paycheck. It is a difficult path, as a male in our society, not to have any cash flow directly related to the work I do. For 7Ĺ years I have worked daily here without pay. My choice. I feel called to this work and believe it makes an important contribution to the world around me. Small perhaps, but much needed. Yet the warehouse taught me some important truths about where I am at in my journey. This in turn has lead to a change here.
A QUICK FINANCIAL HISTORY OF THE TEACHING & SHARING CENTER
The first five years of operation it was primarily a continuing (though reduced by 80%) State Farm Insurance monthly cash flow (contractual termination payments through 1999) which allowed the Center to exist and develop.
In anticipating the disappearance of that income, I pared the Center expenses down to bare essentials. For several months afterward I paid the basic bills with some of the tithe money we set aside from Donnaís paychecks. Then in preparation for a move to Georgia my mother sold off her Michigan property. She indicated she felt God leading her to take a tithe from those sales and set up an account to pay the basic expenses of the Center. That account has done just that since July of 2000.
(If you think the Center has been a positive thing in your life or the community, you might want to say thanks the next time you see Donna or mom. Their financial commitment is what God used to allow it to continue beyond those first 5 years.)
A CHANGE IN THE FINANCIAL INTEGRITY STATEMENT
For about a year mom has been telling me I should take some sort of wage for the work I do here from the account she set up. I have been reluctant to do so. Good stewardship of existing resources (trying to make them last) versus faith in Godís continuing bounty (God will provide) is a constant wrestling match with me.
But my willingness to add a part-time job on top of what is already more than full-time work has lead me to rethink my position. Just before being offered that job, through simplification of my own life needs over the years, I thought I had finally accepted a path of being dependent on others good graces without an income source of my own. Apparently not quite yet. Or maybe I did, and thatís why I can move on with, as well as without. At any rate, I have decided to draw $125 per week as pay. (Originally I was going to use the $10 per hour figure the warehouse paid me, but only for those times when I held the Center open to the public. However, in the two weeks Iíve been keeping track of just those hours, the amount came to twice that, which would have depleted the current resources in about a year. So I cut it in half and set it at $125)
One of the reasons I am sharing this with you is my current Financial Integrity Statement says:
Contributions made to a focused mission will be used ONLY for expenses relating to THAT mission.
Mission contributions will not be used to create, or to purchase, a touch of william, Cherokee Bill, or christian life programs products which are intended to be sold, nor for any of my personal expenses.
That will be changed to read:
Contributions made to a touch of william or the Teaching & Sharing Center will go to general expenses, including a small salary for myself for maintenance, cleaning, and holding the Center open to the public. Contributions to christian life programs or Cherokee Billís Trade Center will be used for Christian or Native American items (respectively) for the Lending Library, Display, or to be given away as a part of those missions.
To make a contribution exclusively designated for the expenses of maintaining and expanding the www.wsharing.com website, make your contribution out to TSC-Website.
I would be interested in hearing if this change alters your sense of the missions here. I also invite you to pray for God to help me see clearly whatever direction He feels I should take.
(The above took place June 1, 2002 with the described change on June 14, 2002. The term "draw" was used because all income here is already shown as personal income to me for federal and state income tax purposes since everything is set up as a sole proprietorship and not a corporation.)
2009 Note: The money received by this process, before I became concerned with having adequate Center funds and discontinued it, turned out to be less than what I had paid to my mother as rent in the first few years. Since I saw this basically as a wash, I feel quite comfortable making the statement that I have been working for "no pay" for 15 years.
"By their fruit you will recognize them." - Matthew 7:16 (NIV)
INTERESTING BUMPER STICKER
A bumper sticker caught my eye the other day which was a somewhat different angle on the above scripture quote:
"God save us from His followers."
WHAT HAVE I BEEN READING BESIDES BUMPER STICKERS?
A whole lot of Diane Glancy books. Someone recommended one about the Cherokee Trail of Tears to me, but they couldnít remember the title of the book. Soooo, I just trucked on down to my public library and put in a request by author. Not having any locally, they used the interloan process. It turns out the book recommended to me came in with the first batch of three. But I neglected to tell them that, and every week or so Iíd get a call saying the "book I requested was in." From all over the state of Michigan, and as far away as the Chicago library system they just kept coming. I had no idea she had written so many. The last book of hers I read only listed 15 others, but I think Iíve received at least 20.
The one recommended to me is called Pushing The Bear. Itís fictionalized, but personalizes the Trail of Tears, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in Cherokee history. One I read recently, The Cold-and-Hunger Dance, is a good book for those struggling with the integration of Native American spirituality and Christianity. Particularly the chapter called The Bible and Black Elk Speaks.
From so many books there are too many good quotes to share them all, but one from that last book caused me to laugh aloud. It struck me it was a good lesson about keeping things in balance and perspective, since we all tend to romanticize some aspect of life weíre drawn to:
"The night we arrived at Grand Portage, I heard the casino noise, and the next morning, the bulldozer digging the earth for more of it, and I wanted to step off the earth, or at least back into nature. I walked up the road and picked some wildflowers, but a buzz-fly dived at my head and I swatted him away but he stuck with me, and I thought, well, nature isnít so great either."
ENRICH (UNICITY) AND SPORTRON
I have not handled these products at the Center for some time now. But, I do continue to take herbs and vitamins from both companies, and some of you occasionally use my number so you can get wholesale prices (perfectly legitimate at both companies).
Please note that when Royal Numico bought out Enrich and merged it with Rexall to form Unicity, they added a 10 in front of all the Enrich numbers to avoid confusion. My (Enrich) Unicity number is now: W10353272W. (Enrich) Unicity order phone number remains: 1-800-748-4334 Also, Sportron has now made the "Direct Customer" price the same as wholesale. My order pin# there is: 004049 Sportronís order phone line is: 1-800-843-1202.
This is not a solicitation. I receive no money from Sportron for Direct Customer purchases, and Unicity is down to a 10% rebate. This is just the simplest way to transmit the information for those who have previously, or may wish to use it. As long as I remain in their systems it makes no sense for any of you to pay higher than the wholesale price for their products.
Those previous two pages [not shown in these excerpts] were from many I had clipped from Decision Magazine (Billy Graham) and placed into my newsletter file. Lots of good stuff there. But I can only share a little of it. A magazine well worth reading.
"Christians arenít perfect ó but no true follower of Jesus
ó Billy Graham
AWARD WINNING CORN
In a book by James Bender he relates the story of a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him & learned something interesting about how he grew it.
The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. "How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?" the reporter asked.
"Why sir," said the farmer, "didn't you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. I must help my neighbors grow good corn." He is very much aware of the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor's corn also improves.
So it is in other dimensions. Those who choose to be at peace must help their neighbors to be at peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.
"Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding."
ó Albert Einstein
As you may have noticed in the Financial Integrity Statement I made mention of a website. Even though I am not yet personally connected to the Internet, I have decided to move forward on this project. As mentioned in the past, John Two-Hawks will be doing the technical end of it, but I need to conceptualize and design the content. If you have any ideas or suggestions about what you would like to see or think should be included on a Teaching & Sharing Center site, please let me know your thoughts. Of course, youíll need to use the real mail, or a phone, or wow, maybe even be in person to do this! No commentary intended?
POETRY & PICTURES BOOKS
I still have been unable to locate a new company which handles a 36 (or even 32) page 3Ĺ x 5 photo book like I have been using for my P&P books (the previous company stopped making them). One company has indicated a willingness to create a special order to make it. However, the minimum amount is 5000 units. The price gets lower at that volume so the total of $2750 is substantially less than the $1 per book Iíve been paying. But, thatís a lot of books (the rest of my life kind of volume), and the equivalent of about 8-9 months worth of expenses at the Center.
Iím down to about 30 unfilled books. Buying a hundred or two at a time worked out about right. Iím wondering if itís time, at those dollar figures, to be thinking about mass printed books. I doubt thereís a lot of publishers around for my kind of work, so I assume it would need to be a self-produced and distributed project. Any thoughts? Do you think traditional type books of my work would present themselves as well as people have indicated the individually prepared ones in the photo books do?
This one perplexes me more than most. P&P books is how it all started. And they seem to have the most impact and be the best received of all a touch of william endeavors. I can stop if itís time, Iíd just like to be really sure on this one.
"We make a living by what we get, and a life by what we give."
ó Winston Churchill
THINKING ABOUT MOONLIGHT
Aesthetically, romantically, and poetically moonlight is pretty awesome. But did you ever stop to think that there is no light source on the moon? Moonlight is actually sunlight reflecting off the moon. Imagine how things might be if the moon thought it was pretty hot stuff until it realized the true light comes from someplace else entirely?
DID YOU KNOW?
"Millions of pounds of valuable antibiotics ó well over half of all U.S. antibiotic production ó are fed each year to healthy chickens, pigs, and cows."
"Giant poultry and meat producers do so to speed up the animalsí growth, increase profits, and avoid diseases caused by over-crowded and unsanitary conditions."
Not only is this a resources issue, but it is becoming a major health issue to us as well. Tyson and Perdue farms were listed as significant users of antibiotics.
"Human beings and the environment compose a seamless garment of existence, a multicolored cloth, which we believe to be woven in its entirety by God.
ó Patriarch Bartholomew (Orthodox Church)
FROM THE DAILY WORD
"(JOY) I can imagine what these pioneers in outer space experienced when they looked down and saw planet earth: joy in viewing the world with no boundaries and as the home of Godís universal family."
"(SPRING CLEANING) As in the outside world, so within: I clear out all limiting thoughts, resentful feelings, and the unnecessary details that have not only cluttered but also complicated my life."
100 years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or kind of car I drove . . . BUT . . .
There will come a day when . . .
People will see ALL other people as the Holy work of the same Creator, and treat them with respect. Diversity will be seen as a blessing. And the thought of killing anyone, for any reason, will be abhorrent.
when . . .
We will not be choosing sides between saving Spotted Owls or jobs. Because we will understand it IS our job to find a way to coexist with all of Godís creation. And jobs will be heavily focused in recycling and preserving arenas.
when . . .
Wind, water and land are clean and healthy because we stopped seeing the earth as a commodity, and began to realize it as a community in which we are only one piece.
when . . .
We do not argue over when life begins (in this country it is legal to kill a baby as long as it is not fully out of the woman in the process of birth. Itís called partial birth abortion and it happens every day) because it would not even occur to us to stop life in the process of becoming.
when . . .
Future generations will see the mindless ways we charged "forward" and wonder "what were they thinking?" Because awakening to larger truths will have brought us through these times of fooling ourselves and changed our direction.
A friend recently told me about a vacation experience his family had a couple of years ago. He, his wife, and two daughters, were hiking on Mt Rainier. As they were walking across a glacier, the youngest girl, age 6, slipped and started to slide --- down --- in his words "it was just like in the movies." He tried running after her but could not catch her so he dropped and slid too until he grasped her. Then he dug in his heels and one elbow to bring them to a stop. It wore right through the nylon on his jacket to do so. His daughter responded "that was fun, but now we are all wet."
In the book Ishmael manís present state is referred to as a free fall, with no clue that the ground is fast approaching.
I think the slide illustrates it too. Some of us are indeed trying to dig in our heels and elbows. Many just donít see the bigger picture. For them itís still ó wow ó this is fun. With no clue where weíre headed.
We can already see evidence all around us if we simply pay attention. Warning signs in nature abound. Yet even if we only look at ourselves. Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, most our top diseases, are all lifestyle diseases. The anger, emptiness, and apathy which expresses itself in so many ways throughout our society reveals how far we have disconnected with the earth, natural rhythms, and the Creator of it all, including us.
I believe ó because the alternative is to continue to slide toward depravity ó and ultimately oblivion. No one who has ever truly glimpsed the holiness of life, even for a second, could hope for anything but awakening. This is my hope. It is my wish. It is my prayer. It must begin within me. Within you. The only person I can really change is myself. You ó yourself.
Weíd like to think the biggest problems remain outside our borders. But as always, the biggest challenge remains inside of us.
"Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else
ó Roger von Oech
I originally intended to make this newsletter about the last aspect of a touch of william to be addressed in SHARING, which is my poetry and photography (the first aspect to actually come into being). But my newsletters tend to take on a life of their own, as this one did, so I guess Iíll leave that for next time. I also was going to put in a 2001 Quicken profit and loss statement, but bottom line is there was $245 in contributions and $1005 in product sales. The Center is obviously not anywhere close to self-sustaining.
Itís all just choices. May your life be filled with wise and good ones.
Godís peace, william