Joke of the Day – Bud the Cowboy
A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Montana when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust. The driver, a young man in a Brioni® suit, Gucci® shoes, Ray Ban® sunglasses and a Saint Laurent Tie leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, “If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?”
Bud looks at the man, who obviously is a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, “Sure, why not?”
The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell® notebook computer, connects it to his Apple I phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.
The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop® and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany.
Within seconds, he receives an email on his Apple ipad® that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL® database through an ODBC connected Excel® spreadsheet with email on his Galaxy S5® and, after a few minutes, receives a response.
Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet® printer, turns to the cowboy and says, “You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves.”
“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,” says Bud.
He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.
Then Bud says to the young man, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?”
The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, “Okay, why not?”
“You’re a Congressman for the U.S. Government”, says Bud.
“Wow! That’s correct,” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”
“No guessing required.” answered the cowboy. “You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars’ worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don’t know a thing about how working people make a living. Or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep.”
“Now give me back my dog.”
The Season of Nonviolence
Martin Luther King, Jr., was an American pastor, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.
He was awarded many awards for his efforts for peace and equality, including the Noble Peace Prize in 1964, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.
We celebrate his birthday tomorrow.
At the end of this month and through to April 4th is the Season for Nonviolence. This movement was started by Arun Gandhi, Mohandas Gandhi’s grandson, as a yearly event celebrating the philosophies and lives of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
The Season for Nonviolence is a national 64-day educational, media, and grassroots campaign dedicated to demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform, and empower our lives and our communities.
Part of what the Season provides to us is a Daily thought-provoking message designed to help increase our capacity to:
◦honor the dignity and inherent worth of every human being
◦understand that all of our words and actions have an impact
◦practice compassion with apparent adversaries
◦become stewards for the rights of individuals and the environment
◦use our talents to empower rather than to exert power
◦engage in constructive dialogue with one another to solve conflicts
We have a handout of 64 Daily Practices that make a difference. You are welcomed to take one along.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” -John 14:27
I think that quote from the Gospel of John leads us to the quote I have on today’s insert: “Don’t bash what you hate or don’t understand. Promote what you Love. There’s already too much negativity going around.”
I would say to that, that there is too much negativity being expressed and not enough Love and positive emotions. It too often seems that we hear more, remember more, of the negative and not enough of the positive.
We here at Unity hope to help change that.
As I was researching for this lesson, I found this and thought I’d share it with you. The writer is Brett Younger – Associate Professor of Preaching at the McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University, Atlanta, GA.
The year after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, I was a third grader in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I lived in a segregated world—separate and unequal. Everybody I knew wanted things to stay the way they were. The white people in my hometown didn’t understand what Dr. King preached. We didn’t hear what he heard God say. We didn’t hear God say anything we didn’t want to hear.
I knew that there were African Americans living nearby, but we went to different schools, stores, post offices, and saddest of all, churches. Then one Friday afternoon, Mr. Williams, our school. bus driver, told us to sit down and get quiet.
“Starting on Monday,” he shouted “there will be two black girls riding on our bus.”
Several boys in the back started booing.
Mr. Williams yelled, “Get quiet! I don’t like it either, but there’s nothing we can do about it. None of you will have to sit by them. They’ll sit in this seat right behind me.”
Then he started the bus. The bad kids said that they would call the new girls names and let them know that they didn’t belong on our bus. The good kids said that wasn’t fair and that the best thing to do was to say nothing at all. On Monday and on the days that followed, as far as I know, none of the bad kids ever said anything loud enough to be heard, but something no less tragic took place. The first children on the bus each morning and each afternoon sat in the back row. Every day for the rest of the year the bus filled from the back with every white child sitting as far as possible from the two children sitting in the front seat.
It’s embarrassing to confess that years passed before I realized how evil we were. It didn’t occur to me to sit on the second row, say hello, or question our actions. As the good white children of good white parents, we didn’t think of ourselves as bigots. We just found it easier not to challenge what was expected.
Years later, I became what my relatives in Mississippi consider a liberal. The liberal white children of the Deep South who left home are proud of the alienation we feel from the most embarrassing parts of our roots. We’re arrogant about our newfound sophistication, but sometimes I wonder what we would hear if we listened for God’s opinion on the subject of our prejudices.
It’s easier not to listen to God, because listening is dangerous. It was for Samuel. He grew up in “the church,” helping Eli with chores around the temple—lighting lamps, sweeping the floor, putting the hymnals back in the pew racks. Samuel never thought about listening for God, because no one was listening for God. The author writes: “The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.”
It’s not surprising that when twelve-year-old Samuel hears a voice while sleeping in church—he was neither the first nor the last to sleep in church—he assumes it is Eli. Three times someone calling his name awakens him. Three times he goes to Eli and asks what he wants. After the third time Eli wonders, although God hasn’t been heard from in those parts for some time, if perhaps Samuel is hearing God’s voice. He tells Samuel that if he hears the voice again, he should answer, “God, I’m listening.” God speaks and gives Samuel disturbing news—news that Samuel doesn’t want to repeat. After he hears God’s voice, Samuel’s life is never the same. It’s harder—much harder!
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, and uncle were all preachers. When he became the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, however, he still hadn’t had a firsthand experience of God. But then Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus and Martin found himself in the middle of a boycott. Although he had only been in Montgomery a year and he was only twenty-seven years old, he quickly became a leader of the movement. It wasn’t long before his family started getting threatening phone calls. He wondered if he could take it. He wanted out. Then one night, around midnight, another threatening call came: “We’re tired of you, and if you aren’t out of this town in three days, we’re going to blow your brains out and blow up your house.”
Dr. King prayed aloud that night. He reports hearing a voice calling him to stand up for righteousness, justice, and truth; the voice of Jesus promising to be with him through the fight. Dr. King’s life from that moment on is a testimony to his response to that prayer.
What would we hear if we listened for God’s voice? Would God tell us to be honest about the prejudices that lie so deep within us that we don’t admit them even to ourselves; to repent not only of whatever hatred we feel but also whatever apathy we hide; to let worship penetrate our hearts enough for us to say, “Speak God, for I’m listening”; to realize that if racism seems like someone else’s problem then we are part of the problem; to stop waiting for others to take the first step and step across the lines ourselves; to speak with kindness and courage when it would be easier to say nothing; to do more than vote right and work for economic justice for all; to do more than tolerate our differences and honor and celebrate them; to be impatient with inequality, impatient with anything less than freedom and justice. If we listen for God, we’ll hear a dangerous voice telling us to do what’s right.
A powerful message, wouldn’t you say? I have prejudices. I carry them from my upbringing and from my experiences. I work daily to overcome them.
What we resist persists, so I do not want to resist violence, I want to see beyond it to the truth of Peace. How can I be in this world, but not of it, not of the hatred, discrimination, and violence? I can be the solution.
How can I have Peace, calm, perfection, and right action? By being it. Right here and right now I let go of the illusion of war, hate, fighting and violence and see only the Truth of Peace. Peace is where I came from, Peace is where I am, and Peace is where I’m going.
Peace the absence of war. Peace, the absence of hate. Peace is the absence of any kind of violence. Peace is the understanding of Love. I know and I know I know that Peace is all there is. Peace is God being God. I accept Peace, I am Peace, I see Peace, I smell Peace, I hear Peace, I taste Peace, I touch Peace, I know Peace is who and what I am. Peace is action. Peace in stillness. I experience Peace for myself, for every person, every animal, every living being on this wonderful planet, Mother Earth. Peace is, and so it is.
Even the Pope has expressed his opinion regarding our prejudices toward other religions, saying “that anyone who insults a religion can expect “a punch in the nose”.
His provocative remarks which may cause a problem for many, especially right now in France, yet the Pope said that freedom of expression had its limits, especially if it involved insulting or ridiculing religion.
I think that this falls in with what we are speaking about today. Freedom of expression MAY have its limits. We believe our thoughts create our world. So why would we wish to incite others by criticizing their religion. Or anything? Aren’t we here to get along? Isn’t that our choice?
********Please say with me, if you feel these statements resonate with your beliefs:
As a spiritual being who has access to this spiritual truth, I recognize that I am in a unique position to influence the course of world events through my personal choices. I also recognize that I must embody peace in order to have peace.
I choose peace as my personal experience. Every relationship in my life is established in love, harmony and respect. I am able to enjoy diversity as an expression of the richness of Infinite Intelligence. I choose to experience joy in the abundance of life, including the wealth of ways that others live and express themselves.
I choose peace in my national experience. This great nation was founded on principles of equality and religious freedom. Its strength comes from diversity. This nation has a powerful mandate to embody peace and I am willing to contribute to that choice in ways that seem appropriate to me as an individual.
I choose peace for the planet. I know that people are different from each other but I do not believe that differences need to lead to conflict. I understand that there is fear and belief in limitation in the world but I do not believe that fear is the truth. I see every person on the planet as a spiritual being seeking to express God in his or her unique way. I know that in his heart, once fear is dissolved, everyone chooses peace. I refuse to be a prisoner of fear.
It is our choice as to how we respond to words and actions in our world. And we do have a choice – always. We can choose to react in a negative way or we can choose to not react at all. Or we can choose to react positively.
― Bohdi Sanders said, “Never respond to an angry person with a fiery comeback, even if he deserves it…Don’t allow his anger to become your anger.”
“Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained.” – Lao Tzu
Instead of being against something, whether it’s in yourself, in your family, in your community or in your government, or even in the world, let’s be FOR something.
Let’s be for peace. Let’s be for compassion. Let’s be for equality for all. Let’s be for Love. Let’s be for loving.
Marianne Williamson, “Only one thing is more powerful than a brotherhood based on hate, and that is a brotherhood based on love.”