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Graffiti in Morocco Tells a Story of Cultural Edification

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Outside the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca there is a wall adjacent to the sidewalk that protects visitors from the crashing waves of the Atlantic coastline.  It’s a wall that gives visitors a place to sit, stand, walk, and even create art that expresses feelings they may be having about the world they live in.  When I visited this remarkable mosque yesterday, I too was awed by it’s granduer and art.  The large archways leading into the ornate 20 feet high wooden doors opened to tiled parkways where visitors can stand or kneel and pray.  People took pictures and enjoyed the enormity of the building and it’s surrounding grounds.  As we left, I saw a message written on the wall telling passersby this is the graffiti of Morocco.

There were various pictures painted but none stood out more to me than this one of the large black hand holding a white palm and then another smaller black palm.  What was meant by the graffiti artist by this statement?  I pondered it for awhile as I stood there still enjoying the cool Atlantic Ocean breeze and the bright sunshine.  What is the significance of the colors, the size of the hands, and the position?  Even now as I write this blog today, I am aware there are probably millions of meanings each of us could describe by this one statement.  In fact, there are probably over 7 billion meanings, one for each living human alive, that has meaning from this simple statement painted on the wall.

So what does it say to me?

I believe it is the artist rendering of the philosophy and practice I gave in July that can change the hatred in the world and bring us together as God intended man.  It is the rendering of CULTURAL EDIFICATION.

CULTURAL EDIFICATION:  The philosopy and practice of uniting, creating, and encouraging divirsity into human interactions to create a peaceful and harmonious world where love is the predominate emotion humans feel for one another.

When I see the larger black hand embracing the smaller white hand and then the white hand holding the much smaller black hand, I see the beginning of embrace, connection, and value mankind has for one another, regardless of skin tone, religion, language, geography, social class, gender, sexual orientation, or any other division of man.  Instead, I see the openness to embrace, celebrate, and encourage divirsity so that we can harmoniously live in peace.  The painting is the embodiment of CULTURAL EDIFICATION and our connected embrace is the beginning.

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Cultural Edification – The New Paradigm that Can Save Humanity and Stop the Violence Forever.

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Sandra Taylor, a Missionary in Kenya Only Saw Love in Her Friend from Resa

For centuries man has battled man, woman, and culture. Even within our own bodies a constant battle barrages our system with warfare, defending us against our self. Immunity is the system within our body, regardless of race, faith, culture, or gender that is pre-designed to operate at all times. Cells wage war within the body to protect us from the damage of other cells that have been fractured and becoming cancerous, to the tune of over 10,000 or more cells a day being destroyed by our own immune system. Immune cells we created, like a kind of civil war must destroy cells we created. So, the very nature that we have conflict between man, woman, culture, faith, race, country, tribe, professions, political parties is not really a surprise. We wage war inside our own bodies’ everyday so our basic inclination is to program this into our lives since our actions can become a macrocosm of the microcosm that resides within the human body.

But what is the thread of existence within the body that preserves mankind allowing him to wage this internal battle everyday but not bring violence upon his brother and sister? What is the running brook of life that streams love instead of violence and brings healing waters to those who are thirsty instead of guns and violence? Some say it’s God, a deity that knows all and has pre ordained all that we are and will be. Some say there is a plan God has for our lives and for all 7 billion people who live today. The complexity of man and the earth certainly lends credence to an intelligent design we cannot fully explain, though we move closer with each new discovery. Has our creator pre-wired into our mind, our hearts, and our souls the ability to both hate and love within the same sandbox? I remember a wonderful poem written by Robert Fulghum, called All I Ever Needed to Know I learned in Kindergarten. In Fulghum’s poem and book, he shares a simple course for mankind that if followed and taught to our children, we steer the course of humanity toward Cultural Edification.

“These are the things I learned (in Kindergarten):

 

  1. Share everything.
  2. Play fair.
  3. Don’t hit people.
  4. Put thngs back where you found them.
  5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
  6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
  7. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.
  8. Wash your hands before you eat.
  9. Flush.
  10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  11. Live a balanced life – learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
  12. Take a nap every afternoon.
  13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
  14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Stryrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
  15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
  16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first worked you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.”

Fulghum espouses a pathway that moves us in a direction of respect, celebration, and harmonious life if followed. The basic message taught in the Bible to love your neighbor and do unto others, as we would have them do unto us is all right there in Fulghum’s words and then some. What Fulghum was not aware of and is even more remarkable is the incredible circuitry within the brain of man to bond, love, and connect.

From the first moments of life, a baby begins to process the messages of the world from the womb of his/her mother. Recognizing sounds and movements, infants begin to recognize the familiar and learn trust and bond to the family he/she will be born into. When birth takes place, a mother begins to bond with her child, releasing powerful hormone mediators as she nurses her infant for the first time and fathers find connection with time through caring for their newborn child and mother. Oxytocin, the bonding and love hormone is released in waves to promulgate the loving bonds of family, child to parent and vice versa. Even more remarkably though, it doesn’t stop there for mankind, throughout our entire lifetime, this hormone continues to play a key role in love and connection. When a couple comes together to form a loving bond, oxytocin is afire in the brain. When two people make love and experience pleasure together, there is release and bonding connections formed. When we take an active role in serving and helping one another, still more oxytocin is released, helping us to feel connected and more importantly to feel energized, helpful, and needed. Yes, we feel needed when we serve and oxytocin helps this union of need to agent who can help need.

Thus, wired within humanity a powerful agent for connection, love, and sacrifice exists to bond us together and find our desire to love more gratifying than our desire to hate and harm. This is the internal chemistry and neurology that can form the basis for a new thought and ideal called Cultural Edification.

Defined, cultural edification is:

 The philosophy and practice of uniting, celebrating, and encouraging diversity into human interactions to create a harmonious, peaceful, world where love is the predominant emotion humans feel for one another.

As we consider what we don’t want when talking about racism, violence, sexism, classism, prejudice, bigotry, and so many other destructive ideologies, up till now there has not been an ideology to move toward. Now, we present a new view and ideal we can come together to create thought, action, policy, and change toward. The new utopian idea that has the power to change the planet and move us closer to God’s ultimate plan is cultural edification.

It’s been over 5800 years since the Garden of Eden was written about and man was banished from the Garden. Could it be God awaits man’s triumphant return to the Garden but in order for man to return, he has to move to an inner place of love steeped in cultural edification?

Source:  “ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN” by Robert Fulghum.

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The U.S. Census Holds the Key to Ending Racial Hatred in America

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Read this article before reading my blog today.

The US Census is Looking to Change

In our new book Wavers & Beggars, we discuss the role that labels play as dividers and the need to paradoxically have them so we can identify with a group of people. When we feel we belong to a group, we gain identity and security. However, the racial problems that are threatening to derail law enforcement and create catastrophic riots has it’s origin in a one of the earliest and most frequent reminders, we don’t all feel connected with one another in America. Instead of simply checking a box on a census that says AMERICAN, the complicated dividing of America cuts through our connected identity and makes Americans become pieces of a pie. The end result is dis-unity, dis-harmony, dis-eased thinking, dis-asterous consequences.

 

The time has come to simplify this complicated part of American identity and simply place the word AMERICAN in the box if you have an AMERICAN BIRTH CERTIFICATE. If you want to discuss the amount of melanin in a person’s skin as a way of socially identifying the characteristic of that person, USE:

BROWN 1 – darker tanned skin,

BROWN -2 – medium brown toned skin, AND

BROWN 3 – darker brown toned skin

WHITE 1 – very fair toned skin,

WHITE 2 – moderately fair toned skin,

WHITE 3 – tanned skin and

 

Moving away from ethnicity to simplicity and helping everyone to identifty as AMERICAN would move our country toward equality within 2-4 decades as young children are raised in a society that no longer divides but instead connects.

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Exhortation – The Secret Ingredient to Sports Success

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As I watched the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina in their teal uniforms celebrate in victory last night after taking down TCU and advance to the 2016 College World Series, it was evident something deeper was driving the success of this club. A mid major baseball team without access to the traditional sports television and other venues for recruiting the top talent in the country was taking down the favored team in the semifinals to advance into the finals for the first time.   It’s always a quandry when the underdog seems to step on and step up to take the place they deserve, striving just a little harder, digging deeper, and giving more effort to show they deserve to have the spotlight too.  What is that intangible something that brings the best out young athletes and brings their God given talent to the pinnacle?  For the Chanticleer Baseball club of Coastal Carolina, the answer is uncomplicated and resides in the heart of their leader, Coach Gary Gilmore.

His post game interview on ESPN gave the secret success formula to all great sports champions and the thematic example of the greatest coach who ever lived, Jesus Christ.  Newly honored NCBWA (National College Baseball Writers Association) Coach of the Year, Gary Gilmore, said he was happy  for his players but more importantly he praised them and remarked, “ I JUST LOVE THESE KIDS!”  These five words say all you had to know about the players and their coach.  When a coach praises and loves his players, they love him/her in return.  Mutual respect, dignity, honor, and love are the secret to success in any relationship.  Leaders must understand the spiritual gift of EXHORTATION. Exhortation is the act of coming along side someone with words of encouragement to comfort, console, and counsel them to be all God wants them to be.  Though this seems simple, many coaches miss the mark and seem to be unable to console and offer praise.

Sometimes praise is not the required to effort at times and then discipline and firm correction is in order.  But, time and again it has been confirmed a corrective word followed by a word of praise has the potent effect to bring the best out of athletes.  Jesus was a master of praise for his team, the first 12 disciples.  Traveling with this band of newly called leaders, often from humble origins, He taught, He showed, and He encouraged them to be more than they thought might be possible of themselves.  Then He empowered them to carry on the ‘Good News’ after he passed from them.

Great coaches and leaders understand the power of EXHORTATION.  It is the simple and easiest way to help bring the best out of people.  Coach Gary Gilmore is an example of the power of this spiritual gift and best of luck to his Chanticleers as they take on Arizona in the finals of the College World Series in Omaha this week.

Written by Dr. Warren Bruhl, author of Wavers & Beggars (New Insight and Hope to End Poverty and Global Challenges) Publised by Westbow Press.

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Waving – Man’s Message to Be Noticed

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Working for the past three years to bring fresh insight and new hope to end poverty and global challenges has been a quest for which I am proud.  Together with my co-author, Todd Love Ball, Jr., we have written a ground breaking book that will ask each of us to take a longer look in the mirror and examine our soul with more questions.  Seeing a social phenomenon occurring in the bush of Kenya in 2013, I first noticed a body language and expression in people we passed on the road.

Some waved at us joyfully while others begged desperately.

While it wasn’t apparent at first, as I began to think about the meaning of these two gestures and the request they implied, I also recognized the response to them was an opportunity for connection.  In both cases, the waver and the beggar were asking for something.  But one had more obvious needs while the other had different ones.  To anyone it seems apparent a beggar holding a cupped hand out with a desperate plea, is asking to receive money, food, or something he needs.  The cup of the hand is a collecting point like a bowl to receive the gift and hold on to it.  While a waver, waves his hands above his head and usually offers a smile and doesn’t usually beg for something in return.

Both men along the side of the road are communicating a message.  One has a need the other has a gift to give.  The beggar has a need and the waver has a gift, his smile and welcome to his community.  However, encapsulated into that simple recognition of need and gift, if we examine humanity, we can recognize these two gestures are telling us something further about what has happened in the lives of these two men.

The man, forced to beg, without options for survival other than to depend on the kindness of a stranger’s handout has tragically fallen into a dark place that it does not seem was ever intended by a God who loves His creation, man.  While the man waving alongside the road does not have to beg; because his value and ability to still thrive are manifesting through his labor and blessing.  The waver desires to be in active exchange with you and I and we wave back at him.  The beggar asks something from us and has little to give back in return.  One has value still!  The other has little or no value!

Now this is not to say that a man who is begging has no value in reality.  Unfortunately, the world doesn’t see his value and he has not been able to express his value, his gifts, and be needed in a meaningful way that was intended for his birth.  You see God doesn’t make anything faulty in His creation.  Still, our world with it’s challenges and broken understanding of what it means to be human and love our neighbors is standing in the way of the perfection.  What we espouse in our book Wavers & Beggars is that every man/woman has a purpose and we are born into this world as waver.  We are born to see the world and be seen.  We are born to wave at others and to have them wave back at us because we feel valued and our basic needs for survival are met.  But the fall to poverty and the desperate circumstances that are often evident in some lives tugs that waving hand like a 1000 lb anchor down 3 feet and then turns it up with a cupped hand.  The 1000 lb weight is the lack of opportunity that exists for far too many around the world.  Couple this lack of opportunity with the greed and misunderstanding about what it all means to be human and love our neighbors as ourselves and we can understand the seeds of poverty.

Wavers & Beggars is a fresh insight and new look at many problems in the world and helps to teach how we are more connected than we realize.

 

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Telemachus-A Monk Who Stood Up and Said, “No More!”

 

Who was Telemachus and what did he do that changed the course of human history?  

Telemachus was a monk who lived during the 4th century A.D. in the the province of Rome.  As a monk, he was a devout follower of Jesus and provided teaching to followers of the new religion.  As the faith was gaining traction througout Rome, it bothered Telemachus that so many Romans regarded the killing and bludgeoning that occurred at gladiator games as entertainment.

Among this advanced people with so much wealth and opportunity, he wondered how could they declare themselves as civilized.  Certainly, Jesus would have regarded these gladiator spectacles with disdain.

Determined to let his voice be heard and do something about the disgrace of the gladiator games, Telemachus attended one of the matches in AD 391 and during the match arose to his feet and began shouting, “In the name of Jesus, stop this!”  “In the name of Jesus, stop this!”  He went on to ask all the spectators to take a look at themselves and what they had become, allowing blood and killing to distort their views on humanity and caring for their neighbor.  Though he was heard, the crowd did not take kindly to his interruption and probably only allowed it because they thought it was part of the show.  Frequently, there were comedic diversions during gladiator matches and the crowd had originally thought this was probably also one of those side shows.

Once they realized Telemachus was criticing their viewing of the match and wanted to end it, they turned on him and began heaving objects at him and killed him.  After his death, the Emperor Honorius was so taken by his heroism and the crowd’s reaction, he eventually declared an end to all gladiator games.

The last known gladiator game occurred in AD 404.  Telemachus is given credit as providing the impetus to end the gladiator games forever.

I wonder if Telemachus had not had the courage to step into what he believed in how far the gladiator games may have taken man down the path of killing for sport?  Certainly, this turn in history can be creditted as a monumental turn toward compassion and civility.

Telemachus demonstrated the kind of courage it takes to be an Agent of Social Change.  What are you passionate about that you would like to see end or start?  Let Telemachus be an inspiration that one man/woman can change the course of human history.

 

 

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