Thursday, March 17, 2016

Genocide in Iraq & Syria.

CNN reports:

Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that the United States has determined that ISIS' action against the Yazidis and other minority groups in Iraq and Syria constitutes genocide. 
"My purpose here today is to assert in my judgment, (ISIS) is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims," he said, during a news conference at the State Department. 
Kerry said in 2014, ISIS trapped Yazidis killed them, enslaved thousands of Yazidi women and girls "selling them at auction, raping them at will and destroying the communities in which they had lived for countless generations," executed Christians "solely for their faith" and also "forced Christian women and girls into slavery." 
"Without our intervention, it is clear that those people would have been slaughtered," he said. 
This is the first time that the United States has declared a genocide since Darfur in 2004.

Let us find a way to rescue.

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Putting an End to Bullying - and Increasing Self-Esteem!

We can do more to intervene to help others!

Be an upstander by not standing-by as a bystander to hurt and harm.

"Our findings are the first to show that the most tormented children -- those facing bullying several times a week -- can be helped by teaching bystanders to be more supportive . . . " 
Many K-12 school efforts to reduce bullying have proven not very effective, leading educators to wonder what bullying prevention approach works best. A new study finds one anti-bullying program works extremely well. The study of more than 7,000 students in 77 elementary schools in Finland found that one program greatly benefited the mental health of sixth graders who were bullied the most, significantly improving their self-esteem and reducing their depression.

Read more at Science Daily.

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.D.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Eradicating Human Dis-ease! It can be done.

Viruses, bacteria, and organisms are complex!

Many that are "poisonous" to one species are in the food chain of another species.

The Guinea Worm that has plagued millions of humans may never harm another human.

Congratulations to the tireless efforts of many, and the leadership of President Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter.

More news at this link and this excerpt:

IT LOOKS like something out of a Gothic movie: a metre-long monster that emerges slowly through blistered human skin, its victim writhing in agony. No one is spared. It can creep out from between the toes of a child or from the belly of a pregnant woman. In the mid-1980s Dracunculus medinensis, the Guinea worm, as this horror is called, afflicted 3.5m people a year in 20 countries in Africa and Asia. But last year that number was down to just 22, all of them in Chad, Ethiopia, Mali and South Sudan. Dracunculiasis is thus poised to become the second human disease to be eradicated, after smallpox. 
This blessed state of affairs is thanks to a 30-year campaign led by the Carter Centre, a charity set up by Jimmy Carter, a former president of America.

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

86 Burned to Death - over 20,000 Killed in past 6 Years

"A survivor hidden in a tree says he watched Boko Haram extremists firebomb huts and heard the screams of children burning to death, among 86 people officials say died in the latest attack by Nigeria's homegrown Islamic extremists."
I have no answers to this complex situation.

I simply know the violence of our world and the displacement of persons pains me to my core.

There is enough food and there are enough resources for vibrant living, if only we can find the means to be different in our world.

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Shared Humanity & Stewardship of Creation

If all humans could see themselves as part of the larger family of human-persons in the world, on this planet as shared stewards in our generation preparing for the next generation, life would be much better for everyone.

I was encouraged to read Pope Francis' admonition that Jews are the "elder brothers" of Christians, as Francis denounced violence done in God's name.

Recently, a Christian professor, Larycia Hawkins has been under fire for her solidarity with Muslim women. 

For my part, I do believe the separate belief systems of Jews, Muslims, Christians are different in ways that can never truncate them to the same belief.  And I do believe Buddhism and Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Zoroastrianism are all unique in quite different ways, too.

And yet, I do not believe that we who are human are different in ways that should permit violent exclusion and intolerant hatred. All humans have red and white blood cells, neurons and synapses, spleens and spines, hearts and kidneys.

Clearly, each of our distinct sets of beliefs within each religious system can not all be correct given the disparities of beliefs among religious traditions. We do believe differently.

And yet, I believe we can still see ourselves as shared members within the family of humanity who must steward together the life of everything within Creation.

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The gifts we need - a proposal.

Gift giving within the culture of American Consumerism is deeply troubling to me.

Have we attempted to replace what we need with cheap, hollow, plastic substitutes that leave us feeling yet more hollow?

Here’s what I need . . .

and what I think we need:

We need more love.

We need more generosity – both sharing with others and receiving the kindness of others.

We need more time to sit quietly with others – those we love and those we do not understand or do not know.

We need more peaceable conversation with no agenda except coming into the awareness of one another and perhaps the Other.

We need more quiet mornings, calm evenings.

We need more walks in nature, more swimming in streams, and more time to watch-and-listen to leaves as they flutter in the wind.

We need more hand peeled fruits and individually sliced fresh vegetables.

We need more time to talk with one another and to sit in the stillness of shared space without words.

We need more hot drinks and cool beverages in their season – with time to sip their flavor.

We need more hugs, more time to cuddle, more time to embrace.

We need more thank you cards – expressing thanks for being with one another and spending time together.

We need more compassion.

We need more time to sow seed – and harvest it.  Literally.  We need gardens and plants and the time to nurture and celebrate their mystery and bounty.

We need more opportunities to walk, stretch, swim, cycle, hike, or other exercise.

We need moments of meditation.

We need solace.

We need each other.

We need quiet.

We need the beauty of sitting together with those we love, in quiet, relaxed, unfettered calm – punctuating conversation with conversational silence.

We need more board games and time to play “tag” or “hide-and-seek.”

We need time to grieve - and we need people to sit with us in our grief.

We need to spend more time with those much older or much younger than ourselves, to remember  the beauty and fragility of where we have been and where we are heading.

We need simple crafts that create tangible goods that endure – woodworking, knitting, quilting, and building.

We need connection – with our true self – and with the true self of those around us.

We need cool showers in summer and warm fires in winter.

We need friendship.

We need some perspective on  existence – within and without a faith tradition – and we need to be attuned to how others discern existence and meaning in life and after-life.

We need imagination!  Oh! How we need imagination.

We need peaceable conversation and persons who build bridges within and among people groups.

We need to appreciate the change of seasons – the emerging blossom, the change in color in the leaves, the calm and serene quiet and beauty of freshly fallen snow.

We need wisdom - the wisdom from our elders who have lived life well.

We need the wisdom of other cultures, biodiversity and a celebration of the beauty of vibrant cultures, histories and languages.

We need gratitude.

We need calm.

We need peace.

No television or television show, no streaming video account, no social media connection, no plastic thing, no new “as-seen-on-t.v.” gizmo, no polyester stuffed pillow or plush-pet, no outfit-today that will be-out-of-style-next-season, no electronic gizmo . . . . will satisfy the deep longing of human need.

If only we were willing to intentionally restructure our lives so that we could participate in serene shared solidarity with other humans and the beauty that can be found in all Creation!

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Image from:

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Religious Leader's Call to Dignity

"What is the point of being a religious leader if you don’t say something that’s difficult for the people who follow you?" 

Quote and extended conversation from On Being with Rabbi Sacks

RABBI SACKS: The Bible is saying to us the whole time, don’t think that God is as simple as you are. He’s in places you would never expect him to be. And, you know, we lose a bit of that in English translation. Because, when Moses, at the burning bush, says to God, “Who are you?” God says to him three words: “Hayah asher hayah.” And those words are mistranslated in English as “I am that which I am.” But in Hebrew, it means “I will be who or how or where I will be,” meaning, don’t think you can predict me. I am a God who is going to surprise you. And one of the ways God surprises us is by letting a Jew or a Christian discover the trace of God’s presence in a Buddhist monk or a Sikh tradition of hospitality or the graciousness of Hindu life. You know, don’t think we can confine God into our categories. God is bigger than religion.

MS. TIPPETT: And at the same time — and I think you would say it as an “and” rather than a “but” — there is also a special relationship that is evident in those texts and a covenant that is particular to the Jewish people. And even as you honor the dignity of difference, you are upholding the dignity of that particularity. So talk to me about how, theologically, how you bring those things together, how they’re not a contradiction.

RABBI SACKS: By being what only I can be. I give humanity what only I can give. It is my uniqueness that allows me to contribute something unique to the universal heritage of humankind. And I sum it up — the Jewish imperative — very simply. And it has been like this since the days of Abraham. To be true to your faith and a blessing to others regardless of their faith.

MS. TIPPETT: I thought about Heschel when I was reading you, his idea of mystery as something that, in fact, at the depths even of orthodoxy, is something that religious people have in common. There is a bit of mystery to that, right, in what you’re saying.
RABBI SACKS: There is a margin of mystery. There’s something there beyond what our categories can comprehend. And it is in that margin of mystery that we have to place the relationship of the other with God. I understand my relationship to my late parents, but I can’t ever really understand my brother’s relationship. Each relationship is so private. And our relationship with God is private, but it doesn’t mean to say he doesn’t have relationship with other people, other languages, other traditions. And we will never understand that.

MS. TIPPETT: Now, I know that there — that what you’re saying has been difficult for some of your fellow Jews in Britain, that The Dignity of Difference was controversial.

RABBI SACKS: What is the point of being a religious leader if you don’t say something that’s difficult for the people who follow you? You know, you’ve got to challenge them and be challenged by them. You have to listen when they say, “Chief Rabbi, you’re going too far or too fast for us to follow.” And then you say, “OK, we'll slow it down, but I want you to come with me.” I will not allow myself to be a lone voice within Judaism.

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.