If everyone embraced a plant based whole foods diet:
- The cost of medical care would fall by 70%.
- Life expectancy would increase dramatically.
- Cardiovascular disease would utterly disappear.
- Obesity and type 2 diabetes would become a rarity.
- Cancer would be greatly reduced.
- Arthritis in all of its forms, lupus, and all such related maladies would become a rarity.
- Countless other human ailments, from sleep apnea to infertility, would either be lessened or eliminated all together.
Our nutritional needs:
- We are being poisoned by our “Industrial Diet” and its resultant epic pandemic of “Diabesity.” Our industrial diet is dense in animal fats, empty calories, harmful chemicals and hormones, but low in nutritional value.
- We can get all the protein that we need from a plant based diet. Just ask any elephant, rhinoceros, bison or moose.
- Cow’s milk is the perfect food — for baby cows.
- Human breast milk is the perfect food for us in our first two years of life, with the introduction of solid foods after six months.
Saving the planet and its people:
- Cows consume enough grain to feed nine billion people, more than the current human population of the earth.
- Cows produce more greenhouse gasses than all global transportation.
- Rainforests in the Amazon and other places are being cut down in order to raise cattle.
- Cattle in feed lots are fed animal byproducts from meat processing plants, also chicken manure. These practices assure the transmission of animal diseases between species and the contamination of our food supply. For example, mad cow disease comes from eating brain and nerve tissue from infected animals.
- Feedlot cattle are also fed steroids, growth hormones, and antibiotics. The excessive use of antibiotics causes the rise of antibiotic resistant germs.
In 1980 the world saw the eradication of smallpox, a disease that had killed 500 million people. As of today polio is nearly extinguished across the whole planet. The World Health Organization has been the lead player in this eradication. Other groups included in the eradication efforts include UNICEF and Rotary International. To date there have been 60 cases of polio in the world in 2012 as reported through May 23. This shows how close we are to the finish line. For comparison, there were an estimated 350,000 cases in 1988.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns of global polio threat: “Wild viruses and wildfires have two things in common. If neglected, they can spread out of control. If handled properly, they can be stamped out for good. Today, the flame of polio is near extinction — but sparks in three countries threaten to ignite a global blaze. Now is the moment to act.” Read full opinion piece at:
If we do not stop polio today we could see a resurgence. By the year 2030 we could have 300,000 new cases each year. Or, we could stop polio today. It is our choice.
There are currently three hot spots in the war on polio, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. With only a little more perseverance this disease can be eradicated in the next few years.
There has already been a partial victory in this fight. One of the three strains of polio virus has already been eradicated; one down two to go.
Polio has been known since ancient times, but it reached pandemic status in the first half of the Twentieth Century. In 1952 in the United States the epidemic became the worst outbreak in the nation’s history. It infected 58,000 people, 3,000 of whom died and 21,000 were left with various degrees of paralysis.
It was eliminated in developing countries in 1980, due in large part to vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk.
SERMON: The Tragedy of Sin
United Church of Cloverdale
2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15
Sunday, June 13, 2010
The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20 could be expected. It was clearly NOT an accident, but a DISASTER waiting to happen. According to the dictionary, an accident is:
- Any event that happens unexpectedly, without a deliberate plan or cause.
Police no longer talk about car “ACCIDENTS.” They are now called COLLISIONS. The logic here is that accidents are things that happen unexpectedly, and are hence unavoidable. If a drunk driver causes a collision it is no accident, but rather a predictable tragedy.
Imagine a collision where one driver stops on a green light, and then gets rear-ended by the driver of the second car: The driver of the second car might protest: “But I had no chance to stop! The car in front of me stopped on a green light and I ran into him!”
But the truth is that all automobile collisions could be avoided if only we took action FIVE SECONDS before the collision occurred. Perhaps the driver in this instance might have been paying closer attention to the traffic and road conditions. Then, maybe that driver would have seen the dog that darted into the intersection. Or perhaps, the driver could have slowed down by five or ten miles per hour, giving that driver time to stop, even when the driver in front stopped suddenly at a green light.
At the Deepwater Horizon there were warning signs days ahead that went unnoticed. The first sign was that the seal on the blowout preventer had blown days ahead, and bits and pieces were appearing on the surface.
It also turns out that the blowout preventer, the so-called “fail-safe” device, was itself DEFECTIVE and inoperable. Dead batteries on control panels meant that the device could not operate. There were also leaky hydraulic systems that prevented the control valves from closing.
Hours before the explosion there were numerous signs of the impending failure, but these all went unheeded in the tragically careless push to keep production levels high. According to reports from the survivors, there was a big argument between the TransOcean drilling chief and a manager from BP. The drilling chief wanted to stop drilling because of safety concerns. The BP manager forced the drilling to continue. This was twelve hours before the explosion.
The issue for BP was simple. The drilling was already over budget and five weeks behind schedule. Finishing the well was the top priority, and it seems, the ONLY concern.
The result of this arrogance has been the worst man-made ecological disaster in history:
- Eleven workers were killed.
- We can expect hundreds of billions of dollars in economic destruction across the Gulf region, as this spill has crippled the seafood industry and tourism. This economic disruption may last for decades.
- We may be looking at the destruction of all life forms in much of the Gulf of Mexico. This destruction of the whole ecosystem may take decades to repair, if it can be repaired at all.
The Gulf Coast contains some 40% of our nation’s wetlands. Wetlands are the nurseries of the planet. Without them many species cannot survive. Also, wetlands are an important barrier against hurricanes. Wetlands work like giant sponges, soaking up wind and rain and tidal surges caused by hurricanes. Without these wetlands hurricanes will become far more destructive than they are now.
This is the TRAGEDY OF SIN.
- Corporate managers blinded by greed without concern for effects.
- The reckless disregard for safety of the workers.
- The reckless disregard for the environment.
- And, the reckless disregard for all of those living in the Gulf Coast.
Sin is placing an insatiable demand for profits and timelines ahead of safety, ecological responsibility, and the well being of the residence of the Gulf Coast. Wherever sin rules, bad things happen, and we end up paying a terrible price.
Sin is not about breaking God’s laws. Sin is about breaking ourselves AGAINST God’s laws. When we break the laws of God we can expect to have a catastrophic outcome. The TRAGEDY OF SIN in the Gulf of Mexico is now our worst nightmare.
Our scripture lesson for this morning is about the great moral lapse of King David. The story of David and Bathsheba shows what happens when SIN reigns. It is a tragic story right out of a “soap opera.”
David looks out from his castle and spots a beautiful woman bathing on her roof top. David is instantly seized with lust for her. He sends his servants to inquire of her, and he discovers that she is the wife of Uriah the Hittite, who is presently off fighting against the Ammonites with David’s army. David then has Bathsheba brought to the castle where he lies with her, and she becomes pregnant.
David then summons Uriah the Hittite to come and report to him. While Uriah is in Jerusalem, David encourages him to go and be with his wife. But Uriah is a man of honor, and the Code of Honor of that day did not allow for any form of conjugal visits during a time of battle. And so, Uriah refused to go home to his wife.
Actually, that sounds like a wonderful rule for all wars. Such a rule might cause all battles to be over in a matter of weeks or months, instead of years or decades!
So Uriah returned to the front without seeing his wife. And Uriah also carried David’s order to Commander JOAB that Uriah was to be killed. This does not seem fair, does it?
Joab did as David had ordered. He arranged to have Uriah the Hittite killed in battle. This was done to prevent King David from being embarrassed by his act of adultery.
David now thinks that all is well until he is confronted by the prophet Nathan. Prophets are women and men who speak God’s Truth. Speaking truth to power is the essence of the prophetic witness. Nathan uncovers David’s tragic sin. David, now finally realizing the evil that he has done, tries to do repentance before the God.
But things seem to work much differently these days, especially in the political arena. Instead of David’s confession and repentance, we normally expect a quick fix by a SPIN DOCTOR. If King David were around today I am sure that his spin doctors would have taken care of everything.
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Palace of King David
The King is deeply saddened by the loss of Uriah the Hittite. Uriah was David’s dearest friend and closest confidant. And even though Uriah was foreign born, he served his King and Country as well any native son. He died a hero’s death fighting against the Ammorites.
The King had recently recalled Uriah to Jerusalem for a consultation. And while Uriah was in Jerusalem, he went home to see his wife, even though such visits are against a soldiers Code of Honor. THIS EXPLAINS THE BABY. [Note: Thankfully, this is before the days of DNA testing!] But please do not hold this Uriah. He was a wonderful man even though he BROKE the soldier’s code of honor.
King David LOVED Uriah so much, that upon Uriah’s death, the King took Uriah’s widow and child to live in the castle, and to be a part of the King’s own family.
But David did not do the “Spin Doctor” thing. He sinned badly with a tragic outcome. Both Uriah the Hittite and his child died as a result of David’s Sin. But he did listen to the voice of God through the Prophet Nathan and he repented for his Sin.
The walk of faith requires an upright life. The walk of faith demands an internal moral compass that acts in restraint, and seeks to live in a way that avoids the TRAGEDY OF SIN.
- If only David had stopped to think before he had Uriah murdered so that he could steal his wife
- If only the BP manager who ordered that the drilling continued could have paused to consider the tragic loss of human live, and the ecological and economic catastrophe that he was creating by his impatience.
- If only corporations such as PG&E would stop funding BOGUS and SELF-SERVING propositions such as Proposition 16. This proposition was designed to prevent municipalities from managing their own electrical power, as is done very successfully in HEALDSBURG. Instead, this proposition was labeled and argued as the VOTERS RIGHT TO CHOOSE proposition, and PG&E spend millions of dollars to wage a campaign based on self-serving lies and distortions.
The upright life is based upon the simplest of notions. It does not mean to follow endless rules and regulations imposed upon us.
- It means to “Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.”
- It means to “Love one another as love comes from God.”
- It means to “Love the Lord our God and our neighbors as ourselves.”
- It means to “Do justice, love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.”
- It means to care for all creation, and to be a careful steward of our world and all of its resources. For this is the only world that we have for ourselves and our children’s children.
Whatever science fiction fantasy that we might harbor regarding moving on to another planet, this planet is all that we have. And when we destroy it we destroy our own habitat and our own future.
This is the TRAGEDY OF SIN.
One of the most important lessons that I have tried to teach my teenage son is that I want him to grow up to be the kind of man upon which people can depend. If he has promised to mow someone’s yard, or fix a computer, or help out at the community theater, then he is expected to carry out that task properly and on time, and with no excuses. This is the essence of trust.
Being trustworthy is a complex attribute with many parts. The core of which is personal integrity. In mathematics, an “integer” is a number that is whole or uncut. Integrity means a singularity of purpose, as opposed to working out of ulterior motives (divided allegiances or purposes).
In his early political career, Harry Truman ran Jackson County Missouri (Kansas City area) for many years. It was a time of Pendergast political machine. Truman had many opportunities to take advantage of his position of authority for personal benefit, but that was not in his character. When Truman was elected to the United States Senate, he needed to borrow money just to get himself to Washington. He could never violate the public trust for his personal gain.
Closely related to personal integrity is the need for confidentiality. Information is shared through appropriate channels based on a need-to-know. I can think of a hairdresser in town that knows everything that goes on. Telling her anything is like publishing it in the local newspaper. But, if she were a true professional she would understand that her customers’ private chats were never meant for public distribution. And of course, this situation would be much worse if this hairdresser worked in a field such as banking, medicine, or the law, where any such breach of confidentiality would be unconscionable.
To be trustworthy means to be committed to producing the required results. Excuses are never helpful. There are no problems, only challenges. Obstacles are there to be overcome. If one method does not work then try another until the required results are achieved. Finishing tasks on time is accomplished by effective time management. If you are stuck on one project, move on to something else. One excellent habit is to get used to working ahead on any project where progress is possible at this moment.
Attention to Details
Doing a good job requires doing the full job, giving attention to every detail. At the start of any project it is necessary to visualize all that this task entails, and to make certain that all of the details are successfully managed. I learned this in the restaurant business. If a restaurant had great food, but ran out of napkins, that would be a serious problem. The best organizations practice what is known as Continuous Quality Improvement. Every transaction is reviewed in order to discern what went well and what items could be improved upon.
It is impossible to accomplish any job that you are incapable of doing. What is required to gain competence is training and experience. Learning is a life-long endeavor. But in the short run, it is also necessary to know your limits, and to request help when necessary. Being competent means knowing what is within your capabilities. There is nothing wrong with telling a customer that you do not know how to help, but that you will find someone who can. We work together, help each other and train each other.
When it comes to global warming, are we already too late? It is clear that global warming is not only real, but is accelerating. As the polar ice caps melt the earth loses some of its reflectivity. Blue oceans and brown rocks will absorb far more heat than the reflective ice caps. But even more frightening is that as the planet warms more methane will be released. There is methane frozen in the tundra, and methane ice as the bottom of the oceans. Methane is a vastly more powerful greenhouse gas than is carbon dioxide.
The question for us is whether we have reached a tipping point. Is the runaway global warming already too far progressed to stop? It is like the story of a man who jumped off of the Empire State Building. On his way down he saw people at the window on the 43rd. floor and shouted to them, “So far so good!”
I do not believe that anyone knows whether we have reached the tipping point or not. But the point is that if we are not taking steps now to prevent further global warming, it may very soon be too late. If you are canoeing in unknown waters and hear the sound of a waterfall, you may want to paddle hard in the opposite direction.
Everything in the world today is global. We can fly to nearly any country on earth today in twenty-four hours or less. Every issue that we can think of has global ramifications, such as:
- Global warming
- Natural disasters
- Access to food and potable water
- Preservation of nature and wildlife
- Organized crime
- Human trafficking
- Jobs and employment
We have truly become a global village. One day we will have a world government, but that is a long time off. First we need to overcome the inequalities between nations. In the meantime we need to learn to think about the global impact of our decisions.