Thursday, December 20, 2012



Today is the eighteenth of December, 2012 and I really need to comment on something light and fun, and maybe useful.
It's great to be at least partially right, once in a while, especially if you're a kid. I don't know about you, but in my childhood memories I was always arguing with my mother over making my bed. “Did you make your bed?” was always asked at the breakfast table. I had the usual rational objections. I'd never agree with her but of course I'd do it eventually. And now I'm living with another woman who I want to please and I'm still making the bed, but with always a bit of inner rebellion over doing this most needless of tasks.
Guess what. I've been right all along (in a small way)! I've just been reading about the millions of very small creepy-crawlies that inhabit our beds, how they live on our dead and discarded skin flakes and how our nightly perspiration of about half a liter of water keeps the whole mini environment going. It turns out that our beds are perhaps the least healthy place in our homes and we spend a third of our lives in them! And we carefully and swiftly enclose the whole set-up as soon as we rise, keeping it all safe, warm and wet. Yuck!
If we would just mess the bed up, better yet, if we would turn back the blankets and air it out carefully, the whole system would dry up and we'd be much better off.
So, kids, you are right! In some cases it's better to be messy! Here's the answer you've been searching for, the knowledge you've had all along. But you still might please your mom by carefully turning back the covers and making it neat. That way you both will be happy, and maybe even, more healthy.
Good luck, good health and good life!  Check this link to see the youtube video for this script.

Monday, December 10, 2012


 Anthony Gifford: 'WISE MEN' PART TWO

I've just shared a short video regarding, in part, the Christmas story of the three so-called wise men, and I've been reminded by the folks here in the room that I've left a few things out. So here's a re-cap and a continuation, if you're of a mind to go on with me.
Firstly, what we know and love as the 'Christmas Stories' are not and were never meant to be
understood as history. Like the first eleven chapters in the Jewish scriptures, the Old Testament, they were placed there in two of the gospels as timeless stories that told the eternal truths that were beyond history, that were for all times and all places. Stories for us to enter into, Stories that set the stage for what was to follow.
These stories that we tend to look at as cute and cuddly, for children and nostalgia, are really much more than that. They are stories that if we look at them seriously, really challenge and prod us all. If we aren't listening to them with that seriousness, we are really missing out.
The story we are listening to is about three people who search for more, for what is most important. They look in all the right places, as far as the powers-that-be are concerned. But the answers they seek are not there. Instead, they are found in the poor and helpless. In exactly the opposite as where they were expected. That is where we left off. But there is more.
The men were changed by what they found. In the story, we are simply told that they went home by another way. They didn't return to the palaces or to the officials in society or religion. They went home a new way.. Changed. This is why we now call them 'wise'. They had enough sense to value what they had found. They allowed the new finding and understanding to actually change them. If they had returned by the old path they would have been know as the very first three stooges.
This is a story of warning and hope. The story urges us on one hand to search, to recognize that there is so very much more to life than what we now know, and to follow the star of hope and purpose. But it also reminds us that unless we accept the challenge to change, our journey will be a waste.
I hope that all of us know that there is truly more, and that this 'more' is worth our journey. But if you don't, if you are content, that's OK. Enjoy your lives and do what you can. If you search and follow your star but decide to NOT be changed, but to go back to as you have been, how hard that will be for you, how hard to live with yourself! Don't search for the new because of any guilt. God loves you just as you are. If you search, do it because you want more out of life, because you want to NOT waste any of the gift of life that has been given you, because you want each moment to be the most that it can. Do it because you know that the way we are now living is ruining the world for us and for all of our descendants. Search in the name of what-ever you deem Holy. It makes no difference as to your theology. The DOING and SEARCH is what matters. Search with the understanding that the search is only a beginning, that it will lead to change and challenge, now and forever. The search and change is also the way of joy and hope, the way of life. That in itself is enough, no matter the outcome.
Use this season and this story to lead us. If not, enjoy the season in the old way. It still has a lot of offer. But if you want and need more, it's here for us. Again. Amen!



We're now well into the season of Advent, just a few weeks before Christmas. Not my favourite time of year. Don't get me wrong. I'm a believer. Not that I believe church doctrine that has been handed down from the Middle Ages, or even from the churches, but I am a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. But this isn't a rant against the commercialization of this season. We all know and agree about that. What I want to share is my sadness at how the churches are allowing the whole thing to be watered down, so to speak. What we know as 'the Christmas stories' are portrayed as nice and cuddly stories for children, or palmed off as history, instead of being stories that challenge and lead us today, serious warnings for us and all people.
Let me give you an example. The story of the three wise men. This was written in the gospel we call Matthew for a reason, to inform and prepare all who would read the gospel itself. Let's review the story. It's about three astrologers, not men of belief at all, but from a culture foreign to the Jews and to the idea of God. But they know there is something important about to happen, something that will change everything. They see a sign of it, in the form of a star, and leave all behind in order to follow, to search for this most important event/truth. They go to all the right places, the acknowledged keepers of wisdom, political and spiritual. No success. The answers are not there. Undeterred, they keep looking, until they find their answer in the most unlikely of places, among the poor and weary.
Most churches end the story right there, for to go farther leads us to understand that if we take the story to heart and mind, we will see that to really seek rebirth and truth today, the seekers will have to go outside of the churches today as much as the story told those way back then. As Christians have always claimed to be the keepers of the truth, so too, they have kept people away from the truth, even in the condemnation to hell of those who had the temerity to question or disagree. No, we won't hear this story being fleshed out in pulpits this Christmas.
Yet again, here we are, in a season dedicated, supposedly, to searching and preparation. No matter your understanding, traditional Christian, unbelief, searcher, Muslim, Jew, etc, let us unite in the truth that real knowledge and growth very seldom come from following the usual and currently established way. Let us each and all find the wisdom to not be put off by the established powers, political or religious, for they all have their axes to grind and are blinded by their traditions and habits. Not that they are evil or bad. They just can't see anything new. Let us keep searching. We'll know what the real thing is when we find it. And it will be worth the search and the journey. Keep at it!

How to Live Through Your Grandchildren

Anthony Gifford: How to Live Through Your Grandchildren

For most of us, our lives seem to usually crawl along without much change. And then, sometimes unexpectedly, something will change. An event that makes us see things differently. A chance to choose a different path. Maybe a graduation. A marriage. Job opportunity. A death. Or becoming a grandparent. Looking into the eyes of that small miracle, realizing that everything that has been is wrapped up in this awesome package. You would gladly die for this new being.

Suddenly you are an elder. You begin to reflect on your life in new ways, to see yourself and even the whole world through different lenses, through the eyes of this baby in her years to come. Maybe this is why most of the world's civilizations have valued the wisdom of the elders. They alone had the outlook that was needed for survival in the long run. But our culture doesn't share this view. So, grandparents, we've got to smarten up and look at the facts.

What is this world we are leaving behind? Since our births, the population has tripled. We have used over half of the non-renewable resources of the world, about 80% of the oceans' fish. Most of the current pollution and climate change has happened in our life-time. We are leaving and are still living toward catastrophe. This is our gift and legacy to our grandchildren.

The question for us: Do we love our grandchildren? Would we die for them? Would we live for them? Fact: Most of the world's wealth is in our hands. We have the time now to do as we will. We hold vast stores of knowledge and influence. We now have the opportunity to do what ever we want. What do we want? IS the question. If we rely on senior and retirement literature, all we're interested in is skin creams, keeping our portfolios in good shape and picking the right trip or cruise. Spending money, making money and not being any good for anyone else! And a merry Christmas to you, grand kids!
This kind of retirement will continue killing the earth and killing our grandchildren in the process.
If we love them, If we would die for them, If we would live for them, firstly, we must actually talk to them, sharing with them the reality of us and our role in what has happened, and our knowledge of what must now happen in order for life to continue. Talk from your own truths. It may be Jewish, or Christian or Muslim, atheist or agnostic. The truth will be the same. And vow to live on much less, for what you now use is literally stealing from those who are yet to come. Vow with them to learn to share. Vow with them to influence others, to become active in all aspects of life. You might be amazed as to their reaction. Form with them a conspiracy, but don't plan on the middle generation to understand. They'll probably be too busy making money and worrying about their retirement to give any energy to the really important stuff of life.
Grandparents, what a chance we now have. Become WISE. Use your power, time and knowledge for those who come after. Refuse to follow the lies of success that surround us. Look into the eyes of the very young and see again the way of truth and love. Let the little children lead.