Winter 2006 Issue From the Teaching & Sharing Center www.wsharing.org
Board of Trustees Meeting
The T&SC Board of Trustees met on January 8th 2006 at the Center. It was reported that of the 145 households on the poetís circle mailing list, only 19 opted to become members of the T&SC. With the income of the non-profit corporation at $4,224.95 in 2005 and total expenses to operate the Center and its programs coming to $8,622.31 there is an obvious need to expand the support base of the Center if it is to survive on a long-term basis. Over 81% of the financial support came from those previously contributing at those levels to a touch of william, so non-profit status has yet to significantly improve any cash flow.
501c3 Status Approved by the IRS
The T&SC has official status as a public charity. The approval from the IRS arrived in November 2005 and was retroactive back to late 2004.
Classes & Programs
The Vitamins, Herbs & Going Natural class was held in December, and continues to be offered on an "as requested" basis. A study group using Experiencing the Heart of Christianity is being formed, and participation in the 2006 Lansing Pow-Wow remains a possibility if an event coordinator steps forward. Other offerings on the drawing board include, An Overview of Cherokee History, Debt Free & Simple Living, The Basics of Life Insurance, An Introduction to Good Photography, and General Instruction for First-Time Computer Users. Contact the Center for details.
New Memberships Renew in July 2007
This would be a good time to become a member. For those of you yet a little unclear how our membership works, here is a brief refresher. All memberships renew on July 4th each year. However, the first time you join, your membership does not renew until the calendar year following the year of enrollment. A new supporting membership sent in today (2006) does not renew until July 4th in 2007. We did this so everybody gets a minimum of six months before any renewal occurs. That means, right now a first-time membership is a "good buy."
williamís perspective: The above is quite true of course. Weíve tried to make the systems here both efficient and fair. Yet, if you truly believe in what the Center does, and is, it shouldnít be about how you can get the best financial advantage, rather, how much you can help. Our memberships are set at very affordable levels to show basic support for the work of the Center. Indeed, if anyone who wants to be a member is truly unable to afford the $5 low-income option (even if it is late in the year and only covers six months), come see me. Iíll pay it for you. This is still about connection and belonging (and participating when possible), not just paying a fee because itís the legal basis of the Teaching & Sharing Center corporation. To paraphrase John F. Kennedy; ask not what the Center can do for you, but how you can touch lives with what you can do for, through, or at the Center.
Still Need Involvement
From bringing the library up to speed, to membership needs and communications, we still wait for God to touch willing hearts. The Fall 2005 Mini7News mentioned a canoe we had been approached about purchasing. The $5000 asking price was likely within range of finding a grant (we have a list of potential sources), but we still need members willing to seek out and apply for grants (a 7% commission is approved) on behalf of the corporation. We also have yet to have a person step forward as board secretary.
Normally I write this piece of the newsletter entirely from my own perspective. But, an item I forwarded to my "Friends & Family" email list (shortly after the Fall 2005 Mini7News was mailed) received a provocative rebuttal. The topic is a primary issue facing Christianity, and I would like to share them both with you.
Point - Paul Harvey on Prayer
Paul Harvey says:
I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I'm not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December. I don't agree with Darwin, but I didn't go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his theory of evolution. Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game.
So what's the big deal? It's not like somebody is up there reading the entire book of Acts. They're just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game.
"But it's a Christian prayer," some will argue.
Yes, and this is the United States of America, a country founded on Christian principles. According to our very own phone book, Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect-somebody chanting Hare Krishna?
If I went to a football game in Jerusalem, I would expect to hear a Jewish prayer.
If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad, I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer.
If I went to a ping pong match in China, I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha.
And I wouldn't be offended. It wouldn't bother me one bit. When in Rome . . . .
"But what about the atheists?" is another argument.
What about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We're not going to pass the collection plate. Just humor us for 30 seconds. If that's asking too much, bring a Walkman! or a pair of ear plugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer!
Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do. I don't think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world's foundations.
Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights. Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating; to pray before we go to sleep. Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying.
God, help us! And if that last sentence offends you, well . . . just sue me.
The silent majority has been silent too long. It's time we let that one or two who scream loud enough to be heard . . . . that the vast majority don't care what they want. It is time the majority rules! It's time we tell them, you don't have to pray; you don't have to say the pledge of allegiance; you don't have to believe in God or attend services that honor Him. That is your right, and we will honor your right. But by golly, you are no longer going ! to take our rights away. We are fighting back . . . and we WILL WIN!
God bless us one and all ... especially those who denounce Him. God bless America, despite all her faults. She is still the greatest nation of all.
God bless our service men who are fighting to protect our right to pray and worship God.
May 2005 be the year the silent majority is heard and we put God back as the foundation of our families and institutions.
Keep looking up.
Counterpoint - From The Minority
Paul Harvey is an idiot. You want to pray for the protection of the people in a football game, or for our soldiers Ė do it silently. I would stand up and praise your god the day the "silent" majority was actually silent. I am so tired of hearing about the "Christian" ideals that this country was founded on, how put upon the Christians are because they canít proselytize and preach to anyone within earshot at anytime they choose. Woe is me! I canít place a huge statue of the ten commandments in front of a courthouse so the whole world can see how firmly I believe in the laws of my god. Never mind that I am inside condemning a man to death and denying his chance for appeal. Woe is me! I canít speak freely about my faith and offer up prayers of worship and thanks to my god whenever and where ever I want to show my devotion. Never mind that I chastise my neighbor for speaking out against war, or the president, or whatever else he says that I donít agree with. Woe is me!
But Christian churches outnumber all others 200Ė1. Well what do you expect? One must have true conviction to fall out of the lockstep of social propriety by daring to follow something other than Christianity. African Americans are constantly accusing Caucasians of not knowing what it is like to be a black man in our society. How they are downtrodden and held back based only on their skin color. Well, I have a great way for you to find out how they feel. Tell someone who is a "devout" Christian that you arenít. Better yet, have it come up in a public area Ė surrounded by lots of Christians. See how people look at you. Wait for the first person who wants to tell you about what you are missing. See how included you feel.
You want to pray before you eat, go ahead. You want to pray before you go to sleep, go ahead. Pray in your churches. Pray in your houses. Sing along to religious hymns at the top of your voice while driving your car. But if you want to pray at MY courthouse, pray at MY football game, pray at MY recital, or graduation, or public meetings, or on an airplane Ė do it for yourself, do it quietly. Like the rest of us non- Christians do.
You may hear a Jewish prayer in Jerusalem Ė it is a religious democracy. But you may also hear a Muslim prayer Ė Jerusalem is shared after all.
You probably will hear a Muslim prayer in Baghdad. It is on itís way to being a religious democracy Ė or a Theocracy depending on how the chips fall.
You wonít hear a Buddhist prayer in China. China is a communist state. Belief in anything other than the state is outlawed.
But more than likely you wonít hear a prayer at all. Because other countries view religion as something personal and private. Not something to be flashed about like a halftime show.
And in America Ė we do not hold one religion above all others. We are inclusive. Yes, the guys who founded this country were Christians. But most were businessmen first. Yes, ideals of Christianity are entombed in our laws. The same ideals that can be found in Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism. Christianity doesnít have a lock on good ideals.
Just laws, rights for the oppressed, equality for all Ė that is what makes America the greatest nation on earth.
If you want to become a Jew, you must repeatedly ask. A person seeking to convert to Judaism is denied three times. For Jews that weeds out people who arenít serious about the faith. If you want to learn about Buddhism, you must ask to learn three times. For Buddhists, that stops frivolous questioning. Christians could really use a rule like that. Right now, if you want to learn about Christianity Ė just pause for a moment in a crowded room. Someone will fill up the silence.
Christians in America arenít pious Ė they are braggarts. And from what I see on the news, read in the papers and hear in conversation, most are hollow braggarts Ė more interested in others recognizing their Christianity than they are in living it. I think, the one who shouts the loudest usually has the least to say. So take your Christianity back inside. Your faith is yours Ė it is personal. Get it out of my government and my arenas Ė I have already said my prayers.
John Two-Hawks Concert
The Mayonnaise Jar and the 2 Cups of Coffee
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee . . .
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.
He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.
They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.
The students responded with a unanimous "yes."
The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the grains of sand.
The students laughed.
"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things -- your God, family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions -- things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else -- the small stuff." "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.
The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."
*(anyone can request their email address be added to my list but I do not impose by doing it automatically-let me know if you want to be added)
Beyond the sole-proprietor duties of a touch of william and Cherokee Billís Trade Center, in the new corporate structure, william serves as the Centerís caretaker. He is also treasurer on the board of trustees, our online webmaster, creates our brochures, flyers and forms, and is the newsletter editor. We have a board (of 9) which guides, but without people who "do" the stuff, it simply doesnít happen. What is your role?
by Brandon Wilson
Brandon Wilson has walked many of the traditional pilgrimage routes in Europe as well as from Lhasa, Tibet to Kathmandu, Nepal, a journey of 1000 kilometers. You can learn more about his travels at www.yakbutterblues.com.
Be trusting. Have faith that the path knows where it's going Ė even if you don't.
Be generous. Travel lightly. All in life is a gift. What you don't need, give away.
Be human. There is no harm in getting lost Ė only in staying lost.
Be a friend. Folks along the way impact your life, if just for a moment. All too soon they leave to follow their own path. Don't resent this. Bid them good journey. Thank them for their gift.
Be content. Savor the small victories along the way.
Be grateful. Even the smallest things on the path are either a gift or lesson.
Be flexible. Sometimes trails just vanish. That doesn't mean you've lost your way or were on the wrong path, only that there's a different one now.
Be hopeful. Tomorrow is another day waiting with the possibility of success.
Be happy. Laughter and song are nature's tonic for adversity.
Be aware. It is the journey that ultimately matters, not the destination.
Be kind. On the path, even the smallest word of encouragement makes a difference.
Be humble. Walking on dirt is easier on the
feet than walking on pavement.
Above all else,
The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read [the e-mail] straight through, and you'll get the point.