Red Noses and True Compassion

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Today – May 26, 2016 – is Red Nose Day in the USA.

It’s a day for Comic Relief to raise money and it does a really good thing by bringing to America’s attention the need to fight child poverty. The money raised goes to, “the Red Nose Day Fund which distributes the money through programs to keep children and young people safe, healthy and educated. “ (from: https://www.rednoseday.com/what-is-red-nose-day).

I’d like to highlight a better alternative to giving to this fund: Compassion International.

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Another aspect of Red Nose Day Fund is this: “vision of a just world, free from poverty” (from: https://www.rednoseday.com/what-is-red-nose-day). Yes, it sounds great. The trouble is that Christians know that this world isn’t going to become just or free from poverty. The poor will be with us always (Mark 14:7).

While many organizations have the heart to feed and educate the poor, without proper long-term goals and values, the money raised and given will only relieve some issues, difficulties, and crises such as disasters and surgeries. But in the long-run, since the poor will be with us, it’s far better to look long-term, as Compassion does.

When you give monthly to Compassion, the money goes to providing a better future specifically for the child who you sponsor. Here are some ways that you get to show love to a child through Compassion. You get to send letters to and receive them from your child (or you can sponsor multiple children!). You can send them birthday and Christmas money, or send money anytime. They, however, don’t get money, but an age, family, and culturally appropriate gift – whoever is in charge of your child’s area (e.g., local pastor) determines what is best for your child. You get to be directly involved in a child’s life!

With a long-term view for each child, we help pave the way for each child we sponsor to have a better future by providing the basics now. That child will grow up, and will prayerfully use the opportunities that he’s been given to live well. But there will still be children after her that will need help.

Compassion operates on hope for the present AND hope for the future. There’s always a child to sponsor, and we need to carry on the hope. Those you help through Compassion aren’t just a multitude – they are children with names, families, and very little help in the present.

On this Red Nose Day, you have a reminder that there really are poverty-stricken children in the world. And you can go to compassion.com and see many children (they have names and faces!) who you can help right away.

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Shoes Are a Waste of Money

Barefoot Fields

 

Savage. Poor. These are a couple words used to describe people who go barefoot. I and many others have another word for it – real. The reality is that barefoot is best, and the modern shoe movement (fetish?) is perhaps the major cause of foot, even knee, injuries.

People have such a shoe fixation – they have to get the latest shoe, the latest model, the latest look. According to the National Retailers Association, Americans spent over $31 billion on shoes in 2014 (http://www.statisticbrain.com/footwear-industry-statistics/). I can tell you – most of it was a waste.

Sure there are times that we just need to wear shoes, but most of the time it’s only because either we only think we need to wear shoes, or we’re accommodating other’s views of shoes.

When you go to a meeting, do you really need to wear shoes? You’ll probably say “Of course! I don’t want people to smell my stinky feet!” Or “My feet are ugly.” Both of these, and most other “reasons” are actually just excuses, or based on false premises. This is because stinking feet are actually caused by socks and shoes. When you wear socks, that holds in the bacteria that love to be enclosed. Add shoes to that, and you’re in for a nasty ride. Bare feet actually don’t stink. As for ugly feet – well, there’s nothing to do about that, but it’s a freedom that most don’t take advantage of.

You might think, “But it’s against OSHA regulations.” Well, yes and no. When you work certain places, you need shoes for either protection because of the environment (e.g., construction) or because you’re working with food. So, I can see that. But for visiting restaurants and other places – as far as I know, there’s not a single law on the books in any state that mandate footwear for customers. Now, it may be the code of the establishment, but that’s not law. If that’s their code, then it’s just a matter of not shopping there – you can’t go to jail for it. So you are actually free to go barefoot just about everywhere.

What about driving? As far as I know, no state has a law mandating that one wear shoes for driving. There may be some places, but by-and large, it’s not a law. There are instances where it would be wise to wear shoes, and in a wreck the police will take into account your lack of footwear, but that’s only because they take footwear it into account for any wreck – if you are barefoot, if you’re wearing heels, wearing flip-flops, they’ll wonder if anything you have or don’t have on your feet contributed. But it’s not relegated to just barefoot.

Another area where shoes are an obsession is with churches. Many churches run shoe drives, such as “Let’s send shoes to the poor people in such-and-such country.” Here’s what’s wrong with that.

Barefoot does not equal poor. Barefoot is natural. It’s not just a western thing, but a pride/upper-class/hierarchy/arrogance attitude to think that someone is “poor” because they don’t have shoes. It comes from a biological misunderstanding of how feet work. Feet work just fine by themselves! Kids in those other nations could very likely use footwear to protect their feet from thorns, glass, needles. That’s actually what footwear is for – protection. It’s not true that people, especially kids, need arch supports. What they really need, if anything, is strengthening of the tendons and tissues and muscles. When they are sent modern shoes, their feet will be protected, but the sending church is setting them up for foot and knee injuries in the future.

If churches, non-profits, and donors wanted to be truly helpful, they’d spend the same or less money on providing something like Xero Shoes to those kids. These kinds of shoes protect the soles, yet allow the feet to breathe and to move naturally.

(BTW – I’m not selling or affiliated with Xero Shoes, but I wear them, and they’re great for when I have to run around town, or get out in the cold. I successfully shoveled snow this past winter while barefoot – yes, cold, but quite nice!)

There are 2 prominent biologists in the arena of the nelipot way – Dr. Daniel Howell (Liberty University) and Dr. Daniel Lieberman (Harvard), and it’s worth every moment to read their writings. Just search online for a wealth of information on them. The first Dr. is a Creationist, the second Dr., an Evolutionist. They’re each called “The Barefoot Professor” because they go around, even in class barefoot. One will tell you we’re created, the other will tell you we evolved. But they’ll both tell you that we’re best off being barefoot.

What got me into barefooting? Why am I so for it and against the modern shoe fanaticism? I had a knee injury years ago. It was actually a somewhat torn meniscus. I wasn’t old (in my thirties – it usually happens in one’s fifties) or athletic enough (I did some activity, but nothing big) to have the injury, but there I was, in pain. The knee center couldn’t (now I know they “wouldn’t”) tell what caused it, but I had to have surgery. I had it, and it got better – for awhile.

I had trouble running after a couple years (only that knee hurt – the other was fine), and I bought some “nice” shoes. Didn’t help. I just don’t have the money to keep buying shoes, so I got to doing research. I came across minimalist shoes. I tried that, though it was homemade – essentially modified water socks that I picked up locally for about $5. The price was right, but they got gross pretty quickly. I bought some more, but I got tired of that. I did more research and I came across barefooting. I was hooked.

Several years later (as of this writing, it was last year) that pain came back, despite being barefoot. I determined to check on it, so I went to our chiropractor. He’s a wizard! He had fixed my biceps tendonitis and my elbow/wrist/shoulder pain, so I figured he’d know something. $25 for him was better than $100+ for a doctor visit. He explained the whole thing – my meniscus was getting torn, and he was glad I came in. He described my ankle problem – when one runs on a weak ankle like that, it puts lots of extra pressure on the meniscus, tearing it over time. The knee center wouldn’t tell me because they love to fix knees! I was glad.

Funny thing, though. My chiro suggested shoe inserts (I wore minimalist shoes – Lems Shoes – to his office). I said thank you for the information, but didn’t get the inserts. Instead I came home and started strengthening the area that I now knew – after all these years – was the weak spot.

That was a few months ago. I’m back to running, and walking without any pain. I have to exercise and warm up that ankle and knee, but no pain!

The established orthopedic field has its heart in the right place, with wanting to help people. But shoes are NOT the answer to fix hurt feet. Those shoes are the problem. Not everyone experiences that pain, so those people can dismiss it. Those of us who have had the pain, and tried the pricey shenanigans with no result, have turned back to our body’s natural design – barefoot.

If you have to wear shoes, then by all means wear them. I always wear reinforced-toe boots when I chop and split wood, simply because of the danger of a log rolling on me. But wear them to protect your feet, not for some fashion. And you can be certain that most shoes are sold with fashion, not foot health, in mind. Train yourself to get away from thinking that those high heels, fancy shoes, orthotics/inserts, arch supports are doing you any good.

Think about it: Have you ever known anyone who wore those supports and got over their foot problem? The problem is brushed off as “that’s just the way you are.” You may have a weak ankle like I do, but supports, inserts, and surgeries aren’t the answer.

How do you get started going barefoot? Take your shoes off. Pretty simple. I will say that it’s not necessarily easy, especially if you’ve been shod for a long time.
Research the science and biology behind it (find some of those foot bone pictures).
Start noticing where many people take off their shoes; many do it when they come into the house.
Like me, you may actually have something wrong in your ankle/foot/knee, but don’t see that as preventing you – see it as something to overcome.
Go outside and just barefoot walk on the pavement, for the sake of safety and strengthening your feet. Don’t start in grass or  mud, as you can’t see what’s in there.
Over time, with study and, almost literally, baby steps, you’ll increase your strength and be able to do more than you ever could with shoes.

The answer to your foot deficiencies is most likely found right there – near your sole.

Happy Barefooting!

 

 

 

 

 

Manifesto

Years ago, I posted the following (abbreviated) entry to a site dealing with taking action:

“When it comes to achieving a goal, be guided by this: “Anything is progress.” Maybe you can’t wash all the dishes, but you can wash some of them…You might not be able to put 3 hours at a time into starting your book, but you can put down an outline or interview one person. Whatever your goal, do something to progress toward it, whether household chores, raising children, investing, starting your own business, exercise — anything that leads you toward that dream is progress.”

 This site is about persevering. You have goals, but very likely life gets in the way. TV, movies, biographies – they all do what they’re supposed to do…scrunch someone’s life into a digestible timeframe by showing the highlights and using artistic license. Media that summarizes life has become a great deal of society’s educational fare, but much of real life is the little things – brushing teeth, getting to meetings on time, checking systems, looking for errors, getting over an illness, holiday parties, answering emails, parenting, working, practicing.

Your aspirations should be all yours – not someone else’s. It’s been a couple years since our family pretty much stopped doing extracurricular activities, and while it’s been a big change, we’ve had much greater joy. We’re not rich or well-travelled by any means, but we enjoy being together as a family, and we and our kids have matured exponentially. Before we stopped, we were exhausted, eating poorly, short on cash, consistently getting ill, etc. But now, after making and working toward our own goals, instead of supplying resources for others interests, we’ve been able, in our very modest spot of the world (12 people in a 1300 sq. ft. house, on much less than an acre of land and with a modest income), to do everything we need to do. By a quirk, I’m able to work from home for a company. So our little home is economically viable, and becomes more so all the time.

This site is about humility. If you want to get something like career advancement training, then this isn’t the spot for you. This is primarily about persevering in things that I enjoy, and I hope you’re inspired to persevere in the things that you enjoy. I hope you can see that it’s just fine to stop your extraneous activities, live where you are, and do what you were designed to do. Not everyone needs or wants to slow down, but if you do, you are free to!

Join with me as I explore, among other things, home coffee roasting, home education, the US Constitution, faith and work, how the Bible interacts with all areas of life, barefoot running, fitness at home, urban homesteading, drumming, martial arts. I’m always learning, having been educationally shortchanged in many ways.

Now we’re grown-ups and completely responsible for ourselves. Some days are just simply tough. But never give up, never give in. Anything is progress.

Sanity

Chesterton says of the sane man: “His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that.”

Christians see just that way – they see both sides. People are mortal, and immortal. There is great good AND great evil. The earth is beautiful, and it’s tragic. One’s loved family member can be loving AND hurtful. Life is enjoyable, and downright drudgery. Youth is great, as is old age; and both are temporary. We can be happy and sad at one and the same time.

We’d like to see and experience just the comfortable points, but there’s more to life than comfort and ease – there’s Jesus’ lordship to ponder. He is Lord over evil, too, and we need to see and experience that. We can’t be conquerors if our only battle is what we should watch and wear.

In Defense of Self-Defense

I’m keenly aware that there are many who are against self-defense. What I wonder is if they are able to carry that thinking to its conclusion.

If those same people lock their doors, they believe in self-defense. It’s passive self-defense, but it’s SD nonetheless. What they’re against is active self-defense. What’s the standard? Where’s the rule?

And why will they defend their position and themselves vocally, but not physically? It’s like the vegans who are vegans out of a sense of love for animals – why aren’t vegetables given dignity? What keeps veggies out of the running for self-worth? Even so, why is it OK to defend oneself vocally, but not physically? What’s the standard?

One needs to choose his position and think it through. Does it really make sense? Those who are vocally defending their positions, thereby using their freedoms, are trying their hardest to take away other defenses and freedoms from others.

In the end, they may find that their seemingly peaceful search for non-violence actually in a loss of all liberties, including their freedom to speak out.

Enjoy!

I was thinking earlier today that 2 things I want to work on in the New Year of 2016 is to enjoy life and fight sin (some background here: https://anythingisprogress.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/enjoying-life-and-glorifying-god/).

I just heard on the radio that a recent survey shows that the top resolution of many people is to enjoy life to the fullest in 2016. What a coincidence!

I’m not the only one who wants to release themselves from busy-ness and constant connectedness. What should be added, though, is an active participation in fighting, in both ourselves and in others, the sin that gets us hung up in life.

While we are desiring and seeking the good in life, we need to fight the bad.

So enjoy your new year, but be ready to dig in and get dirty, too.

Saved is Saved

If you were saved from drowning, would you say afterward “It would have been better if you used nicer equipment”?Or if you were pulled from a car wreck, would you say, “It would have been better if you had a PhD”?

Saved is saved.

It’s the same when it comes to spiritual salvation. When Christ saves you, you’re saved – there’s no “extra special” or “better” to it. People want to make salvation “better” by adding translations, special days, calendars, special people groups, degrees, commendations, and ministries. There’s nothing better than salvation, and nothing beyond.

It’s Christ, and Christ alone. There’s no way to extend it, expand it, or enhance it. No understanding of the Old Testament, no inclusion in a group, no special observance, no particular training will make one a better Christian than another. It’s knowing the Christ that makes the Christian.

At Christmas time, celebrating Christ is not made better by presents, trees, and cinnamon wreaths. Those things make our surroundings more comfortable and can promote nicer emotions (depends on why you bought things – to please God? or to please man?). But Christ is pleased only if we’re saved, and we should only be pleased by His work on the cross.

Family time, carols, gift-giving – we should enjoy them all. But is that the basis of my Christmas? If I wouldn’t be joyful and fulfilled just to breathe a prayer of thanks to God the Father for the gift of God the Son, then the carol bells will ring hollow, my tree will not bear fruit, and my songs will only be clamor.