Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Religious Institutions Must Now Provide Insurance with Free Contaceptive Care

Several days ago I read how the new Obama health care would effect the Catholic and Christian institutions which accept money from the government.
Places like Catholic hospitals,schools and other institutions which allow themselves to get money in any way from the federal government would now have to provide health insurance to their employees which included free contraceptive pills and/or devices.
The government feels that since not all people who work at these religious institution are Catholic or even Christian,they need their contraceptive needs provide for,no matter what the teachings of the church is.
I have come to the conclusion that accepting money from the government may be seen as a good thing when your in need of income,but in the end its like dancing with the devil,you may get to pick the tune but you don't get to call the steps.
Now it is very understandable that in these times of expense health care,the need for assistance is very much a reality,lets face it if you want to stay in business you need to compete on the same scale as the big boys or you are not a very effective entity.
Back in the days when Catholic,Christian and religious groups started these hospitals and schools,they were the only ones with enough money to fund and run such large enterprises,but alas the time has come when no longer do people pay the doctor or hospital form their own pockets,now the cost is so great that we all have to share in each others expenses by the use of insurance.
Several days before Obama rammed this health care plan down every ones throats,there was a small group of representatives looking for grantees that this sort of thing would not happen to religious organizations,no group would be forced to provide or pay for what they deemed not correct to their religious foundation of beliefs.
Like the wind that whole idea has gone away never to be seen again.
The problem with church groups is they believe what they are told and act has if its a great shock when they get blind sided.
I'm not so sure why they trust so much but the fact is once you realize the devil is in the details then its to hard to turn back..that's the way he works you know.
I don't know about you but I have not heard anything in the main stream media about this whole situation,though I did read it in a Worcester news paper.
Once again we lose a little more of our selves as Christians to a world were they think any thing goes.
In the end its really our own fault because when you sell your soul what else is there left to do but compromise and dilute your self just a little bit more.
First funded contraceptives then funded abortions,it all goes hand in hand.
Don't feel so shocked.
If you don't like this write to your representatives and tell them this goes against the separation of church and state and you feel this is wrong..or ignore it and wait for the next blow to the head of you faith.

Monday, January 23, 2012

St.Anna's Visit To St. Michael Church

Last weekend our church hosted the visit of a special Icon of St.Anna the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus.
Saturday Evening Vespers and Sunday morning Divine liturgy saw a swelling of faithful people all wanting a glimpse at this very special lady and healer.
Some feel such things as healing can not happen through oils flowing from an image,but whose to say how God chooses to touch us .
I must admit that all in all the weekend was quite special,not just for the Icon but for the people who took the time to come and visit our little church community in Southbridge,Mass.
St. Michael Parish does not often draw such a gathering of people to pray with us.
For me the best part of the day came after the Liturgy and coffee hour when I walked outside of the hall and could hear the rooster repeatedly crowing and a father with his children sledding down the hill by the side of the church.
Suddenly it dawned on me this is what "Church" should be,many people enjoying the company of each other and the world around.
A Church should be alive,it should breath with those around it,just as a home should draw in friends,neighbors and family,so should we.
People interacting with each other and comfortable enough to be thankful for all we have to give and receive.
A church community should be a verb not a noun and as such requires movement and interaction from everyone.
We,as a church,are always at our best when hosting the company of others.
Food,warmth and communion always play one of the biggest parts to religion and faith.
God has told us many times,in both the Old and New Testaments that no man should be alone and isolated.
In the Bible when ever God wanted to punish someone he sent them off to be alone and see how bad it was to live in isolation.
Adam and Eve,were sent away from the Garden of Edan,Cain,after murdering his brother,had a mark placed on him and was sent off,the tower of babel had an entire community sent to the far reaches of the known world.
A wise friend once told me loneliness is everything it's cracked up to be.
Sunday this point was driven home to me as I opened the door of St.Michael hall and viewed and heard the laughter of children sliding down the hill on their sleds and people talking and admiring the rooster and chickens.
Laughter and joy filled the air and isn't that what a family is suppose to be about.
Funny St. Anne is the grandmother of Jesus and on this day as I exited the hall,it truly felt like being at my own grandmother's house,with all the children and grandchildren interacting and having fun,like relatives that had not been in each others company for a very long time.
Maybe this was our miracle at St. Michael,to once again be at grandma's house.
Now isn't that special... Thanks St. Anna

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Statins And A Link To Diabetes In Women Older Then 50

This week on January 10Th,the Worcester Telegram and Gazette printed an article about a UMass study showing statins,or cholesterol lowering drugs,having a risk of helping to cause diabetes in older women.
It says that your doctors advice to making lifestyle changes rather then swallowing one of several pills aimed at lowering cholesterol may be more challenging but a better choice in the long run.
A study at UMass Medical School,which was published on line Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine,showed a publication from the Journal of the American Medical Association,found women older then 50 who use drugs such as statins like Lipitor,Pravachol,Crestor,Zocor,and Mevacor to reduce cholesterol are at a significantly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
According to Dr. Yunsheng Ma,an epidemiologist and associate professor of medicine at UMass,said the study found a 48% increase of diabetes compared to postmenopausal women not on cholesterol-lowering medications.
The reason for the the higher risk in women is unclear,Dr. Ma said,and there may be similar risk in men.
The results emphasize the need for doctors to monitor patients blood sugar and other diabetes markers closely,take each ones cardiac risk factors and lifestyles into account,and stress the need for dietary changes and increased exercise.Doctors with patients on statins,may consider gradually decreasing their dosages.But he pointed out that medical guidelines for prescribing statins have not changed because of the study.
Dr.Ma said an average of one in four Americans older then 45 are prescribed stations to lower cholesterol,a ten fold increase during the last 20 years.
The study,which used data from the Women's Health Initiative,a national health study funded by the National Institute of Health,included 161,808 post menopausal women ages 50 to 79 who were followed for 15 years.
The UMass study focused on 153,840 of those women who did not have diabetes when they enrolled in the study.
A total of 10,242 new cases of diabetes related to statin use were found,from their total studies.
Women with lower BMI,below 25,were at greater risk for developing diabetes than those with a higher BMI of 30 or higher.They speculated that genetic or hormonal factors related to weight redistribution after menopause could be independent of BMI as a diabetes risk factor. Also there could be paradoxical protection against diabetes in postmenopausal women not taking statins to a factor that protects older women from recurrent heart attacks.
Given the wide use of statins further studies need to be done on men and diverse ethnicities should further clarify the diabetes risk.
To sum this up in my own personal mind,never take any drug unless the good out ways the bad.
Every drug has not only a positive effect but can have an equal negative effect.
Always take the time to study a drug before you choose to take it,then make a clear minded decision.
Just because a doctor tells you to take something does not mean you don't have the right to think it over before you agree to it.
Your in charge of your own body and with the Internet it has become much easier to research your choices.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Icons And Images

There are many religions that feel anything that shows any form of God,be it statue,picture or crucifix,is idol worship.
Being once Catholic and now Orthodox,has put me into two faiths that feel the more statues and Icons the better.
Just enter either an Orthodox or Catholic Church and you will understand the importance of these reminders of God,Mother of God,Angles,Apostles and Saints.
This week we had a religous study on Icons,how they are made,the colors used and why,even the training an Iconographer has to go through in order to properly make these glimpses into heaven,and that what Icons are considered,windows into the heavens.
Back in the days when people were unable to read they used this form of religous telling,to relate and understand the importance of the stories found in the Bible, better understanding their faith.
Once a country learns to read then they need to incorporate these works of faith into peoples daily lives on a different basis.
As with everything in life there are multiple rules as to where you should place Icons in your home,the east wall is always the best,also it should be centrally located in your home for all to view and use,the candles that should be placed near by,prayer books,Bible,holy water and oils,palms or other seasonal things should also be nearby.
Your Icons should consist of one of Jesus,one of his mother Mary and the ones your household family feels personal about,maybe a family saint or personal Icon of each person in your household.
I must admit that although I have done most of this in our parlor,it was never done by rules,things that were suppose to be near by just seemed to end up where they should be near my Icons.
Though this is not a prayer area for me,its always nice to be facing t.v. and looking up to see the Icon of Jesus the Teacher looking back at me.
My own personal prayer area is my bedroom,there I have an etching of Jesus hugging a lamb to his shoulder.
It is such a touching picture to me that many is the time I just stare at its simple
beauty and rub its face.
This etching is really more of a reminder to me of Jesus then all of my gold painted beautiful Icons down stairs in the parlor.
What this tells me is that we are all touched and reached by certain religious things,and if it brings you closer to God it has done its job.
No Icon,picture or statue is to be used as an idol,we don't pray to the them, we pray to God,but since we are human,sight is very important to us and helps us have a more open communication with the Almighty.
I explain Icons to people who ask me why I pray to a picture in this way,If a close family member called me on the phone and I had not seen them in a very long time,I might pick up their near by photograph and lovingly stare or hug their image while speaking to them in our phone conversation.
I know this picture is not the voice talking to me,but a likeness,yet it makes me feel closer to them because I can see their image smiling back at me.
The picture is only the image but the words I speak to them are more loving because
I am viewing them on paper,I can hold it to my bosom just as I would them if they were standing next to me at that moment.
The paper and frame are nothing but the image is a reminder of my love for that person.
An Icon is not meant to be God but it is meant to be a reminder that he is ever present with us and we have invited him into the center of our homes and that is very important to him,God will never enter your home unless you invite him to.
And the center is where he wants to be in your world.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

To Those Much Is Given

To those much is given,much is expected.

We live in a world of haves and have nots,those who work,those who do not and those who wished they did.
We are never happy with our positions or situations in life and wish always to be something or someone else.
We all dream of having more money and more power and dislike those who have the most.
We has a country are linked up to each other and though most of us would not sell everything we have and live on the streets,it doesn't hurt us now and then to think about the many who go with out all around the world.
Over whelming as it may seem we can change the world.
One person and one act of kindness at a time.
Do you realize what effects you have on others by a simple small action or one little step,especially when you unite your mission with other like minded people,suddenly you have a movement or mission.
God is not asking us to save the whole world alone,he is asking us to extend one act of kindness that will flow and unite with other peoples acts of kindness.
We as a world think its all about us and our climb to the top.
Life has educated us that the person who is number one is always the best.
This is not true and though you may be fortunate enough to have money,a nice house or a great car,what are you doing with your possessions that is making another person life better.
Maybe you can help support a hands on charity,with your cash,open your home up to those who are hunger and can not pay you back or drive an elderly neighbor or cancer patient to an appointment and stay with them through their treatments.
Wealth is not a bad thing but selfishness is.
We are a united world,no man or woman is meant to not be co dependent on each other.
So take the time to think about what you have and what you can do to better the lives of those around you.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Clean Your Closets And Give Away Your Abundance

One show I like to watch is house hunts and house hunter international.
It amazes me the cost of these houses,people choose to buy,from $400,000. to a million dollars,or more.
The question that always comes to my mind is where do these people get the money to make those monthly payments and why do they need such large houses.
Most women,on this show say they want walk in closets because in their present living situations they have no space to put all their clothes,one woman said she had about 500 boxes of shoes,stuffed on a shelf in her closet.
Why people insist on collecting so much clothing and shoes is just way out of my thought process.
Do these folks actually wear all of this clothing or ever even remember what they have stored away?
When I seasonably clean my closets the first thing I ask myself is "when was the last time I wore this and do I really need something,no matter how pretty it is, that is just collecting dust?"
We forget that the things we hoard out of mindless,materialistic need,may better be used by some one who has nothing in their closets,if they have closets.
What we buy out of desire is taken away from those who we could truly help.
Most people buy things just because they happen to be in a store and they have a need to spend money for self gratification,not for real need.
Now I'm not saying we should never own nice things but the things we buy we should at least want to wear occasionally.
One rule I try to use in my own house is when I bring new things in equal older things,that are unwanted need to leave the house.
Most people,like hoarders,never even know everything they have,but have a sick need to be engulfed by it all.
When we hoard we deny those around us who are really in need to have what we store and never use.
If we own 5 winter jackets but only wear two,we deny 3 other people something that could keep them warm.
Less in many cases,can be more in our lives and the lives of others.
It must be the new year because things like this fill my mind.
Waste of money,time and food in the end is all waste and someone else could benefit from say your other 450 pairs of shoes sitting,unused in our closets.
New Year means new starts,time to clean out those clothes and houses and give to a charity, help those who would appreciate and wear all the things that have fallen on floor in the back of the closet.
Your excess can be someone abundance.