NEXT LIFE, AND THIS LIFE
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NEXT LIFE, AND THIS LIFE
Dedicated to the memory of Pope John Paul II
By John McConnell -- 90 year old founder of Earth Day

Denver, CO. June 11, 2005

The death of Pope John Paul II has been featured in the media more than any event since 9-11-01. At the protestant church I attend the minister mentioned the Pope and the great global good of his words and actions.

In the media reports I saw, there was emphasis on the Pope's Christian faith and his belief it was the reason for his success.

This reminded me of an immense enigma.

The Pope was inspired by the love of Jesus -- and his belief in his resurrection and teachings. But we live in the Age of Science, and while the Pope did things that helped end the Cold War and furthered peaceful resolution of conflict around the world, there is no video tape of what it is like in Heaven. There is no evidence of a life after death on which scientists can agree.

On the other hand, the greatest ideas and actions to benefit people and planet in the last 2000 years have come from people who claimed to be Christians and obeyed the teachings of Jesus.

At age 90 I think about death and the arguments for a future life. There are differing views by scientists. The ones I most respect acknowledge life is a mystery. The more you know, the greater the mystery.

But long ago I came to the conclusion that the greatest benefit for the human adventure would be to focus on this life and what we can do to further "peace, justice and the care of the skin of life that covers our planet."

While I warmly believe that Jesus provided the best way to pursue that goal, there are many who do not believe in him, but do more to support the actions he taught than many who claim to follow him.

We have no video tape of what its like in heaven and in spite of all our science and discoveries, what happens when we die is an inexplicable mystery.

We all want the human adventure to continue. That will not happen unless we change our priorities and promote the policies that will eliminate injustice and our addiction to war.

There are many programs that further peaceful policies. But far more is spent for weapons to kill our enemies than for support of the proven methods and benefits of non-violent solutions.

What people acclaim in church and do when they leave church is in most cases a contradiction. They pay taxes that provide billions for bombs - and pennies for peace -- without protest.

The contradictions are a mystery to me. But then I remember my religious beliefs are not based on Science, but on Faith. I remember the song my mother wrote: "Oh the faith, that works by love. Will move the mountains when we pray. Oh the faith, that works by love, will turn the darkness into day."

I wish the Pope had addressed the contradictions we face. (Maybe his successor will!)

Jesus stressed the power of agreement in getting answers to our prayers. Surely there would be great value in simultaneous prayers with the same purpose -- peaceful progress on our planet.

I'm sure that some of the ideas in the following would have appealed to the Holy Father and hope his successor will see and use them to obtain the unity he and other thoughtful world leaders have sought.

INTERNET OPPORTUNITY

People world-wide know we have a serious problem with pollution, poverty and violence. Internet provides an opportunity to remedy the problem.

Actions good or bad begin in the mind. The following Earth Trustee idea will change people's minds and fill the media and the world with solutions and hope for the future. Here is an agenda that will appeal to people of every creed and culture.

EARTH TRUSTEE SOLUTION

"Let every individual and institution now act as an Earth Trustee"

Help the Earth Trustee effort. There is no special "Earth Trustee" organization to join (though any organizations can adopt and advocate the Earth Trustee policies and agenda). All you need to do is make a heartfelt decision to think and act as an Earth Trustee, striving each day to do things that will help people and planet.

Share this idea with your closest friends and any organization of which you are a member. Ideas for pursuing this goal are at The Earth Trustee Web Site: http://www.earthsite.org 

Report Earth Trustee actions and results on message boards or forums. Forward this page to friends and ask them to do the same. As they in turn share this good news it will soon spread through Internet and help bring a global state of mind that will favor creative altruism and world peace.

For those who believe in the power of prayer the following is an exciting opportunity. It will also appeal to those who believe in the power of positive thinking.

A TIME TO TEST THE POWER OF FAITH AND LOVE

Two thousand years ago a drama of tragedy and triumph planted new seeds of hope in human minds. Hope for brotherhood, freedom and love. Hope that the spirit could be more powerful than the sword.

Two hundred years ago, the hope had evolved into a world-view that made possible great experiments in democracy. But still the sword seemed more powerful than the spirit: the soldier who fought was more a hero than the man of reason who persuaded by understanding and good will. People were not yet ready or able to use the great powers of the spirit for good will and peace.

Today we have an opportunity to prove the power of that ancient hope and the possibility of its earthly fulfillment. Circumstances are propitious for a global test of its validity.

Today, a disillusioned world is groping for eternal verities. New potentials of the mind and spirit are being discovered., A new world-view is emerging -- a view of our planet as a nest in the stars, a home for "earthlings" who are beginning the great adventure of exploring the deep skies of space.

There is a new awareness of the importance of each individual and, at the same time, a realization that we share with all people a need for water and food, for beauty and for one another.

In the past, people were disconnected by space and time. Now, an event can transcend distances, can speed to every part of the world in a few seconds.

Now, in this great moment of opportunity, let us call for a test of the power of faith and prayer to change attitudes and actions -- to end wars and violence. Let us demonstrate that the power of the spirit can defeat the power of the sword. Let us circle the earth with an appeal that all who believe in the power of thought or prayer join at the same time and for the same purpose all over the world.

PEACE BELL

On the New Millennium Earth Day, Monday, March 20, 2006, the United Nations Peace Bell in New York will ring at the moment Spring begins; a minute for global silent prayer -- a time for heartfelt commitment to act as Trustees of Earth -- dedicated to pursuing peace, justice and the care of Earth, locallly and globally.

At the same time, Peace Bells in Moscow, Costa Rica and at the United Nations Center in Vienna will ring.

This annual event (which began at the United Nations in 1971) has increasingly aided efforts for peace, justice and the care of Earth. It helped promote the responsible stewardship of Earth and helped end the Cold War.

GLOBAL PRAYER: PETITIONS AND THANKSGIVING

To provide a better future in this new millennium, radio, web sites and TV should broadcast the DAILY ringing of Peace Bells at one or more of the following times: 0300, 1100 and 1900 GMT. This will signal a time for daily, global simultaneous silent prayers for peace wherever there is conflict. Resolution of conflict reports will be followed by prayers of thanksgiving.

These Earth minutes can provide sounds of music and views of Earth from Space, or other images and sounds that inspire reflection and prayer. Message Boards on Internet can post local times around the world and state support - and results.

This will be a time to thank God for answered prayers -- and provide scholars and scientists, as well as the rest of us, evidence that prayer works. "Oh the faith that works by love, will move the mountains when we pray. Oh the faith that works by love, will turn the darkness into day."

MINUTE FOR PEACE BACKGROUND

We did have a global Minute for Peace in 1963. The first observance of Minute for Peace was at the time of President John F. Kennedy's death. His efforts to see peace realized through the United Nations were ended in Dallas at 19:00 GMT. In the Minute for Peace broadcast given at the end of the mourning period for Kennedy, (December 22, 1963), the words of President Kennedy were repeated:

(From Kennedy's speech at the United Nations, September 25, 1961): "Never have the nations of the world had so much to lose or so much to gain. Together we shall save our planet, or together we shall perish in its flames. Save it we can--and save it we must -- and then shall we earn the eternal thanks of mankind and, as peacemakers, the eternal blessing of God."

Carried by radio networks worldwide, it was the repeated each day for some time by many radio stations. Individuals who believed in the power of prayer, of faith, of goodwill, joined with others each day at the time of Minute for Peace, conscious of being linked with others throughout the world at that very moment as they prayed for peace, or purpose peace in their hearts and minds.

To humanists, this was then (and can be now), a time to ponder peace, to celebrate peace with a new awareness of our common humanity.

To people of every religion it will be a means to realize the potentials of their faith, that if they agree at the same time, for the same purpose, they can ask what they will and it will be done. Each day during Minute for Peace, they will ask, in love, for peaceful progress in their lives and throughout the world.

These daily Minutes for Peace, or Earth Minutes, will be an opportunity to join in a spirit of love. For adversaries, it will encourage each to take the first step toward reconciliation. It will encourage many to proceed with faith that lasting peace will come, not by the sword, but by the power of the spirit, by the power of love unfeigned for those who appear to be, or may be, enemies. We will then see a change in the global state of mind from conflict and fear to peace and goodwill; from Earth Kill to Earth Care -- defeating greed with justice, altruism and fair play.

To all, Earth Minutes for Peace will be a time for all people, as Earth Trustees, to dedicate and consecrate this ground we call our earth home to a new birth of freedom and good will, a new promise of peace to our children and to the whole human family. We are one human family and together we can save our planet.

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