Entries from December 2008 ↓

My future daughter-in-law, Desmond Tutu, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, Tommy Hicks, and Gabriele

 

Next July 11 my son, Pepper, will marry Sarah LeBeck.  How wonderful.  For a thousand reasons, how wonderful.  Yes, she is lovely to behold or, in the words from “West Side Story,” she is “pretty and witty and bright.”  Beyond all the obvious reasons a future father-in-law might be pleased, a series of questions she asked today went to the heart of how the world might heal itself, and they are augmented by conversations with Tommy Hicks, a dear friend from childhood, and Garbiele, my lover and also a dear friend.

 

These are the questions.  How much is enough to give?  How do we know to whom to give?  What is a basic standard of living to which we should be raising every person?  It struck me that these are the basic questions challenging every thoughtful and caring leader in any field any where in the world.

 

Let me just drop a few names: Bill and Melinda Gates, whose foundation operates with the motto, “All people deserve to live a healthy and productive life;” Warren Buffet, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Jimmy Carter, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and maybe you and others members of your family.

 

Gabriele believes the standard of living of the average middle-class Westerner needs to come down.  We would spend less and therefore have more to give if we ate less, lived in smaller houses, bought less stuff, and generally were more frugal.  Such ideas feel to me like sensible standards that could lead quickly and dramatically to more planetary healing.  They are seen as deeply counter cultural in an economy of shrinking stock prices, shrinking availability of credit, and rising unemployment.

 

I need some economist to explain to me what is wrong with this model.  If I spend less on food, as an example, and increase my giving to an organization that feeds people, are the more healthy and well fed people not going to increase their own personal productivity and therefore be able to feed more people eventually leading to a healing way of life that rejects all hunger and therefore feeds everybody?  On the other hand, if I spend more on food, refuse to give to feeding organizations, ignore hunger, tolerate starvation, and believe there is some kind of survival of the fittest working itself out, do I not augment hunger and continue a status quo that has very little interest in feeding everybody?  Help me here.  Show me the holes in this logic.

 

Does the same model not apply to housing, education, medical care, and spending on the military?  Or do we have agriculture, building trades, schools, medicine, and militaries which depend on some of the people hoarding, taking care of the few instead of the many, in order to maintain a fear-based culture that says, “Take care of your own and let the others fend for themselves?”  In other words, and I don’t honestly know the answer to this question, is the current system dependent on billions starving, living in cardboard boxes, living their whole lives illiterate and ignorant, dying of preventable diseases and losing their lives on the battlefields of insanity?  Or is the current system, the status quo, open to change that would convert it to serve the whole of humanity?

 

And what did Tommy Hicks contribute to this day of questions?  He has a dream that Buffet will put up a billion bucks as a prize to the scientist, doctor, or researcher who can cure Duchennes muscular dystrophy and save the lives of boys and young men who die from this disease.  Sure Buffet has the billion, as do many of the super rich around the world, but I’m scared of any solution that is wholly dependent on the super rich to pay for it.  I agree with the late Carlyle Marney that there isn’t much people pray for that the Southern Baptists in North Carolina couldn’t make happen if they’d just get off their butts and work for it.

 

Imagine for just a moment that ten percent of the Southern Baptists in North Carolina woke up tomorrow and decided to commit a substantial portion of their spare time to food, housing, schools, community health care clinics, and peace for the whole world.  You say it isn’t going to happen.  Maybe not, but imagine if it did.

Confederate Rainbow Challenge Patch for Shakori Hills, Daniel Berrigan, Thoreau, Emerson, Dorothy Day, Gandhi, King, and the Beattles

The Confederate Rainbow Challenge Patch,

Looking again for an alliance of colors that will allow confederation without historical confusion.

The South, at a loss for words, as well as at a loss for battlefield victories.

Appomattox spoke to General Lee of a broken heart and not enough to eat, three Union armies to the north, east, west, and the James River to the south.  Southern exposure, southern sensibilities, southern charm, southern racism, southern traditional roles for women, southern economics all lost in the waters of the James River too wide and wild and wet and cold to ford in April.

Colors were lost.  No rainbow hung promising never again to flood battlefields with blood.  God had lost his taste for war and battlefields of blood.  God had become a Quaker, and the 19th century had already birthed Thoreau and Emerson and Tolstoy, and in just a few more years Gandhi would be born to inspire King and Dorothy Day and Daniel Berrigan and the Beatles would plead with us to give peace a chance.

A challenge had been thrown down to the whole human race and although another hundred million would be eaten raw in the jaws of 20th century wars, enough blood to drown out any rainbow, to make Thoreau and Emerson and Dorothy Day look like monkeys on strings, the challenge patch of human land would be held by Quakers and cooks and cornbread-loving country girls and boys from every nation on earth until that day would come that lion would lie down with lamb and old generals would play miniature golf and study war no more.

 

December 22, 2008, written in anticipation of gathering again in April 2009 with the poets at Shakori Hills, all the poets at Shakori Hills, knowing somewhere among them there would be that spark of confederated rainbow challenge patch that might lead again to peace on earth, goodwill to all.

Walking Toward Freedom

My new age buddies argue, and who am I to disagree, that people are living the lives they choose.  As Meg Barnhouse says, that’s hard to sell to an eight-year-old girl in a refugee camp in Rwanda, but for so many of us, living in the land of the free, choice creates circumstances.  Sure, there are plenty of exceptions, but for me, at least, I have chosen to be broke, have negative cash flow, owe the IRS. my dentist, and a few others, and work in a job that pays right at half what I was making five years ago.

And yes, I did a lousy job of saving in that job, too.

But now, I have an opportunity to make enough money to achieve a level of financial freedom.  All I have to do is sell about a hundred thousand books in the next year.  That’s eight thousand a month, about two thousand a week, or roughly three hundred a day.  The good news is that I’ve sold 30 in the last couple of days.

Here’s where you guys come in.  I know there are ten of you who read this blog.  If each of you would also sell 30 books a day, I’d be there.  Or if five of you would get five of your friends to get five of their friends, you know how this works.  It’s called Amway!

The new book is going really well.  Tommy Hicks, former publisher of The Amazing Shopper, and one of my dearest friends from childhood, said, of the new book, “I’m shocked.  I like it.”  Diane, who works at the Mooneyham Library in Forest City, said, “I like it, and it’s funny.”  Martha Birt, my dear, beloved spirit guide and life-long buddy, is totally torqued.  She’s unemployed at the moment, but promises to buy more copies when she gets a job.

The book is called, “Falling In Love With Everything,” which prompted my brother, Bill, to say, “Sounds like your autobiography.”  Luke, my 12-year-old said, “You are not in love with everything.”  I said, “Yes I am.”  He said, “You are not in love with war.”  I said, “War is horrible, but it shows us the big picture of how much we need each other, and how, if we look at the big picture, we can stop fighting wars and begin to work together to build a wonderful world.” He said, “You are not in love with murder.”  Same answer.  He said, “You are not in love with hate.”  That one is tougher, but I told him even hate shows us how much we need love, like thirst drive us to water, hunger to food, ignorance to learning, and sickness to health.  It is not simple, but it works for me, and so far it is working for the people who have read the book.

It’s on sale at Antiques and More in downtown Forest City, and I hope it have it in other stores soon.  You can, of course, buy it directly from iuniverse.com.  Just go there, type in Pat Jobe, and order to your heart’s content.  Only 99,970 to go.

Let’s Feed And Love And Listen To Children

 

This childhood thing keeps coming back.

Tonight I left the lights on in the car, killed the battery, popped the hood, hooked up the jumper cables and waved at cars passing nearby.  It didn’t take long for a big SUV with two nice women inside to stop.  From the back seat a little girl climbed out.  She was maybe six.

“My daughter saw you waving and said, ‘That man needs help.’  I didn’t see you,” the mom said as she quickly hooked up the cables and had me rolling.

We were all in a hurry, so we didn’t even introduce ourselves.  It happened in a flash. The little girl looked very proud of herself.  She should be.

My stepdaughter, Katie Ridgeway, at six watched hungry people starving in Somalia through the television screen.  She wept and screamed, “Why doesn’t somebody do something?”

A little child shall lead them.

And when she does, we need to follow.  We need to listen.  Mommie, that man is waving at you and needs help.  Why doesn’t somebody do something?  One of the first casualties of the Iraq war was a four-year-old boy.  Children, children, children, the world over are hungry for food and love and a listening ear.  If we will feed and love and listen and stop shooting each other, they will not only grow up big and strong, they will grow up to lead us to the promised land.  They will show us how it’s done.