I saw in the news this morning that Sen. Bernie Sanders is calling on a ban of private prisons. I say, Bravo! Private prisons are notoriously harmful for inmates.
"Prisons operated by private companies—as opposed to those controlled directly by the government—housed 8.4 percent of federal and state inmates in 2013. They have been tied to higher rates of violence and recidivism, shown to supply less-than-adequate health care, and found to offer fewer opportunities for educational enrichment. And a 2014 study found that when people of color are sentenced to time in prison, they are more likely than their white peers to be sent to these institutions, which profit from mass incarceration." Source: http://www.colorlines.com/articles/bernie-sanders-introduces-bill-ban-private-prisons
We started using private prisons to save money. The problem is that when our focus is saving money rather than rehabilitation, we fall into a vicious circle of scarcity. Market-share mindset. I do have one libertarian friend who says our problem is not private prisons, but our contracts. That we should have requirements tied to education, health care, and rehabilitation. We could do that. But it would require a shift to mind-share and a total restructuring of every single private prison contract.
There is a town in Texas: Littlefield. Littlefield made a deal with the devil GEO Group. Littlefield would build a prison and GEO would rent the prison from the town to house prisoners from Idaho. GEO lost its contract with Idaho and abandoned Littlefield. Now Littlefield pays approximately $65,000 per month on a loan for an empty prison. They are trying to find a buyer or a leasor for the facility. Meaning, one driving factor of the town is to fill that facility with either prisoners, mental health patients, or detained immigrants. This is the vicious circle of detention facilities.
Littlefield has had to raise taxes, increase water and sewer fees, lay off employees, and even delay buying needed policing equipment in order to satisfy this debt. Of course the people there are feeling the pinch of market-share scarcity. How frightening it must be to think of moving into a frame of reference that includes generosity, sharing, and freedom. One of the leadership books I have read says that the root of all resistance to change is loss (or fear of loss). I can only imagine the loss that must be faced in this situation and how much easier it is to think, "If we only filled that building."
Market-Share to Mind-Share. From scarcity and control to sharing and freedom.
Today's practice is inspired by things I love. I include music from Nate Dogg, a poem from a California prisoner, and sacred wisdom from Nelson Mandela along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Bhagavad Gita. Today's prayer includes intercessions from the World Council of Churches. The photo is mine.
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--sigh
One More Day by Nate Dogg
Now I was about eight when I caught my first case
My mother she turned her back and bowed her head in disgrace
Now I didn't do a thing, I was just standing by
Here's a message to the youngsters today: standing by you can die
Usually I'm in the house but today I snuck home
And when I walk down the Long Beach streets, what a lesson they taught
While walkin to the cornerstore a big mistake was made
My big homey I was walkin with decided he needed to get paid
So he loaded up his .32 and walked right in the store
He said "Dear God, forgive me please but I can't be broke no more"
The Prison of the Lost, a California prisoner, September 2006
Aimlessly drifting on this sea of wrath
Barely afloat in humanity's mass
So easy to capsize into this sea of sorrow
Living each day with no thought of tomorrow
Speakers scream throughout prisoners' lair
Shouting orders in a confounding blair
Words are destroyed when given so loud,
Enter our sunshine causing minds to cloud.
Trash of others thrown unto the grounds,
Treasure quickly collected for not much abounds
One day is like another, a sister or brother,
An endless time with little choice of finding other
Love departs in shortest moment of trial
Peace and joy flee too in its denial
This steel cage is now your proper place
The demon of self alone to face
What is this hate? What is this quaking fear?
Does one see another or view in a mirror?
Walls of deception surround every head
Are we still alive or already dead?
Buried like unwanted trash of yesterday
Into stone crypt we are loathingly thrown away.
What will we be if we ever depart
But that part of death served a la carte?
1 Peter 2:1-3
Qur'an Surah 3.121-127
Bhagavad Gita 4.12-16
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know! The readings are from the Daily Torah Study, the Christian Lectionary, and reading the Qur'an and Bhagavad Gita straight through.
“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” ― Nelson Mandela
For the oppressed and weary
Especially for #blacklivesmatter and
for the LGBTQIAP community.
For signs of despair and violence,
for the rise in child Boko Haram bombers
for the growing conflict in Burundi with over 250,000 refugees already
for abduction of six Turkish crew off the coast of Nigeria
for US victims of gun violence in the last 72, hours,
273 incidents, 84 killed, 184 injured
For signs of hope and peace,
for the poll revealing that most young Arabs reject IS and think it will fail
for those who call for an end to private prisons in the US
for SpaceX landing a reusable rocket on an ocean platform
for the development by Boeing to grow "superplants" to provide green jet fuel
For East Timor, Indonesia, and the Philippines
For those who suffer, are homeless, or are sick
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to
For the transformation from ME to WE
Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold
of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.
May Peace Prevail on Earth. Amen. So mote it be.
"Amen" means "may it be so."
"May peace prevail on earth." is an addition inspired by Michael Dickel
BIBOLove is an addition attributed to the work of Soyinka Rahim, InterPlay practice, BIBOLove
The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
21 But if he is poor and cannot afford [these sacrifices], he shall take one [male] lamb as a guilt offering for a waving to effect atonement for him, and one tenth [of an ephah] of fine flour mixed with oil as a meal offering, and a log of oil.
22 And two turtle doves or two young doves, according to what he can afford; one shall be a sin offering, and one a burnt offering.
23 And he shall bring them on the eighth day of his cleansing, to the kohen, to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, before the Lord.
24 And the kohen shall take the guilt offering lamb and the log of oil, and the kohen shall wave them as a waving, before the Lord.
25 And he shall slaughter the guilt offering lamb, and the kohen shall take some of the blood of the guilt offering's and place it on the cartilage of the right ear of the person being cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot.
26 And the kohen shall then pour some of the oil into the left palm of the kohen.
27 And the kohen shall sprinkle with his right index finger some of the oil that is in his left palm, seven times before the Lord.
28 And the kohen shall place some of the oil that is in his palm, on the cartilage of the right ear of the person being cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot, on the place of the blood of the guilt offering.
29 And what is left over from the oil that is in the kohen's palm, he shall place upon the head of the person being cleansed, to effect atonement for him, before the Lord.
30 He shall then perform [the service of] one of the turtle doves or of the young doves, from whatever he can afford,
31 [from] what he can afford, one as a sin offering, and one as a burnt offering, besides the meal offering, and the kohen shall effect atonement for the person being cleansed, before the Lord.
32 This is the law of one in whom there is a lesion of tzara'ath, who cannot afford [the full array of sacrifices], when he is to be cleansed.
The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
When King David was in the forest of Cheret and nearly died of starvation, God provided nourishment for him with a taste of the World to Come. David then composed this psalm, describing the magnitude of his trust in God.
1. A psalm by David. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing.
2. He lays me down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters.
3. He revives my soul; He directs me in paths of righteousness for the sake of His Name.
4. Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff-they will comfort me.
5. You will prepare a table for me before my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup is full.
6. Only goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord for many long years.
If the fulfillment of one's prayer would result in the sanctification of God's Name, he should pray that God act for the sake of the holiness of His Name. One should also invoke the merit of his ancestors, for we know that "the righteous are greater in death than in life"
1. By David, a psalm. The earth and all therein is the Lord's; the world and its inhabitants.
2. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers.
3. Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord, and who may stand in His holy place?
4. He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not used My Name in vain or sworn falsely.
5. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and kindness from God, his deliverer.
6. Such is the generation of those who search for Him, [the children of] Jacob who seek Your countenance forever.
7. Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, eternal doors, so the glorious King may enter.
8. Who is the glorious King? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, mighty in battle.
9. Lift up your heads, O gates; lift them up, eternal doors, so the glorious King may enter.
10. Who is the glorious King? The Lord of Hosts, He is the glorious King for all eternity.
The verses in this psalm are arranged according to the alphabet, excluding the letters Bet, Vav, and Kuf, which together equal the numerical value of Gehenom (purgatory). One who recites this psalm daily will not see the face of purgatory.
1. By David. To You, Lord, I lift my soul.
2. My God, I have put my trust in You. May I not be put to shame; may my enemies not gloat over me.
3. Indeed, may all who hope in You not be put to shame; let those who act treacherously without reason be shamed.
4. O Lord, make Your ways known to me; teach me Your paths.
5. Train me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; I yearn for You all day.
6. O Lord, remember Your mercies and Your kindnesses, for they have existed for all time.
7. Do not recall the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; remember me in accordance with Your kindness, because of Your goodness, O Lord.
8. Good and upright is the Lord, therefore He directs sinners along the way.
9. He guides the humble with justice, and teaches the humble His way.
10. All the paths of the Lord are kindness and truth for those who observe His covenant and testimonies.
11. For the sake of Your Name, O Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
12. Whoever is a God-fearing man, him will He teach the path that he should choose.
13. His soul will abide in well-being, and his descendants will inherit the earth.
14. The secret of the Lord is to those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them.
15. My eyes are always turned to the Lord, for He releases my feet from the snare.
16. Turn to me and be compassionate to me, for I am alone and afflicted.
17. The sufferings of my heart have increased; deliver me from my hardships.
18. Behold my affliction and suffering, and forgive all my sins.
19. See how numerous my enemies have become; they hate me with a violent hatred.
20. Guard my soul and deliver me; may I not be put to shame, for I place my trust in You.
21. Let integrity and uprightness guard me, for my hope is in You.
22. Redeem Israel, O God, from all its afflictions.
In this psalm King David inundates God with prayers and acts of piety, because he envies those who are his spiritual superiors, saying, "If only I were on their level of piety and virtue!"
1. By David. Judge me, O Lord, for in my innocence I have walked, and in the Lord I have trusted-I shall not falter.
2. Try me, O Lord, and test me; refine my mind and heart.
3. For Your kindness is before my eyes, and I have walked constantly in Your truth.
4. I did not sit with men of falsehood, and with hypocrites I will not mingle.
5. I detested the company of evildoers, and with the wicked I will not sit.
6. I wash my hands in purity, and circle Your altar, O Lord,
7. to give voice to thanks, and to recount all Your wonders.
8. I love the shelter of Your House, O Lord, and the place where Your glory resides.
9. Gather not in my soul with sinners, nor my life with men of bloodshed,
10. In whose hands are schemes, and whose right hand is filled with bribes.
11. But I walk in my innocence; redeem me and show me favor.
12. My foot stands on level ground; in assemblies I will bless the Lord.
King David acknowledges and praises God, placing his trust in Him because of his victories in war. "Nevertheless, it is not wars that I desire, for I cannot gain perfection with them. Only one thing do I ask: to abide day and night in the study hall studying Torah, to gain perfection so that my soul may merit the life of the World to Come."
1. By David. The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life-whom shall I dread?
2. When evildoers approached me to devour my flesh, my oppressors and my foes, they stumbled and fell.
3. If an army were to beleaguer me, my heart would not fear; if war were to arise against me, in this I trust
14. One thing I have asked of the Lord, this I seek: that I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the pleasantness of the Lord, and to visit His Sanctuary.
5. For He will hide me in His tabernacle on a day of adversity; He will conceal me in the hidden places of His tent; He will lift me upon a rock.
6. And then my head will be raised above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tabernacle sacrifices of jubilation; I will sing and chant to the Lord.
7. Lord, hear my voice as I call; be gracious to me and answer me.
8. In Your behalf my heart says, "Seek My countenance"; Your countenance, Lord, I seek.
9. Do not conceal Your countenance from me; do not cast aside Your servant in wrath. You have been my help; do not abandon me nor forsake me, God of my deliverance.
10. Though my father and mother have forsaken me, the Lord has taken me in.
11. Lord, teach me Your way and lead me in the path of righteousness, because of my watchful enemies.
12. Do not give me over to the will of my oppressors, for there have risen against me false witnesses, and they speak evil.
13. [They would have crushed me] had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14. Hope in the Lord, be strong and let your heart be valiant, and hope in the Lord.
1.I trust that “the lord is my light and salvation” etc. (Rashi)
A prayer for every individual, entreating God to assist him in walking the good path, to prevent him from walking with the wicked doers of evil, and that He repay the wicked for their wickedness and the righteous for their righteousness.
1. By David. I call to You, O Lord; my Strength, do not be deaf to me; for should You be silent to me, I will be like those who descend to the pit.
2. Hear the sound of my pleas when I cry out to You, when I raise my hands toward Your holy Sanctuary.
3. Do not draw me along with the wicked, with evildoers who speak of peace with their companions, though evil is in their heart.
4. Give them according to their deeds, and the evil of their endeavors; give them according to their handiwork, render to them their just desserts.
5. For they pay no heed to the acts of the Lord, nor to the work of His hands; may He destroy them and not rebuild them.
6. Blessed is the Lord, for He has heard the voice of my pleas.
7. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusted and I was helped; my heart exulted, and with my song I praised Him.
8. The Lord is a strength to them; He is a stronghold of deliverance to His anointed.
9. Grant salvation to Your people and bless Your heritage; tend them and exalt them forever.
1 Peter 2:1-3
The Voice version
So get rid of hatefulness and deception, of insincerity and jealousy and slander. 2 Be like newborn babies, crying out for spiritual milk that will help you grow into salvation 3 if you have tasted and found the Lord to be good.
Quran Surah 3.121-127
Quran: A Simple English Translation
121 When you set out at dawn from your home to assign battle positions to the believers— God hears all and knows all.
122 When two groups from among you were about to lose heart, God was their protector. In God let the faithful put their trust.
123 God had already helped you at Badr, when you were weak. Fear God, so that you may be grateful.
124 [And remember] when you said to the believers, ‘Does it not suffice that your Lord helps you by sending down three thousand angels? 125 If you remain patient and God-fearing, and the enemy should fall upon you all of a sudden, Your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand angels clearly marked!’
126 and God ordained this only as good news for you so that your hearts might be comforted— help comes only from God, the Powerful, the Wise One— 127 and so that He might cut off a portion of those who are bent on denying the truth or abase them so that they might be turned back frustrated.
Khan, Maulana Wahiduddin; Goodword (2013-12-11). Quran: A Simple English Translation (Goodword ! Koran) (Kindle Locations 1053-1061). Goodword Books. Kindle Edition.
Bhagavad Gita 4.12-16
Wishing success in their actions,
men sacrifice to the gods,
for ritual can bring success
quickly in the world of men.
I founded the four-caste system
with the gunas appropriate to each;
although I did this, know
that I am the eternal non-doer.
Actions cannot defile me,
since I am indifferent to results;
all those who understand this
will not be bound by their actions.
This is how actions were done
by the ancient seekers of freedom;
follow their example:
act, surrendering the fruits of action.
What are action and inaction?
This matter confuses even
wise men; so I will teach you
and free you from any harm.
Mitchell, Stephen (2007-12-18). Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation (Kindle Locations 570-576). Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. Kindle Edition.