Christmas Day 2020

All best wishes this Christmas day.

Last Sunday, I received several favorable comments about the photos from the old Bible.  Here are the links to all 30 or so photos found in Grandma Bernard’s 1911 Bible: Bible Photos (2) of Palestine 1911; Bible Photos (3) of Palestine 1911.  Click to enlarge the pdfs.

In addition, from the same Bible, here are 17 maps of ancient Palestine; Bible 1906005. Click to enlarge.


Christmas 2020: Years ago – I’m guessing about 2007 – I was privileged to have a conversation with an elder.  Duane Lilja had developed a program for school kids which he called “Walls to Bridges”.  As I recall, his was a ‘giving back’ kind of program to schools. I met him that single time, but he and his philosophy were memorable.  Duane still lives in Coon Rapids MN, and I talked with him on the phone on Christmas Eve.

The day we met years ago he gave me a poster (pictured at the end of this post) which he had developed for use in schools on the theme of peace to “All Who Promote & Protect Human Rights.”  I kept it, and this week revisited its abundant wisdom.

The posters focus is  brief quotations from 11 philosophies, some would say “religious traditions”.  I present them exactly here as he presented them, clockwise, in a circle, none superior or inferior to the others.  I share the poster with his permission.

If you think you cannot make a difference, remember Duane and his circle: “We are all part of one Human Family”.  

Duane gave a great deal of thought to this poster, which he hoped would be the basis for discussion.  At the end of the poster is this statement: “The purpose of this poster is to discuss a goal all these beliefs have in common.  The poster should not be used to compare, discuss or teach any of the beliefs on it.  You treat people like people, for no other reason than they are people, and that is reason enough.”

Suggestion for today: Think of at least one person who you know, now, who made an unexpected but big and positive difference in your own life.

BAHA’I: “Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be lai upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.”  Baha’ ‘liar, Gleanings.

CONFUCIUS: “One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct…loving kindness.  Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.”  Confucius.  Analects 15.23

NATIVE AMERICAN: “We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive” Chief Don George

JAINISM: “One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated.” Mahovira Sutrakritanga

JUDAISM: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.  This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary.”  Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat 31a

ZOROASTRIANISM: “Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself.” Shayast-no-Shayast 13.29

BUDDHISM: “Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Vargo 5.18

HINDUISM: “This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.”  Mahabharata 5:1517

ISLAM: “Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.” The Prophet Muhammad Hadith

CHRISTIANITY: “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you: for this is the law and the prophets.”  Jesus, Matthew 7:12

SIKHISM:  “I am a stranger to no one: and no one is a stranger to me.  Indeed, I am a friend to all.” Guru GranthSahib, pg 1299

Duane Lilja, chart, 2002.

In peace, and with best wishes for a good 2020.

PS: Yes, I keep current on politics.  American Politics thoughts at this space again from December 31 forward.  Check archive by month if you visit.

COMMENTS (more at end of post):

from Laura: Thank you so much, Dick. I especially like the greetings from the various cultures. To you and your family a blessed holy and happy Christmas.

from Rebecca: Thanks for all this interesting, thoughtful “news” of the past, present and, we hope, future–i.e., the unity of religious thought through the ages.

from David: The New York Times has an email series, “At War” that focuses on the America’s ongoing wars, mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The author is C.J. Chivers, staff writer for NYT Magazine and author of two books on America’s experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq.

You wonder if war turns otherwise decent people into amoral beings, or, are there people out there who are drawn to combat by their very nature.
In these troubled times, I hope you and your family found peace and solace during the Christmas season. Let’s all hope that the New Year bring about brighter, more hopeful days. 
Response from Dick:  Our national vocabulary is a war vocabulary (“battleground states”, ad infinitum).  And who can forget “Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus, marching on before“? Until recently, war has been a great asset – we have had superiority.  This superiority began to change with Korea, in my opinion.  But we’re addicted to war – ever more sophisticated battle boats, “space force” etc.  Things like Covid-19 have brought new adversaries to our shores, and we are not yet ready to change the conversation to peace….  Thanks.
 from Jermitt: Thanks once again for sharing the quotations from some of the greats.  I also appreciate the poster.  This is a nice testimonial for your friend who does so much for children.  Thanks again for the great blog.




3 replies
  1. Larry Gauper
    Larry Gauper says:

    What a beautiful and thoughtful Christmas gift, Dick! Thank you. I saved the whole email in my OneNote file for future reference. The summary line near the bottom of the poster really says it all: ” You treat people like people, for no other reason than they are people, and that is reason enough.” Exactly. The current occupant of the White House nears to read and ponder all of these quotations. But that’s asking way too much of him because of his unprecedented shallowness never before seen in a U. S. President. The Biblical pdf’s are also wonderful to view. Great gift all around. Merry Christmas!

  2. Marilyn Tweted
    Marilyn Tweted says:

    So enlightening and inspirational…..something we are so in need of at this time. This is something we would keep in our consciousness all the time and hope that we can pass it to others. It seems so simple, but apparently it isn’t!


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.