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Creation of BlueZones region moving forward
Two hundred people from Cashiers, Franklin, Highlands, Sylva and Macon and Jackson counties attended the BlueZones Kickoff Presentation on Monday, June 10. As chair of the organizing committee, I want to thank everyone who attended this gathering of communities in Western North Carolina.
It is not hard to imagine a BlueZones region here in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The creation of a BlueZones region consisting of the communities cited above has the potential to transform the health, and overall vitality of these communities in this region. The program supports efforts to foster individual longevity and engagement.
Tony Buettner, the keynote speaker at the kickoff, emphasized that BlueZones Communities are being created across the country. When communities buy into actualizing the nine points of the BlueZones program, positive, measurable results related to health and wellness of the overall population occur.
The next step in the process will be for the organizing committee to process the data collected from attendees at the kickoff session. That information, coupled with feedback from stakeholder institutions, will determine the community and regional interest in moving to the next study and needs assessment phase of the BlueZones program.
The organizing committee will share the results of the surveys in the weeks to come. In the meantime, questions concerning the BlueZones program can be answered by contacting me at (828) 506-7025.
I want to thank all the people who worked on the initial organizing committee and those folks and organization who have been so receptive and supportive of this initial effort.
Without support from all these Western North Carolina communities this first BlueZones program would not have been the success that it was.
Sallie Taylor, Chair
BlueZones Organizing Committee
What is ‘under our skin’ can last a lifetime
A few years back in our tall grass pasture, I was spraying for weeds that seem to creep in unnoticed. But more unnoticed was the unseen plague of chiggers that had gotten under my skin. They are “Arachnids” the same family as spiders or ticks, but by the time I’d gotten home and took my shirt off my wife noticed that my entire front and back were covered with red blotches that took its toll of discomfort and itching for several days.
It’s noticed that some who have the disabling disease of Alzheimer’s revert back to what is deeply seated within. What once may have been known as a kind, considerate, caring human being and never a unkindly spoken word towards anyone, becomes the opposite of who we thought they once were. We may be puzzled at why or where this comes from. Many of us can live a lifetime without remedy of deeply felt hurts and things that bother us or get under our skin, and those that live closely see the festering that has been building up for years. Sadly, this comes to surface, but you don’t have to have a disease for this to display itself. It’s evident that many have pent up anger and even hatred that’s so deep; and not really knowing why their hatred has become this way. When asked this they lash out with statements of belittling and a lack of understanding in explaining their case. They’ve allowed themselves to carry the cause of bitterness without remedy, because remedy is not what they seek but a destruction of those who oppose them, which unbeknown to them, destroys themselves. Hatred, bitterness, distrust is the opposite of love, kindness, and a trusted friendship, even if we don’t agree with each other. It’s amazing to me to see a culture that encourages in its early education the importance of getting along with those who may not be like us, but then as life moves forward in higher education and in our so called refinement of political systems, we live and preach a different culture. We seem not to care about truth when it interferes with our personal preferences. It’s time we each deal with life’s irritant and find remedy, but where is man’s remedy?… it’s only found in the Divine.
Many may take offense, but the Bible and past history speaks and warns us of where pride and hate leads a people who follow this for whatever reason they may find both in regards to the present and future, the pride of mankind has always been its down fall. Matthew 12:36-37(MSG) states this clearly “Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.”
Deni Shepard – firstname.lastname@example.org
Lying with the truth deceives many
Every now and then, I see a car going the wrong way on Main Street in Franklin. I want to wave them down or somehow stop them before something bad happens, but by the time I think of something, they are down the street and out of sight. One time when this happened, a police car went after them. What do you suppose he said to them? “I guess your way is as good as any other?” I doubt it.
Many people do something similar, spiritually. Somehow they miss the multiple One Way signs, and take the wrong path. Many like much of what Jesus said, but cringe when He says, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life: no one comes to the Father, except through me.” (John 14:6) I have a friend who says when I quote this scripture, that I believe it is “my way or no way.” But isn’t that exactly what Jesus said here? It was “doubting Thomas” who posed the question to which Jesus is responding. Jesus doesn’t leave him any “wiggle room.” C. S. Lewis, in his book “Mere Christianity” said, “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
And neither did Peter. In Acts 4:11-12 he says, “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Translating Acts 16:16-18 from the Greek, “As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of Python (divination) and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.” Most translations have “the” way, but in the Greek, the definite article is conspicuously absent. Every other time the “Way” is mentioned, referring to the way of salvation, the definite article is used (see Acts 9:2, 18:25, 26, 19:9, 23, 22:4, 24:14, and 22), but not here. Notice also that the spirit does not say they are servants of Jesus Christ, but “of the Most High God, which the Greeks would hear as Zeus. Paul cast out the spirit in the name of Jesus Christ, Whom the demons fear, not the false god Zeus. I believe the reason Paul was so annoyed is because the spirit is lying with the truth. The slave girl seems to be telling the truth. After all, Jesus is “a” way of salvation” isn’t He? But she is lying with the truth, because He is not one of many ways. He is “the” way. The devil and the evil spirits are effective with their lies, because they are so close to the truth, that many are deceived. Are you?
Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.