I dedicate the following to my father Robert Alfred Sylwester on the occasion of his 85th birthday today, January 5, 2012.
(Jesus said) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Matthew 5:43-48 NIV
Thanks be to God
Divine perfection “as your heavenly Father is perfect” is the stuff of God’s grace; it is unfathomable and inexplicable; it is beyond what is humanly possible. Yet Jesus tells us to be all of that: to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, and to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. What might that look like? In small part, I think it looks like the following: an attempt at grace upon grace.
Steven A. Sylwester
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Water is essential for life — all life of any and every sort. Approximately 60 percent of the substance of a human body is water, and approximately 75 percent of human body waste is water. A healthy human adult consumes approximately 2.5 quarts of water every day. A human can survive for only four or five days without drinking water. Though nearly 75 percent of the Earth's surface is covered with water, 98 percent of that water is salt water, and is not fit for human consumption. It is estimated that less than one percent of all the water on Earth is potentially available for human consumption at any one time.
Many of the facts concerning water are startling and sobering. Consider:
All in all, the most precious substance on Earth is potable fresh water — that water which is safe to drink and to use in cooking. Potable fresh water is more valuable than oil or gold or anything else. Yet it is the one substance that is free to all, or should be so. But dangers are ever present. For example, consider the dangers of mercury contamination: http://water.usgs.gov/wid/FS_216-95/FS_216-95.html
Also, consider the dangers of corporate ownership of water rights and water sources:
What follows is my proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that defines the term “public waters” and guarantees: “The legal owner of all public waters shall be the United States of America.” — that is: We The People.
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The Constitution of The United States:
Article. IV. Section. 3. Paragraph. 2: The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
Proposed Amendment: Water, Sun, and Underground Natural Resources Management
Re: Article. IV. Section. 3. Paragraph. 2.
The Congress shall have presiding jurisdiction over all public waters in the United States. Public waters shall be all waters:
1) from groundwater springs or from headwaters, snow melt, or runoff that combine to form brooks, creeks, and streams that flow into an ocean or gulf or that become tributaries to rivers that flow into an ocean or gulf;
2) from aquifers accessed or potentially accessed by human-made wells and/or pumping mechanisms; and
3) from lakes of any size and any origin that serve as water sources for any life-sustaining human uses, including fishing and agricultural uses.
The States shall be responsible for all waters of any sort originating in the States until the waters first cross a State boundary or until the waters begin to define the boundary between two States or two nations, at which point the federal government shall become wholly responsible for those waters thereafter.
Presiding jurisdiction and responsibility shall be to guarantee pure and clean water:
1) that is free from human-made or human-caused pollutants that are toxic or harmful to any living creatures and/or plant life in nature and
2) that is treatable to be made safe for human drinking, cooking, and hygiene in every case, including in the case of pregnant women, except when natural flooding or other polluting disasters occur.
The Congress shall provide remedy if necessary when pollutions occur in public waters and shall legislate the fines and punishments to be levied when municipalities and/or companies are found guilty of polluting. The Congress shall act when new scientific discovery reveals that existing standards are insufficient to protect good health and when new technology invention allows for the affordable improvement of existing standards.
Reckless and/or negligent polluting of public waters shall be a felony, and willful polluting of public waters for profit that causes either human death or at least a yearlong loss of use of a public waters source that had been potable for an established population of more than 5,000 people shall be a capital offense. Corporate executives shall be held personally accountable for any polluting of public waters done by their companies when foreknowledge can be proven.
Municipal water treatments shall include only those substances and processes that are used solely for water purification purposes. No municipal water treatments of any sort that are intended to be either medicinal or health promoting as additives in human drinking water shall be allowed.
Nowhere in the United States shall public waters be controlled by a private citizen or by a corporation that is not a municipality. Public access to free drinking water shall be a human right at all times in every municipality in the United States. The legal owner of all public waters shall be the United States of America.
The Congress shall have presiding jurisdiction over all known and unknown precious metals, minerals, ores, and energy-generating substances and gases that can be mined, drilled for, or otherwise taken from the Earth on the public lands, on the private lands, and in the territorial waters of the United States and its territories.
From public lands and territorial waters, as compensation for being the owner of the land and the ocean or gulf floor and for contracting extraction rights, the United States shall receive five percent (5%) of the pre-tax gross revenues generated from any and all extractions made by mining, drilling, or any other means. Any contracting of extraction rights shall be conditional upon actual work being done, and contracts shall be wholly rescinded if no extractions are made during any 365-day period following the signing of the contract. Extraction rights shall not be given to foreign nations or to companies that do not have their corporate headquarters in the United States.
From private lands, as compensation for being Sovereign and Protector of those lands and of the public roadways, highways, and waterways used for all necessary transporting, the United States shall receive four percent (4%) of the pre-tax gross revenues generated from any and all extractions made by mining, drilling, or any other means. If access to the Earth beneath public lands is made underground from private lands, the United States shall receive five percent (5%) of the pre-tax gross revenues generated from any and all extractions made by mining, drilling, or any other means.
The United States shall spend all revenues earned from contracting extraction rights on public lands and in territorial waters as needed:
1) on environmental clean-ups that will create and protect pure and clean water;
2) on research to determine effective ways to replenish the depleting aquifers, especially the Ogallala Aquifer; and
3) on public waterworks projects that will enhance and protect the drinking water sources for established municipalities.
The United States shall spend all revenues earned from extractions made from private lands on the Nikola Tesla Project, which shall be a joint project with other cooperating nations to develop clean unlimited energy from the Earth and its higher atmosphere, especially from the ionosphere and the magnetosphere. When it is discovered how to harness controllable atmospheric electricity that can be used as a universal source of nonpolluting industrial power, the technology shall be freely shared among nations as a gift from the Creator to the whole world.
A national building code shall require architectural design inclusion of dedicated efficient space for photo-voltaic system installations according to industry-established minimum space requirements for all new construction of residential, commercial, and governmental structures enclosing at least 1,000 square feet of heated space.
All existing structures shall be exempt as long as no remodeling involves any structural changes to existing roofs, excluding any structural changes that solely relate to replacing or installing gutters, low profile skylights, vents, satellite dishes, and/or roofing. Any structural additions to existing structures that add or alter roof-lines to accommodate additional square footage shall not be exempt from the code requirements.
Required shall be a minimum of 100 square feet of clear roof surface to accommodate solar modules or panels faced due south at an angle that matches the location’s latitude with an allowable 15- to 20-degree variation east or west from due south. The solar panels shall be located where they will not be shaded by trees or intruded upon by vents, chimneys, or other roof structure penetrations. An efficient accessible routing path from the roof array to a centralized inverter and then to the structure’s load center for the photo-voltaic system’s generated energy shall be required.
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Water is holy. As such, it should be sacred.