Rosary of Thanksgiving

Rosary of Thanksgiving

Since returning to the Catholic Church a few years ago, I have said the Rosary in a conventional way perhaps twice in a small group. However, I keep thinking of other ways to pray the Rosary. One way is a Rosary of breath, another is a Rosary of the dead, and today, I thought if a Thanksgiving Rosary. Using the Rosary Janelle Avery made for me I went right around thanking God for everything, and used the little crosses in the Rosary to thank him for my personal crosses to bear. I went around just once, but I have so much to be thankful for, I could easily have gone around many times. Say a prayer of thanks for what the Spirit brings to your mind on every bead, and on the big Cross, thank Jesus for what he has done for all.

Christian Spirituality for the Final Third of Life: a Small Group Course

See Revised and updated Word File below and feel free to contact John Cooper for permission to use:

Cooper White – Cooper Black

Cooper White – Cooper Black


For me it has been a day of Desolations and Consolations…

The consolations came at the end of the day and this is what I want to tell you about…


Wink called, asking me to pick up some food for supper on the way home. I was in West End, where our business is located, and she mentioned Long John Silver’s/Taco Bell restaurant. I mentioned I did not know if it was Long John Silver’s anymore. I went by and the sign said Taco Bell, not a combination of restaurants as I do believe was once there.


I went in and asked the girl behind the counter, a light skinned black girl, if this was a Long John Silver’s too anymore. She said no, but offered to look one up for me. I noticed she had a Silver Christian cross hanging from her neck and sensed a common Spirit between us. I said that is OK, I will just order something here. I finally figured out what we needed, with her assistance, and she asked for a name to place on the order. I said Cooper… (BTW., I am writing this in Cooper Black type set…) [This is not showing in this font on WordPress] She said, I am a Cooper too, and explained that that is her name now or that she is related to Coopers in South Alabama and Jacksonville, Florida. I said, “Good, we may be related.” I told her my Great Great Grandfather was a conductor on the underground railroad, and asked her about her family history, but she did not know much about it..


I mentioned that I did not recall any of my ancestors having slaves, because we were from up North in Illinois, but that we could be related in some way. I offered her my hand and said, that it was good to meet her and we may be related.


When the order came up, she brought it out to me and we struck up another conversation about the family name. She told me about her second cousin in Jacksonville, FL and thought of his name. I asked her if he was fully white or partially white, and she said fully white. I said we may be related, and told her about a Genealogical book my Brother, Joe had written, about our ancestry going back to the Mayflower. I gave her my business card and asked her to email me and I could share it with her. We hugged each other, and I told her my shop was right down the street, just over the viaduct, and asked her to come down to see me one day.


I was thinking on the way home with our Taco Bell food, how the day had been cycles of desolations and consolations, and how this was a wonderful consolation to share one’s inner spirit with another created in
God’s image. I still do not understand why we cannot all get along in the world….


I think we are all related; all of us brothers and sisters, and we should all love one another… I know I am naïve, but I hope to die that way…. What is it we cannot understand about the unconditional love of God, which is supposed to be in us, if we wear the cross around our necks, or symbolically carry the cross, or even if we are not Christians at all, that we do not understand about this love of God?


Cooper White, – Cooper Black… What is the difference? I just can’t see any difference….


Grace & Peace,


John Cooper (White)



Peaceful Thoughts

Peaceful Thoughts

As a matter partially of time and chance this past week, I stopped by Panera Bread at a time of the day I would not normally be there because I was on my home to pick up a check out of my home office. I noticed as I sat down a Muslim man in the back of the restaurant. I have had several conversations with this man and his friend, Sammy, also a Muslim, when I used to go by Starbucks on the way to work early in the morning. (Since we were given a Keurig coffee machine, my Starbucks visits are virtually nil.) I noticed him sitting in the back of the restaurant in what appeared to be deep thought or meditation, so I did not greet him. After several minutes he came by me on the way apparently back from getting a drink refill and he asked my, knowing my beliefs in Peace and Nonviolence, this question:

“Have you had any Peaceful thoughts lately?”

“Yes, I have,” I said, and invited him to sit down with me at my table. I got out my small Samsung tablet and opened my You Version Bible App up to the place already in the memory, which I reflected on just the day before. I quote it below from Philippians 4:

1 And so, my most beloved and most desired brothers, my joy and my crown: stand firm in this way, in the Lord, most beloved.
2 I ask Euodia, and I beg Syntyche, to have the same understanding in the Lord.
3 And I also ask you, as my genuine companion, to assist those women who have labored with me in the Gospel, with Clement and the rest of my assistants, whose names are in the Book of Life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say, rejoice.
5 Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is near.
6 Be anxious about nothing. But in all things, with prayer and supplication, with acts of thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God.
7 And so shall the peace of God, which exceeds all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Concerning the rest, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is chaste, whatever is just, whatever is holy, whatever is worthy to be loved, whatever is of good repute, if there is any virtue, if there is any praiseworthy discipline: meditate on these.
9 All the things that you have learned and accepted and heard and seen in me, do these. And so shall the God of peace be with you.
10 Now I rejoice in the Lord exceedingly, because finally, after some time, your feelings for me have flourished again, just as you formerly felt. For you had been preoccupied.
11 I am not saying this as if out of need. For I have learned that, in whatever state I am, it is sufficient.
12 I know how to be humbled, and I know how to abound. I am prepared for anything, anywhere: either to be full or to be hungry, either to have abundance or to endure scarcity.
13 Everything is possible in him who has strengthened me. (Emphasis is mine.)
The Muslim man studiously and respectfully silently read the text for several minutes in deep thought as I silently watched. After a while he looked up to me and said, “It is very Islamic, isn’t it?” “Yes, it is,” I agreed, and we started another long and mutually respectful and, by the way, Peaceful, conversation.

I told him about the Inter-Faith city wide Prayer Service I had attempted to activate a couple of months ago for the sake of the Refugees, both Christian and Muslim refugees and pointed him to my blog site, where I posted the Prayer Service. I told him my idea had already been shared with another of my Muslim friends, Mirza Beg, who was to forward it to the local Mosque, or Islamic Center as they call in here in Tuscaloosa. I asked him to talk it up and perhaps just a few of us could have a smaller event than the city wide event I had envisioned. Even though the Mayor of Tuscaloosa had agreed to help in any way he could, I could not garner support from the Christian churches I had contacted whom I was asking to host the event.

We continued our conversation and the Muslim man told me he had been looking into the Spirituality of the Native American Indians. One of the American Indian wise sayings, he said, is: “If God created you a crow, you do not have to become an Eagle.” I told him I liked that and many Indian Spiritual sayings and I had recently been through an 8 or 9 month St. Ignatian Spiritual Exercise Retreat. I told him of the many ways I personally think God can reveal himself to us humans, and concerning the Indians we were talking about, that God can reveal himself and to Indians as one walks in silence through the forest, even without a word written or spoken, God can do this, as one walks in Peace. I mentioned that to me, God has revealed himself sometimes as a Father, sometimes as a Son, and sometimes as the Holy Spirit, but still, I believe there is only one God. I shared my idea that one could take all the knowledge of the American Indians, and the Jewish religion, the Christian religion, and the Islamic religion, and all the knowledge of the Atheist religion, and put them all in a bucket, stir them all up and dump them into the ocean, and it would not be a drop in the ocean compared to the vast knowledge of an infinite God. He understood, and I mentioned again the Scripture we had just read, although I did not quote it again at that time. Here is a principle part of it below.

7 And so shall the peace of God, which exceeds all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

I don’t think he would have agreed exactly with the Jesus Christ part of it, but then, apparently many Christians do not believe it either, not understand it, in that many Christian folk like to be guarded by weapons, guns, and “Peacemaking” six-shooters, not by the Peace of God. It appears in America that the “tougher” and more one believes in guarding oneself, the better, especially in the Political realm.

I cannot share everything now, we talked about, this is already too long, but the point I want to highlight especially at this “season” of Christmas 2015 is this:

“Have you had any Peaceful thoughts lately?”

If you have not had any, I ask, why not? Could it be the Prince of the Power of the Air is getting through to us through the Media and the Political systems of this world? Why not turn off the Media for an hour or two a day and silently reflect upon your Scriptures, either your Hebrew ones, Christian ones, Islamic ones, or, even just take a silent walk in the woods, just like the Indians and reflect on the Peace God has very clearly said he came to give us, which goes beyond understanding. This Peace is a gift of Grace and Mercy. Yes, it does sound Islamic, but it sounded to Abraham, like a gracious and merciful God, before the Jewish people, before the Christian people, and before the Muslim people. It is a Grace that has extended to all Abraham’s offspring, which by extension is all mankind.

Have you had any Peaceful thoughts lately? Accept this gift, get some of it; Let this be the year of God’s favor for you…..

Grace and Peace,

John Cooper

Just One

Just One

I am putting the Agenda for an Interfaith Prayer Service, entitled, “Just One,” up for viewing on my blog site. For well over one month, I have been promoting this idea in my local community, but so far nothing all that substantial has occurred. It is my understanding that for some the idea is too radical. I have sent it to a couple of international organizations also, whom I thought may be interested. So far, I have no response, and it is getting cold for the refugees who are still homeless and moving in mass across Europe. I thought if I would share it on the internet, someone might want to pick up all or part of the ideas and use them, even to help Just One refugee family.

From my point of view, all the wars, nationalism, and military solutions to the world’s problems have failed and now is the time to consider a kinder and gentler solution to Evil, that of loving one’s enemies, of doing good to those who despitefully use us, and sitting down together at the same table in the presence of our enemies.

I know I am just an activist radical, to think like this, but if it is beneficial to just one homeless refugee family, that is enough. Please feel free to take any or all of what I have written, and use it with or without permission for human good and decency’s sake.

Below is some background concerning the process of trying to get this implemented, which has not yet happened, then the Agenda for the Interfaith Prayer event itself. If you would like a Word formatted document with color highlighting, please contact me via commenting on this document on WordPress.


John Cooper

Hello _____________________________

Thanks for asking me to further explain my plans for Tuscaloosans FOR Refugees. I capitalize FOR because that is the acronym which the Fellowship of Reconciliation goes by. I am a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the oldest Interfaith Peace and Nonviolent organization in the world, which is this year celebrating its 100th anniversary. This action is an action I am proposing partially stemming from my association with FOR, and also my long time, since 1969, beliefs in Peace and Nonviolence and social justice for all.

I proposed this event to be hosted by ______________Church, where I attend. Although the Elders at _______________ Church decided it was beyond the mission and vision of _______________ Church, as I proposed it, ________________ Church was moved to action from my suggestions and prepared a video and commentary, and had corporate prayer at ______________ Church for the refugee crisis. It is possible some of this preparation from _______________Church could be helpful in this proposal.

I realize what I am proposing is a pretty big plan, even for _____________________, but I remind you of Pope Francis’ call for every European Catholic parish to host one refugee family. What if every city in the United States and the world took in just one family? What if every faith based organization in the United States, and the world, including Christians of all persuasions, the Jewish Synagogues, and the Moslem temples, took in just one family… Just one, and Just one, starts with each of us, where we are, in our Faith based Trek. Notice that I deliberately capitalized “Just.” It is a matter of Justice, which all believers in the three great faiths care for the stranger, and the texts of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim, and if one believes “just” in humanitarianism, which I have quoted in the proposed prayer service, indicate this very thing.

I envision this as just not a Silent Prayer service, but as a seed that could grow into other cities, communities, and nations. I believe that Mercedes Benz, especially, as a major corporate presence in our community, whose Motherland is so graciously hosting many of the refugees, should participate eagerly, asking to bring in at least One refugee family and providing a job for the head of that household, even if the family cannot yet speak English, or German, even if it is just washing windows at Mercedes, cleaning bathrooms, or mowing the lawn. I believe that the University of Alabama should do the same, Just one family. I believe that the City of Tuscaloosa should do the same, Just one. I believe that ___________________ Church may wish to do the same, Just one. Other churches in Tuscaloosa may have the financial or Spiritual resources to do the same Just one. In fact, due to ___________________ asking me to clarify my request, my Vision of this is growing even greater. I believe our slogan should be “Just one.” I believe there is a “Just” God who is watching us to see if we have a heart for those for whom he had a heart, the wayfaring stranger, coming out of Egypt, the early displaced Christians, and millions and millions of poor, rat upon, sat upon, spat upon refugees who were at one time welcomed into this nation, the United States, who cried out to the world to “give us your poor.” What has happened to us? Can mankind repent of the hatred, war, and injustices which have never worked, and realize mankind’s mission is to care for the earth, to dress and keep it, in terms of the book of Genesis, and to be our Brother’s Keeper, also a concept from the book of Genesis?
My prompting is to assemble a team of Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims, and humanitarians, to plan this event. Perhaps _______________ who is pretty good at putting together teams, might want to lend his expertise and name to this event. I believe it absolutely crucial for Mayor _______________ to be a part of this event. I have already been in communications with him and he has asked what time it would occur. I believe Mayor __________________will do this. If so, what an example that would be to the world, especially considering how our community was devastated by the tornado a few years ago, and how many came to help us in our crisis. We could also have a Sister City in Germany, who is hosting refugees.

Here is the proposed Mission and Vision:
We believe that to bring Thankfulness for what has been done for us in the community of Tuscaloosa after our devastation, and to share our prayers and concerns as a community for the refugees, and to garner funds to donate for those actually doing the ground work of providing for the refugees, that we as Just one city, Just one Person, should take this action, to pray and share our resources as we are prompted, even if it is to Just one.

Please let me know when you both would like to discuss this proposal. The proposed Agenda is below:


Mayor’s Welcome:
Mayor __________________________welcomes all Faith’s and even non faiths to our humanitarian event in his own words and explains the Agenda.

Formational Jewish Testamentary readings:

Ex 12:37-42

37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. 38 Many other people went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. 39 With the dough they had brought from Egypt, they baked cakes of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.

40 Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. 41 At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD’s divisions left Egypt. 42 Because the LORD kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the LORD for the generations to come.
Reader: “This is the Word of God.”
Audience, in unison: “Thanks be to God.”

Interlude: Three minutes of silent Prayers by audience.

Second Formational Testamentary Reading:
Jer 7:1-8
7:1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Stand at the gate of the LORD’s house and there proclaim this message:

“‘Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD. 3 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!” 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever. 8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.

Reader: “This is the Word of God.”
Audience, in unison: “Thanks be to God.”

Interlude: Three minutes of silent Prayers by audience.
Deut 10:12-11:1

12 And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

14 To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today. 16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt. 20 Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your forefathers who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.
Reader: “This is the Word of God.”
Audience, in unison: “Thanks be to God.”

Interlude: Three minutes of silent Prayers by audience.

Third Formational Testamentary Reading:

Deut 26:12-13

12 When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.
Reader: “This is the Word of God.”
Audience, in unison: “Thanks be to God.”

Interlude: Three minutes of silent Prayers by audience.
Offertory with Musical interlude: (Pianist or violinist, or both. A woman Dressed in Blue with long dress and headscarf brings bushel basket to front and each participant brings their own and their organization’s gifts…
Woman: “These are the gifts to God!”
Audience, in unison: “Thanks be to God.”
Interlude: Three minutes of silent Prayers by audience.
Formational Christian Testamentary Readings:
Matt 25:31-46
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Reader: “This is the Word of God.”
Audience, in unison: “Thanks be to God.”

Interlude: Three minutes of silent Prayers by audience.
Formational Islamic Quaranic Readings:

59:9. And (in this wealth there is also a share) for those (Ansâr, the Helpers) who had settled in the city (of Madînah) and had embraced the Faith before these (Refugees arrived there). They love those who migrated to them for refuge and (who) even though poverty be their own lot, found no desire in their hearts for that which is given to them (- Refugees) but they gave them (- Refugees) preference over themselves. And (bear in mind that) those saved from the covetousness of their souls are the ones to achieve the goal.

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كَيْ لَا يَكُونَ دُولَةً بَيْنَ الْأَغْنِيَاءِ مِنكُمْ

59:7-10 The statement: “That (wealth) should not circulate among your rich people” lays down the basic principle of social economics and justice. The less privileged groups of a society are described in this and the following four verses. The wealth is in the hands of few, but this wealth has been created through the labour of both the rich and the poor, therefore the less privileged should also benefit from the wealth of the rich. This social justice was introduced by Islam in the teachings of the Holy Qur’ân and not by any western revolutionary like Marx, or Lenin, who taught corrupted forms of this basic principle. It is significant to note that the wealth of the rich is neither condemned nor are any limitations laid on them.

Reader: “This is the Word of God.”
Audience, in unison: “Thanks be to God.”

Interlude: Three minutes of silent Prayers by audience.

Formational Humanitarian Readings:

There are many challenges facing the international community today but few, in my mind, are more pressing than those of finding humanitarian solutions to refugee problems. We talk of regional conflicts, of economic and social crises, of political instability, of abuses of human rights, of racism, religious intolerance, inequalities between rich and poor, hunger, over-population, under-development and. I could go on and on. Each and every one of these impediments to humanity’s pursuit of well-being are also among the root causes of refugee problems.
Reader: Quoted From: — Poul Hartling, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 1978-1985
Audience, in unison: “Thanks to all who Love and care for the world and each other.”

Interlude: Three minutes of thought and reflection audience.

Benediction: (Mayor) “Let us go out into our community, with love, peace, and good will for all!”

Announcement of Fellowship Meal: (Host Pastor_________________)
[Tables in front containing 5 loaves of bread in a basket, and 5 fishes, One Cup with wine, and One Cup with Grape Juice, One cup with Milk, a plate of dates, and a plate of Matzos]
All are welcome to come to the table row by row and eat and drink from common food and common cup, each taking a small sip and breaking off a small piece of the food.
[This will take volunteer cup hearers, and others to replenish supplies – young men and women of different Faiths recommended…]
People are welcomed to stay to fellowship as long as desired, or to come back to the table if food is left.

My Brother in an Urn

My Brother in an Urn

My Brother, David Cooper, died yesterday, March 30th, 2012.
He was nearly 4 years younger than I, and the closest sibling I have in age. I remember we would play together in the fields and woods of our family farm in Illinois… David was much bigger than I, standing over 6 feet tall, taking more after the McCulley (my mother’s) side of our family. He was a hard worker, and very strong. He is the one who called me a book worm. I would read and he would do outdoor activities to a greater extent than I, although I also did outdoor activities. He, as a young man, became involved in what the majority of Evangelicals call a cult, the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I, as a young man, also became a member of what some Evangelical types also would call a cult, the Worldwide Church of God, a Sabbath observing and Pre-Millennial religious sect which has since become Evangelical in their belief systems.
David was dedicated to his belief system, traveling to various locations, including Mexico, where his Spanish speaking skills could be used to further his organization’s goals. He also had a kind heart, although apparently a weak one. He would nearly every day help put my Uncle, Bill McCulley, (suffering from end stages of Alzheimer’s) to bed and assisting my aunt, Joan McCulley, in various ways in taking care of him.
Most of the time, I attend a 6 AM Friday men’s prayer group at Grace Church, a nondenominational church that I now attend. That Friday morning, before I knew of David’s death, while he was still on life support before they would attempt to take him out of the induced coma he was in, several of us in the prayer group prayed for David.
One of my friends, a conservative Evangelical type, well meaning as he was, asked me, “Does David know the Lord?” Sensing what he meant, I told him that David would say he did, however he was a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I well knew that some Evangelical types do not believe other religious types will experience Salvation and Eternal Life. Anyway, this person and several others in the room offered up prayers in his behalf. I truly thank them and thank everyone in the community and the church I attend for their support.
I have written a previous essay, on this blog site, entitled, “My Brother in a Box”. It is with regret, I write another essay, “My Brother in an Urn.” David choose to be cremated. His remains will be placed in and Urn, not in a box, as was my infant brother, Paul. They burn people in China too, there is no place to bury 1.6 Billion people all over the place. Cremation is becoming more common here in the United States also.
Did David know the Lord? I even had another well meaning friend email me and express condolences, asking the same question, “Did he know the Lord?” I realize these individuals are well meaning, and meant no harm, but to me, that question is like the question, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet? It is a hard one to answer Yes, I have stopped beating her, or no, I have not stopped beating her, what does one say? the question is full of assumptions…
May I ask, Did my infant brother Paul, know the Lord? Do aborted fetuses know the Lord? Did other individuals, billions of them, before and after Christ, know the Lord?
I think a better question to ask is, “Does the Lord know David? Does the Lord know you?
To this question I can issue an definitive answer, although this answer will also be argued by certain conservative Evangelical types… The answer, and the Good News of the Gospel of Peace is, Yes, the Lord knows you, the Lord knows every sparrow that falls to the earth. God is Good… Not only that, but we can rest in the fact that God loves the whole world, and all, including sparrows, (, and humans, that are in it. We can remember that as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive, although some will also argue with that. I am reminded as I write of a friend, who took minor issue with the last article I wrote too, where I quoted the Lord, Jesus, and Jesus’ statement “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God…” That is just not what this means, according to this individual, unless we are speaking of, I suppose, if I interpreted him correctly, unless of course this person who is a peacemaker knows the Lord…. I might add that there were no “Christians” in the audience of Ca. 5,000 on the plain where Jesus said this….
Does the Lord know you?
I used to believe, after leaving the Roman Catholic Church, in observing the Sabbath, which by the way is from Friday at dusk until Saturday at dusk, in areas of the earth where it can be observed, that is….
I am reminded of a Scripture,
And the Lord said to Moses, “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.’ ” (Exodus 31:12-13, ESV)
You may know….
I, the Lord sanctify you….

To me, if we keep the Spirit of the Sabbath, we will above all, above all the things we can do, the things we think we know, rest in the saving work of Jesus, which is NOT of our own doing…. We rest, He does… He is the one that Sanctifies every man, all this said, by the way, centuries before anyone “knew the Lord” They did know however, that it is the Lord that sanctifies, not our own efforts, not our own supposed knowledge of the Lord. Above all, they were to know it.
Who can know an infinite, all wise, all knowing, all powerful, God who is everywhere, in all things, in you, in me, and who knows even the sparrow who falls to the earth, anyway? Our knowledge, my knowledge, of the Lord, and I believe my two friends (I am reminded of Job), knowledge of the Lord, is not very much compared with the Lord who knows us… It is the faith of the Lord, the faith of Jesus, who saves us and provides all that we need, life, food, clothing, and death when appropriate. The Lord knows….
Therefore, I do not attempt to sit in judgment of my brothers, David and Paul. It is not my job. I do rest in the finished work of the Lord. Jesus said, “It is finished.” We are coming upon the time of the year we need to reflect on that, the finished work of the Lord, that is.
The Lord knows David, the Lord knows Paul, the Lord knows you! this is a part of the Gospel of Peace… I would be happy to share it with you someday… Now that the Lord does all these things and we can rest in his works already done, why not accept the Lord as he draws us to him?
I truly believe, no one is lost, until they gaze into the irresistible Grace filled eyes of Jesus, and reject his love. I can only hope that very few will reject him, but all will increase in knowledge of the Lord forever and ever….

Grace and Peace,

John Cooper

Mushrooms and Peacemakers

Mushrooms and Peacemakers

I have been trying to find Peacemakers lately… It reminds me of trying to find mushrooms. For those who do not know, at slightly varying times of the year in the Spring in certain areas of the North, and even in the south, if one knows how to look and what to look for, one can find delicious Morel Mushrooms.  People come from everywhere to find these delicacies. As I write, April 28th, 2012, the anniversary of the terrible Spring storm in that hit Tuscaloosa, AL one year ago on this date, mushrooms are already being found in Illinois, where I grew up.  I imagine they are growing on our family farm ground now and people are finding mushrooms.

To find a mushroom, one must have sharp eyes, know where they may have grown in the  past, but that does not prove they will be there the next year, take a stick and walk around in the woods or wilderness moving covers of leaves from the previous fall..  Sometimes great big ones seem to appear right before one’s eyes!  Look on the North slopes, look where May Apples grow… Look all around, relax, don’t get too stressed out.

Mushrooms and Peacemakers?

Now, how does one find Peacemakers?

Jesus said:

Matt 5:9

9 Blessed are the peacemakers ,

for they will be called sons of God


I got it!

To find a Peacemaker, one just goes to a Christian church and looks for followers of Jesus!  Jesus seems to say we should be… Right? They are of course all Peacemakers!


One has to look for Peacemakers, kind of like one has to look for mushrooms… Take a stick, stir things up, relax, keep an open eyes and an open mind, don’t look in all the regular places…  Peacemakers do not all grow in Christian churches, in fact form my experience, unfortunately, not many grow in Christian churches, or in the U.S. Government, or in the Universities where one might expect to find courses in Peacemaking.  Look everywhere, look in the Spring, Look in the summer, look in the fall, look in the winter..

Mushrooms grow as a fungus, when the conditions are right, in the right type of soil.  So do Peacemakers.  Peacemakers grow as a result of the infection of the Spirit of God, revealed to us in Jesus, and in others, such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Tolstoy, Gregory Boyd, and common folks, even me, where you can also find this fungus growing…. Look for it….  You might find it, if you care about it….  Taste it, if you wish….

I found some Peacemakers in Atlanta last weekend!

I went to a Peace Party… Now, there is where one finds Peacemakers!  Check out this link:

Read the names… Peacemakers from all over the world congregating for a Peace Party!  John Lennon would be glad… Joan Baez would sing….  Jesus would say:

Matt 5:9

9 Blessed are the peacemakers ,

for they will be called sons of God.


Perhaps some religious types would say, “John, you are absolutely crazy, some of these people are Jewish, some may be Methodists, some are Catholics, some may be Muslims, some are Mennonites, there are black people in here from the Congo, people from Holland, from Germany, from Japan, from the U.S., from everywhere….. How can you say they are sons of God?  They are not even all of them Christian…

I did not say that…          Jesus did…..

I found some more Peacemakers….  I went to the Oakhurst Baptist church,

Check it out… I would never have imagined a Baptist Church like this.

They planned the whole service around the visit of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, of which I am a member, and of which we have a chapter right here in Tuscaloosa, AL, imagine that!

They asked us to sit on the front row, to be a part of the service, and for little children to come up and ask us where we were from, and look up where we were from on an Ipad, and look at the flag of our nation, and welcome us…  I told them Alabama had a flag, Roll Tide, and everyone laughed!

The songs were about Peace, the sermon was about Peace and given by one of their ministers who is a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Lucas Johnson.  At the end, we marched around the church Sanctuary, singing about Peace!  Oh, they have women pastors too.. they have backs in there, a lot of people with theological degrees looking for a home, a lot peacemakers, I perceived.

After church, one of the pastors, (a woman), hugged all of us… And men hugged each other too…  Hugs are free!

I might mention this church has been disfellowshipped from a religious denomination, as you will see on their web site, if you look at it, for their radical beliefs in such things as:

Matt 5:9

9 Blessed are the peacemakers ,

for they will be called sons of God.


I have been too… disfellowshipped, I know the feeling… However, one needs to worship God somewhere….Everywhere, for that matter, since He is everywhere, even in these Peacemakers whom He claims to be his sons….

Anyway, I know this is getting a little long, but if you are looking for mushrooms, I have some tips… If you are looking for Peacemakers, I have some tips….  Some might say I have eaten the wrong type of mushrooms, the way I think about these things and all, but I think I know which mushrooms to eat:):)  I am not dead yet, and keep kicking against the pricks of this culture which is indoctrinated in violence and war.  There are holes in my shoes….

Want to talk about the Gospel of Peace some day?  Call me, let’s do it, over a breakfast of mushrooms and Green Tea……

Grace AND Peace,

John Cooper

Give Peace a Chance


Give Peace a Chance


I cry out….. I cry out regarding Neo-conservatives and the Pro-Israeli lobbies’ apparent warlike approach to Iran.  I understand and agree that nuclear weapons should not proliferate. However, we seem to have not learned a lot from our virtually 10 year experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, wars that have cost Ca. $4 Trillion according to a Brown University report,, to date, with additional costs accruing and interest yet to be paid on our borrowed money.

How much is a 1 Trillion dollars? It is a stack of $1,000 bills stacked 67.9 miles high, or from Tuscaloosa to the other side of Birmingham if we were to drive by the stack laying down on the road. Or 4 Trillion is a stack, not end to end, but a stack laid flat together to go as far as from Tuscaloosa to Nashville, plus 30 miles more.

These are merely dollar costs, to say nothing yet of moral costs, of loss of lives, both our own and our “enemies”, the mental costs to our soldiers and our enemies, the medical costs for now and the future, as well as other costs.  A costly lesson, these wars, one might imagine.  It is also hard to imagine we seemed doomed to try it again in Iran, knowing it did not work the first time, without giving Peace a chance.

Let us please give Peace and Nonviolence a chance…..

The majority opinion of governments of the world and religions of the world is that Nonviolent methods of conflict resolution will not “work”.  I feel it is unfair to speak like this, saying nonviolence will not work,  without investing in Peace and Nonviolence in at least an equal way we invest in War.  We have invested Trillions of Dollars in war.  War must be paid for, not only in the blood of our soldiers, but the blood of our perceived enemies, and in the future welfare of our young who are to be saddled with our folly.

Let us invest in Peace.

Before we dismiss Peace out of hand, because “Peace just doesn’t work”, let us invest in Peace, just a portion of the Ca. 4 Trillion dollars we have invested in war. Perhaps just a Billion or so to begin with, which is just 1,000th of a $Trillion stack, just for starters…..  Do we not know by now, that “War does not work”? The investments we have made in war are clearly failures.  Before “Iraqing” Iran, let us commit to spending 10% of our war budget investing in Peace.  Let us invest in teaching methods of Peace and Nonviolence in the world’s educational, civic, political and religious infrastructures.

Give Peace a chance…..  Invest in it….

Let us talk about Peace, and dialogue about Peace and Nonviolence.  Let us invest our time, financial resources, and prayers for Peace and Peaceful purposes, praying for our enemies, as well as our friends.  Let us preach about Peace in churches, in prisons, and schools.  Let us reject Hate and War, learning to be and actually becoming Peacemakers.  Let us put our money where our heart is, if our heart is at Peace, and in Peace.  I am personally doing this myself, and plan, if approved, to invest some of our remaining funds to go with The Fellowship of Reconciliation,, on a Peace Delegation to Iran in the first two weeks of May.  The prayers and support of all faith based organizations in Tuscaloosa for this Peace Delegation will be appreciated.  Let us all cry out!

Investing in Peace and Nonviolence  is about the future of our nation, and of our world, of beautiful human beings both here, in Iran, and all over the world who will be affected by our decisions regarding our future investments.  Will our investments grow and bear fruit, or decay, and rot away?

The zone of immunity for Peaceful resolution in these matters appears to be rapidly approaching….  Let us invest in Peace now.


John Cooper

Mr. President, Let us Invest in Peace

Dear President Obama,
Thanks you for your leadership during your time in office to date. I had high hopes for America when you were elected and when you received the Nobel Peace Prize. Regrettably, since the beginning of your tenure, there are some of us whose hopes for a just and Peaceful and Nonviolent future for America and the world in which we live have been diminished.
My immediate concern is regarding our apparent warlike approach to Iran. I realize the wisdom of your efforts in attempting to appease both Neo Conservatives, the Pro-Israeli population, and everyone involved in these matters, and your concern that Nuclear weapons will not proliferate. However we seem to have not learned a lot from our virtually 10 year experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Please give Peace and Nonviolence a chance…..
The majority opinion of governments of the world and religions of the world is that Nonviolent methods of conflict resolution will not “work”. I feel it is unfair to speak like this, saying nonviolence will not work, without investing in Peace and Nonviolence in at least an equal way we invest in War. We have invested under your leadership, let alone the leadership of others who preceded you, Trillions of Dollars in war. War must be paid for, not only in the blood of our soldiers, but the blood of our perceived enemies, and in the future welfare of our young who are to be saddled with our folly.
Let us invest in Peace.
Before we dismiss Peace out of hand, because “Peace just doesn’t work”, let us invest in Peace, just a portion of the Ca. 7 Trillion dollars we have invested in war. Perhaps just a Billion or so to begin with, just for starters….. Do we not know by now, that “War does not work”? The investments we have made in war are clearly failures. Before Iraqing Iran, let us commit to spending 10% of our war budget investing in Peace. Let us invest in teaching methods of Peace and Nonviolence in the world’s educational, civic, political and religious infrastructures.
Give Peace a chance….. Invest in it….
Let us talk about Peace, and dialogue about Peace and Nonviolence. Let us invest our time, financial resources, and prayers for Peace and Peaceful purposes, praying for our enemies, as well as our friends. Let us preach about Peace in churches, in prisons, and schools. Let us reject Hate and War, learning to be and actually becoming Peacemakers. Let us put our money where our heart is, if our heart is at Peace, and in Peace. I am personally doing this myself, and plan, if approved, to invest remaining funds of what little I have to go with The Fellowship of Reconciliation on a Peace Delegation to Iran in the first two weeks of May.
If you, or anyone, for that matter, would like to help defray my expenses, and those of others going on this Peace Delegation to Iran, please feel free to do so. Your investment may be sent to Circles of Peace, FOR,, an Affiliate of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, P.O. Box 2757, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403 (My personal expenses will be about $5,500, or, although I have not asked FOR, directly to the Fellowship of Reconciliation,, at the address on their web site. You may contact someone there for the number of people who will end up being in the Peace Delegation and how much is needed.
However, to be clear, this is not about me. It is about the future of our nation, and of our world, of beautiful human beings both here, in Iran, and all over the world who will be affected by our decisions regarding our future investments. Will our investments grow and bear fruit, or decay, and rot away?
Also, there are many other worthy organizations struggling to invest in Peace and Nonviolence throughout the world… Please divert some war dollars to all of us attempting to be Peacemakers, and invest in Peace and Nonviolence. I will also copy our Senator from Tuscaloosa, whom I have met, Richard Shelby, whom I understand has something to do with our investments in war.
The zone of immunity for Peaceful resolution in these matters appears to be rapidly approaching…. Let us invest in Peace now.


John Cooper

Got Books?

Got Books?

My Brother, David Cooper used to refer to me as a “Bookworm” (probably still does) :):) We grew up poor, and did not have a TV until after I left home in 1967, so I entertained myself in reading books, as I still do… Even today, I pretty much choose to read, and learn from experience what I would like to know, since most schools and colleges do not teach such things as I choose to learn, one of the subjects:, peacemaking, for instance…. At the request of Alina Coryell, our servant-leader for Circles of Peace for the upcoming year, I wrote the following… I imagine a drastically edited and shortened version will appear somewhere on our new web site… You get to see the whole thing:):)


I have a mental note in my mind to send you five of my favorite books… I know you asked this, but I cannot find the email right now…

Anyway, here is a stab at it… I have so many favorite books, but I will give some reasons for liking each book below the info for it…

1.) The Holy Bible, Reprint of the Edition of 1611, exact facsimile – copy #134 of 250, Oxford University Press, 1985.

(I found out about this book in England at an Oxford Press bookstore while Wink and I were in Oxford… It is a rare book, and I view the original 1611 English text as a foundational point for Christianity throughout the Western world.) (A couple of the books are among my favorites because of their rarity… I have always liked rare books, and worked at the Rare Book Library when I attended Samford University.)

2.) In the Grip of Grace, You can’t fall beyond His Love, Max Lucado, Word Publishing, 1996.

(Although raised Roman Catholic, part of my journey in life was being a member of the Worldwide Church of God, pretty much a cult, but a “good” one in that nothing was really off the wall that much except legalism being taught, like literally observing the 10 commandments, keeping the Sabbath, and Old Covenant Worship days, food rules, etc. as well as being strictly observant of the New Testament rules also… Oh, and Hierarchy, ruling over, instead of serving under :(:( Oh, Tithing, too, all three of them, according to the Bible, not just one, :(:( Many of these things are in the Spirit of Romans 14 personal choices, but they should be personal choices, not legalistically enforced… Also, believing that it is possible to lose one’s salvation, as some mainstream Christian organizations believe today…. Although I knew the Dictionary definition of Grace, and began coming out of legalism around 1994, along with understanding the New Covenant was a separate Covenant, not an addition to the Old, it was not until reading this book that I began to understand in my inner being the Spiritual meaning of Grace.) (Thus this is a favorite because of the Spiritual formation I received from the Holy Spirit while reading it, and speaking of it.)

3.) Martyr’s Mirror, by Thieleman J. vanBrahught, Herald Press, first published, 1837.

(This is a very large book, probably more than a thousand pages, chronicling the suffering of the AnaBaptists in the Middle Ages, being persecuted by mainline Christians of their day for their radical beliefs in Adult Baptism, refusal to give their Allegiance to nationalities, believing only God was deserving of their allegiance, and their radical belief in nonviolence. These people are viewed by the Amish and the Mennonites as their ancestors…. The book has woodcut pictures of the AnaBaptists being impaled on stakes run up through their genital areas, lit on fire, their heads cut off and put on stakes, chronicles of their being herded into barns, the doors locked, and the barn set on fire, men, women, and children, of their being drowned by being thrown off boats with their hands and feet tied together to punish them for their beliefs in adult baptism, Children first, so the parents could watch, women next so the husbands could watch, men next so their pastors could watch, then the Pastors last. All of this by fellow “Christians”) (I think we need to come to a better understanding of suffering as Christians, in the Western world, where we believe suffering is a sign of being out of favor with God, where as in actuality this is at times is pretty much the opposite of our calling to complete what is lacking in Christ through our suffering….)

4.) The Myth of a Christian Nation, by Greg Boyd, Zondervan press, 2005.

(This book was recommended to me by a pastor friend in the old Worldwide Church of God, now Grace Communion International, Bob Miller, who observed in our dialogue that my ideas and concern for the Kingdom of God meshed with the author, whom I had not heard of until then, Greg Boyd. Since reading this book, I have become a big fan of Greg Boyd, and if there is anyone whom I think like, it would be him, with Shane Claiborne coming in line somewhere afterwards. This is the book we first read in our book club…. It highlights the Christocentric, Cruciform, idea that the Kingdom of God is advanced by serving under others, not ruling over others, and exposes the error of the common belief that the United States was founded as a Christian Nation, or exists today as a Christian Nation.)

5.) The War of the Lamb, the ethics of Nonviolence and Peacemaking, John Howard Yoder, Brazos Press, 2004.

(This book is a scholarly treatise, a compilation of essays John Howard Yoder, a preeminent leader in the Peace and Nonviolence movement of the 20th Century, intended to be put in book form before he died…. His papers were arranged by others… John Howard Yoder is of Mennonite roots, and a true scholar, having been educated at the University of Basel, in Switzerland…. He was a Pacifist, and taught at one time at the University of Notre Dame, a Catholic School… His most well known book was The Politics of Jesus… He was known for his use of the term “Constantinism”, referring to the change of the early Christian Church into an ally of the State, then in the form of the Roman Empire, Ca. 320 AD when the Emperor Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church first developed political-religious cooperative ventures….((participating in war, for instance)) The War of the Lamb discussed extensively the Just war Theory and its relationship to non violence and the ethics of Just Peacemaker, a subject it seems we as Christians should be very concerned about, since it seems Jesus has asked us to be Peacemakers, even though mainstream Christianity seems to offer only lip service to the idea…, along with actual resistance….) (As an addendum to mentioning John Howard Yoder as a preeminent Christian ethicist, I feel regret, that as with many other prominent men, Yoder apparently suffered from his own personal ethical problems, ((as do we all)) which were reviewed and disciplined by the Mennonite organization, thus giving credence to the importance of being connected to an accountable body of believers for everyone involved Spiritual welfare. Just reading books, studying the Bible, doing research on the internet, going to school, is not enough, Being connected to a body of believers is crucial, ((and sometimes Cruciform)) even for bookworms:):))

I am realizing this a lot more than you probably had in mind for our new web site, but you can cut it down… Since I have written it, I think I will share it on my blog site to give those who read it some kind of idea about where I am coming from….