Monday, November 26, 2007

How Muslims Drag Humanity Down

Maybe we should scour the internet for the "crazy muslim act" of the week award. Today I found this wonderful little bit of information:

Mo-Ham-Ed The Bear
Mo Mo-Ham-Ed The Bear

Yes, a British teacher in Sudan was actually arrested because she allowed her elementary children vote on the name for their class teddy bear and the name chosen was Mohammed (who shall now be Mo Ham Ed). The Muslim Sudanese men, to defend the prophet, apparently began to surround the police building. A muslim female teacher was quoted as saying she was happy that the British teacher got the children to vote.

Now to be fair, every faith has their extremists. Christians want amendments to stop gays from being married. But the very fact that these Muslim men, and women, will resort to acts of violence because of this interpreted "blasphemy" is an animal act. You cannot call these people civilized. Their sole purpose to is eliminate those who disagree with them. They make laws in which blasphemy is a criminal offense.

The religious right has tried to do this with America, though not to such an extreme. Don't think for one second that if the wrong people were in power that repressive, antiquated religious beliefs would be passed off as a means for which to protect society. We see this in reverse as something as simple as prayer is disallowed, not because it is being promoted but just because it is happening. This type of mentality will drag our race down.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

Albert Schweitzer

Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough.

Garrison Keillor

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life; and thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine.

Thomas Jefferson

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.

Charles Dickens

Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.

Alphonse Karr

Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little,
and if we didn't learn a little,
at least we didn't get sick,
and if we got sick, at least we didn't die;
so, let us all be thankful.

The Buddha

Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sunday Bloody Sunday and Irony of Leading

One of the coolest things I've been able to do is to work with young children's group at my church, Baymeadows Crossroads. Many of you remain in awe as to exactly 1) why I do this and 2) why they let me do this. I can assure you the irony of this has not escaped me and I remind them monthly exactly what they have gotten themselves into. Regardless of the fact that I am a self professed agnostic\deist my love for the kids seems to trump any philosophical differences. In turn I have no issues with teaching the kids the weekly lessons. The trick is finding the commonality between the differences.

Since I have been leading the big lesson there has been one constant: someone dies. John the Baptist, Paul, Goliath, etc...The kids have picked up on this and the great joke is who will die during my on stage theatrics. My main enjoyment is watching the kids bond with me (considering I am replacing an AWESOME leader in Josh). A secondary joy is exposing them to a fact that is life...we all die. Never an easy thing to do but within the context of a faith their parents want them to grow up in I hope that it becomes something tangible. My son was exposed to death around age 9 (if memory serves me) and he became much more aware of what he had to lose. He became more clingy (if you will) to my wife and I. It took hiim a while to get over the loss of the person that prompted this but I was so happy that he dealt with it then as opposed to later on in life.

Surely speaking of death and experiencing it are two different things, but to simply avoid the discussion for the sake of "sheltering Siddhartha" is more damaging. Part of being a kid is learing to deal with all that the world has to throw at you and we, as adults, serve as the guide, the anchor and the umbrella. Lessons are much easier to learn when you have love to support you.

This coming Sunday we'll be discussing John the Baptist, AGAIN, but within the context of Thanksgiving. I hate to fall back on the beheading. Maybe my cycle will be broken.

So what of this irony of leading? There is a great guy, Greg, who teaches the 1st and 2nd graders (I have 3rd-5th). His take on the Faith is quite intriguing. Absent of rigid dogma, Greg is one who seems to grasp the spirit of the message as opposed to getting bogged down in the language of the Bible. The food is more palatable at Greg's table and hence church is less of an anchor. In turn, the freedom of discourse and ideas is more welcomed at this church than any other I attended. Some need to be bound by the word in the Word: it helps define things. I never could tolerate that type of Faith regardless of what your Religion is. The problem of language was always a whip on my mind. That problem is for another blog, but let me simply note that words are symbols of ideas which are inherently private. There are many aspects of "traditional" christianity that I do not and will not accept and I will not and do not teach on them. However, beyond the politics that the modern church perpetuates is a message that I sincerely believe in. The metaphysics of the faith are left to others.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Faith is a 5 letter word

I'm not sure humans, as whole, take the time to understand why things are. Profanity is one of those things. Is it the case that all things we, in America, consider to be profane words are such in all areas of the globe? Of course not. In turn, context is a critical component. Ass is in the bible. Bitch is used in the "dog world".

Couldn't one consider faith a profane word? The whole idea behind a profane word is that one finds it offensive. Belief not based on proof, faith, can be offensive based on the actions of those employing it. This isn't an attack on any one Religious faith: it also goes to those who follow what I call Eco-Religion. (Now I know that some will argue Global Warming is a proven thing. I do not wish to run that race. All I can say is that it is totally accepted and the cause\effect of humans on the environment is still open to much speculation. Eco-Terrorism is a component of the Eco-Religion that operates under a "faith" in the belief system.)

Back track...when the zealots of ANY system employ tactics that are oppressive, the idea of their "faith" becomes an offensive position. Denying gay's the right to be married because your "faith" in the Christian God and the Bible say they are sinners? Such an example shows how an unproven position affects others.

I surely didn't mean to attack this in detail or with any passion demanding quotes and other such research. Lets just say I'm running with this off the top of my head. Who knows, I may have to edit this later.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Hero With A Thousand Faces

I'm not sure what this title means but I'm looking at my bookshelf and that one just stood out. Let me see if I can tie this in....

Youth football season is closing as the JWJ Trojans play their final game this Monday night at Stanton. After a crushing 26-0 loss to their arch rival Darnell Cookman, the Trojans managed to defeat Kirby Smith 16-14. Kirby hadn't lost a game in 3 years and I believe JWJ has never beaten them. As it stands Kirby, DC and JWJ are all with 1 loss (Kirby beat DC, DC beat JWJ, JWJ beat Kirby) so if they all finish with wins it is a 3 way tie. This will be the best ever finish for JWJ. Evan, as you know, struggled with where to play and his decision has given him great strength and pride in himself.

In addition to this success, my friend Philip's son Jacob's PCPW team made it to the playoffs only to lose to AFA last night 21-12. They played AFA, the 1 seed, very tough.

Sara continues to work hard at cheerleading. She is discovering how to work through the little aches and pains of life which I feel will go a long way in strengthening her character. Last Tuesday I watched her workout on two scraped knees, which with all the jumping, kneeling, etc put her in positions to quit or cry. She stuck through it! I think we will be doing soccer in the spring. We've started kicking the ball around and I'm beginning to see a bit of a competitive streak in her. Either that or she just likes to run and hit on her dad and brother.

Kerry and I are dealing with a down housing market. It is always good for the spirit to get your focus narrowed and this has done just that. There is stress that is relative to where we are in life but it allows us to look for sun drenched beaches and not washed out ones.

We are really enjoying watching our friend Julie Hadden on The Biggest Loser. She and Michael are such wonderful people and I'm hoping that this brings them to new forks in the road with gold at the end of each.

The Schoonmakers did not move and for that we set off some fireworks. Chuck is quite possibly one of the most down to earth guys I know. We're both very busy but our friendship remains strong.

There are other things of note that are probably more private, but lets just say there are some close to me that need your prayers (if that is what you do).

I think I see the title manifest itself. I hope you find the hero in these comments as well. There are many.

Virtual hug to all my family and friends.