Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Defending the Lambs against Wolves

Parents are suing the Allentown School District which they say is responsible for the rape of their little six year old boy by a fellow student.

How can a school district be responsible for the actions of a deeply disturbed and violent twelve year old? Because the school authorities knew that boy had sexually assaulted three other little boys in the school bathroom previously. Not only did they fail to take legal action against a violent sexual predator in their midst, but that same boy was seated beside the bathroom unmonitored as a punishment for classroom misbehavior. What the school foolishly believed was punishment that pervert saw as opportunity.

No school can protect every student against every crime. People cannot be punished before they do something wrong. That's the nature of crime and punishment. Yet once a person is known to have done something so horrible, to cover up the crimes and to fail to protect small children in their midst which are now known to be possible targets makes the school complicitous.

Sadly, hush-hush, sweep- it-under-the-rug policies have continued in schools for years. From highly publicized sexual abuse by teachers to undisclosed violence at the hands of fellow students, is it any wonder that so many families turn to homeschooling to ensure that their children learn in a non-violent environment?

Good luck to that anonymous family. May their day in court find them a small measure of justice as they seek to hold the adults in charge responsible for their refusal to deal appropriately with the wolf among the lambs.

Sources: MSNBC and The Charlotte Observer.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Forget the Corn

In "Pass on the Corn"*, Joel Belz argues against ethanol as a petroleum alternative. Ethanol can be made from soybeans, cane, and from some grasses, but it comes primarily from corn because it's so plentiful. At first, ethanol appeared an exciting option--grow our own fuel and kiss the Middle East's oil good-bye. However, as Belz points out, there are major flaws in the argument for ethanol.

First, it takes a lot of oil to produce ethanol for vehicles. In fact, it takes "about a gallon of petroleum-based fuel to manufacture 1.3 gallons of ethanol." Put another way, twenty gallons of ethanol at the gas station took fifteen gallons of petrol to produce.

Has anyone else noticed a decrease in fuel efficiency lately? That's because ethanol is not as fuel efficient, needing "eleven gallons of ethanol to go the same distance that ten gallons of petroleum will take you."

The worst problem, however, is that ethanol is subsidized. "Except for federal subsidies, every gallon of ethanol that's been sold in the United States would have cost about fifty cents more than it actually sold for."

That kind of subsidy will do us no good in the long run. While corn farmers are enjoying this bonanza, unintended consequences are sure to follow. "Ethanol gobbles up so much corn every day that the price of corn has jumped to record highs. Farmers who grow corn like that, but people who raise livestock don't because they have to pay more for the corn they feed their cattle and pigs." Not only will the many foods which are corn-based cost more, but so will beef, dairy, and pork products.

A little closer to home, a friend of mine raises cattle for beef. He's friends with the dairy farmers in his region--make that dairy farmer, since there are no longer any others there. That remaining dairy farm may not make it either. The owner can't afford to pay for corn feed, among other problems.

As a nation blessed with terrific geography, we should be well able to feed ourselves with no problem. The effects of federal subsidies on corn, however, will ripple through the economy, costing the average person more for food. It may drive more dairy farmers from the market as they sell off their cattle as beef and put their land up for sale. The loss of these farms cannot be attributed to the free market system in action since these particular financial woes are government induced.

Yes, we need alternative energy. No one wants to be free from our energy dependence on the Middle East more than I. Ethanol, however, is not the way to achieve this goal.

*quotes are from Belz's article in World

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Bible Quiz

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Honestly, this quiz was really easy. Many of the questions could be guessed accurately since there were a number of throw-aways among the answer choices. The Red Letter Quiz was much harder.

Tip of the hat to Paul.

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Feeling Pretty

An oldie but goody! I think there may be a loop in here somewhere, but it's still pretty funny.

Thanks to Michele at Reformed Chicks Blabbing for this blast from the past.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What's a Few Extra Pounds

Oh, no! I guess I should take those four pounds I just put on a bit more seriously. (And no, it's not muscle.) Worse things than jeans being a bit snugger may result.

Hmmmm. Maybe I should look into that diet magazine I saw in the grocery store with the teaser "Lose 30 pounds!" Just kidding!

Seriously, though, never underestimate the mind-body connection.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

They Know What to Do

"Energy independence...The Democrats know that needs to be done...The oil companies reported the highest profits in the history of the world...I want to take those profits..."

Yep. She just revealed her heart. Forget private enterprise and private property. Government gets it all. And then the Democrats who know what needs to be done will take care of us. Not being a good singer is not a campaign issue. Wanting to expand government more and to restrict business, however, is.

Yet I don't think they do know what needs to be done. There have been no new refineries built here in decades. They don't want to drill in ANWR. Using what we have while we find viable alternative energy sources would at least halt the enriching of peoples who hate us and who use those profits to build weapons against us and to fund organizations dedicated to our destruction. But that might improve our national security. Can't have that. Nor are those who extol the virtues of everything else French ready to consider utilizing the one thing that they have actually done rather well, besides cheese and whine wine: nuclear energy.

The one thing we agree on is the need for energy independence. I just don't happen to agree that stealing from oil companies is the way to do it.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

What's in a Name

To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.

-Revelation 2:17, NASB

Have you ever wondered about that new name and why it is known only to the one who receives it?

I for one am looking forward to my new name. I really do like my existing name(s). For years, friends agreed that there really was no other name for me but my given name. Yet when I rechristened myself Anna Venger they had to smile and admit I had chosen well. Nevertheless, I trust God to choose better.

Names in our culture do not carry the same significance as they have historically so the purpose of a new name escapes us in a way that it is doubtful it would have escaped those who have gone before. Names were meaningful, sometimes prophetic, and in some cultures thought to give the knower power over the known.

The Bible, for example, demonstrates the attitude of ancient peoples towards their names. God Himself changed the names of some of His followers because names have significance: Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of many), Sarai to Sarah (princess), Jacob (he grasps the heel, or he deceives) to Israel (he struggles with God), Saul (asked for, prayed for) to Paul (small, humble), and Simon to Peter (rock), for example. Names were derivatives of root words which were often descriptive of the bearer. Esau was so named because he was hairy. Naomi (pleasant) changed her own name to Mara (bitter) because of the hurtful experiences she had had in losing her sons and husband. In addition, names were sometimes prophetic of the bearer. Ruth sounds like friend and she was certainly the best friend that Naomi had ever had. Peleg (division) was so named because in his days the earth was divided. Also, the angel told Joseph to name Mary's son Jesus (Lord saves) because He would save His people from their sins.

Some peoples have believed that knowing a person's name would give one power over that person. Bruchko(Bruce Olson) was a young man who had been captured by the Motilone Indians in South America, lived out the gospel among them, and led them to faith in Christ. This tribe believed names were very special and gave power over a person. Each new baby would be given two names upon birth. One would be the child's public name by which all the rest of the tribe would address him and know him. But he would also have a secret, private name that only his immediate family and those elite few with whom he chose to share would ever know. They believed only those who knew that private name would ever be able to exert any real power over him. Bruchko had become close friends with the tribal leader's son. The deeply touching moment came one day when they were walking together and he solemnly told Bruchko his true name. Bruchko understood that this revelation demonstrated the depth of friendship and trust he felt toward him. He was willingly giving Bruchko his name and the power of a true friend over him.

Today we choose names more for auditory appeal. Yet there is still an element of power associated with knowing a person's name. Consider the effectiveness of "Hey, you!" when trying to get someone's attention versus calling him by name. By way of example, once my mother and I were at a large flea market. We had become separated, but I saw her a short distance from me. "Mom! Mom!" I called repeatedly to no avail. Then finally I called out her name and she instantly snapped to attention and turned toward me.

Another time, a youth had aggravated me. He hadn't done anything criminal, mind you, but he had disrespected me and, in a Clint Eastwood mood, I was not about to let him get away with it. Yet I didn't know his name to hold him accountable for his ill behavior and he was not about to give it to me. Fearing I would not be able to locate him again, I decided to follow him until I found out his name. He noticed I was following him and turned to me. I announced to him in no uncertain terms, "I have no where else that I have to go and nothing better to do but to find out
your name." At that point he broke into a run and I sprinted after him, weaving in and out of the crowd, until he rounded a corner with me in hot pursuit and I saw what I needed--someone I knew would identify him. "His name! I want his name!" I shouted and gesticulated. Now I had the power I needed. And I made sure he appropriately suffered for his insolence.*

Another time, I was moved on a gurney to a holding area not far from the nurses' station following an emergency procedure. Still heavily sedated, I lay there awaiting a room for the night. Beside me on another gurney was an elderly man. He must have felt miserable because he kept crying "Nurse! Nurse!" while the nurses would walk on by, indifferent to his suffering. I felt bad for him, imagining his level of discomfort that would cause him to cry so insistently and pleadingly. After a time-- out of a mixture of mercy and self-preservation, as he was starting to annoy-- I decided to take matters into my own hands. Though horribly groggy, I concentrated all my energies on the nurses' station until I had the information I sought--the name of one of the bustling nurses. I awaited my opportunity. When she finally came close enough, I called out her name as strongly as I could. She snapped to attention --unable to ignore someone calling her specifically by name. With my newfound power, I beckoned her to come to me. Motioning to the man beside me, I informed her, "That. man. needs you." She turned to him and for the first time listened to him and attended to him, and we both could finally be at peace.

Sometime later, quite irritated that I was still stuck in that open area on a gurney, I used my power once again to summon her to me to inform her that if she could not find me a room quickly then she was to contact my family to come and get me and take me home---I would be checking out. If I had not known her name, I would no doubt have remained the rest of the night, such as it was, in that holding area, until my people, who believed I was receiving better care there at the hospital than at home, would return for me.

These are the things I think of when I contemplate receiving a new name from my Lord one day---one known only to Him and to me. What name He will give me, I have no clue. Surely it will have some meaning to Him and to me, but what I cannot begin to imagine since I'm not sure what He sees in me, one who has failed Him so often. Yet I take it on faith that He chose me out of His good pleasure and no longer argue with Him over His lack of wisdom in so doing as I now understand that His wisdom is beyond my comprehension. Of course, there are those who have told me that I'm special, but I'm not at all sure they meant it as a compliment. But He apparently thinks that I am and that new name represents to me a time when all the distractions and temptations that beckon to me will no longer exert influence over me because I won't respond to "Psst....Hey, you!"and they won't know who I am. Only God will know my name and turn my head and have power over me. Temptation, sin, death, and fear will be only distant memories.

*Anonymity makes some stories so difficult! I have had to withhold information that would make my actions and the importance of follow through on my part more comprehendible--which is an accepted spelling of the word although Firefox doesn't like it.

Come see the 28th Carnival of Blogging Chicks for more stories.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Five Random Things about Me

1. I've teared up at commercials.

2. I've eaten an entire can of tomato paste---from the can.

3. I often stop to admire and to talk to animals.

4. While I think running is an excellent way to get from point A to point B on foot, I too will never run for the mere pleasure or health of it.

5. Mint chocolate chip was my (and my cat's) favorite ice cream...until Breyers invented cookie dough, though banana will always remain a top contender for my gluttonous affections.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Nutty British Sexperts


AOL Online United Kingdom posted a provocative little piece:

Many pupils form impressions of sexual activity from pornography on the internet and need better lessons at school, said Rebecca Findlay, from the Family Planning Association.

She told the Times Educational Supplement that sex is still seen as too "embarrassing'' to be discussed.

On the contrary, sex seems to be discussed and performed everywhere, even by young teens and pre-teens. Maybe we would all be better off with a little "embarrassment" or at least a little decorum?

Ms Findlay said: "We need to be able to look at someone masturbating and see it not as pornography but as instructional.'' Using such images in schools might help lift the taboos around sex, she told the TES.

What is masturbation? How do you do it? What does it feel like?

"These are conversations people should be having in sex education classes.
But in British culture, sex is something embarrassing.''

Dr David Limond, a lecturer from Trinity College Dublin, said there is no reason why appropriately-produced footage of masturbation should not be used in schools.

Oh, come on. "Taboos"? She's kidding, right? Do children really need to witness this behavior? Are we really better off destroying the mystery of the opposite sex in explicit classroom discussions and video observation? And, at the risk of pointing out the obvious, haven't people been masturbating for thousands of years without special classes? It's been my experience and that of parenting experts that little boys especially are quite conscious of their anatomy. Have the Brits and other Westerners devolved to such a level of stupidity that their young citizens can't figure out how to engage in self-love (or procreation for that matter) without classroom instruction? And while we're on the subject, how did the human race manage to procreate for thousands of years without sex education classes?

To the sexperts: stop shoving your worldview on our children. We'll have healthy, well-adjusted children-- and grandchildren-- without your help.