Sunday, November 04, 2007

Golden Compass, Dog, No Child Left Behind

Okay--Here's my analysis from a Christian worldview.

Movies: The Golden Compass seems to have raised the ire of conservative Christians for promoting atheism and denigrating Christianity. The media picked up the battle in news pieces
like this. Personally, I think it takes as much faith to believe in atheism as Christianity. In America, proponents of worldviews, ideas, and religions are free to express them and people are free to oppose them, accept them, reject them, or care less! Movies like "Narnia" can be sold to one market and "The Golden Compass" to another.

So here's my rub as one of those conservative Christians. Why do Christian activist groups react to some movies and not others? Why one of the ten commandments over another (atheism violates the first commandment, but what about movies that promote theft, killing sexual promiscuity, etc.?)

Why is there such a reaction to an atheistic movie but not to atheism in other forums such as educational institutions? Personally, I think proactive efforts are far more impacting than reactive efforts anyhow.

TV: Dog the Bounty Hunter used the "N" word and the
Arts and Entertainment Network dropped his show before The Rev. Al Sharpton's crusade could hurt them with lost advertisers. Dog, begged mercy at the Good Reverend's feet, yada yada, yada. He likes his paycheck and fame. God bless him.If Al Sharpton reaps what he sows, eventually a white crusader will show up to give the Rev. and his cohort a taste of their own medicine. Watch out African Americans in the media, entertainment, and public places. With what measurement you judge, you will be judged. Dog like Imus will be back...

Politics and Education: Is "No Child Left Behind" effective? Educators are on the minds of the 2008 Presidential hopefuls as they debate "No Child Left Behind." I love school teachers. There are four in our church and my son and daughter-in-law are teachers in the public schools. All of these great people are highly trained and capable of educating children, yet "No Child Left Behind" is tying their hands. State programs will not fix why children are having trouble learning. What has gone wrong is a major cultural and social phenomena--broken families and homes--something the government cannot fix by legislation.

While this may sound simple, teachers being surrogate parents and having to socialize children, then have the added burden of "No Child Left Behind" testing is not a solution to our children's educational woes. Education must focus on learning, not babysitting. Families staying together, living responsible lives, parents learning parenting skills, and teachers being free to educate in reading, writing, math, and science will be more effective than "No Child Left Behind.

Parents--you are ruining America when you don't provide a stable home with good solid values and morals at the center. Here is where non-profits, charities, and faith can do a better job than the government.

Kevin Baker

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Those Who Walk In Darkness Will See Light

As the fires in California rage on, I am reading a book about darkness and personal growth. For me, 2007 has been a year of darkness with little pieces of light breaking through the dark clouds now and then. Today I am thinking about all those in California walking in darkness.

At Christmas we hear the quote from the biblical Book of Isaiah 9:2 which says, "The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them." Welcome words when we are in the dark.

What is darkness? Author Joyce Rupp says darkness might be any or all of the following:

1. A time in which the energy and focus of life is almost completely funneled into physical, emotional, or psychic pain.

2. An experience of being buried in deep sorrow and grief.

3. A discouraging and empty inner sojourn when nothing seems valuable or worthwhile.

4. A stage of spiritual desolation in which there is no sense of God's presence and little or no desire for things of the spirit.

5. A battle of indecision and struggle, when the unknowns and fears of the future press painfully on decision to be made.

6. A fog-like state when life is confusing, unclear, and seemingly impenetrable.

7. A situation with evil and atrocity which threaten to overpower or annihilate.

8. An excruciating time of helplessness in which one feels paralyzed or powerless to alleviate the pain of another.

9. An on-going negativity which brings with it a constant state of frustration, irritation, and dissatisfaction.

For me, darkness brings anger, grief, and fear. Yet, dark times come whether we want them or not. Darkness has taught me that it can be an opportunity for growth--to become bitter or better. The other truth is that eventually the dark night ends and the light of hope, a future, and better days does begin to shine on us again.

For all in California and for their loved ones around the nation impacted by the fires, our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with you in this time of darkness. Let us all give to help those who are hurting.