Archive for March, 2007

A really good resource for information about Darfur is found at the Guardian (a British paper).

They have a Q & A about the conflict. And a whole section on Special Reports about Sudan.

This is a letter from the Save Darfur Coalition If you haven’t taken action yet please take 3 minutes and send a letter to your congressional delegation and other leaders. I thank you and the millions of men, women, and children who are impacted thank you.

Dear friends,

Did you know that 2.5 million people have been driven from their homes in Darfur, Sudan? Each day, they face threats that are hard for us to even imagine including rape, disease, and starvation.

These people need our help to put an end to the genocide and they need it NOW.

Please join me in taking the first step to stopping the violence.

Click the link below to sign the Save Darfur Coalition’s petition urging President Bush and UN Secretary-General Ban to take immediate steps to stop the killing.
http://action.savedarfur.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=7071

Together, we can make a difference in the lives of millions of people in the region who desperately need outside help.

The Save Darfur Coalition is urging President Bush and the UN Secretary-General to prevent further killings, displacement, and rape by deploying UN peacekeepers, strengthening the understaffed African Union force that is already in Darfur, establishing and enforcing a no-fly zone, increasing humanitarian aid, and ensuring access for delivery of food, medication and other essential supplies.

Please do not stand by while the violence continues – you can make a difference. Click below now to get involved.
http://action.savedarfur.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=7071

Then please forward this message to your friends and family and ask them to join you.

If you’d like to make a donation to support the campaign, click the link below.
https://secure.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/darfur/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=2083

Thanks for your help.

Since late 2004 I have been involved in a Muncie/Delaware County coalition called Youth Empowerment. One of the major focuses is on assisting local youth workers with their youth work.

Part of this is using the Search Institute‘s 40 Developmental Assets.

So I became involved with SI and reviewed a book for them. I reviewed a “book” called Instant Assets. It is actually a CD of 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message.

I enjoyed the reading and the idea of it and said so in my review to them. They decided to use one of my quotes on the cover:

It says: “This is a quick and easy educational tool that can be used to build a community that is asset aware. Plus, it provides action steps that each person can use to make a difference in the lives of young people.”

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Time Magazine’s Cover Story this week was entitled “Why We Should Teach the Bible in Public School

Its an interesting article to read and provides some decent reasons and proof that its ok to teach the Bible in public schools.

“Citing a series of Supreme Court decisions culminating in 1963’s Abington Township School District v. Schempp, which removed prayer and devotion from the classroom, the skeptics ask whether it is safe to bring back the source of all that sectarianism. But a new, post-Schempp coalition insists it is essential to do so. It argues that teaching the Bible in schools–as an object of study, not God’s received word–is eminently constitutional. The Bible so pervades Western culture, it says, that it’s hard to call anyone educated who hasn’t at least given thought to its key passages. Finally, it claims that the current civic climate makes it a “now more than ever” proposition. Says Stephen Prothero, chair of the Boston University religion department, whose new book, Religious Literacy (Harper SanFrancisco), presents a compelling argument for Bible-literacy courses: “In the late ’70s, [students] knew nothing about religion, and it didn’t matter. But then religion rushed into the public square. What purpose could it possibly serve for citizens to be ignorant of all that?” The “new consensus” for secular Bible study argues that knowledge of it is essential to being a full-fledged, well-rounded citizen.”

The Final Paragraph:

“Prothero may be overly sanguine about the workings of the U.S. court system. But even if he’s wrong, this shouldn’t stop schools from making some effort to teach the Bible. The study doesn’t have to be mandatory. In a national school system overscheduled with basic skills, other topics such as history and literature deserve core status more than Scripture–provided that these classes address it themselves, where appropriate. But if an elective is offered, it should be twinned mandatorily with a world religions course, even if that would mean just a semester of each. Within that period students could be expected to read and discuss Genesis, the Gospel of Matthew, a few Moses-on-the-mountain passages and two of Paul’s letters. No one should take the course but juniors and seniors. The Bible’s harmful as well as helpful uses must be addressed, which could be done by acknowledging that religious conservatives see the problems as stemming from the abuse of the holy text, while others think the text itself may be the culprit. The course should have a strong accompanying textbook on the model of The Bible and Its Influence but one that is willing to deal a bit more bluntly with the historical warts. And some teacher training is a must: at a bare minimum, about their constitutional obligations.”

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Its hard to believe that something like this could still occur:

Quoted from Free Shaquanda Cotton

“I am a 14-year-old black freshman who shoved a hall monitor at Paris High School in a dispute over entering the building before the school day had officially begun and was sentenced to 7 years in prison. I have no prior arrest record, and the hall monitor–a 58-year-old teacher’s aide–was not seriously injured. I was tried in March 2006 in the town’s juvenile court, convicted of “assault on a public servant” and sentenced by Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville to prison for up to 7 years, until I turn 21. Just three months earlier, Superville sentenced a 14-year-old white girl, convicted of arson for burning down her family’s house, to probation.”

I found this information from The Moderate Voice article today.

According to the Chicago Tribune, it gets worse:

“Cotton, now 15, has been incarcerated at a youth prison in Brownwood, Texas, for the last year on a sentence that could run until her 21st birthday. But like many of the other youths in the system, she is eligible to earn earlier release if she achieves certain social, behavioral and educational milestones while in prison.

But officials at the Ron Jackson Correctional Complex have repeatedly extended Shaquanda’s sentence because she refuses to admit her guilt and because she was found with contraband in her cell–an extra pair of socks.”

All I can say is WOW, who would have thought this type of “justice” still occured.

Refreshing, Cleansing, Vital, Deadly, Fun, Powerful, Gentle, Calming

These are all words that can describe water.

But, did you know that 1.2 Billion people do not have access to clean, safe water?

World Water Day March 22, 2007 Imagine having to walk miles every day to fetch clean water for you and your family, and to trudge miles back carrying heavy jugs of water. Think about how this must affect a mother, her child, a community.

Did You Know?
• A child dies every 15 seconds from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and inadequate sanitation.
• Women and girls most often retrieve water for their families. This difficult labor can take all day. This means that many girls cannot go to school and women cannot hold paid jobs.
• In sub-Saharan Africa, people in cities are twice as likely to have safe water as people living in rural areas.

Have We Made Any Progress?
Some, but not enough. Access to clean water is improving. By working with governments to implement water supply stations, a full 80% of people in the developing world now have access to clean water, up from 71% in 1990.

Find out more by visiting this site

Or this one

Blood: Water Mission is doing some great well-building with their 1,000 Well Project

Remember that others might not be enjoying the same benefits from water as we are.

I wasn’t sure what to blog about today, but while running and listening to one of Taylor‘s chapel podcasts from their Relational Enrichment Week the speaker (John Coe) was talking about the heart and how we don’t set out each morning to sin and the many other issues of our heart. He closed by reading from Psalm 139. It is really a great Psalm and worth sharing and reading often.

From the NIV:

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to [b] me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.

19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

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If I was forced to vote today, I would pick one of the following candidates (some of which probably have no chance of even getting their party nomination).

Republican

Sam Brownback

Mike Huckabee

Democrat

Barak Obama

John Edwards

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