Tuesday, December 18, 2012

As Smart As She Is, Sarah Doesn't Get It

Take the Liza Long ("I am Adam Lanza's Mother" blog post) and Sarah Kendzior ("Want the Truth Behind Adam Lanza's Mother?" blog post)...

Liza poured her heart out about her mentally disturbed son, and Sarah commented negatively on the posting, decrying the privacy breaches of a minor, as well as scrutinizing other questionable posts in Liza's blog.

It's spats like these that point to personality differences, not necessarily issue discrepancies.  

You see, Sarah is a logical, probably left-brained thinker, having recently obtained a PhD in anthropology.  Most of what she's published has been scholarly dissertations and articles.

Liza is a creative type, probably right-brained thinker, who blogs mostly and uses imagery and metaphor with ease.

These two women could easily write essays on the exact same subject and come up with vastly different pieces.

When Sarah criticizes Liza for writing about walking up the mountain with her son and evoking the Abraham and Issac story, one can immediately see that Sarah is taking Liza's writing as more factual fantasy than metaphor.  I'm pretty sure Liza does not want a knife in her hand, neither does she desire God to call her to kill her son.  Creative writers use imagery to convey thoughts, ideas and feelings.  Sometimes these feelings are distasteful to others, but they are feelings all the same.

As a creative writer myself, I understand that we often take poetic license to express ourselves.  And, when one is driven to the breaking point, then sometimes these pictures written in words on a blog can be disturbing.  Most especially so to a logical thinker, who doesn't possess the "grain of salt" necessary to understand that the piece is not written by a madwoman, but rather by someone who would have written mythical stories in the days of old.

If you've ever had a tween or teenager in the house, and multiple children sparring with each other, then you as a parent can empathize with much of what Liza writes.  She pens, "I quit!  Let the state take care of you and your compulsive inability to stop poking people."

Sounds like a lot of moms I know, including me.

There isn't a week that goes by in my homeschooling madness and stay-at-home horrendous housekeeping that I don't just want to throw all the textbooks and crafts away and drive them to the public schools nearby.  "I quit!  Let the public educators teach you and your inability to stop poking each other!"

Okay, Logical Brained peeps, what do you think of that?  

Links to their Blogs:

Joint Statement from Both: http://sarahkendzior.com/2012/12/17/a-joint-statement-from-sarah-and-liza/

Liza: http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.com/?m=1

Sarah:  http://sarahkendzior.com/

Monday, December 17, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

A boarding school chum of mine is a school librarian, and a first grader hunted her down today...this is what transpired...

I was at my desk in the hallway (Yes, we have a Hallbrary not a Library) and a first grade student walked by and stopped to share the following:

Student: “Mrs. Cimmino, I was looking for you”

Me: “Here I am”

Student: “Did you hear about the kids that were hurt at their school?”

Me: “Yes, I did”

Student: “Well, I was thinking the other kids must be really sad and when you read that Amelia Bedelia book to us it was really funny and made us laugh so maybe you could go read the book to them and it might make them laugh and forget they are sad”.

Me: “I think that is a wonderful idea but the school is far away.”

Student: “Maybe you could send them the book. Could you send them the book?”.

Me: “I tell you what, I will send them the book and I will tell them that it is from our students to theirs.”

Student.”Will you do it today?’.

Me: “I will do it today.”

Student: “Cool”

And he walked away smiling.

And suddenly I felt better.

See the original post at:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Newtown, CT Shootings

My heart aches for those affected by this senseless act of violence. 

I pray for those parents who mourn their children tonight.

I can't imagine saying to my precious children as I dropped them off at school, "See you tonight!"  And, then never seeing them again.

God bless and comfort those who grieve tonight.  God bless those who lives are shattered.

God be with them, with the caregivers, the first responders, and with us all.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Loving the Neighbor Whose Dog Poops In Your Yard

It's funny.  It's easy to be resentful, greedy or envious and we can stay our same, wonderful selves when we justify it.

  • I can't be forgive her, you don't know what she did to me.
  • I can't love him, he doesn't treat you like he does me.
  • I can't pray for her, she has more than I do.
  • I can't be honest and repay the store, it was their fault they didn't charge me enough.
  • I can't give to them, they believe and live lies.

We can always justify incorrect actions on our part when something doesn't sit right with us about another human.  It's convenient to withhold grace and love when people don't act or live the way we think they should.

But God doesn't give us an "out."  He demands we offer forgiveness and grace in every situation, with every person.  He doesn't say, well, not if you got your feelings hurt.  No, you must love your neighbor, even when his dog poops in your yard.

Yes, it's hard to pray for someone we believe is being selfish.  Yes, it's hard to love someone who steals from us.  Yes, it's hard to give when we feel depleted.  Yet, we must.

(Now, of course, we all know that boundaries must be set up with dangerous people, and certain people cannot be in our lives--I would never let a sexual predator near my family--and we remember that forgiveness does not mean forgetting, and that it benefits the forgiver not the one forgiven.  All that has been talked about ad nauseum, so no need to rehash it here.  I mention only to keep perspective.)

All this difficult toil is necessary for our own well-being.  We don't have to put ourselves into unnecessarily difficult situations, but we do have to offer our best to everyone.  That's what differentiates us from those who would rather wallow in the misery of selfishness, greed and anger.  Shun these things and peace can be found.  Pray for those who are astray, and happiness can be achieved.  Love those that hate, and find contentment.

I want to find reasons why I can't be generous or loving.  I want to lash out at those who persecute me.  I want to find fault with others' boasts and diminish them.  I want to hate my neighbor that allows his dog to poop in my yard.  That's my flesh, desiring the hatred and self-elevation that brings a rush of adrenaline and excitement--momentary satisfaction but with long-term misery.

God knows the best for us is a positive attitude and a positive view of others.  That's why He implores us time and again to love others as ourselves.  We mask our own failings when we acknowledge the faults of others.  Something about a speck and a plank, I believe?  It's not for us to judge, but for God.  He'll take care of what needs to be done, we just need to keep on living well regardless.  

Because, let's face it, we are sinners and other people are sinners.  Only one perfect man walked the earth and he beat death.  People will fail us.  People will frustrate us.  People will drive us bonkers.  But, love them, we will.  (Too Yoda-esque?)

God instructs us to love, to forgive, to offer up prayers for others not based on our own ideas of necessity or entitlement, but on God's.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  
~Ephesians 4:29-32

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Post Script to Agree to Disagree

Here's the funny thing.  I gave up politics a little while ago, remember?  I don't pursue things political, and I certainly don't post on fb anything political.  

And so I'm just posting stuff that appeals to me, you know, stories, pictures, cute sayings, heck even a kitten photo.  

So, I guess that's why I'm all the more amazed that people can turn what I post into a political debate.  

A sad statement of our society: EVERYthing is politicized.

Interesting to note.  And, tiring.

Agree to Disagree

Post on fb about guns (I love sporting clays and targets whilst hubby is a competition shooter and hunter), election year politics (I'm a devout Libertarian), or my support of Israel (as Christians, Israel is our heritage), and my Leftist buddies will offer hot debates or intellectual discourse and comments up the wazoo.  Post a personal note about my mom's battle with Alzheimer's or such and it's just not "that interesting" for them to comment or interact.

I'm not sniping at my Liberal fb friends, I'm really not, but it's amazing to me how people feel very free to let their political opinions heard on MY timeline as I post about things dear to me, but I look at their timeline and they're so lightly politically active there.  Maybe one or two comments or links, but mostly, like all of us, posting pics of friends, events, trips and anecdotes about their daily life.  Of which, I comment and "like."

They seem to have a radar about MY hot-button issue posts.  They zero in to admonish my beliefs with lightening speed.

I know, I know that sounds totally paranoid.  And, I'd have to agree with you...if I weren't living it.

I'm not upset about it, really.  Well, maybe a little miffed they aren't playing fair in their commenting more often on my timeline about politics than their own timeline.  

To ensure I'm not paranoid--and, because today's a holiday from school in our house so I have ample time--here are my stats.  Hubby says that facts are important because they take the emotion out of a problem by concentrating solely on the numbers.

For the numbers below, "Own" is the number of charged issues they posted on their own timeline, and "Mine" is the number on my timeline.  (For as far back as I had time today to go.)

Liberal Friend #1 
Own: 4  Mine: 8

Liberal Friend #2 
Own: 2  Mine: 10

Liberal Friend #3 
Own: 7  Mine: 6

Liberal Friend #4
Own: 3  Mine: 4

That's just with my top Libbies, and I've deleted some of the posts now because that stuff just doesn't need to be there.  

Now, don't get me wrong, I appreciate and encourage this discourse.  I love my Liberal friends, because they help me see the debate from the other side, so I can reassess and adjust my own beliefs and/or remain stalwart in them.  

Since I'm getting up in age, my beliefs are pretty firmly set, though.  This is not due to stubbornness, but rather due to a solid commitment to God and a multitude of experiences in a long and varied life.  It IS very true that you get wiser with age.

I just find it interesting that people on a whole would rather have a political fight to prove their right, than humble themselves to agree to disagree.  I have a cherished Liberal friend who often says that to me, "we agree to disagree." It's so delightful!  

At some point, we all must concede that no more words will make a difference.  And, that's what people fail to understand.  Sometimes you just have to realize that you can't see eye-to-eye and you must let silence settle over an unsettled issue.

Monday, November 19, 2012

JC Penney and Gay Marriage

I posted on fb a bit about JC Penney coming out saying they were closed on Thanksgiving (unlike Walmart and Target, et. al. who are choosing to open their doors on turkey day).

A dear, sweet Christian friend private messaged me to tell me that JC Penney has a history of "coming out."  She wanted to inform me that JCP openly supports gay marriage and uses gays in adverts.

Oh boy.

If you know me, then you know my history, and you know the difficult line that people like me walk when many Christians attach a status of leprosy to gays.  I want to tell them, "Don't worry, you can't catch it!"  

My cousin was gay and died of AIDS two years ago.  My best friend growing up came out gay.  Having lived in San Francisco for many years, I have many gay friends, some of whom are married. 

I don't condone their lifestyle, but at the same time I know them as humans.  I love them as God as told us to love all sinners.  They know I'm a Christian, and they know my beliefs.  I try to be the best example of a Christ-follower to them because they hear so much hate preached against them from Christians, who were told by Jesus to love their fellow man.

I think that's the important part that most Christians miss.  Jesus was clear: 
1. Love God
2. Love Your Fellow Man.  

We don't have to love what people do, we have to love people.  We are to love people where they are.  We don't have to support sins, but we have to love those THAT sin.  

After all, aren't we ALL sinners?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Face Off with Facebook

I'm an admitted and addicted fb poster.  I go there everyday, multiple times a day, and probably post or share a minimum of 2 to 6 times daily.  It's consuming.

I am working on cutting down my fb time. I only have so many hours in a day and I really need to get the laundry done, or at least take out the recycling.  I would love to quit fb, but now it's part of my social calendar, too.  Can't have a meeting without an "events page," ya know.

I do see the lunacy in it.  Just because I'm in daily contact with a friend I haven't seen in 25 years doesn't mean we're close.  I know what she ate for breakfast and who she voted for in the election, but could we even survive a lunch together?  I don't know.

The election did me in, as far as posting my political views on fb.  It was a nightmare and I even ended up "unfriending" a recent addition to my friends roster.  She felt my timeline was her posting venue for all things far left, including wacky conspiracy theories.  She left link after link, but no real substantive debate.   

Even my waaaay liberal friends know that you comment, have a little discourse, and then you move on.  She never moved on, she moved in.  I tried the nice approach, explaining to her both publicly and privately the rules I have for my timeline, but she just didn't understand.  Or, maybe she didn't want to.  I'm not sure, but I am sure that I don't need more of that.

There's only room for one conspiracy theory nut on MY timeline, and it's me!

I have a love/hate relationship with fb.  I couldn't live without it, I'm sure.  How would I know what events to attend without the event calendar?  How would I know what Mahayla fixed for dinner?  Or what trending cartoon Bob just posted?  And, let's face it, we all love the kittens.  Bring on the kittens.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

God Doesn't Belong to a Political Party

This chick?  No more politics!

Okay, okay, you think I'm only saying that because my guy lost, or because of the negative attitudes and adverts, or because my liberal friends hijacked my Facebook timeline.*  

While those things were certainly annoying, they are not the reason I'm giving up politics.

I'm giving up politics because God has made it VERY clear to me that I'm to follow HIM, not a political agenda.

It was actually like a warm wave washing over me, I felt so relaxed and content in my release of all things political.  I eschewed Fox News, CNN, talk radio, and anything political on Facebook and Twitter.  The most I've done is scan the headlines to see if there's anything important--and there never is.

I haven't taken the slightest interest in the latest Washington sex scandal, the healthcare debate as it pertains to pizza, or which side will push us off a fiscal cliff.  I really don't care.  I can't control it, so it can't touch me. 

The politicos have led us to believe that we are important in the process, we count, our vote matters.  

In truth, it doesn't matter one bit.  Not a particle.

Let's face it, the politicians in Washington are after two things: money and power.  They care little of what happens to us, and even less about our causes.  They USE our pet causes to advance their careers.  They don't care about gay marriage or family values or gun rights or entitlements.  Maybe they do a bit, but in regards to their careers, they don't.  They use those hot button issues to drive voters to the booths so they can keep a steady stream of blood flowing into Washington to satiate their vampire hunger.  They need blocks of voters (regardless of issue) to vote for them so that they can do two things: stay powerful and rich.

In a similar vein, one must also reason that the press also benefits from this political warfare.  They stay powerful and rich as long as the voting blocks are riled up.  MSNBC and Fox News have determined their core markets and have gone after them with a vengeance.  While certain personalities on either side of the spectrum may fervently believe in one cause or another or one side or another, what ultimately matters is the money and power they receive from pandering to their audiences.  If the winds shifted to cause bank rolls to move in another direction, you'd see them follow suit, too.  The press uses the voting block just the same as the politicians.  

In the end it really doesn't matter if the Democrats or the Republicans win or lose.  It doesn't change my life one iota.  Sure, you can argue that the Democrats will turn our country into a socialist regime or the Republicans will set us back socially 50 yrs, but in reality neither of those will happen when their sides win.  We'll continue to teeter-totter on the triangle of a governmental system designed to support and encourage averages not fringe elements.  Things will change, but that will have more to do with us as a people in our society and daily interactions than what is regulated in Washington.

So, with such little control over things I used to think were so vital, so necessary for our country, I have turned to God. Solely to Him to meet my every need.  I worship, pray, and read the Bible instead of delving into the political spectrum.  I find His word and His direction so much more appealing and satisfying.  It is ultimately God not politics that will change MY world.


*Just kidding liberal fb friends, there was only one person I had to "unfriend" due to the fact she felt my timeline was her personal posting venue.  She needed to use her own timeline as her pulpit not mine, so I benevolently gave her that opportunity.  The rest of you presented wonderful discourse, and I thank you!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Preach the Politics, Pastors!!

A good friend drafted a Facebook post asking for reactions to the photo inside a church that used an Oval Office set for the pulpit and preached on a series entitled "Hail to the Chief," with the chief being Jesus.  Voter registration was being taken in the lobby and a Ronald Reagan bust displayed prominently on the Oval Office set.

Needless to say, my dear Christian friend friends' subsequent reactions centered on the axiom regarding no political preaching from the pulpit.

Sigh.  My reaction? 

Preach the politics, pastors!!


Here's the deal: political discussions SHOULD be prominent in our churches because being Christian means putting God in every aspect of our lives, not just "at church" or "during worship."  So, Oval Office set, preaching politics and voter registration?  I find that just fine, thank-you-very-much.  The Ronald Reagan bust and endorsing specific politicians?  I'm not good with that, even as a former Reaganite.

We need to understand God's view on the political positions of our day so we can vote according to His will, not our own.  Too many people exclude God from the voting booth, when He should be front and center.  We MUST bring God into the voting booth with us, so the governors of our land will be instated by God not by man.  

The whole exclusion of God from politics and politics from churches seems to me to come directly from the enemy.  If you can keep the church silent on political issues, then the only voices will come from humans.  If you can keep people from thinking about God while they are in the booth, then you can keep them voting with their emotions and feelings rather than God's will.  This smacks of enemy stealth to me. 

In 1954 an amendment was made to the IRS tax code specifying that tax-exempt organizations were prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for elective office.  

It is commonly believed that this amendment prohibits churches from talking about politics.  Ask most Christians and they are fervent in their belief that politics and church don't mix.

They couldn't be further from the truth.

I believe that Christians have been duped into believing an enemy lie.  To me this passage states that tax-exempt organizations such as churches can't support or oppose any specific candidate, a person not an issue.  I believe it provides leeway for churches to talk about political issues that affect our daily lives, just not the behavior of endorsing candidates.

In an event called "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" on October 7, 2012 over 1000 pastors have pledged to talk about and endorse certain candidates.  While I can't go as far to agree with their preaching about candidates, I am encouraged that a discussion of politics will enter our churches. 

We live in an age where churches have watered-down their messages to attract larger "audiences," and not only have eschewed political issues, but rather any inflammatory Biblical teachings.  God's Word has become a cafeteria line of picking and choosing that which mollifies the masses and discarding any prickly subject that would repel church goers. 

I hope that Christians as they approach the voting booth on November 6 will study, prepare and pray for God's guidance in their choices.  


Monday, August 13, 2012

Election Prayer

Here's what I posted on my Facebook status update this morning....I am not going to post any more political messages until the election.  Every time I want to post something political, I will pray to God.  I will pray to Him to work within us Americans, so that the outcome of Nov. 6 will create a America that will be a leader and a healer of less-fortunate nations, a symbol of freedom to the shackled world, and a giver of hope to the hopeless.  If America isn't a dominate world leader, we cannot effectively help others.  We cannot offer freedom, hope or goodness to ourselves let alone any foreign people.  We must be the best country in the world, because our dollars equate food, medicine and shelter to millions in the far reaches of the earth.  We offer immigrants freedom from oppressive governments and religious tyranny, and in that freedom is opportunity and a chance at a better life, not for us, but for those who have not been as blessed.  I feel each one of us should pray for that kind of America, one that creates blessings and opportunities for others so that we can satisfactorily rest at the end of the day knowing we did everything we could to reach out to the world and leave it a better place.  I pray the election of Nov. 6 will provide that kind of America, what can be a gift not only to our individual freedoms and pursuits of happiness, but those of the entire world.  Please God, help our country become one that focuses on helping other nations.       

Monday, May 21, 2012

Disrespect Obama, Go to Jail

This is frightening.  NC teacher berates student for bringing up something negative about Obama's past--something that Obama himself wrote about in one of his memoirs--and she calls it "disrespecting the President."  She tells him that he can be arrested for such an act, then goes on to insinuate that he could be arrested without having his rights read.

It's sad to watch this video and realize the student knows more about the laws in country than the teacher.  He could probably teach the class better than she.

If this is what passes for intellectual discourse in public education count us out.  We will continue to homeschool, thank you.



Monday, April 9, 2012

Hunger Games

So, now I've been classified as a "hater" because I don't want to be entertained by the trendy movie "everyone" is dying to see. Seriously? I'm a "hater" because I don't want to be entertained like others want to be entertained?

Let's get it straight: I am not a Hunger Games "hater."

I just have a problem with the portrayal of children being randomly selected to kill other children. It's a personal issue, and I totally take it for that. I know the story and context and the horrendous fact that we already living it! Hello, sweatshops, kids drafted into wars, and children working and living in deplorable conditions throughout the world, anyone?  There's a reason we buy Fair Trade.

Our society could get worse if we don't watch out. That's why the "Hunger Games" and other examples of this type of fiction are so important! These themes are vital to our continued advancement as a society. I'm jazzed by the kids who are totally getting the message of these books and the movie. They should! They need to!

But, please, just because I have a problem with the way the themes are portrayed, don't call me a "hater." I simply have a different point of view about what I can personally handle in the fiction I read and see. There are a ton of great books I'll never read because I need peace in my psyche more than I need visions in my head.

Some of us are more sensitive than others to certain issues. I don't hate the Hunger Games, I just don't want to read the books or see the movie. It's a preference not a political stance.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lunch Police

A 4-year-old girl had her homemade lunch taken away when a State Agent deemed the lunch did not follow USDA guidelines for a nutritious lunch.  As a more nutritious alternative, the school provided her with a tray lunch and presented her parents with a bill for it.

The homemade lunch?  Turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips and apple juice.  (Sounds like a really healthy lunch to me!)

The Tray lunch?  We're not sure of the entire contents, but the girl ONLY ate 3 chicken nuggets off of it.  

Hmmmm.  Only our government would believe that processed, fried, white-flour laden chicken bits are healthier than freshly made from love and scratch sandwich and fruit.

When we live in a country where State Agents are inspecting homemade lunches and passing judgment, we have lost all freedom from tyranny. This lunacy MUST end.

Here's why this should bother you regardless of where your children eat or if you even have children: this incident is but a milestone on our slippery slope to a police state. Get rid of God, make sure no being is above government. Get rid of parents, make sure no one but government influences children. Get rid of free markets, make sure everyone is dependent upon government. 

If TSA, DHHS and the DMV are indicative of government solutions, then you can predict our future, America. Too bad so many people forget (or never knew!) what communist Russia was like. A trip down memory lane would be in order. Communism and Socialism do not work because governments don't work. You cannot get something for nothing no matter how beautifully you wrap it. It's still a shell game and we'll be the losers.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston's National Anthem

It was the height of national patriotism that moment in time during Super Bowl XXV in January of 1991.  We were the red, white and blue.  Operation Desert Shield had just become Desert Storm thrusting us into war for the first time since Vietnam.  We were pro-military, pro-troops, pro-America!  

And, Whitney Houston brought us to our feet.  

In living rooms all across America and the world, Americans stood proud and patriotic. We put down our Super Bowl libations, pressed hands to our hearts and listened in collective silence as the Florida Orchestra cued Whitney Houston.  That night she belted out what has become known as the greatest singing of the National Anthem anywhere, anytime.  Cheers erupted, tears flowed and every American heart in the world swelled with national pride.  

It's easy to recall that feeling now since most of us have lived though 9/11 and can clearly remember the flag-lined neighborhood streets screaming an autumnal Fourth of July.  But, back then, in 1991 this was a new experience for us as a country.  Of the older crowd, some had healed from the acidic bath of Vietnam, but many more hadn't.  Those of us too young to understand the giant rift that had taken place, simply chose to ignore.  We talked of the military in hushed tones and often our history teachers never made it past JFK's assassination before school year's end.

But 1991 dawned a new era.  Patriotism blew across the land as an unexpected wind snapped our sails and sent us forth, walking a little taller, talking a little louder, acting a bit bolder.

Whitney Houston's performance on the field that evening in Tampa--bad costume choices aside--will always embody for me those heady days where we learned again to be proud of our country and raise the colors with honor on our houses and in public squares.

Thank you, Whitney, for lending your stunning instrument to a moment in history when we all needed to hear, "O'er the land of the free, and home of the brave!"

Rest in peace, Whitney.  God Bless America.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Planned Parenthood and the Susan G. Komen Mess

I'll just say it.  I believe in the sanctity of life.  All life.

How anyone can walk with God and not realize that life is sacred, doesn't know the God I know.

So, I'm an oddity.  The Left want to end death row killings but support abortion.  The Right want to end abortions but support death row killings.  Totally insane, say I.

I believe in life.  I don't think killing someone is the worst punishment.  I vote for stricter conditions for lifers.  I vote for necessities only, no cable tv and workout rooms.  I vote for life sentences for our most dire cases.

I believe in life.  I don't think a baby is a mistake.  I vote for a baby's chance at their own life.  I vote for adoption.  I vote for families raising kids.  I vote for premarital sexual abstinence.

It's not our right to take a life.  Any life.  If you are of Judeo-Christian belief, then you have to follow the 6th commandment which tells us not to kill.  Anything else is fooling ourselves.  Life is sacred and should be protected. 

The Susan G. Komen mess with Planned Parenthood created quite a stir and that's been a really good thing for us all to talk about and get us thinking about various issues regarding female healthcare and abortions.  The Susan G. Komen organization cut funding to Planned Parenthood due to a grant regulation and it wasn't tied to abortion, but it got us all talking about these women's healthcare issues.

As for me, I wish Planned Parenthood could split into two organizations.  One that promotes the health of women and the other that oversees the killing of babies.

I love the part of Planned Parenthood that provides decent healthcare for at-risk women.  When I was young, struggling financially, and didn't have health insurance, I frequented Planned Parenthood for yearly checkups and female screenings.  For a sliding scale fee, I could get a yearly exam which I could easily afford.  That cost me a fraction of what a physician's visit at the time would be.  It was a great help to me.

I know that Planned Parenthood centers help millions of other women a year with exams, tests, referrals, check-ups, etc.  They are filling a great need, helping poor women and women without insurance obtain proper female medical care and access to STD and pregnancy testing.

But, then there's that other thing they do.  That outpatient medical procedure that is legal and safe,--not really safe, but more about THAT at another time--the vast number of abortions they perform every year.    

And, that's what causes me pause every time.  I believe that a baby has a right to have a shot at life.  Any life.  Even a poor life.  In any just society, a baby cannot be a "problem."  We can't start killing babies simply because they are inconvenient or we can't afford them.

The pro-choicers wrap the abortion issue in a nice, pretty blanket called "a woman's right to choose."  But that belies what is happening.  Abortion is a life is snuffed out.  A life that wanted nothing more to come into this world to be held, loved and comforted by the very person who decided to kill it.  Everyone freaks out at cruelty to animals, but seriously a mother killing her baby, isn't that just a little more intense?

SIDE BAR: If you've had an abortion and are having a hard time grappling with the past, please visit  www.afterabortion.org.  You can find healing and help there for Post Abortion Stress Syndrome.  Pregnant?  They also have many fine resources anyone who is pregnant and struggling with what to do.

I wish the Planned Parenthood organization would stop participating in the 1.21 million abortions performed yearly.  But they won't.

So, could they at least split into two groups?  They could have one part take over the abortion clinics and the other act as healthcare clinics.  That way, I could support the health clinics.  I could get behind their great works in helping under-served women access medical care.  I would not fear that government funds taken from my tax dollars could be misdirected, accidentally or otherwise, to abortions.  I would rest happy knowing that women's healthcare needs were taken care of outside that which I don't support.

I kinda wish the backlash of the Susan G. Komen funding problem didn't cause them to cave to political pressure and change their rules to allow funding of Planned Parenthood to continue.  The issue will now go away and further discussion and inspection of these topics will no longer be a central theme in our conversations.  Even though the Susan G. Komen foundation stated clearly their move wasn't tied to abortion it was tied to a government investigation and their grant rules, the fact that we were all talking about Planned Parenthood and what it stands for was a good thing!  

I can't tell you how many mothers with whom I spoke, like me, used Planned Parenthood in their youth and are supporters of the healthcare side of it.  All of my Christian friends were in agreement that the abortion side of Planned Parenthood really made them uneasy regarding the organization.  And this, despite their fervent belief that the women's healthcare delivery side of it was necessary and beneficial to many under-serviced women and communities.

We need to talk about these issues, understand these issues and re-evaluate where we stand on these issues.  We can't keep shoving this to the back burner and giving up on debate.  We need to talk about it, and hear the sides.  Stephen Covey says, "seek first to understand."  We need to listen.  Then we need to think.  Then we need to talk.

As for me, I've been many places on my journey, but after much introspection and prayer I have come to conclusion that life matters.  It matters a whole lot.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Repeat, Reuse, Recycle

I'm tired of politicians using the same line over and over again but not actually putting their words into practice.  It's on BOTH sides of the aisle, so I'm not bashing one over the other here.  It's a problem rampant throughout our political system.  

It's for the children!  We need to do something about the environment!  We have to reform social security!

Time and again the call rings out in speeches, year after year, the same rhetoric, and not one single foot steps forward on any of these issues.  THEN, if the government DOES act, it's a disaster.  Take the incandescent light bulb nonsense.  Instead of energy-sucking incandescent bulbs, I must now buy eco-friendly, kilowatt-saving bulbs.  Never mind that they are filled with deadly poisonous mercury (green, indeed!) and when I need to get rid of them I have to take them to a center set up specifically for hazardous waste disposal.  And if I break one, I practically need to call in a HazMat team.  Um, yeah, that's SO much better.  Thank you, government.

Here's an excerpt from the Weekly Standard highlighting Obama's common phrases...

"Obama 2010: "It's time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs.
Obama 2012: "Colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down."
Obama 2010: "And we should continue the work by fixing our broken immigration system."
Obama 2011: "I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration."
Obama 2012: "I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration."
Obama 2010: "We face a deficit of trust."
Obama 2012: "I've talked tonight about the deficit of trust . . ."
Obama 2010: "We can't wage a perpetual campaign."
Obama 2012: "We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign."
The good news is that after a couple years these sorts of speeches begin to write themselves."
Yup, and what exactly has HE done other than repeat these tired, old lines?  At least he's recycling.  Career politicians need to be ousted.  We need term limits NOW!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Occupy Wall Street Money Woes

So you know in theory I agree with what the OWS crowd stands for: a smaller and less-involved government, revoking government officials ability to profit from their own legislation, and sweeping reformation of the banking system.

I don't agree with their Sixties-style sleeping, living and defecating on public property methods, but if these are in fact their stance on the issues, I do agree with them.

Here's a tidbit I learned today.  OWS is fighting over money.  I know, ironic, huh?  

The protesters who stand for the little people and against big business and big profits found themselves on the receiving end of $700,000.  As of this week they've winnowed that boon down to $170,000 left in their coffers.  And, that's causing quite a stir in the camps.

How did this happen?

In an article in the Wall Street Journal, Steven Ahmadi, a protester who has been on the scene since the beginning says, "With such an influx of donations, we've begun to rely on economic capital."  

He diagnosed the group's problem as the "nonprofit industrial complex."  Which he defines as the "trap that the mission becomes more about sustaining the organization than its message."

I think many of us could have seen this coming.  They have become that which they protest against.

We have to be very careful about this, especially as the "class warfare" fight heats up this year.  It's not only the love of money that is evil, but also the protecting of money.  When people stake their claim on a piece of the pie, the fight becomes about sustaining their very own piece and no longer about the core issues.

I think the OWS crowd is finding out that it's not so easy when they're the stewards of capital.  There's something inherent about money that makes us act in ways that divert us from our core causes and beliefs.  You see this happen time and again in churches, organizations, governments, families, etc.  When the focus goes from our endeavors to paying for our endeavors, money can hypnotize, it can entrance, it can seductively woo.  We leave friendships, partnerships, ideals, morals and even God at the door when we enter the bank vault.  We commit crimes we normally wouldn't when money is concerned.

The OWS crowd is fighting now over how the funds have been spent, and how they will continue to be spent.  Not that they've left much to work with.  These days 170K isn't much for any company or organization.  So much for the camps' "nic at nite" booths where you can roll your own tobacco for free.

The ugly truth, I believe, is that evil doesn't use money to thwart us, evil IS money.  

I know the Biblical passage: the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.  Well, I'm not so sure those hippies in the Sixties didn't get it right when they said, "Money is the root of all evil."

Money can solve problems, surely, but I've seen more done on a shoestring budget with human sweat equity than I've seen done with a large donor check.  Usually the large check is the start of an organization's problems.  How to spend it, when to spend it, who gets a say in the spending, who gets a cut of it...blah, blah, blah.  You see where this goes?

Money seems to me to be a stumbling block not a pathway to goodness.  If it can make the idealistic OWS crowd leave their core issues and bicker over their bank balance, then this looks to be a microcosm of everyone's dealings with money.  From personal finances to big business to federal government, the spending of money is an instigator for fighting.

In this year 2012, we'll be hearing more and more about "class warfare."  They don't call it "class bickering" or "class tiffing" for a reason.  It's decidedly "class WARFARE."  Money makes war and war makes money.  But it is money that trips us up like a wedding reception's open bar to alcoholic Aunt Edna.  There will blatant video footage.

Money.  Fighting.  People.  I don't have a nice, neat answer or perfect wrap up for all this either.  I'm just thinking out loud....


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mission Field: Planet Earth

One of the unintended consequences of churches "selling" their congregation on a charity is that some people get tunnel vision.  They feel that they can ONLY give to the rescue mission, the African project, the church in Indonesia, the orphanage in Haiti, etc.  They so "buy into" the cause that they forget the mission field is the planet earth.  While it's great to get church peeps on board with a cause, and focused resources can truly make a difference, this type of rallying can make people myopic.

I witnessed this firsthand when I was working for a national blood bank.  

We were having a blood drive right after the Haiti earthquake and we were pleading with people to donate blood because the need for blood was great.  What we couldn't say was that our Florida banks were shipping their blood to Haiti and we were shipping our extra blood to FL to help them out, and in turn some of that blood, too, was going to Haiti.  I could only tell people that because we were helping out Haiti we were in dire need for blood.  Period.  

I was manning a church table signing up congregants for the blood drive.  I actually had a confrontation with this man who said that I had to prove to him that his blood was going to Haiti or else he wouldn't donate.  Whaat?!  I mean, who says such a ridiculous thing?  

He only wanted his blood to go to Haiti.  Not to a dying patient in NC or FL or wherever his blood ended up?  Like the American kid with cancer doesn't deserve his blood, only a Haitian kid?  So, he keeps his blood rather than give it to someone who isn't Haitian.  Or, maybe his blood would have gone to Haiti.  You know it just might have, but since he didn't sign up and didn't donate he never gave it a chance.

I think that when churches rally their peeps around a cause (which is a very good thing, btw!!) they should perhaps couch their battle cry with also remembering WHY we help out others.  Not to hold one group above others, but because God wants us to help out our fellow man...everywhere.  

Our mission field is the planet earth.  Yes, combined, focused resources on one cause can make a great difference, but we can't say, I only give my money to Haiti, or Africa, or India.  We have to put some change in the Salvation Army bucket, too.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

No ID, No Drano!

So the new law in Chicago is: buy Drano, show government issued photo ID.  

And, the national law is: buy Sudafed, show photo ID and register purchase in a national database.

But anyone can just show up and vote without ID?  

Methinks this is wrong.  Flat wrong.

If you argue with me, you may NOT use the terms "disenfranchised," "racist," or "socioeconomic."

I'm not buying the line that people will be unable to vote simply because they have to obtain a government issued ID.  If can't get my drain or my nose unplugged without a government issued ID, then we cannot be concerned about people obtaining proof of themselves to vote.  Voting is serious.  

No one on government assistance can obtain that assistance without ID.  No one can drive, travel outside the country, check out a library book, open a checking or savings account or cash a paycheck without a photo ID.

Photo IDs will lessen voter fraud and make us all feel a little more assured that the voting results (WHATEVER THEY MAY BE) are just and accurate.