Ying to Yang

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A thought provoking Email


It is written in the Bible (Galatians 6:7): "Be not deceived; God is> >not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Here are some men and women who mocked God:

JOHN LENNON:
Some years before, during his interview with an American Magazine,he said: "Christianity will end, it will disappear. I do not have to argue about that. I am certain. Jesus was ok, but his subjects were too simple, Today we are more famous than Him" (1966). Lennon, after saying that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, was shot six times.

TANCREDO NEVES (President of Brazil):
During the Presidential campaign, he said if he got 500,000 votes from his party, not even God would remove him from Presidency. Sure he got the votes, but he got sick a day before being made President, then he died.

CAZUZA (Bi-sexual Brazilian composer, singer and poet):
During a show in Caneco ( Rio de Janeiro ), whilst smoking his cigarette, he puffed out some smoke into the air and said: "God, that's for you." He died at the age of 32 of AIDS in a horrible manner.

THE MAN WHO BUILT TITANIC:
After the construction of Titanic, a reporter asked him how safe the Titanic would be. With an ironic tone he said: "Not even God can sink it" The result: I think you all know what happened to the Titanic.

MARILYN MONROE:
She was visited by Billy Graham during a presentation of a show. He said the Spirit of God had sent him to preach to her. After hearing what the Preacher had to say, she said: "I don't need your Jesus". A week later, she was found dead in her apartment.

BON SCOTT:
The ex-vocalist of the AC/DC. On one of his 1979 songs he sang: "Don't stop me, I'm going down all the way, down the highway to hell". On the 19th of February 1980, Bon Scott was found dead, he had been choked by his own vomit.

CAMPINAS/SP IN 2005
In Campinas, Brazil a group of friends, drunk, went to pick up a friend. The mother accompanied her to the car and was so worried about the drunkenness of her friends and she said to the daughter - holding her hand, who was already seated in the car: "MY DAUGHTER, GO WITH GOD AND MAY HE PROTECT YOU." She responded: "ONLY IF HE (GOD) TRAVELS IN THE TRUNK, CAUSE INSIDE HERE IT'S ALREADY FULL" Hours later, news came by that they had been involved in a fatal accident, everyone had died, the car could not be recognized what type of car it had been, but surprisingly, the trunk was intact. The police said there was no way the trunk could have remained intact. To their surprise, inside the trunk was a crate of eggs, none were broken.

Many more important people have forgotten that there is no other name that was given so much authority as the name of Jesus. Many have died, but only Jesus died and rose again, and he is still alive. JESUS!!!

P.S: If it was a joke, you would have sent it to everyone. So are you going to have courage to send this?. I have done my part, Jesus said "If you are embarrassed about me, I will also be embarrassed about you before my father." What benefit does it have, if a man gains the whole world but> loses> >his soul? What can man give in exchange of his soul? (Mathew 16:26).




This email was sent to me and it made me stop and think for awhile. I see now why organized Christianity is sounding so unappealing these days. It's not because of Christianity, it's because of people's interpretations of Christianity. I believe that God would be embarrassed by this email. It portrays him as this being that sits up in the sky and curses us to death if we "mock" him. The Bible says that God is a kind, benevolent and forgiving God. Bad things happen to people. Children get cancer and die. Car wrecks shorten peoples' lives who have everything good to live for. These things happen to people who are Christians as well as non-Christians. Somewhere along the way someone learned that by using scare tactics, people would turn into sheep. I do not think that this is how God envisioned religion. I believe that God is very saddened by what we have created.

Anna

Monday, November 20, 2006

Quick Post


Not much time these days. I'm in the middle of exams so posts may not be as frequent until Christmas holidays. Just a quick suggestion. Ted Koppel's documentary on Iran that is being aired on the Discovery Channel is wonderful! It's a real eye-opener as to how they feel over there. I consider it a must-see! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Anna

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Experts or Reporters?

Anyone else out there sick of reporters talking over their guests and telling us what they think? I have tried to find a station where this does not occur, but sadly, I'm at a loss. Some are better than others, but there's not one that never does it. I heard several respond to the Dixie Chicks with shut up and sing, well I say shut up and interview. I'm sick of self-proclaimed experts. The only way we learn and go forward is with healthy debate. The only way a healthy democracy works is with a civil method of expressing both sides of the issue. If you only hear one side of the story then you can't be objective or truly unbiased. I understand that emotion is a part of all human beings and feelings are natural. It is the truly wise and enlightened person that controls their emotions. Why is the number one strategy in sports to talk "trash" until you get your opponent so emotional and riled up that they make a mistake. They know better and maybe are better, but once they lose control of emotion, they lost. I don't know any solid statistics, but I would venture to say that many of the people in jail (all ages) are there because they lost control of their emotions in some way. Maybe we need to incorporate this into our school curriculum. What do you think?

Anna

To test or not to test, that is the question.

I read this on another blog that I stumbled upon while reading Jim Rex's website. I'm not even sure who to give credit it to, but whoever it is deserves credit. I'll work on finding out. Just curious about who feels the same way or who disagrees and why?

"The Issue of High Stakes TestingHigh stakes testing has officially become a virus to the American educational community. While standardized testing was once simply an indicator of individuals’ and schools’ overall levels of performance, it has now become a life or death issue for both parties, preventing individuals from progressing educationally and, in some cases, causing funding for lagging schools to be discontinued completely. The effects of such tests are easily visible inside of the classroom, as the immense consequences that come with these tests both prevent teachers from effectively educating their students and have overwhelmingly negative psychological effects on the children being subjected to them. The effects of these tests are also beginning to become more visible outside of the classroom, in the “real world”, as they clearly discourage social mobility by preventing those in the lower ranks of society from bettering their socioeconomic status.The massive amount of emphasis that teachers are forced to place on material covered by high stakes tests leaves them with little time to instruct their students in many essential aspects of education that do not happen to appear on the tests. In High Stakes: Poverty, Testng, and Failure In American Schools, a depiction of a year spent teaching in a poor Louisiana school (one which is legally required to administer high stakes tests), David and Bonnie Johnson illustrate the manner in which they are required to “teach to the test” by directly following the instructions that they, as well as the rest of the elementary school staff, received at the beginning of the school year: “You must teach to mastery all the objectives that will be tested on the LEAP and Iowa tests [the high stakes tests administered in this school district]. Skip the others until after the tests next March. We have no time to teach fluff” (Johnson & Johnson 30). The Johnsons then go on to illustrate the negative effects that “teaching to the test” has on the education of their pupils. For example, due to the fact that teachers are forced to focus on syllabication rather than reading comprehension, the Johnson’s pupils are oftentimes able to pronounce words, but not understand them: “They can pronounce the word ‘harp’, but they have no idea what the word means” (Johnson & Johnson 72). The Johnsons sum up their frustration with their inability to truly educate their pupils by stating: “It has become clear even to the most optimistic that school is no longer for education. Schools are now test prep centers, and woe be to those who don’t do enough prepping” (Johnson &Johnson 31).It has become increasingly clear that high-stakes testing plays a large role in preventing students from the lower classes from using education as a way to improve their socioeconomic situations. To begin with, the expectations that these tests have of students is inherently slanted against students of the lower classes:Children who have been in programs like those offered by the “Baby Ivies” since the age of two have, by now, received the benefits of six or seven years of education, nearly twice as many as the children who have been denied these opportunities; yet all are required to take, and will be measured by, the same examinations” (Kozol 46).In other words, middle and upper class children are able to approach these examinations with a great deal of knowledge that lower class children, held to the same standards, do not possess. Lower class children are therefore put at a great disadvantage, and are therefore much more likely to fail the test. While this clearly prevents many of them from progressing to the next grade, failing the test also carries a number of other likely consequences. For example, in Silenced Voices and Extraordinary Conversations, an examination of lower-class students, Michelle Fine and Lois Weis mention that:The proliferation of increased high-stakes testing means that more students will leave high school without a diploma, at just the moment when the presence of a high school diploma is a critical economic litmus test separating the haves from the have nots. While the origins of the ‘standards movement’ may have been systematic accountability, the consequences… for poor and working-class students are likely to be devastating (Fine & Weis 9).While it may seem trivial that a child cannot progress a grade while in elementary school, the fact that these tests prevent students that desperately need a degree, oftentimes even deserve one (the authors mention a boy that has a 95 average and a very high ranking in his class who is still at risk of graduating without a diploma due to his failure of high-stakes tests), is a harsh reminder of the terrible amount of power that these standardized tests have over the lives of lower-class American students.Aside from affecting drastically affecting their futures, high-stakes testing also takes a large psychological toll on American students. For example, Daniel and Bonnie Johnson describe the psychological torment that they witnessed in their third and fourth grade classrooms on the day that the tests were administered: “As the children begin the first timed test, Kelvin vomits in his hands and runs to the bathroom…Gerard takes one look at the first section and begins to cry” (Johnson & Johnson 137). Clearly such behavior is a result of the anxiety that the students feel upon facing such a deterministic challenge. Later on in the book, they quote a “veteran fourth grade teacher” as saying: “High-Stakes testing is putting an unprecedented form of pressure on districts, teachers, and students. When we have to hire extra janitorial staff on high-stakes testing days to clean up the vomit, we know that things are getting ridiculous” (Johnson & Johnson 224). While this kind of anxiety may be condoned in college-bound seniors facing the SAT for the first time, the fact that third and fourth graders are forced to face this kind of mental trauma is nothing short of absurd.High-stakes tests are much more than a waste of a few hours that could be put to better use in the classroom; they are a socially oppressive, mentally traumatic force that is increasingly being unleashed upon American students. Unfortunately, the vast majority of our society is currently unaware of the issue, and it is therefore being allowed to worsen by the day. I ask anyone reading this to please make some sort of effort, be it through a letter, a donation, etc. to put an end to what is quickly becoming one of the most prevalent social injustices in modern American society. "


Anna

Friday, November 10, 2006

The slippery-slope of legislating religion

I had a rather unfortunate discussion with someone about amendment 1a. The argument for passing the amendment was of course a religious one, which I was prepared for. I was not prepared for the blatant disregard of treating other human beings as equals. This person actually said that they were going to go back to school to become a psychologist if the amendment didn't pass b/c there were going to be a whole lot of mixed up kids in the world. As you know, that opened a whole can of worms for me. First of all, do they really think that kids aren't already screwed up? Look at what they see on t.v. and play on video games. I saw a video game commercial that actually said the words, "Annihalate all human beings." Even worse than that, they are actually showing real people and not graphic people. Tell me that's not trouble waiting to happen. It's the same thing as Muslin children being taught jihad. Secondly, I told them that if they were really that concerned with the well-being of the children, they needed to go visit the group homes, where children were neglected and abused by their morally superior heterosexual parents. I couldn't sleep that night, I was so upset that people can have such a one-sided viewpoint and hide behind religion.

The worst excuse of an argument to support this amendment is that the homosexual community can still have rights if they plan ahead and make the necessary financial arrangements. A wonderful example of why this doesn't always work is the following letter to the editor in the Charleston Post & Courier:

An Open Letter To Barbara Williams at the Post & Courier

Dear Barbara ,

The week before my partner, Carlos , died eleven years ago I went to the funeral home where we had prearranged services two years prior to his death to make sure that there was nothing else that needed to be done in advance of the inevitable. We had already provided the funeral director with the will, living will and power of attorney that gave me the “right” to make all decisions regarding the disposal of Carlos ’ remains. It was then that I asked the funeral director if there would be any problem with carrying out Carlos ’ wishes since his mother and father would be present for the services. He said that since there would be “family” present that I would no longer be their contact person for the arrangements and that he would need to speak with Carlos ’ mother. I mentioned the legal documents that we had provided two years earlier and he replied that they did not have time to get a legal determination as to whether I had any right to make those decisions and that they would deal only with Carlos’ family.

One week later your newspaper received from me the language that Carlos wanted used in his obituary. The only revision that was made to the language prior to publication was the deletion of any reference to me as a survivor because your paper also did not consider me to be family…even though I had loved and cared for Carlos for eight years. As you might recall, I was unaware that this revision had been made until I saw it in the paper the next morning.

In your endorsement of Amendment 1 this morning you justify your support of the amendment by stating that it won’t prevent gay people from making private agreements and contracts to provide for their own protection. What you fail to state in your support of this injustice is that South Carolina law doesn’t require anyone other than the parties to the private agreements to abide by them once they are made. Neither funeral directors, judges, emergency room administrators nor anyone else is bound by those private agreements. You make it sound so simple, but it just isn’t that simple. By suggesting that we somehow have an alternative means of protection, you are giving false information to voters who don’t know any better.

You had the opportunity to meet with members of our community recently when we asked to speak directly to the Editorial Board about the amendment and you declined. You said that you had no interest in meeting with anyone other than the legislators who authored the amendment. Why is it that you deem it essential to interview opposing candidates in an election, but you only sought support for your own prejudice when it came to this controversial amendment?

I had truly believed until this morning that we had progressed on these issues since that day in 1995 when your editor refused to allow me to speak privately with her about Carlos ’ obituary. I was instead forced to stand in front of everyone in your lobby and publicly discuss what I still consider to be the most despicable act that anyone has every perpetrated on me. We clearly haven’t progressed in eleven years and I am profoundly disappointed in you and in every person who participated in your decision to endorse Amendment 1.

I wish that you would ask your readers this one question on my behalf…After you finish voting on my family, when do I get to vote on yours?

Charlie Smith
Charleston, SC

I think the last question is a very good one.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Whew!!!!!!


Thank goodness that is over! My nerves were in a complete knot these past couple of weeks. Amendment 1a was disappointing, but not suprising. You can't force people to vote/do things the way you want them to (unless you make it a law). We are taking steps in the right direction. I'm still waiting for the Rex/Floyd final decision. I'm thrilled, but definitely shocked with the results so far. Losing your own precinct (Pine Street School) and only winning your own county by 100+ votes. Ouch! That's a tough pill to swallow. Hopefully, it creates a need to re-evaluate perspective. I think the people of SC have spoken loudly, "Just say NO to vouchers!".

On the national level, it looks like we're going to see some real changes. I hope so at least. The course has not served us too well so far and that signifies need for change. The actions taken since the polls closed, Rumsfeld resigning and Dems taking control of House and possibly Senate, could be just the change that we are needing. I hope that President Bush accepts the change and doesn't fight it. All indications look good so far. It is so necessary to work together to keep a healthy democracy with checks and balances.

Anna

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Judgement on smokers and homosexuals

I got an interesting retort to a comment I made the other day. I was expressing my views on ammendment #1 that we are voting on Tuesday. The response to me from a conservative was that he did not want to be misinterpreted. He does not hate homosexuals, he is morally opposed to them being allowed to marry. Then it was brought up, with another source, that with a law instated, the churches are off the hook as far JUDGING homosexuals. They can hide behind the fact that law doesn't allow it. I just don't understand why we think we have to right to judge and furthermore dictate another person's personal life when their choice to marry does not affect anyone else's life at all. In my opinion, the churches are saying that they are the final say-so of morality and that is very dangerous. It all goes back to separation of chuch and state. I read in the paper today that if amendment #1 passes then homosexual partners will be denied over 1,000 rights that married couples enjoy. I think that when we make decisions like these we need to do our best to take the emotion out of it and vote according to the facts. Religious beliefs need to be left out of this for the sole reason of every religion has different beliefs. Who is the final authority on which religion is the "correct" religion? We have to do the same thing with the smoking ban in Spartanburg. I, being a non-smoker, have to put aside the emotion I feel of how bad smoking is for you. My first instinct is to say that we should ban smoking because it is bad for your health and because I feel this way, it should be a law. I'm not permitted to say that, because smoking is a choice. Therefore, taking the emotion out of it means that we have to have both smoking and non-smoking establishments. Everyone has the right to go to both, you just have to follow the rules of that establishment. If smoking is permitted then you just sit there and inhale the second hand. If smoking is not permitted then you either excuse yourself outside or wait until you leave. That seems like the only fair and just way to solve the problem. It's not ideal for me, but compromise is the key to solving any problem. We'll see how both issues turn out. Until next time...

Anna

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Needless Suffering

I have a sad heart today. My brother Bryan has a friend whose brother was injured in Baghdad recently and is fighting for his life. He lost both of his legs and is on a ventilator. As a mother, I can't even begin to know what this must feel like for her. It's just such a waste. Whether you are for or against the war, we can all agree that it is a waste. He's a young boy with his whole life ahead of him. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers during this excruciating time.