Prayers for Madeleine

                                                          missing-madeleine.jpg

Saturday, May 12 was Madeleine McCann’s fourth birthday. If the name sounds vaguely familiar, it is because the little girl’s story has been featured on news outlets all over the world. The child was taken from her parents’ holiday apartment in
Portugal on May 3, 2007.
 The story is heartbreaking, and we who sit so safely with our families cannot even imagine the McCann’s worry and heartbreak. I feel so sorry for her parents, who are probably at a loss with out their precious daughter.  

Every few years I am struck with horror at the state of our world. Cases like Elizabeth Smart (thankfully found safe), Natalee Holloway (still unknown, but hopefully the recent leads will be helpful), and now a sweet-looking child on holiday, remind me of society’s evil and wretchedness, and it makes me terribly sad. Is there a way to fight it? Of course, wickedness in its entirety has deep roots, but I wonder if we can stop it with little actions. Perhaps we rebuke the violence and disgusting horror that is released in cinematic form. Perchance, we refuse music that has vile, filthy messages. They may not be loud measures singularly, but with many voices they can scream.  A little girl is far from home. Will we let such malevolence stand?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_McCann#_note-2

let’s magnify our love

In 2003, three college students from San Diego went to Uganda to make a documentary film, and they found tens of thousands of people affected by the longest running war in Africa. (To see a very similar situation, watch Hotel Rwanda) The Lord’s Resistance Army has abducted thousands of children, subjected them to torture or sexual violence and forced them to fight in a violent guerilla army for 21 years. Their documentary was released in 2003 and can be seen here on Google Video, but the fight to raise awareness has not stopped.

What is a displaced camp?

In hopes of providing protection from this rebel militia, the Ugandan government forcibly evicted its Northern citizens from their homes—giving them 48 hours to relocate into camps. Today, more than 1.5 million Northern Ugandans remain far from secure, suffering nearly 1,000 deaths per week due to inhumane living conditions in the camps. Alcoholism, sexual abuse, HIV/AIDS, inadequate sanitation and lack of education have caused immeasurable damage to two generations and the near-total destruction of Acholi culture. People in these camps are reliant on foreign to deliver food and water aid. If the food isn’t delivered, the people starve. This April, the already meager rations delivered by the World Food Program to the camps will be cut in half due to lack of funding—with school feeding programs and support for HIV/aids victims soon to follow. This will indisputably increase the number of deaths among those already suffering from severe malnutrition—mostly among women, children and the elderly. That is why the timing of this event, and your participation are so crucial.

Displace Me is the nationwide event organized by Invisible Children, an organization started by those three college film students, giving Americans the chance to respond. On Saturday, April 28, by traveling to one of the 15 “camps” and gathering together, the strength of our size will make a visible statement to our government and media that the citizens of the U.S. demand action in ending the war in Northern Uganda, so that the people suffering in the camps and the abducted children can go back home. The point is to become displaced yourself.

Everyone please look into this! It is going to be an amazing night. If you have not yet seen the Invisible Children movie you can watch it on YouTube to get a better idea of what is going on in Uganda. I hope you will join me this Saturday at the LA Fairgrounds.

A Violent Necessity: Part Deux

Comment by fitnessfortheoccasion on April 17, 2007 11:29 pm War is sometimes necessary, but that cannot mask how utterly counter-productive the so called war on terror has been.Those “eggs” marcelonicus refers to are human lives. Human lives lost. Human lives ruined by displacement, torture, and violence without end.Do not try to stoop to religion to boost your argument for war either. There is nothing of God in war, and there never will be. War is a human necessity, one we ought to avoid, not pursue with fake patriotism, false piety and bloodlust.And for the love of God, do not speak for the dead. How dare you presume those lost to war would speak in its favor!

In Response, meant to be polite but of a differing opinion:

            The War on Terror has been counter-productive? I guess that means I was foolish to think that the removal of Saddam Hussein was a positive event. And what of the elections that took place last year? Does not the freedom of the oppressed in at least a small way strike a blow at the terror-makers in that region?

            And yes, people- entirely innocent people- have died as a result. While the living will mourn their deep losses they do see the results. Their children are able to attend newly built schools. Their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters have been given protection and a voice in society. And Saddam Hussein is no longer able to slaughter the differing groups of Muslims. Great things are happening. There is still much to be done, but it has to begin somewhere.

            Human lives indeed, but human lives with a hope for an existence better than such wretchedness. These lives are ‘ruined’ by the evil already running rampant within their streets. This evil is shedding blood, and will continue its slaughter until the brave and hopeful shed their blood to stop the evil in its entirety.

            I am sorry, but in all respectfulness, I hardly wish to acknowledge the very disrespectful comment about ‘stooping to religion.’ If religion is what comes when one stoops, than I hope that I may stoop to the ocean’s floor.

            War is fake patriotism? It seems rather foolish to so extensively pretend to love something that you would lay your life down to accomplish its means. It is not blood the courageous are lusting after, but the hope of freedom, justice, and equality.

            I would be willing to assess that the dead would gladly die again so that their children, spouses, friends, countrymen, and future generations could live, grow, and thrive in a world that was safer, freer, and without a doubt better than the one they left behind. I know that I would be willing to make such a sacrifice.

A Violent Necessity

            Are there times when war is a must? If you ask the Bible, the answer is ‘absolutely.’ Pose the question to History: ‘clearly and without a doubt.’ Now turn to a fellow American in, say,
New York City. He is likely to vehemently shake his head and cry, ‘War is never the answer!’ It seems that the Past would beg to differ, and every youth is admonished to always remember the Past.

            Take a moment to think about preceding wars. The War for American Independence was fought for the rebels’ freedom. The Civil War was waged for the liberty of every man, regardless of his external hue. The World Wars raged to protect the identities of numerous countries and cultures. Korea and
Vietnam, though unpopular and protested, were also efforts to guard the helpless.

            Now look at the present. The War on Terror is highly and loudly- and most often rudely- criticized, but one must observe the whole picture. Yes, enemies, soldiers, and nationals have perished as a result, but their deaths were not in vain. Freedom is costly. Perhaps costlier than anything else in our mortal world.

            Are war, violence, and rebellion necessary? Many times, I would conclude that they indeed are. I will qualify the aforementioned by mentioning that I do not in any way condone senseless killing or reckless violence. But the accomplishment and preservation of liberty more often than not contain substantial amounts of resistance and opposition. Tragically, these actions typically lead to violence.

            But I suppose that is the price to be paid. And I have a feeling that those who have perished would agree that the end result is very much worth the cost.

 

Inspiration: Notes from a Spinning Planet:
Ireland
, page 93

…Erasing History…

 www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,263146,00.html

So it seems that there are many history teachers that are taking it upon themselves to not teach their students any controversial history lessons like the Holocaust and the Crusades.  This is because they “do not want to cause offence to children for certain races or religions.”  Yeah, that is right! You read it correctly.  Teachers are censoring (for lack of a better word) some of the most significant events in man’s history.  Part of being a teacher is telling the truth about what is actually happened/happening in this world.  If we are not aware of our past doesn’t that mean that we are going to be doomed to repeat it? 

I’m going to talk about the Holocaust as an example.  Many people died as a result of the Nazi regime and it had to be one of the lowest points in our history.  The biggest race affected was the Jewish community.  I’m not Jewish, but if I was and I grew up not knowing one of the most horrifying events in my people’s history then doesn’t that mean their deaths were all in vain.  I would want to remember them and the courage that they had when it came to dying some of the most violent deaths. 

This type of censorship is the same types that dictators use to their people.  I honestly believe this is happening because of personal issues with the teacher and  that they don’t want to offend anybody.  You see, if teachers teach these controversial subjects than there are going to be a lot of students that have tough questions about them.  For instance, back to the Holocaust.  A student may ask why Hitler thought that the Jewish were not worthy to be living.  This can put the teacher in a very uncomfortable situation.  I am not excusing this but rather showing that teachers need to come to class better prepared.  They need to prepare the answers to these tough questions and do their homework.  This provides a better forum for debate among students.  By teachers knowing what they are talking about, the chances of someone taking offence is lessoned and history doen’t die because of someones incompetence.  That’s my two cents 🙂 

The un-funny truth about Mormonism

Growing up in a Christian school my entire life I have studied fundamentalist Christianity at least 5 hours a week for the last 12 years.  It dates back to the simple memorization of verses, and feltboard Jesus stories.  Then as I progressed in years I learned of Islam and other world religions.  They were taught as false and condemning to hell, hardly arguable.  However as I began to pop my bubble of Grace seclusion I met many people who seemed to be Christians.  They read the “Bible” the believed in “God” and “Jesus”.  However after a deep delve into sotieriology I realized the finer points of mankind and God.  After meeting two Mormon elders while pushing in carts at Vons I started to wonder.  These boys have devoted their lives to something so close to Christianity that most Christians would not be able to tell the difference.  However I wondered were they saved?  Did they believe the basic elements that I believe define a Christian?  I decided to set up a meeting with.  I was not going on the offensive.  They had spent years studying and 20 minutes of rhetoric would no convince them of anything important.  However if I could understand what they believed I could plan future attacks, and decide if they were even necessary.  When I met with them I asked the first basic question.  Do you believe in the divinity of Christ Jesus as the son of God, who was transfused with man, maintaining his Godness? (I said it more elegantly but I cannot recall)  To my surprise he claimed that Jesus was true God.  I was feeling good.  Nothing pleases me more than when someone is strait in understanding.  However I was in for a big surprise.  My next question was the Trinity.  Their answer almost knocked me down.  They said “one in purpose”.  Not homouisius, the same substance, but only same purpose.  They denied the triune God.  I asked further if they believed they were the same person.  Simply they claimed no, they work together for the salvation of man.  What does this make of Mormonism?  Polytheism?  A harsh conclusion?  They claimed the Divinity of Christ but not the Trinity.  I believed both are required for salvation.  This could very well be a misrepresentation of the Mormon faith, however this is merely an account of my experiences. 

The Older We Are the More Complicated

 How many of you have ever sat down and though about your childhood.  Thought how glorious it was to be ignorant.  Do you remember the unfathomable “walk to school” when we were kids, that is now really a short walk in our adulthood.  Do you ever find yourself missing that walk to school.  Missing the simplicity of life that was indicative of our innocence.  We all have stories of our escapades through the woods, if they be real or suburban, that would entertain us for hours.  Now we must find such complex ridiculous things to take our minds off the responsibilities that drag us down by the shoulders into breakdown.  We all remember the days of our homes being a sancturay rather than another feat for us to climb in our treck to adulthood.  I find myself constantly pining for that innocence.  I constantly miss the days long gone where even an ice cream cone brightened my day.  I miss the days where Cat Dog, Inspector Gadget, Duck Tales, Thundercats, Doug and his alias Quailman, and Rocko’s Modern Life made me happy.  When did life sneak up on me, poke me in the back and say, “I’m difficult now. Deal with it.”

Today all we face is the last stand before the rest of our lives.  We face graduation, college, bills, work, etc and I honestly don’t want to do it.  I want to experience these things.  I want to grow up and become my own person.  I want to experience the world.  Please don’t get me wrong.  However I do not want the pressures associated with them.  I want to enjoy life, not be subject to it, and yet many times it feels I am being drug along by the cosmos.

To sum up my ramblings, all I want is a simpler existence however I know that this will never happen which is a difficult term to face.  Everyone must realize that life will not always be what we want it to be.  It won’t always be easy for us to deal with, but we must.  Although it is so difficult, we must steel ourselves against the pain and exhaustion to fight through.  We must win.

Thundercatsrocko6ex.jpgbatman1.jpgx-men1.jpg