Saturday, December 11, 2004

Watch those kids go

It's time for a new generation and there is hope indeed. I receive information from Focus on the Family all the time and I am very excited about results they are showing. I have often believed that leadership affects people. That is the reason we are so careful about who our leaders are. The leadership of a company can make or break the whole company even if they have great people under them. It is a top-down type of effect. No matter how talented the people are who are under a given leader, they cannot rise above the level of the leader's abilities. I have seen this in many small situations. I see it in churches, in civic organizations, and even within the government. But one thing I have come to believe is that whereever one is considered a leader they affect all the people around them either possitively or negatively. Governors can affect the personality of an entire state. If that state accepts them as a leader, there will be a reflection of them within that culture. I believe that also happens nationally. When people accept a leader, that person has the ability to affect how those people think.

One case in point is President Bill Clinton. I watched teenage boys I was teaching change as they assumed and accepted elements of who the largest leader of our country presented himself to be. While still being boys in every way, I noticed a different way of viewing women when it became clear that the President of the United States had an affair within the oval office, on the job, representing the people of the U.S. Women within working environments became much more objectified and the purpose and abilities of the job place changed as well.
I watched media representatives choose sides based and their view of a leader and squash stories of interest simply because they didn't appeal to their way of thinking.

Now I am seeing men in our country be willing to stand up and take a stand on issues of import to them. I am seeing the male spine get strengthen more than the past had indicated.

There are direct results connected with the leadership our country has had over the past four years. Unfortunately, it often takes time to see what changes have happened but these are a few which interest me. According to research of late, teenagers participating in sexual activities has gone down from approximately 49% in 1995 to 31% in 2002. Boys in particular have also had a lowered rate of sexual activity. (the result of this lowering will surely be seen in other studies as well, i.e. lowered teen pregnancy, lowered risk of rapes, etc.)

We are also seeing college students who resist the teaching of those who oppose the leadership they have accepted. I love the fact that there are now conservative student newspapers on the campus of Berkeley. This is a campus where, to my knowledge, there are probably little or no conservative teaching faculty. Way to go kids!

Check out this article, it's too cool for school.

Conservative Student Newspapers on the Rise
by Stuart Shepard, correspondent

SUMMARY: Alternatives to liberal media are springing upmore and more on campus.

A record number of conservative campus newspapers startedup this year, sharing a mission to bring some balance towhat students hear in the classroom, in the officialstudent papers and on TV. Andrea Irvin works on a conservative magazine at one ofthe most liberal campuses in the country.

"Writing a conservative publication at Berkley candefinitely be trying and difficult at times," Irvin said,"but it definitely makes the experience more rewarding."She said the goal of the California Patriot newspaper isto fill a need on campus."Most of the time," she said, "kids on campus get nothingbut left-wing opinion."

Jim Eltringham of the Leadership Institute said hisgroup's Campus Leadership program seeks change to thatdynamic."What the Campus Leadership program tells students is,'Don't complain about the media, just go out and be themedia,' " he said.

So far this year, the Leadership Institute has helped 22conservative campus papers get started through funding andtraining."Most of the students are sitting in the classroom andreally only getting half of an education," Eltringhamsaid. "It's up to the conservative students who recognizethat bias to go out and make sure that both sides areheard."And not just on campus.

Recent college graduate JessicaStollings said when she watches the news, it's with theknowledge that it may not be long before her face is onthe screen because she chooses to get involved."We tend as Christians to kind of sometimes sit back andboycott or complain about what's on the news, or whatwe're seeing and be discouraged," she said. "Well, why arewe not out there in the middle of it making a difference?"

FOR MORE INFORMATION: The Leadership Institute Web siteoffers more information about itself and its role infostering conservative news on campus.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Pot Plot or Plague

This week the US Supreme court heard arguments on the issue of medical marijuana. Of course, two people involved in the case are from California. It is absolutely amazing to me how many various issues start or end in California.

The question of legality for those who use it to grow their own supply is what is being addressed. Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives a bill is being prepared to investigate the actual medical value of this drug.

I have often thought those who wish to keep it legal are usually users or former users of the drug. The whole idea seems to be, "it didn't hurt me". This is an amazing statement when we know many substances do not have an immediate reaction on the body but instead become like a progressive poison which eats away at us. By the time it has actually done all it can do, one has separated the two issues completely.

I am so tired of the users saying it's great and the non-users saying its horrible. Let's make it official. Let's do a bipartisan investigation. Perhaps multiple research groups working separately with a mutual due date on all information. Then, it can be grouped and averaged and the result should garner some truth.

It has been at least 3 1/2 decades that this drug has been popular, we should find out once and for all ALL the possibilities. What is the complete story? What does it do when it hits the body? What contaminants are coming into a body at the same time? Does it really have a medical benefit or is it simply another body numbing drug? If it is the later, perhaps medical recommendations of ecstasy and herion are not far off.

And a little child will lead them--or at least his parents will

This past week a small drama occured in the town of Fontana California. The pee wee football championships were coming but there was a problem. The championship game was scheduled on a Sunday. Parents had signed their children up having been told all games were on Saturday only. Five children ages 9-11 years and their faithful parents couldn't, in good conscienceness, play in a football game instead of going to church.

Obviously this was a parental decision, but it was the children who did interviews on TV and to various other types of media. They stood up and said it was what they believed. The team didn't want to continue without five of their players, so they decided to forfeit THE CHAMPIONSHIP.

The community gave them overwhelming support and funds were obtained to be able to pay for a change. The game happenned this evening. Those kids were just happy to get to play. And though they stood up in an admirable way, they lost.

What is the lesson? God does want us to stand up and be counted for him, but that does not mean everything will work the way we assume it should.

I think it is great that these kids and their strong minded parents made the hard decision and even if they had not been able to play it would have been the right decision. It is also fantastic that people saw their stand and wanted to help support them rather than accusing those parents of being fanatical freaks who need some kind of life. Maybe we are taking spiritual things more seriously.

And all this happened in the same state where a Medical Marijuana case is facing the Supreme Court. Where umbilical stem cell research has recently received its largest funding ever.

We here in California may have many issues the country speaks about negatively, but we are also growing fantastic parents and kids who know what they think and are willing to stand up for it.

Way to go Fontana Generals!! You are still champions in my book!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Yo, there's a rockin' angel tryin to make some vocals!

This Sunday our pastor began a series leading up to Christmas which looks at classic hymns and their meanings. It was a breath of fresh air in life which has been stressful to look back at the words and meaning of the hymn, "Hark! The Herald Angel Sings!" Here are the words....

Hark! The herald angel sings
Glory to the newborn king,
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconsiled.
Joyful all ye nations rise.
Join the triumph of the skies,
With angelic hosts proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem,
Hark! The herald angel sings,
Glory to the new born king.

Christ by highest heaven adored,
Christ the everlasting Lord,
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth,
Hark! The herald angel sings,
Glory to the new born king.

The proclamation itself is amazing, but the reality of the gift is so much more. I adore this time of year! Not because we give presents, not because people try to act kinder to one another, not even because of the hymns which are sung. I love it, because each year I renew the memory of God in the flesh being born as a little baby. What absolute trust! Fully God, but also fully human, and fully needing diapers.

I look at my little baby girl and all her various needs, food, diapers, clothes, protection,etc. Jesus, the one who calmed a storm at his words, chose to need people. When I think of humility, that my focus. Absolute power becoming absolutely dependent on people.

I have many strong opinions about the world in which we live and ways to make it better, but they are nothing in comparison with His gift to us.