Friday, January 07, 2005

It Rained and Poured

It's a miserable day outside. So Cal is a grand deluge of water, or seemingly so. Children ache to go outside and play. Parents long for the same. Some homes worry of impending mud slides. Or maybe, like us, there is simply something wrong with the way your house was built and occasionally water floods the garage, and the many things stored in the garage.
It's grey and "gloomy" reminds one of 40 days and 40 nights.

Then perspective comes. In one hour flood came to 12 countries. No rain, no precursor to deluge...just calamity. Why?

Why would God, creator of the Universe, allow such hideous things as flood, famine, disease, tragedy? Why? Why? Why?

As the parent of a highly inquisative 4 year old I have finally learned an important lesson. "Why" is the unanswerable question. Because one why simply leads to another why and another and another until either the why's continue or acceptance is made. We accept the explaination without the continued why's not because there are no more questions but because the trust exists between the asker and the answerer.

For some reason we like God to fit into our Santa Clause perfect idea of the world. We want Him to be who we imagine Him to be. We make God in our own image not the other way around. He is the creator of the Universe, not me. He knows how it will work best, not me. And not anyone else either. Despite degrees and experiences, extraordinary giving or extraordinary kindness, when it comes down to it, we are all in the same boat. We are not God.

God set this world spinning. He began the wind, the rain, and even the earthquakes for a reason. Sometimes I think I know the reason. I think I have achieved all insight and I get it. But reality is that with my puny brain no matter how hard I try, I will only get a piece of the puzzle that is God and His creation. Why? Hmmm....that develops into many questions doesn't it?

I have come to a trust with this mighty creator that I accept the reality. I will never know it all. He does.

So, on this dark, gloomy day as people wonder if mudslides will come I am compelled to realize that this will be the drinking water for years to come. This will grow the trees we love. This will bring new growth in the next season. This is an important time.

As I look at the tsunami "tragedy", I am saddened by the loss of so many and so much and to feel any other way would be callous and cruel. But I also see a season. I don't know what the next season will bring but I know God does and that is enough for me. I pray it becomes enough for the survivors too. This IS an important time.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Stating the state of the state

Let's get this over with right away. Arnold is NOT my favorite person for Governor of the state of California. A solid conservative myself, I think he overstates his conservativeness. He embraces things with which I completely disagree. Embryonic Stem Cell money is probably the biggest for now. Now that is covered....

I liked his speach. He certainly has a strong personality and carries himself well. I am SO GLAD he wants to focus attention on education and educators. He mentioned wanting to have a teacher's salary be dependent upon success and essentially how well they teach not how long they have been teaching. What a concept, raises based on merit. What will come next? Grades based on merit? Ooooh, I think I like it. In fairness, I have been to the teachers union website and they profess to be the largest union in the state. 300,000 members. I think he is up against a POWERFUL union. Check it out here is a portion of his speech:

So, where do we start? We start in the classroom. We start with those who hold our children's learning in their hands. We start with the teachers.
Let me say this to every California teacher who is opening the minds of our children and nurturing their lives: I want to reward you for your hard work. I want to reward you for the sacrifices you make. I want to reward you for the learning that you instill.
But I cannot do so under the current system. Help me change it.
We must financially reward good teachers and expel those who are not. The more we reward excellent teachers, the more our teachers will be excellent. The more we tolerate ineffective teachers, the more our teachers will be ineffective.
So, in the special session, I propose that teacher pay be tied to merit, not tenure. And I propose that teacher employment be tied to performance, not to just showing up.
And I want to say to every Californian who has a child: "Your child deserves a good teacher. An educational system that rewards and protects a bad teacher at the expense of a child is wrong. And I intend to change that system."

He mentioned the recent agreement with the Indian gaming groups and how that money with go toward improvement in transportation. I have recently driven past some of the larger casinos in our state as I drove to Arizona. Oh my goodness, if they haven't given to the state before, it is long past time. Those places are HUGE.

Repeatedly Mr. Schwarzzeneggar stated our state's deficit. Come on Mr. Gov. sir, you help increase that when you encouraged the largest funding of research which is highly offensive to many of the states citizens. Realisticly, your approval pushed it over the top. Shame on you for ignoring your part in this problem.

There was, of course, more. But the thing that intrigued me was the Democrat response. I have watched responses many times and this one was interesting. Despite the fact that the Democrats refused to applaud the Governor throughout much of his speech, they had little to say which countered his opinion. The only conclusion I can reach is: either, they are afraid to make the citizens who love him angry; or, they agree but can't make it too obvious.

Hmmmm. It makes one think.

Monday, January 03, 2005

My country can give more than your country

I just have to praise God for the weird way He does things. The world has been frustrated with the U.S. so when we are one of the first countries to offer $35 million dollars to help the situation, Australia happily offered $10 mill and all were proud. But how could those nasty Americans offer so little? So other countries feel the need to one up those spoiled rich Americans. They give $95 mill or $75 mill. We look stingy. We can't look stingy we're the generous U.S. So, we change plans.

We'll give $350 million. You must have misunderstood us. Having seen such a number Japan jabs back, but we'll give $500 million. Now U.S. senators are stating that when all is said and done, we'll probably give about $1 billion.

God is amazing. He uses petty minds who simply want to appear better than one another to do His work.

And all this taking place in a solidly Islamic part of the world. Christians can't outgive the muslims, can they? HMMMM.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Faith vs. School

In my ever expanding search for pertinent issues for California Families, I came across an article in the LA Times. There was reference made to this article by Hugh Hewitt but I have to confess. I feel like Hugh over simplified the situation. Initially I agreed with Hugh because as a fellow Christian he is usually quite insightful, but I'm not certain he thought about the details involved in this situation. On the surface, it seems like a simple issue. We are all sinners and so we should all be open to growing and knowledge in God's word. But is that the only purpose of that Catholic School. If evangelism of the children and growth in doctrine is it's main purpose, I hartily agree with Hugh. But there is a challenge.

The school has all parents agree to live by Catholic doctrine. Now we all know that not everyone who signs such agreements is good at keeping their word. With that in mind, we also need to consider where the boundaries start and end as far as keeping our children safe. Recognizing the sinfulness of all is certainly important but if one has a regular issue of lying and another has a regular issue of murdering, which would be the more appropriate caregiver for children. The Lord does not separate one sin from another because even the tiniest lie is still not equal to the glory of God. If you miss the bullseye in darts, even slightly, you still missed.

But, as a society, we have to create and utilize some divisions of sin because otherwise we simply leave ourselves open for chaos. Why not allow the addicted family with the drug dealing husband. I recognize there is no guarantee that those who have signed the agreement are not going to bring more damage, but wasn't there a reason for having that agreement in the first place.

The priest who ignored this agreement as a matter of conscience needs to also consider removing it and opening the doors to baptists and episcoples and deists and wiccans. Because the ultimate result is that there become no boundaries.

Honestly, I'm not certain if I would want to have my child at a school with the rules as they currently stand, but I am also not certain I like the idea of school as a mission field when you have paid to be separate. Train up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart far from it.