Thursday, March 19, 2009, 10:28 AMMy blogging from the Thursday Bismarck Tribune has been less than stellar in its success. Not that there isn’t enough to discuss; I’ve just had other things on my mind. Certainly today I could launch into my opinion on some of the more controversial legislation before our ND delegates. Today the discussion about extending rights to gays and lesbians caught my eye. I’m all about human rights, but find it interesting that the bill would actually name those of ‘alternative sexual lifestyles’ and somehow that would not make them "less" of a target for discrimination, seems incongruous to me.
Posted by Kermit
Posted by Kermit
Anyway, what’s really on my mind is a growing pet peeve of mine. You ask anyone at random today how they are doing, and what do you think would be there #1 answer??? “Oh, I’m so busy!” Really??? A few years ago I was complaining to my mother (sick, I know) about how busy I was, and she immediately grabbed my planner off my lap, and in her fake frustration demanded: “Who is writing all those things on your calendar?” I got the point, and hope you might too!
For the most, most of us are as busy as we want to be. I know there is within all jobs/careers/vocations/avocations/ even retirements, certain demands (expectations) placed on us by others, but for the most part, most of us choose exactly how busy (or not) we want to be. I am just growing more and more convinced that if we are not busy, if we don’t feel overwhelmed, if we are not complaining about lack of sleep…then we aren’t really keeping up. It seems the standard for existence on this planet, is busyness. All the while I’m wondering how, with all the modern time saving conveniences are we so stinking busy, and 50 years ago, life seemed to offer a much slower pace? I’m not advocating we return to hauling water, and outdoor privies; but wondering…are we really that busy? (I’ll leave for another rant my own avocation and our hypocritical sense that we are busier than “normal” people.”)
Next time someone asks how you are…think of a different answer than just; “I’m so busy.” Next time someone wants to suck you into their busyness, try my mom’s advice on them. Next time you are tempted to complain about how busy you are, as if blaming your busyness on someone/something else, get off your victim seat, own your own ‘stuff’, and just say, “nah, I’m enjoying my life right now.” I am.
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Monday, February 23, 2009, 05:03 PMThis weeks entry can't wait till Thur. This morning (Mon) I was watching the news while enjoying Susan's Granola, and a priest was on discussing how a Catholic Church in New York City had recently published how much money was given on a previous Sunday. They didn't publish the names, just the amounts given. 100 people gave $1 20 people gave $5 and so on. None of that really amazed me until they noted that the attendance that Sunday was 644 people and the total giving was just over $8,000. The priest and hosts talked how the economy is hurting donations at church too!
Posted by Kermit
Posted by Kermit
I'm sure the economy is hurting all people, everywhere, but I'm so proud to be serving with a Church that can uniquely and genuinely be described as generous! The first 6 weeks of the year we gave over $9,200 per week for the budget, plus an additional $31,000 for the new building project, and over $1,000 for missions! AND OUR AVERAGE ATTENDANCE IS ABOUT 300!! We have a bunch of faithful people, and I'm honored to serve as one of their leaders.
I know the economy is tough, but God is somehow uneffected by this recent fiscal downturn! Still seems to be true that by giving to God first...God takes pain to provide for ALL we need! God bless you all, Kermit
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Friday, February 13, 2009, 08:58 AMFrog Blog 2-13-09
Posted by Kermit
Posted by Kermit
The papers lately (as well as the news) have been preoccupied with the Stimulus Plan, the approval (and disqualifications) of President Obama’s cabinet, and of the ND State surplus. As much as I’d like to rant on Tom Daschle (being a former SD resident) for being either stupid or negligent, I’d rather comment on a hearing that took place on “Capital Hill” this past week.
Some congressional members who make up some oversight committee (pardon my lack of knowledgeable details) was questioning/interrogating some members of the banking community who had received some ‘bail-out’ money a few weeks ago during the first ‘stimulus’ plan. The topic of conversation was “where’s the money”? This legislative committee was ‘taking to task’ or ‘dressing down’ these corporate bankers for their apparent lack of ‘integrity’ with how the money was distributed. I found the whole scene/hearing a mockery. The phrase that kept coming to mind was: “this is the pot calling the kettle black.” Or however that phrase goes.
The highlight (or low light in my opinion) was when one legislator self-righteously asked which banking company owned or leased a private jet. As if this would apparently prove the terribly irresponsible ways these bankers/banks were wasting our government’s money. All the hands went up except one.
Now, to be clear, I certainly don’t approve of bankers, or auto makers flitting around the country in Lear Jets or otherwise wasting government or any other money for that matter; but what struck me as absurd was these congressional leaders’ attitudes. Like they’ve never flown in a Lear jet, or exercised any of the multiple entitlements that come with their respective offices...like they’ve never miss-apportioned any of my hard earned tax dollars…like they’ve never given them selves raises…like their retirement portfolio’s have been reduced by 40-50% in the past 6 months! What pharisaical hypocrites! And who gave the bail-out money to these bankers 2 months ago, and where was the oversight and indignation at that point? It all makes me mad.
Then, in more lucid moments, I have to recall that pointing a finger at anyone/anything, leaves three pointing back to me. Though I’ve never flown in a Lear Jet, I probably misspent my $600 stimulus check last summer…I’m not guiltless in this regard (or hundreds of others), either. Harkening to Jesus’ words: “Judge not, lest you be judged,” pretty much renders us all guilty, doesn’t it? Who but the saints among us has not ‘wasted’ some resource on some unnecessary purchase…when poor folks eat from dumpsters behind Dan’s, when street people have to sleep sitting in Ruth Meiers’ dining room, when the mentally ill can’t afford proper health care? I could go on…but I hope you (I) get the point. Yes, our government (and many other big wigs) are sometimes out of control…but let’s not judge too harshly until we walk in their shoes. Let’s instead do the morally responsible thing; while seeking to hold them all accountable…hold ourselves responsible for all the resources God has given us! We’ll have to render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar…but render unto God, that which belongs to God! Kermit
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Thursday, January 29, 2009, 11:58 AMThis weeks Tribune provided ample fodder for my comment(s), and your consideration. If nothing else in life really mattered I’d have written about the beautiful picture of the 16th hole at Bully Pulpit, one of the best golf courses around. Or, I would have chimed in on the pheasant situation down in the southwestern (and probably other) parts of ND. Other than those two exceptions most of the rest of the paper was taken up with the same two subjects dominating people’s minds and discussions these days: the weather and the economic mess we’re in. You might guess I’d take on the weightier of these matters…but you’d be wrong; I’m a wimp today and want to talk about the weather.
Posted by Kermit
Posted by Kermit
I had a former Bishop, a transplant from Indiana, who was oft quoted as saying: “Dakotan’s never leave winter…they are either lamenting (or bragging) about past one’s they’ve survived or current ones they are suffering, or worrying about the one that is just around the corner.” I heard a Dakotan announce on the hottest day of June: “only 90 days till snow!” Now that’s true ND optimism! Don’t get me wrong I’m not a big fan of winter, but sometimes I think we enjoy (way too much) the badge of honor we proudly give ourselves for choosing to live in these frigid climes. “It keeps the riff-raff out!” may be true, but is that something to brag about?
I guess all I really want to say about this is: I sometimes wish people had the same fascination or commitment to heaven as they (we) do to the weather. I wish we’d “never leave heaven”, that conversations between friends and strangers were as easily focused on matters eternal as they are the weather. We’re profound when it comes to communicating non-essential, trivial stuff; and pure mutes when it comes to considering anything of value, especially eternal value. Now, I don’t ever want to be accused (again) of being “so hell-bent on heaven he’s (me) of no earthly good. But what might life be like if it could more easily be viewed in the light of eternity and heaven? What might this economic crisis (or even this dreadful) winter really mean to us if we could place them in their proper context? I’m not saying every conversation must begin and end with “got your ticket punched, got your fire insurance paid up, got your bags packed and sins forgiven? But maybe it would help us all deal with the weather and the economy to remember that neither will matter much in eternity…and neither will get us there, or keep us out…unless we let them.
Stay warm…and keep watching the markets…nah…just keep your eyes on Jesus! Kermit
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Thursday, January 22, 2009, 10:17 AMGood morning and thanks to those who read last week’s thoughts, and thanks for tuning in today. Just to remind those new readers: I’ve begun to write this from some article I find interesting in Thursday’s Bismarck Tribune.
Posted by Kermit
Posted by Kermit
One might suspect I’d be writing about the week’s overwhelming coverage (adulation) of Barak Obama’s inauguration…nope; enough has been said, and congratulations to him. I wish him well in this difficult if not overwhelming task.
I want to address the article(s) about the ‘uprising’ in Beulah over the ‘banning’ of a book in the school library. I know NONE of the principles in this story. I don’t know any of the school board members, I don’t know the parents who requested the ‘ban’, I don’t know the author of the book, I don’t know the book, I’ve not read it, and though I watched the movie by the same name, I don’t remember anything about it! It’s dangerous to try and make any comment when so much is not known!! Oh, caution to the wind…here goes!
In principle, I’m against book banning. I like the freedom of reading what I want, and being able to allow others the same right; seems right, to me. However, I’m also a parent, and know the difficult job it is raising our children. I’m grateful to the Tribune, and other media coverage, that have left the Beulah parent’s religious beliefs out of the discussion. (same can’t be said of the numerous assumptions made by the bloggers / commentators on the Tribune’s web site.) But there is one comment/quote from the book’s author that stirred me a bit this morning.
Quoting from the Tribune: “(John) Berendt said the book is ‘salty and racy,’ but not pornographic in a graphic way, or otherwise. He says parents should have the right to restrict children’s access to Internet pornography or other subversive materials. He said his book does not belong in those categories. (quoting Berendt now) ‘That is ridiculous. I don’t like the whole idea of these (Beulah parents), who don’t know what they’re talking about, deciding to be judge and jury,’ he said. ‘The (Tribune Web comments) reviews were all overwhelmingly positive, and for suddenly someone to come out and say it should be banned seemed extreme and left me speechless. I’m not angry or anything.’”
My immediate reaction was: who is judging who? His dismissive comment that the parents don’t know what they are talking about, and his rationale that because the reviewers comments were all positive (after reading many, I’d disagree with him) seems suspect at best. From what I’ve seen/heard/read, the parents took this action according to the school district’s written policy. The school board may have overreacted too quickly, and just as quickly undid their previous action. All parties except the Librarian admitted they had not read the book. (note above mention of this danger)
I guess my point is, who is better qualified and more responsible for educating a child; the parents or the school, or some author of some rather obscure book who had never even given thought to or about ND prior to this incident? As the spouse of a teacher who often laments the pathetic involvement of so many parents in their children’s education, I’d think the Beulah School board might want to celebrate and thank those parents for their willingness to be involved in the educational process, and maybe covenant with the parents to each read the book, along with the parents, and have a more informed discussion at the next months meeting. The parents might also have used the book to spark further conversation with their child. Unfortunately, the result of what happened and how it was handled has made this book the ‘hottest’ item in libraries near and far.
I don’t remember Jesus ever getting into any discussions about banned books back in the day. But remember there were no; Harry Potter’s, DaVinci Codes, or Shacks back then! I do remember him though clearly discussing matters of his day; paying taxes to Caesar, gathering food and healing people on the Sabbath, turning water into wine at weddings. I suspect Jesus would welcome the opportunity for open discussion in Beulah, Bethlehem, or Bismarck. I don’t think we as Christians ought to fear reading or discussing controversial matters. I don’t think we ought to put inappropriate books or subject matter intentionally in front of our children; but when objectionable material is there, and is brought to our attention, I’d suggest we handle it similar to what the parents did in Beulah (reading it first of course…note danger mentioned above). The open exchange of ideas, even ones with which we disagree or find objectionable (from either side of the fence), ought not to frighten any of us. Sometimes we get so entrenched in thinking we are right, (and the only ones that are); it leaves us defenseless when we are forced to incorporate new truth into our lives. Yes, there is still new truth being revealed and unveiled everyday. It’s not that God is changing; it’s that all of us are on this everlasting learning curve, and we’ve a long way to go!
I’d guess there are probably more meaningful, edifying books that might be read than the one under discussion; but you choose; and I’ll be happy to engage in that discussion…(even if I’ve not read the book…note danger mentioned above.) That’s enough for now. Kermit
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