From Linda Naranjo-Huebl  on Sunday, July 14, 2013 — a day after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder in Trayvon Martin’s death

After discussions with my African American friends and a morning of intense prayer and tears, mingled with despair, a prayer:

God of the Universe, come to us in our despair and broken heartedness, and minister life to your children. God of Justice, reach us in our mourning over our African American brothers, fathers, and sons who are not safe on our streets. Stepping outside their homes–as objects of hatred, suspicion and fear–they face the very real threats of harassment, molestation, assault, and death by both police officers and citizens. Let me stand with my sisters who are mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters of black boys and men in the United States. Forgive me when I have let my own privileged position keep me at a safe distance from the fear and heartache that weighs on their hearts and souls every day. Let their despair, fear, anger, and heartbreak be my own. Help them as they struggle to support their sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers as they walk in this hostile world, as they try to encourage them to trust in a God who calls them beloved when the world will not, who will never forsake them in their trials.

Oh how hard it is right now to believe with our brother Martin Luther King Jr. that the “arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” We cry out with the prophet, “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24). Holy Spirit, grant us faith; help us believe that your justice reigns, that you record all our tears in a bottle and write them in your book (Ps. 56:8), that you will judge the unrighteousness, that you will one day wipe every tear from the eyes of the victims of injustice. Keep us from falling into hopelessness, cynicism, and despair. Take our anger and hopelessness and turn our energies into the work of justice and reconciliation between God and humans and among our human family, for this is the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Regards,

Linda Naranjo-Huebl
Associate Professor of English
Calvin College

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Also see:

  • This video that the Howard University School of Law posted last year.

 

  • Lament From a White Father — from huffingtonpost.com by Jim Wallis
    Excerpts (emphasis DSC):
    It’s time for white people — especially white parents — to listen, to learn, and to speak out on the terribly painful loss of Trayvon Martin.  If my white 14-year-old son Luke had walked out that same night, in that same neighborhood, just to get a snack, he would have come back to his dad unharmed — and would still be with me and Joy today.  Everyone, being honest with ourselves, knows that is true.  But when black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin went out that night, just to get a snack, he ended up dead — and is no longer with his dad and mom. Try to imagine how that feels, as his parents.

    Listen to the stories from Saturday and Sunday nights, of 12-year-old black boys who asked to sleep in bed with their parents because they were afraid.  If black youth in America can’t rely on the police, the law, or their own neighborhood for protection — where can they go?

    Finally, there is a religious message here for all Christians. If there ever was a time that demonstrated why racially and culturally diverse congregations are needed — that time is now. The body of Christ is meant, instructed, and commanded by Christ to be racially inclusive. If white Christians stay in our mostly-white churches and talk mostly to each other we will never understand how our black brothers and sisters are feeling after a terrible weekend like this one. It was the conversation of every black church in America on this Sunday, but very few white Christians heard that discussion or felt that pain. White Christians cannot and must not leave the sole responsibility of telling the truth about America, how it has failed Trayvon Martin and so many black Americans, solely to their African-American brothers and sisters in Christ.  It’s time for white Christians to listen to their black brothers and sisters, to learn their stories, and to speak out for racial justice and reconciliation.  The country needs multi-racial communities of faith to show us how to live together.

 

 

From DSC:
1) To start out this posting, I want to pose some questions about “The Common Core” — in the form of a short video. <— NOTE:  Please be sure your speakers are on or you have some headphones with you — the signal is “hot” so you may need to turn down the volume a bit!  🙂

With a special thanks going out to
Mr. Bill Vriesema for sharing
some of his excellent gifts/work.

 .

DanielChristian-SomeQuestionsReTheCommonCore-June2013

 

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Having asked those questions, I understand that there is great value in having students obtain a base level of knowledge — in reading, writing, and basic math.  (Should we add keyboarding? Programming? Other?  Perhaps my comments are therefore more appropriate for high school students…not sure.)

Anyway, I would be much more comfortable with moving forward with the Common Core IF:

* I walked into random schools and found out which teachers the students really enjoyed learning from and whom had a real impact on the learning of the students.  Once I identified that group of teachers, if 7-8 out of 10 of them gave the Common Core a thumbs up, so would I.

* The Common Core covered more areas — such as fine arts, music, drama, woodworking, videography, photography, etc.    (Just because STEM might drive the economic engines doesn’t mean everyone enjoys plugging into a STEM-related field — or is gifted in those areas.)

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2) Secondly, here are just a few recent items re: the Common Core:


 

Good Read: Who’s Minding the Schools? — from blogs.kqed.org by Tina Barseghian

Excerpt: (emphasis DSC)

For those uninitiated to the Common Core State Standards, this New York Times article raises some important questions:

“By definition, America has never had a national education policy; this has indeed contributed to our country’s ambivalence on the subject… The anxiety that drives this criticism comes from the fact that a radical curriculum — one that has the potential to affect more than 50 million children and their parents — was introduced with hardly any public discussion. Americans know more about the events in Benghazi than they do about the Common Core.”

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The Common Core Standards

 

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Editorial: Make the Common Core standards work before making them count — from eschoolnews.com by Randi Weingarten
AFT President Randi Weingarten calls for a moratorium on the high-stakes implications of Common Core testing until the standards have been properly implemented.

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How to train students’ brains for the Common Core — from ecampusnews.com by Meris Stansbury
Excerpt:

According to Margaret Glick, a neuroscience expert and educational consultant at the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE), the Common Core State Standards and the accompanying assessments will cognitively require more than past standards. “They will require a deep understanding of content, complex performances, real-world application, habits of mind to persevere, higher levels of cognition and cognitive flexibility,” Glick said during “The Common Core State Standards and the Brain,” a webinar sponsored by the Learning Enhancement Corporation.

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Common Core testing will require digital literacy skills — from ecampusnews.com by Dennis Pierce
Excerpt:

It also will require students to demonstrate certain digital literacy skills that go beyond the core curriculum, observers say. These include technology operational skills such as keyboarding and spreadsheets, as well as higher-order skills such as finding and evaluating information online. And many observers have serious concerns about whether students will be ready to take the online exams by the 2014-15 school year.

 

Minn. moves ahead with some Common Core education standards — from minnesota.publicradio.org by Tim Post

 

Carry the Common Core in Your Pocket! — from appolearning.com by Monica Burns

Excerpt:

Whether you are a parent or educator, you have likely heard the buzz around the Common Core Learning Standards. Here’s the deal.

Across the United States schools are adopting these national standards to prepare students for college and careers by introducing rigorous content to children in all subject areas. The standards cover students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 in English Language Arts and Mathematics. The Common Core Standards app by MasteryConnect organizes the CCLS for students, parents and teachers with mobile devices.

 

 

Addendum on 6/19/13:

Addendum on 6/27/13: 

 

Romans 11:33-36 (NIV)

Romans 11:33-36 (NIV)

Doxology

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

James 3:17 (NIV)

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

The Dedication of the Temple

When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it.  When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying,

“He is good;
his love endures forever.”

 

From DSC:
For the last ~3 years, I’ve been a part of a church plant (it officially started on 10/10/10).  We’ve been meeting in a public school — almost a miracle in itself these days — and it’s been a beneficial situation for all involved parties.

Also, many college students come there as well as young families and people of all ages and backgrounds. We’ve grown to the point where we needed a more permanent home. So we’ve been looking for a while now…

The story behind the building that we recently purchased is an amazing story of patience and goodness — but also confusion.  I won’t go into it all, but I’m quite certain that the building we’re about to move into (the LORD willing) doesn’t look anything like the temple that Solomon built for the LORD.   I can say that with some confidence because the building that we purchased is a former fitness facility — plus it has offices that were designed for remote employees/mobile workers to come on in and use for a few hours/days at a time.

When I first heard we were looking at this building, I didn’t care for it.  Several of the buildings around it had closed up shop and they have stayed closed since leaving the area.  The business itself appeared to be like one of those restaurants in your home town that constantly changes hands — i.e. one that never seems to quite make it.

But the LORD was patient with us and we were patient with Him. He worked it out so that we could not only afford the building but also bring on an additional staff member in the meantime.

Having an open house the other night reminded me that the possibilities are numerous with this new building.  I look forward to see what the LORD has in mind for us there.  I’m thankful for the LORD — for His patience with me, His extended grace to me and others, and His being active in our lives.  I’m thankful for what He has done, what He’s doing, and what He will do in the future.

At the end of the day, I’m left with the same words that the Israelites were:

“He is good;
his love endures forever.”

 

Hebrews 11:1

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

 

 

Romans 14:11-12 (NIV)

11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

From DSC:
Steven VanderLeest maintains a blog called Deus Ex Machina (Latin for “God in the Machine”). The other day he wrote the words that I remember singing at First Prebyterian Church of Evanston many years ago. This morning, those words come back to me and I can’t help but post something in light of the situation that occurred last night and continues to occur this morning in Boston — an event which is all over the American media, but the type of event that regrettably occurs all too frequently throughout the world (bombings, killing, violence, hatred, evil, and more).  My soul is troubled, heavy, and cries out:

Kyrie, eleison!
Christe, eleison!
Kyrie, eleison!

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

…and then the words come to my mind…”We are all in this boat together.”

 

 

 

Tagged with:  

Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV) says:

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
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TheStateOfTheHeart3

Looking at a sampling (below) of the emerging technologies starting to hit the landscapes…

I am struck with the thought that, we need as many hearts of flesh out there as possible! 

I hope that these types of very powerful technologies are used by people who care about each other and who respect the dignity of others; those who lift up and value life.


But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

 

 

MaundyThursday-March2013

HeIsRisen

 

 Luke 24:1-8 (NIV)

Jesus has risen
1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.

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What is Maundy Thursday?
What do Christians celebrate on Maundy Thursday?

Excerpt:

Maundy Thursday is observed during Holy Week on the Thursday before Easter. Also referred to as “Holy Thursday” or “Great Thursday” in some Christian denominations, Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper when Jesus shared the Passover meal with his disciples on the night before he was crucified. In contrast to joyful Easter celebrations when Christians worship their resurrected Savior, Maundy Thursday services are typically more solemn occasions, marked by the shadow of Jesus’ betrayal.

What Does “Maundy” Mean?
Derived from the Latin word mandatum, meaning “commandment,” Maundy refers to the commands Jesus gave his disciples at the Last Supper: to love with humility by serving one another and to remember his sacrifice (emphasis here and purchased/modified graphic below from DSC).

 

 

MaundyThursday-March2013

 

Matthew 16:15-16 (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Coop’s Column – Royally Welcomed — by Dale Cooper

 

….the whole multitude of disciples began to praise God joyfully with
a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying:
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven.” (Luke 19.37-38)

 

Excerpt:

I give the rest of this column to Jorge Bergoglio, former archbishop of Buenos Aires, recently elected as Pope Francis I. In his Palm Sunday 2008 address to his Argentine flock,  the Archbishop declared: 

“Today, here in Buenos Aires, like in Jerusalem on that day, the street made way for Jesus. The street received Him properly. The crowd stood, begged for blessings, blessings for their families, blessings for their businesses, their houses, their autos…  Blessing, what does that [really] mean? [It means] that Jesus “speak well” of something, that He approach! That He enter families, hearts, homes, autos, businesses…Jesus out in the street, interacting with the crowd…There. His desire is, just as the gates of the city were opened to Him, the same is done with the doors to our hearts. Every Holy Week He asks the same thing: “Open your heart to Me. I’m not here to mortify you! I’m not here to boss you around! I’m not here to take anything from you…I’m here to give you everything. I want to make you happy.” That’s what He’s telling us. If we slam the doors to our hearts in His face, He suffers. Although He is used to it, He suffers. And we lose the opportunity to become happy.

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