Divided States of America
I remember when I was in the 4th grade; my teacher, Mrs. Ledford, would read from the Bible (KJV/ King James Version) out loud, every day. I didn’t go to a private Christian school; this was the public school system back in the ’70’s. She would read to the classroom- out loud- one chapter a day from the Bible. It was part of our daily learning, and it was not uncommon at the time.
Before we ate our daily lunches in the cafeteria, our teachers would instruct us to bow our heads at the table as we all joined together to pray over our food. Back then, the Iranian hostage crisis was still gaining momentum, and so we all wore cloths tied around our arms in support of our American hostages that were being held, and sometimes beaten, daily. I was too young to really understand the situation much; but I wasn’t unfamiliar with prayer- having been raised in a Pentecostal family. Prayer was, and still is, a very important part of my life. We stood with our hands over our hearts in the auditorium, pledging allegiance to our flag- and our country. I had a reason to feel proud of my country back then. Now, I’m filled with shame and disgust that our country has virtually banned God (and Jesus) from the classroom. I’m no longer proud of my country.
At W.R. Castle Elementary school, in Johnson County Kentucky, students are participating in the traditional “A Charlie Brown Christmas” play. What makes this particular Christmas program so important and so special, is that its creator, Charles Schultz, realized that few programs during the time of its creation were focusing on what Christmas is truly about- the miraculous birth and celebration of Jesus Christ- the Son of God.
Mr. Schultz stated that he purposely included a passage from the Bible that explains just exactly what Christmas is really about. Not Santa Claus. Not toys. Not the commercialism and hubbub of what it’s become over the years- but rather, the moving Christmas story that accompanies Jesus’ Holy birth at the manger, among lowly farm animals, and the 3 Magi who were guided to the manger by following the bright star in the night sky.
The telling of this story has been a Christmas tradition for many years and I remember my teachers telling this story to me every year in my classrooms at school. There was a feeling of charity and warmth in the air as we all learned about Jesus’ birth, as several teachers discussed the precious oils (Frankincense and Myrrh) and other gifts that the Magi/Wise men brought with them to give to Jesus.
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the ever-driven “politically correct” God-banners are having none of this. They petitioned the school board at W.R. Castle Elementary school and are fighting to have the Bible passages- and all references pertaining to Jesus– removed from this Christmas play.
FYI, to whom it may concern, Jesus isn’t merely part of a Christmas story– Jesus IS the Christmas story. In the Charlie Brown Christmas story, Linus explains the meaning of Christmas to Charlie Brown, who is under the impression that Christmas is about a tree and other synonymous symbols. Charles Schultz went on to create this necessary and important conversation between Linus and Charlie Brown:
Charlie Brown: “I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn’t have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don’t know what Christmas is all about. Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”
Linus: “Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.”
(Linus) Taken from the Bible/Luke 8: 2-14: “And there were (in the same country) shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Linus: “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
I can understand disallowing students (or school officials) from forcefully pushing an agenda onto other students–who may not be interested in that agenda–but this is not the case. We’re talking about elementary school children who have a right to learn about the birth of Jesus Christ in an educational and historical context. They have a right to know and learn this information!
Since when did it become “o.k.” to alter historical content in such a way? It is altogether evil to ban “the story of Jesus’ birth”- from a Christmas play during Christmas time.
We’ve reached a new low in this country.
Taken from an interview with Charlie Brown creator, Charles. M. Schultz:
I agree, Mr. Schultz.
Suffering.Pain.Sorrow.Crucifixion.Death.Resurrection.Hope.Love.Light.L I F E
SP/Cross made from popsicle sticks and dental floss
Angel Above You
It’s time for some church up in here! [Spoken in my native southern Texas accent.]
Josh and I took Brianna and Brian down to the river last night. There are three distinct areas we like to hang out at. 1) The creek bed, which runs along the flood wall. 2) The fossil beds- a perfect place to study brachiopods, trilobites, and other fossils which are embedded in the rock layers. 3) The “beach”. This is a part of the river that mimics an actual beach; complete with rolling tides, tons of driftwood, and plenty of sand. We love it there, and that’s the region we chose to frequent last night.
I’ll add another post later this with more family/river pics (including Brianna’s “sand bath”- hair included) but for now, I want to add a few inspirational pics.
I found this particular pic to be very interesting and curious. I shoot in manual- always- so when it’s getting dark, you really have to know your stuff (ISO/shutter speed/aperture/exposure compensation/white balance, etc.) because when shooting in manual, your lighting is always changing from second to second, continuously, even in broad daylight. Shooting at and after dusk is especially tricky because the focus takes longer to “catch”. This is what happened last night when I captured Josh blowing on the fire. Just as I clicked on the shutter, a stray ember popped up from the fire, shooting up and behind his shoulder (you can still see its trail) and formed a perfect cross above him. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the pic in the LCD immediately afterwards. (This pic hasn’t been “shopped”, or Photoshopped.)
I’m sure the specifics of the fire could be explained away scientifically, but I prefer to know and believe that God works in strange and beautiful ways. Even with fire. He lets us know His eyes are always on His Children, and those who love and believe in Him.
From a photographical standpoint, I shot this with a slowed shutter. (1/8 of a sec.) To non-photographers, that means that “time” was slowed down, and the camera picks up what the human eye cannot. In the blink of an eye, this cross was there and gone, but the camera’s “pause” allowed it to be captured. (It’s a good self reminder to pause more in life; we’ll see more crosses.)
S A L T O F T H E E A R T H
My daughter, Brianna/50 MM 1.8 II/manual focus/manual exposure/natural lighting
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
-Matthew 5: 13-16