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About des

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    Master Contributing Member
  • Birthday 03/01/1960

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  • Location
    New Mexico
  • Interests
    Animals-- dogs, cats, and saltwater fish. Current population-- 1 Corgi, 2 cats (Maine Coone and Siamese/Maine coone mix), 40 gal reef tank.<br />Snorkeling. Astronomy. Harry Potter crazy. :-)<br />Like to discuss religion with like minded folks.<br />I'm a special ed. teacher attempting to run private practice tutoring <br />with mostly dyslexic kids. (I'm a lousy business woman and am trying to get a real job.)<br /> I spent a long time reading and figuring out what I believed. I grew up in a strict Christian Science family. Went off as an agnostic for awhile; went to Christian encounter (encounter groups talking about religion), was in a private religious discussion group, read about Buddhism, and finally read Matt Fox (also attended several of his talks). His thoughts very much resonated, and I ended up at a UCC church he talked about in one of his talks.<br />I am mostly happy with the UCC church I attend, but if I am ever on the church council again.... Well just no way! <br /><br />--des
  1. Discouraging Days

    I would be the first to agree perhaps that equality is not distributed equally, so isn't exactly equally. This definitely applies to the poor. I'm not sure how to respond to this otherwise. But I agree on that single point, as well as the one about solving the War in Iraq. Perhaps I can appreciate the situation of gays, because I feel that there is some level of that feeling in myself. I don't know that any of us is in entirely straight or entirely gay. But I think there is a range. I don't think that Jim Wallis is using the issue. I think he is trying to create one where there could be some degree of agreement. Obviously that might not be the case. But the church acting as an agent of the state isn't entirely natural either. We live in a country (US citizens) which has a wall fo separation, as Jefferson called it. This wall is breached every time this is done. I think it is dubious in constitutionality, if nothing else. Yes, in terms of issues, I think it is not a major one. That's why I feel the Republican party has scuriously used this issue to divide people and create scare tactics. --des
  2. Well I see no problem with your argument if you think the Bible was meant to be taken literally. Or if you think that a decree to go out and multiply should literally be given to all ages. After all, we have too many people right now, esp. in the third world. Obviously homosexuality makes little sense from a procreative sense. But this all presupposes that homosexuality is a choice like wearing a certain type of clothing or something. If it is ingrained in a real way, which I think it is, then giving it up is not really an option. Groups claiming to "cure homosexuality' are lyers. Most of the people are either short fixed, celebate, or perhaps actually bi and not really gay. Study after study, shows brain differences and homosexual preferences showing up very early-- perhaps as early as 5 or so. Fundamentalists have no problem disregarding all this science, but I have a problem disregarding this. The Bible also forbids wearing two fabrics, sentences people who don't respect their parents to death, tells people to beat their children with sticks, and says slavery is fine (just be nice to your slave). It also condones the actions of Joshua who killed women, children, old people, and animals in his genecidal war. Almost nobody supports these things today, saying things like "look what the Bible says about your wool and polyester garment". :-) Why is homosexuality, if it were a sin, which I don't buy, over and above other sins? I think Western culture has a big sexuality hang-up which they should grow out of. Also do you know two gays who love each other? I don't think this situation really existed (or if it did was quite underground) in Biblical times. I don't think we want a whole bunch more people, as even in the first world all these kids mean more carbon burning. BTW, I think you make the implication that all cultures everywhere view homosexual relations as wrong. This is clearly not the case. There are some societies that actual revered homosexuals, for instance some native cultures. They knew they were different. --des
  3. Discouraging Days

    Hi GWB, Actually I don't have a problem with gay unions. The thing is that they would have to have absolutely equal rights. What we learned from the civil rights movement is that often times things like this just aren't entirely equal, but if they could be it would be ok in my book. Actually, what Jim Wallis' writes about in God's Politics is something I would support. All unions (gay or straight) would be "civil unions". The church would no longer have authority to "marry anyone" (gay or straight) under the laws of any state. An individual church would be able to marry who they wanted to under the church (in the eyes of God) how ever they want to word it. So that some churches would never marry any gay person (Southern Baptist), some might sometimes (Episcopal or UMC), and some might usually marry a gay person like UU or UCC. I think it would also help churches who are torn over this issue. I never accused you of any hatred or fear, because if you really believe in equal rights, then I don't see a problem. I think there are many people out there, and you know who they are, that don't. I'm not sure who Jack was answering either, so I can't answer for him. I am also not gay, so I can't speak for someone who is (though no one can speak for everyone anyway). So I imagine that the idea of totally equal civil unions would be ok with some people and not others. I like Jim Wallis' idea, though I don't think it will happen in the forseeable future. (BTW, it was the way things used to be. I think it is questionably constitutional that churches can marry anyone with powers of the state. I wonder if this will be tested at some point.) I am very opposed to the constitutional amendment idea.I think it is a wedge issue designed to get ahold of right leaning voters and get them to vote Republican and then discard them. I think there is actually little chance of it getting thru as an amendment. --des
  4. >Your comments are too kind. It was a combination of homoerotic and sadistic pornography of violence - a constant in many Gibson movies, including his newest. I saw the trailers and that was quite enough for my stomach and brain. The addition of anti-Semitic elements , I can't comment from my own viewing-- at least from what I read, was a nasty addition. >This thread was interesting with the intervention of a fundamentalist, what was that about. Gosh, I don't know. The thread was sort of already long dead, and he apparently was reading very old threads in the archive. This film was a big hit among fundamentalists who seemed to view attack of it, as some kind of anti-Christian statement. It's interesting that an administration with a fundamentalist base is supporting torture (signing the McCain bill was a lie, when George Bush did the most unconstitutional thing of a "signing statement" sayng he would basically follow it if convenient), given what was done to Jesus. --des
  5. Discouraging Days

    Jack, I find it troubling as well to see the way love is somehow twisted to exclude others, and gays seem to be the current scapegoat. One guy on tv, said he was looking for what caused the moral decline, so now he was looking at gays and then abortion (he ended up with the UN!). Gays are blamed for marriage on the decline, as if heterosexuals need any help with this. I see cowardice in a literalistic reading the Bible to exclude gays (why don't they take the same seriousness re: wearing clothes of two fibers?). I also feel that there is some "canary in the coalmine" sort of phenomena with gays. If you can't accept gays, you probably aren't going to accept immigrants (another much scapegoated group), who are "taking our jobs" saying nothing about American companies moving jobs to China or India (or Mexico for that matter), and you probably aren't going to accept a lot of other marginalized groups. What is going on in mainline churches is sad. I believe from reading their website and info about them that a group called the IRD is fomenting a lot of this. Though mainline churches are on the decline, some fundamentalists fear them for their "influence" and have decided on a way of undermining them. They take minor disagreements and turn these into major issues (actually the whole population is MORE tolerant of gays than earlier and this pattern has been getting better for years). This organization's blog has more info on this, though you kind of have to look for it: http://www.talk2action.org/ (Actually some of this has gone on in the UCC but since the UCC has always been small, it is hasn't been considered quite as much of a threat as some other mainline churches. I think the Puerto Rican churches have actually pulled out of the UCC. There have also been groups within such as the more or less infamously labeled "Welcoming and ..."? which takes advantage of the similarity of the name to Open and Affirming, which is a real UCC term. You know the real one because "Welcoming" isn't at least if you are gay. This kind of thing very much antagonizes relationships where maybe one member would ordinarily leave if a church became ONA. (We have a gay pastor, which to my understanding didn't really register any complaints at all, even among older members.) My understanding is the MTV generation, even fundamentalists, is more open to gays, so things might change. It is more typical for younger kids to know gays and to like them so they can't maintain their prejudices and fears under the circumstances. And yes, I think it is fear. The way homosexuality (even if it were a sin) would be over and above all others and actually made part of the national agenda is fear mongering. You don't see lying to get us into an immoral war on the same level. --des
  6. I love to edit my own posts, esp after the edit option is no longer available. :-) Anyway, I was in the dentist's office today. I'm not sure how old the Time magazine was but it was this year anyway. :-) There was an article on how quite a no. of young nuns are putting the veil and habit back on. (I would say it isn't quite as extreme a one as I remember from way back.) But anyway, not all chose it, but the older nuns were definitely not interested, it was the younger ones wanting it. So I thought that was an interesting commentary on our times and doesn't support Karen Armstrong's contention. OTOH, I think it wasn't a particularly a rigorous one, more her observation. --des
  7. I've heard the average out of pocket costs for teachers is about $450 a year. Let me assure you I spend well over that. We are not given kleenex, paper, pencils, chalk, etc. We do get books though. I saw a bumper sticker the other day, "Give no child a dime". (That, of course, is a play on "No Child Left Behind", Bush's "gift" to education. Because of this, schools now waste enormous amts of time and energy on totally silly school remediation strategies in their desperation. One teacher I know had to do "mission statements" with her kindergartners. :-o The idea is by 2014, I think, 100% of students, including those with visible retardation (no I am not making this up) and English language learners will have to score at a certain level showing they meet grade standards. Fortunately this bill is up again in this congress. --des
  8. Here, here!! (I hate "me too" posts, so "me too". :-)) --des
  9. I'm sure she is writing with a certain "lens". And she does seem progressive or moderate. I don't think there is truly such a thing as a "lens"-less history, as we might have been led to believe when we studied it in school. I have gotten a little farther and it reads a little faster. She has divided the end half of the book into the philosophers, the mystics, the reformers, the enlightenment, etc. and takes a look at these from each of the three monotheistic traditions, heavily an Islamic side (at least for the philosophers). I think it fascinating that there was at one time a strong, "interpretative", drive in Islam that was strongly pro-science and natural history. (I don't think that much is in question.) An interesting anecdote that she quoted on tv. Someone asked where the moderate voices were in Islam. She ticked off several, which of course meant nothing to me. Then she said she is giving the same talk in Pakistan and someone asks her where the moderate voices are in Christianity!! (They certainly seem drowned out!!) In her talk she mentioned nuns, but only in relation to the veil. How despised the nuns were for wearing the habit etc. She said once there was freedom to wear it, the habits came off. I thought that was an interesting comment. She described Europeans as in a tither about it. Of course they see it more than we do. (I do see it more than you might think in a SW city.) She proposed we all just chill. :-) Actually I thought she is a better speaker than writer, really loved her talk. And yes, can't wait to see HP 5 even though it was like reading my nephew. :-) Definitely my least favorite one far and away. --des
  10. Flow, what a wild idea. Crazy really. There used to be a bumper sticker about something about funding the military thru bake sales. I think that's an idea. There are two reading teachers in our school with 650 kids in special ed (I'm guessing 90% have reading problems). I don't know how many we have in English as a second language but I'm guessing high. Anyway, we did the stats on it, and we should actually have 25 reading teachers, not two. We are able to work intensively with the kids and actually remediate these disabilties but it would be better to do this when the kids are younger, before many of them have failed so much and gotten turned off. They are making an effort. But it is with not enough funding anyway. I have to take special training which I use preparation time but they don't pay us, so the support for this is sort of minimal. If they really could support it, it is a great program, because we have seen amazing things with some of the kids. The problem is that we are getting them awfully late. No it wouldn't be easy anyway. And it seems too little as well. You always here conservatives saying we can't just throw money at the problem. (Of course they *don't* say this about the military.) But here is an example of a program that is a solid thing, is based on research, gets results, and needs much more funding! --des
  11. Anybody read this? I am in the process of reading it. It is a LONG book! The subtitle is the 4000 year history of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is about 4000 pages long. One year per page. ;-) Just kidding but it is long. And it isn't quite like reading Harry Potter (I am a huge fan, as some of you know). But I am finding this very rewarding. One thing: the really good quotes from the Quran, which aren't quite like reading the born again sites on the net, where they quote all the nasty things in the Quran. Another is the history of Islam which is quite interesting. You also find out who the Shia and the Sunni are. (The Shai are more literalist and believe in a blood line from Mohammad, also believe Al-Lah- literally The God-- speaks thru the immans directly.) Also some neat little tidbits on Judaism (those early Isrealites weren't really monotheists-- that's why there were all the issues with "other gods".) And also Christianity-- where did the trinity idea come from? So, imo, the book definitely has its rewards. I find it challenging. This is heavy going, even though Karen Armstrong is a good writer, and writes to a lay audience. She is a really interesting speaker, heard her on geek tv, woops I mean BookTV, talk on her recent book on Islam. Something like Mohammad, a Prophet for our Time. Interesting note: She is an ex-nun. Anyway, I'd be curious on anyone else's impression. --des
  12. Greetings

    Hi Gary, Well I was curious about your login!!! Funny thing about your tale with the keyboard. I used to use text to speech. This was back in the old days when it was about 70% accurate (it's up to about 95%-98% now). And you used to have to speak every.. word.. like.. this.. and.. spell words like this delta.. echo.. sierra (that's des). Anyway if 70% sounds good, well that's 3 words out of 10 wrong. Anyway I couldn't type so it was tolerable. It made very funny mistakes. I used to keep a file of them but lost them when the computer died. Sometimes they were strangely true, like Freudian slips. I got very good at saying "delete that". :-) It was frustrating for me though, as I have allergies and my voice file got very poor and I ended up making a separate file for when my allergies were particularly bad- I ended up more like 50-60% accurate. Yesh. I found a program called Cowriter. Its a word prediction program so you type a few letters and it finishes the word for you, and it is intelligent in that it remembers the kind of stuff you tend to write. Then I found an online forum that I really got involved in, and I finally learned how to type. I guess motivation can work wonders. :-) (BTW, typing programs didn't help. And Mavis Beacon Typing Tutor got pitched across the room many times. ;-)) I do think that the program Type to Learn is good, and may have helped me. There is less emphasis on timing and more on typing real words than many programs. So good luck on your fingers. --des
  13. I don't think that was quite DCJ's point, Jenn. I think it was just that morality wasn't really based on being a Christian or not. As many of us know many people in prison these days are not sociopaths but drug addicts as you point out. They tend to be the most poor and least enfrancised. Many years ago, my mom visited prisoners for her church (which at that time was the Christian Science church--alas), even then my mom used to tell of her experiences and how most of the guys seemed to be good people, who had gotten into drugs basically. All were poor, most were minority, and all were uneducated. A few years ago, I taught reading to kids at a charter high school. This high school took mostly kids who were drop outs of other high schools. Many of them were in the juvenile justice system. They were 90% not bad kids. Most of them couldn't read. I can see right now in my current job in a "barrio" type school (I teach reading there too), that a lot of these kids are either going to be in trouble or are already in trouble. The girls have very high rates of getting pregnant. The boys get into frequent fights, they get into gang activity. Last year one kid helped in putting a small pipe bomb (not very big apparently, as it did no damage) in a hallway. Honestly he was a very sweet kid, who got permantely expelled. Average reading level of my students: 3rd grade. Some of them have attitudes it's true. I think I would have an attitude if I read at that level. They need to pick up these kids faster with their reading problems. There is no way many of these kids can make a living, so they turn to selling drugs. I'm not condoning or excusing it. But i think we have a serious problem in our society when we have this underclass that just is not getting what they need to make it in life. The good news: if we can get them before 10th grade, work like heck with them, they are open enough to work with us, and their disability or problems with reading aren't too severe and they stay in the class, and don't take welding or weights, instead we can make a lot of progress with them. That's a lot of ifs of course. --des
  14. "the Nativity" Movie

    Hi, I haven't seen this. Interesting how Hollywood is now actively marketing to the "Christian" pocket book each Christmas two years running. Last year with "Narnia". BTW, read a review in sojo. net. Said while the family looked the part the baby Jesus didn't. Interesting. (Though I saw something once on how they test out baby "actors", babies have quite an audition! So maybe they just couldn't find one that met their standards.) --des