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Archive for August, 2010

Again, what the heck is going on? We got 14-year-old girls trying to circle the globe alone in boats and now we have a dead 13-year-old boy who got killed motorcycle racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway! When I was a kid young teens rode bicycles but were not allowed to ride motorcycles. There is a big difference in weight and speed. A boy this age is probably only in seventh grade. Peter Lenz of Vancouver, Washington, fell off his bike and was run over by another motorcycle. The injuries were severe and he did not make it. We are told that he was “an accomplished rider.” Now come on, how can a 13-year-old boy be an accomplished anything… that is unless he is Mozart writing concertos at 5 years-of-age? By the way, composing music is not usually harmful to your health, motor vehicles frequently are. Making matters even more bizarre, the rider who struck him was 12-year-old Xavier Zayat! Yes, you heard me right, a mere sixth grader! That is grammar school guys, come on! The news report says that it was not certain that the boy’s parents were even in town. As with the boat-girl, why would parents allow their kids to take such risks with their lives? These kids reach speeds as high as a hundred miles an hour! Is there a lot of money and fame involved? I am really scratching my head. Competing with riders from 12 to 18 we are told he was a rising star. Well, that star has certainly set now and on a boy who should have had his whole future ahead of him. If you ask me, young teens should not be allowed to race motorcycles until they are old enough to have a regular driver’s license. Yes, I would shut this bizarre business down. The more we hear about this, the stranger things become. We are also told that he had been riding for six years… motorcycles! That means he started when he was only 7 years-old! Yes sir that is what I want to see coming down the highway towards me, a first grader on a Harley! Not!

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The world is crazy! This morning I read in the news that a 14-year-old Dutch girl, Laura Dekker, headed out to sea from Portugal in the hopes of becoming the youngest person to sail ALONE around the world. If you were to ask me, I would say her parents should be locked up and the child placed in protective custody. I would question the judgment of an adult and experienced sailor who would attempt such an unnecessary stunt. But this is only a teenage girl who should be entering the eighth grade. I do not care if she wants to do it or not. Parents who take their responsibilities seriously must sometimes say NO to kids! She is not even legal age for a license, let alone for such a perilous disregard for her life. Do her parents and manager think they will get famous and share big money for her adventure? I noticed from the story that they are trying to sell the rights to the videos of her trip. Here is voyeurism taken to the extreme. Given the clamor these days about child abuse, and rightfully so, does no one else see this as exploitive and hurtful? If this is not child endangerment then I do not know what is. I would hope if she survives to reach American waters that the Coast Guard would intercept her and take her butt back home where it belongs.

The latest word is that her communications equipment is malfunctioning. She is making her trip in a 38 foot long ship called, “Guppy.” The trip will take over a year! The truant officer is going to have his work cut out for him when she fails to report to school. Homeschooling requires a parent teacher and she has no supervision at all. The Dutch child protection services rightfully questioned such insanity. This girl will have to travel the world’s oceans alone, in a ship made for far shorter excursions when fully staffed.

I guess the courts are a disappointment all around the world. We criticize them here at home on matters like abortion and the Dutch court releases the girl in question from the secure guardianship of Dutch child protection services. The agencies were reasonably fearful for her safety and psychological health. No sooner was she released last month, she was spirited away, said goodbye to her dad and friends, and set sail from an undisclosed Portuguese port on her attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

One supporter argued that the kid was mature for her age and had passed a maritime examination given in the Netherlands. Whoopee! I can fly a kite; maybe I should tie rockets to my backend and shoot for the moon? No, I do not think so. Seriously, she might have grown up on boats with her father, but the key term forgotten here is “with her father.” This young girl is now alone on the seas. Most grown men would panic at such a prospect. There is not simply the issue of the inherit danger and challenges: mechanical failures, abrupt weather changes, etc. But what effects might there be upon her own mental health in being alone for so long? What kind of lasting effects might it have on one so young? If this girl gets hurt or worse yet, dies— I suspect there will be a lot of “passing the buck” and finger-pointing. But her father (and mother, if she is around), her manager, and the Dutch courts will be guilty of abuse and murder.

The Guinness Book of Records reported that they will have nothing to do with it. Concerned about the health and lives of children, they no longer record the attempts of the “youngest” sailors. I would recommend that we all keep this young girl in our daily prayers. If her own parents will not protect her, we can commend her to the watchful eyes of our heavenly Father.

What do you think?

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Stoned to Death for Adultery

Today’s news included the story about a stoning of an adulterous couple, 20 year old Sadiqa and her lover 28 year old Qayum. Qayum had left his wife for her and the two were caught at a friend’s house by the Taliban. This past Sunday, before a crowd of 150 men, they were stoned to death in the Kunduz providence of northern Afghanistan. Before the fall of Taliban rule such stonings were common. Such brutality shocks us but it speaks volumes about the mentality of the enemy and their brutal religious beliefs.  (Take note, we are told that such is a distortion of Islam.)   

Despite dark moments in history, by contrast, right-minded Christians would censure wrongdoing but pay heed to the witness of our Lord.

Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.” (John 8:2-11)

Our nation seems to have moved to the opposite extreme, excusing all sorts of sexual depravity and the violation of the marriage bond. Adultery, fornication and sodomy were once universally regarded as crimes. Half of the 50 states of the U.S. still regard adultery as a criminal offense. Not in your state? Last I heard it was illegal in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. However, along with the other immoral acts, it is rarely prosecuted. Adultery is still a violation of the military code of conduct and can earn a court martial.

Adultery was defined in some states as actual sexual congress and in others, like Virginia, as “lewd” or “lascivious” associations. I recall a few years ago the authorities used a fornication charge to get a court order to raid a house of a suspected drug pusher— sneaky! Possible penalties for adultery are as severe as a life sentence (Michigan), two years imprisonment (Pennsylvania) or in my own state of Maryland, a $10 fine. Given the money problems in the state, I am surprised the fine is not raised and the law enforced. Just as with the speed and red light cameras which catch offenders for hefty fines, could we not place discrete anti-smooching cameras in parks, near pools, at bars and maybe even in bedrooms? Charging per each offense, I would suspect given the lifestyle and lack of commitment today, the money would come flooding in!

How far must we go to insure public morality? Who determines today what is right and wrong?

What are your thoughts about all this?

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I have always had the deepest respect for women religious. It seems to me that we unjustly joke about them or ridicule them. Critics will complain about sister hitting them with a ruler but say nothing about the learning and discipline that made their later successes possible. (By the way, a nun who is four-foot-something tall controlling a class of 50 plus boys might take a broken ruler or two!) These women often did without so that they might make a difference in people’s lives. They gave themselves to God’s service as his brides. Now that so many of them are elderly and sick, we need to remember them with love and respect. They pray in worship to God and in petition for those whom they love.

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