Thursday, May 11, 2006

Wow

[Y]ou can start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of our country.

I used to think the Left was lead by sincere compassionate liberals whose hearts were bigger than there brains, but every once in a while, if you watch them closely, the mask slips, and they show their true faces. From abortion to gay marriage to multiculturalism to the war in Iraq. They know exactly what they are doing.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Mary

For many Protestants, Mary is one of the largest stumbling blocks to the Catholic Church. Most have never heard of the the typology of Mary and the Ark of the Covenant, but of those who have, a common response is a few chuckles, a head shake, and a question about how those poor deluded Catholics could go to such extraordinary lengths to justify their patently unbibilical beliefs.

To Protestant ears that just sounds so absurd. How can you compare a box to a woman? Yet everyone accepts the typology of the Old Testament tabernacle and the incarnation of Jesus, God dwelling inside a physical container in order to be present with men.

I didn't accept Mary as the Ark until after I had already accepted most of the Marian doctrines, and I really can't see any apologist making many converts with it, but Mark Shea has a fascinating post on the issue and its historicity.

The typology that should be brought up at every chance is Mary as the New Eve. To me that was really stunning, and it forced me to reassess my perspective of Mary's role in the plan of redemption and allowed me, not only to accept the idea of her sinless nature and perpetual virginity, but to embrace it.

I couldn't believe that I had never heard this in church or even seen it for myself before. I was dismayed that Protestant theology could completely ignore such a significant part of the story. How can there be a New Adam and a New Creation without a New Eve, and if sin entered the world through Eve, won't our redemption also come through the New Eve? It made me realize that Protestant theology is incomplete, and even made me feel like I had been deceived by those I trusted to faithfully and truly teach the word of God.

The Catholic Answers archive of March 9, 2005 has a good show on Mary, the New Eve.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Scots-Irish

Everyone is by now familiar with the red-blue political divide and have seen many of the different takes on it,but there is another red-blue map. On this map, predominately Catholic areas are blue and predominantly Baptist areas are red.

Virginia Postrel explains some of its significance:
The folks in the counties colored blue here tend to assume the church is a worldwide hierarchy with bureaucracy, tradition, and deep pockets. Those in the red counties assume complete congregational autonomy, the right of members to hire or fire a preacher by a simple congregational vote, and a wildly free market for money and members. They may vote the same way in presidential elections, but their experiences of governance in their religious lives could not be more different.

The red area, which represents the predominantly Baptist (and independent "Bible Churches"), is the area that is heavily influenced by Scotch-Irish culture. Thomas Sowell touched on this in Black Rednecks and White Liberals in which he identifies many of the deficits in black culture today with the influence of the Scots-Irish. They immigrated to the U.S. from Northern Ireland where their proud, independent, unruly, and hot tempered nature is still in evidence.

James Webb has a more sympathetic take in his book, Born Fighting : How the Scots-Irish Shaped America , but even he admits that, to their detriment, the Scotch-Irish value honor and pride too much and education too little.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Well this is embarrassing.

Kinda like when I got a 40 on a biology test that I studied my heart out for.

Dixie Royal
You are 81% true Southern!
You are pure belle or gentleman! You know your Jones Soda, Nehi and RC colas, your Moon Pies and sweet potato pie; you'd absolutely die without air conditioners in the summer, and you've seen Steel Magnolias and Fried Green Tomatoes (or read the book!). Your grandmother lives in an antebellum home and has a cook who makes the best fried chicken and asparagus casserole and summer squash and everything else in the world. And you know the taste of honeysuckle and the feel of grass between your toes.
You are blessed.



My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 44% on Southerliness
Link: The Southern-ness Test written by gwennykate on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The shoes on the other foot now

Old timers in the Castro district of San Francisco are complaining because a wave of new arrivals don't share their values and expect the neighborhood to conform to their sensibilities.

The twist? Castro is a hard-core gay district that is having to adjust to gays with children.

Shop owners say they have made appropriate concessions, removing the most provocative displays.

Mark Walsh, 50, the manager of a gay sex shop called Rock Hard, said: "There are always a few outspoken couples with children, both heterosexual and gay, who expect everything to be prim and proper.

"But this is the Castro and anybody who moves here knows what they are moving to. We are very sexual people and we do tend to flaunt it a little.

"I have cleaned up my windows to the extent I am willing to. This is the one place in the country where we can all gather and be ourselves and not have to worry. I don't like that people are trying to change our ways."


Of course the prim and proper gay couples aren't moving from the 'burbs to the Castro distict when they have kids. They are Castro residents who re-evaluate the culture they are living in when they become responsible for raising children.

It probably won't be too long before most of them find the suburbs a better fit for thier new lifestyle and discover that uptight suburban heterosexuals are more accepting of their families than their former neighbors in the Castro district.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Feminism Just Isn’t Inclusive Enough

NCLB & TAKS

Arg! After spending a good half hour composing a response to Jane Gault's remark about NCLB, I learn that comments have been turned off!

I agree with Jane that NCLB has been a good thing, but it's a definitely more than some minimum standard to insure funtional literacy and basic math. The TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills), which makes sure that Texas education is aligned to the national standards, requires a much higher level of skills and knowledge than the curriculum did when I was in middle school back in the late 70s and that was in one of the best school districts in the country.

The majority of questions are higher than grade level reading and just a handful of questions are under grade level. They are not designed to test recall of facts or reading comprehension. They require complex cognition tasks on Bloom's Taxonomy. Knowledge level and comprehension level questions are rare and usually reserved for things like 18th century historical documents and scientific quotations. That means students must have a basic knowlege base in the subject being tested, be able to comprehend the reading passage, and then demostrate critical thinking skills to answer the question correctly.

There is a misperception that students are being taught to the test. The state standards are aligned to NCLB, the district curriculum is aligned to the state standards, which includes both information and skills, and the teacher's job is to teach the curriculum. The TAKS test questions are drawn from the state standards, which is essentially the entire curriculum that the teacher should be teaching.

The math test is completely word based. There is not a single problem that is just numbers and symbols. That's a killer for the students with limited English. It doesn't matter what kind of math whiz a recent Japanese arrival is when they are confronted with a paragraph to read with handful of numbers sprinkled throughout and no hint of what mathematical operations to use, let alone a Hispanic kid without a strong educational background.

Algebra and geometry concepts that were presented to honors students in the 8th & 9th grades and regular students in 9th & 10th grades in my day are now in the regular 7th grade math curriculum because it's on the 7th grade TAKS.

Students routinely write five paragraph papers in Language Arts, science, history, and health to prepare for TAKS, that includes everyone except select special ed students with severe disabilities. Only honors students did that in the 1970s and that was only in English class. Regular students were not required to write more than a paragraph or two here or there until their junior year when they were finally taught how to write an essay.

Today's students are getting the most rigorous schooling of any generation since before the Baby Boomers were taught sight reading with books like 'See Spot Run.' NCLB is designed to prepare all students for the rigor of global competition in the 21st century, not ensuring a funtionally literate and numerate society. Thankfully, we are waaay beyond that.

One of the main reasons there is so much hostility to NCLB is that teachers don't want to be held accountable to the curriculum because it's not intellectually challenging for them, creatively fulfilling for them, or consistent with their personal educational mission.

For the curious, released TAKS are available. 7 & 8 th grade both have reading and math tests. The writing test is in the 7th grade; math and science tests are in 8th. Standards are raised every year, so the percentage of students passing has to increase every year and at the same time, the number of correct answers to pass increases.

Easter Week

One of the Protestant criticism of Catholics is that they focus on the crucifixion and penitence to the exclusion of the of the resurrection and joy.

It saddens me to report that, on this, they are indeed correct. As soul-satisfying as my first Catholic Lent was, my first Catholic Easter has been a disappointment. It's not that Catholics do anything less or different than Protestants, but after the emotional, soul wrenching, forty days building up to the crescendo of the resurrection, Easter fizzles out completely after Sunday.

Internet sites that were full of advice on Lenten practices are silent about Easter Week. Bloggers who enumerated how they were going to observe Lent and Holy Week with reading lists, menus, and even wardrobe selections, suddenly have nothing to say.

The only internet references I could find to Easter Week concerned prayers or were mistakenly referring to 'Holy Week' as 'Easter Week.'

Easter Week is supposed to be The Feast of Feasts.

Catholics are supposed to observe eight days of Easter feasting to make up for forty days of Lent, and then some. It should be more joyous and extravagant than Christmas. Fresh flowers should be as abundant as evergreens in December. It should be a week of idyll.

Catholics should spend it at fairs and festivals, outdoor concerts, at pick-your-own berry farms, on nature walks, bicycling, horseback riding, dancing, eating and drinking, visiting art museums, barbecuing, picnicking in fields of wildflowers or under blossoming trees, in the country, at the zoo, at the races or ball field, reading charming witty novels, throwing parties, going on pilgrimages, visiting long distance friends, fishing at the lake, watching fun lighthearted movies, playing games in the yard, shooting the breeze with neighbors, and napping in the hammock.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Weddings

I heard something on tv last night that just seems so true.

Wedding celebrations are too big, and anniversary celebrations are too small.

We act as if the wedding is an end in itself instead of a seed that has the potential of one day growing into something truely wonderful and grand. Shouldn 't the size of the celebration grow as the marriage endures trials and the couple passes significant milestones in their lives together?

I very much like the symbolism of a small intimate wedding with the 5, 10, 25, and 50 year anniversaries growing bigger and progressively more celebratory to include new family and friends, children, and grandchildren.

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