Friday, April 19, 2013

If You Write about the Terrorism in Boston

Christians writing about the April 15 terrorism in Boston would do well to remember basics of Muslim teaching. Because the identified bombers at the Boston Marathon had Muslim affiliation, the topic is relevant. Personally, I believe that most Muslims do not fully subscribe to the Muslim religion emphasis on intellect and knowledge. Yet, we know that minds can be dangerously influenced by terrorist sympathies.

Mind-knowledge-intellect is the triad of emphasis of Muslim teaching. Yet, the brain also hosts emotions. Why would any teachings pay attention to thought only, to the exclusion of feelings of compassion, hope, and moral good, for example? 
     I learned details about the intellectual basis of Islam during a meeting where a U. S.-based imam spoke about his religion. He pointed to his head and told the audience that the Koran teaches exclusive emphasis on the mind. "Mind and heart" or "mind, heart, and soul" have no assumed or direct interaction in the religion.
     The imam was very reserved during the meeting where he spoke about Muslim beliefs.  He said that only select Muslims like himself can correctly interpret the Koran. Only a few know the ancient language of the true Koran. He emphasized that fact repeatedly.
     These teachings were evident in the  imam's reaction to a question about how it felt or was difficult, after 9/11/01, when the Muslim religion was critiqued.  There was no expression on the imam's face. It appeared that he took the question as being too foolish for thought, for it dealt with feelings. He gave no verbal response at all and made no movement. He ignored the question in every way possible. I wonder today if Muslim leaders exclude feelings after the Boston marathon attacks. 
   I interacted with several Muslim women at that meeting. Most were friendly and smiling. I could not help thinking that feelings must be important to them. I felt at ease around them. They were willing to talk and to answer questions from non-Muslims. A few expressed being happy to meet non-Muslims. Most were Caucasian, adhering to strict Muslim dress.
     In Boston on this year's April 15, two young Muslim men focused their minds on  cold and heartless acts of violence. The terrorists killed and maimed innocent people, including young children. Many more would die in the hours and days ahead, because of their heartlessness. Did any Muslim teachings influence them to destroy lives by killing, maiming, and a river of suffering and loss?  Somehow, survivors will overcome; yet the cause of such suffering flows from extreme mindlessness.   

I hope that you will write about any aspects of the Boston marathon bombings that most disturb, inform, or influence you. Whether or not you are American or Christian, what does it mean to you as a human being with feelings? What does it mean to every thoughtful person to hear again of terrorist acts against innocent civilian people?   
    I feel deeply grateful to live in a country founded and built up by reasonable and peace-loving people. I am more than ever grateful for faith in Jesus Christ, who died innocent yet tormented by violent men, leaders of both political and religious powers. I am most thankful for Christ's life and His teachings of love, saving grace, and the consolations of God. "Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall be called the children of God" (Matthew 5:9). I am deeply  moved to know that freedom-loving people have strong emotions, as well as thoughts, about freedom and life. Those emotions influence strength, calm, lawful justice, and peace-loving hope for better days ahead. Such days will come.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hot Writing Topic-National Common Core Curriculum

A hot topic for writers interested in education of the young is the change that is happening in public education in the U.S. Is it for the better? Is it what you would never have imagined? Is it good? Why is the federal government training teachers to use the curriculum through meetings in Chicago>? Is the program intended to be one-size-fits-all?
       The U. S. common core curriculum is very different from individual states' core curricula. Only five states have maintained their own core curriculum programs. Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia have not accepted the national program, wanting to build stronger academic standards. 
     What I have heard and read recently about the national program has me curious and concerned. I recommend every interested writer, parent and neighbor of public school students and teachers to research the philosophy and practices of the U. S. core curriculum program, which is being used in 45 states. 
     My research, recommended by a mother of public school children, began with The Washington Post archives "The Answer Sheet"/Valerie Straus's "Eight Problems with Common Core Standards," 8/8/2012. 
    Your ideas might interest newsletters, social media groups, a local paper, national magazine, family magazines, and other venues.
     Finally, among any of those steps, I recommend the book and film: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  Follow this link to discover how, if you question the workings of the national program, you might be called an "education fringe-er."

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Easiest Thing to Do...

The easiest thing to do on a computer is to take a teeth-gritting ride. I have had so many computer problems in the last 36 hours that I am now way off track, lost in a wasteland of pop-ups and intense overnight freezing. I had to type the final draft for this blog post on a document and copy and paste it here.
     Being dizzy due to where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, and how I’m feeling right now, I do want to share with you some sign posts that might help you.
    You know the dreaded “blue screen”? That’s the only thing you see, the only destination you can reach...if your computer crashes. As a support technician told me yesterday, “You don’t want to see the blue screen!!!” The guy we pay to keep our four computers going will be unhappy with me, probably, because when the emergency tech person was so helpful I bought a $30-something package for one year, having watched her cursor on my PC screen, showing me an array of scary things—snakes, bugs, and spies in there!
     Today I ran the scan and let the software fix everything so that my risk meter went from Danger! orange to Ahhh! blue. Not sure that comfort range will last for long. I’m still waiting a long time for the pesky pages to load.
     I also discovered that one could go without water for days and days in the desert of "How do I get Explorer not to track my own page views the way it's doing today?!!" before realizing there's no one there... no support helping. 
     Then, it appeared to me that Firefox could save the day. Easy to do, switch back to Firefox when working with Google Blogger! Yay! Success!
    What else did I want to warn you about? I started off wanting to advise what is obvious: try not to get carried away on the Internet when the computer starts to slow down, whirr indefinitely, and repeatedly remind you it is sick, or at least coming down with a highly poisonous virus. Get to some civilized place where real people are certified in Windows or Mac issues. Let them help you, even if the first clean up costs a bundle...or save everything in Ethernet Clouds!  (I don't really know what I'm talkin' about, but I've heard rumors...!)
     Meanwhile, reminded of how heavily I lean on the computer and the Internet, I know I need a serious talk with myself in these computer woods. I'm sitting on a cold log, imagining green trees and blue sky with puffy clouds…memories of changing photos on my Opinari Writers blog, a companion to this one.
    I've dumped a bag of unwanted software in the trash can, glad their deals never made it onto my charge card. A new plethora of pop ups, multiplying like weeds, still bother me,  and I’m trying to cut them down too.
     Take care, writing friend. And I invite you, while I have these moments, to visit the new “Conceptualize Me!” page over at Opinari Writers. It’s about a new way to handle my book and content analysis work. Recommend it if you like what you see and read. That is, if you're up and running.  

Uh oh. Now that my PC is running faster, my blog post paragraph indents won't line up/tab correctly. Bye. I'm outa here.