Ravaging Politicism (excerpt 2)

Getting back to Arne Duncan’s statement, it seems obvious that no one respects his views—especially legislators who are in bondage to oxymoronic thinking (or perhaps the more apropos term would be—moronic). Otherwise, if their brain cells were actually functioning on “an average level” they would increase budget allocations for education rather than cut them. Giving some states more money has proven that the lack of money is not the problem. The real problems that need addressing are standardized testing that in no way improve test scores. If we want to see an improvement in test scores we need to develop the means to motivate students to want to learn and provide teachers the opportunity to teach, not test. Teachers in classroom across the nation are bombarded with testing which yields no relatable results as to their efforts in the classroom.

Specifically, in Michigan the Detroit Public School system spends money for testing on a monthly and quarterly basis in addition to the State testing. Michigan has the lowest level of literacy across the nation with most only able to read at a fourth-grade level when the student is in high school. However, Michigan’s Tea Party Governor boasts improvement in graduation rates, but does the increase of students graduating mean much when they no reading comprehension skills? We have students who graduated from high school in college settings who do not know how to do simple division—add, subtract, multiply and divide. We cannot even consider their inability to do algebra or higher mathematics. For the record, the federal government and other foundations have poured good money after bad in their attempt to gain a measurable foothold in academics and have failed miserably.

First of all, anyone who wants to teach should know how to teach his or her subject content.  Aspiring teachers should be qualified—through coursework and experiences—that demonstrate their ability to get the job done. In Michigan, twenty years ago—teachers were not tested to see what they knew or understand. They only had to complete the coursework to receive a teaching certificate. This is not to say it is the teachers’ fault! I hate people blaming the downward spiral of academic proficiency on the teachers. Educating a student—any student—should be a partnership between parents, teachers, and the community. At this point in our state (and this is probably true for others), there is no partnership because most parents will not engage in the process! Since I do not wish to be redundant in a diatribe against the Michigan School system, I suggest reading my findings in, “If Parents Cared Enough, Johnny and Juaneshia Could Read” available wherever books are sold.

Another foil to keeping academics competitive was the course of action taken by a Superintendent in Detroit who arbitrarily decided that teachers did not need to teach grammar in an English class. What he really meant was that the “black students” did not need to know grammar or they might be able to compete with their counterparts from the suburbs for quality jobs. For the record, I am not a racist; I just call things the way I see them since there was no justification for this course of action. Even with the foolish, not every black person is incapable of using the language appropriately. After all, I am black and have up to this point, demonstrated competency in using Standard American English.  Now, twenty years later, the students in Detroit School Systems and in surrounding suburbs do not know how to use Standard American English because some idiot(s) decided it should not be taught. This is why, our students cannot write proficiently. They are reading with an inadequate proficiency level because all the testing does not allow time for them to read anything of substance as part of the “standardized” curriculum.

What education really needs is to get back to basics and leave all the pseudo-reforms in the pit they have dug, along with those who proposed them. How does all this factor into resulting in ravaging politicism? The legislative changes that take place that attempt to be politically correct are digging trenches we may not be able to survive.

How does this factor into the equation? Textbook publishing companies connect with legislators and they climb into the proverbial bed of allegiance with kickbacks to those creating legislation and money for all to enjoy. This is the real reason for the educational gap in measured achievements.  What we have as our guiding influence in many areas is a pseudo-façade of anyone caring about the students, but all wanting their share of the till.

Upcoming sections–legislative morality, religious deficits, parenthood, looking forward

 

Ravaging Politicism

Introduction

When looking at our society today and trying to make sense of the stupidity that reigns one has to wonder—how did we reach this point in life? The answer could be very simply put forth for discussion and analysis, but the problems attached to the answer are too complex to be simple. We are living in an era in which we attempt to hold people to standards when in reality those standards no longer exist and have not for some time.

We expect people in certain positions to uphold a modicum of respect for the office, even if it is obvious the person holding the office, deserves no respect. We attempt to hold people to standards of morals when we have been an amoral society for decades and there does not appear to be any attempt for anyone to change the flavor of our valueless society.

We attempt to hold parents accountable for raising productive children while taking away their rights to do so and then wonder why our children are on the rampage.

We attempt to hold teachers to high academic standards of excellence when in reality—we tie their hands and muzzle over their mouths when the teachers dare to voice their concerns about the conditions under which they are expected for perform. Performance indeed is an accurate portrayal of what teachers are expected to do. They are expected to perform—miracles—with students who either cannot or will not cooperate in the learning process, with reduced budgets and a lack of resources that defies logic, and with micro-managing administrators who do not have a clue as to what should happen in a classroom, and certainly, do not know what is  happening in the classroom.

Then we have the standards of religious posturing that have no real meaning, but are laughable and people have the nerve to wonder why church attendance is down in so many “religious institutions.” When we have demoralized morals—and labelled it political correctness—we open the door to the powers of negativity and ruination and allow them to run rampant—causing confusion and chaos everywhere and then we sit back and wonder—why! Granted, not everyone believes in the God of creation and this is not really about what one believes or does not believe.

This unraveling diatribe is about the reality that has beset us and one in which we are so mired that we cannot see our way back to a rationale in our approach to life that makes it possible for us to regain any civility we have lost. As a result of our current predilection regarding political correctness as a standard, I have endeavored to expound on the results of our foolishness and bring to the forefront the issue of the ravaging politicism that is so pervasive in our society that reason is no longer a sound principle for most of our society.

To make sure that everyone reading maintains a focused view (no straying) to what is being said, the following definitions are used to coin the phrase—“ravaging politicism”—so that all can interpret with accuracy the state of our society.

Politicism—considering the verb—politicize—which means to bring a political flavor into a situation. In this case, it is the political arena, wooing citizens to win their confidence in a time of election.

Changing the verb into a noun by adding the suffix—ism—which means to develop a distinctive doctrine, theory, system or practice—we have—viola—politicism.

Ravaging—to ruin or cause ruinous damage or harm to someone or something. For the purposes of this brief dissertation, it is ruining what was supposed to be the threads of a civilized society in which morals and values are revered.

Referencing statements made in the introduction, let me begin with the damage that has brought us to our knees on an academic un-achievement level. We are ranked average based upon recent findings in the report according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development updated 10/1/2012). When looking at the compilation of scores, average is not an accurate description of what the ranking should be. On a scale up 1000, our reading scores were 500, math scores 487, and science scores 502. Now, I admit I am not a mathematician, but 50% is failing, not average. But then, I did not do the ranking and those who did, probably hoped that anyone reading this report would not see the fallacy that can be concluded from the following excerpt.

The three-yearly OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)             report, which compares the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in 70 countries    around the world, ranked the United States 14th out of 34 OECD countries for   reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for mathematics.

The response from our “revered leader in education” makes the following statement:

“This is an absolute wake-up call for America,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne             Duncan said in an interview with The Associated Press. “The results are extraordinarily            challenging to us and we have to deal with the brutal truth. We have to get much more       serious about investing in education.”

Now while I realize that not everyone considers Huffington Post a reliable media source, I am fairly confident in using them as a source for my stance. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/07/us-falls-in-world-education-rankings_n_793185.html—retrieved on 1/31/2014]

I have so much more to say–stay tuned for upcoming posts in the next week or so. Please forgive previous post–formatting issues.

Redeeming Light!

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Light exposes things for all to see. When most of us get out of bed, one of the first things we do is to turn on a light. This is especially true if there are no “night lights” used in a home. Why do we turn on the light? Even though we may be familiar with the placement of where things are, we still do not wish to experience bumping into things–just in case we misjudged the distance or placement. When we bump into furniture–we sometimes end up with bruises or excruciating pain. Unless we are addicted to feeling pain, none of us wants to deliberately cause ourselves pain.

God is Light. He exposes those things that are done in darkness and most acts of sin are done in “darkness” (lack of knowledge or when people attempt to hide). The enemy loves to cloak his influence in darkness–hidden truth from those he uses–and then laughs at those he uses when their deeds are exposed–uncovered for all to see. Truth and Light are synonymous. Lies are darkness are synonymous. When Light comes into a situation, darkness is dispelled and all that has been done is exposed under the Light.

All of the things that people do that are wrong–they have usually lied about, conducted the deed under cover of manipulation or deception, and thought they would never be exposed. They have been deceived–either by someone else or they have deceived themselves. When people think their wrong doing will never be exposed, they deceive themselves. This is how many politicians have been exposed–their arrogance–pride in themselves and thinking they are above reproach–has led them to being exposed for all the world to see–in the light of day. When children get into trouble because they had done something they knew was wrong, they thought they could get away with it so they lied about the deed. When husbands cheat on their wives, they started out lying and the lie was exposed. When wives cheat on their husbands, their lies are exposed.

Lies–to commit those things we are ashamed of and think we can hide them–leaves us in darkness. Truth–that operates in the light of day and every situation–leaves us open for inspection by all with nothing to hide. “But if we walk in the light (always telling truth), we can have fellowship (be in harmony with others)” and never have to worry about being exposed or hiding anything or lying about what we do. If we walk in darkness, thinking we will get away with what we do, we will be exposed by the light.  When we confess our sin (any wrong doing) to God, He is faithful and just to forgive us, but we never escape the consequences of those actions committed in darkness. God’s forgiveness does not negate consequences.

Which will it be for you? Will you walk in the light or stay in the dark? Remember, what we do in the dark can lead to pain–being bruised and scarred for life. Allow the Light to come into your life and laugh at the devil when he and his deeds are exposed.

He Will Teach Us!

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8 NASB).

Through His Word, God reminds us that He will provide us with instruction–instruction that is sound and rational–to live right and receive all He has for us.

He reminds us that He will teach us the direction we should take–in all areas of our lives at all times. The instruction He provides us will equip us to succeed upon the path He has established.

He watches over us in our journey of life and stands ready to offer us wise counsel when He sees us getting off track. He wants us to succeed. He has established plans for us to succeed because that is His desire. It is up to us to hear Him when we go astray so we can get back on track quickly. How do we hear God speaking to us? When we have a relationship with Him and communicate on a regular basis, we will know when He speaks to our hearts about anything. Once we receive the message He speaks to our hearts, we then–using the mind of Christ, begin to make sense of what we have heard and put it into action.  Our hearts must first receive, so our minds will believe all that He says.

When we let God be God, our lives will be so much better. God never changes, man’s instructions, teachings and counsel are often contradictory to God’s Word and change constantly indicating there is no stability in the mind of man who does not trust in the Lord!

None Like Him!

To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him “(Deuteronomy 4:35 NASB).“Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the LORD, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other” (Deuteronomy 4:39 NASB).

In this conversation with the Children of Israel they are reminded of the God of Heaven, how He remembered them because of their fathers with whom He had a covenant, and to make sure they knew that the other gods, had done nothing for them or anyone else.

This powerful reminder is just as relevant to us–spiritual Israel–as it was then. We need to be reminded from time to time of how great God has been, is and will be. No matter what we create or set up to worship–we are reminded there is none like Him. He is the God of Heaven and earth. He is the God who brought us back into relationship with Him through His willingness to die for us. He is the One who allowed us to experience Him first-hand through many trials and tribulations and He brought us through them all. He is the One, the only One who loves us enough to keep giving us chance after chance to get things right, before He returns.  How great a love is that? Of course He can do no more than what He is because He is Love. 

Be very careful in worshiping anything created by man or mankind himself. They are limited in what they can do and absolutely nothing we make with our own hands (or digitally) can ever do what God does. We need not get so caught up with achievements that we forget God. None of our technology has been created without Him since it is He who inspired all things created and without Him, nothing has ever been created.

People (who don’t know God) want to blame God for all the ills of the world, but they must first look to themselves and see if they have been willing to hear God. When we can hear God speak to our hearts and then to our minds, we can discover–cures for illnesses and means to convince others to obey Him so there won’t be unrest and confusion in the land. We know how to “ask God” for things, but do we know how to listen for His response. He has said, He will withhold no good thing from us. Finding a cure for illnesses is a good thing--He is not withholding the information, we are not hearing Him. Establishing peace in a world of unrest is a good thing–He is not withholding the means, we are not hearing Him.

None of the statues, or beads, or crystals or anything else we worship or use in worship will ever change anything. There is no candle that holds power. There is no piece of jewelry that holds power. There is nothing in the land that holds power other than our faith in Him who can and will do all things well. There is none like Him who can get the job done. It’s about relationship, not religions or religious observations! It is our faith alone that moves Him–not tears or emotions–to doing what He does in response to our communications with Him. Prayer is communication with God, but for most of us, it becomes a one-sided conversation. Stay quiet long enough to hear what He has to say. After all, He took the time to hear you. No, there is none like Him.

Father, in the name of Jesus, thank You for hearing and answering our prayers. Thank You for taking the time to respond to us on a level we can understand clearly. Thank You for reminding us, through Your Word that there is none like You and there never will be. We give You all the praise and glory for You are the only One worthy of it.

Favor and Life!

“For he who finds me finds life,  And obtains favor from the LORD” (Proverbs 8:35 NASB).

Have you found Him?

Have you found The One who gives Life?

Have you found He who gives you favor all your life?

Have you discovered that with Him, you are never alone?

Have you lived the abundant Life He promises to all who receive Him into their lives?

Have you seen Him operating in the lives of others on a regular basis?

Have you felt His love towards like no other love?

Have you accepted Him as your Lord and Savior?

Have has your name been written in the Book of Life?

Have you acknowledged that favor on your life with others because of Him?

Well, have you?

The questions could go on and on, but there is only one response that He is seeking. “Yes, I have…” The promises of The Lord are always, Yes and Amen, but there are some who are not even aware of His promises; the promises of Life Abundantly for those who believe and receive and the promise of death for those who don’t.

We must always remember all of His promises are true–and the death that occurs, occurs spiritually, before it results in a natural death. Look around you and then look into His Word. From beginning to end–we have a choice to make–choosing life or death. I choose life and His Favor with others.

The very next verse advises us as to what happens to those who sin against God and it is their choice–not His.

Seek Him, while you yet have opportunity to do so. Repent and receive His unmerited favor–with Him and with others. Love as He loves and enjoy the abundant life He has waiting–just for you.

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us gain greater insight into Your Word so we never do anything that will displease You. Help us to understand that we do not have to cave to the dictates of flesh, but can have the abundant life You promise when we obey You. Bring us into a closer relationship with You so we will understand “relationship trumps religion.”

 

Praying For All!

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (I Timothy 2:1,2).

Father,

In the name of Jesus,

I ask that You touch the hearts of all mankind, those in positions of leadership as well as those who submit to leadership. I ask God that You conduct heart surgery, cutting away all the evil, wickedness, and complacency. I ask that You replace all that is removed with compassion, integrity, and love. Give us a heart O God, to see the needs of the people and respond to them. Take away the heart of stone that resides in so many that they no longer have compassion for people. Create in us, a clean heart with a righteous spirit, desiring to please You even more.

O God, stir up a right spirit within us so we can have peace in the land. Give us a desire to become peacemakers, not peace breakers.

Give us no peace with complacency and self-centeredness. Remove every selfish thought from our minds so we may think with the mind of Christ–always concerned more about those in need–whatever the need is–healing, love, encouragement, financial support, and wisdom from You.

I bind every spirit in the earth realm that would attempt to influence the minds of those who love You and want only to please You. I declare that every yoke of bondage–addiction, depression, evil-thinking, poverty, and every physical affliction is broken and yields no power over anyone.

Help us O God to walk with integrity and godliness going before us and embracing us so tightly that nothing negative can ever enter into our thoughts and actions.

I declare peace in the land–beginning in every home, and moving outward to every town, city, community, state, and country–across the waters of the earth–let peace abide within the hearts of every man, woman, and child.

We know that You are not the author of confusion and wherever there is confusion the enemy has a stronghold. We come against any stronghold the enemy has on any people and declare all of his plans null and void, having no effect upon anyone.

We thank You for hearing and answering this prayer and the prayers of all those who are striving to live right in Your sight, doing Your will, and loving all. All this we ask and receive in Jesus’ name. It is done. Amen!

The Things He’ll Do!

And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16).

God lets us know that no matter what our condition has been, He will change it for our good, because of His love for us.

The blind (physically and spiritually) have difficulty navigating known ways; especially if they cannot anticipate obstacles or barriers. Through Isaiah, God promises to bring the blind by a way they have never known and they will not stumble because of unknown barriers or obstacles. When we allow God to lead us–in life–no matter what happens, we will not stumble, but find our way.

He will make darkness “dissipate” because of the Light of His love and we will be able to see clearly where we are headed. The Light of His love will warm our hearts and open our “spiritual” eyes so we can see what is ahead of us.

However the crooked the path may have been that would cause us to stumble and fall, He will make it straight. The path of temptation to do what is wrong, always twists and turns and makes it seem impossible for us to get back on the right path, but God–who loves us without measure–will straighten the pathway and make sure we stay on it because He never leaves us.

Through Holy Spirit–we are given guidance and direction to help us navigate the paths of life without stumbling because He is our promise–our comforter, always with us. These are things God says He will do for those who are blind so they will not be left out of the promise for an eternity with Him.

For those who can see–physically and spiritually–we have no excuse as to why we cannot stay on the path He has set us upon. We can see–when the enemy rises his ugly head and tempts people beyond measure. We can see–the twists and turns in the road that hinder our success when we allow it to do so. We can see the light of day, every day, and any darkness in our lives comes only when we choose to walk in darkness, forsaking the Light.

God has made it clear through His Word what He’ll do for us as a demonstration of His love for us: Move darkness out our way, make us the head and not the tail, cause everything we do to prosper when we obey, blessings will overtake us and spill over onto everyone we meet, we will be victorious in all things and the list could go on.  Now the question is–what will we do to demonstrate our love for Him?

Lord, help us to remember how much You love us and create in us a heart of gratitude for all You do.  Help us to stay on the paths You have established for us so we may accomplish all that You have designed for us to do. In Jesus’ name we thank You. Amen!

 

Deceptive Storms (excerpt 3)

Just when it seemed like he couldn’t hold onto sanity for another minute, right after dinner there was knock on the door.  When his father answered, the first voice he heard was Reverend Anderson and his heart sank.  He sat in the living room, where he had been watching television, thinking, “Might as well stick a fork in me and call me done.”  His father led Reverend Anderson and Pastor Cal into the living room and invited them to sit down.  They did and Vernon’s heart thumped so loudly, he just knew everyone could hear it.

“Reverend Jenkins, thank you for agreeing to see us.  We have a rather grave matter to discuss involving Vernon.  But before we get started, has Vernon told you anything about what happened three days ago?” Pastor Cal asked.

“No,” Reverend Jenkins replied stiffly.  “I know something has been going on, but when I asked, he refused to tell me.”

“Vernon,” Reverend Anderson spoke calmly, “Would you like to tell your dad why we’re here?”

“No!  Y’all here you might as well do what you do,” was Vernon’s rebellious response.

Paul sighed, before he turned to Vernon’s father and began to tell him what happened. Until Paul actually pulled the plastic baggy out of the manila envelope that Pastor Cal had been holding, Reverend Jenkins sat in unbelief.  When he saw the bag, he started to get up from his chair, but Pastor Cal motioned for him to sit.

“Vernon, tell your father what this is and where it came from!” Reverend Anderson said.

“How am I supposed know? You brought that in here.  You tell him,” adamantly denying everything.

“Okay, I’ll tell him.” Turning to Vernon’s father, he pulled out his cell phone and showed him the picture taken on the day Paul had seen him with the seedy-looking guy.  Vernon’s father visibly blanched at what he saw.  The veins in his forehead started to pulse and anger was written all over his face.  Before anyone could have anticipated the next move, he was out of his chair and had grabbed Vernon and threw him down on the floor and started punching him.  It took Paul and Cal to get him off Vernon and even then, his fists were still flailing, almost hitting Paul in the face. He was livid!

“Torrance!” Pastor Cal cautioned him.  “This is not the way.  Beating him to a pulp is not going to help.”

“Oh yes, it will,” Torrance responded, breathing heavily.  “It will help me to teach this boy some respect!  I will not tolerate drug use in my house.  If he can’t abide by my rules, then he can get the hell out!”

Paul was still holding onto him, while Cal attended Vernon, who was curled up in a fetal position on the floor.  His hands were protecting what was left of the exposed part of his face, but where his father’s punches had landed, skin was rising in protest of the beating along one whole side of his face.

After carefully checking Vernon over, Cal determined there was no skin broken or broken bones and he helped him to sit back in the chair from which his father had pulled him.

“Torrance, profanity won’t help the matter here.  Please, get yourself in check. We need to talk.  Beating Vernon is not the answer.  At this rate, the only thing we’ll accomplish here is to get him angry enough to leave and then we won’t have any control over what he does.  Calm down!”

“How can you tell me to calm down?  What would you do if this was your son?  I don’t mean the one that’s grown?  But with a baby on the way, you better know how to deal with this nonsense because it’s not going to get better.”

Cal ignored Reverend Jenkins for a moment.  He was not there to discuss his future child; he was there to find a way to keep Vernon out of trouble.

“Vernon, look at me.  I want you to think about what’s going on here and the fact that you have to stop using and selling drugs.  If you keep going in this direction, it will only be a matter of time before you’re arrested.  Look, I know some of the pushers have kids believing they cannot be prosecuted, but the laws are changing. You can and will be prosecuted and there is nothing your father or anyone else will be able to do about it.  Is going to jail what you really want?”

 

Without Excuse For Victory!

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you” (Luke 10:19 NASB).

Jesus has talking to those who followed Him at that time, but when we have a personal relationship with Him, we understand that through The Word, He is still speaking to those who follow Him. We have been given authority to “step on the devil’s head” and defeat him, by thwarting all of his efforts to defeat us in life.

What is the authority we have? “The name of Jesus who is above every name and at that name, every knee shall bow.” If we have the faith of a mustard seed we can “speak” to the mountains in our lives and move them out of our way. When we pray, we can have whatever we “say” but we must believe we have received in order to see it come to fruition.

The power we have is in our tongue–we use it to speak life or death over all our situations. If we learn to watch what we say and say only those things that lead to “having the abundant life” that we have been promised–right here on earth, we will have what we say we have. When we see the enemy raise his ugly head, we have the power to “keep him under our feet” by what we say and do.

Victory–in every area of our lives–is possible because we have the power to make it happen by what we say. We also have the power to defeat ourselves by what we say and do. What are you going to have in your life–victory or defeat?

We do not have to cave to every negative situation that arises in our lives. We can speak to it and see victory. When we pray, we must take action because faith without works–comes to nothing. Speak life to your life and live victoriously!

Lord, we thank You for giving us the power to have victory in our lives and for reserving a place for us in heaven when we reach the end of our journey, here on earth. Thank You for loving us enough to providing us an avenue to be saved from ourselves. This we pray in the name of Jesus!