Sunday, February 20, 2005

The International Size Acceptance Association (ISAA) is delighted to announce that Dakota Main was returned to his mother on Sunday, February 20, 2005. ISAA believes that it was the lobbying efforts from the public -- from you -- that made the difference in this weight-related child removal to foster care. ISAA sends its heartfelt congratulations to Dakota, his mother and his family in friends.

To read more of this ordeal, please visit the "Free Dakota" section of the ISAA website.


Friday, February 11, 2005

Funeral For A Friend

Today was my friend's funeral/homegoing service. Although the morning started out rainy, by the time the service began, it was just cloudy and peaceful. The church was packed with people: her family, friends, coworkers and the church congregation. It was a beautiful service, with encouraging music plus words of commendation and praise for her life in Christ. I sang with the choir and was very proud to do so. The gospel was also preached for the living and the service concluded with music, including one of the songs that my friend was known for singing. It was moving and encouraging to do this, to feel the church was honoring her life by singing this song she not only loved but whose lyrics of testimony she lived.

A few years ago, another friend of mine from church passed away. We sang one of her favorite songs which she had performed during her life, a Hebrew song, at her homegoing. We did this because she was greatly involved in the foreign language program at the church. Although I had only known her for about 5 years, this woman was one of the first people to witness Christ to me and my wife. It is very consolating to be able to do something that would have pleased them, to do honor to their memory, especially at their homegoing.

Before I became a Christian, I used to fear death. I really did. Now, I don't feel that way. We're all going to die someday, that can't be helped. What matters is how we live this life. I can think of no better way to go on living than to tell people about what my God and His Son, Jesus Christ, have done (and continue to do) for me.

I have felt many emotions today but I am happy tonight. I am happy my friend has made her peace with God and gone to be with Him.

Best Wishes,

Monday, February 07, 2005

Tribute To A Friend

A very close friend of mine passed away today from an illness. She was in a wonderful interracial marriage to a dearly devoted husband. She was also my sister in Christ whom I had known for about 25 years. Out of respect to her family, I will not mention her name or go into the details of our friendship and history.

I only want to honor her memory here on IR Haven. I will miss her friendship here on the Earth but I know she made it to her spiritual home in Heaven. That is a true comfort. I am a witness to her sinless life as a Christian, which was only made possible by the Spirit of Christ.

The Lord knows, I aspire to make it home someday, too.

Best Wishes,

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Taking History For Granted

A lot of people are using the term "nazi" these days, mostly for political purposes. It's coming from both sides of the spectrum, people trying to drive their point home that "those people are as bad as the Nazis." I want to discuss the relevance to us at IR Haven and why everyone should be a little more careful about what terms they use. The term "nazi" has a special place in history, as well as in infamy. It should not be used casually or out of proper context.

I was not even alive when the Nazis came to power and attempted to conquer the world. The end of World War 2 came over 20 years before I was born. I state this because some of the people using these terms are younger than me.

I did not really have a good understanding of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis until I did two things: I researched World War 2 on my own and I watched "The Pianist." That film chronicled the perspective of an actual Polish Jew who survived the occupation of his homeland, which included the creation of the Nazi ghettos (which is where the term "ghetto" originated) and the Nazi death camps.

"The Pianist" is the only movie I have ever watched that truly and utterly disturbed me in a way no movie ever has. I have only had that sensation one time before, back in the early days of IR Haven, when it had a forum. During a brief period, some racists would make seemingly harmless posts but include racists links.

One post at the forum led me to a website with a gallery of "art" by a racist. That art gave me a glimpse of what went through the mind of someone who has no regard for the life of someone of another race, who sees a group of people as less than human...lower than animals. I knew, in seeing the proud creations of this kind of mind, that I was looking at evil itself.

The Nazis killed millions of people, most of them Jewish but also gypsies, homosexuals, the elderly and the disabled. Hitler was a nationalist, a socialist, a euthenasist and an athiest. The Nazi military was smart and brutally efficient. They took advantage of every perceived (and real) weakness of every nation they occupied. They would have dominated the world like the Roman empire had they not been stopped by the Allied forces.

People on the Left call people on the Right nazis and vice-versa. While there is certainly room for healthy debate concerning political leanings in either direction, the use of the term "nazi" to describe either side is to disrespect history and the true victims of Nazism. I think everyone should research World War 2 and the Nazis from that era.

We who are a part of the IR community should have a special understanding of this. Some people have experienced discrimination. Some have even been brutalized, imprisoned and/or had their lives threatened. But if we did not live under the Nazis, first of all, we should thank God and second, we cannot call ourselves victims of Nazis.

I'll conclude this with a true story someone once told me. He was in a shop and a young man was there to get a specialty item. The shopkeeper was unable to accomodate him and the young man accused him of racism. The older man assured him he was not being racist. The young man said "What do YOU know about discrimination, old man?" Then the older man lifted up his shirt sleeve and showed the man the barcode branded into his arm from the Auschwitz death camp. Upon realizing what he was seeing, the young man walked out of the shop without another word.

Best Wishes,

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Long Time No Blog, I Know...

Lots of changes in my life recently, but as I've come to learn, that's not always a bad thing (even if it may seem like it in the moment). My last work assignment ended a couple of weeks ago, which led to a mad dash to look for new work. I've done a couple of temp jobs while putting in applications for permanent work. I got a call yesterday that makes an interview for one of those jobs look likely. Also, some of the state and government jobs have long processes they go through even before calling for interviews, so it's just a matter of time and patience.

My wife and kids and I are all in good health and good spirits. It's days like these when I truly see that the Lord is in control of everything and I have to depend on Him to supply our needs. He always does. We have not lacked for food or gasoline or shelter, so I am not complaining.

I'll update as possible.

Best Wishes,