Amazing Grace Helps Us See

February 24, 2007

wilberforce.jpgMy wife and I just got back from watching Amazing Grace. I first heard about William Wilberforce 30 years ago when Dr. John Hannah, my Church History professor mentioned that this man spearheaded the abolition of slavery in the British Empire without any blood being shed, while we in the USA are still trying to clean up the mess we made of it. Historically, much of the resistance to abolition was economic. “If we abolish slavery, our sugar plantations will not survive.” This early concern amazing-grace-branded.jpgmakes me want to study how England did adjust economically during the 1800’s. Economic “necessity” will always be a poor excuse to purpetuate inhumane treatment of people.

I had not realized that John Newton was “Wilber’s” pastor. What a moving part Finney played. Anyone who watches this movie thoughtfully must leave with the personal question, “What am I devoting my life to?” I’m not sure that all of us have to be crusaders for a cause, but I think we do need to stand strong for godly principles. Unfortunately, our culture today is so caught up with “tolerance” and “politically correctness” that we don’t stand for much of anything. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything! The movie makes me clarify my stance on lots of social issues. I’d be interested in your reactions to the movie.

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How to Tell if Your Relationship is Abusive

February 19, 2007

Many victims of abusive relationships don’t know how to evaluate how potentially violent their partner is.  I’m amazed at how many women who are in abusive relationships cannot see how abusive and controlling it is.  The Minnesota Program Development, a nonprofit agency that works towards the elimination of violence in the lives of women and their children, has developed some very helpful “wheels” that define what an abusve relationship is.  This one is shown below.  They also have “wheels” to describe other relationships too, like healthy ones.  Click here and then “Wheel Gallery” for all of their wheels.  Nice job Duluth.
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Methamphetamine Use Ain’t Pretty

February 16, 2007

Drug addiction distorts a person’s thinking in two ways: (1) peripheral vision that would normally keep loved ones in view gives way to blinders. The user does not “see” those special people and is blind to the impact of the addiction on others who love them; (2) depth of field disappears, so the user no longer “sees” the long range consequences down the road of drug use. All they see is the now. These pictures show this “down-the-road effect” of methamphetamine use for relatively short periods of time.

Before using methamphetamine and after 3 yrs 5 mos of use:

meth-lady-2.JPG meth-lady-2-plus-35.jpg

For additional pictures, click here.

The point of all this for me is not how bad it is, but what good is it? What contribution did drug use make to the dignity of any of these individuals. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 12 million Americans have tried“meth.” I wonder if this lady would have started using meth if she could have seen the effects “down the road” more clearly.


Valentine’s Day: By the Numbers

February 13, 2007

cupidlogo.gifThere are many opinions as to who was the original Valentine, with the most popular theory that it was a clergyman who was executed for secretly marrying couples in ancient Rome. In any event, in 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius set aside Feb. 14 to honor St. Valentine. Through the centuries, the Christian holiday became a time to exchange love messages and St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers. In the 1840s, Esther Howland, a native of Massachusetts, is given credit for sending the first valentine cards. The spirit of love continues as valentines are sent with sentimental verses and children exchange valentine cards at school.

57% and 60% The percentages of American women and men, respectively, who are 18 or older and currently married (includes those who are separated).

2.2 million The number of marriages that take place in the United States annually. That breaks down to more than 6,000 a day. < http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/nvsr/54/54-20.htm

25.3 and 27.1 The estimated U.S. median ages at first marriage for women and men, respectively, in 2005. The age for women rose 4.2 years in the last three decades. The age for men at first marriage is up 3.6 years. 72% Percentage of men and women ages 30 to 34 in 2005 who had been married at some point in their lives – either currently or formerly. < http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/families_household s/006840.html

4.9 million Number of opposite-sex cohabitating couples who maintained households in 2005. These couples comprised 4.3 percent of all households.

1,241 Number of locations producing chocolate and cocoa products in 2004. These establishments employed 43,322 people. California led the nation in the number of such establishments with 136, followed by Pennsylvania with 122. 515 Number of locations that produced nonchocolate confectionary products in 2004. These establishments employed 22,234 people. < http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/cbptotal.html

$13.9 billion Total value of shipments in 2004 for firms producing chocolate and cocoa products. Nonchocolate confectionery product manufacturing, meanwhile, was a $5.7 billion industry. 3,467 Number of confectionery and nut stores in the United States in 2004; they are among the best sources of sweets for Valentine’s Day. < http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/cbptotal.html

25.7 pounds Per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2005. http://www.census.gov/cir/www/311/ma311d.html

$397 million The combined wholesale value of domestically produced cut flowers in 2005 for all flower-producing operations with $100,000 or more in sales. Among states, California was the leading producer, alone accounting for about three-quarters of this amount ($289 million). $39 million The combined wholesale value of domestically produced cut roses in 2005 for all operations with $100,000 or more in sales. Among all types of cut flowers, roses were third in receipts ($39 million) to lilies ($76.9 million) and tulips ($39.1 million). 21,667 The number of florists nationwide in 2004. These businesses employed 109,915 people. Jewelry 28,772 Number of jewelry stores in the United States in 2004. Jewelry stores offer engagement, wedding and other rings to lovers of all ages. In February 2006, these stores sold $2.6 billion worth of merchandise. (This figure has not been adjusted for seasonal variation, holiday or trading day differences or price changes.) < http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/cbptotal.html&gt; < http://www.census.gov/mrts/www/mrts.html The merchandise at these locations could well have been produced at one of the nation’s 1,864 jewelry manufacturing establishments. The manufacture of jewelry and silverware was a $9 billion industry in 2004. < http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/cbptotal.html&gt;

119 Number of single men (i.e., never married, widowed or divorced) who are in their 20s for every 100 single women of the same ages. < http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2005.html

34 Number of single men (i.e., never married, widowed or divorced) age 65 or older for every 100 single women of the same ages. < http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2005.html

904 The number of dating service establishments nationwide as of 2002. These establishments, which include Internet dating services, employed nearly 4,300 people and pulled in $489 million in revenues. < http://www.census.gov/econ/census02/guide/SUBSUMM.HTM


Geese

February 13, 2007

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A blogger with whom I have recently become acquainted posted this picture. I couldn’t resist copying it and recommending his blog site. He has a wide range of interesting pictures and thougthful commentary. It brings back to mind the (now overused but still inspirational) team building principles we can learn from them.