Teaching What’s “Very Important” About Easter Holiday

8 04 2007

Notice I use no question mark, because apparently this is a simple statement of fact, not a question — as quoted by the political bureau chief writing a Sunday news story in my capital city newspaper during a high-profile legislative session, about an official function at the Governor’s Mansion (the people’s house, not God’s house?) made by the popular governor of the third or fourth most populous state in the union.

I was educated in Florida’s public schools and at Florida’s flagship public university but I freely admit, I just can’t quite figure out what the heck this means.

“I think it’s a great experience for them,” Crist said as he surveyed the children scurrying around the lawn or sipping orange juice in the shade of the mansion porch. “I hope some of them are actually old enough to remember it. We’ve got a bunny rabbit here for them and Easter eggs all over the yard. It’s just a very important holiday and an opportunity to share with others.”

While the smallest kids flocked around the big rabbit, tugging its ears and its tail, Crist tossed a football with some first graders. He and the bunny posed for pictures with families, and Crist asked every child’s name – introducing himself as “Charlie.”

He also made a point of admiring each small visitor’s pastel bucketful of eggs.

Crist, long ago divorced with no children, said he enjoyed having youngsters around.

easter-bunny-suits.jpgVery important how, very important why, and very important to whom? I have no doubt that it is important to him, not just the holiday but this observance of it in his new digs.

But what is it egg-zackly, that these little kids playing in Florida’s political house of the people to celebrate the highest and most defining of Christian holidays, are supposed to learn and remember from this?

The Governor’s Mansion, with no political meaning? Bunny ears and lawn games on Easter weekend, with no religious meaning? What secular cultural sharing is so important on this particular holy day and how it is more important tradition to the people of Florida specifically, than is our state song for generations, “Old Folks at Home?

It makes no sense as any kind of critical thinking or affective academic lesson I can fathom, unless its real point is that nothing in religion OR politics is simple child’s play, and there are ALWAYS complex layers of meaning rational actors can think about and learn from? Hmmm, unlikely but a very important lesson indeed!

Or maybe JJ — there she goes again! — is just being troublesome, complicating what is nothing more than “whatever the people want” as he perceives it, being a personable and gracious southern gentleman not even trying to make any political, religious, academic or personal sense of anything?

(Should that make me feel BETTER about his leadership?)

Most political and religious folk don’t connect things the way I do but I see what I see: here’s another Easter news story, about what many people have wanted before and still seem to want. (It’s one of the most awaited tourist attractions according to the Associated Press!) The official state song of the people is old and offensive now, so the Governor must take a stand against it, I get that — but this is much older, and surely more graphic and offensive?

Ah, but this ATTRACTS tourists, and for a very important holiday! Florida is a tourist state. So can you blame the Governor (or a Thinking Parent like me) for asking, if enough people want it in Florida too, shall we host it on the lawn of the Mansion for kids and families to enjoy, one of these very important holidays soon?

Seven devotees were nailed to crosses on Good Friday in a northern Philippine village where the rites drew thousands of tourists and spectators.The Lenten ritual is opposed by religious leaders in the Philippines — Southeast Asia’s largest predominantly Roman Catholic nation. But it has persisted to become one of the country’s most-awaited summer attractions in San Fernando City’s San Pedro Cutud village.

The devotees’ palms and feet were attached to wooden crosses with 4-inch nails soaked in alcohol to prevent infection after a nearly mile-long walk to the mound, each carrying a wooden cross on their backs.

Among the yearly penitents in San Pedro Cutud was Ruben Enaje, a 46-year-old commercial sign maker who was nailed to the cross for the 21st time on Friday.

Earlier in the day in the same village, dozens of half-naked men hit their bloodied backs with bamboo sticks dangling from a rope in a flagellation rite meant to atone for sins.

More than 100 foreign tourists flocked to this year’s Good Friday rites, with many of them seated on a stage at the side of the mound.

“They take this religion to the extreme,” observed Gomas de Miguel, a tourist from Spain. “In Spain, we say we are Catholics but we don’t do this anymore I think.”

“It’s not my belief, but I know that they are sincere in what they are doing so I respect it,” said American tourist Dennis Smith.




11 responses

8 04 2007

Then there’s teaching what’s very important about LOGIC!

At Culture Kitchen just now, I saw a comment from a new poster, apparently an anti-abortion attack dog claiming most doctors are pro-life and want abortions to be illegal, and purporting to argue this point rationally, with numbers, facts, logic and political analysis.

When I finished reading it, the one thing I was sure of wasn’t the facts or logic, but that it was in fact “devoted actor” lunatic raving. Then I went to the commenter’s homesite and saw this, which reads like much of the “I Know Who’s a Homeschooler And You Don’t” political raving. . . .we can only hope (and pray to a merciful God if you are so inclined) that these aren’t the people Florida’s governor wants to give whatever they want.

A Challenge To All Sinners (YES THIS MEANS YOU)!

Posted by healtheland on April 1st, 2007

Yes, I called you a sinner. But so what? We are ALL sinners. So why deny it, or be ashamed of it? There is nothing special about that fact at all. Proof: I work in the technological field, and part of my education was classes in logic. When classifying things according to logic, a characteristic that all of the items being classified shares in common becomes irrelevant: it is ignored. Take, for example, cars and elephants. All cars have tires. All elephants have trunks. So, there is nothing exceptional about a car having a tire and an elephant having a trunk, and no reason to dwell on that fact or take offense at it. Just admit it: you are a car. You have tires. You are an elephant. You have a trunk. You are a human, and that makes a sinner. Admit it and move on.

8 04 2007

Unlike homeschooling, here’s analysis Greg Laden understands well enough to be well worth reading, by homeschoolers and all Thinking Parents:

The frame of science involves rational thought. In order for scientists to get their message across, they have to pay special attention to, and use very carefully, words like “belief,” “fact,” “conclusion,” “theory,” “observation,” “assumption” and so on.

If there is a frame-related way for science to get its meaning across, it is helping the general public understand this framework.

How to do this? Probably not so much by putting out fliers on “how to understand a scientist” or adding footnotes to what we say, or even repeatedly re-explaining the meaning of these and other terms. Rather, some terms .. those already loaded with meaning … should be replaced with different words. For instance, we simply have to stop using the term “Evolutionary Theory” and switch it with “Evolutionary Biology” because the word “Theory” is so well understood in a widely used frame in a different way than we scientists mean it. This involves scientists adjusting their rhetoric to the common extant frames.

Homeschoolers trying to explain the differences between public programs and independent, autonomous alternatives could sure use this practical and scientific frame lesson, that is if they actually mean to get their message across and aren’t just enjoying the whole misunderstood martyr trip . . . and it’s not all up to them to change, says Professor Laden.

But there are limits to how much we can change our own rational scientific observational probabilistic frame and still be talking science.

This requires the construction of a frame into which the public can shift when they realize they are hearing a scientist talk. Listening to or reading science needs to become one of the widely used extant frames in our society. It is much more so in other societies, but poorly developed in America. How do we fix this? This probably needs to be done mainly through better science education.

And yes, this is why the Right Wing is trying their darnedest to wreck science education. This is the exact reason. They don’t want people growing up learning the rationalist scientific materialistic observational probabilistic frame. Get it? That’s why they attack us, that is why we must defend ourselves. This is the turf over which the culture war is being fought on two or more fronts.

That’s frames, and that’s why frames are important.
Very important. . . .

8 04 2007

Black politician Armstrong Williams, billed as the “voice for conservative and Christian values in America’s public debate” writing on “What does Easter mean to you?”

Many people think of Easter as the colored eggs, plenty of candy, and the Easter Bunny. But I am reminded of Christ’s final journey, from the place where Pontius Pilate condemned him to die, to where he bore his own cross, to the site where he was hung, to the tomb where he rose from the dead.

. . .Christ always reached out to those who were different than Himself. As Christians, we feel comfortable with other Christians. We feel safety in worshipping together. We feel peace in socializing together. And we feel righteousness in standing against those who seek to bring moral and ethical decay to the culture of this nation.

But is it enough to just stand together? Is it enough to just stand against? Should we not also, as Christ did, reach out to those who believe and behave differently from us?

. . .Christians must reach out to those who do not believe. We must provide an example that will inspire others to follow. We must see the good in others. We must condemn behavior and not people. We have nothing to fear in reaching out. Those who believe differently will not shake our beliefs. Those who act differently will not change our behavior. As long as we are grounded in faith, we can walk securely with anyone, anywhere.

So this Easter, let us not just think of chocolate bunnies and colored eggs, but remember the sacrificed and risen Christ. Let us also remember the compassionate Christ who reached out to a person totally different from Himself to provide comfort and salvation. Instead of condemning those who believe and worship differently from us, let us start embracing and having real dialogue for their understanding of our faith and belief system.

So he draws the same general connection I saw, between secular outreach to kids and families with festive lawn games and bunny eggs at the Governor’s Mansion, and the modern day real-life corporal crucifixions born of a belief system unimaginable to me in any era, never mind in my own third-millennium civilization. Did I say unimaginable?– but then, who could have imagined the way it all came together in the horrific media spectacle that became the shockingly public, and gruesome in SO many governmental and graphic ways, religious and political death of poor Terri Schiavo? With the Pope dying the same week, so anyone looking for cosmic schemes couldn’t help but find them? A little clarity and (even) artificial separation might be a good thing at that, now and then . . .

12 04 2007
Nance Confer

Just admit it: you are a car. You have tires. You are an elephant. You have a trunk.
All my mind could keep thinking of while reading this crap was that cars have trunks, too. 🙂

Do some people who think they are arguing so well not understand that they trip themselves up and distract from their own argument when they try too hard?


16 04 2007

Here is “Real Learning” for Easter by the award-winning homeschool mom blog of the same name. (Real Learning was also nominated for “Best Live What You Believe,” “New Homeschool Blog,” and “Best Curriculum/Business Blog.” I think it won two of the four, hmmm . . . so which is it?)
And is this what the Governor of Florida meant is very important as real curriculum learning for the businesses and children of Florida?

(Has School Taken over churching or has Church taken over schooling — and is it all Business now — or does it just not matter because they are all the same power of story?)

This recipe has been floating around for years. I thought I’d post a reminder of it here.

You will need:
1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
a pinch salt
1 cup sugar
a zipper baggy
1 wooden spoon
scotch tape

These are to be made the evening before Easter (if you are going to the Vigil Mass, you can make them before leaving). Preheat oven to 300F.
(this is very important — don’t wait until you are half done with the recipe).
Place pecans in zipper baggy and let children beat them with the wooden spoon
to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested. He
was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read: John 19:1-3

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into mixing bowl.
Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar
to drink. Read: John 19:28-30

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life
to give us life. Read: John 10:10&11

Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest
into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers,
and the bitterness of our own sin. Read: Luke 23:27

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the
sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to
know and belong to Him. Read: Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.
Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins
have been cleansed by Jesus. Read: Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper covered cookie sheet.
Each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid.
Read: Matthew 27:57-60

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, solemnly close the door and turn the oven OFF.

Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.
Explain that Jesus tomb was sealed and guarded. Read: Matthew 27:65-66

Go to bed.

Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight.
Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read: John 16:20&22

On Easter morning, get up before the children, unseal the oven door and leave it open just a bit. When they awaken, give every child a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read: Matthew 28:1-9

Enjoy the sweetness of the Resurrection!

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