First Rugby Match Ever (Though It Was Sister-Kissing)

13 03 2010

Exciting! Young Son and I were hosted by Scottish nationals and had a great time.

But in the end, Scotland versus England at Murray Field on BBC today disappointed, ending in a 12-12 tie, Can’t remember the last tie allowed to stand in any sporting event I cared about . . .

OTOH, the players were hot. Incredibly cute in a virile, clean-looking, wholesome way. And rubgy compares pretty favorably to American football in terms of moving right along . . .

Tim Tebow: The Boy Who Lived

6 02 2010

. . .destined to grow up as an example to us all. Of — um —

Are you ready for some football?
(Olympic Excess coming up next!)

We homeschooling families like learning at home in our living rooms, especially for free. You could even say we celebrate it! But you’re a Thinking Parent as well, so think about this — is “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life” a sports message best taught on tv as multi-million dollar ad wars? Or is it paid political speech we’ve learned from real-world experience celebrates division and shooting to kill, the kind of combative warfare all learned people know that neither Christ nor America was ever about, despite false advertising through the ages?

What lessons are being taught in our living rooms, not by individual homeschooling parents or great literary characters like the Boy Who Lived but by corporate-controlled televised sports as entertainment, and is it sacred business, serious business, or funny business (if business has any business teaching any of us any of it?)

Our best entertainers and artists in any era help us conjure our own Patronus against the universally human fear of the dark.

Who in this story capitalizes, controls, one might even say conjures, this unarguably public education for which corporate America is unelected and unaccountable?

What if Tim Tebow had been born gay instead of gridiron-gifted? Would his mom still have been chosen for her choice to teach SuperBowl fans everywhere her ethics and how to define “family and life” worth celebrating? What if her unaborted son once grown to be a sports star, openly credited magic rather than miracles? Would he still have been chosen by CBS to dramatically break the network’s policy against advocacy ads mixed with hero worship? Is ignoring your doctor’s advice as Pam Tebow (and Sarah Palin) chose for themselves and apparently preach as mom gospel to everyone including the Supreme Court, a lesson CBS will be held accountable for as both profit-seeking and public broadcast system?

Here’s something your children will NOT learn about celebrating family and life watching the CBS SuperBowl:

“Women take decisions about their health very seriously. They consider their doctors’ advice, they talk with their loved ones and people they trust, including religious leaders, and they carefully weigh all considerations before making the best decision for themselves and their families.”

“My daughter will always be my little girl,” [the sports star] says. “But I am proud everyday as I watch her grow up to be her own person, a smart, confident young woman. I trust her to take care of herself. We celebrate families by supporting our mothers, by supporting our daughters. By trusting women.”

Upon which [the evil schoolmarm as minister of education] retorted tartly that students couldn’t be trusted to know what was good for them and they were a bunch of negative whiners . . .

Ethical? Educational? Christ-like? Good enough for your child at any age or stage?

Preparing for SuperBowl Sunday as a secular Gator up on cultural controversy, I’m reflecting on my own education through many years of bleeding orange and blue and watching UF sports, especially Tim Tebow as our most famous student-athlete ever. Yes, the most famous ever.

The Boy Who Lived has clearly surpassed even Steve Spurrier’s renown although the reasons seem murky and not merely statistical — perhaps because not even the most fanatical fan nor the SEC, the Heisman Committee or The Old Ball Coach himself, ever confused Steve Spurrier with Christ-like beatitude? 😉

I think my best self-learning on this subject was laid out in biblical allegory style, in What Should We Call Christ as a Kick in the Head? Tim has had his last on-field performance as a Gator for God but his first as a bought-and-paid-for shill airs tomorrow. I’ll let you know if it teaches me anything new . . .

What Should We Call Christ as a Kick in the Head?

Just drove Young Son to Irish dance and musical theatre. Their performing arts studio is in a neighborhood shopping center with a sandwich shop and pizza place, a chinese food restaurant, a small computer shop — and a huge, very busy martial arts place with big glass walls across the front so you can watch from the sidewalk or your car, called Karate for Christ Ministries.

I’ve waited for the kids and wondered about this incongruous pairing of east and west before. School football players in the South seem very well-educated if Christianity is the standard and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is the measure. My favorite quarterback Gator Tim Tebow is always blessing the tv announcers and thanking his lord Jesus Christ for his touchdowns. His whole family goes on mission trips and he even convinced his coach to join him on one last summer. But school football and school religion are compatibly American — at least so I was taught — especially in the Bible Belt.

Karate though? For Christ?

So today as Spunky started a new conversation about what it means for a child to be “well-educated” I noticed it afresh and thought I’d mention some of what it makes me wonder, about what’s being taught and learned and why to our kids out of school, not in.

The phone number is painted on the glass, too: want your child well-educated in mind, body and spirit all at the same time? Who needs School OR Church? Just call 8-WE-KICK.

I called up wikipedia instead: Read the rest of this entry »

Religious Left Emerges, Religious Right Erodes

15 11 2009

From my hometown newspaper this morning at the heart of Gator Nation, in the South! — even though it’s something I can be proud of this time rather than apologize for, like what passes for good communal citizenship just down the road from UF, in a giant corporate enclave of relatively wealthy, morally pious old folks called the Villages.

UF study: Religious left emerging to oppose right

Research shows growing influence of liberal Christians in politics.

By Nathan Crabbe
Staff writer

A new University of Florida study finds the religious left is emerging as an alternative to the Christian right.

Gainesville can be seen as a leading indicator of the trend. Faith-based liberal activism has long been a community tradition, from advocacy for the homeless to protests of executions.

“This is a town where there is certainly a religious left,” said UF political science professor Ken Wald, who collaborated with two other researchers on the study.

The research found that Christians who value being active members of a religious community tended to vote for Democratic candidates in 2006 and 2008. The research contradicts the “God gap” theory that white religious Christians are conservative and likely to vote Republican, Wald said.

He said the religious left is becoming more influential with the election of Barack Obama and his experience in community organizing and expansion of a White House office on faith-based initiatives. At the same time, Wald said, young evangelicals are placing more emphasis on traditionally liberal issues such as addressing climate change.

“I think you’re seeing the religious right erode a bit, and at the same time the religious left gets more aggressive,” Wald said.

In case you weren’t riveted to Snook’s comments this weekend, a discussion of Catholic homeless and soup kitchen services sprang up here, debating the social effects of believing in the higher moral authority of “church doctrine” that would refuse help to those living in sin. This story adds texture to Read the rest of this entry »

Whose Rights Ring Wronger at School?

30 09 2009

Public school? Check.
In the United States of America? Check (well, it’s Tennessee, and the states aren’t very united these days, does that still count?)
Constitution still technically in effect despite a decade of stacking the U.S. Supreme Court with evangelical Catholics? Hmmm. . .

cheerleader christian banner controversy sept 2009 chattanooga

At a football game on the school’s field, cheerleaders at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School hold up a sign with a Biblical verse on it. After a complaint last week, the school has banned the cheerleaders from using any more signs with religious statements on them, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution.

Don’t even try to calculate how many objective orders of magnitude worse this is, without a peep of protest from the self-appointed School Indoctrination Police (still snarling about what sickening idol worship it was for some little children to sing a non-religious song about the first African-American president during Black History Month.)

Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Ronnie Cobb vehemently disagrees with the ban and said he’ll call on the City Council to support the cheerleaders and their signs.

The signs don’t infringe on anyone’s religious rights and are good for school spirit, he said.

“I’m totally against them doing away with it,” Mr. Cobb said, adding that the cheerleaders’ rights are being abused.

The mayor said football coach John Allen made the signs a tradition around 2003 and it has continued ever since.

“If it’s offensive to anyone, let them go watch another football game,” he said. “Nobody’s forced to come there and nobody’s forced to read the signs.”

Current head football coach Todd Windham said the school system must obey the law, despite everyone’s opinions.

Both are public servants paid with taxpayer dollars, are they not? — both charged with responsibilities to the whole community, not winner-take-all favoritism especially in intramural dispute. Strange that it’s the elected mayor who gets it wrong and wants to choose up sides and fight instead of concentrating on Read the rest of this entry »

Get It, Get It?

25 08 2009

Tebow T-shit

Thinking About This New Bonfire of the Vanities Case

24 07 2009

Overheard on cable news just now: “This could be a teachable moment, with a Gates/Crowley dialogue” — Jesse Jackson


Consider this an open thread around class and race, law and order, freedom and community and government in America, as electrified by professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates being handcuffed in his own home for arguing with an armed government employee who came to his door and challenged him as a citizen to present his papers, prove his innocence of wrong-doing.

Is the citizen (or the police officer) the victim, or the offender? Are both both, or perhaps both are neither?

Is it really about race and class problems, or is this case primarily a clash between private individual rights and public government power? My own experience, in which everyone was white and everyone was wearing orange and blue, and both the police officer and myself were female, informs how I see this case — as not about race or class or color and minorities, not even testosterone, but rather the same way I’ve seen schoolfolk self-justifying their institutional job (to the point sometimes, of dismissing the reality that actual individuals are hurt rather than helped.)

All in all, it was a transformative moment for me, the quintessential teacher’s pet and media spokesperson, grievance hearing officer and pourer of oil on troubled waters. . .
Personal rage and alienation caused by social injustice was a new feeling for me, and it came literally out of the blue. I was just enjoying the day and my life, with my family and friends in a place I’d felt completely comfortable, safe and loved for my whole life, when WHAM!

And what if it were instead a CPS worker backed up by an armed sheriff’s deputy, in the south, say, at your door investigating a similarly misinformed neighbor’s complaint, coming to challenge you as a homeschooling parent in your own home, such an obviously unfounded complaint that you get outraged and say so loudly, hoping the neighbor will hear you and feel ashamed?

Now do you feel the same sympathies and concerns in the Gates case as you did before, or does your stomach suddenly flip-flop along with a 180-degree change of heart?

And please note, unlike my anonymous encounter with the police on game day, or any ordinary homeschool parent’s with the CPS, these principal characters were both well-known, mature, professional role models colliding in one of America’s most historic, educated and enlightened communities. White versus black, town versus gown, hate mail and a hot summer, a media feeding frenzy — here is Bill Cosby’s take — and one of them even knows the President of the United States personally! (Have you read Bonfire of the Vanities?)

The suspect was a black expert on racial profiling, while the white police officer who arrested him was a racial profiling trainer — if they can’t treat each other in an educated and enlightened manner, who can or will??

Some of the positions being publicly taken are Read the rest of this entry »

Gators in the White House — AGAIN!

23 04 2009


It’s not quite Susan Boyle but here’s a feel-good video from the White House Public Liaison Office, ending with President Obama saying, “Give it up for . . . the Gators!”

Barack Obama receives a Florida football jersey while hosting the reigning college football national champions. Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images

Tim Tebow and Company:

The national champion Gators are headed to Washington, D.C., where they will meet with President Obama at the White House on Thursday. Sen. Bill Nelson extended the invitation at halftime of the game. The Gators also went after winning the national championship in 1996 and 2006. . .

If your state is currently debating a “Tim Tebow” sports participation law for homeschoolers, or if you just bleed orange and blue, see also:

Homeschooled into the Heisman?

Did I Mention, GO GATORS?!

Education, or Championship of Tax Dodges, in BCS?


Florida head coach Urban Meyer hugs quarterback Tim Tebow just before the trophy presentation after the Gators defeated the Sooners 24-14 for the the BCS National Championship, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009 at Dolphin Stadium.  JOE RIMKUS JR. / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Florida head coach Urban Meyer hugs quarterback Tim Tebow just before the trophy presentation after the Gators defeated the Sooners 24-14 for the the BCS National Championship, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009 at Dolphin Stadium. JOE RIMKUS JR. / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Tebow, Spikes Will Fight Complacency for Three-Peat