April 09, 2007

Richly, Richly Deserved

First, belated Easter wishes to the tens of people who happen upon this blog. To those who celebrate Christianity, He is risen!! He is risen, indeed!! To those who don't, Hooray for an annual excuse to gorge on chocolate!! :)

To the meat of this post. I'm incredibly excited about this news, and after the horrendous misstep that was my last blog, have made sure to verify that this is actually happening (though I'll be in no way ranting about anything).

For those that don't read either of my wife's blogs, she has been selected to take part in a two-month rotation that essentially seconds as a medical mission in Eldoret, Kenya. There, she'll work with Joe Mamlin, a native Hoosier, graduate of IU, and member of our church. Joe and his wife founded and still run a network of hospitals there, which provides testing and treatment for AIDS in one of the areas of the world that has been hit the hardest.

Recently, though, it's gone far beyond the nobility of treating this modern pandemic. The hospital treats not only the disease, but the patient as well. So often in Kenyan culture, women are abandoned once they are known to carry the AIDS virus as they are seen as virtually worthless. Mamlin's hospital often provides ways for these women to get back on their feet despite their outcast status, sometimes even overcoming it.

Mamlin's program, known as AMPATH, now helps feed thousands of Kenyans and clothe many Kenyan orphans. He has provided for the entire world a way, and more importanly an easily-replicated example of how, to fight AIDS as well as how AIDS affects culture and the human condition in bleak conditions. And now, he has been nominated for one of the ultimate recognitions in the world.

The Mamlins have been supported for so long, not just by their church, but by so many public and private offerings (including the Gates Foundation). The support they've received from home, though, still pales in comparison to what they're able to do with it. They've taken that love and support and shared it with people they'd never met, and are actively changing the world by doing so. Now, they're finally receiving recognition for it in the form of this Peace Prize nomination.

Sharing the love of God and taking it to strangers that search for hope under circumstances where there is so often so little to be found. Truly, I say, these two are people of God.

April 05, 2007

What? A new post?

Ok, nevermind -- the source of this rant was a cruel April Fools' joke. Brilliant, but cruel....

Just what craziness could possibly wake me from my blogging slumber?

Why, this such insanity, of course.

For those who don't play video games and/or live under a rock, Pokemon was the hot gaming craze of the early 00's, spawning TV series, card games and movies, all of which were aimed at kids in elementary and middle school. In the game you caught and trained "POcKEt MONsters" (hence the name POKEMON) in order to defeat the bungling Team Rocket and other no-good-niks that abound in the fantasy world. As you train your monsters, they transform into new, more powerful Pokemon with different abilities to pummel your adversaries.

With that background, here's a quick summary of the article linked above -- Kansans are complete ******* morons. To dig a little deeper into the story, religious groups in the state (the same people that brought about the Intelligent Design debate) feel that this series of games teaches evolution, which apparently is a no-no in Kansas schools. All of this, of course, was brought about by a religious effort extolling the prominent roll that they think evolution plays in the game series.

Allow me to add my voice to the outcry against this.

It's not so much that I'm for allowing kids to have video games at school -- to me, that seems like it opens the door for theft by other kids and distracting from actual learning, both of which are bad ideas. And I do agree that you can play video games too much, something that Pokemon sometimes encourages ("Gotta Catch 'Em All!), and good on Kansans for their efforts in trying to curb video game addiction (as noted later in the linked article).

However, by banning this one series based on an incorrect assumption (more on this in a sec), you're using public education to make a RELIGIOUS statement, something that shouldn't be done in a country that has an established Freedom of Religion. Besides, do you actually think that kids actually believe they can capture dragons, chimeras, etc. in hand-sized balls for their own entertainment or to defeat the evils of the world?

Plus, there's no "evolution" involved in this game!!! In a gross over-simplification, evolution is based upon the offspring of a given species having different abilities then their parents (usually though genetic mutation), whic allows them to be stronger and outlast other species -- i.e. the "strong" species will survive longer that weaker, unevolved ones. Now, let's look at the game mechanics. You capture a monster, then train it, letting it gain *its own* strength and abilities over time. That's not evolution -- that's essentially puberty!

So, are we to assume that every non-Christian item should now be banned in Kansas public schools? How much longer until we start teaching mandatory Bible classes to kids forbidden to bring the Quran inside school premises?

Also, have you ever watched a Pokemon movie or TV show? It's incredibly silly, but also tries to introduce/reaffirm lessons of being honest, playing fair, and avoiding violence whenever possible. For the same of protecting kids from what they ignorantly believe is a evolution example, Kansans have now turned aside these lessons. Spot on, Huskers.

The last part of the article is what I love the best, however. Kansas religious groups, including the Calvary Glorious Christ Church Militant and Triumphant Baptist Temple (I'm not making that up -- it's there in the caption!), are now holding Pokemon burning parties. At these parties, Pokemon items, including games, videos and collectible cards, are thrown into a bonfire while hundreds of people stand their and watch them burn. Reminds me of the infamous book burnings of contraband materials from decades past.

From a burning bush to burning books and now burning video games. Now THAT'S evolution.