Friday, July 24, 2009

Is reading fundamental?

Many of you may recall the RIF movement of the '70s: reading is fundamental. It passed through public TV into the public elementary schools: content is not as important as the fact that they're reading. In the '80s we experienced DEAR: drop everything and read. I remember often thinking...what if it's Playboy? I mean, there are probably some good articles in there! O.K., that's not acceptable. So what about witchcraft? Or communist manifestos? Yeah, that's the ticket. Just as long as the kids are reading, the actual content isn't that important. I look back at the Electric Company show and see so much bickering between the that ideal for impressionable minds? No, but it's secondary to the paradigm that reading is fundamental. So this movement in education walked hand in hand with relativism: as long as it's your truth, no one should tell you it's wrong.

So now we have Harry Potter. I didn't like the withcraft part, but that wasn't the worst of it...see below. Just consider how many people will consider that editorial to be heretical to the religion of RIF. Think of all the kids who have been saved from illiteracy by Harry Potter. Yuk.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

So that's my issue

I've had plenty of issues with the Potter stuff, but this one hit it on the head. via
and hattip to House of Eratosthenes


Last updated: 12:57 pmJuly 19, 2009 Posted: 2:52 amJuly 19, 2009
...Harry might be the blandest superhero ever conceived. He simply follows the trail, learns the spells and saves the day. Kids love to be in Harry's shoes: all zapping bad guys, no taking out the trash.
Compare Luke Skywalker, who has to conquer his own vanity, laziness and anger in order to earn his powers. Harry, like many of his generation, is the Cosseted One from an early age. He's told that he's special, that he's got awesome gifts, that those who don't understand this are blind to the plain facts. Deploying his powers involves no more character or soul-searching than following a recipe.
The whimsical creations and the narrative pull -- making readers beg to know what's going to happen next -- are all Rowling offers. The great kids' works strike deep, satisfying chords. "The Wizard of Oz" would be just a Technicolor fun ride without Dorothy's discovery that everything she always wanted was right there at home. "Willy Wonka" isn't just a funny freak-out. It's also a near-biblical catalog of sinners and punishment. The Potter tales are built on nothing. Inside them is a deathly hollow.
Is there any children's writer more dismissive of morals? A Rowling kid starts learning at an early age that principles are adjustable depending on convenience.
Rowling ignores ethics to the point of encouraging dishonorable behavior. Harry spends "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" -- the film version of which is raking it in this weekend -- cheating out of a textbook that has all the answers written in the margins, causing him to fraudulently win a luck potion that he uses to solve the central mystery. And his punishment for this is . . . nothing. Harry's taking advantage of the annotated textbook is depicted as simple resourcefulness, and Hermione's protests seem mere whining. Rowling's readers will conclude it's OK to go on eBay and buy a teacher's edition of a textbook.
..."Gulliver's Travels" and the "Alice in Wonderland" books are comedic sociopolitical satires. "Winnie the Pooh" has been used as a teaching aid to introduce Nietzsche, Descartes and Taoism. Superman (born in 1938, as Nazis marched) meant truth, justice and the American way.
Rowling, sensing that her readers would think her corny or un-PC if she (for instance) dared to make Harry stand for the transcendent appeal of British civilization and culture, is no more interested in principles or resonance than "Desperate Housewives" is. If the Potter books are about nothing except childish good vs. childish evil (and they are), then they amount to a cosmic quidditch match. There's not a lot of suspense about who will win, why they should, or what it all means. All the pleasure for the reader is in the how -- the vacuous, disposable, inconsequential how.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nehemiah Group

This just in from Gabe Suarez:


Nehemiah 4:9 Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night because of them.

Nehemiah 4:17 Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon.

Nehemiah 4:13 And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people,"Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses."

The Nehemiah Group is a new section of Suarez International focusing on the security analysis of places of worship, as well as the training of Church Security Groups around the world. This has been a long time coming. Interested pastors, or rabbis please contact us at

Some of my Bible study guys and I have discussed the matter of church security many times. After 9/11 our pastor asked around to see who among the flock carries a pistol, in case of a violent attack. We have more than a few, in and out of law enforcement and military, so we'll have a fighting chance.

Since July 4th, I've spent much less time in the news, and more time in The Word. That's a good thing, folks. Nothing like the Sword of Truth to cut through modern times.