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Religion | G-MM™ | Belief

What Did Jesus Mean In His Good Friday Words To The ‘Daughters Of Jerusalem’?

The Gilmer Free Press

Christians might ponder during the Holy Week season of sorrow that precedes Easter joy. Jesus’ saying was poetic prophecy that, yes, can be opaque. This shows the value of owning a good one-volume Bible commentary and a “study Bible” to help with understanding. The Religion Guy consulted a variety of such reference works and they generally agree on the meaning of Jesus’ Good Friday words and the Old Testament prophecies he was quoting.

Among the four New Testament Gospels, this material only appears in Luke chapter 23. The lead-up in verse 27 merits special attention. Luke reports that as Jesus struggled on the road to crucifixion he was followed by “a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him.” The Temple authorities had rallied crowd support in seeking execution by Rome, and anti-Semites have exploited this in the Christian past.

Luke’s account tells us Jewish opinion was split. The women gathering to bemoan execution was something of a public ritual in that culture. But Luke indicates there was a “multitude” of common Jews who identified with Jesus’ movement or lamented his unjust sufferings. It seems likely some were followers of Jesus in town who had joined the “Palm Sunday” hosannas days earlier.

Then we come to verses 28-31 and three linked prophecies of doom that Jesus addressed to the women: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!’  Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Jesus’ first oracle was paraphrased by Protestant scholar I. Howard Marshall, former president of the British New Testament Society: “Do not weep so much for me as for yourselves and your children” because in a coming time it “would be better not to have children than to see their sufferings.” Similarly, Jesuit John Donahue of California’s Graduate Theological Union said Jesus was telling Jerusalem that “so terrible will be its fate that the women without children will be fortunate.” Jesus thus reversed the Old Testament depiction of childlessness as a curse and turned it into a blessing. There’s possibly an echo of Jeremiah 16:1-4, where the prophet cited Israel’s devastation to explain why he had no wife or children.

Jesus’ second stat4ement quoted an expression of despair in Hosea 10:8: “They shall say to the mountains, Cover us, and to the hills, Fall upon us.” This portrays people desperately crying for mountains and hills to provide shelter, just as in Isaiah 2:19 they scramble for protection into caverns and hollows in the ground. A related but grimmer interpretation of Hosea is people longing for an earthquake or other natural cataclysm so death will end their misery. This saying is carried verbatim into the Bible’s last book, in Revelation 6:15-16.

Jesus’ third statement cited another Hebrew judgment prophecy, Ezekiel 20:47: “Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree in you and every dry tree; the blazing flame shall not be quenched.” Exegetes explain that Jesus referred to himself as the green wood not easily consumed by fire, and Jerusalem as the dangerously flammable dry wood. The meaning was that if the innocent Jesus was not spared then guilty Jerusalem was in far greater risk of destruction. In Donahue’s summary, “If such crime as his death can occur now, what will be the horrors of the city’s crisis?”

Marshall concludes that in this passage “the words are of pity rather than condemnation.”

Though liberals and skeptics may question future predictions in the Bible, Christian tradition says that Jesus was looking toward the destruction of Jerusalem that did occur one generation later. Speaking of “blazing flames,” the Romans torched the Holy City and the Temple. Rome’s troops retaliated after Jews had overturned their occupation, laid a siege and recaptured the city in A.D. 70. They slaughtered thousands, enslaved thousands more who survived, and pillaged and leveled the Temple, which permanently changed the religion and history of the Jewish people.

Another technical note: Kristyn wonders if this is actually “what Jesus said”? Many university professors will pooh-pooh such belief. But Luke stated that the information in his Gospel was “delivered to us” by “eyewitnesses.” If so, it’s certainly possible that some observers along the “Via Dolorosa” heard Jesus’ words on that memorable day and passed them on.

American Christianity

Why Some Fear This Election’s Lasting Damage To American Christianity
The Free Press WV

Teryn O’Brien has stopped calling herself evangelical. As a 28-year-old living in Colorado Springs, O’Brien has held concerns with the conservative brand of evangelical Christianity for several years now, but she described this election as “the final straw.”

O’Brien said American evangelicals have historically held the upper hand in America and are seeing that power slip away. Searching to recapture it, many of them turned to Donald Trump, someone she sees as racist, misogynist and antithetical to Christian behavior.

Now O’Brien, who attends an Anglican church, has dropped the “evangelical” label, simply calling herself a Christian. But she said it has become hard to distinguish “evangelical” from “Christian. ” Evangelicals make up about a quarter of the U.S. population, according to the Pew Research Center. Three-quarters of them are white.

Conservative Christians are also the loudest group by far,  O’Brien observed, and so they often get the most attention. Exit polls show 81 percent of white evangelicals across the country backed Trump, the vast majority of whom are Republican and lean conservative, constituting the highest percentage that has voted for the Republican nominee since they voted overwhelmingly for President George W. Bush in 2004.

“This election has truly shown the underbelly of the toxic relationship that can develop between politics and religion,” O’Brien said.

Political divisions have run deep within churches and families, and observers say this election cycle has exposed underlying political and racial divisions within Christianity as a whole, but especially among evangelicals. As a result, some religious leaders are afraid of damage done to the perception of the Christian faith in the United States during this election cycle and fear its long-term effects.


Tensions high

Evangelical pastors say tensions have soared during the election season, and some are questioning whether they can even continue to use the label evangelical for fear of being associated with Trump.

“I keep trying to disavow that I am ‘that’ brand of evangelical, but after tonight, I don’t know if I even want to have any association with that label anymore,” Helen Lee, an evangelical author, said on Tuesday.

Eugene Cho, a pastor of an evangelical church in Seattle, said that his church building was recently painted with “F— organized religion,” though he is unsure whether it’s connected to Trump or the election.

“The election has made things more hostile or given permission to people to be more aggressive on both sides,” Cho said.

Cho, who has pledged that he will never endorse a candidate from the pulpit, joined a group of evangelicals in the fall condemning Trump, arguing his campaign “affirms racist elements in white culture.”

The letter, which was also backed by about 80 evangelical pastors and other leaders, decried Trump’s comments on women, Muslims, immigrants, refugees and the disabled.

“People just think that all evangelicals support Donald Trump or support particular platforms or a certain way of thinking,” Cho said. “This was just to communicate there isn’t a monolithic thought within the so-called evangelical wing of Christianity.”


Who speaks for evangelical Christians?

After a video of Trump was released showing he joked about sexually assaulting women, some religious leaders said that while his comments were inappropriate, he was still the best leader for the country. Others rejected the idea that those leaders were speaking on everyone’s behalf.

“The evangelical support of Trump will be an indictment against its validity as a Christian movement for generations to come,” Richard Rohr, a Franciscan author and teacher, tweeted after those comments.

Some leaders are worried about the lasting impact this election will have inside churches. Russell Moore, who leads the Southern Baptist Convention’s political advocacy arm, is deeply concerned about the impact of Christian leaders who defended Trump and the potential damage it has had within churches, especially among women and younger evangelicals.

“One evangelical woman said to me, ‘I’ve spent all my life saying the church is going to be a place where you can go when you face this sort of thing.’ Now I’m looking around, and a pastor is saying ‘This isn’t a big deal.’ That’s going to take a lot of work to undo,” he said.


Christianity’s political ties

The contrast between different groups of religious voters this election season is striking, said Mark Silk, professor of religion in public life at Trinity College. Polls ahead of the election showed Catholics divided, and that many Mormons abandoned the Republican Party compared with years past. But evangelicals voted for Trump in even greater numbers than they voted for Republican candidates Mitt Romney and John McCain.

“Trump has been a candidate where one could say, ‘Is there no point at which you won’t vote for the Republicans?’ ” Silk said. “I think that’s what’s given away the extent to which personal identity for religious conservatives and churchgoers has become wrapped up in Republicanism.”

In their book, “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us,” Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam and Notre Dame political scientist David Campbell argue that the extraordinary rise of people who affiliate with no religion is due in part to their rejection of its entanglement with politics. Today 22 percent of the population says they have no faith.

“For many, their aversion to religion is rooted in unease with the association between religion and conservative politics,” Putnam and Campbell wrote. “If religion equals Republican, then they have decided that religion is not for them.”

Michael Wear, who did evangelical outreach for President Obama’s campaign in 2008 and now consults with evangelical groups, said that people have been talking about rebranding evangelicals or even Christianity in America now for several years.

“The people I work with view Trump as a moment for Christians to actually separate themselves from towing a particular party line,” Wear said. “We’re going to have four years to test that theory.”


Shifting demographics

White Christian Protestants have dominated America’s political and social landscape for most of its history. But in recent decades, the number of Americans who stopped affiliating with religion has surged, along with a rise in Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and other Americans. The year 2008 marked the last in which Protestants represented a majority of Americans, according to demographer Robert P. Jones.

For most of American history, mainline and evangelical Protestants have dominated the landscape, spiritually and politically. But as Protestants’ majority has waned, Jones writes in his book, “The end of White Christian America,” Americans who are between 18 and 29 are less than half as likely to be white Christians as those who are 65 and older.

This election season, there was a divided voice among Christian leaders as a whole, Jones said. The Catholic bishops in the United States were much quieter than in elections past and some Mormons, including former GOP candidate Mitt Romney spoke out against Trump, while the so-called “values voters,” Christian conservatives who historically coalesced on issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage, largely backed Trump.

“It’s going to be poignant that the group that has sold themselves as ‘values voters’ has abandoned those arguments and justifications,” Jones said.


The dividing lines

Faith often becomes front and center during election years, said Barna Research President David Kinnaman, because it reveals the fault lines along gender, generations and ethnicities, and between theological traditions.

“It’s a powerful moment where people are organizing themselves and making those differences more clear,” he said. “There are larger questions about why and how Christians should engage on cultural matters, and this election is redefining how Christians interact.”

When reports emerge about whom evangelicals voted for, they usually mean “white evangelicals,” glossing over a growing racial division within Christianity. Latino evangelicals are one of the fastest growing segments of churchgoers in America and have largely been fueling the growth among evangelicals, and many did not favor the Republican candidate.

“There is some real angst when there is a blanket statement that ‘evangelical supports . . .’ ” Salguero said.

Latino Christians are different from their white Christian peers, Salguero said, because they don’t have a history of being a majority in America.

“We don’t have messianic expectations for our politicians,” Salguero said. “We don’t have this moment of ‘we’re not at the center of power anymore.’ Latino evangelicals were never at the center of power, so we can be a prophetic voice independent of who gets into office.”

~~  Sarah Pulliam Bailey ~~

What Gods Do the “Three Peoples” Believe In

The Free Press WV

In my reductive Three Peoples theory I propose that three kinds of people live in the modern world. There are the People of the Subordinate Self, workers and peasants who are clients to some great lord. There are People of the Responsible Self, citizens that work in the city as responsible individuals. And then there are People of the Creative Self, that believe life should be more than just responsible; it should aim for a work of original creation.

But no man is an island; each of us must life in society. That is the point of social animals, that we work together. So what does that mean to each of the Three Peoples?

We humans symbolize this situation with the notion of “gods.“ Our God is the something to which we surrender and bend the knee, and that is what makes us social and connected rather than alone on an island.

The God of the People of the Subordinate Self is the great lord or patron. In return for his Patron’s patronage he must surrender to the power and might of his lord, his political boss, his work supervisor. And the Patron distributes loot and plunder as the mood takes him. I have argued, in my “little darlings“ notion, that in the end the People of the Subordinate Self get left by the roadside, for they are, in effect, the soldiers in the great lord’s army, and when they are no longer useful, the lord will abandon them, as Napoleon abandoned his troops on the retreat from Moscow.

The subordination to a fickle lord or Patron is not an easy life, and so from time to time the peasants arm themselves with their pitchforks and rebel. But they are always too late.

The God of the People of the Responsible Self is the abstract, though personal, God of the Axial Age religions. He is no longer sitting in the middle of the village or on Mt. Olympus playing power games with the human lives under his charge. Now God is retiring from active rule, and setting forth abstract rules for humans to follow. The problem for humans is no longer to submit to the actual power and might of the ruler, but to submit to the abstract rules of the Law. This was incredibly sexist, for it is men that demand to be told the rules, so the new God came out with a girl concept as well. Now the thing to do was to submit to God’s love, for God offered the perfect relationship: love God and God would love you right back. In our latter days, People of the Responsible Self have learned to submit to the market, that remarkable human notion, and offer themselves and the work to the rest of society in return for the hope of reward. Of course, the market also has its girl aspect, as in the long-term relationships between businesses and their customers.

The submission to an abstract God or to the market is a hard and challenging life, for all its rewards. And so the People of the Responsible Self are always tempted to take the easy way and return into the orbit and the protection of some new Patron. But they betray their responsibility when they do.

The God of the People of the Creative Self is the the Creative Self. If the old God was the creator of the universe, or at least in on the design, the modern creative self aims to become as God. The nature and the meaning of life, the universe, and everything is not a mystery known only to God, but a Gordian Knot that creative man himself is unraveling and will eventually master. That is why our modern ruling class is full of plans for improvement and bending the arc of history towards justice. Society is, for them, a creative project.

The relation of the Creative Self to society has almost come full circle to the great lord or the Patron god. It is a temptation that few creative people seem able to resist, to sit on Mt. Olympus and order around the humans under their rule as the mood takes them. But I would say that the essence of the creative life is to submit to the verdict of the creative Muse. The fact of a life devoted to creation is that is is a failure: many are called, but few are chosen. Many people aspire to become artists and writers, but few make the grade. Many people start businesses and tech startups, but almost all of them are failures. If it is hard to be a peasant, and harder to stay responsible in the face of setbacks, it is harder still to aspire to creative notability.

You can see that there is a common theme here. A true and faithful person must surrender and submit to his chosen God, and not to do so is to betray your God and become antisocial and corrupted. A Person of the Subordinate Self has surrendered his life to the pleasure of his great lord, and the subsequent cruel fate that awaits him. A Person of the Responsible Self has surrendered himself to obeying God’s laws and the verdict of the market. If it seems hard, well, it is. A Person of the Creative Self must submit to the creative process, and accept that very few people that aspire to works of original creation actually succeed in that Olympian ambition, just as very few aspiring Olympic athletes get to participate in the Olympic Games.

The whole point of this little exercise is, of course, to point out that humanity’s Big Problem right now is the globalist Creative Class and its overweening conceit that it is called, like the peerless Lina Lamont, to bring a little joy to our humdrum little lives, so that all its hard work “ain’t been in vain for nothin’.“

~~  Christopher Chantrill ~~

What Gods Do the “Three Peoples” Believe In

Trump & Religion

“Moral Sewage”
Trump The Opposite Of Christianity

t wasn’t me who called Donald Trump’s campaign “reality television moral sewage.” The person who said that was none other than Russell Moore, the very conservative president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. And it isn’t just things like calling women fat pigs, commenting on how women based on how they look, or talking about the size of his ##### in a nationally televised debate. Donald Trump’s entire philosophy of life is predicated on the Ayn Randian notion of the ‘virtue of selfishness,’ the belief that power and wealth are the zenith of what is important and good in the world—not more old-fashioned values like basic human decency. Is there a clearer antithesis to what Jesus preached in the gospels?

Jesus denounced those who lie; extolled the virtues of humility; said that we should treat everyone as we would want to be treated and that we should welcome the outsider; and preached that every person would be judged by whether they showed compassion for the poor. Trump hasn’t shown even a hint of any of those qualities in his business or political life.

That’s why Republicans are so uncomfortable when they are asked whether Trump is a good role model for Christian values. Check out the video of my colleague Andrea Haverdink asking Republican members of Congress that question. Note the uncomfortable looks on their faces, and that the vast majority avoid answering the question at all:


Despite Trump’s decidedly unchristian character and behavior, he’s gotten some endorsements from the biggest political hacks in the extremist evangelical world, like Jerry Falwell, Jr. Trump spoke yesterday in Orlando to 700 evangelical ministers, some of whom were even enthusiastic about his candidacy. Clearly there are some far-right Christians who hate Hillary Clinton so much they will ignore Trump’s many sins. But this contradiction is creating a widening chasm that threatens to destroy the Republican Party this year.

Polling trends right now are showing the possibility that Republicans will be less likely to turn out their voters than Democrats, which is very unusual. Generally Democrats (who are younger and poorer and thus a lot less likely to vote) are much less likely to turn out to vote. Big demographic blocs of Republican voters, including evangelical Christians, are feeling decidedly unenthusiastic about voting this year. Trump is only getting in the low 80s of self-identified Republican voters, when normally the GOP nominee at this point in the race would be getting 95%.

Meanwhile, Republican Senate and House candidates, and those further down ballot, are generally screwed unless they are in the reddest of red states/districts. If those Republicans in tough races embrace Trump, every voter who is sane gets uncomfortable. If these candidates distance themselves from their nominee, they anger their Trump-loving base. The resulting twisting and turning from Republicans like Kelly Ayotte, John McCain, and Paul Ryan make them look like they are trapped in a sadist’s version of the game Twister.

Democrats should never take anything for granted, and we need to keep working our hearts out, but I would note that the above trends are making even the pessimists in my party think we Democrats could have a big year. My friends at the brilliant numbers-crunching group NCEC, who are the best electoral data analysts in the business, are now saying that if things keep going the way they are, the Democrats have a decent chance at winning back the House. This is notable from a group notorious for erring on the side of pessimism (after the 2004 cycle, NCEC said Democrats might not win the presidency for decades because the electoral math was so stacked against us). http://ncec.org/articles/20160810-the-house-is-in-play

If Democrats win big, it will be because of Trump’s “reality television moral sewage.” This man who is in every way the opposite of Jesus’ teachings is making a mockery of so-called Christians like Falwell. But apparently hypocrisy runs in the family—in the 1990s, Falwell, Sr. accused the Clintons of murdering dozens of people, a claim for which there was not even a shred of proof. Jesus would probably be comparing these kinds of hypocrites to the Pharisees of his day.

The irony here is that Hillary, in stark contrast to Trump, is a Midwestern Methodist to her core, just like she was raised. My Methodist minister at the church I grew up in reminded me recently of when I introduced him to Hillary, and the two of them talked about the theology of the Methodist church. Hillary firmly believes in the Methodist social gospel, exemplified in that quote from the Methodist Church’s founder, John Wesley, that she mentioned in her convention speech: “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

Those values are also why Hillary gave the kind speech she gave in Michigan yesterday on economic issues. The fact is that Hillary is a genuine progressive on a wide range of economic issues, and progressive organizers and leaders have the potential to move her even more if the political strength is there to get good things passed through Congress.

If you are a Christian, the kind of person Hillary Clinton is seems like a whole lot better bet than a man who talks about the size of his ##### on national television.

~~  Mike Lux ~~

Easter Means A Better Life Here, And In The Future

The Free Press WV

Ask a person on the street what Easter means and a few will give the same answer. Even fewer will give an accurate answer.

Is it about a bunny, an egg hunt, or candy? Some have suggested it is an excuse for spring break. What is really behind this spring holiday that comes once a year on a Sunday in March or April?

The term Easter refers to the history’s most important event, Jesus Christ rising from the dead.

The week leading up to Easter has been called the passion week because of what Christ goes through. It culminates with the resurrection.

The betrayal of Judas led Jesus to an unjust trial where he was crucified on the cross for the crime of rebellion to the religion of the first century, the worship of Roman kings.

At least that is the Roman reason for crucifying Jesus, but the Bible records Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, and according to God’s plan.

Jesus did not commit any crime nor did he ever sin. He went to the cross, dying for us, the payment of our sins. Three days later, on Sunday of a new week, Jesus rose from the dead.

This is the historical meaning of Easter.

The question now is, what does this mean to me if I don’t believe in Jesus? What if I don’t read the Bible or go to church?

The message of Easter means something to each of us regardless of our church affiliation. It is certainly the heart and soul of Christianity.

Easter means Jesus is the truth because of his resurrection. Jesus told his followers he would rise from the dead. While they did not totally understand what he said about the resurrection, they realized it to be true after they saw the empty tomb.

All that Jesus said about himself, about us and about heaven is true because of the resurrection.

Easter also means life for us. Jesus tells us he is life for all of mankind. He came to give us abundant life.

When we believe in Jesus Christ as our savior, our lives are changed into a life of purpose and hope. Inside of us all is the longing to have a purpose or meaning for existence in something greater than ourselves.

Jesus offers a life that is certainly greater than the present life. He provides that life for us freely by his grace. Grace means it is unearned and undeserved.

The Bible gives us this statement about grace: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,“ it says in Ephesians 2:8-9.

Easter also means there is a way to heaven. Jesus made it possible for every person to go to heaven when they believe on him. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,“ it says in John 14:6.

As you celebrate Easter, there is a personal meaning for you. God loves you and the meaning of this special day is the offer to you of a better life here and in the future.

G-OpEd™: West Virginia Women Get Antigay Lecture With Marriage License

They say a deputy county clerk called them an ‘abomination’ and said they’d face God’s judgment
The Free Press WV

Two women who applied for a marriage license in West Virginia this month say they got an antigay lecture along with it, as the deputy county clerk who processed their license called them an “abomination” and said God would judge them.

Samantha Brookover and Amanda Abramovich applied for their license at the Gilmer County Courthouse in Glenville in early February. The deputy who waited on them, Debbie Allen, yelled at them that their marriage was wrong, that no one in the county would perform their ceremony, that they were an “abomination” in the eyes of God, and that they would face his judgment, they told the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

“It just takes one person to remind you how closed-minded our world is,” Brookover told the paper.

Allen and another deputy disputed the couple’s account of the meeting. “We did not attack them,” Allen said. “We did not yell at them. We were not aggressive with them. I felt I talked nicely to them.” She said she did not use the word “abomination.” The other deputy, Angela Moore, said she did not hear that word either, although she could not make out the entire conversation. They both said Allen kept her voice down.

Allen, however, did not deny that she told Brookover and Abramovich that their marriage was morally wrong and that God would judge them. “I just told them my opinion,” she told the Gazette-Mail. “I just felt led to do that. I believe God was standing with me and that’s just my religious belief.”

Brookover’s mother, Jill Goff, who was also present, said she complained to Gilmer County Clerk Jean Butcher, who said she believed as Allen does. In an interview with the newspaper, Butcher said that the upshot of the matter was that the couple got their license, “and that was the main thing.”

But Allen’s conduct, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, still “flagrantly violated” the women’s constitutional rights. “By chastising the couple and expressing religious disapproval of their relationship and attempt to marry, the County violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment as well as the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,” the organization said in a letter sent to Butcher and county commissioners Friday. “In order to bring the County Clerk’s office into compliance with the Constitution, the office and its staff must refrain from conveying religious or antigay messages when processing marriage-license applications or performing other official functions.”

Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, added in a press release, “It is both cruel and unacceptable for a government employee to berate anyone he or she serves in an official capacity. Even though Ms. Allen did not refuse to issue a license in this instance, she still deprived an innocent couple of their rights when she treated them like second-class citizens.” Americans United gave Butcher 14 days to respond to the letter.

The incident added to concerns about West Virginia’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed by the House of Delegates last week and now pending in the Senate. It would allow any business or individual to cite religious objections as a legal defense for noncompliance with a state or municipal antidiscrimination law. The state does not cover sexual orientation or gender identity in its civil rights laws, but seven cities do. Also, in a bill allowing Uber to operate in the state, House members voted against requiring drivers to have a nondiscrimination policy regarding sexual orientation or gender identity. That bill has gone on to the Senate too.

The situation brings to mind the actions of Rowan County, Ky., Clerk Kim Davis, who confronted same-sex couples when denying them marriage licenses last summer. Davis eventually went to jail for defying a federal judge’s order to comply with the law and issue licenses without discrimination. Since her release, deputies in her office have been serving same-sex couples, and late last year Kentucky’s new governor issued an executive order taking clerks’ names off licenses in all counties — something Davis had requested as an accommodation of her religious beliefs.

~~  Trudy Ring ~~

Pope Francis v Donald Trump

The Free Press WV

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump fired back today at Pope Francis for suggesting that anyone who wants to build a border wall “is not Christian.“

Trump said it is “disgraceful” for a religious leader to question a person’s faith. Trump had kicked off the back-and-forth before the pope set off for Mexico by calling Francis  “a very political person.“

Here’s how the exchanges played out:


DONALD TRUMP:
On Fox Business Network last week, Trump said: 

“I don’t think he understands the danger of the open border we have with Mexico. And I think Mexico got him to do it because Mexico wants to keep the border just the way it is, because they’re making a fortune and we’re losing.”

The Vatican responded by arguing that the pontiff wasn’t jumping into the U.S. presidential race but that his concern for migrants is a global issue.


VATICAN: 
Responding late Tuesday, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said:

“The pope always talks about migration problems all around the world,“ the Associated Press reported.

Lombardi added that Pope Francis also focuses on “the duties we have to solve these problems in a humane manner, of hosting those who come from other countries in search of a life of dignity and peace.“


POPE FRANCIS:
After finishing his trip to the Mexican border, Francis told journalists: 

“A person who thinks only about building walls — wherever they may be — and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel.“

“As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.“


DONALD TRUMP:
Responding to the pope’s comments, Trump released a statement saying: 

“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current President.”


Trump has said that he will force Mexico to build a wall to keep illegal immigrants from traveling to the United States.

Immigration and migrants are hot-topic issues in the Republican presidential race. Both Trump and his Republican rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, have promised to deport all of the millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Trump has vowed to block Muslims from entering the country, build a wall across the border with Mexico, revoke birthright citizenship and other measures.

Pope Francis arrived in Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican border town across from El Paso, Tex., on Wednesday. It was the last stop on his six-day tour of Mexico, where he highlighted corruption, violence and drug-trafficking. His stop in Juarez included a call for compassion for the thousands of migrants crossing the border into the United States.

Religious Freedom Arguments Used To Weaponize The First Amendment

The Free Press WV

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer peered over the bench at the lawyer and all but said he just didn’t buy it. “You will go out this door, and you will buy hundreds of things, if not thousands, where money will go from your pocket into the hands of people, including many government people, who will spend it on things you disagree with,” Breyer told attorney Michael Carvin at oral argument last week.

Breyer was questioning the logic behind the case the court was hearing that morning, Friedrichs v. California Teachers’ Association, a challenge to union fees brought by teachers and a conservative Christian educators’ association. They say their First Amendment rights are being violated by being  required to pay a union for collective bargaining. But Breyer could have been talking about any number of conservative legal claims, even if they cite different laws. Phrased as a desire to opt out, these arguments are pushing the boundaries of what counts as expression of speech or religion, and what violates it.

“You’re seeing an increasing tendency to use the First Amendment or First Amendment-like arguments by conservatives as a way of resisting various forms of regulation or progressive regulation,” said Samuel Bagenstos, a law professor at the University of Michigan Law School who oversaw civil rights at the Justice Department in the Obama administration. “The arguments that might have in the past come under the heading of ‘property rights’ or ‘freedom of contract’ now are coming under the heading of ‘free speech’ or ‘free association’ or ‘religious freedom.’”  

That phenomenon includes Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, the 2014 case in which a corporation successfully claimed its religious rights were being violated by having to cover contraception on its employee insurance plan. And this term, it includes the follow-up to Hobby Lobby, Zubik v. Burwell, which could take religious refusal to a whole new place. The plaintiffs, who are nonprofit schools and charities with religious affiliations, already don’t have to pay for contraceptive coverage. But they argue that what the Obama administration calls an opt-out form is actually conscripting them in helping employees get “abortion pills,” known to most people and the medical community as birth control. Citing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a law that sought to strengthen First Amendment protections, the groups also object to even contracting with an insurance company that is giving other people contraception.

“The legal issues in the two are distinct, but both seek to roll back important protections in the name of expressive or religious rights,” said Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief.

And that’s just what has reached the Supreme Court. In lower and state courts, religious objectors, largely Catholic and Protestant Christians, are asking to be exempted from anti-discrimination law so they can refuse service at same-sex couples’ weddings. Some Catholic universities have asked for religious exemptions to block adjunct professors from unionizing at their institutions, notwithstanding the Vatican’s longtime and explicit support of unions. Hobby Lobby isn’t their only win: In 2012, the Supreme Court allowed a Lutheran school to be exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act, because the school said a teacher counted as a minister.

Of course, to the proponents of broader religious exemptions, including Republican presidential candidates, this is nothing new — just American tradition. Answering Breyer at the Supreme Court that morning, Carvin, the attorney for the teachers who said union fees violate their First Amendment rights, said, “As to requiring people to give money to [that] which they don’t wish to give, Thomas Jefferson said that was sinful and tyrannical. James Madison famously said, requiring three pence is the thing. So it’s not at all something that we’ve invented.”

But Carvin was asking the court to accept a First Amendment argument it rejected nearly 40 years ago. Just about every legal observer thinks Carvin’s side will win and the precedent that the union fees don’t violate the First Amendment will fall. Something has changed — and liberal legal scholars fear where that change is heading.

The plaintiffs in these cases aren’t asking the courts to dissolve unions, repeal the Affordable Care Act or its contraceptive coverage requirement, or reverse the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision. “Although Petitioners, as Roman Catholic entities, disagree with the Government’s goal of providing the mandated coverage, they do not challenge the legality of this goal,” some of the plaintiffs in Zubik wrote in their brief, adding, “Rather, Petitioners ask only that they not be forced to participate in this regulatory scheme in a way that violates their religious beliefs.”

The law says that government cannot “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.” One of the disputes at the heart of Zubik is who decides what burden is substantial and what isn’t. The objectors say that as long as they can show their objection is genuine, they get the final word on the question. “If a religious adherent sincerely believes that taking a particular action would make him complicit in the sin of another, then courts must defer to that belief,” they wrote in their brief. The action in question: Filling out a short form that certifies their objection to the insurer or the government.

But in the contraceptive cases, the Obama administration, and almost every federal appeals court to rule on the cases so far, argue that’s not what the religious freedom law says — or how the form in question works. They contend that insurance plans cover contraceptives by default, so the opt-out form isn’t “triggering” anything. And they say that it’s not so simple as declaring your objection.  

“If the Court is going to relieve religious employers” of their obligations, wrote Brigham Young University law professor Frederick Gedicks, “then obviously the Court itself needs to police the boundaries of that exception, lest employers push those boundaries so far that the exception swallows the rule.”

The four Democratic appointees on the court made it clear how they felt on the question in a preview of the case, when the court temporarily blocked Wheaton College from complying with the contraceptive opt-out in 2014. “Not every sincerely felt ‘burden’ is a ‘substantial’ one,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “and it is for courts, not litigants, to identify which are.”

The exception swallowing the rule is precisely the fear that liberals have about these exemption claims. The plaintiffs in Zubik have suggested alternate ways for the government to help women to get contraception under the Affordable Care Act “without involving Petitioners,” such as a “‘public option’ to provide ‘contraception insurance’” or expanding the federal Title X program for low-income women.

But while the court doesn’t have to consider whether something is politically feasible, the facts on the ground suggest women who work for objecting institutions aren’t about to get their federal contraception cards anytime soon. Many congressional Republicans fiercely oppose the very existence of the Title X program, as well as its major beneficiary, Planned Parenthood. The “public option” for any health insurance at all, let alone one specifically related to women’s contraception, didn’t get very far the last time Congress considered it, with far more favorable numbers for liberals.

But give public employees the right to opt out of paying fees for collective bargaining, and union resources and power shrink. Poke holes in what was touted as seamless health care coverage, ensuring access to people who were previously uncovered, and it doesn’t look so seamless. Allow religious reasons to opt out of anti-discrimination law and leave the most vulnerable unprotected.

If the plaintiffs succeed, it will be partly because social conservatives will have successfully cast themselves as oppressed by the whim of the majority. “When opponents of such laws have been unable to block them entirely, they have invoked claims of religious liberty and shifted from speaking as a majority seeking to enforce traditional morality to speaking as a minority seeking exemptions from laws that depart from traditional morality,” Yale Law professor Reva Siegel and University of California law professor Douglas NeJaime recently wrote. “In this way, they can appeal to pluralism and non-discrimination to justify limiting the recently recognized rights of other citizens.”

Bagenstos agrees. “It puts liberals who have traditionally been defenders of free speech on the defensive,” he says. It doesn’t hurt that Justice Anthony Kennedy, the deciding vote in many cases, is very sympathetic to First Amendment claims.

Georgetown Law professor Robin West has written that the newly broad exemption claims create “separate sovereignties,” which try to create an entirely separate regime where religious law prevails. That, she wrote, “sometimes come with profound costs to the weaker members within them, who no longer enjoy the protection of the law against the possibly abusive practices of the stronger members of their separate sovereign community.”

A legal precedent that says a “substantial burden” on religion is whatever the religious objector says it is “could open the floodgates to allow religious objectors to deny important rights and benefits to a great number of people in a variety of contexts,” says Mach. He added, “There is a history in this country of people seeking a religious exemption from a non-discrimination rule. It would be new if they prevailed.”

~~  Irin Carmon ~~

Backlash over Common Core Extends to U.S. Catholic Schools

The Free Press WV

The backlash against standardized testing is rippling through some Roman Catholic schools as they balance the college-driven Common Core learning standards with spiritual goals.

The Diocese of Albany announced recently that it will reduce the frequency of the Common Core-aligned tests while sticking with the standards, which spell out skills students should master at each grade level from kindergarten through high school.

“Although the standards of the Common Core itself are good, the collateral pieces have caused great strife for families and teachers,“ Superintendent Michael Pizzingrillo said.

The number of dioceses that have opted out of using either the standards, tests or both hasn’t been officially tracked while states have phased them in over the past five years. Surveys showed about half of the 195 U.S. dioceses — which like other private schools are not obligated to use the standards— initially adopting them, the National Catholic Educational Association said.

“Right now, Catholic schools are still trying to figure out how they respond to the Common Core and how deeply they embrace it,“ said Dan Guernsey, director of K-12 programming at the Cardinal Newman Society. The focus, he said, has to remain on the development of students’ “mind, body and spirit.“

“We don’t open Catholic schools to get kids into college,“ Guernsey said. “We open Catholic schools to get them into heaven.“

About 1.9 million students around the U.S. are enrolled in 6,568 Catholic schools, most of them elementary schools, according to the National Catholic Education Association. They haven’t been immune to the outcry over high-stakes testing roiling public schools.

“Many parents are listening to the news. They see the political charge,“ said Sister John Mary Fleming, executive director for education at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “What this situation has done is created an opportunity for Catholic schools to review our mission: What is our mission and how does the curriculum support that mission?“

The conference urges education leaders to review the standards but notes that rejecting them could put students at a disadvantage later in high school. Fleming said individual dioceses have chosen a variety of approaches to the Common Core, either adopting or adapting them in part or as a whole, or, in places including Denver and Lansing, Michigan, staying away from them altogether.

The Albany diocese’s decision to change its testing schedule coincides with a call by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for “a total reboot” of the Common Core after his state became the epicenter of anti-testing sentiment. An unprecedented 20 percent of public school students statewide opted out of the mandatory math and English assessments this past spring. A task force is expected to make recommendations this month.

Three of the 46 states that originally adopted the Common Core standards have dropped them. More dramatic has been the decline in membership in the two consortia tasked with creating the assessments, Smarter Balanced and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The number of participating states has fallen from 46 to 22 as states find alternative ways to meet testing requirements, according to the Education Commission of the States.

Pizzingrillo said it’s hoped the Albany diocese’s move away from state tests in its 23 schools will help parents distinguish between the standards, whose focus on critical thinking is seen as useful, and the tests, which are at the center of so much turmoil. Instead of testing all students in grades three through eight, Albany Catholic schools will, beginning this year, test only those in grades three, five and seven and use a different test to measure student achievement.

An initiative by the National Catholic Education Association makes available detailed lesson plans that integrate spiritual components into a standards-based curriculum. A fifth-grade English lesson on the Civil War, for example, incorporates the idea of righteousness, while a fourth-grade geometry lesson uses crosses to demonstrate parallel, perpendicular and intersecting lines.

English teacher Meghan Bornhorst said the standards will continue to guide her lessons, even though not all of her students will be directly tested on them.

“A lot of students go to public (high) school,“ she said. “I don’t want them to go and say, ‘We were supposed to learn this?‘“

Marshall University RA Shames Heterosexual Christian Students for Their ‘Privilege’

A resident advisor (RA) at Marshall University in West Virginia has placed a poster in a freshman dorm that attacks heterosexual Christian students by defining them as “privileged.”

Senior RA Jessie Swiger hung her poster in Freshman North, a co-ed dorm. Campus Reform reported the story and presents screenshots of the poster, as well as Swiger’s Facebook post defending her poster and a tweet in which Swiger justifies, “It’s not shaming. It’s educating. Privilege exists as a result of racism, sexism, ablism, & classism engrained in society.”

The poster itself, which is handwritten, equates privilege as “not being asked ‘how does sex work for you?’” and “’flesh colored’ matches your skin tone.”

The Gilmer Free Press

Examples of “privilege” Swiger provides on the poster are “white, male, Christian, cisgender, and heterosexual privilege that you’ve probably never realized or thought about.”

In a Facebook post, Swiger said, “I’m thankful to have been able to go through training and take classes that have helped me to understand and recognize privilege, what it is, and how it affects our brothers and sisters of the world.”

“As a person passionate about social justice, I feel this is an important starting topic that will influence other issues we face in society,” Swiger continues. “I know that I have privilege because as a white, middle class, heterosexual, cisgender, educated, Christian person I can post this and know that my point will be taken seriously and the only negative comments will come from other privileged people.”

Swiger said there is no need to feel ashamed of being a member of a “privilege group but instead should use it to recognize advantages that may have not previously crossed your mind that someone who is not in your group has to struggle or fight for more than you.”

Similar types of posters or bulletin boards were discovered by Campus Reform at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, where one board told students to “Check Your Privilege” and shamed students who are white, male, Christian, able-bodied, heterosexual, or “cisgendered.”

The “Check Your Privilege” campaign was launched by three University of San Francisco professors—psychology professor Ja’Nina Walker and assistant professors Scott Murray and Sonja Poole—who define privilege as “unearned access to social power based on membership in a dominant social group.”

“If you can expect time off from work to celebrate your religious holidays, you have Christian Privilege,” states a campaign flier.

~~  Dr. Susan Berry - Breitbart ~~

G-MM™: Meditation Moment - 150321

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Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.


Proverbs 20:3

It is honorable for a man to stop striving,
Since any fool can start a quarrel.


Exodus 20:12
The Fifth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.


Notes on the Scripture

What Importance Do the Commandment of Exodus 20 Have?

The first four of the ten commandments address the relationship between God and man; the remaining six (beginning with today’s) address the relationship of people to one another. This division underlies Christ’s famous summary of the Law into two great commandments, e.g. Matthew 22:37-40.

The fifth commandment (like the fourth, keeping the Sabbath holy) raises an important issue: As important as Exodus 20 is for understanding God’s will, it is neither complete nor fully original and is, really, a sort of Cliff’s Notes version of God’s law given to the Hebrews.

The first, second and fourth commandments were certainly given to the Hebrews before the ten commandments were engraven at Mt. Sinai. See e.g. Exodus 16:22-30. More importantly, their already exist “commandments”, equal in importance to these ten. For example, while they were in Egypt, God gave the Hebrews a strict set of rules requiring the observance of Passover. If it occurs to you that they are not as important as these ten, just consider: a person who eats leavened bread at Passover must be thrown out of the congregation of Israel. Exodus 12:19

More a propos of today’s passage, at several prior points God has imposed obligations on parents to instruct their children. E.g. Exodus 12:24-27. Instruction and discipline of children is probably a more fundamental duty than any of the last six “commandments”, for the continuation of the covenant would depend upon it.

When we think about such issues as “what were the laws of Moses” and “what obligation do they place upon Christians today”, turning to the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20 is a cop-out. Too much emphasis on them means that we have not read the Bible. People like them, though, because they aren’t “Jewish” sounding. We want to put them in a nice clean category, “rules that still apply after the coming of Christ”, as opposed to, say, laws detailing the burning of goat carcasses as a sacrifice.

Reading and studying the actual text of Exodus will give us a much more accurate and deeper understanding of Old Testament law and its application to modern Christians.


That Your Days May Be Long

The gloss at the end of the commandment, “that you days may be long upon the land . . “, might or might not be intended to be tied to the specific commandment. “Your days” does not refer to an individual’s lifespan, but rather, to Israel’s occupation of the promised land under the protection of Yahweh. By inference, a child who honors his parents will learn and follow the precepts of a monotheistic and God-centered life; he will inherit the knowledge needed to please God and, under his parents’ watchful eyes, learn to behave correctly in the eyes of God.

As a general principle of Biblical interpretation, however, the first mention of a principle informs what is to follow. As J. Edwin Hartell puts it in Principles of Bible Hermeneutics(Zondervan, 1947): “The first time a thing is mentioned in Scripture it carries with it a meaning that will be carried all through the Word of God.“ There is, we must remember, only one speaker in the Bible, although there are many mouths.

Which put more plainly, means that the reward of living long in the Promised Land applies to all of God’s commandments, not only to the obligation of honoring one’s mother and father. There lies a critical message, not only for a struggling, scruffy Semitic tribe over 3000 years ago , but also for us today. If a society is to prosper, it needs to pay close attention to God’s moral law.

Meditation Moment - MERCY

The Gilmer Free Press

MERCY

God blesses those people who are merciful and He will treat them with mercy.  “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matt. 5:7)  Mercy is a Christian grace. It denotes “Kindness, love and loyalty”.


Jesus was constantly showing mercy toward people in need. Matthew 9:27 “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.”  “And their eyes were opened…” (vs 30)  In Matt. 20:30 two other blind men’s eyes were opened.  Jesus expects us to show mercy to our needy fellow human beings.  (Matt. 5:7)  Mercy is a requisite quality of those who belong to God.  He calls us to serve him with mercy.  (2 Cor. 4:1)


The best example of mercy on a human level is seen in the reaction of the good Samaritan to the one who fell into the hands of robbers on his way to Jericho. (Luke 10:30-37)  The one who had mercy on him bandaged his wounds, took him on his donkey to an innkeeper, and paid for his care.  Jesus admonishment was “Go, and do thou likewise” (vs. 37).


Mercy can be best defined as God’s goodness to those in need; grace is God’s goodness to those who do not deserve it.  Yes, God so often gives us what we need, not what we deserve.  We should go and do likewise.


Use these examples to draw near to God.  “let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)  Jude writes in verse 21, “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

Glenville Church of Christ
211 Powell Street, Glenville WV
Noel Roberts - Phone 304.462.8136

G-MM™: Meditation Moment   150316

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Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.


Psalm 121

The Lord is thy keeper:
the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

The sun shall not smite thee by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil:
he shall preserve thy soul.

The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in
from this time forth, and even for evermore.


Galatians 3:2-3
Finishing as You Started [1] (Galatians #25)

2-4 I only want you to tell me one thing: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by keeping the Law, or by faith, from hearing and believing the Gospel? Do you really intend to rely on your flesh, which could not begin your salvation, to perfect it? It would be insanity. Would you simply throw away the benefits of the tribulation you have suffered?


Galatians 3

About the Daily Prayer BibleThe “Daily Prayer Bible” is a paraphrase translation. This means accuracy to the original text has been sacrificed, to make it more readable and readily understood. This is especially useful in the Epistles of Paul. Verses are often out of order and often explanatory matter is included in the actual translation.

It is part of a larger work, DP 3-Column Bible, a Bible translation with 3 different levels of literal accuracy, which you can access by clicking the link at the bottom of the Scripture section. We call the most readable and least accurate translation the “Daily Prayer Bible”. The middle translation (“The American Bible”) is what is called a “literal” translation, accurate to the original text but using English grammar and idioms.

The third translation is a unique transliterative text, called “Verbatim Bible”, that has an unparalleled degree of accuracy but is not readable except with difficulty. It gives the non-Greek-reading user the ability to see the inaccuracies and ambiguities that become invisible in even the best so-called “literal” translations, such as the NASB or our own American Bible..


Notes on Scripture

In classical education, students studied Rhetoric as a primary subject: the art of speaking and writing to persuade. Paul shows either some education, here, or a natural grasp of a persuasive technique. First, you ask a rhetorical question which the listener must, or will probably, answer “yes”. Then, you ask a second question, whose answer logically follows (or seems to follow) from the first. Third, you asks a powerful emotional question designed to make the listener want to take action based on the second.

So the first question Paul asks — “Did you receive the Spirit by works of law or by faith?” — is one which he has confidence that the listeners Paul’s epistles were written, but were primarily transmitted by having someone read them aloud, as few could read Greek and fewer still read it well. would answer “by faith.” Paul would have known, for a fact, that the churches of Galatia were convicted by faith, because he had personally founded the churches. The original members had received the Spirit by listening to him and believing what he said; and those who had joined after he had left would necessarily have been convinced by listening to the original members, and believing.

The congregants were primarily Gentile and thus found Christ without any exposure to the Law at all. Perhaps they knew a few odd habits of the Jews in their town, but they were not educated in the Law of Moses and certainly did not try to follow it. But even Jewish members would have to realize that their salvation had not come from Judaism, but from faith in Christ. If their Judaism had been sufficient for them, they would not have converted in the first place.

Then Paul, having established the necessity of faith in the forefront of the listeners’ minds, asks if they are stupid enough to think they can complete in the flesh what was started in the spirit. We can correctly make an inference here: Paul means that what was started by faith, in the spirit (or Spirit), can only be completed in the spirit. (A discussion of the difference between implication and inference (assumption) is badly needed at this point, but we will have to do it tomorrow. Look forward to it — it is a critical issue in Christianity.)

We discover an ambiguity from the Verbatim Translation. Paul could be saying, what was begun in the spiritual realm must be completed in the spiritual realm, that is, we will be saved by spiritual means and not by activities of the flesh; or he could mean to say, what was begun by receiving the Holy Spirit can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit. Like so many ambiguities, this one is best resolved by understanding both meanings. We find salvation in our spirit, through the Holy Spirit — not in the flesh by virtue of the Holy Spirit (such as by good acts that the Spirit empowers us to do), not in our spirit by our own effort.

To be continued . . .

TRUTH OR TRADITION?  – #314

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The Wicked Husbandmen.

Jesus told a parable about a man who planted a vineyard and let it out to husbandmen.  At the time of harvest, he sent a servant to receive his portion of the fruit.  They beat him, and sent him away empty.  So he sent another servant who received much the same treatment.  He sent a third servant.  The husbandmen wounded him and cast him out.  Finally the lord of the vineyard sent his son, and they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.  What will the owner of the vineyard do now?  “He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others.”   Luke 20:16.


The Application.

The vineyard was the Jewish nation.  God had blessed them and expected the fruit of worship from them.  For centuries He had sent prophets, priest, and kings, but they were rejected.  Finally He sent His Son, but they cast Him out and killed Him.  What is He to do now?  Paul said it this way, “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you:  but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.”   Acts 13:46.


Some Things About God.

There are a number of lessons we can glean from this parable, but in the space that is left we want to notice some things about God.


His Benevolence.

The owner of the vineyard had provided everything needed to make his vineyard a choice one.  For centuries, during the times they were faithful, God provided for Israel’s every need in abundance.  “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”   Philippians 4:19.


His Expectation.

Just as the owner of the vineyard expected fruit,  God expects the fruit of respect and worship from His vineyard.  Jesus said, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away.”   John15:2.  The only miracle Jesus did that was destructive in nature was to place a curse on a fig tree.  Why?  Because it was barren.  Matthew 21:19.


His Severity.

As with the owner of the vineyard, God is longsuffering and patient with His people, but His goodness and patience has an end.  “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God.”   Romans 11:22.  Folks like to think of God as a God of grace, mercy, and love,  and indeed He is,  but many fail to see the other side of His divine nature.  The one talent man was called a wicked and slothful servant.  He lost the talent he had, and was cast into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Matthew 25:25-30


His Judgment.

As with the husbandmen in the parable,  the day of reckoning always comes.  When the Lord comes again,  He will come;  “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:8.


Steer Creek Church of Christ,  3466 Rosedale Road,  Stumptown WV 25267
Minister: Gene H Miller, 3281 Rosedale Road, Shock WV 26638-8410.
Phone:  304.462.0384     E-Mail:  “ghmiller@frontier.com”  Web Site:  steercreekchurchofchrist.org

G-MM™: Meditation Moment   150315

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Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.


Psalm 65:16-18

As for me, I will call upon God,
And the Lord shall save me.

Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice.

He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me,
For there were many against me.


James 3:6-12
The Tongue [1]

6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.

8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing.

My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.


Notes on the Scripture

Like the bit in a horse’s mouth or the rudder on a ship, the tongue, in spite of its size, can direct the course of a human life. Like an uncontrollable fire started by the toss of a match, the tongue can put into motion a chain of events that goes beyond a speaker’s sway. And like an animal that cannot be tamed, the tongue can do unexpected and often harmful things. “For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue.” (Jas. 3:7-8a).

Think for a moment of the birds, marine life, reptiles, and mammals of every description that have been brought under human dominion. The tamed elephants, lions, dogs, and seals at the circus give impressive and sometimes amusing testimony of our ability to train creatures that were formerly wild. But this is child’s play compared to the formidable task of taming the tongue, because “the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Matt. 12:34). This is why the Proverbs say, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (Prov. 16:32).

As if the images in these verses were not enough, James adds another: “it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison” (Jas. 3:8b). Consider the plague of fiery serpents that were sent to punish the children of Israel because of the venom of their murmuring and grumbling in the wilderness (Num. 21; cf. 1 Cor. 10:9-11). Along similar lines, Paul paints this portrait using the vivid palette of the Psalms: “Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness” (Rom. 3:13-14).

And yet the tongue has the power to do great good. James recognizes this enigma in verses 9-12: With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Neither can salt water produce fresh.

Continued next Sunday . . .

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Readers' Recent Comments

The lipstick comment deserves special attention. The State’s testing results verifies that too many students are not proficient in science, reading, and math. WV remains in the lower 10th among the 50 states for those areas.

Google WVZOOM Dashboard and look at State assessment scores for the GCHS. According to reports a decision was made to hire one more math teacher over there to help improve future results.

Nothing is known about what is being done to help Gilmer’s HS students with reading and science. The new Board president must get detailed information out to the public.

Assurances that everything is OK won’t work anymore. There has been too much of that type of hokum. The public knows how to access achievement information from the Internet to impose increasing accountability for our school system.

By R. J. Myers on 07.17.2018

From the entry: 'State Superintendent of Schools Delivers the State of Education'.

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Maybe it is a case of not seeing the forest for the trees. GSC is designated responsibility for serving seven counties in central WV.

SAT scores for students entering GSC are the lowest in the State with large numbers of students coming from the seven counties. This suggests that education needs to be upgraded in the counties.

Why not focus on using the College to train teachers for central WV and to do what is necessary to improve pre-K-12 education in the seven counties?

Looks to be a natural winner for GSC. What about it Dr. Pellett and GSC’s Board of Governors?

By Watching Alumni on 07.17.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Thanks you for honest comments, Mr. Boggs.

Its a sad state when volunteers can be credited with a better job than paid WV employees.

No wonder we have financial, legislative, highway, issues at every turn in the road. 

And to think, that the governor has to burden the National Guard with administration of a flood recovery program? 

Obvious we have incompetent individuals in many positions throughout the state bureaucracy. Are there ever, ever any state employees actually fired, for unacceptable job performance or plain incompetence?

Look at route 5 west of I-79 for a wonderful example of DOH failure.  The DOH county office is a mile from the ‘rollercoaster’ ride. All those state employees have to ride it 10, maybe 20 times a week just doing their jobs.  How can they not see it?

This rollercoaster is the ‘welcome center’ to Braxton and Gilmer county.
Its been a mess for over 20 years.  The rough, bumpy railroad tracks too.

Yes, that’s what the Gilmer Federal Prison employees who commute deal with.  It’s a great welcome, great first look, for prospective Glenville State College students and staff as well.

By A failed state of the state report. on 07.17.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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What a glowing report.

Just because you say or print something, doesn’t make it true.

With a report like this, you would think WV had moved up the list from 47th in outcomes.

A few people don’t have the wool down over their eyes.

By wasted lipstick on the pig. on 07.17.2018

From the entry: 'State Superintendent of Schools Delivers the State of Education'.

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Wiseman’s suggestion is an opportunity for the new School Board officers, Mr. Cottril and Mr. Shakleford.

Both members campaigned on improvements they would make if elected. The most important improvement would be outstanding results with student learning outcomes in the County.

Quarterly progress reports from Mr. Cottril and Mr. Shackleford are requested.

By Voters For Accountability on 07.16.2018

From the entry: 'State Superintendent of Schools Delivers the State of Education'.

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Excellent meeting minutes I wish we could see more local news like this..  Where can I find information on the recent lawsuit between the Gilmer County Commission and Prosecutor Hough?  I understand Judge Alsop issued a decision?

By Reader on 07.14.2018

From the entry: 'GLENVILLE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES'.

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Praises go to Governor Justice, Dr. Paine, and the entire State Board for producing this outstanding report.

For the first time in memory comprehensive information is included in one source for the public and it is written in an understandable
style.

A request is made to the Gilmer County Board of Education and Superintendent Lowther to produce a similar report by this fall for the specific status of our school system.

We could celebrate achievements for which we excel and we could profit from our weak points as opportunities for corrective measures to take.

Forget about what other counties are doing—we are competing against ourselves.

The often cited excuse that we are just as good as other counties with WV ranking near bottom should no longer be tolerated.

By fall results of recent SAT testing would be available to Superintendent Lowther and the County Board to include in the report.

One advantage of the suggested County report and ones in successive years would be a basis for the public to use to judge effectiveness of Gilmer’s Board of Education and Superintendent Lowther.

The GFP is applauded for its role in being a leader in WV for making education news accessible on the Internet.

By Frank Wiseman on 07.14.2018

From the entry: 'State Superintendent of Schools Delivers the State of Education'.

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Dr. Pellett, you attacked accuracy of the NCHEMS report in your Gazette article today.

It would be informative for you to give an Internet link to the report to permit it to be read and for you to publish a detailed critique of errors in it with backup evidence as proof.

By GSC EMPLOYEE on 07.13.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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A basic truism for a highly successful start up business is to offer a new top quality product in high demand at a price consumers can afford.

Why do Dr. Pellett and GSC’s Board of Governors reject the concept? Specifically, as printed in the Democrat there is a proposal to establish a premiere five year teacher education program at the College with grads to receive a masters degree in teaching. A program of that type is desperately needed in WV and it is not offered elsewhere.

Word circulating is that Dr. Pellet, the Board of Governors, and dominant members of the County’s elite have summarily rejected the idea.

One excuse heard is that local power brokers do not want WVU involved with the College. Yet, in the Democrat Dr. Pellett is quoted saying that he is working on a new nursing program with WVU’s involvement.

Is the true reason of veto of the innovative teacher education program because Dr. Pellet and the Board of Governors were not originators of the idea to automatically cause its rejection?

Dr. Pellett is invited to explain to the public and concerned alumni why the program would not be in GSC’s long term best interests.

By Why Dr. Pellet and GSC BOG? on 07.13.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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The Glenville mayor is doing an excellent job and the town is lucky to have him on the job. Getting old houses torn down was a kept promise and the town looks much better at those places. Let’s have more of it.

By Citizen on 07.11.2018

From the entry: 'GLENVILLE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES'.

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Why is it that when tax dollars were spent on the higher education reorganization study by the Colorado NCHEMS group it is being keep secret from the public? Mr. Boggs how about helping out by informing voters how to get a copy of the report to read and decide for themselves?

By Voters Watching on 07.10.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Oops! Bay of Pigs not Figs. Shows that college profs are not immune to embarrassing gaffs.

By WVU Prof. on 07.09.2018

From the entry: 'Report recommends merging Bluefield, Concord, Glenville, WVSU boards'.

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There are two examples in Janis’ book regarding the Kennedy presidency. The first one deals with the group think Bay Of Figs disaster.

Those in Washington associated with invasion decisions considered themselves to be infallible world class thinkers. That mistake prevented critical and constructive review from anyone outside that tight group of political operatives.

The other example covers the Cuban Missile Crisis as an example of masterful diplomacy and planning to prevent a nuclear holocaust. President Kennedy deserved credit because he avoided group think traps from Bay Of Pigs lessons learned.

Higher education decisions in WV are made by individual tight knit Boards of Governors with excessive autonomy and no meaningful oversight.

Also, board members are there through political appointments at local levels. Governors traditionally rubber stamp the recommended appointments.

When serious group think mistakes occur at colleges and universities Boards are conditioned to assume that State bail outs will cover damages.

If private businesses are group think practitioners they never last unless they change strategies to avoid brutal market place penalties.

By WVU Political Scientist on 07.08.2018

From the entry: 'Report recommends merging Bluefield, Concord, Glenville, WVSU boards'.

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“Governance Changes Needed at GSC” is 100% correct.

Basically GSC Board of Governors and other leadership positions, have been a result of nepotism and crony friend choices.

Those two ‘tools’ rarely, if ever, give the best persons available to whatever the position requires.

Incest often produces less than desired outcomes as well.

By PAST Time for change @ GSC on 07.08.2018

From the entry: 'Report recommends merging Bluefield, Concord, Glenville, WVSU boards'.

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Advice for GSC’s president is to read Janis’book entitled Victims of Group Think.

The theme for the book is that alike thinkers of a group of elites in control can have colossal failures because they believe that their decision-making processes are unworthy of outside scrutiny.

Think about it. Did the airport to accommodate jet traffic at the mouth of Cedar Creek work out and did the federal prison result in economic prosperity with a hefty upsurge with GSC’s
enrollment?

What about the millions of dollars of new construction at GSC? Did it result in healthy enrollments as promised.

Some elites associated with GSC were strong advocates for the ill fated ventures.

GSC has been controlled too long by members of the same families. With the undeniable track record of declining conditions a few resignations would be a positive step.

The nagging governance problem affecting GSC has been shielding elite individuals from personal accountability without penalties for bad decisions.

By Governance Changes Needed At GSC on 07.06.2018

From the entry: 'Report recommends merging Bluefield, Concord, Glenville, WVSU boards'.

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Bigger is better? Rarely.

Everyone knows that school consolidation has resulted in failed outcomes.

This is laying the ground work, for an ego driven power grab.  The big institutions have no limit to their desire for money.

Stay small, and if failure occurs, fewer people are impacted.  Too large, and management of that soon turns into a problem.

By Its just planned failure. on 07.05.2018

From the entry: 'Report recommends merging Bluefield, Concord, Glenville, WVSU boards'.

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This information including details in the referenced full Report helps put GSC’s precarious standing in perspective. More information can be accessed at http://www.collegesimply.com.

That web site provides SAT student information for WV institutions of higher learning and GSC has the lowest scores.

Inferences from the scores and material in the report are that because GSC gets a large percentage of students from poor counties including Gilmer County, school systems there need improving.

Also, with employers becoming more sophisticated in hiring the best qualified graduates they access information of the type published on the web site given above.

The reason is that institutions with the best prepared students have more rigorous academic programs and they do not have to expend valuable time on remediation.

Provision of this comment is not intended to be a slam at GSC. The purpose is to encourage Dr. Pellett and the Board of Governors to devise a viable strategy for making the College a center of excellence to improve its standing in WV. It is that simple for guaranteed survival in the future.

By GSC GRAD on 07.05.2018

From the entry: 'Report recommends merging Bluefield, Concord, Glenville, WVSU boards'.

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We must be wary of how County K-12 achievement information is presented.

From the outset the new school board should focus on exactly how well our students are performing with mastering subjects, and not to fall victim to news unrelated to demonstrated student learning.

For one example the GCHS was awarded for its high graduation rate, but it ranked in the bottom 10% among WV high schools for college and career readiness of seniors.

This is not to say that graduation rates are unimportant, but they cannot be interpreted as fact of a direct relationship with how well students are prepared for college and careers.

For some schools an unusually high graduation rate could be a function of enforced “everyone passes” policy.

The point is that there is need for vigilance when student performance information is disclosed to the public so school board get all of it out so voters can decide where the County’s school system really stands.

By Give All Facts on 07.03.2018

From the entry: 'Governor Justice Announces Blue Ribbon Commission on Four-Year Higher Education'.

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Word is that officers on the County’s school board have changed with Doug Cottrill becoming the new president and Shackleford the VP.

Voters request to know what the new board’s plans are for improving the County’s standing with the quality of K-12 education for math, reading, science, and other subjects, and correcting remaining problems at the new grade school contractors have not fixed.

Why not publishing monthly progress reports to cover the new board’s accomplishments? That job would be a good assignment for the new president.

By Voters Watching on 07.03.2018

From the entry: 'Governor Justice Announces Blue Ribbon Commission on Four-Year Higher Education'.

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There is no mention of the facts Jumpin Jim defaulted on a 9 million dollar loan, poor record of paying taxes, nor the mess of the RISE flood funds handling. 

No wonder the poor score.  Anyone think it was ‘earned’?

By Jumpin Jim Nose Dives on 07.03.2018

From the entry: 'Low favorable marks for Manchin, Morrisey, Justice in latest PPP poll'.

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This news has great implications for GSC and Gilmer County. The College could form a partnership with the County’s school system to close the K-12 achievement gap.

For years while under State intervention it was denied that a gap existed, and the mantra was that the County was doing as well as the State as a whole.

That was like saying that we are OK with the State being ranked near the bottom for the quality of its K-12 education system and we should be content to wallow at the bottom too.

Ms. Patty Lowther, the new superintendent of schools, states that we must close the K-12 achievement gap and it is within the County’s capabilities.

She and her staff including Shelly Mason the new curriculum expert, principals, and the County’s teachers are actively involved with devising solutions to eliminate problems.

Regarding GSC, Dr. Pellett is on record with definite innovations to improve the College’s standing.

He has an unique opportunity to guide the College to contribute to Gilmer County having the best school system in WV as a model to emulate throughout the State and Appalachia.

In the past the typical Charleston trap has been to collect achievement data without expending successful efforts to interpret its meaning for use in solving under-achievement.

Dr. Pellett, Ms. Lowther, and Shelly Mason, with the help of other professionals in our schools can jettison that long standing road block to make Gilmer County a K-12 education standout.

Dr. Pellett in particular has an unparalleled opportunity to make his mark on guiding the College to improve K-12 education in the County and to let successes spread as examples throughout Appalachia.

There would not be a better way to justify the necessity of the College’s continuing existence for Gilmer County, central WV, and the entire State.

By Good News For WV on 06.29.2018

From the entry: 'Governor Justice Announces Blue Ribbon Commission on Four-Year Higher Education'.

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If you can’t trust judges to do the right thing…. is there any reason to trust our whole system of government?  One has to wonder.

Now we are reading a judge likely to be impeached as well as the legislature is considering impeaching the governor?

Are the any honest people running for offices?

By crooks everywhere? on 06.27.2018

From the entry: 'Auditors Seek Answers on State Supreme Court Spending'.

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This does not rise to the level of impeachment. “Slick Willy” got a head job in the peoples oval office, and dripped semen on the peoples carpet then lied about it, and according to the democrats back then, that did not rise to the level of impeachment.

By The Silent Majority on 06.21.2018

From the entry: 'Senate and House Democratic Leaders Renew Call for Immediate Legislative Action on Justice Loughry'.

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Something happening is good.
That building has been empty far too long.

Now we shall see if it workable.
Hope for all involved, that their efforts work out for GC and GSC.

By Good on 06.21.2018

From the entry: 'GSC Bluegrass Music Education Center to hold Ribbon Cutting Ceremony'.

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Numbers of new businesses is not the important factor. It is how many new jobs were created for local employees. Politicians like to cite meaningless numbers to crow about and they get by with it too often. Empty store fronts on Main Street have not diminished in numbers. Where are the jobs and what do they pay?

By New Jobs? on 06.20.2018

From the entry: '866 New Businesses in West Virginia for May 2018'.

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Similar to EDA if Gilmer’s SAT results were rosy the news would be out in banner headlines. Elites see to it to keep peasants at bay.

By SAT Checker on 06.19.2018

From the entry: '866 New Businesses in West Virginia for May 2018'.

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Straddlin Joe had a chance to embrace conservatism and convert to Republican, as Governor Justice and much of the state has done. Politics in the state are no longer ruled by mine union bosses. It’s time we send him back to Marion County, as we did with Natalie Tennant.

By The Silent Majority on 06.18.2018

From the entry: 'Joe Manchin: Political games would cost West Virginians with pre-existing conditions'.

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If the so called business creation were true?
Wouldn’t the EDA be having all sorts of news releases?
You would think so.

EDA used to have monthly public meetings.
Now only four times a year?

Business things that slim nothing to discuss?
Or maybe secret meetings by the insiders?

By Gilmer EDA...private club ? on 06.15.2018

From the entry: '866 New Businesses in West Virginia for May 2018'.

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If we can ask Jeff Campbell questions as a Gilmer County official why can’t we get timely information from other officials too?

For an example how did the County do with recent SAT testing?

Superintendents have the information so when is it going to be made public?

Hopefully the newly elected school board will take it on as a priority to get accurate student achievement information to the public with specific plans to make improvements where needed.

By End Public Information Embargo on 06.13.2018

From the entry: '866 New Businesses in West Virginia for May 2018'.

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If true, this would be great news!

The Gilmer County Economic Development Association should be telling us in press releases who/what/where those new businesses are?

How about it GCEDA President Jeff Campbell?

Lets hear from you.

By reader6 on 06.11.2018

From the entry: '866 New Businesses in West Virginia for May 2018'.

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Interesting chart.

But….it shows 4 new businesses in Gilmer…..in each of the past 3 months.
That…..is TWELVE new businesses!

BUT, BUT, where are they?

By Where are they? on 06.08.2018

From the entry: '866 New Businesses in West Virginia for May 2018'.

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You will find most ticks down low on grass blades along well traveled trails, where the unfed adults and even larvae and eggs are brushed off by a passing varmint. Another myth is that ticks will jump on you, of the thousands of ticks I have picked off grass blades and dropped in a cup of gasoline, I have never had one jump at me.

By Trespasser Will on 06.08.2018

From the entry: 'Insect-related illnesses are trending up'.

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Ticks don’t go, they are carried there by host animals. They are best controlled by controlling the host varmints in your back yard. As bad as Lyme disease is, from personal experience, believe me you don’t want Rocky Mountain spotted fever either.

By Trespasser Will on 06.07.2018

From the entry: 'Insect-related illnesses are trending up'.

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NEWS FLASH !
Rural West Virginia is STILL WAITING for that high speed internet that these two have been promising for 20 years!

By Rural WV still waiting.... on 06.06.2018

From the entry: 'U.S. Senators Manchin, Capito announce funding for rural communities'.

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Dilapidated buildings seem to make the news on a regular basis.

Dilapidated buildings are nothing more than an great indicator of a ‘dilapidated’ economy.

By WV's dilapidated economy on 06.05.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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I don’t know how the state can say that, male bears have been known to attack for unknown reasons, and of course females will attack if they perceive their cub is in danger. The best thing to do is shut the #### up and don’t be posting on Facebook what you have done.

By Tresspasser Will on 06.03.2018

From the entry: 'West Virginia man accused of wrongfully shooting bear'.

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Steve and John,
My deepest heartfelt sympathy to you at this most difficult time.
I will miss your mother, my best friend, immensely! We laughed hard together and we cried together, only as two close cousins could do! We spent many hours on the phone chatting either catching up or talking about cooking, any hour day or night,it never mattered to us.

Our words to each other every time we spoke, “I love you sweet cousin of mine”

God’s Speed until we meet again!💞💓
Rest In Peace for eternity💓

Love you dearly,

Cousin, Jo Ann xoxoxo

By Jo Ann Emrick on 06.01.2018

From the entry: 'Catherine Ann Umanetz'.

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The loss of money at Cedar Creek was only part of it. Money spent on Leading Creek, more money to fill the huge hole at GCES, money to fix land slide at GCES because of poor site design work, money spent to fix various other botches that should have been done right to begin with, uncalled for huge pay raises to select central office staff to buy them off, money for playground equipment when existing equipment could have been used, money for an unneeded payroll clerk at the central office, money for a principal at Troy when the individual did not do the work, and more to include building GCES too small and Leading Creek too large with public funds. Will anything be done about it? Of course not except to continue the cover-up. Money trail too hot to handle.

By Etched Memory on 05.31.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education News'.

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Many kudos to both the PACF people as well as their supporters!

Hard to believe how much good they are doing for so many, in just a few short years!

Keep up the good works!

By many kudos ! on 05.31.2018

From the entry: 'Grants Support Area Charities (Little Kanawha Area)'.

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Minney was just another ‘enabler’ for the blatant, bold faced, incompetent, corruption during the West Virginia State Board of Education overthrow of the Gilmer County School System.

Thousands of dollars wasted.  Do not forget the Cedar Creek property chosen by State Appointed Superintendent Blankenship in coercion with the former, ousted, GSC President Simmons.  The money spent clearing forest, the money spent bulldozing a road, until it finally became clear, they were on a ‘fools errand’.

Then to get out of that mess, Blankenship and Simmons,  trade that property, so a school could be built in a flood plain?

‘Education’ and common sense do not always go hand in hand.

If only people were as smart as they think they are.

By Another black eye for state intervention ! on 05.30.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education News'.

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All this Minney stuff brings up at least 2 questions:

WHY did state appointed super Devano hire Minney?

Why did the Doddridge folks hire Minney when he doesn’t have the required financial ‘credentials’ to be a district treasurer?

Either poor hiring practices or someone pulling strings.

By questions but no answers ? on 05.30.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education News'.

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And to think that OUR own little Gilmer County Library ranks in the top ten of libraries in the whole state!

By WOW--WOW--WOW ! ! ! on 05.30.2018

From the entry: 'West Virginia Libraries Rock Out with Summer Reading Programs'.

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Didn’t Mr. Minney approve paying select employees on payroll, for the days they did not work without board or superintendent’s knowledge or approval? Fortunately, he got caught by the board.

By Ridiculous on 05.30.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education News'.

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If you follow the money, you can easily see where all the money went in construction of Gilmer Elementary, why the school has so many physical issues and why there have been problems to get them fixed. Thanks the board for choosing a different auditor.

By FTM on 05.30.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education News'.

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There were a lot of corruptions under state control and superintendent Devano. They mismanaged funds and paid off several employees to keep their mouth shut. When the local controlled board chose a different auditor from the norm, they got caught. I think the remaining paid off employees need to talk the facts, quit, or get prosecuted.

By They were bad on 05.30.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education News'.

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That was far from the first time Mr. DM had gotten into trouble with the auditors. In previous years, findings for mismanagement of funds were issued against him in connection with other work places leading to dismissal.
The audit which is available on state DOE site couldn’t find any justification of board approval for payments, and mismanagement of funds.

By Don LK on 05.30.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education News'.

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He got caught of mismanagement of public funds.

By Jeremy D on 05.30.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education News'.

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I hear Gilmer schools treasurer Dan Minney is leaving. Why?

By Just Curious on 05.30.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education News'.

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Good to see this program return after having it gone missing under the state appointed superintendent.

It was reported there was no place for it to take place.

Thank you Gilmer County Board of Education for making it happen.

By Some remember on 05.21.2018

From the entry: 'FREE breakfast and lunch this summer for Gilmer County Kids'.

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Pam,
Sorry to read of your mom’s passing. I remember may times spent in your home with your parents and brothers. Sending love and prayers to you and your brothers.
Sherry Broggi

By Sherry Straley Broggi and Rita Straley on 05.17.2018

From the entry: 'Lora Faye Tomblin'.

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Really cool project to all who volunteered and those helping financially as well!

Where’s DR? He never misses these events?

By Very nice project - great volunteers! on 05.17.2018

From the entry: 'CommunityImprovement™: Pavilion'.

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The GSC retention post must relate to those beginning in 2014 who planned for 4 year degrees and they dropped out. There probably were students who began in 2014 and they earned 2 year degrees before 2018 so they were not drop outs.

By GSC RETENTION? on 05.15.2018

From the entry: 'Education system perpetuates fraud at every level'.

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Congratulations kids!  Setting up a scholarship fund is a GREAT idea! Where can we get information on who to contact and what local needs are?

By Reader on 05.14.2018

From the entry: 'Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center Celebrates Seniors'.

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How large was GSC’s graduating class of 2018 last week and what was its original size the fall of 2014?

Accurate information should be available to indicate retention. One news source reported that 100 graduated in the class of 2018.

By Alumni on 05.13.2018

From the entry: 'Education system perpetuates fraud at every level'.

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Some interesting results.  Should shake the trees a little.

By Spring cleaning! on 05.09.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Local Election Results - May 2018'.

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So sorry for your loss.  Prayers.

By Betty Woofter on 05.07.2018

From the entry: 'Ina Mae (Foster) Clem'.

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Anyone interested in facts for graduation rates after four years of college can access information on WV’s Education Policy Commission web site.

The last time information was reported WV State was listed at 13.6% compared to WVU’s at 35.9%. GSC was at 25.1%.

Comments submitted so far flag a serious problem in WV. Student achievement information is scattered all over with it being reported by the State, the federal government, and testing organizations including ACT.

Because WV lacks an effective State clearing house to sort through the information and to interpret it for practical application in improving our pubic school systems, too much important quality control material is neglected.

When citizens take initiative to obtain the information and they cite it they are often berated to be a form of “attack the messenger”.

Then too there are the perennial apologists who say that everything is “just fine” to help confuse the issue even more to detract from school improvements.

By WVDE Career Employees on 05.06.2018

From the entry: 'Education system perpetuates fraud at every level'.

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Too often students have to go an extra year or longer to graduate from college with under graduate degrees because they were not prepared when they got there to enable them to complete on time.

The 35% graduation rate includes incoming freshmen who do not finish in four years, and it is factual that some of our public colleges have worse records than others.

WVU does above average, but it has large numbers of-out-of state better prepared students.

By R. Page on 05.06.2018

From the entry: 'Education system perpetuates fraud at every level'.

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Rex Page claims we have a college graduation rate of approximately 35%.

In essence that is a FAILURE rate of 65% !

Think of how many dollars are wasted, and how many students are burdened with student loans, that basically will do them little good in life.

Oh yes.  It does pump money into the flawed system.

By Wv Has a FLAWED educational system ! on 05.05.2018

From the entry: 'Education system perpetuates fraud at every level'.

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Even with enrolling in colleges where acceptance is noncompetitive, meaning that all applicants with at least C averages are accepted, the graduation rate to get a degree is around 35%.

This fact is more evidence for WV’s failed public education system and solid proof that a major top to bottom over haul is needed.

If we accept the often cited excuse that there is a problem with kids and their families to cause under achievement in school that line of reasoning suggests that West Virginians are inherently flawed. This is untrue and the problem lies with WV’s under performing education system.

By Rex Page on 05.03.2018

From the entry: 'Education system perpetuates fraud at every level'.

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Disgraceful that WV lacks a top quality education system to prepare more high school graduates to be eligible for acceptance into the best colleges where there is competition for acceptance.

The deficiency forces students to attend lower tier places where everyone is accepted.

Why does WV fail to make improvements? It is because education delivery in our State is designed to be void of meaningful accountability for administrators.

By WVDE Watcher on 05.03.2018

From the entry: 'Education system perpetuates fraud at every level'.

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Little doubt the block schedule system at the high school gives GC lower scores.

This has been proven over and over in other school systems.

Its an out dated and antiquated system.  Our board of education needs to get rid of it.

Gilmer County Board of Education….are you up to the job?

By Block Schedule Supported By Blockheads on 05.02.2018

From the entry: 'Education system perpetuates fraud at every level'.

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Hopefully this is the beginning of doing better with getting out school news to Gilmer. It is far better to read timely news than to have to go to the Cornerstone to get it.

We wish Mr. Shuff the best in improving learning results at the HS. If he tackles problems like he engaged in athletics the HS will be put on the map for academic excellence.

When he gets his school improvement plan together everyone in the County will pitch in to help him succeed. Thank you GCBOE.

By Pleased Parents on 05.02.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education News'.

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Mr. Williams has it nailed down.  Solid.

America’s entire education system is a farce.
Education administrators worry about their job than worry about the children.

Youth is our future.
By creating dummies, do not expect much of a future.

The children are being short changed, robbed.
America is being short changed, robbed.

But the failed administrators keep their jobs.

By Time To Clean the Education House! on 05.01.2018

From the entry: 'Education system perpetuates fraud at every level'.

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Is this article some sort of a joke ?
Certainly would seem so!

We are almost daily bombarded with chemical spraying from above.
We rarely actually have that clear, deep blue sky that God gave us.

If it happens we do get a clear(?) day, we will have the light blue, almost whispy white cloud sky.

Set a white bowl out in the rains.  Check to see what color the water is after a rain.  You will be
surprised.  Color will vary depending what is being sprayed on a given day.

If it were winter, I’d tell you to look at the snowflakes.  No more are all snowflakes different.  Watch what falls on your clothing, you will see 1,000’s of flakes all the same shape.  Again, depends what toxic material we are being blasted with.

Asthma attacks, ER visits are on the rise.
Do some web searching, plenty of websites report this travesty.  You tax dollars at ‘work’.

By WHERE ARE THE ENVIRONMENTALISTS ? ? on 05.01.2018

From the entry: 'Air Quality Awareness Week is April 30 – May 04'.

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Fraud is not only rampant in education, it consumes Gilmer County..  Those who Have want to keep it any and all costs, and those that don’t, want.  Gilmer needs a good house cleaning of court and legal ‘authorities’ as well if anything is Ever going to change.

By Spring cleaning! on 05.01.2018

From the entry: 'Education system perpetuates fraud at every level'.

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Fraud is committed in Gilmer County when citizens are told that our high school grads are prepared to be highly competitive for entry into the modern world.

The misinformation conflicts with verification that our grads lag when it comes to being college and career ready.

By being disadvantaged academically too many students drop out of college when they cannot compete and they often must go an extra year at a greater expense to catch-up.

There is another type of fraud not pointed out in the posting. It relates to bragging about the “fine” ACT test scores made by students at the GCHS.

For the ACT the average GCHS score as touted by school officials is close to 20. This may be slightly higher than average State scores, but here is the rub.

Our kids could not get accepted into top quality colleges and universities with stringent academic requirements to include those for ACT scores higher than most made at the GCHS.

What do they do? They attend institutions with relaxed acceptance criteria with some not having any basic requirements for ACT or SAT scores.

As a parent with a son at the Career Center I know that there must be remedial instruction in math and English for success in chosen career fields. It is called embedded instruction.

Because teachers must be hired at the Center for the catch-up it means that tax payers are paying twice (more fraud) for instruction that should have been done at the GCHS!

What can we do? Gilmer County must determine what must be done in our schools to make necessary improvements for the better to enable our kids to be the best they can be after HS. Simple isn’t it?

By We Want Better Schools on 04.30.2018

From the entry: 'Education system perpetuates fraud at every level'.

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It is easy to see through the motive for avoiding application of the same assessment approach in all of WV’s school systems.

The powerful in control do not want to make achievement results available for voters to compare academic results among districts!

That way opportunities for more accountability in ways school systems are administered will be nipped in the bud.

Interesting isn’t it that for sports minute attention is paid to comparing performances of all kinds of teams throughout WV.

Unfortunately the strategy will be to keep voters keenly focused on sports so they will not ask questions about education spending and how children are doing in mastering subjects in our school systems.

By WVDOE Disgusted on 04.20.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: State might let counties switch standardized test from SAT to ACT'.

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The West Virginia State Board of Education has operated as a “pin the tail on the donkey” bureaucratic nightmare for over a generation.

Currently, it is hard to envision any positive change in their SOP?

Try this, try that.  Change this, change that.
Continual evidence that all is being run as an experiment?
The WVBOE has no real clue what to actually do, in order to fix anything.

Money wasted. Children cheated of a good education.
Parents and taxpayers cheated.  Opportunities missed.

This is the WVBOE legacy.

By State BOE - dysfunctional is an understatement? on 04.16.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: State might let counties switch standardized test from SAT to ACT'.

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Maybe Jimmy can pay some of his tax bills now?

By Justice, pay your tax bills! on 04.15.2018

From the entry: 'City to purchase club owned by the governor’s company'.

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Reread the article and see what a wonderful set of excuses have been set forward.

Taxpayers give the state the funds for education.  It is then properly squandered leaving students with substandard educations.

These people have the audacity to blame the teachers on top of it.

State BOE, suck it up, fix the problem you and your previous board members have created. 

Make President Truman’s desk saying your motto:  “The buck stops here.“

That is, if you are up to it.

By Kanawha Reader on 04.15.2018

From the entry: 'State board members react to national test results'.

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West Virginia made national news again with its spending per student to be in the top third among the 55 states.

We spend more than $11,000 on average per pupil in our public schools. For comparison Utah spends about $6,500 per pupil and it ranks in the top third for the quality of its education system.

It would be interesting to know how much Gilmer County spends per pupil counting total funding from all sources.

WV is certainly no way near the top third with getting students college, career, and jobs ready right out of high school. Where is all our money going? What could we learn from rural states similar to Utah?

The worst culprit seems to be too many high paid people on WV payrolls who are non-contributers to making better lives for our kids.

By Economist on 04.14.2018

From the entry: 'State board members react to national test results'.

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Those of us who keep close tabs on student achievement want to know reasons for unacceptable reading, science, and math scores in Gilmer County and what is being done to correct them. For something this important the problems and solutions surely have been looked into.

By R. A. Beasley on 04.14.2018

From the entry: 'State board members react to national test results'.

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HaHaHaHaHaHaHa!

By Don't bring them to Gilmer! on 04.13.2018

From the entry: 'NEW “ALMOST HEAVEN” CAMPAIGN'.

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No matter what is going on in the State our concern is Gilmer County. The State reports on Zoom that 10th graders at the GCHS perform at the 35.9% proficiency rate for science.

Proficiency for 11th graders is 37% in math and it is commendable that the rate for them for reading is 64%.

What is being done to make improvements for science and math when students are about ready to graduate from HS? We hope that scores for reading hold up and even improve.

Why do we fail to receive updates for plans for proficiency improvements in the County’s schools?

In other WV counties superintendents provide that type of information on a routine basis.

By GCHS Parents on 04.12.2018

From the entry: 'State board members react to national test results'.

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