Monday, December 21, 2009

I'll Be Home for Christmas

On Christmas Eve, 1944, @ 7:00 p.m. my Grandfather, William Need, came home from World War II.

It was a surprise to my grandmother. Earlier in September, he was told he was being released, but they cancelled that. So when he was told the same thing in December, he didn't want to get her hopes up and didn't tell her.

Imagine her shock when she opens the door to see her husband home from the war. Imagine their elation to be husband and wife, together, on Christmas. I can't imagine what it would be like to be torn apart for so long. It had to be the best Christmas present ever.

So now, when I hear "I'll Be Home for Christmas," I can't help but think of Grandpa and Grandma Need. What an amazing story...especially in light of the fact that so many wives and families around the world celebrated Christmas with tears and heartbreak.

And now it has a different meaning, too. For now they are home with their Maker this Christmas, and we miss them. Cheers to you Grandma and Grandpa! Your dreams came true, and you celebrated your Christmases together...and you still do.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Disturbing News

Switzerland has continued the European trend of limiting religious freedom. In a surprising move, they have banned Muslims from building minarets in the entire country.

A minaret is a small tower built next to a mosque that was traditionally climbed by a person to begin the call to a day before loud speakers, this was the best way for the call to prayer to be heard. Now minarets are a traditional architecture piece to symbolize the importance of prayer (and to hold a speaker).

The Swiss have confronted the issue in an honest, up-front way (as opposed to Brittain or the EU): They have been clear that they are against the practice of Islam that would establish its culture in Switzerland. The banners used to promote the ban, paint a picture of all Muslims being radical fundamentalists against freedom and women's rights.
Here is a quote from a Swiss citizen defending the ban:
Perhaps instead the Swiss are sending a message that they
are tired of the in-your-face practices of the Muslim community, such as the
burqas and the threats. Perhaps this backlash arose because of Muslim
pronouncements that Muslims are Muslims first and citizens of their host culture

A government/civic fear that adherents of faith are loyal to something other than state or nation first is driving force. I can't help but think how this relates to laws being made against crucifixes in public buildings in other European nations. I am concerned at the rising amount of religious intolerance taking place in the world today. Be it against Jews, Christians, or Muslims, the repression of religious belief is a growing trend. Sarkozy's (president of France) comments were frightfully full of warning to all people of religion.

"Christian, Jew or Muslim... each one must guard against all ostentation and all
provocation and, aware of the good fortune to be able to live in a free land,
practice his religion with humble discretion."

In other words, "Be happy we even let you live here...Mind your place, do as we say, and stay silent." It is an eerily familiar echo of another movement out of central Europe that was quite convincing in the 1930's.

Personally, I am horrified on behalf of our fellow children of Abraham. This is wrong. Keeping Sharia out of government is one thing. Telling religious adherents that their tasteful symbols of prayer on private property are not allowed is something else.

What is next? How does this or a future action by your government affect your beliefs? Do you think the governments are right in banning religious affections and symbols?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Coaching in My Veins

OK, so I have to admit, I'm really enjoying the coaching gig.

As you probably have read here that I coached Isaiah's Pee-Wee soccer team. Now, I'm a "coach" for the Pee-Wee basketball group as well.

I really like how it is broken down. We are not playing games; rather, we are doing exactly what the kids need to be learning right now...the fundamentals.

There are 4 stations: Passing, Dribbling, Shooting, and Defense. Each station has its own coach, and the kids rotate in and out of the stations. When offered, I immediately took defense, the most underrated skill of a basketball player. I had a blast last Saturday, and I hope we all continue to enjoy it again.

Isaiah continues to say that he's glad I'm coaching his "teams", so as long as he enjoys it and I enjoy it, I'll keep at it.