There is no time like advent season in the northern latitudes, with darkness settling in at early hours, to fully appreciate the brightness of religious art. From gold embellished Madonna and child icons and silver winged angels on greeting cards, manger scenes on fireplace mantels, twinkling light sculptures that encompass entire lawns - all remind us to look beyond ourselves and the long black nights of winter and imagine the origin of Christmas long ago in Bethlehem of Judea.
This wondrous season inspires celebration and creativity in diverse ways through choir concerts and caroling, Nutcracker performances, snowman sculptures, Christmas pageants, fancifully decorated cookies, and precious macaroni art from kindergarten children. How blessed we are to be able to decorate our homes, prepare feasts, sing praises, and give gifts from the heart.
I encourage you to look around this season and appreciate the surrounding religious art and imaginative efforts that tell the story of wonder and joy and remind us to think loftier thoughts about peace on earth and good will toward men.
Wishing Christmas blessings to those here in the land of frozen lakes and across to the farthest places on the earth, and special blessings to those who are away this season serving our country abroad.
Help extended to Mississippi school
Operation Bearcat, an organization consisting of high school students, is raising money for Long Beach High School in Long Beach Mississippi, for their spring prom. Long Beach High Mississippi was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Many families lost a lot of their personal items as well as their jobs, and are therefore hard pressed for money. We recently had our first fund-raiser, a dance for 6th-8th graders held at the YMCA. We would like to extend a huge thanks to the YMCA, Viking Coke, Stage One DJ Services, Youth As Resources, Brained Community Action and Party World. Also donating to the overall prom project is Crystal Cleaners, Meyers Cleaners and the BHS Senior Class Cabinet. We would like to extend our appreciation to all who donated to the cause.
Operation Bearcat member Hindsight is a cop-out
A Pequot Lakes man was complaining about others (Kennedy, Kerry, Clinton, Gore) that lied about Saddam. What he didn't mention was, those people did not bring the U.S. to war (almost 2,200 dead, thousands injured and/or wounded). George W. did under false reports to the people (he admits it now). Forget about yesterday, hindsight is a perfect cop-out, and a way to shift blame! Also, most recently George W. is in need of another $100 billion dollars for his war, bringing the total cost as of now to a staggering $1/2 trillion dollars plus! Not to mention the cost-plus, no-bid contracts to Cheney's Halliburton Company and Brown and Root in Iraq!
I also noticed in my American Legion paper that George W. and company are trying to raise the co-payments of millions of veterans who receive prescription drugs, in order to help balance their budget! What a slap in the face for all of us that served, especially from a group that didn't serve!
Priest's resignation was for the best
While reading of the Rev. Bob Pierson's resignation from his position at St. John's over a recent Vatican document dealing with homosexuals in the priesthood, I found my head reflexively shaking as I read his claims that the document stated that homosexuals are "objectively disordered."
What the document actually states is that the homosexual "inclination" is "objectively disordered." From a theological perspective, there is a huge difference between stating that a person is objectively disordered and saying a behavior or an attraction is objectively disordered. Stating a person is objectively disordered would be equivalent to a heresy. The Church has always taught that all human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. All are made for good even if they do not always choose what is good. In contrast, stating a behavior or an inclination is objectively disordered means it is not in conformance with God's will. Notwithstanding modern, homosexual, Bible exegesis, God's will regarding homosexual behavior is clearly revealed not only through scripture, but also through natural law.
The Rev. Pierson claimed his reason for resigning was, "Because I can no longer honestly present, explain and defend the church teaching on homosexuality." Given his muddling of the contents of the Vatican document in question, as explained earlier, and the fact that the contents of the document don't represent a new position for the Vatican, a serious question arises as to whether he was ever able to honestly explain and defend Church teachings on matters related to homosexual behavior.
For the good of his soul, I hope that the Rev. Pierson prayerfully reflects further on this matter, and that his resignation makes room for someone who not only can accurately relay what the Vatican teaches, but who also believes what the Vatican teaches.
A coach who pursued her dreams
I would like to acknowledge the Dispatch in running Jon Nowacki's article on Sue Fiero, UMD's new women's basketball coach. Readers, if you want to read a story that is positive, refreshing and reinforcing to all of us to follow your star, (Sunday, Dec. 11, 2005, sports page).
Our daughter Sara (Hemquist) played D-II women's basketball at Northern State University, in Aberdeen, S.D. We enjoyed the rivalry between these two powerhouses in the NSIC.
In every game the outcome was decided by a clutch free throw, a rebound, or a turnover. I remember both universities would have senior night recognition, I hate winter celebrations, or some other special activity when UMD played against NSU.
When we (NSU) played (UMD), Sue Fiero was indeed a very special player. Sue could score, play defense and was a floor leader.
So when Coach Stromme resigned it was a natural for Sue to be offered the head coach position at UMD.
We often see Sue at Christmas Eve services at Trinity Lutheran Church in Brainerd. (Her aunt and uncle are Merrily and Don Monda).
Service Learning Program lauded
I am writing this letter on behalf of the Service Learning program. This program has taught me so many life experiences that I could not have learned in a classroom. Mr. Ward, along with the Service Learning Program, teaches kids how to be humble, patient, giving, and respectful. Each student is trained for three weeks before being able to go to a business setting or site (stores, restaurants, daycares, schools, etc.). Throughout my 15 weeks on-site as a teacher's assistant I have learned so much about the skills teachers really need to be good at their job. I know that this has changed my life for the better and I hope that you will allow this program to continue so that other kids can enjoy the same experience that I have benefited from. Samantha Smith
Service Learning Student
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