Friday, January 31, 2014

Recommended Reading 1-31-14 edition

  • KC Public Schools: Last week CCCUCC's own Jan Parks was on 90.1 KKFI
    talking about proposed plans for KC schools. Judy Ancel interviewed her on the Heartland Labor Forum. As promised, here's the link to that program.  MORE2 held a press conference on Thursday asking the decision on a plan for the future of KC Public Schools be put on hold until after the state auditor can audit the process the state school board used to hire CEE Trust whose plan is to radically do away with the school system and replace it with an experimental model that is sketchy to say the least.  Here's the KC Star article and here's the Fox 4 story.   
  • This week the state of Missouri executed Herbert Smulls for murdering a jewelry store owner near St. Louis.   In any death penalty case, there's the issue of killing someone to make the point that killing someone is wrong.  There is also the issue that if you are African-American and/or poor you are far more likely to get the death penalty.  Then there are the numerous cases of death row inmates exonerated by DNA evidence.  But in Missouri death penalty cases, there are a whole lot of murky issues.  The latest issue of The Pitch has a cover story about Missouri's process of lethal injection that is worth reading.  Did you know that MO bought its lethal injection machine from a Holocaust denier who had his engineering credentials revoked?  How about the fact that the doctor overseeing the injections was dyslexic and guessing at dosages?  What about the fact that MO got its drugs from an Oklahoma compounding pharmacy which means there is no sure way to know if the drug was made correctly--oh, and it's illegal for citizens of MO to transport drugs from a compouding pharmacy across state lines?  The list of the crazy lengths MO goes to to kill a killer is long.   
  • Rolling Stone's latest issue contains a story about Kansas City's own International House of Prayer (IHOPKC) and the death of Bethany Deaton, IHOPKC member and part of a group of church members who seemed to operate like a cult.  Her death which apparently was a homicide is only the tip of the iceberg in this frightening story of what happens when you have a religious movement that allows for anyone and everyone to have "prophecies" from God that can justify any kind of behavior.  Further information is provided in this blog post by an IHOPKC member who knew the group involved with Bethany Deaton's death.
  • New polling data ranks the "most Bible-minded" cities in the U.S.  Springfield, MO ranked high on the list.  The criteria for making the list were the percentage of residents who "read the Bible in the past seven days" and  "agree strongly in the accuracy of the Bible."  Religion scholar S. Brent Plate read about this research and asks, "What about Bible-bodied cities?"  He notes that "Bible-minded" cities tend to be in places with the highest incarceration rates, executions and number of strip clubs.  Therefore, he wonders if the teachings of the Bible only stay in your mind, does that mean they don't make it into your actions?      
  • Here's a great post by Lutheran pastor Erik Parker on "12 Reasons Why It is Good to Be a Church Bully."  I encourage CCCUCC members to read this and see if they recognize any of the behaviors mentioned from their past experience in our church.

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