Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Part 1 Chapters 1-8

Begins with Joshua being told by God that Moses is dead. Joshua is to lead the people of Israel into the promised land. God encourages him and charges him to be obedient and courageous. The verse charging him to immerse himself in the book of the law and be courageous seems especially key to understanding God's initial interaction with Joshua.

Next is the story of the two spies being sent to Jericho. Rahab hides and protects them and saves herself and her family from destruction, and the Israelites learn that the people know of them and are terrified of them.

The Israelites cross the Jordan River in a miraculous fashion that seems to obviously mirror the also miraculous crossing of the Red Sea. They take 12 stones from the river bed to establish a monument to create a historical link to the event for future generations. The priests stand at the edge of the river while the rest of Israel crosses on dry land, and upon everyone else having crossed, they themselves cross over, and the river flows normally again. This would seem to insure that the entire nation of Israel individually had a clear awareness of God holding back the waters for them.

Upon entering the promised land, Joshua commands the men be circumcised because the generation that now exists had not been. Next he runs into the angel of the Lord who makes it clear that he is neither on their side or Israel's enemies side, but he is on the side of God.

Jericho story takes place. Jericho is delivered into the hands of the Israelites, and Rahab is spared along with her family as promised, but one of the Israelites takes some of the articles that they were commanded not to take. This leads to a defeat at Ai(the next city after Jericho) that should have been an easy victory. An interesting fact that dawned on me about Achan this time around is that his sin is not simply that of thievery or greed, but they were given explicit instructions before hand NOT to take anything "devoted to destruction." Achan knew what was at stake when he chose this. He knew he was placing the entire nation at risk from God's judgment. It was a supreme act of self-centered disobedience. I will still admit I don't understand why his entire family was judged for his choice, but I trust in God more than my own understanding in this. Finally Israel is given victory over Ai once they are purged.

Part 2 Chapters 9-16

The word gets out about Joshua and the gang and the Canaanites start reacting. The first response is the Gibeonites who choose trickery as their ticket out of being judged. The most interest thing about this passage to me is how obviously the phrase, "...they did not seek the counsel of the Lord..." appears to make clear the crux of their mishandling of the situation. Next the five Amorite kings unite and come against the Israelites. This seems to represent the most intimidating military challenge that the Israelites have faced, and God encourages Joshua as they begin the fight. A miraculous extension of the day takes place during this major battle. My favorite part of this passage is when it speaks of God hurling rocks down from heaven. It actually says the rocks killed more than the Israelites. Then there is a massive fight against many other kings and their kingdoms and a long list of victories for Israel. Chapter 12 is a list of the kings on both the east and west of the Jordan River who are defeated by the Israelites.

God tells Joshua that he is getting old, and there is still more land to conquer, but the land needs to be divided by lot among the twelve. The description of the borders of the various tribes begins to be spelled out geographically. There is also an account of Caleb inheriting his land(he and Joshua were the only two of twelve spies who returned encouraging the people to trust in God in regards to conquering the Canaanites). There is also an account of Othniel who wins the daughter of Caleb by brave exploits in battle. Note how often the tribes of Israel fail to drive out all the inhabitants of the land.

Part 3 Chapters 17 -24

There is a continuation of the border specifics of the twelve tribes. There is a story of Zelophehad's daughters. Their father had no sons, and they were promised to inherit land in their father's name. The tabernacle is established in Shiloh. Joshua sends out men to map out the remainder of the land for the remainder of the tribes so he can continue to determine the borders by using their information and casting lots. The remaining tribes are told their geographical boundaries.

The cities of refuge are established. The cities of the Levites are established(remember the Levites did not actually inherit any land because they were the servants of God and "...He was their inheritance...". However, the Israelites were commanded to give them cities to live in spread throughout their nation and fields for their livestock to be tended.)

Joshua dismisses the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the 1/2 tribe of Manassah to return to their homes on the east of the Jordan River. Upon passing back over the river, the men of these tribes build an altar that almost causes a huge war and tragic slaughter of these tribes by the rest of Israel. However, the men of Reuben, Gad, and the 1/2 tribe of Manassah explain that they didn't build the altar to sacrifice on it but as a witness for future generations to remember the connection between those living on both sides of the river.

Finally, Joshua gives a very solemn speech challenging the nation of Israel.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Our Protector??

There have been two big developments (among many, many major news stories) that have caught my eye. First, there is the new Arizona immigration law that has been a huge news story nationally. The link to this ACTUAL BILL is

I would highly recommend anyone who is genuinely interested in this bill take the time to read it for themselves rather than depending on the news or even our President for an accurate understanding of this bill.

Secondly, there has been the "Times Square Bomber" guy who successfully became a citizen recently and is now accused of being the culprit involved in this attempted bombing.

What do these two stories have in common? Bear with me and I'll illustrate the connection that is very disturbing to my mind......

In regards to the first story, the President has responded on Cinco de Mayo with this statement,

"We can’t start singling out people because of who they look like, or how they talk, or how they dress," the president said. "We can’t turn law-abiding American citizens, and law-abiding immigrants, into subjects of suspicion and abuse."

Speaking at the same function he stated his desire for a law to be passed at the federal level... "[I]t can be done. And it needs to be done... I want to begin work this year, and I want Democrats and Republicans to work with me because we’ve got to stay true to who we are-- a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants."

These comments underline the key issues surrounding the law, 1) the belief that the law is simply legalized racial profiling, and 2) the belief that "the feds" should handle this.

I'm going to keep this simple. Read the law. It is specifically geared toward dealing with illegal immigrants, NOT racial profiling. I am not saying this naively. Consider that in a step that I considered overkill on the part of Arizona legislators, they have recently amended this law to specifically state NOT ONLY that race cannot be the primary factor for questioning and suspicion, but it cannot be a factor AT ALL used to justify reasonable suspicion. Considering we are dealing with immigration problems in Arizona and not Montana, I'm guessing the majority of illegal immigrants are indeed going to be of Hispanic descent, but these are the kinds of laws that must be passed in order to deal with hyper sensitivity about potential racial motivations.

"The feds" have NOT handled this problem for decades. This is THE primary reason this law had to be passed by Arizona. Consider these links:

I think reasonable people can disagree about this law, but there does not need to be a demonization of people seeking to protect its citizens from an exceedingly dangerous environment. This brings me to the second story.

At the same exact time the Obama administration is smack in the midst of pushing intensely for months to have the KSM terrorist mastermind tried in a civilian court, Eric Holder, Obama's Attorney General, has stated that he sees a need to limit miranda rights for terrorist suspects who are U.S. citizens!

The fact that this statement has not received more exposure and outrage than it has is fascinating to me. If George Bush or one of his representatives had stated this on a Sunday morning talk show as Holder did, the media would be abuzz with it by Monday morning. The truly bizarre nature of this move to me is the combination of fighting for the rights of one non-citizen who is a self-professed mastermind while seeking to limit the rights of another SUSPECT who is a legal U.S. citizen. This sets a precedent for all future cases of all U.S. citizens who are SUSPECTED terrorists. For the record, I'm not seeking to be conspiratorial about this. Please notice the lack of conspiracy theories. However, WHY, WHY, WHY is noone disturbed by the one single thread that certainly seems to tie these stories together. We currently have a President who seems much more interested in protecting non-citizens than citizens?? Please feel free to disagree. I always welcome all opinions including dissenting ones as long as they are offered without vulgar language and respectfully.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Pediatricians, schools, and homosexuality

I'm sharing this post with any who happen to venture to my random meanderings for many reasons. First, as with any post, I am writing about it simply because it is a subject of interest to me. Also, I believe many are simply not aware of the battle lines that have been drawn, and the conflict that continues to grow more intense in regards to the issue of homosexualityand people's beliefs about the nature of homosexuality. As people's beliefs about homosexuality continue to change on a large scale in our society are these changing notions based on truth or on conditioning?? I'll include the link to this letter sent out by the American College of Pediatricians which will allow you to access lots of other interesting links related to this topic. Please note the sources referred to in this letter for statements, information, and statistics noted at the bottom such as the CDC, the medical journal Pediatrics, Francis Collins, and many other reputable sources.

Letter to School Officials

March 31, 2010

Dear School Superintendent,

The American College of Pediatricians shares with you, your staff, parents, and other professional organizations the common goal of providing a healthful environment for your students. We are increasingly concerned, however, that in many cases efforts to help students who exhibit same-sex attractions and/or gender confusion are based on incomplete or inaccurate information. To correct this and assist you in establishing the optimal school environment, a Web resource, (Facts), has been created to provide important factual information about healthful approaches to students experiencing sexual orientation and gender identity confusion.
Among the important questions addressed on the Facts site are:

What are the science-based facts about the development of non-heterosexual attractions and gender confusion in youth?

What is a school’s proper role in dealing with students who are experiencing sexual orientation and gender confusion issues?

How can schools better assist a student and his or her family in dealing with these issues?

Adolescence is a time of upheaval and impermanence. Adolescents experience confusion about many things, including sexual orientation and gender identity, and they are particularly vulnerable to environmental influences.

Rigorous studies demonstrate that most adolescents who initially experience same-sex attraction, or are sexually confused, no longer experience such attractions by age 25. In one study, as many as 26% of 12-year-olds reported being uncertain of their sexual orientation1, yet only 2-3% of adults actually identify themselves as homosexual.2,3 Therefore, the majority of sexually-questioning youth ultimately adopt a heterosexual identity.

Even children with Gender Identity Disorder (when a child desires to be the opposite sex) will typically lose this desire by puberty, if the behavior is not reinforced.4 Researchers, Zucker and Bradley, also maintain that when parents or others allow or encourage a child to behave and be treated as the opposite sex, the confusion is reinforced and the child is conditioned for a life of unnecessary pain and suffering. Even when motivated by noble intentions, schools can ironically play a detrimental role if they reinforce this disorder.

In dealing with adolescents experiencing same-sex attraction, it is essential to understand there is no scientific evidence that an individual is born “gay” or “transgender.” Instead, the best available research points to multiple factors – primarily social and familial – that predispose children and adolescents to homosexual attraction and/or gender confusion.

It is also critical to understand that these conditions can respond well to therapy.5 Dr. Francis Collins, former Director of the Genome Project, has stated that while homosexuality may be genetically influenced, it is “… not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations.” He also states [that] “…the prominent role[s] of individual free will choices [has] a profound effect on us.” 6

The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) recently released a landmark survey and analysis of 125 years of scientific studies and clinical experience dealing with homosexuality. This report, What Research Shows, draws three major conclusions: (1) individuals with unwanted same sex attraction often can be successfully treated; (2) there is no undue risk to patients from embarking on such therapy and (3), as a group, homosexuals experience significantly higher levels of mental and physical health problems compared to heterosexuals.

Among adolescents who claim a “gay” identity, the health risks include higher rates of sexually transmitted infections, alcoholism, substance abuse, anxiety, depression and suicide. Encouragingly, the longer students delay self-labeling as “gay,” the less likely they are to experience these health risks. In fact, for each year an adolescent delays, the risk of suicide alone decreases by 20%.7
In light of these facts, it is clear that when well-intentioned but misinformed school personnel encourage students to “come out as gay” and be “affirmed,” 8 there is a serious risk of erroneously labeling students (who may merely be experiencing transient sexual confusion and/or engaging in sexual experimentation). Premature labeling may then lead some adolescents into harmful homosexual behaviors that they otherwise would not pursue.
Optimal health and respect for all students will only be achieved by first respecting the rights of students and parents to accurate information and to self-determination. It is the school’s legitimate role to provide a safe environment for respectful self-expression for all students. It is not the school’s role to diagnose and attempt to treat any student’s medical condition, and certainly not a school’s role to “affirm” a student’s perceived personal sexual orientation.
It is critical to the health of your students that you and your staff rely on accurate information regarding sexual orientation and gender confusion issues. We urge you to review the enclosed information card, What You Should Know, and distribute it and this letter to your staff and to all interested parents and students. For more information, please visit or we invite you to inquire by email at

Tom Benton, MD, FCP

American College of Pediatricians

What You Should Know fact card
CDC Statistics
For further information, please refer to a statement by the American College of Pediatricians “On the Promotion of Homosexuality in the Schools.
References for letter
[1]Remafedi G, Resnick M, Blum R, Harris L. Demography of sexual orientation in adolescents. Pediatrics. 1992.89:714-721.
[2]Billy J, Tanfer K, Grady W, Klepinger D. “The sexual behavior of men in the United States.” Family Planning Perspectives. 25(1993),52-61.
[3]Centers for Disease Control. CDC Analysis Provides New Look at Disproportionate Impact of HIV and Syphilis among U.S. Gay and Bisexual Men. Press Release. Wednesday, March 10, 2010.
[4]Zucker K, Bradley S.Gender Identity Disorder and Psychosexual Problems in Children and Adolescents, The Guilford Press, New York, NY 10012, 1995 (p. 283).
[5]National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. Report: What Research Shows: NARTH’s Response to the APA Claims on Homosexuality. For the summary see (accessed 3/3/10).
[6] Collins, F. The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. New York. Free Press. 2007.p.260 and p.263.
[7]Remafedi G, Farrow JA, Deisher RW, (1991) Risk factors for attempted suicide in gay and bisexual youth. Pediatrics 87:869-875.
[8]Just the Facts Coalition.Just the Facts about Sexual Orientation and Youth. American Psychological Association. 2008. Retrieved from (accessed 3/3/10).

The following is the link I promised.