Sunday, April 19, 2009

up in smoke

We had a fire in our newly remodeled education building yesterday. In the morning we had had a wonderful program called "Dad's Day" where fathers of our nursery school children come with them to the school and do a variety of fun activities. It was a great success. The last teacher left at 12:40. At 1:13, neighbors across the street saw flames through a window and dialed 911.

Damage was significant to the building. Tomorrow we'll meet with insurance people and our architect to get an idea just how significant everyone agrees the damage to be. The new church offices which are attached to the ed building received smoke damage. We'll see what needs to be done there. I'm particularly concerned about my books...

The biggest issue will be the impact upon our nursery school. We serve about 60 families with an excellent program and have, IMHO, the best staff any nursery school could hope to have. We're hoping that licensing will allow us to finish the academic year using outdoor space and the sanctuary but that remains to be seen.

here are a few photos of some of the results...

this is a view of the kitchen area where the fire started.

somehow the flames got inside the refrigerator and melted the insides of it...

this table was outside the wall where the fire was hottest. You can see that it melted. Look closely and you will see a melted plastic chair that was sitting on top of the table.

and this one would be cool if it wasn't what it is... another plastic chair outside of the building that melted in this interesting fashion

and a light fixture inside the building...

Please keep the nursery school in your thoughts and prayers. It has been a significant ministry for the church through the years and has touched the lives of thousands of children.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Parties?

I've been watching them and have a number of observations and puzzlements and fears.

My observations - reading comments of the participants, nobody seems quite clear what they're protesting. There are lots of concerns about taxes going up... but nobody has raised any taxes at this point. There are complaints about the government spending too much but no other suggestions for how to address the current situation other than tax cuts, which of course, got us where we are. And there is anger about helping out those who are poor or in trouble because it is obviously always their fault. And lots of poor logic... tax cuts do not cause investment in business. They cause profit taking. Higher taxes cause investment because by investing in infrastructure, you avoid the taxes.

As for redistribution of wealth... that is clearly a Biblical idea (see Acts 4 & Leviticus 25) and that is precisely was tax systems do - redistribute wealth. They only question is where and how. Sometimes it is direct and active, other times it is less direct but the result is always the same, capital moves. Under the Reagan philosophy which has held sway since 1980, wealth migrated upwards with the expectation that it would trickle down. Well, it did migrate up as wealth has become more concentrated and the gap between the wealthiest folk and the poorest folk in the US approaches that of any developing country, but it didn't trickle down.

puzzlement: Where were these folk when Bush was building record deficits? Many were saying that if you disagreed with Bush policies you were tantamount to a traitor. So why now are they marching? Do they really not understand the implications of doing nothing to help the economy? Do they not see the connection between tax cuts, a system that encouraged greed, and our struggling economy? And what in the world does any of this have to do with the Boston Tea Party? Or Thomas Paine?

It makes me afraid. In large degree the protests seem to be about fear. People are afraid of the future and feel insecure. Those are not unrealistic fears for many folk. The problem is that right wing media and politicians are feeding on that fear and deepening the polarization of our country. They are fanning the fears so that they move from rational concern to irrational terror. They are offering no solutions. They are not talking. They certainly are not listening to any other viewpoints. It is all about building up a political base who are blinded with rage and shaped by fear that is both rational and irrational and using them to gain power. That makes me worry about the future of my country.