Social Issues


Top 25 Recipient Countries of U.S. Foreign Aid FY 2012 Reported in $US millions, Obligations
Country U.S. Total Economic and Military Assistance FY 2012, $US millions Economic Assistance FY 2012, $US millions Military Assistance FY 2012, $US millions US Economic and Military Assistance per Capita, $US
Afghanistan 12,885.50 3,325.50 9,559.90 423.59
Israel 3,100.10 25.10 3,075.00 408.40
Iraq 1,940.10 783.50 1,156.60 62.32
Egypt 1,404.00 102.60 1,301.40 16.78
Pakistan 1,214.90 1,137.70 77.20 6.38
Jordan 1,135.30 831.60 303.70 174.42
Ethiopia 870.10 864.60 5.40 9.54
Kenya 749.20 745.60 3.60 17.42
Colombia 644.30 543.90 100.40 14.24
Haiti 510.40 510.20 0.20 52.07
West Bank/Gaza 457.40 457.40 105.57
South Sudan 444.30 395.50 48.80 41.81
Russia 440.90 339.00 101.90 3.09
Somalia 419.60 274.90 144.70 41.61
Tanzania 402.00 399.20 2.80 8.57
Congo (Kinshasa) 388.40 370.50 18.00 5.28
Uganda 352.40 349.40 3.00 10.48
Nigeria 335.90 330.90 4.90 1.97
Sudan 298.10 298.10 0.00 8.72
South Africa 274.70 272.60 2.20 5.63
Mozambique 274.00 273.50 0.50 11.65
Ukraine 273.30 207.20 66.10 6.09
Yemen 258.50 237.40 21.10 10.44
Bangladesh 256.80 246.50 10.30 1.59
Liberia 247.10 233.80 13.30 63.56

Marie Coppola May 2014

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If you have never visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., you have not seen first-hand how prejudice and discrimination can escalate into something horrific and evil.

Once you are inside, it is a somber mood, as the crowds make their way through the authentic film footage, artifacts, photographs and documents that mirror what life was like in pre-war Europe, the Nazi move toward the “Final Solution” and life after the Holocaust. This is not for the faint hearted. You can spend two to three hours in this self-guided exhibition and it is recommended for visitors 11 years of age and older.

There are different estimates of deaths during the Holocaust because not only did the national borders during the Holocaust change, but many of the victims simply were never recorded. In the eastern European regions, millions of Poles -- Jews and Catholics alike -- were murdered by the Secret Service and police personnel in the field or in killing centers such as Auschwitz-Birkenau and Treblinka. In the ideology of the Nazis, the Poles were considered an inferior "race."

It is estimated that number of Jewish fatalities during the Holocaust is usually given as between 5.1 and 6 million victims.

It is estimated that between 5 and 5.5 million Polish civilians, including 3 million Polish Jews, died or were killed under Nazi occupation. Poland lost one-fifth of its population: three million of the dead were Polish Christians, predominantly Catholic, and the rest were Polish Jews.

Many people were killed trying to hide or help people escape concentration camps and executions.

Why? What was the Holocaust and why did it happen: The Holocaust is the state-sponsored systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945. Jews were the primary victims -- six million were murdered; Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), people with mental and physical disabilities, and Poles were also targeted for destruction or decimation for racial, ethnic, or national reasons. Millions more, including homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war, and political dissidents, also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi Germany. Ref: http://www.ushmm.org/research/library/faq/details.php?lang=en&topic=01#01

Does this boggle your mind as it does mine? All these people executed because of who they were and what they believed in? So how does peace start with You, and You, and You and You?

You can see above what happens when a people decide that they are going to annihilate people that don't think, live, believe or act like they do. They were people, with families, with normal lives going about the business of making a living and loving and caring for their family. And because of discrimination, profiling, intolerance and persecution, innocent people like you and me were executed.  It can happen with a government that tries to think, guide and change you into how they want you to be for their end.

I don't know the intricacies of what and how these seeds of discontent against others first materialized into what they did. Perhaps because people who were different from those in charge behaved differently, believed differently and acted differently.  Or perhaps the end product was the emergence of a possible super race and any abnormalities had to be exterminated.   We can't ever let his happen again.   Is not our world leaning this way again?

Is not today's world filled with people who are all very different; they behave differently, believe differently and act differently from how we do? Aren't our all our countries a matrix of different countries, languages, religions, customs, lifestyles, and even countenances different from one another?

It would be easy to point out the differences, make fun of the language or customs and shun their religion and lifestyles. It could be just as easy to accept and respect people for who they are and learn from their diversity of ideas and values.

We are all different from different worlds and walks of life, but there is one sameness we all have. We are all created by God and made in His likeness. There is no discrimination in His eyes; He loves each and every one of us the same. We are all equal, all races, all creeds, all people, men and women.

Peace can start with you by treating everyone as your equal. There are no class, caste, or standards of living in God's eyes.

There are websites with Q&A relating to the Holocaust http://www.ushmm.org/research/library/faq/details.php?lang=en&topic=03#02

Marie Coppola  Revised February 2017© 

 

 Guest Writer:    Sharon L. Cece

Did you hear the one about the recent college graduate who’s suing her Alma mater, Monroe College in New York, for $72,000 (the full cost of her tuition)? No, she wasn’t injured on campus or a victim of gross negligence. The graduate is suing because, in her words, the college’s "Office of Career Advancement did not help me with a full-time job placement. I am also suing them because of the stress I have been going through."

Yes, you read that correctly. So now, according to this young lady, a college is not only responsible for providing you with an education, it’s also responsible for getting you a job in addition to maintaining your stress at an acceptable level.

Here’s another. A woman is suing a dolphin for $50,000 (no need to rub your eyes, that's not a typo) at the Brookfield Zoo because she slipped on water that the dolphins splashed nearby. She claims the zoo “recklessly and willfully trained and encouraged the dolphins to throw water at the spectators in the stands making the floor wet and slippery,” “failed to provide warnings of the slippery floor” and “failed to provide mats … when the staff knew the floor would get wet and slippery,” among other negligent acts. Other negligent acts. Hmm, did the dolphin commit dolphin rage and body slam her UFC-style against the glass partition? Egregiously bounce a rubber ball on her head causing thousands of dollars of injury? Eat her last, best tuna fish sandwich?? (dolphin-free of course.) Didn't this woman perhaps intuit that standing near a dolphin pen might, uh, get her wet?

In fact, we should consider a “common-sense litigation” law. Lawsuits should only be filed when they passed some sort of common-sense test. The test would be performed at the cost of the claimant (never the taxpayers), and would include a panel of “experts” that might include—not judges, lawyers or politicians--but farmers, grandparents, a firefighter, maybe even an intelligent, thoughtful child. Just regular everyday common-sense folk. Certainly these individuals could effectively decide whether a particular lawsuit would be worthy of consideration. Fees from lawsuits thrown out would go straight to the taxpayers in the form of tax rebates or to pay off the national debt (and, based on the number of frivolous lawsuits filed annually, the national debt could conceivably be paid off within a year or two).

There is such a thing called personal responsibility. Regrettably, these litigators, as well as thousands of others filing such opprobrious lawsuits every day, have a iniquitous view of entitlement. They believe that they are completely free and clear of personal responsibility, yet everyone else owes them. Working hard, accepting blame or even sharing blame are non-issues; it’s everyone else’s fault. They see lawsuits as their way of bucking the system, regardless of who they hurt or how much taxpayer money they spend (not to mention clogging the court system). It’s not just a shame, it’s an outrage.

Okay, I’ll give you one more. Two sweet teenage girls from Durango, Colorado, decided to bake cookies for the neighbors. The cookie plates consisted of half a dozen chocolate-chip and sugar cookies accompanied by “big hearts cut out of red or pink construction paper with the message: Have a great night. Love, The T and L Club," code for Taylor and Lindsey. A 49-year-old woman became so upset over the knock on her door that she called the police, and she ended up visiting the emergency room for “suffering a severe anxiety attack she thought might be a heart attack” from the door knock (the girls knocked on the doors so that the recipients would get the cookies and not neighborhood animals). Subsequently, the woman sued the poor teens and a judge awarded $930 to recoup her medical bills. She received nothing for pain and suffering. "The victory wasn't sweet," the woman said. "I'm not gloating about it. I just hope the girls learned a lesson."

Yes, girls, learn your lesson. Don’t bake cookies and perform thoughtful acts, heaven forbid. You might get sued for it.

You know, then again, maybe these folks are on to something. Why, just yesterday I was I driving past my neighbor’s house and noticed his lawn was much greener than mine. Never mind that he spent the past few weeks working on it while I was . . . well . . . not . The point is that his beautiful lawn makes mine look much worse than if he wasn’t living next to me, rudely taking the time to care for his lawn. Say now, I bet I could sue him for “Defamation of Lawn Character” or “Instigating Weed Dissension and Turf Wars Among Neighborly Ranks”.

Or, maybe I’ll file a lawsuit against Angelina Jolie for "Failure to Share Lip Property and Dimension", since her lips are prettier and fuller than mine and it’s just not fair. After all, I deserve to have lips like Angelina Jolie; she can afford the payout and somebody needs to pay for her having better lips than I do!

Then again, I might sue Mother Nature for "Reckless and Inconsiderate Weather Assignment and Distribution", since it rained yesterday while I had planned to attend a parade and thus, could not attend, and how dare it rain on my parade.

As crazy as this sounds, it’s not half as crazy as some of these lawsuits. All kidding aside, let's implement a new statute: for every frivolous lawsuit that gets thrown out, the claimant has to do 800 hours of community service as well as contribute $1,000 dollars to every teenager that does a good deed, such as bake cookies for their neighbors. Now, finally, something that makes sense.

Updates: Denver radio station KOA raised more than $1,900 from listeners to pay the court fine levied against the two girls who handed out cookies. The remainder of the money will go to a charity dedicated to victims of the Columbine High School shootings. (TheDenverChannel.com).

There is no update on the dolphin’s status, although some reports surfaced claiming it has offered a job to the Monroe College graduate as a full-time Sardine Feeder. The alumna turned down the job, claiming, “Something just smells fishy to me”. Oh, how we agree.

Sharon Cece © December 2009

Congress has its hands full keeping the Obama administration in check, and in most Americans' opinion, leaders could use some help -- from the church. The key to confronting the President's agenda may be as simple as encouraging more pastors to speak out. So said 61% of Americans surveyed in FRC's latest poll -- the results of which we announced yesterday at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention (NRB) in Nashville. With Christianity under attack as never before, the country is looking to its spiritual leaders to engage in the fight. As our First Freedom, religious liberty serves as the foundation for all other freedoms -- which will all be at risk if it crumbles. If pastors would just speak to the issues from a redemptive heart, most people agree that we would see this country turn around.

Rafael Cruz, director of Purifying Ministries and father of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) thinks that more boldness from the pulpit could have a profound effect on the state of our nation. At yesterday's news conference, he the press, "Too many pastors have been intimidated by a concept of separation of church and state not found in the Constitution." His comments were echoed by Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, who insisted, "No president in history has launched an attack on religious liberty like President Obama. If pastors remain AWOL on this issue like they have on others, we will lose the war for religious freedom that our forefathers gave their life's blood to provide."

Marie Coppola February 2014

Recently I read a local newspaper column that blasted the Boy Scouts for taking so long to accept openly gay scouts. The attitude was that Christians should mind their own business and allow the rest of America to do what they want. Unfortunately too many Americans wish we shut up or go away. But can we do that? Aren’t we affected by the sin around us? Can we really expect God to allow this country to keep going the way it is and do nothing? The Bible says no and can be supported by history.

We seemed to have forgotten the stories in the Old Testament when Israel was punished for its sins. It is history. Israel and Judah were both conquered. The Temple was destroyed. Read the book of Judges, 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings and Chronicles. These books make the point clearly. When the Israelites strayed from the Lord their enemies, the Philistines and others were able to defeat them. When they returned to the Lord their enemies were defeated.

Should we ignore the lessons of Noah and of Sodom and Gomorrah? What about the conquest of Israel by Assyria? What about the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon and the exile? Shouldn’t we learn from the mistakes of the past? Doesn’t the Bible have ramifications for us today?

We are all concerned about Islamic terrorism today. 9/11 and Boston proves we’re not invulnerable. Our defense and security isn’t perfect. We are at risk. We live in a dangerous world. The presence of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons makes the world a deadly place. There’s potential for catastrophic war in Korea and the Middle East. China is a real concern. Our economy is still shaky. It wouldn’t take much to push us back into recession or worse.

We used to be the most blessed country on earth. Look at our history, our victories in World War I and II, the defeat of communism and the strength of our economy through most of the 20th Century. God’s blessings were obvious. Now with all that is going on We have to question if we’ve left God’s protection?

Are we worthy of God’s protection and blessing? Should a nation that has killed fifty million of God’s innocents expect protection? Should a land that blatantly defies His teaching on marriage expect protection? Will God ignore all that is done in the name of greed or prejudice? Should such a country be protected?

Could all of the natural disasters we’ve experienced be a wakeup call? Could God be attempting to get our attention? Was Sandy a call to repentance? Most people blindly ignore these or blame them on global warming. Can you explain the violence ripping apart our cities, the shootings at Sandy Hook, Aurora, Colorado and Arizona as global warming? What about Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Columbine and all the other mass murders? Our kids aren’t even safe in school.

So often liberals talk about a God of Love but is it love to allow us to go on hurting ourselves by our sins? Is it love to allow the exploitation of the poor by Planned Parenthood and others? Is it love to allow the slaughter of millions of innocent children for the sake of profit or convenience? Is it love to permit the emotional damage and pain suffered by millions in our society today? Or would love call us to repent of the very sins that hurt us and others?

Maybe it is time to seriously ask ourselves some questions. Have we’ve gone so far in our arrogance and sinfulness that God has abandoned us to the consequences of our sins? Has God accepted our invitation to leave us alone? Is it possible that we do in fact need God, that our problems are too big for our government, that we are doomed as a country without Him? Just look at how well we are doing.

As Christians we can’t be silent. For our own sake and the sake of our country we must continue to speak out against the path of destruction that our nation is following. We must also do more. We need to pray and pray hard every day for the conversion of our nation. It is the most patriotic thing you can do for our country. We need to speak out and take a stand against the immorality in this country, not only with our vote but also with our wallets. We need to refuse to support companies that promote immorality. Don’t just stand by while our country marches to destruction.

**This was published in the October issue of Christian Action News, a pro-life newsletter out of Florida.

Bullying has been with us since the first one-room schoolroom. Name-calling, insults and spreading nasty rumors were part of growing up.  Now, with the internet and it's social sites, password theft and intimidations, threats, embarrassing pictures, telling secrets or giving information without permission are added - and is passed around with lightning speed.

 

It is disheartening to read about school administrators across our nation trying to curtail these unwanted attacks and being thwarted at attempts to stop them. When they are aware of these bullying actions, some administrators and schools react to them, having set up programs to prevent and punish the perpetrators. And now -- judges have ruled against them for doing so.

A California 8th grader complained she was called names, including a 'slut', in a YouTube video, which was posted by a classmate. The school administrators punished the classmate by suspending her. A U.S. district judge ruled this was illegal due to the fact it was 'without any evidence that such speech caused a substantial disruption of the school's activities.'

Even more disheartening was the news that a student was suspended in Pennsylvania because he posted insulting remarks about his principal calling her a 'big steroid freak" and a "big whore". Again, a U.S. district judge lifted the suspension saying that "non-disruptive speech online couldn't be punished even if the offensive material could be accessed on school computers". (Ref: LA Times)

Public schools can prevent students from calling names in a classroom or even school grounds if name-calling disputes can interfere with lessons, but have not sought to extend discipline to cover conduct outside school hours. And there are tanglements and differences in legal opinions if insults or harm to another student comes from the classroom computer or a cell phone voice mail.

Cyberbullying starts in elementary school, peaks and intensifies in junior high and continues through high school. Preadolescents get involved in cyberbullying through emails, chat rooms, and instant messaging. Websites such as MySpace and Facebook have added to it.

According to the National Crime Prevention Center, over 40% of all teenagers with Internet access have reported being bullied online during the past year.

Girls, more than boys are victims of bullying over the net and the percentage increases with the amount of time they spend online. A small percentage - about 10% - actually tell their parents about their bullying incidents and only about 15% of their parents are aware of their kids' online activities. And about 20% are reported to the National Crime Prevention Center. Teens believe they have to 'live with it' and usually won't tell their parents because they are fearful that their parents will restrict their online use or cancel their accounts, which are very popular among teens.

The problem is exacerbated by the use of camera cell phones and digital cameras - taking videos of unsuspecting victims in various situations and posting them online without their permission or knowledge. We've all seen TV news on two teens fighting while someone is videoing it instead of stopping it. Personal phone calls are recorded and posted as well.

This has become a world-wide epidemic. Even in countries like South Korea, a highly regimented culture in which the young are discouraged from speaking their minds with parents, teachers and bosses, young people, at home in their rooms, let loose, and often become provoked into maliciousness. Min Byoung-chul, a professor of English at Konkuk University in Seoul, cites the society's hyper competitiveness as a key factor in online meanness. "Many assume cyberspace is not inhabited by people with real feelings who can really be hurt," he said. "I was alarmed at the level of maliciousness on the Internet," Min said. "Many people enjoy hearing about how much damage has been done to the target person. There needs to be more civility."

With the growing increase of bullying overall and lack of respect for all people, cyberbullying has escalated into a world-wide problem.

The 'Archives of Suicide has focused on this problem and calls it 'cyberbullicide, defined as “suicide indirectly or directly influenced by experiences with online aggression” (Hinduja & Patchin, 2009).

The study found that "youth who experienced traditional bullying or cyberbullying, as either an offender or a victim, scored higher on a well-validated suicidal ideation scale than those who had not experienced those two forms of peer aggression. Moreover, bullying and cyberbullying victimization was a stronger predictor of suicidal thoughts and behaviors than bullying and cyberbullying offending."

"Traditional bullying victims were 1.7 times more likely and traditional bullying offenders were 2.1 times more likely to have attempted suicide than those who were not traditional victims or offenders. Similarly, cyberbullying victims were 1.9 times more likely and cyberbullying offenders were 1.5 times more likely to have attempted suicide than those who were not cyberbullying victims or offenders".

Cyberbullicide does occur infrequently, but needs to be identified to inform prevention and response efforts.   Some victims of bullying have lashed back through attacks on the school or other innocent children.

One prevention suggestion: To all parents, especially if your child gets home from school before you get home from work: since the National Crime Prevention states that only 15% of parents are aware of their kids' online activities, it seems that is one of the first preventative measures a parent can take to ensure their child is not receiving or perpetrating bullying activities from their home computers is to check out where your child spends his or her time online.

---------------------------------------------------------

Ref: Cyberbullying Research Center; National Crime Prevention Center; LA Times

Good link on cyberbullying research summaries: http://www.cyberbullying.us/research.php

Marie Coppola October 2013

 

 

Which gives the best results in a neighborhood, a POA (Property Owner Association) or an HOA (Homeowner Association) ?  The differences are very minor and very difficult to separate. Some people credit POA's over HOA's but, in the end, the results are the same and so is the importance of maintenance. 

Many states have developments that are governed by HOA's or a POA . An HOA is put in place to protect property values and improve the neighborhood. There are some HOAs that may seem picky in their restrictions and rules, but the bottom line is -- they are trying to maintain good appearances in the neighborhood and uphold the covenants that home buyers sign and agree to uphold when they buy a house with an HOA attached. 

People complain about HOAs if they receive letters saying their lawn needs to be cut or you can't park a boat on your lawn, but these are rules that are agreed to when you buy your home. Some neighbors get incited when they are informed to uphold these contractual agreements, and harass the board members who are volunteers and not personally trying to get you to do what they want to. They spend their unpaid-time to keep your property in good shape as well as their own. 

If a neighborhood allows subletting or renting a home in the development, the owner, not the renter, is responsible to abide by the rules and restrictions. If the renter does not mow the law, or breaks the rules, the owner will get the letter and subsequent fine if it is not remedied. Unpaid fines can cause a lien on the owner's property. 

You can usually tell where there is an HOA in a development. It will be well maintained with pleasant surroundings. There won't be any shocking green homes with hot pink shutters. It may be that some HOAs go overboard with their restrictions and rules, but it is meant for the good of the appearance of the development. If a shocking green house with hot pink shutters hurts your eyes, it will also hurt the eyes of potential buyers; the HOA can help you maintain your investment.

The HOA can also help decide disputes or mediate zoning or structure requirements. And save you money by settling it through mediation or through the management company, if they employ one.

 If you are a free spirit who wants a shocking green home with hot pink shutters and trailers, boats and cars parked on your lawn and knee-high grass to be cut when you feel like it, or let your dogs poop without scooping, you won't want to buy a house in a development with an HOA. 

 

On the other hand, if you like well-maintained lawns and neighbors who have a like interest in keeping their houses mildew-free and kept up with repairs, an HOA development is for you.

©Marie Coppola Revised September 2013

 

You can hear it in the air, in homes, and at the stores. School is reopening amidst a myriad of emotions. Some emotions bring tears of separation at watching a kindergartner get on her very first school bus; some are tears of elation watching their summer-vacation- "I’m bored" children return to the halls of learning and busyness. For some working parents, it is a relief from expensive day-care and for others it is that parent’s turn to transport the neighborhood crew to and from school. How do the kids feel about returning to school?  They either laugh, cry or throw up.

Whatever the scenario, the upbeat reason to return to school is to acquire wisdom, knowledge, and skills that will allow creativity and thought-provoking processes as well as behavioral and social experiences. There can be serious times – sometimes challenging or frustrating — but it can also be fun times with clubs, sports, class trips, and special activities.  Also on the plus side, there are friendships formed that can last a lifetime and even short friendship spurts teach versatility and diversity in getting along with others. A ‘special’ teacher can be an influence or mentor in future endeavors.

Guidelines and rules for school behavior are similar to those that students’ parents may have had, but here’s some tips for going back to school starting with a really good attitude. I offer the following – not for the parents – but for the returning students.

1) “Rules” cover a multitude of guidelines that all schools set forth for their students. Everyone must follow them if there is to be order and learning. Rules are important because you will be asked to follow rules all your life. And it causes stress and problems if you don’t abide by them. This is as true in school as it is in your life now or will be in your adult life.

2) Each school has dress codes. It’s important you follow them to the letter so that you won’t be surprised if you are sent home if you wear a pajama top to school. Or a curse word on your T-shirt. Or your underwear is showing more than your pants are.

3) The use of cell phones, iPods, and other electronic devices are usually strictly prohibited during the school day. Yes, that includes texting. Cell phones are distracting not only during class but in the halls. If you can’t control yourself - then leave them home or silenced in your locker.

4) Although we all get colds or sick, try to attend class regularly and be on time. It is important to ‘keep up’ with new lessons and equally important to be on time so that your tardiness does not take away from class time. Besides, it looks bad on your record which won't matter to you now but may in the future.

5) Do your homework and check it twice. Homework done hastily or while playing video games can affect your grade if it is incorrect. Give it your best efforts – it reflects who you are and what you know and how you express it.

6) Try to be friendly to all. Avoid ’cliques’ or being rude to other students who may be different. It can escalate to bullying or cyber bullying or discrimination which are detriments to all.

If you follow the rules, you can have a pleasant learning experience that will prepare you for adult life.  If there are situations that arise that are against school rules or are questionable in safety to you or others, don’t hesitate to notify a teacher or the principal. They want everyone in their school to have a safe environment.

I’ll add for good measure and take a slogan from the Army — Be All That You Can Be. It doesn’t mean living up to anyone else’s standards or trying to get a better grade than Amy or Juan – but simply doing the best work you can to your ability and being the best kind of person you want to be.  It’s all up to you. Have a great and successful school year.

© Marie Coppola, Revised August 2017


In our fast track world, people like instant gratification, or at least quick results. Disappointments can occur if your expectations are too high. You can become disenchanted with people, places and things. This can happen even in the place you go to for rest, renewal and refuge - your place of worship. For simplification of terms, I will call it a church.

As part of a faith-sharing group, I listened to multi-denominations share their expectations and disappointments regarding their Saturday, Sunday or any day of worship.

1} Many of the group did not like the emphasis of the church asking for money. Some of them complained that it was an on-going practice. We all know that worship establishments have bills like the rest of us. They pay electricity, heating and air conditioning, cleaning, taxes, salaries, etc.  Usually the church offers a balance sheet of where the money is going.  If not, offer to be part of the Finance Committee. You will see where it goes and have a voice in how it is distributed. If you are not asked to join, most Finance Committees have an open door policy whereby you can sit in and listen to where the money is going. If they don’t, initiate one by addressing it to the building or church administrator.

2} Closely related to regular collections is the matter of tithing. How much treasure do you tithe? Tithing is explained in Deuteronomy 14:22 “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year." The definition of the tithe was very simple and plainly laid out for Israel. They were to gather their harvest and count the tithe out from what they’ve gathered. For instance, if you had 100 apples, you must count them out from one-to-ten, and the tenth one you set aside for the Lord – Leviticus 27:32. Today, many denominations pay heed to the 10% of income for church tithing. And many people complain that they cannot afford that. I am not here to argue church’s expectations of tithes or what you should give. I believe that it is an individual choice - some give more; some give less and it should be a personal, private choice and not made public.  What you give is between you and God no matter how much or how many times you are asked.

3} Some of the group complained of their leader, minister, pastor or priest. They simply did not like him or her. They did not feel (s)he was leading the congregation correctly, said improper things, was insensitive, and many other things. In other words, (s)he was imperfect.  We all are imperfect. Even church leaders.  It is a difficult life for many of these leaders; it is a solitary life, especially if they don’t have partners to share stress with. And there is a lot of work and stress. Besides juggling the church’s expenses, administration, activities and worship programs, the church leader also give counsel, oversees funerals, weddings, christenings, baptisms, etc. etc. They are very busy people and churches are usually short-handed. If you don’t like the leader's mode of operation, volunteer to do some of the leg work he or she does routinely. We have ministry programs to give communion to hospital or shut-ins, bereavement committees help with funerals; there are countless things you can do to help an overworked religious leader. And they LOVE home-cooked meals AND the company - invite them to dinner; you may see another side of them.

4} Everyone complained about children and small babies at church. Especially the fidgety and wailing variety. I admit that I use to complain about this, too. Religious leaders always welcome children to church - some churches have separate glassed rooms for young ones to prevent disrupting the congregation. My feeling is that children who attend church with their parents from an early age quickly adjust and become part of the church family/community easily and lovingly. It is natural for them to be there with family and most likely will duplicate this faith with their own families someday in the same way.

5} Some of the group complained they did not like the people in their church community; they were too high class, too low-class, too gossipy, and the beat goes on.  We don’t go to church for the people - we go to church for God.

They lament they will go to another church. There are people all around us we may not care for - maybe even in our own families, but we don’t go look for another family. Many times, the dislikes you feel are cosmetic; you may not really know the other people and let’s face it, you don’t have to socialize with them.  You attend church with them, same as attending college or any social gathering. Focus on why you are in church; and don’t focus on the people. You can be friendly and sincere, but you don’t have to live with them. Even Jesus had altercations with his twelve disciples. Peter and James wanted the honor of being on His right and left side in heaven to the consternation of the other ten. Another time, ’An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest."  Jesus didn’t replace them; and he didn’t go to another town looking for 12 different disciples. There will always be church members in ANY church you may not see eye to eye with, but you are there to worship and they are part of the community. Maybe they harbor similar feelings about you. Bloom where you are planted and try to grow in faith with everyone, especially those who are different from you. You are there to worship; not judge your brothers and sisters.

© Marie Coppola Revised February 2015

Ref: McDonald Road Sermons converted to HTML and last updated 4/21/04 by Bob Beckett English:

 

Now that's a comforting thought. According to the daily news today, research supported by the Russell Sage (no pun intended) Foundation, the National Institute on Aging and the National Science Foundation Grant, indicates that socially, older folks, more than younger or middle-aged ones, are more apt to recognize and accept different values, acknowledge and accept uncertainties and changes in one's life and to acknowledge others' point of views.

Mind your elders! It's not as important in life to know how the SEO works or how to program the DVR or how to text someone as it is to handle 'social wisdom' - how to get along with people and handle disagreements.

Researchers found that age affects wisdom at every social class, level of education and IQ. Even though older people don't have the technological wisdom that younger ages have in computers and everyday technology, they do have the advantage of analyzing and solving social problems.

Demographic splits of groups numbering almost 300 -- ages 25 to 40, 41 to 59 and 60 plus were given hypothetical situations regarding finance, economic growth, customs, and world problems. The researchers analyzed the results, not knowing which individual or group age the responses came from. Ratings were based on social interchanges such as compromise, flexibility, seeing the other viewpoint and mediating conflict resolution.

Then over 200 of the same groups participated in a second hypothetical area and yet a third comprising scholars, psychotherapists, clergy and counseling professionals.

The results of these tests concluded that economic status, education and IQ were related to having increased wisdom, but academics were no wiser than nonacademics with similar education levels. Researchers were surprised at how much wisdom the groups showed in disputing societal problems. Richard Nisbitt, one of the researchers said, "There is a very large advantage for older people over younger people for those (issues)". Another researcher, Lynn Hasher remarked that "the study is the single best demonstration of long-held view that wisdom increases with age."

She continues, "What I think is most important...is that it shows a major benefit that accrues with aging...rather than the mostly loss-based findings reported in psychology. As such it provides a richer base of understanding of aging processes." She also cited the critical importance of workplaces providing the opportunity for older employees to continue to contribute.

Many work places do the opposite and retire aging employees and replace them with younger employees at a lower salary, compromising the experience and life situations these employees can contribute to the work force by their ongoing and diverse experiences.

Marie Coppola  June 2013

Ref: Associated Press