Reine Duell Bethany - Author and Illustrator
My Blog

The Shu Factor

Guilt and African American Teen Gangbangers

I have just read a lengthy qualitative study of 50 African American male teen gang members. Eleven of the 50, while not denying their membership in their gangs, nonetheless stopped gang-related activity to continue their education, with future career goals in mind.
      The other 39 did not do so. They did not spend time studying, but spent a lot of time watching television and playing video games (both of which are activities that I call "zoning,"  which temporarily numb inward pain but never resolve it).

You Don't Have to Care About the Ones Without the Money

Last night (Tuesday, June 21), I attended the regular bimonthly Hempstead Village Board of Trustees meeting. In the public hearing portion of the meeting, discussion arose concerning the parking lot next to (not the ones behind) Village Hall, which was deeded to the developer for the upcoming Hempstead Revitalization (Don Monti). Monti paid nothing for the lot. Currently the village is still using it and drawing revenue from whoever parks in it, and also the village is expending $244,000 to repair the lot.

The Urge to Kill Uses Anything as an Excuse

I am praying for everyone in the Orlando tragedy (on June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen murdered 49 people in the Orlando gay club Pulse and wounded 53 others before killing himself; he identified himself with the Islamic State shortly before he did so).
     Despite the gunman's personal journey toward identifying with the Islamic State, I don't really think his actions had any more to do with homosexuals or religion than Adam Lanza's had to do with first graders and their teachers when he murdered 26 of them at Newton, CT in December 2012, or the shooter's in Aurora, CO who targeted theater-goers in a movie theater, or the young man's in 2007 when he killed 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech.

We Want What We Want But We Don't Listen

In the Gospel of John, chapter 11, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
     This one event -- the resurrection of Lazarus -- enacts a repeating phenomenon: the meaning of the event is obscured by the imposition of people's desires.
     When Jesus arrived at the village of Bethany, he knew that Lazarus had died. He had received notice that Lazarus was deathly ill four days before. When the four days ahsd passed, he point-blank told his disciples that Lazarus was dead and that this death would result in glory for God.

If You Never Left, Then You're Always Here

Heaven never left the earth
Because God cannot leave himself.
May my every look and breath
Show he's here and hasn't left.
Choosing evil feels so free,
But only proves that God's not me.
I'll make you know me by shouting and shoving.
I can't make God known except by loving.



My Truth versus THE TRUTH

Easter has just passed. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The eternal life of the human soul has been affirmed.
     I do believe that our souls are eternal. We will all spend eternity in either heaven or hell.
     How do we know whether we will go to heaven or to hell? The amount of theological ink spilled on this question, if collected in one location, would need a hollow planet to contain it  all.
    I don't worry about this question anymore.

The Disjunct between Church History and Daily Life History

I've been reading J. R. H. Moorman's 1980 book,A History of the Church in England
      Seriously, whatreallyhappened to the church in England? Via this book and other sources, I have discovered that the most important thing about Henry VIII wasnotthat he had six wives, two of whom he beheaded. To me, the most important aspect of his reign was his break from the Roman Catholic Church, and his assertion that he alone was head of the Church in England.
     This presumption of spiritual authority had a comprehensive fallout for daily life in England.

The Meaning of Work: New Hope for Young Offenders in Suffolk County, New York

A Monday, February 15 article inNewsday, the major Long Island Newspaper, details a program run by a youth court in Central Islip. The article is titled "Do the Right Thing." Thia youth court initiative is overseen by New York State Supremem Court Justice Fernando Camacho. To quote from the article, "It is a program designed to divert teens who commit felonies from a life shuttling between crime and punishment."
      The program succeeds because the young people who enter it aren't viewed as low-lifes.

Training Your Toddler to Join a Gang

Every person has the sense that he or she possesses something, that possessions (tangible or intangible) can be taken away, and that retaining possessions requires active self-defense.
      If a child isnottrained to (1) keep what he or she legitimately has and (2) allow others to keep what they legitimately have, then the child is training for gang life.
     Parents who are immature will take away a child's possessions for their own use. Such parents also take away a child's self-development time.

How to Kill Your Child Internally

     Of all the internal dangers we humans experience day to day, I think the most threatening is a sense of personal failure.
     We can endure losses and injuries, but we can't endure the feeling that our best efforts to do something important with our lives will always crash, or that others can do things and we can't.
     Parents may believe that their responsibilities to their children include only safety, nourishment, shelter, clothing, and instilling respect for authority.
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