Friday, February 25, 2011

A Devoted Witness of Christ to Nepalese People - Prem Pradhan

JesusImage via Wikipedia

In honor of the life and ministry of Gerald C. Primm, my brother

From "Christianity in Nepal," The Watchman, Vol. 12,2011, M.O. Owens, Jr., Editor, Gastonia, NC/USA.

"The first Nepalis* to accept Christ did so while outside the country, in India and such places as Hong Kong and Singapore. But more of these were afraid to return home lest they be killed or imprisoned. One notable exception was a man named Prem Pradhan. He went to Calcutta as a foreign student, joined the British Air Force in World War II, and after the war served in the army of the newly independent India. There he heard the Gospel as preached on the streets. He believed, was baptized, and was given a Bible which he read through 12 times while still in the Indian army. Three years after becoming a Christian, he resigned his commission, and returned to Nepal as an apostle of Jesus Christ, preaching from village to village in the mountains of Nepal, but with little result. The homes in the area, built on hillsides, kept their animals in the lower level, while the family lived on the upper level. Prem was permitted often to stay in a home, but had to sleep with the animals. In one such home, he learned that the oldest member of the family lay helpless with one side of her body completely paralyzed. He took her by the hand and said, 'In the name of Jesus rise up and walk.' And she did, going outside shouting for joy. That lady, her family and many of their neighbors then listened as Prem gave them the Word of God. The result was the first assembly of baptized Christians in the history of Nepal.

"He baptized those first Christians openly. The result was he was sentenced to six years in prison, and those baptized--five men and four women--each sentenced to one year. Prem was confined in seven different prisons in his first five years, and started a church in each of them. He was released in 1966. At that time there were less than 30 baptized believers in all of Nepal. Today there are close to one million believers. Current information indicates that every week hundreds more are being added. And there has never been a 'foreign' missionary allowed to serve in that country.

"Prem's last prison sentence was for 55 years in prison. Through American help, he was released, but soon died in 1998. But he lived to see his nation being rapidly changed underneath. It is one of the most significant chapters in all church history."

*In modern times, the persecuted Christian faithful having died out, emigrated, or gone underground.
Note by Jean (Primm) Purcell, blog manager

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

As Digital Grows, the Personal Touch Slows

A Picture of a eBookImage via Wikipedia
 by Jean Purcell

The rap says, "As digital grows, info flows, and the personal touch goes."

It would take a while to list the many digital gadgets that we use, buy, or think about. We use them to talk, write and exchange information with each other. We write across the world or across a room...digitally! We do, you know, sometimes e-mail when we're in the same space! Never done that, but I hear it happens!
     Rupert Murdoch's digital news team and Apple's iPAD team announced and launched The Daily, the first-ever daily news service, exclusively for iPAD users, at a cost of 14 cents a day.
     I have Kindle on my Android, though I read via Kindle only when desperate not to wake my husband up by keeping a reading light on. (He tells me he doesn't mind the sound of pages turning at two in the morning. He's a great guy!)

Now I wonder if I want an iPAD primarily to become part of this expansive development for news and information. I have learned that most young people never read a print newspaper; they get their news online. For them, the iPAD development will be tempting.
   What is missing has finally fallen into place for me, a matter that I could not latch onto when looking for it with Kindle:
     It's not only that the gadgets remove a "regular" book, although I do miss the touch of paper and its rustle when turning pages. It's not that the print is on a smaller platform than most "regular" books are. 
  What's missing is... the personal touch. I can return to my e-book anytime during any day, at my leisure or time ability. The same goes for e-news. It's there for...? For me and only me! But...I not only like the touch and feel of "regular" books. I like and embrace the irreplaceable personal touch that comes from sharing titles--giving, lending, or borrowing them in hard cover or paperback. 
     With newsprint, I often pass parts along. I cut out articles to put on my husband's desk or I clip something to send to a daughter, grandson, or a friend...not often, yes, but when I do I feel more in touch, personally...because of the personal touch, the time put into that kind of sharing that way rather than the easier, digital way. 
     Is that weird? Not to me, although it is a fading practice that others also lament losing. I know how I feel on the rare occasion when personal mail with a note or a clipping comes from a relative or friend.

I would not likely pass my Kindle or Nook gadget to another person to borrow for a while! I cannot leave a part of my e-news with a friend, either, except by a link...which would work. However, it's all on my gadget. It's all for me, to take anywhere I go, to read and enjoy anywhere, but not so much to share
     Not to have that enjoyment of handing a book to a friend, or giving it and looking at it together, as happened at Christmas with my grandsons...that would be a loss, personally. 
     If we pass around a gadget, we know one of us will need it back. We cannot keep it for a while, to enjoy, to share, to return or keep. 
     But a book? It's transferable in special ways, between us!

Think about how much the personal and the face-to-face encounters are dwindling due to digitized living. Think about how we can reverse much of this!
     I opine: we should!

Note: To those who read this blog post earlier, thanks for bearing with me. I had to go out of town suddenly, and this posted  before I finished and spell-checked. Now it's done.

(c) 2011
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Friday, February 18, 2011

I Never Joined a Union

The Union Steward's Complete Guide: A Survival Guide, 2nd Edition  A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our ConstitutionState of the Union Address Restoring the Power of Unions: It Takes a Movement


This is not meant as criticism of unions per se; it is not to critique those who join unions. After all, the objectives of unions include protecting employees' safety and pay for services or products their work provides. 

However, I probably would not consider joining a union today unless working conditions in my workplace were horribly unfair or dangerous to physical or health safety. The unions came into being decades ago in response to gross violations of human dignity and professional work ethics. Federal and state laws now address those concerns. Any protections not addressed have other recourse, in most cases.

My experience with unions began when I was just out of college, newly married, and in my first year of teaching in public schools. I did not join the teacher's union, nor was any pressure put on me to do so (New York state). Yet, my attendance at the state teacher's conference was covered by the school district.

I could have joined a US government employee union years later, when I worked in DC. But I did not. And I felt strongly about not doing so in that case. First, I had no complaints, although I did have aspirations for upgrades, but they came on schedule. Second, the union rep in our building spent way too much time walking around our offices, not his, visiting and trying to enroll new members. When does he work?!, I often wondered.
     I also declined to join my peers in complaints having to do with lacking overtime pay. Although we had profitable per diem pay for out-of-office training weekends where we also honed skills. 
If abuses are present in the workplace, that's another matter. Yet, today, abuse seems to be a convenient label for just about anything uncomfortable or not agreeing with one's own views and preferences.
     Sick leave to help a child or other family member in distress? That's good because it is essential.
     Extended maternity leave? I never knew what that was like, and I handled it, as did my husband who helped me, along with neighbors. Also, family members drove long distances to help. We felt proud, not offended, to pull together at such times. But, not everyone can work these things out.

I realize, too, that not every employer is "reasonable." Those instances do bring in the need for some outside help or resolution, surely. 
     Recent protests in Wisconsin concern me, especially regarding questionable, possibly unethical, behaviors of some (not all, and maybe not many) teachers. For any American teacher of the 21st century not to go to work in order to protest robs students and is shameful. Many of us consider teaching to be a profession, almost a calling, and definitely a privilege. 

I never joined a union, so what I learn I get from what the union leaders say and in many cases these days I just don't buy it...distracting teachers from their professional work and contract obligations. 
     One good that may come from the events in Wisconsin, as teachers and other employees of the state protest budget changes proposed, is that some teachers have shown parents their true colors. Some are bright, and others are...well, dull. If it's "all about the children," it's also about honest and peaceful actions, not dishonest and raucous/rude threats.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Her Admiration Taught Me


SHE LOVED TO be involved, a southern woman in a small North Carolina town. It was not too much to have an ill mother living in her home, a husband beset by business hurdles, a son at home just after a war and married a year to a wife now pregnant and also bedridden in her in-laws' home, due to health problems, and... a young daughter. The tiny home she kept on schedule had three bedrooms, a narrow galley-like kitchen, an eating area that included access by and egress from a circle that led into the small living room...and one bathroom for seven people.

She went to the First Baptist Church regularly, and the church women service/missions group; she was active in the town's Woman's Club's book and garden groups (she loved her rose bushes), and a bridge group. Amazingly (I see now), she did not seem absent from or overwhelmed  at home.

She collected favorite people from book club and church club meetings: an opera singer who overcame polio challenges (Margaret Lawrence); a popular singer who beat alcoholism; a preacher-author popular at the time (Peter Marshall); and Mahalia Jackson, a singer of jazz, then only gospel, with operatic range. What was said about these famous people erupted in the admirer's brief phrases that came naturally from her lips; they seemed to be thoughts expressed randomly, in passing, as they would say.

In hindsight, it appears that she was intentionally teaching as well as spontaneously speaking. It seems that as she thought of someone she wanted to mention, among that group of admired people, she chose her few words carefully: "She said she often wanted to give up (the opera singer), but she so wanted to sing, that she kept resolving to learn how to walk again (polio)"; "She had to go to the bottom before she would work to save her singing career by leaving alcohol"; "He had to have faith to overcome"; and, "She said she decided to commit her life to sing for God, only gospel songs."

Who growing up cares a lot about whom their elders admire, who their heroes are? Children are so caught up in childish things. But...they do hear, even if they seem not to care. And...they remember more than we imagine. Sometimes...they remember who their mothers admired, and why. somehow makes a big difference in the larger and longer picture of what really makes a life and a hope... and whom we admire.

by Jean Purcell
(c) 2011

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Journalistic Bias Remarkably Absent on Egypt: Dangers Avoided for Now

Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States)  Freedom from the Grip of Fear: A Process for Reclaiming Your Life A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. Long Walk to Freedom Fear No Evil

The coverage of the war of wills between Egypt's president and protesters in Egypt is a case of the best of journalism. Journalistic bias could have raised the levels of fear and weakened efforts toward peaceful change. The best of journalism might have prevented grave harm among dictatorship, military, and civilian elements. The best of commentary on the military's restraint, for example, gave hope for continued calm. On TV, CNN, BBC World News (particularly notable was Lyse Ducet in Cairo, among others), Fox News, and FBN, broadcasts this writer followed, journalists took great care, professionally. They did little to analyze, but focused on history, context, questions, and interviews with protesters, with remarkable emotional restraint shown by those reporting on camera.  

Less than two hours ago, Egypt's vice-president announced that president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, has resigned, change within a day of his announcement indicating he would never do such a thing. Peaceful protests won change, and the war of wills is over, at least at the top stage.

The praise-worthy journalistic behaviors up to that time and ongoing remind the watching, reading, and listening world that  responsible reporting brings enormous value. During the protests and events in Egypt recently, the world has relied on the words of journalists. We have hung on their words for over two weeks. They have, for the most part, avoided the journalistic trap that could have led to dangers on the ground. They have helped by staying calm and by being courageous, staying and, for some, enduring violence.

Bias did creep in, at times, among analysts and panelists whose political and philosophical views did emerge, taking sides and predicting outcomes that were no more than guesses.

Most journalists have restrained themselves about the possible or probable influences upon various groups among the protesters, whether Muslim, other Arab secular nations, or other influences. This part of the story contains unanswered questions, as does the present situation.

The fact is that President Mubarak resigned today. That we also are hearing, seeing, and will read about for a while. The happiness now is a relief, the future yet to be lived, the outcomes yet to be seen.

The bias for freedom is strong, and who can say it is bad? Today's celebration in Tahrir and elsewhere is real, and appears to be aware, There are days and months ahead, toward another election, and without Mubarak, it appears. As with every big change in nations, peaceful means under pressure have proven the best microphone for freedom's cries. 

(c) 2011 Jean Purcell
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Recommendation: Sales/Marketing Advice - Passing the "Tell Me More" Test by J. Konrath

SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today's Frazzled Customers  Selling to Big Companies Get Back To Work Faster: The Ultimate Job Seeker's Guide

Passing the "Tell Me More" Test

by Jill Konrath, chief sales officer, Selling to Big Companies

Establishing a business relationship with a new prospect is a lot like walking on a balance beam. Every single move you make has consequences.
When you execute it flawlessly, you're in a perfect position for your next move. However, here to read all.

Note: Opinari Writers Recommendations are our ideas for readers to consider and decide. Good marketing is "reliable, timely, and effective communication about something of value."  

Friday, February 04, 2011

Author Support: American pressures on Egypt

Author Support: American pressures on Egypt: "Protesters against President Mubarak's fifth term. Free documentation license. Image via WikipediaOpinion by Jean Purcell Egypt now is at t..."...Commentary

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A Christian's thoughts about Cairo, Horsemen, and Other News from Egypt

View from Cairo TowerView from Cairo Tower CC use Image via Wikipedia

By Jean Purcell 2/2/11

In recent hours in modern Cairo city, riders on horseback (and camels) cut through crowds of anger, fear, and violence among people walking and sitting along streets near Tahrir Square. The Bible speaks of power on horseback in ways that speak of past and future events, and horsemen are news from a city of fomenting frustration and dangers. This speaks to the skeptics' questions, "How could such things be (biblical prophecies about fast riders on horseback) in this automated, post-modern 21st century?" Others may wonder, seeing modern Cairo recently,
"Is the Bible more than imagery and symbol as I have thought?" 

This week, most protesters have continued to call for an end to the President Mubarak's rule. Others have called for his continuance; others, for all enmity to end. As fevers continue to rise, surely there is much fear, anger and likely terror among those in the streets, men and women fighting against or resisting each other, people of the same country and in some cases same religion, now in conflict, entrenched in their desires about how things should play out, and when.

Horsemen from pyramid areas came into Cairo, to enter the fray. Biblical references to such riders came to my mind early this morning, seeing the news from Cairo and reports of the night before. Considering today's world of automated transportation and war, we are reminded today, as in recent years, of a post-modern time when horses, camels, and donkeys are used as a matter of course in large parts of the world. In recent years, Iraq and Afghanistan have opened our physical eyes to this.

These horsemen prompted other thoughts and led to prayer and then to the keyboard, to try to write my thoughts as a Christian, sharing with you, also likely thinking of these things. 

The news of the day always gives the Christian writer much to think about. We can try to ignore the news of the day. However, those who do not yet know God, who waver in their thoughts of seeking God, are paying attention to the news. Therefore, at least some of us must pay attention, too. This is consistent with God's record of dealing with human beings. The spiritual mind must remain engaged, too. The spiritual mind submits to the wisdom of God. The spiritual mind receives strength from God to seek and to find what others cannot see, to discern, as it were, and to hear with ears truly open to more than words, but to God's sovereignty over the world.

If we are not moved to write, let us remain silent. If we are, may we do it responsibly, honestly/factually, and with an aim not to do harm, but to bring even the peace of Christ, the living Word, into the view of readers and listeners.The power of God is made perfect in our weakness to do more, in obedience to what He has said, and to remember His plans for those who will trust in Him: .

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11-NIV).

For Reflection: 

It is not a political comment to quote from Dr. Henry H. Halley of the middle of the previous century: "In a world where empires rise and fall, where all things die and pass away, we are reminded that God is Changeless, Timeless and Eternal, and (we are) promised by Him that His Nature may be imparted to us, and that we, like Him, and by His Grace, unhurt by Death, may Live On and On. Alive Forevermore! ...What a meaning it gives to Life! And what a comfort to saints then facing Martyrdom!"

We pray for all people in Cairo and all of Egypt, of whatever religion. We pray for Christian brothers and sisters - including of Coptic, Alexandrian, and Orthodox churches..


* Halley's Bible Handbook, commenting on Revelation 1:4. Revised edition, 1927 (1st edition)....1965 (24th edition). Regency/Zondervan, page 689.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

South façade of the White House, the executive...Image via Wikipedia
by Jean Purcell

If you have never visited Washington, D.C., you are missing out on a fabulous experience. Plan a trip there and allow our country to come alive before your very eyes. You won't be sorry.- Pat Brannon, author, commenting on this blog's July 4 post, 2010.

And this is the time to make and set up plans to visit Washington in the Spring of 2011. Plan a trip for the Cherry Blossom Festival, 2011! March 26-April 10. and take notes for a few articles or your blog or web site. If you write about history or governance, what better place than the US capital city?

I think that visitors like Pat, quoted above, see the city with fresher, more appreciative eyes than those of us who live nearby. However, we do not want to take for granted this beautifully designed city. It is a city of marble, of ancient Gothic and Roman architecture, of engravings from treasured documents and speeches, and of giants of this country whose service, life-stories, faith, and words dominate the history that permeates so much of the capital city. Who has documented the numbers of the many books and movies based on this city of history, dreams, and power, intended for good? This is inspiring territory for writers like Pat Brannon, who writes poetry and stories, for grownups and children, respectively. 

Walk Softly, You're Steppin' On My HeartFilthy Farley O'Charlie McBarley   Pat Brannon is a writer working within schools to help children confront difficult problems,  such as bullying, through drama and humor that talks straight.

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