Archive for February, 2010

Trampling Bear Grass

February 24, 2010

Bear grass (Yucca filamentosa) is a tough, prickly perennial occurring in the dry, open woodlands of North Carolina.  Its thorns draw blood, so it is ignored and flourishes with scant attention.  The community of Bear Grass, NC lies in the broad farm lands of southern Martin County, with Bear Grass School as its heart and literal center.  Generations of children have blossomed in the fertile soil of home/church/school.   Today’s mayor and other community leaders are yesterday’s students in the brick building.  Music lessons, band practice and extracurricular bustle enliven the heart of Bear Grass.   The oldest church sits next to the School, and the lawns are mowed so that one cannot see where sacred ground ends and Bear Grass School begins.   This modest institution has produced accountants, teachers, farmers, and at least one pharmaceutical millionaire.  This cheerful “high performance” school needs no security force.   The Martin County School Board plans to close the school at the end of the academic year,  trampling Bear Grass school and the community.  Forcing these good students into low performing large schools in the north and west reaches of Martin County would dilute the low performance scores of the failing giants.   The local superintendent has gleefully bloodied  his feet, as it were, in his campaign to close the school and silence the heart of the community.  Bear Grass has applied to convert to a charter school.   Ordered by a superior court judge to refrain from hindering this charter school application, the superintendent’s bloody foot prints nonetheless marched to Raleigh.  Despite North Carolina’s limit  of 100 charter schools for the entire state, there is even now, a charter available for Bear Grass.  This conversion to a charter school would keep Bear Grass School open and the community alive.  In the NC Dept. of Education Boardroom, leaders spend their monthly meetings congratulating each other on meaningless “accomplishments” while thousands of students are pushed through failing schools.  With bloody foot prints everywhere, Bear Grass School supporters received only a two sentence rebuff at the January Board meeting.  In February, one Bear Grass spokesman was allowed to beg once more.  Still, no motion to use the available charter and save Bear Grass school.  When a school flourishes because of high performing families and traditional values, it shames the humanistic serpent coiled within the heart of our educational system.  Therefore, Bear Grass must be trampled.  It is an ugly sight.

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Screaming bloody murder

February 19, 2010

I work with men who love hunting dogs. In the course of waging the latest battle in our war against animal rights extremists, I came upon a video.  Amateur Youtube, with the camera held by a woman who was screaming through a fence at a dog. The long, lean hound had cornered a coyote at the edge of some woods.  The coyote was big, handsome, and panting.  The woman was screaming at the dog to come to her, leave the coyote alone, and “stop it”.  The hound was smelling the coyote and thinking about how to bite it. The coyote was catching its breath and thinking about how to get out of the corner. Neither listened to the woman. The coyote snarled, and the dog snapped. The woman started screaming bloody murder, and apparently running in a circle, as the camera spun around, recording the same spinning patch of grass.  It would be easy to smirk at these antics, because she was screaming, “Dial 911”.  I am not sure if she wanted an ambulance for the coyote, or a police officer to stop the assault.  Nonetheless, the agony in her voice was real. She was screaming in the pain of seeing animals fight, bleed, and die.   She posted her video, and no doubt wants to ban something.  But all her screaming and shouting and working will not erase that particular pain, because it is a symptom of a vast, dark brokenness.  Aware or not, she yearns for Eden, before the fall.   When she recognizes the source of her pain, she will pray for the coming of the Kingdom of God.  Isaiah described the coming of Messiah as a time when the lion will lie down with the lamb, and the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea. When the Kingdom does fully come, it will be wonderful to see hounds and foxes and coyotes lolling in the grass in peace.  Until then, I pray the Peaceable Kingdom invades our souls, so other human beings become more precious to us than the dear animals that can neither know nor care about the condition of our hearts.