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Family Valued 8.31.05

Not your parents' how-to

Having randomly selected a 9-year-old from within my household, I place two books in front of him: How to Train Your Dragon and How to Be a Pirate, both by Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, translated from the Old Norse by Cressida Cowell.

Have we ever met before?

Well, yes.

Are you familiar with these two tomes?

Oh, yes.

What are they about?

The first one is about Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III. He is the son of one of the most feared Viking kings ever, and he is learning how to train his dragon, Toothless. Now that he has trained his dragon, the second one is about how he has to learn how to be a pirate ---- how to fight and to steer a ship. Hiccup has a very good friend named Fishlegs. His cousin is very mean and snotty, which is why his name is Snotlout. They have lots of running around and many insults. They have a few drawings for every few chapters; like there are pictures of each of the boys at the beginning. And the pages are pretty cut up. They don't look so much like normal books because they have stains and stuff on them.

I've been meaning to ask you. Where did those stains come from?

On How to Train Your Dragon, there's kind of claw slashes. On How to Be a Pirate, those are bloodstains.

I see. Who do you think would enjoy them?

Older kids who like to read and have a good sense of humor. If you've read any Geronimo Stilton books, then you would like these "tomes."

--- Craig Brownlie (with random 9-year-old)

Hey, Pat! Better kill Vickie first...

If out of the three hundred songs I had to take one phrase to cover all my teaching, I would say "Let there be no evil in your thoughts."  -- The Analects of Confucius, II.2

I'm conflicted. Like most Christians, I pray for Pat Robertson to shut up. Like most clergy, I am thankful he continues to set his neo-fascist, Judeo-Republican mouth to boil. He and his colleagues make it so easy to preach peace.

I urge you, no matter your faith, to throw Patriot-Act caution to the wind and take your family to a local library. Once there, set out two news stories: this week's quotes from Pat Robertson, and last week's story of Victoria Ruvolo, the Long Island Christian who pleaded for mercy for the 18-year-old who shattered her skull with a 20-pound turkey thrown through her windshield. (She said she wanted the kid who destroyed her life to make something of his.) Start a community conversation exploring these two "religious" outlooks. The librarian may be bound by federal law to report your activities, but do it anyway.

Grace shakes the foundation of our criminal justice system. Mercy runs counter to our nation's strategic interests. Enlightenment threatens our way of life. The revolution continues.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid."  -- John 14:27

--- Rev. Corey Keyes