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33 posts from July 2005

Mayor Tony Benavides, you say you like Lansing, but your website . . .

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Mayor Tony Benavides, mayor of Lansing, MI, our state's Capital City, says he's a Lansing guy.  He brags about his integrity and how he supports his city.  His heart is in Lansing, he says.  That's where he does his business.  And, he says, the voter in Lansing can take that to the bank.  Hmmm...then why is the developer for his Okemos, one of the richest suburban areas in the state? 

The primary for mayor in our town is on Tuesday.  I tried to understand Mayor Tony.  I tried to keep and open mind.  But, I have to support Sen. Virg Bernero. 

Tony acts like a good old boy too much.  And our city keeps going backward.  It's time for a change.

Trying for find info for Lansing, MI City Council elections

I admit that in the past I've made little effort to get to know city council candidates and make make an informed decision about their suitability to sit on Lansing's City Council.  And, I'm not quite sure why that's the case because I know the important role they play in leading a city.

But, now that my life is transitioning through a different passage, I can see that I need to understand our city government in a clearer and more specific way.  In the past, I've complained about how the Lansing State Journal doesn't cover the city council.  That concern still stands.  It's two days before the primary election and the Sunday paper is blowing the election off like it's not important.  However, if Michigan State University signs a hot new player or if they don't, Gannett's representative in the area is all over it.

But, I've found a partial source of information about the candidates, City Pulse, a newspaper for the rest of us. It reminds me of the underground newspapers from the sixties.  It comes out weekly and it treats the area with some respect and with some coverage.  They have two-plus tabloid pages on candidates for two at-large council positions.

Continue reading "Trying for find info for Lansing, MI City Council elections" »

William Raspberry, is he right about black families

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Our city, Lansing, MI, needs to be talking about William Raspberry"s column about the current condition of the black family.  We have an election coming up for mayor and city council and candidates are tip-toeing around this issue like Tiny Tim tip-toed through the tulips.

Raspberry in his column talks about the high number of black kids born to moms who never marry the dad and he talks about how this lack of marriage is decimating black families.  It's worth reading and it's important for our candidates to talk about.

How will people react to what he has to say?  Is he just an Uncle Tom who has sold out the African American culture or does he have a point?

Continue reading "William Raspberry, is he right about black families" »

Frieda M. Thorp, my mom, would be 96 today

My mother's birthday would have been today and she would have been 96 years-old.

Whenever I doubt God and his care for me, I think of my mom, Frieda M. Thorp, and I'm reminded of his constant love and care.  My mother was one of a kind and deserves mention because how she lived her life is an inspiration for anybody who draws a short straw in stuff that happens to you.  As it says in the Bible, she ran the race and she won. She's now sitting in the heavenly stands and cheering us on.

My mom was born in Michigan's Thumb and was part of a farm family with 12 kids.  Life was tough and hard.  Her parents died when she and her brothers and sisters were young.  The older siblings kept the younger ones together and they continued living.

They braved it through the Depression and all the life and death struggles that were part of the time.  And then there was World War II.  Listening to her talk about that period was beyond my comprehension. 

She met my dad, Claude H. Thorp, during that time.  A short time after I was born, he flew the coop and never came back.  She never gave up.

Today, as I look back on her life I've learned the importance of being tenancious and focused on what's important.  I've never had to fight for survival like she did, but if I do, I can look to her example.

She was God-sent and special.  She knew how to love unconditionally.  She knew Jesus Christ and had a personal relationship with him. 

Father God, thank-you for picking her to be my mom.

Getting kids ready for school, some good advice

Next month at this time, kids will be going back to school in our area. Focus on the Family has some good tips for getting them and you ready for the coming school year.  They remind parents that they are their kid's most important teachers.

And that reminds me of a good friend, Clay Moray who was a World Book manager in our area.  He always stressed to parents that they were the number one teacher for their kids.

This is good stuff and is worthy of discussion by parents and event grandparents.

Church marketing doesn't have to suck

Does your church have trouble getting its message out?

Check out the blog church marketing sucks.  It's a legitimate effort to look at how churches around the country face this challenge.

A Jacksonville, FL church invites your input in the blog for a mail campaign already underway.  Their mail pieces deserve a look.

Helen Thomas, White House reporter, needs help

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The Drudge Report has a story today about how Helen Thomas, a longtime White House reporter, has threatened to kill herself if VP Cheney runs for president.  She is quoted in the Hill newspapers as saying how bad she thought Cheney was.  Wow.  I'm shocked and disappointed.

I remember the high regard I had for Ms. Thomas when I was in journalism school in the sixties.  She was the paragon of professionalsim.  One of the tenets of good journalism is to never show your bias and never let your bias affect your coverage of a story.

I believe that she even had a niece or other close relative who was a j-school student at MSU. 

Somebody needs to show some compassion to Helen Thomas and tell her its time to quit.  She's seen her best days and they were long ago.

Citizen journalism, the next steps

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Amy Gahran from Contentious and I,Reporter has been an evangelist for citizen journalism.  She got my attention about a year ago with her talk about how the message consuming public is not responding to monolithic corporate style voices.  It's something that I could see, but I could never wrap my head around it until she put it in words.  The golden age of mainstream media was waning, she contended, and it was based on niche-based media.

Now she's talking about citizen journalism.  It's a natural off-shoot to mainstream medias lack of real news in many of its products.  In our town, Lansing, MI, we are about to have a primary for mayor and city council.  To say that there's a real paucity of news about any of this is a real understatement.

Good luck on finding any information on which to make a judgement about candidates.  And, we are the State Capital of Michigan.  It's not like we are a backwater in the Thumb of our state.

Continue reading "Citizen journalism, the next steps" »

Harry Potter, is reading it dangerous to your kids

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I was at one of our local Barnes and Noble stores in Lansing, Mi the night the latest Harry Potter novel was released.  The store was packed with kids and parents excited about the midnight release of the new book.  I've never read any of the novels, nor will I probably.

I have heard Christians express concern that the Harry Potter books are harmful to kids because they promote magic of the ilk that the Bible speaks against.

Radio Bible Class, a conservative Christian ministry in Grand Rapids, MI cautions against over-reaction and talks about the value of this series that has kids reading again. They see value in the stories and they see value for those who read them.

Miss. church tackles $4,000 challenge

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Read about halfway down in this story about a southern church and you'll find a neat story about how a benefactor gave the church $4,000 and the pastor used it to challenge the congregation.  He gave 40 $100 bills to individuals who were to use it to serve God's kingdom and then report back with what they did. Results are interesting to say the least.  Story is from Rick Warren's

Michigan State University makes college much more expensive

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My alma mater is making college adds to increased tuition for this next school year with increased fees.  The Detroit News reports how individual schools within MSU are tacking on extra fees of some significance. I remember when I went there in the mid-sixties, my bill for tuition and books was less than $200 for one semester.

What's the answer?

Maybe, Michigan State University in East Lansing and other universities need to do a better job of selling themselves to legislatures who parcel out the money.  A college education is a must-have these days to make it in the work world.  Will community colleges be the only answer?

Ashley Smith served God by serving a killer

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As a Christian, how should you react to somebody holding you hostage, somebody who holds the power of life and death over you?

Everybody remembers the story of Ashley Smith, a young Atlanta mom who made the mistake of going out late at night to get cigarettes and have murderer Brian Nichols follow her into her apartment.  She had faced down some tough challenges in her life, but nothing like this.

Her biggest weapon in her struggle in how to deal with having this serial killer in her house was her personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  With the help of God through her faith in Jesus, she was able to  serve Nichols and see him differently.  It's a compelling story and Christianity Today tells it again.

America should thank Karl Rove for sharing Niger fantasy

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It's getting harder and harder to take liberal politicians and the liberal news media seriously these days.  Both are taking self-righteousness and deception to new levels these days.  An example: the controversy involving the Ambassador and his CIA wife.

Check out the facts from Ann Coulter's latest column about what really happened and what Karl Rove, President Bush's top political guy, did and did not do and whether any laws were broken.  Rove deserves a big thanks from this country for keeping the establishment, at least, somewhat accountable.

To put the knock on President Bush, one of the most principled men in modern American political history, the Ambassador's wife, the CIA employee sends him to Niger to fabricate an investigation and then tout it as fact around the world.

I'm not a legal type, but, it sure seems like Mister and Missus Ambassador/CIA employee engaged in a conspiracy.  There needs to be a congressional invesitgation of their actions and a special prosecutor needs to be named to evaluate possible criminal actions.

I'm appalled the lengths that liberals will go to discredit a president who has convictions and who has courage.  I'm proud of his leadership.

East Lansing Promise Keepers Follow-up #2

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First speaker on Friday was a Vietnam vet named Dave Roever.  His testimony was compelling and made a strong point about what matters in a person is what's inside and not on the outside.  I only heard part of his son-in-law Phil Chapin's presentation.  But, I want to hear more.  Listening to others and to their experiences can be a real positive tool.  His website is

At this Promise Keepers event in East Lansing at the Breslin Center on the MSU campus, Roever touched a lot of people.  Actually, the Holy Spirit used him to make a point.  How many people are suffering because of something that was done to them.  He has broken those chains to the past.

PK East Lansing follow-up #1-Listening to God

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Going through my notes from this past weekend's Promise Keepers event in East Lansing, I was reminded of some great insight and advice from speaker Buddy Owens, formerly of Maranatha Music and now with Saddleback Church in California,

A couple of years ago in Grand Rapids at PK, he talked about reading the Bible for meaning, for personal meaning and as a way to hear the voice of God in a personal way.  He developed his remarks from his book, The Way of a Worshipper.

This year he talked about how to listen to God.  This has always been a tough topic for me to wrap my hands around.  I have plenty of friends who say God told me this and he told me that.  I can't say the same, I thought.

He provided three tips for listening for God's voice and direction from his own personal life and experience.  The first is called First Minutes:

  1. He describes it as a habit he has of talking to God during the first minute of various activities throughout the day, after he gets out of bed, in the shower, in the car, in the office.
  2. He offers brief prayers of thanksgiving and asks for God's blessing.  He invites God to fill him with His Spirt and asks God to lead him and use him for His purposes.
  3. These prayers keep him in a posture of surrender to God throughout the day.

I like the suggestion.  I've done this to a point, but this verbalizes it and formalizes what should be a practice in my daily life.